Monday, February 28, 2005

my hero

I can't put my finger on what I like so much about this singing fella. But for some reason he makes me cheerful. Maybe it's just that he's having such a good time. Maybe it's the way he reminds me of every time I've been busted headbanging or singing along to Energy 92.7, home of the world's most inane dance music, in the car.

If this link stays good for a couple of days, I may have to kick the Disco Squirrels down a notch and give him their spot. That's how serious I am.

courtesy of Radio Free Mike

Sunday, February 27, 2005

numeric oddity

Today I am exactly halfway between the last time I saw MS, and the next time I will. I just figured that out; I was counting the days until I leave for Berlin, and trying to figure out everything that needs to happen before then and on what kind of timeline. Mom, for example, tells me that her passport is "dead", so she needs to get that dealt with before we can apply for our Ukrainian visas, and how much time will that take, and I need to figure out trains and lodging and interpreters and so on...but anyway. It's been 54 days since I said goodbye to him in SF, and it'll be 54 until I say hello to him in Berlin.

Which is sort of cool in its roundness.

So for anyone who hasn't figured it out, the someone who was reading my blog introduced herself, and is perfectly charming, and I find myself once again in the position of alternately admiring a lover's taste in other women and despairing of ever holding a candle to them. But it's not as bad as I'm making it sound, not at all; it's just funny to me how this seems to keep happening.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time now talking about how my tomboy childhood has influenced how I interact with men now, or how it makes me feel I compare to women who seem to have more control of the stereotypically womanly stuff, like, oh, high-heeled shoes that aren't chunky boots, or eye makeup that's the same on both sides. I spend so much of my time taking my clothes off, often in dirty places, that I live by Gilda Radner's timeless fashion advice: I base my fashion sense on what doesn't itch. There's no point in wearing something I care about to the Art Institute, for example, where chances are excellent some eighteen-year-old will spill paint on my street clothes while I'm on the stand (this has happened) or to a catering job, where I'm going to be lifting, hauling, and sweating until I change into my tux. In which I will also probably lift, haul, and sweat, come to think of it. So, you know. Jeans. A pair of cargo pants passed on by a troupemate. Another pair of jeans, these with a rakish smear of yellow paint on one leg. T-shirts. T-shirts. T-shirts.

But I wasn't going to go into this.

Sigh. Trying to work a transition into talking about a project that I'm realizing I should probably wait a while before I mention here. But--I'll tell you--just like Tuesday, I was approached by an editor at Thursday's reading. Who wants to take a meeting. This hasn't completely sunk in. If I let it sink in, I might completely flip out. So. Stay tuned. A very cool thing might be about to happen.

Anyway. Other things that are going on, because I'm not feeling wise or witty tonight and just want to crawl into bed and watch Atlantis on my laptop and satisfy my little pointy nosed/glasses-sporting/hopelessly brainy boy fetish with one Milo J. Thatch, cartographer/linguist (doesn't that sound tasty?), are as follows:

1. Emperor and I just drove an hour to Sebastopol to see D's daughter star in her school play 'A Roman Comedy', which was surreal. I mean, I get a night off from going to the theater for work, and what do I do? I go to yet another play which I Can Not Leave At Intermission. This one acted--and lit--by twelve-year-olds, many of them apparently the home-schooled children of hippie parents (at least two cast members were named after gods and goddesses), many of them wearing armor made of paper plates spray-painted gold, all of them very earnest. Some of them completely inaudible. The scene changes were often as long as the scenes themselves, and from behind the curtain we could hear the patter of running feet, the scraping of set pieces being banged into each other, the sound of glass breaking. I put my head on Emperor's shoulder and tried to nap, but it was difficult with all the talking around us as the parents in attendance explained the play to their younger children. This experience is having a decidedly contraceptive effect I told him sleepily. At the intermission we snacked widely from the bake sale concession stand--lemon bar, two kinds of brownies, a cookie, a hard-boiled egg--and told D, who was house-managing, what a good job her daughter was doing.

2. Today someone (besides my mother, who says things like this all the time) told me that my high-pitched, child-like voice stands in marked contrast to the tough-girl stuff I use it to say. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

3. I've broken my fast. You can all breathe now. Tokyo will not be smashed flat after all.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

delayed depiliation

him: I was confused about the day, and I don't think I'll be able to make your reading tonight after all. But I might be free tomorrow night [long, confusing discursion about visiting flight attendant friend] and I'm definitely free Saturday.

me: Saturday's out, I'm committed to my friend Thread if she'll have me. But tomorrow works. So what I'm getting here is that I don't have to shave my legs this afternoon.

him: You don't have to shave your legs at all on my account.

me: You don't know what you're dealing with here.

him: I really don't care.

