Tuesday, August 29, 2006

just to clarify

While it is now okay to take a very small quantity of eye drop solution in your carry-on baggage, cattle prods, sabers, pressurized cheese, and gel-filled shoe inserts are still verboten.

This is actually a very handy list, if unintentionally hilarious. Although heaven knows, it could all be different tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2006

put the cheeseburger down, karen!

They still haven't opened "my" museum, but they're close. Real close. Enough so that this poorly-written article came out last week about it.

I'm pointing you at it because I think you really need to read the comments. Is there something in the water down in Riverside County?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

i know, i know

This is what I'm about to do too.

Monday, August 14, 2006

have you considered looking on eBay?

Hell of a thing to misplace.

Friday, August 11, 2006

hey monkeyscientist

Looks like they hit your truck again. It's much prettier this time, though.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

time to buy that muu muu i've been dreaming of

The news that we're probably not going to be allowed to take anything with us when we fly, while extremely frustrating, has also introduced an image I know I won't be able to shake.

Picture this: airports full of empty-handed people in colorful muu muus and flip-flops. As they approach the security checkpoint for their retinal scan, cavity search, and MMPI administration, each passenger whips off his or her muu muu to reveal their glorious nudity. Planes take longer to board because it's hard to run down the terminal in flip-flops (although that slowdown might be counterbalanced by the fact that people won't be carrying anything), and business people (and, oh, writers) who might have spent the flight actually getting some work done on their laptops are forced to interact with the people sitting around them, as there will be no magazines whose pages might conceal subscription cards with edges capable of inflicting serious paper cuts.

It's a beautiful thing, isn't it? Or how about they just put us all under general anaesthesia the minute we walk in the terminal, and stack us up on the planes like cordwood?

On a barely-related note for you ecologically-savvy shoppers, here are some pretty things made from vintage Hawaiian fabric. On an even less related note, it's that time of year when D's goats have kids and we all go out to admire them, which should explain the photo.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

snakes on a truck!

That will only make sense if you read to the end.

I feel sorry for the penguins, of course, but also for the motorists who hit them--I mean, there you are, sort of on autopilot as you cruise along, and then there's something in the road. Which is startling enough. And then it's not a jackrabbit, or a sofa cushion that's fallen off someone's truck, but a black and white flightless bird...

Monday, August 07, 2006


Via Thumbmonkey, the story of Finnegan the squirrel. Happy Monday!
"one leprous olive"

Another page from that notebook, this one even more mysterious. This is from 3 November 2003. The title is clearly a phrase I thought I'd so something with eventually.

1. an octopus has three hearts
2. the only mammal with four knees is the elephant, which is also the only mammal that can't jump [ed: I must have meant land mammal, as I am not aware of dolphins having any knees at all, and the great whale is not much of a jumper)
3. the human heart beats more than 100,000 times a day
4. a sneeze can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour

Sunday, August 06, 2006

i forgot i had this

Sifting through old notebooks--yes, I'm on deadline, and suddenly purging old paperwork is the most fascinating activity possible--I found this list. I have no idea where it came from--a lecture? The Web? All I know is that I made it on 13 October 2003, apparently before my handwriting became completely illegible. I thought it might be helpful to some of my kind readers. Even if dainty Miss Snufkina gave me the finger Wednesday night when I reminded her that she'll get old someday too. And now I know where it is all the time.

things that support memory:

1. adequate REM sleep
2. oxygen
3. vitamin B1
4. distributed learning--15-45 minute blocks with five-minute breaks in between
5. gingko biloba
6. staying calm
7. hypnosis
8. meditation
9. giving the brain steady challenges, ie crosswords
10. spend fifteen minutes a day--at night--remembering order of day, details
11. believing that memory will stay strong

Saturday, August 05, 2006

my feet are just too old for catering

I know, I said I was done with it. And other than a really fun party I bartended at the deYoung Museum a few weeks ago, I've managed to stay out of my tux all year. But a friend asked if I'd do a private gig with her, and the money was good, and I figured I needed to get out and be around people a little.

Urk. No.

I did get to see some people I like last night, two of them women I haven't seen in at least a year and regret having lost touch with. So we all exchanged contact info and promises of coffee dates; I'm looking forward to spending time with both of them because they're fun. One seems to have softened since I last spoke with her, the other has grown more self-confident. Every chance I had, I was hanging out with one or the other, catching up.

Now if only that silly work thing hadn't gotten in the way... rich people, a private golf course/club lousy with self-congratulation, and food with too much sugar in it. I never even got a good look at the bride and groom, or cared to; the celebrant, like the food, had too much sugar in him. I've never heard the words "before they take these sacred vows", drip so much.

