Saturday, July 30, 2005

there really was a cyrano de bergerac, and he wrote this
If there is something you men cannot understand, you either imagine that it is spiritual or that it does not exist. Both conclusions are quite false. The proof of this is the fact that there are perhaps a million things in the universe which you would need a million quite different organs to know. Myself, for example, I know from my senses what attracts the lodestone to the pole, how the tides pull the sea, what becomes of an animal after its death.

The Demon of Socrates, in Cyrano de Bergerac's Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon, 1656

Friday, July 29, 2005


Thursday, July 28, 2005

there's a reason this sounds familiar

One of the reasons I'm trying to purge my stuff (my literal stuff now, tangible physical things, versus airing the intangibles here) is because I'm not really a very good owner of things. I'm a first-class accumulator, from a long line of such. An 1870's Hungarian census of junk-shop owners reveals a distressingly high number of them with family names from my mother's side. I fear it is genetic, this inability to release things that are no longer needed, and the impulse to pick things up for which I have no immediate use. I'm one of those people who doesn't see the ocean because she's too busy looking for pretty rocks and bird skulls on the sand. Taking walks with me in general is said to be onerous if you want to get anywhere because I'm always stopping to pick stuff up.

One day I'm going to get all Louise Nevelson on my stuff. That's the fantasy, anyway. Glue it all together, spray-paint it a solid color, and sell it for an absurd amount of money. Uh-huh, yeah.

In the meantime, the stuff I have gathers dust. I'm too lazy to hang things in pleasing and surprising conjunctions, like the walls of Thorn's place. I have several photo albums that got half-filled before I lost focus, and someday I'm going to drown in unstrung beads. I have no idea of what I own. Because I don't know what I own, I end up buying multiples. If anyone needs Dr. Grip pen refills, incidentally, the ballpoint kind, let me know. We're having kind of a surfeit of those around here right now. I'm on the verge of stringing them with some of the beads and wearing them as a statement on writer's block.

The point is that while I have a lot of stuff, I'm largely indifferent to most of it. I fantasize about a life with fewer things that I care about more.

So anyway. Yesterday I was in a pretty foul and misanthropic mood, so I took steps. I had lunch with the gracious and patient Wry. I made plans to see Snufkina. I read about half of Cyrano de Bergerac, which I highly recommend to anyone who wishes there was more passion in the world in general.

And I went to Rasputin and dropped money on music. What are you doing? Snufkina asked on the phone. I'm buying cheerful music, I responded, guiltily putting back a Sisters of Mercy CD. All cheerful. La la la la la HAPpeee music. Smiling at the guy who sits in the elevator pushing the buttons and doing his crosswords. Who's a Grumpy Gus? Not me!

Got home, put in the Hooverphonic, and realized why the cover had been so familiar.

I've not only heard this before... I've owned it.

And I have no idea what happened to my first copy.

God knows, it's probably here somewhere.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

fake wigs and beards are not what we're looking for

Someone commented to Desyl's blog with this casting call for extras to fill out the new Pirates of the Carribbean movie. As sore tempted as I am to go, there are a few problems besides my being geographically challenged: I'm female (which would be okay if I were Asian, then I could be a random townsperson, but no such), I have most of my teeth, my beard is limited to a few chin hairs that get yanked as soon as I can feel them, and, well, I'm not naturally "hideously unnattractive".

Which begs the question, who is going to look at this and say hey, I'm hideously unattractive, I should go for it! For that matter, is there anyone who even fits that description in Los Angeles?

Read the call. Read the whole thing. It is in places unintentionally hilarious.
i draw or carbonize haggis

Sometimes the spam subject lines are so fantastic, aren't they? They're like the things you say when you're on drugs (for those very, very few of you who know how that is; I know what a clean crowd you are) that are completely crystalline in the moment. Perfect, beautiful, true. And then later, if you remember the line, or if you managed to write it down in such a way that it is legible to your sober self, it doesn't make the smallest bit of sense.

There's a line like that I think about every single time I do dishes that was coined by one of my favorite college roommates. This was Star, who I roomed with in desperation when I moved off-campus mid-year. Our mutual friend swore it wouldn't work, that we were too different, but that ended up working in our favor. Star was sociable, funny, and very wry. She smoked and drank and carried her cat to class in her backpack, with his big fluffy orange head sticking out.

I think it was in 1990 that Star, three of our friends, and I did mushrooms together in honor of Springfest. Like so many drug stories, the blow-by-blow account of the day is probably not terribly interesting, other than the fact that the five of us got seperated on campus and it was like the Odyssey getting home, complete with sirens, wax plugs in the ears, men being turned into pigs, the whole thing. Fortunately each of us had found a helpful friend; mine (this is actually how I know Princess) took me to the late, lamented Table of Contents and tried to get me to eat something but I kept shrieking that everyone had to hide their forks from me because I was the Queen and then went and hid in the bathroom for a few years. So, you know, not one of my finest moments.