Well now, this is promising.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

the end of the good day

Well, even if certain persons who said they'd come (ahem, Picasso? Snufkina? Do I need to tattoo these things on your tender skins?) didn't make it to the reading, others did: Thread (who brought a very patient friend), Princess, my odd artist, and Timbre (!) who I had no idea was going to be there. His presence was actually very interesting; all three of us who read were dealing with how our various childhoods had intersected with the African-American communities in our towns, and his was the only black face in the audience. His were also some of the most intelligent comments afterwards, as it happened, and then he took me out for a burger and said more smart stuff to me, and I struggled to keep up as I shoveled fries into my maw and tried to keep from passing out from exhaustion and all that adrenaline draining back out of my bloodstream.

The whole experience was intense. I'm trained as a public speaker; I competed in high school and so on, but it's been a long time, and I made some on-the-fly changes to what I read that made me stumble in a few places. I was also the last up, at my suggestion. The two women who read before me had much sadder pieces, and I thought we should end on an up note, so I agitated to be last. I also wanted to give Picasso, who is perhaps even more notorious than I for lateness, a chance to show his mug. But, no go. So I stood up and delivered my four minutes, and people laughed at some stuff, and afterwards I babbled senseless answers to some questions and autographed (!) a couple of books. I know you semi-famous authors of my acquaintance are probably yawning at the newbie, but it was damn cool. I mean, the last time I read something in public, it was my father's eulogy; I'm pretty rusty. Although people laughed at that, too, against their will (but not against my intent), so I apparently still have some chops.

And, here is the coolest part: someone approached me afterwards. She hadn't caught my last name, so I told her again. I've seen your writing before, she said, maybe in Kitchen Sink? I told her that my biggest piece for them had been the article about the history of ramen, and she said, that was the Blue Issue! (KS themes their issues according to some arcane logic known only to them). I read that one!

And then she gave me her card, and mentioned that she's starting a San Francisco magazine. A glossy. To go up against the content-free 7x7. Snippy and totally committed to the Bay Area.

Well, heck, I'm both of those things. And she needs writers. Ha!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

damn, but i'm having a good day

1. Had a lovely modeling session with a man who decided to "throw away [his] agenda for the day" to focus on drawing my hair (seriously, too funny), and then let me choose one of the drawings to take home, which almost never happens. Behind him, I could see his wife diligently preparing papers to marble. The three of us had a nice chat as we worked, with a CD of Yo Yo Ma's favroite music playing in the background.

2. My contributor's copies of San Francisco Magazine were in my PO box, along with a catering check that was a smidge bigger than expected. I hadn't thought I was getting contributor's copies at all, so this is great: I don't have to buy them, and I have one to send to my mother. The article is not quite as I remembered it; looks like a couple of my edits went ignored, but I'm not sweating it. Another scalp for my belt. I'm feeling much stronger now about pitching other magazines with my Ukraine ideas.

3. So far I've had nothing to eat today besides chocolate-covered donuts (sadly, not Bob's). I know, I know. I'll eat before my reading. Which is another thing about which I am completely stoked.

4. An unpleasant situation referenced a couple of posts back has been resolved, or is in a very positive process to that end. And I am feeling loving and generous to all and sundry once again.

5. The Pope can kiss my ideologically evil ass.
the really sexy part of bellydancing, part two

I can't talk about the choreography we're working out for the finale at Undulation 2, but I can say that rehearsal tonight was one of the best I've had with the company yet. It feels good to finally be incorporated into a piece and be able to contribute ideas about how it can be done, the music's intense, and the video Jill took of what we had at the end of the night showed something cool coalescing from a set of concepts and key words and the movement vocabularies of dancers from very different backgrounds. On an intellectual level, it was a very interesting look at how a thing of beauty is made; how the lotus grows from the muck of practice and pulled hamstrings.

But more importantly to the lewd-minded who think that bellydance troupe rehearsals are pure sex is the way we're all sort of rubbing against each other as we figure out how certain sections are going to go. Everyone is going to think we're all sleeping together, one of the more bodacious of my troupemates whispered to me as we waited for our cue to take the stage. I stifled a response about how that wouldn't be an all bad thing, and as the chorus swelled we went out with the others and tried to build a story with our swaying bodies.

It's going to be hot. If you're in town, you should buy your tickets now. As I breathlessly wrote in the press release, this event will sell out.

Monday, February 21, 2005

this may be a relief to some of you

Who are sick and tired of reading about MonkeyScientist. But as much as I love him--and make no mistake, I do, unshakably and to the bottom of my cold and wrinkled little heart--I probably won't be blogging about him, or at least my feelings about him, directly for a while. Thanks to Statcounter it has come to my attention that at least one of the someones he's seeing in Berlin is apparently reading Waterbones. Knowing that she joins his ex-wife (yes J, I know, and have known since before Christmas. He didn't tell me, I figured out your IP address) in the group of those who now know more about me and my feelings about him than I do about them and theirs is simply too much for my comfort level.

I have tried to be cool about this. I have. He should absolutely be dating, and I'm happy for him that he is, even if I'm terribly jealous that other people get to spend time with him and I don't. I am looking at my options as well, and some attractive ones have presented themselves. I may or may not talk about those as they unfold, if indeed they do--which they may not, considering my rehearsal schedule for the next month!