But the moment that told me I couldn't do this any more really came during the cocktail hour, as I was wending my way through the crowd on some errand or another, and was looking at the silly dresses and the silly shoes and the well-fed men and realized there wasn't a single person in the mass that I would approach to talk to, were I a guest and not a waitron. These people are aliens, I said to L.

And that is really not a good way to think about guests. Looks like I stick with bar shifts, the only kind of catering work I like any more.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

trooper is a good bird

This guy lives with Dolce and Guido, those Italian Greyhounds I'm always photographing. Thought I'd give you a break from the dogs (although I did take a few more snaps of them last week; they're hard to resist).

Weird day modeling. I did not actually work for the artist who lives with Trooper and the pups, but at an extension class out at UC Berkeley and then at an art center in Alameda. The day did not start well; I was running late, and frustrated that I would be modeling with furry limbs (the hair needs to be a certain length before it can be waxed, and it's not what I find an attractive length), and feeling sort of bloated and pasty anyway. God forbid I should thus fall into any of these categories.

The room at UCB was one I've never worked in before. It's not often used for figure drawing. So I was struck first by how small the stand was--which limits what I can do on the gesture poses--and then by some really horrid graffitti someone had painstakingly inked onto the canvas surface of the stand with a purple ballpoint, going over every line several times to make sure it would be legible.

I hesitate to reproduce it here, but I suppose I must so you can understand why it really threw me off my feed for pretty much the whole day. Beside a very poorly drawn figure of a voluptuous naked woman, someone had written
I pose Nude--My legs apart... My pussy open & half the artists stare & after class wants maybe to "get together" for a drink--they want to fuck me! and I always fuck a few...
Ew. And again, with feeling: ew. I stood there for a moment, silently absorbing this vile aphorism as the teacher said something to me I didn't catch. Just to its right, padding showed through a six-inch slash in the canvas. Ironically, considering my stress in getting there, the class hadn't started yet, so I went to the department office to talk to M, the office manager.

Who said, Oh yes, I saw that, and made a mental note to deal with it, but then I forgot. We don't often have models in there. Her supervisor, a lovely woman I used to cater with, came out of her office and offered me some coffee cake. They told me that there's been a rash of sexual graffitti in the building--in the stairwells, in the rack room, in the faculty bathroom. Someone's sexed up, said M. They think there's one person behind all the graffitti; the teacher thinks it's a particular guy.

When I get sexed up, I noted, I don't take it out on the walls.

Good point. I'll take care of it. Do you think I can cover it with marker? Or should I repaint the stand?

Take it out and burn it, I wanted to respond, but didn't. The three of us talked briefly about other things, M showed me pictures of her new baby and gave me a striped bedsheet to cover the stand, and I went back to work.

But it's been bothering me all day, for several reasons. For one, that had to be written by someone who can identify a model's stand as something other than a badly-padded table. So, a student in one of the drawing classes. Not a teacher, not a random person who walked in off the street, not a student from another discipline. A drawing student.

When I was first thinking about this, I kept going back to Anais Nin's "Artists and Models", a story I read years before I even dreamed of doing this work. The protagonist is one of Nin's exotic, heavy-lidded creatures; she has assignations with students on the second floor of a cafe near the school. Here to tell you: the real thing's not like that at all. In fifteen years of modeling, I haven't slept with a single artist (made out with one, okay, but that was years ago, and certainly not in the studio where we met or anywhere close to it).

But it doesn't even matter. What matters is that someone who has very possibly drawn from me--who has seen me naked--took the time to scratch out something truly hateful where I or my colleagues can't help but see it. It wasn't on one of the tables, or the wall over the sink where the students rinse out their brushes, or in a notebook. It was left as a message to us, letting us know in exactly what esteem the writer holds us. The more I think about it, the more it bothers me. Not so much in the "is that what people think we are? Glorified whores?" sense--although I did have a moment of that, and was able to shake it off. No, my reaction is more visceral. I go into every gig thinking, I am here to share something precious, I am here to help and inspire, I will stand on my head if that's what it takes, and some pissant kid whose fancy-dancy schooling is paid for in part by the (hefty) freelance-rate taxes I pay thinks he's being funny? I feel disrespected, and a little unsafe. Biking back to the BART station after class, every kid I passed was suspect. I was sort of hoping I'd see someone, some poxy boy, with purple ballpoint ink on his fingers, so I could run him over with Salome. But no such.

This isn't the first time I've considered dropping or thinning out the university gigs; I prefer working for professional artists for several reasons, most of them tangential to this story. Right now I can't afford not to work in the schools, though, and sometimes I have a really good time working with students. I dunno. Today was sobering.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

too bad for katherine harris...

..that Diebold doesn't run the Post Office, too. Or this letter might have conveniently disappeared.

Love the bit where she's suggesting a conspiracy against her. You just go with that, Kath.
a news item rich in possibilities

Guess they didn't have the right clothes for Carnaval. Dressed too formal, you might say.