Anyway. Princess finally managed to sail the Queen Indri into port, and then hung out for a while watching in fascination as the reunited voyagers attempted to explain to each other what had happened.

This is a towel of no self-respect, Star said of a dishtowel someone brought out to clean up something we'd spilled. Probably so we could stare at it spreading on the floor. And it was such a brilliant line, and made much more sense than it's your plight, the night's other oft-repeated line.

I'm not really writing this to glorify drug use. Or for that matter to condemn it. But a few years ago, I bought a pack of a dozen dishtowels from a restaurant supply place, and now they're my towels of no self-respect. There are so many of them that I take liberties I might not with fancier, more expensive ones. Lately I've been using them to eat the plums I bought at the farmer's market this weekend; the lovely thing about living alone is that if you want to stand in the kitchen holding a towel to your chin as you eat something messy, who's going to say anything?

I would love to find Star again. She was a trip. Pun not intended, but you know me, I'll take it anyway.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

forgive me if i'm not clear on the concept

But if the seven people ahead of him/her in line are all dead or incapcitated, why would we reward the Secretary of Homeland Security for doing such a bad job of protecting them by making him/her President?

Or is the idea that whatever took out everyone from the President down to the Attorney General is something the SHS is better equipped to handle than the Secretary of the Interior? Not that I want Gale Norton as President any more than Michael Chertoff, I'm just asking.

Maybe I'm looking at this from the wrong angle. Maybe if you can't keep the President, the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and so on down to the AG safe, your punishment is that you have to be President.

Monday, July 25, 2005

the first paragraph is not for the squeamish

The date is not going well when the first serious discussion you have is about whether he should get off the freeway, backtrack, and get back on so he can run over the half-dead cat you just saw squirming pitifully across the slow lane and put it out of its misery.

Greetings from the trenches! On Saturday's episode of "Indri Needs a Date", practical girl that I am, I decided to combine two social adventures: yet another first date culled from the Internet dating herd, and a visit to the Barn for the last-ever Hunter's Point presentation of the Lifesize Mousetrap, as part of the "County Unfair". Bicycle-powered carnival rides, deep-fried food, more dogs than you can throw a stick for, and Earring dressed up as a burlesque mouse shaking her stuffed tail to the strains of the aptly named Esmerelda Strange (hint: there really aren't three people in the band). How could we go wrong? Because know this: I will chew off my own foot before I go on another coffeeshop first date. I'm completely serious about this. Let me direct your attention to the fine 1994 Doris Dorrie film Keiner Liebt Mich (Nobody Loves Me); the banality of first dates in coffeeshops is a running theme.

About the rest of the date, after the cat-squishing discussion, there is not much to report. Let me just note that as we were leaving, I gave Earring a hug (a careful one, to avoid smearing her whiskers) and whispered "I'll be back later after I've shed this guy". He was nice enough, intelligent and strange-in-the-good-way and not emblematic of any of the classic Internet dating horror stories (ie, the old bait-and-switch, the gross misrepresentation, etc), but I wasn't feeling like the mouse for his trap, and it seemed mutual. So I went home and put on makeup and a different shirt so I could go dancing later, and then headed back out to the Barn.

I've mentioned the Barn before. It's where we built the set for the Undulation show, back in March; if you've ever driven past the giant headless horse on Hunter's Point Boulevard, you've been past the entrance. It's a great space: artists live and work there, the Mousetrap sits on the land in all its Rube Goldbergesque glory, there's plenty of open space for the usual chaos of dogs to run around finding dead things to play with. If you climb the hill behind the buildings you get a great view of the power station, the city, and what I believe is an EPA Superfund cleanup site, from an unusual vantage.

But I wasn't heading back for any of that. I was heading back because I'd noticed, as I tried to keep wind-blown tanbark out of my eyes and pitifully hold up my end of the conversation with Bachelor Number Three, that there were more cute men showing up as the day progressed. The families with kids were heading out, to be replaced by handsome hipsters. So... call me mercenary... but I go out socially so infrequently that I feel like I have to maximize my exposure time. Most of the time I spend outside of the house, I'm either surrounded by straight women, gay men, rich guests, or drooling, gibbering, street people, all of whom are of course off limits.

Which is how I got an education in wingman-fu.

Now, I can't tell which of these two fellas was supposed to be the wingman. I've run this past my mother already, and she's probably right, but you tell me.