That is not the problem. A year and a bit dating AX taught me a lot about people's capability to have meaningful contact with more than one partner at a time, and I do understand that what happens between MS and other people has no more bearing on how he feels about me than if our situations were reversed. We were friends for quite a while before we were lovers, and neither of us are willing to let go of that.

The problem is that I'm feeling really exposed, in a way that hasn't happened here before. Talking about my dad dying, or my feelings about a great many sad or unsavory or childish things, has been hard but worthwhile because I've been trying to get across a certain universality of experience. I have wanted, if at all possible, to make other people who are going through any of the same things feel like there is a way through. And if I can't do that, at least hopefully I've made some people laugh who needed it.

But the twin fears that someone is either a) using my blog to beat herself up or b) checking out the competition make me hesitant. I have done both of those things myself, and it sucked; other women's blogs were a neutral tool I put to evil use against myself. I want no part of the other end. That's not what I'm doing here. And truthfully, unless they plan to sleep with me themselves, the less his other lovers know about things like how I masturbate, say, the better.

For some reason this is different than knowing that the sisterwives could read me, back when they were sisterwives and not one supportive acquaintance and one goofy and loyal friend, as they are now; perhaps because I'd made it happen that I got to meet them both, perhaps because I could read their blogs as well and get to know what interesting and cool and human people they were and not feel so vulnerable and inadequate, perhaps because we were all in the same city together and had the same level of opportunity to see our mutual friend. Whereas I can't meet anyone MS is seeing until April, if then, I can't read his ladyfriends' blogs, if they have such, and...most important here...I can't see MS himself right now, and they can.

It's all so damn sticky and modern I can barely stand it.

So. Back to stories of bellydance and catering and the occasional prehistoric fish. Sorry. I'll try to keep it interesting, if maybe a little shallow.
something in the air tonight...or is it my conditioner?

The Environmental Working Group has a very interesting site where you can generate a shopping (or perhaps anti-shopping) list of self-care products organized by degrees of potential toxicity. There's more to it, of course; discussion of this ingredient (coal tar) or that (methylparaben); health concerns such as harmful impurities, carcinogens, unstudied ingredients, allergens, pregnancy concerns.

It's really scary, actually. There are some products that are about as safe as you might think from their advertising (Burt's Bees) and some that apparently aren't (the JASON line of products). Putting the word "organic" or "natural" on the label doesn't mean jack.

And even if you think this doesn't apply to you because you don't wear makeup, think again. Unless you also don't shave, use sunscreen, acne medication, toothpaste, or anti-dandruff shampoo (or indeed any shampoo).

In which case, you've got a whole 'nother set of problems, dontcha?

If anyone's looking for me, I'll be sitting on the bathroom floor sounding out the big words on my ingredients lists and muttering to myself about conspiracies. Which is about right for this neighborhood, believe me.
celebrity three

Carson, Miller, Thompson.

I was wondering who it was going to be.

We've also lost Gidget.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

as a child, my favorite dress was yellow

Does that count? The blow-up doll, though, I don't know how I feel about that.

Your Passion is Yellow

You're a total sexual shape shifter.
You possess a complex sex drive and are very adaptable.
Of all the colors, you are the most likely to be bisexual.
While you the most passionate, you are very open minded.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

90th percentile!

Go Snufkina! Show that test you mean business, you Queen of the World you!

Guess working 600+ practice questions does pay off.
why i should stick to boiling water

Lifted directly from an e-mail sent to MS, who is threatening to make me eat onions for a week straight when I visit him in Berlin:

I cooked last night, for myself. Frozen shrimp and vegetable stir-fry from Trader Joe's; when I put the shrimp in the pan, the oil caught fire and there were foot-and-a-half-high flames leaping at the stove hood. All my kitchen cabinetry is IKEA, of course, and the first thought in my head--after oh shit I'm about to lose my eyebrows--was, I bet this stuff burns really fucking quickly. My second thought was, wasn't I going to get a fire extinguisher? My third was, the smoke detector's going to go off and wake everyone up. My fourth was, maybe I'd better try to put this out, hmm?

So I blew it out, which shouldn't have worked. Went and held a cushion against the shrieking smoke detector until it shut up. Wiped the scorch marks off the stove hood. And then looked at the shrimp, still frozen together into sad translucent clumps, and wondered if I dared cook them.

I dared. At a heat so low it took about twice as long as the package suggested. But I wasn't taking any chances.

I need my eyebrows.

Friday, February 18, 2005

not in our name

AX and Yezida have both linked to this horrific story from Dr. Salam Ismael about the invasion of Fallujah. It is every bit as awful as you might imagine, and more: if you're already convinced that our war on Iraq is unconscionable, you may not need this further proof. But I believe it needs to be as widely disseminated as possible.

The companion story from a cameraman who was imprisoned and abused by our troops is no better, but it's a valuable perspective.

I cannot believe there are people who believe this is an acceptable price for Iraq to pay for democracy.
thunder and lightning!

Like Mexico City, San Francisco is under an inversion; we very rarely get dramatic weather of the electrical sort. Which is why it has taken me so long to identify the rumbling from outside. Kept thinking, trucks rolling by... until I saw the flash. Oh, how lovely. I may open my back door and let some of that charged air in as night falls.
small pleasures

1. Fixing the bed; now it's high enough to store luggage underneath, and hopefully my 4x4s will hold up better than those crappy little IKEA legs.

2. Getting the press release pretty much done; I have a few details yet to beat out of someone, but the heavy lifting part is over.

3. Going out to El Rio for the troupe's last night there to make some noise in support. Drinking a German beer in MonkeyScientist's honor, or perhaps in preparation for my trip in April (I suppose I should also build up a tolerance for sausage and mustard, which doesn't sound all bad), and discovering that beer makes it easier to zaghareet (ululate) loudly and at length. They looked great tonight, and the crowd was into it; a fitting end to a years-long relationship. Hopefully we'll have a new monthly gig at a place in my neighborhood, which would be very cool from a logistical standpoint. Getting down to El Rio from here is a bit of a strain in full costume and makeup.

4. Ripping all of my CDs onto my computer, thus making it possible to work to music for seven or eight hours at a stretch. I know, you all knew how to do this already. I don't know why I resisted.

I know, dull post. But I'm waiting for water to boil, and procrastinating on some reading. I'll try to come up with something appropriately psychotic some other time.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

disappearing act

Well, I guess this is how it is when one is a slash (writer slash dancer slash world traveler); long periods of near-complete lethargy followed by bursts of frantic activity. Such is the case for me right now. The troupe--excuse me, the company--is throwing a big fundraiser next month, and I got shanghaied into handling the press stuff. Which, up until now, has mostly consisted of plaintively poking at people and asking what's going on so I can write about it, and getting few if any responses. And then, bang, suddenly we've got to go to press RIGHT NOW and the two days a week I usually spend picking at my paying writing, I just spent ignoring the phone so I could field emails (why do people send 3 meg photo attachments? Why?), arranging and re-arranging guest performers, and experimenting with how many different ways I could say "hot."

It's been good, though. Oddly, I do my best when everyone else seems to be panicking. It's like my system secretes special anti-panic hormones to try to compensate. Now, if everyone else is calm I might very well go around the bend. But today, I've just spent thinking, let it go, let it go. The trickiest part is accepting someone affiliated with the company as an editor; I feel like I'm being patronized when this person makes suggestions, and I have to bite back on the impulse to point out that I am, after all, a professional writer--with a big new check from a glossy local mag sitting in my bank account now to prove it--and willya back off already. But this is my problem, not theirs. Writers and their egos, jesus. Which reminds me that I still need to tell the bedroom slippers story.

Anyway. So there's that (as well as the three rehearsals a week for the dancing part, oh yeah, I'm getting to do that part too, and it's really, really cool), and there's still modeling and catering to be done, and suddenly I realized that I have two readings next week and I need to pick the best three minutes of my essay because Pooja will shoot us if we read our essays in their entirety (not to mention what the audience will do), and oh yeah, I'm spending May in Eastern Europe and should probably be pulling all that shit together. Like, visas. Hotels (last night I discovered that Ukraine's leading marriage agency also rents out apartments to travelers by the week; do you think they come, um, fully equipped?) Trains. Shots. And it's impossible to fly to Berlin without stopping half a dozen times because everything has to be routed around Heathrow, what with Charles finally marrying Camilla (and you should have heard the American Airlines rep I talked to last night complain about that).

I had a moment tonight, after I announced the readings to the artists for whom I was about to disrobe, where I realized that I have sort of an interesting life. I didn't know you wrote, said one, a woman I've worked for occasionally over the past three or four years. I do a lot of things, I said ruefully.

And they don't all consist of generating dirty dishes and wadded-up Kleenex, which is how it sometimes feels.

So if I'm a little quiet for the next few weeks, you know what's going on.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

i hesitate to admit this

Considering how irritating I find their ad campaigns, how relentlessly cheerful their stores, how cheaply made their products. But I recently went to Old Navy because I needed a tank top or two, and some panties, and I was doing some freelance proofreading nearby, so it was easy to drop in. All I can say about that particular experience: oy. The logic of the layout completely eluded me. Everywhere there were displays of items in various combinations, but the items themselves, the ones one might buy, were nowhere to be found. Or hung on racks far, far away from the displays. Actually, this makes a perverse sense: if you have to truck all over hell and gone to find one "perfect fit ribbed V-neck baby-T", you might get distracted on the way to your Grail and end up picking up another item or two on the way.

Or maybe the place was just laid out by monkeys, a possibility I'm not discounting.