There was the cute brunette at the bar who I was talking to about whether he should try the deep-fried Snicker's bar or not, and then there was his fast-talking friend, who explained that only a couple of his science grad school classmates were women, and he wasn't sure they were really women. I believe the phrase was, "geeks with tits". Charming. At one point, talking about his job, he also said that for what he was getting paid, he would be happy to "fist rats".


That is exactly what he said. If anyone has a suggestion for how I can cross my legs any more tightly than I am just remembering the conversation, I am all ears.

Meanwhile, the brunette is casually referencing Vonnegut and European travel with his professor father while putting mustard on a deep-fried pickle spear for me. And I'm trying to figure out something that men have probably been trying to figure out for centuries. Millenia, even. How do I get this one away from the friend long enough to get the digits? Because I hadn't thought to bring a wingman (or wingwoman) of my own to distract the friend, or to casually ask for a card, or to make me look like less of a psycho; essentially, all the things you engage a wing for. And RatFister keeps looking like he's going to walk away for a minute, and I keep fingering the snap of my purse and thinking about sacrificing an index card from my hipster PDA (and by the way, I was doing this thing with the cards years ago, before the book told us to) to the cause here, but then he won't go away. Both men have mentioned that they're tired and need to go home; time is running out! And I'm not good at this! Eeeek!

Eventually, RatFister resolves the problem. He asks me if I'm carrying a card. I explain that no, I'm not. So he asks the brunette for one of his cards; I'll write my phone number on it, he says, and then you'll have all the information. As I'm silently exulting at this happy turn, one of my troupemates slides up behind and gooses me, making me squeak.

Do you want my number? RatFister pauses to ask, my pen in his hand.

Well, I really want his, I respond with a tilt of my head. But I'll take 'em both, why not? And now if you gentlemen will excuse me, I'm going to let you go so I can go find my friend and grab her ass back.

I don't know who I was channeling there. Really, I don't. That really is not characteristic.

So here's my question, men. Which was the wing? The cute one introducing me to his friend and making sure that the conversation included him, or the fearless foulmouthed one who tried (and failed) to get them my number, instead acquiescing to my having theirs?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

i should be sorting papers

Maybe I just like this one because the results are set in wacky three-space. Hat tip to David.

the Prankster
(39% dark, 21% spontaneous, 27% vulgar)
your humor style:

Your humor has a slightly more intellectual or even conceptual slant to
it. You're not pretentious at all, but you aren't into what some would
call 'low humor'. This isn't to say you wouldn't laugh at a good dirty
joke, but you'd definitely prefer something clever to something moist.
You probably like well-thought-out pranks and/or spoofs and it's highly
likely you've tried one of these things yourself. In a lot of ways,
yours is the most entertaining type of humor.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Conan O'Brian - Ashton Kutcher

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 50% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 33% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Saturday, July 23, 2005

the mousetrap's last showing in hunter's point

Story later.
go grannies

"Don't bother the recruiters, ladies, they're just doing their jobs."

I love it that they tried to sign up. Grannies on the front lines! That would change the face of war a lot, wouldn't it?

Friday, July 22, 2005

the story of chloe and john

She was the last woman I would expect to talk to, with her extravagantly sprayed curls the size of oranges and a white satin zip-up jacket decorated with winning poker hands picked out in sequins. But it was a long flight, we were in a two-across, and she had gum and I didn't. And we hit it off in that way women have that so confounds men; we were exchanging very personal stuff before the fasten seat belts sign had been turned off.

Here is the story she told me.

Chloe was in a softball league when she met John. And she took an immediate dislike to him. Which was a bit of a problem, since he was quite taken with her, and kept asking her out. To make things worse, Chloe's mother and friends all liked him and thought she was a nut for saying no. It got so bad, her mother and friends nagging her about this decent, funny, guy, that Chloe considered joining a different league if that's what it would take to resolve the issue.

I'll tell you what, said her best friend. I'll make you a deal. You sit down and make a list. On one side, put everything you dislike about him. On the other, everything you find admirable. If the "no" list is longer than the "yes", I will never pester you to date him again, and I'll get the word out to everyone else.

And if the yes list is longer? asked Chloe, knowing that it wouldn't be.

If the yes list is longer, you have to go out with him the next time he asks, her friend responded. Only once, but you have to do it.

That seems fair, said Chloe, and she sat down with a sheet of paper and a pen.

You see where this is going, right? There's Chloe with her pen...and much of what is coming out of it is positive. Too much. She's losing the bet. Sure he's goofy and she's not sure about that, but he's kind-hearted too. Is he clueless or committed? His pursuit could suggest either. And so on.

She looks at her list, and she calls her friend. And her friend, who I believe was getting a kickback from John, lets him know that the iron is hot; time to strike.