Anyway. It did remind me of something that has always bothered me. Not particular to Old Navy, but still curious.

Why, on racks or in stacks, do they put all the small things first, and work back to the large ones? Perhaps the super-skinny people who wear those S sizes are too fragile to dig all the way to the back? Maybe it's time to switch that around. Not that it will make a big difference to me, being a solid medium in all things but my massive feet, but still. I started to feel demoralized just flipping through to the M's; I can only imagine the cumulative frustration that must weigh on bigger girls (and guys) as they look for things that are going to fit in the way back, crushed against the wall, or at the bottom of the pile. A distinction that is made very clear at the Market Street Old Navy, as it happens: the area for the more generously-figured is all the way in the back of the store, and designed in such a way that you can't easily see into it from either the street or the rest of the store.

I can see lots of reasons why my suggestion wouldn't work. And I understand that the truly petite don't have it any better and often find themselves shopping in the Girls' department just to find things that fit. I'm just saying. Also, why are all the mannequins the same size and about the same height? Does that creep anyone else out?

Monday, February 14, 2005

no, indri, how do you feel about it?

People in general are sometimes surprised by the vehemence with which I hate Valentine's Day. Men who have the misfortune of dating me in any given February are equally--and often unpleasantly--surprised by how much something I claim to hate means to me. I feel like I should warn new people well in advance that this is very touchy for me, and that it is in their best interests to acknowledge the day somehow, as early in the day as possible. Because if I spend the day wondering if he's going to call, or leave me a little note, or surprise me in some way, and he doesn't, man, will there be hell to pay. Or even if he had something in mind, but didn't get to it until the afternoon, things will still be ugly.

I have no idea how it would be with a woman. I haven't been through a February with a female partner. Maybe that's my problem, hmm?

But Indri, I can hear you say, don't you call, or leave a little note, or something? Why is it on him?

To which I respond, I do. Sometimes it's nothing more than a little tentative e-mail, hoping I'm not being too presumptuous, hoping I'm not impinging too much on him, y'know, his space.

I am not speaking now of this year, although I did in fact send a little e-mail, and got a cheery little response. There will be no bloodbath this year, because, well, he's there, right? He's having his own fun (or maybe not, first Valentine's Day in years without his wife, maybe it sucked rocks.) And the imbalance in our feelings is something to which I have been reconciling myself for some time.

I expected nothing. Which is one way, as the Buddhists tell us, to avoid disappointment.

No, this is deeper even than love, or my current situation. Because I've had a few Valentine's Days where I was partnered, and they ranged from delightful (Slice) to dutiful (BowlCut, who had thought me too hip to care about something so square. Fortunately for him, this was before I was a martial artist.) No, it's those fucking junior and senior high flower sales. Who thought that was a good idea? Did they have these at your school? So much worse than the grade school routine with the exchange of little cards, where there were parents dutifully making sure, the night before, that every one of their child's classmates got something. I don't remember hating the day back then--why, look at this one!

When I was eight someone was crazy about me!

Let's not dwell on the fact that I still have this, twenty-seven years later, and it's one of the three most sincere such greetings I have ever received from anyone other than my parents. Perhaps the only three. Let me see. Marc Flatt wrote "I love you" in a hundred languages on a card he made for me a few years later, and bought me a box of chocolates with allowance money he'd saved up. Took me ice-skating, too. His mother drove. His little sister came along. Yep. Romance was in the air, let me tell you. And if anyone knows him, could you let him know I've been looking for him? Blond, blue eyes, maybe still a little chunky?

No. I was getting to flower sales. Flower sales are the worst. If I were the principal of a school, or even the assistant principal (Pavlova?), I would ban them outright. They're a blatant popularity contest, with glaringly visible markers of who's winning. Someone coming into a classroom to deliver the blossoms to the smugly smiling oh gosh are those for me? popular kids while those not so fortunate look on, wondering if they should be changing their acne medication. No sir. And it's worse when your homeroom teacher, doubtless thinking she's doing you a kindness, sends you a flower. Because there's that moment, right, before you look at the tag and you think, maybe?, and then you crash right back down. And then you're left wondering if she sent flowers to all of the kids in your homeroom, or just to you, because you're such a socially inept loser and she knows it because she's been hearing other kids laughing about it behind your back. How does anyone even survive high school? Seriously.

Bitter, party of one. I hate this day because without fail, it brings back all the old insecurities, every last one, gibbering, drooling, and scratching. And then I feel like I've made no progress. And get insecure about that. It's exhausting. Which is why I generally spend the day asleep, if it is at all possible.
go osama

Anyone who knows how I feel about Valentine's Day will understand why I appreciate this so much. Happy fucking Valentine's Day indeed. Courtesy of The Onion.
wtf is this thing?

Gee, the civilian version doesn't come with a turret gun. For $225,000, I expect a turret gun. And a chemical toilet. And a minifridge. And as a friend would add, a redhead.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

too hyper to post anything of my own

I'm too busy drowning out neighbors with Gang of Four on headphones (I love a man in a uniform!) and speeding on chocolate-covered cranberries, but there's an interesting discussion of fascism going on over at AX's blog that's worth a look. AX is my go-to guy on fascism theory; this expands on a discussion we had over a delicious greasy spoon breakfast a few weeks ago. Tell him I sent you.

I wobbled home to find a check from the Art Institute for money I'd totally forgotten they owed me. And it was for exactly two dollars more than I'd just agreed to give Equality California. The angels are on my side.

Actually, they're jumping up and down on my head, but that will pass.
we must draw a line in the sand

Last night was a benefit gala honoring Mayor Gavin Newsom, thrown by Equality California, at the first anniversary of the same-sex marriages he facilitated. Although the Supreme Court eventually, mystifyingly, struck them down, Newsom is still a hero in this town for having attempted it.

I didn't see the mayor himself, about whom I once said some rather unkind things I now regret. I didn't know he had the chutzpah it turned out he has, and although some people say his defense of gay marriage is nothing more than a calculated move to increase his popularity among his gay constituency, what a move! I did see Supervisor Mark Leno, who gave a really wonderful, rousing speech where he noted, as I have, that gay marriage is a win-win situation. Although he told a better joke about it than I, namely that the city's sales tax revenue would be able to pay for a whole host of useful things if gay people were allowed to marry, based on the sales of ice sculptures alone.

But the problem's not just that those couples--who thought they were legally married--have had it yanked away from them. The religious right is pushing for an amendment of California's constitution in 2006, which is, as AX noted last year, scary for everyone.

Essentially, I worked for free. Because when Kate Kendall, the (completely hot) head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights got to the mic and started exhorting the crowd to make donations to fight this amendment--there's a one million dollar challenge grant at stake--I sidled up to one of the clipboard people and asked if EQ:CA was taking money from waiters. It's not much compared to what they need, or to what other people were saying they'd give--one guy stood up and pledged 10,000 bucks, right there, and I wondered which captain had that section, and how much wine she'd been pouring--but it seemed fitting. Especially since I'd arrived at work in a foul is this the shift where I stalk off, swearing never to return? sort of mood, and here I was being given an opportunity to transform some of that anger into grace. We cannot lose California, shouted Kendall. What is your liberation worth to you? What is it worth to you to escape oppression? I swallowed my fear of ending up homeless and destitute and said I'd contribute my paltry wages for the shift.

Clipboard guy, who I know I've worked with but whose name I couldn't remember, neatly wrote down my little number, under someone else's $2,500 and someone else's $5,000, and kissed my cheek, which moved me in a way I can't name.

Then I went out and got totally blitzed on labor-intensive lemon cocktails with one of the chefs. A good night.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

two surprising signs that one is aging

You go in to your gynecologist for the yearly indignity. And instead of the lecture on the number and spacing of your sex partners since she saw you last (were those all at once, or spaced out over time?), you get the talk about how you're at the age where it's time to start getting mammograms.

You go in thinking, how do I explain that, ah, thing that happened at Burning Man with a straight face? but it never comes up because she's more interested in your cholesterol count, which she has never mentioned before.

You are thirty-five now, she says. It's time to establish some baselines.

Uh, yeah.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

when in doubt, eat a plant

That's the helpful advice one guide to cooking for cancer patients gave me when I was heading home a couple years ago to help my mom take care of my dad. Many of the usual rules are different for someone going through chemo and/or radiation--you want them to gain weight, so there's an emphasis on fats--but this is the one that holds no matter what. And a real challenge for me.

In fascinating someone-is-procrastinating news, I have just eaten a bowl of steamed broccoli and carrots, with lots of butter to cut that lipsticky taste cooked broccoli has. This is noteworthy because I don't believe I've ever actually steamed vegetables before. Here's where I admit the embarrassing truth: I didn't know how. I thought you had to have one of those perforated foldy metal things, with the little legs. I didn't realize you could steam perfectly well without the foldy thing. Thank god there were instructions on the bag of pre-washed, pre-cut veggies. I'd planned to eat them raw.

Yes, I was raised by wolves. Where I come from, the application of heat to food is a foreign concept, unless we're talking about my father broiling steaks (have I mentioned the paper cocktail napkins Mom found? The ones that said dinner will be served when the smoke detector goes off?) or my mother's occasional holiday brisket, which was always much tastier than she thought it was, even if by the time it was served it had no structural coherence of which to speak. I learned to cook in self-defense, but my education was fanciful. I can make chocolate croissants from scratch, but I have to call Princess, the ex-sous chef and current food critic, every time I want to boil an egg. Incidentally, I hate it when he travels--he's in Oaxaca right now climbing ruins and doing book research--what if I need to sift or fold something? I could starve here. I should tell him that he's not allowed to be out of phone range for more than three days at a time. Yeah, that's it.