They go out, to a carnival or an amusement park or something like that. Something with a merry-go-round. They have a phenomenal time. A year later, he takes her back to the same merry-go-round, even though it's raining and she's being cranky about it, and he goes to one knee in front of her painted wood horse and proposes. Five years later she's on a plane next to me, showing me the ring and telling me that you just never know.

Here's another one. I've known both of these people directly for a few years. Starboard and Teacup built a business together. They'd met at a previous job and realized they had a similar vision for how such a business should run, so they both quit and set out to do it their way. They invested in a space, equipment, employees; they put in long hours and late nights and argued ferociously and at length. The two of you would be good as a couple, people would tease them. We're good as BUSINESS PARTNERS, Teacup would flare, and shake her head at the idea of dating Starboard.

Then there came a point where things got difficult between them. Teacup noticed that Starboard would barely talk to her on the days she was supposed to meet a date after work, and their working relationship was disintegrating. At a loss for what else to do, she suggested they see a relationship counselor.

How many of us learn that someone loves us for the first time on the counselor's couch? Because that of course was the problem; Starboard had fallen, well, ass over teakettle for Teacup. And it was mutual. They were married within months, and she gave birth on a date that suggested they'd gotten pregnant on the dance floor at the reception. Which seems likely, from the way they were dancing together; I have a vague recollection. Very vague. I go to so few weddings as a guest that I'd overdone it on the champagne and forewent dancing for a nap in my rental car.

The part of this story I like is Teacup giving me relationship advice, the day she told me they were getting married. E had just dumped me because he "wasn't feeling it," and I was bemoaning the fact that he wasn't giving us more of a chance. Well, I think he's right, she told me as gently as she could. When you meet the one, you just know. That's how it was for us, she added, batting her pale eyelashes across the room at her True Beloved.

I bit my tongue. It wasn't worth pointing out, right in that moment, that she had known Starboard for two and a half years before she just knew he was the one.

Just kept that to myself.

My telling these stories tonight is not actually related to the Berlin Situation, but rather to the fact that I just got home from a blind date. And I'm thinking about the stories we tell ourselves--and each other--about how you know whether someone is "the one" or not. Or whether they have that potential. Or whether they have the potential to have the potential.

It's so confusing! Over time there have been a few people who I knew, all the way to my hairy little toes, were "the one" I could and would be with until I was an indeterminate mass of wrinkles and white hair.

The astute observer notes that I am for all intents and purposes single. And two of those gentlemen are married. They were the one, all right, just not my one.

I'm not making any particular point tonight, beyond Chloe's: you just never know. I'm not especially sad, or ecstatic, or much of anything besides tired. But I think some ice cream is in order before I turn in.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

drive-by crafting

I had this idea as I was falling asleep last night, and somehow managed to retain it through a night of interesting dreams. I've been having more luck remembering my dreams lately, but that is neither here nor there. No, I am feeling inclined to a random act of art-making, and I need help.

Here's the idea. I have a batch of pre-stamped blank postcards I bought last year with a project in mind that never happened, and Burning Man gift-making energy I have to put to use somehow since I'm not going to the playa this year. You have a friend who might appreciate a strange little mail-art collage from someone they've never met. Someone needs cheering up? A little silliness? Proof that occasionally the mailbox reveals something more than advertising circulars and bills?

E-mail me (button's at the right) with your friend's name and snailmail address (I'll dispose safely of the latter as soon as the card is mailed; I'm not harvesting!) and I'll make them a postcard with some of the stuff I have lying around here and a note that you were thinking of them. Readers I don't know as welcome to participate as those I do.

You'll be doing me a favor. Give me an excuse to break out the glue stick.
a piece of good news on the tiger front

Just a stripy tidbit while I finish waking up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

the pudding variations

An overlooked detail of my taxation has got me in a (very) minor panic, and yesterday I agreed to take several more catering gigs through the end of the year. Careful readers and friends will note that I've said a million times that I have to stop catering; well yes. I do. But not just yet, apparently. I can't burn my tux yet. Although the tux shirt I wore tonight is ready to be retired. It's got a mysterious new stain, and has gotten too thin to wear without a bra. Which in my case means: has gotten too thin to be worn to work, period. Perhaps I should save it for the next time I plan to attend a party as a guest and get loaded and do my best dissipated playboy impression--hang an untied bow tie around my neck, see if I can get pretty girls to sit on my knee, etc. Stranger things have been known to happen.