But tonight, shamed by a post in Thread's livejournal about how she ate a vegetable and liked it, I thought, hey, that's not a bad idea. Something to counterbalance all those cookies I ate last night. Considering that I've been on the mac and cheese and fruit juice diet for the past couple of weeks, it seemed like time to get crazy and rash and eat something green. So I steamed, and buttered, and la voila, I am a healthy eater and not, apparently, either a strung-out junkie or a stoner, two possibilities for which someone sifting through my trash could make a strong case.

The comforting thing about all this is the knowledge that if anyone ever marries me, it will be for qualities of character, humor, intelligence, whatever. Because it sure as hell won't be for my cooking.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

catch the bats, release the bats

Haven't talked about bellydance in a while, I know. I've been feeling awkward about my position within the troupe, I haven't been taking enough classes, and I feel like I'm in sort of a trough phase all the way around with it. But Monday night's rehearsal, although I can't talk about it very specifically because it involved creating new choreography, was more fun than I've had with the troupe in a while. So I'm going to shamelessly mine an e-mail I wrote about it.

The new choreo is something a little more in the modern vein. Jill, Rose, and Holly had come up with a list of moods and visual ideas; we watched the dance scenes from a few films and videos and talked about what we were seeing. Then we listened to the music, which is pretty moody, and threw ourselves around accordingly. Giggling like loons when we crashed into each other.

In the past couple of months, we've lost five dancers. Yes, that's a lot, even out of a 23-person company. But two are getting married, two are going back to school (including our token male, sadly enough), and one wanted to pursue other things. So now, not only is the group photo we took in October virtually obsolete, but remember when I said I was either the third or fourth tallest member of the troupe? I am now one of the two tallest members of the troupe. Possibly the tallest, depending on how much goop I have in my hair.

Yes, I find that hard to believe as well, but only Sami and Kristin were taller
than Erica and I, and they're both gone. I'm not the heaviest--I think that would be one of our uber-curvy girls--but I'm close.

Which means that I can take the "post" role. Post is the dancer, acrobat, clown, or gymnast who holds up other dancers, acrobats, clowns, or gymnasts. For example, local clown and Clown Conservatory founder Jeff Raz is post when he performs with Diane Wasnak as "Pino and Razz", because he's huge compared to her.

At 5'6" and about 145, I'm not huge in the real world, but within the troupe I am. I'm also strong, and an aikidoist with Contact Improv training. I'm used to lifting and throwing other people; I'm used to falling. So I was having a good old time Monday night moving around through the group, starting interactions with other dancers to see what happened, and lifting the smaller ones and swinging them around a little. Which I think startled them. I'm pretty quiet in rehearsals and classes, and I don't really know anyone well. So the first time I lifted Terri, who may weigh a good forty or fifty pounds with her hat on, and did it as a one-arm underarm fireman's carry, I think she was, um, taken aback. I guess I should have mentioned what I was going to do before I did it. The second time she was ready, and let me potato sack her around a bit.

But it wasn't just fun because I got to--literally--pick up cute girls. We'd been told to try for something raw and emotional. And child of the 80's New Wave that I am, I've got plenty of "catch the bats, release the bats" in my movement history. Some of you will have an easier time with this than others, Jill said before we began, and for once it was nice to feel like I was on the "easier time" end of the spectrum. Although I think we all surprised her; she was very pleased with how into it everyone got. It will be interesting to see how the dance shapes up.

I admit it; I'm looking forward to manhandling (girlhandling?) some troupemates. If there is something I bring to the company from my life before, we might as well use it, yes?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

is your screen dirty?

You may not know this, but your screen needs to be cleaned from the inside, too.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

nobody is in the right bed tonight except the kids upstairs

Apologies in advance to the people I'm about to piss off or hurt, but you know: my blog.

I was doing so well. And they were too; the note worked for a while. But tonight it was loud voices and heavy boots and now they're screwing and I haven't got a broomstick to bang against the ceiling, or the heart to interrupt someone in the throes of love. Even if my own body's on, surprisingly, a sort of sexual hunger strike that has made for a socially difficult couple of evenings lately.

And I just sat here for a moment, trying to play a complicated computer solitaire that's been flummoxing me and ignoring the dishes I was going to wash, and out of nowhere I was crying again. I hesitate to mention it at all. I don't want to distress MonkeyScientist in Germany or his STBE-wife here (well, and I don't want to give her the pleasure of seeing me suffer). But unbidden the words arose, the ones I've been very carefully not thinking for a month now. Five short words that almost aren't words at all, but what we had before words; the emotions that pressed us to make language so we could make these primal things heard. And it's weird, knowing that he's probably thinking them too. About her.

Why did you leave me?

I know the world's not fair. I got that. But does it need to be this deeply unfair?

Friday, February 04, 2005

my stylist, the hussy

When my hair was a quarter inch long on the sides and half an inch on top, I went in every six weeks, religiously. You can't have hair that short and not stay on top of it. Now that it falls halfway down my back, I can go months without dealing with it.