Anyway. Tonight was a gala for the professional organization of event planners, so you can imagine what it was like. People flooding into the dining room once it opened and immediately snapping pictures of all the floral arrangements and noting the designers who had provided them, holding forth on wine regions, talking to their neighbors about whether the lemon in the salad dressing overpowered the wine, speculating on how much it cost to rent the space we were in. Best behavior time for us; our employer had fought to be the company that provided the service (four different caterers provided the food--one for each course) and we had to know our stuff. So: the pinot noir is "silky", and the sauvignon blanc is from the first people in New Zealand to make sauvignon blanc. Don't you feel educated? Six years of catering and I am as basically ignorant of wine as I was to begin with, but I can sure talk the talk.

We were on our best behavior, and largely so were the guests--until the dancing started. I was in the staff room, wolfing down lamb (ha, okay, that was unintentional but I'll take it) and some chocolate mousse thing (excuse me, a bombe--I believe that is pronounced byeuuuuuhm) with serious dried fruit involvement off a styrofoam plate, and our salesperson Melon came in.

Slick, she said to the guy who was managing, S and J [two of our waiters] are out dancing.

What? Slick asked, clutching his manager's book tighter, his eyes darkening behind his fashionable rectangular frames.

It's okay, Melon explained. I gave them permission. Two of the female guests grabbed them. They said they had a shortage of boys on the floor and needed guys to dance with.

I nearly snorted bombe out of my nose.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Bush has chosen.

Why Sandra? Why? Couldn't we have plastinated you or something so you could serve another few years until we could get the bozo out of office?

Monday, July 18, 2005

think your first day of work was hard?

Try being the acting mayor of San Diego.
my god, i'm quoting kushner

note: I'm going through an emotional patch right now that I don't feel like sharing. So I'm going to start emptying the draft archives. This is about a month old.

Don't think for a minute that I've really read The Brothers Karamazov; I'm not that with it. But I'm re-reading the section entitled The Grand Inquisitor, a story Ivan tells his brother Alyosha, for work. Which is a fine thing to do before reading Kushner's Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy, an anti-war play based on the fact that Laura Bush claims The Grand Inquisitor as her favorite piece of writing.
Sometimes when his hands are on me I say to my lonesome self, "Laura Welch, this is not The Dread Spirit who is touching you, it's just dear, dear Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky," and he puts his whiskery mouth close to my ear and he hisses, "Sinner!" He knows, he's the only one who knows what that word means! SINNER! I like children! I really, really do! 600,000? Jesus Christ. A year from now, in what pit of hell will I awake!? I was a Democrat when I was a girl! This is what great literature can do! He weeps as he rattles me. I never shall be chaste except he ravish me. And I am rattled till my screws come loose, I am rattled like, like...the way, when I am in a mood, I attack and scour a sooty pot.

Check out The Nation for the whole scene.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

bossing around pretty girls

I've been with the troupe for a year and a half now in some form or another, and I'm still surprised every time I hear one of us refer to the others as "girls". Chalk it up to years and years of rigorous feminist training. But last night I used it myself--they were "dancers" to everyone else, or "my dancers"--and "girls" within the group.

Come on, pretty girls! I called out when it was time to lead them to the area in the wings where they would await their cue (wings in this case being an area behind a screen; we were out in a parking lot). Obediently they fell in behind me and followed, like heavily ornamented ducklings, their bracelets and beads clinking, the mirrors on their veils and choli tops reflecting scraps of fire and neon. Up front in stage manager blacks I was really proud of them, proud of all the work they'd done to create a new piece, using a new movement vocabulary one of our number brought back from five months of studying with Rajasthani Gypsies in India.

The Crucible crowd, mostly Burners, are familiar with us. But they were probably braced for something quite different than what we had in mind. I know what's coming and y'all don't I thought at the audience as I swung back to the fueling area to help my fire techs bring out the torches, fire paste, wet blankets in a bucket, swords. On stage, Capacitor's crew were sweeping away the clumps of dried oatmeal their dancers had shed (supposed to look like mud on their largely-naked bodies; poor things had been shivering miserably in the green room tent as they waited to go on, unable to put on coats for fear of disturbing their cereal). We waited until all the Quaker's was cleared away and then laid out the props, with dancers hissing directions from the stage right stairs, no, closer to the back, we need more room, can you lay out the wet washcloths flat, put this stick under the cauldron, okay? And then we backed off, the first three dancers took the stage, D cued the music, and they were off.

What was it like? God. Not quite like standing in the wings at Undulation waiting to go on myself. Standing there with a wet towel over my arm, watching the hems of flying skirts and holding my breath when it looked like the ring of fire wasn't going to light properly, I wished I was onstage and not off. But I could feel that I was grinning like a maniac, too; look at how beautiful they are, they're doing such a great job, I can't believe they--we!--pulled this together in three weeks, maybe next time we do this piece, I'll be in it, no S don't spin so close to the fire pot. I could see Earring's boyfriend on the other side of the stage with his own towel; I couldn't tell if Wasabi's boyfriend was on the downstage fire safety post and worried about that for a minute, but Rig's lights were in my eyes so I figured I just wasn't seeing him.

The first time I ever went to a Crucible event, a guy lit himself on fire and crashed through a giant sheet of paper on a zip line. But those were the old days, and now you have to have a whole long back-and-forth beforehand with the event's Fire Safety Coordinator about what you're doing and how, and this was my first SM gig with the troupe and and and...stage managing is cat-herding under the best of circumstances. That hasn't changed at all since I was in school. But we got everything to where it needed to be, and the dancers got where they needed to be, and I was so relieved and happy afterwards that I had to drive around the city in my rental for another half-hour before I went home, listening to the radio at full-blast and singing along really badly.

Yes, if you were at a light in San Francisco late last night and there was someone seriously traffic-dancing near you in a Sentra with Dollar Rent-A-Car plates, chances are excellent it was me.

The next time, I plan to be traffic-dancing in full makeup, if you catch me.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

why don't you just grow them in tanks?

Does this give anyone else the creeps? Note on the second page how the nanny, an older and tired-looking woman, is kneeling at "Alpha Mom"'s feet. Deeply unsettling.

hat tip to RebelDad
the crucible show was a smashing success

Nobody caught on fire who wasn't supposed to, the dancers did a beautiful job, and I now have half a dozen large unopened bottles of spring water and half a package of Trader Joe's cocoa almonds to amuse me. I will write more about this later; right now the post-performance euphoria is swiftly giving way to breathtaking exhaustion.

edit: More work by the creators of these beautiful, elaborate, and completely-obscured-here wings at Ankoku-Jin and Total Fucking Armageddon. And now I'm not editing this post any more.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

nurse toddy to the rescue

I think this is hilarious, and I'm on deadline anyway. So enjoy Toddy trying to save his boyfriend's ear--over the phone.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

panda porn

In the real and figurative senses this morning, but all work-safe. The news that Mei Mei--probably one of the most famous pandas in the world--has died has led me on a whirlwind swing through the BBC archives. I'm not completely awake yet--I tended bar at a legislative function in Sacramento last night--please bear (ha ha) with my scatteredness.

Okay. So it's sad that Mei Mei has died, but she was the equivalent of 108 human years old, and her keepers estimate that she lived quite a bit longer than most giant pandas. And I'm including the link because there's also a photo of newborn giant pandas, which are a lot smaller than I expected, and look nothing like what they will become.

Where do pandas come from? Concerned that Hua Mei, raised in captivity, might not know what to do when it was time to get down with a guy panda, keepers showed her films of panda sex. Giant pandas only mate for three or four days a year, so it's not like there's a lot of time to figure it out, and pandas in captivity are much less interested in sex than wild ones (which should surprise no-one). This seems to have worked with some male pandas. The article doesn't answer any of my questions about whether there are fluffers in panda porn, or if the stars shave, but you can just ignore my gutter mind and go on to the next bits, which all feature babies--baby red pandas. Speaking of which, stepping to another Brit for a moment, here's Pik on the subject of red pandas.

Where do the pandas get the energy for all this cavorting? Well, researchers have developed special energy biscuits (remember that this is the Beeb, so that may mean what us Yanks think of as "cookies") packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. I guess they administer the Viagra separately; these biscuits aren't that comprehensive. I love the detail that to keep from confusing the pandas, the biscuits are bamboo-shaped. Which leads me to wonder if they have anything stamped on them, like human cookies: a little schoolboy, a logo, elves, what-have-you.

Article claims they're delicious, and I'm reminded of something that always bothered me as a child about dog biscuits: are there human tasters on these things? When I was a kid my best friend always snacked on the Milk Bones when she came to her house, but she could never get me to try one. But a bamboo-shaped panda biscuit? Hmm.
calling hollywood

A friend posted this, and I must share it...shades of the Dark Crystal. Seriously.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


We have a performance this Friday night at the Crucible, and I'm our stage manager. So last night during rehearsal I stood in (danced in?) for a woman who was home recovering from having her wisdom teeth pulled, and it was great fun. I got to balance a big water bottle on my head and pretend it was full of fire while two women circled around pointing at me with their swords. Doesn't that sound like fun to you?

Anyway, part of what's amusing me here is that I don't think anyone in the troupe realized that I can balance things on my head. I've been struggling along so much for so long; I fantasize that behind my back they're shaking their heads at how hopeless I am at things like lead-and-follow (I can follow, but my leading is still weak). So when they asked me to stand in for A, that's pretty much what I think they thought I was going to do: stand. Be a placeholder. But I danced her part, even though I never had before, and while I wasn't great, I was on beat. And balancing--they were very surprised when I came back with that bottle on my head, let me tell you. ha HA!