Months in which my stylist Dragonfly ups stakes and moves to another salon.

I'm starting to think it's me. A little back of the envelope calculation tells me that since I first saw him at Bladerunners in '98, he has worked in six different salons. I haven't been to him in all of those places; once or twice I've gone six months without so much as a trim (I know, horrors, whatever) and missed a place altogether. Oui, 3 Queens, for example (their motto: You're pretty; we'll make you flawless!, which bums me out, because I would love to make out a check to a name like that. Anyway. Maybe he's running from me.

It's not unheard of. For a while, every person who cut my hair would eventually get religion and move away to become a missionary or go to Bible school in Arkansas or something. I am not making this up. It happened three times. I want to believe that it's not me, that the accumulated horror of dealing with my hair doesn't make them snap and seek solace in God. But then, I had a guy once in a ritzy San Francisco place put his hands on my head, look at me in the mirror, and say, I don't know what to do with this. And idiot me, I let him cut it anyway.

Did a miserable job, and left me feeling completely uncool while he was at it.

So I am very, very loyal to the people who can engage with my hair in a meaningful way. You see, I have what stylist/author/goddess Lorraine Massey calls Botticelli curls, which is a nice way of saying I'm somewhere between soft waves and consistent corkscrews. In other words, challenging hair. I've learned some tricks for screening potential stylists. The first question is, can you handle ethnic hair? If they say something like, I'm good at African hair, that's a real plus.

There's the added challenge of my essentially being a boy in my ablutions and general grooming. If there was one product that would wash everything, I'd stock up and never look back at the five or six bottles currently cluttering my shower. I don't want to think about any of this; days where I get some eyeliner on are big days. So when Dragonfly starts in on me about how fabulous I would look if I just used this special unguent made from caviar or this microcrystalline shine wax or whatever the hell, I can feel myself glazing right over. Every now and again he asks, rather hopefully, if I've bought a hairdryer yet; I haven't got the heart to tell him that I have, but only use it to speed up the drying of craft projects.

So Dragonfly, well, he's a genius. None of that walking out of the salon thinking, maybe I'll get used to it. I walk out feeling sexy, and stay that way for a while; even when my hair was chin-length and shorter, his cuts grew out really well. He has accepted the fact that I'm going to spend four minutes tops dealing with my hair on any given day, ten on important days; he tries to simplify things for me.

So I noticed a couple of days ago that my hair was getting to the weighed-down, stretched-out, dried-up stage that means I'm overdue. I've also been obsessed with bangs lately; I've been pestering every woman I talk to who has them. Do you like having bangs? I ask, and they must think I'm a nut. But I haven't had bangs in something like twenty years, so I'm not sure how they'd work. I need to see Dragonfly.

Called the place where I saw him last. Oh, he doesn't work here anymore, they told me, disdainfully. Do you want to see someone else here?

As if it were that easy! I don't think so. I didn't ask if he'd found God, but politely explained that my relationship was with Dragonfly, not the salon, and the woman grudgingly told me where he'd gone.

So I'm tracking him down, again. Who knows what it is this time. One place he left because they wouldn't let him bring his dog to work. I'll have to make sure to ask when I see him.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

appropos of nothing

A couple of helpful cool sites for those who, like me, can't keep their fallacies straight. All these things I missed during my misspent youth drinking and carousing.

boa constructor

Hey, that wasn't bad. Marc's mad headline-writing skillz are rubbing off. Or I'm just loopy with exhaustion, which is more than possible.

So my craft-swap recipient just wrote that she loves her vegan boa. I danced around my apartment with it on last night! sez she. I am totally pleased. Now I get to make one for a friend of Kate's who looks like a 70-year-old Jessica Lange and loves peach, moss green, navy, and brown. Remember this woman; she has sparked something else I'll talk about presently.

This is going to be interesting. I have almost nothing in those colors. It's good to stretch outside my color comfort level.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

one thousand words

I recently bought a scanner for thirty bucks off a couple who were moving to Asia, and I've been gleefully scanning all the bits and pieces of drawings that have been piling up everywhere like dust bunnies (or in my case, dust-and-hair bunnies). Here's one that sums up how I apparently felt about going back to ILM after an eight-month absence (probably for art school or because there wasn't work, I don't remember which). As you can see, it's part of a fax I was sending to someone.

I give good fax, if I do say so myself.

i fell for it too

The Muslim Formerly Known as Cat Stevens weighs in on the fatwa he allegedly supported against Salman Rushdie. Interesting stuff, especially if you, like me, have been going around badmouthing him. A little disingenuous, but I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I know I haven't posted anything really juicy in a while. Going through some complex stuff, and getting shanghaied into starting/finishing some projects that are Eating My Brain. But it looks like I'll be going to Europe in the spring, so you can look forward to watching me struggle with language tapes, train schedules, and the best thing to do with sugar beets. Doesn't that sound like fun?