Of course, it was the night Jill wasn't there to see it. Ah well.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

rove must go down

Miniver points us to this Newsweek article confirming that Karl Rove was the source who leaked Valerie Plame's name to Matt Cooper. This is disgusting, but at the same time... it is so beautiful seeing that self-righteous bastard's ass in a sling. Or at least, one can hope: there is the small matter of nobody in the Bush administration having to answer to the law (cough cough DickCheneyEnron cough cough).

Hopefully we are about to see that change.

edit: I had completely forgotten that Bush said he would fire anyone in the White House responsible for the Plame leak "at a minimum". I'm not sure what "maximum" might be; perhaps an all-expenses paid to Gitmo? But anyway. Both Bush and his press secretary McClellan have been going on about how Rove wasn't the leak, and how the guilty will be punished, and so forth.

Here's our chance to remind them. Move On has a petition in play. I never email forward these things to my friends because they all get them too, and I imagine I'll be deleting copy after copy this morning, but if you want to sign, go for it.
being contrary

So threw up a banner over something I was looking at a few days ago, and I thought, what the hell, I'll go take a look-see, see if anyone I know is advertising for luv. I was on match for a brief stint, a few years ago--just before I met E, actually--I don't see anything wrong with using the services. Two of the dearest people in my life, after all, came to me through Friendster.

The really fun thing, of course, is doing a search of people like you. In my case, that means checking out the women in my cohort. Several of whom write that they are "enjoying everything the Bay Area has to offer." The men say it too.

Stay with me for a minute here. Would anyone dare to write, "hating everything the Bay Area has to offer"? I mean, it's like there's a formula, and if you stray, well, no cookie for you. The larger idea being that you have to represent yourself as cheerful, fun-loving, active, fit, adventurous (but not too adventurous, if you follow me), bright-eyed and bushy-tailed alla damn time.

The very thought exhausts me. Don't get me wrong. I love fun. But I also love taking naps, a lot, and I don't see anyone else rhapsodizing about taking a bit of a lie-down. I might just go do that now, actually. The fog's coming in, the kids upstairs only have the television up to three-quarters-blaring, the linens are freshly laundered. Mmm-mm.

I guess real Matchsters haven't got the time for naps...they're too busy Enjoying Everything!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

i never would have worked for georgia o'keefe

She felt that models were too expensive. So instead she painted flowers. And swore they didn't mean what everyone said they did.

Me, I appreciate their habit of sitting still.

Friday, July 08, 2005

a few new things up at flickr

I am worn out from writing this week. Time for pictures now.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

someday i'll start acting my age

And this sort of thing will no longer seem like my idea of a good time.

What a sad thought that is.

courtesy of my.bicycle

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

he enjoyed the first date so much he doesn't want to go out with me again

This is a new one on me. Sigh. Sometimes I wonder how much longer I will be able to remain open and uncynical in dating men. For that matter, sometimes I wonder why I date men at all. I do have an option, as my first girlfriend liked pointing out, repeatedly. And I do like girls.

Just not as much as boys. God help me.

Oh, and my eyelids are sunburned. I'm an idiot. One of these years, I'll make it to the San Francisco Mime Troupe show with everything in place. I'll be in time to get a good spot, carrying a good blanket, properly equipped with food/water/sunblock. This year I managed a good spot, or what would have been a good spot if there weren't bozos with big hats right in front of us. And I had water and sunblock (although obviously I didn't go as far with the latter as I needed to.) My friends had chips and cheese puffs and strawberries. Getting closer. Saw Slice there, and we had a nice little chat. He's going back to school for his teaching certificate, blah blah, they're not pregnant yet, blah blah, yes he still has my mosquito net (we broke up four years ago), it's in a bag.

I'm taking my sunburn to bed now. In the morning I see the dentist. This week is just, man, starting out fabulous.

Monday, July 04, 2005

another reason to lift the embargo

I understand that Cuba is not all that; dissent is not tolerated, etc. etc. But check out this article about Cuba reaching out to Ukrainian children affected by Chernobyl. When nobody else did. At a cost Cuba won't reveal.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

i can't even remember phone numbers

This is just awesome. There's a new record for reciting pi. And the way the BBC writes about it is unexpectedly witty, in a dry sort of way.

Friday, July 01, 2005

because landlocked places are hell

Had one of my moments tonight, the kind that make me wonder if I'm nuts, but not as fierce, as high and thin, as some in the past. Could be PMS, could be restlessness. It's a good thing I no longer have a car, because if I did I'd be out in it driving around. Getting myself even more worked up. Out at Ocean Beach staring at the dark water and getting all existential. Instead I stayed in the Mission after Nomad's birthday dinner, trying to find a place to land, coffeeshops closed, wandering through bookstores, sitting with Hans the cat in my lap for a while at Abandoned Planet, admiring the boy behind the counter at Adobe, with his high hair. Feeling shy, which is...uncharacteristic. I bought an Iris Murdoch novel in honor of MonkeyScientist, and Nin's “Little Birds” in honor of me, and eavesdropped on a Russian fella who was apparently trying to hypnotize a boy I thought might be gay.

The Russian guy had hair like mine, including the length—actually longer, so more like AX's--and a humongous black shearling-looking hat with a silver brooch. A ring on each finger and a big red shirt and a rosary of amber beads. Five foods, he intoned, holding up one hand and staring hard into the other man's eyes. Five liquids. He interlaced his fingers. Three meals, he continued, here, here, and here, mental, physical, spiritual and now he was touching the yellow-shirted boy with the tips of his interlaced fingers, forehead, chest. Behind them, people were sitting around as though there had been a reading, or a party, and I'd missed it. The aisles at Adobe are so narrow and so packed with books you can barely walk one abreast, let alone two. Near the counter, a selection of spray bottles, a bowl of dry cat food, a bowl of wet, but no cat to be seen.

There were copies of Watchword 7 for sale at the counter. That's good, you should buy it, said High Hair. I thumbed through it. Saw a name I recognized on a prose poemy thing. Checked the bio, and yes, it was my old housemate, the gentle haiku writer with back pain so debilitating he was on disability. It was good to see that he was experimenting with a new form, and I started to feel a little more cheerful. But I couldn't stand around any more without looking like a dweeb, so I headed over to the 16th Street BART station.

Where, wonder of wonders, there was an open mic going on. Right there in the plaza, a space I usually move through as fast as possible so I don't get my feet peed on. Hipsters sitting around on the gum-plastered concrete drinking out of paper-bagged bottles, and a guy with a drum kit, and a white guy rapping backed by a stand-up bass and a violin. It was amazing. Here are some of the notes I took at the scene:
Guy stands up and does some spoken word about how much he loves the ocean, because landlocked places are hell. Some of the group know the piece and chant that line along with him. He's followed by a very leggy man who talks about going to Planned Parenthood for an STD check, and getting a swab up his urethra for a chlamydia screen—and then learning from a friend that you can pee in a cup for that now. So guys, he tells the group, if your girlfriend tells you to go get tested tomorrow, hand them a mason jar full of piss and say, 'why don't you drop that off when you go by there?'

A homeless-looking woman borrows a guitar from the handsome dark-haired guy who sang before her. She levers herself awkwardly to the ground, legs straight as a Barbie, and begins strumming simple, repetitive chords. Green plaid button-down over a black shirt with a line of pink hearts across the breasts. Lumpy face, lumpy brown hair, gym shoes. And then she cuts loose with this voice, this great voice, the voice Joplin would have had had she lived, but not quite as harsh, not as acidic. She sings It takes a whole lot of medicine to pretend I'm someone and the crowd falls silent. She's amazing. When she's done, two men help her up and she limps off into the dark. Everything seems a little shallow after her. Good, but shallow.

A man begins some stand-up about his lesbian ex-wife. Bitter, but funny in places. He says he hates going back to dating because I have to go back to faking an interest in astrology, which gets a good response. He says he likes watching “Blue's Clues” with his two daughters because he always guesses the clues first. Also mentions later that he likes to give them a little coffee and sugar just before he returns them to their mom. My problem is that I'm attracted to tough women with tattoos who like to spit, wrestle, and roll their own tampons. Then he goes off on how if he were a woman, he'd be a lesbian, because men are ugly. Very funny bit about testicles--wrinkly reptilian sacs with hair dangling off them. If that's not ugly, he rants, ugly has no meaning.

And a big burly inked guy named Jake, who borrowed his girlfriend's sketchbook and my purloined Nordstrom's pencil to whip out a poem, reads it aloud to the group while it's still hot from the oven. A black guy with crutches and dreds and a bottle of gin swings into the center while the bassist and a guitarist are singing about roommates and pot, and starts improvising right along—mostly I'm black and I'm proud, over and over, but still, he's on beat. The girl sitting next to me, who wears a fake tiara in honor of her birthday, gets up to sing something bluesy and good, swaying a bit drunkenly. Then the group breaks up and heads to Zeitgeist.

Me, I headed home. Got the last train, too.