it must be difficult to manage a corner store if you're insane. i was too lazy to trudge up to searchlight market for a carton of milk after mailing letters on polk street, so i tried the place on union instead. i'm not sure that they were selling anything - the four or five refrigerators looked like the one in my apartment, and none of them would open. there were a few bottles of wine on the floor in front of the counter, but the room's focus was definitely several dozen ishtar and romancing the stone cassettes. the guy behind the counter was engrossed in one of those, and he wasn't interested in confirming the presence or absence of milk. fine, then.

insanity in oxford, on the other hand, was a big advantage for the old jamaican chap who owned hi lo. bars were required to close at eleven, but this place was open until five in the morning sometimes - who was going to argue with scary dreadlocked-beard man? he had a tendency to scream at patrons for breathing too loudly and his eight-year-old grandson charged three quid for warm cans of red stripe, but an after-hours bar is an after-hours bar; it was always jammed. i was one of his wife's favorite customers until i had to step on a seat cushion to get to the restroom one night. that was the end of my acquaintance with hi lo, but i bet it's still packed to the rafters.


a full year of kidchamp! the homestead is intact! i feel like i'm back at the computer lab in elementary school, having successfully navigated my raft to the willamette valley though thieves got two of my oxen and little jessie died of a snakebite.

keeping at a hobby is actually quite impressive for me, you see. my guitar gets exercise when paul comes to visit and i plan to break out my roller skates as soon as i get to davis, but at the moment that stuff is weeping softly in my closet. plans have a way of running into one another and being forgotten.

i still perch on the back porch stairs, cheapie prayer candles / ash tray / mug of tea at my ankles, and write each of my posts in a spiral-bound notebook. the rusty pipes at my shoulder still look like sex organs, i have yet to figure out what goes on in the abandoned warehouse across the alley, and charles bronson still peers at me through the broken cat door. i didn't need the bridesmaid dress from pinole after all; i was dropped from the wedding party, so the order was never placed. joe moved back from washington dc when anthrax closed the senate building, so my big relocation never happened. the animal hospital and i are amicable, and my old supervisor promises me a glowing letter of recommendation when i need it.

happy birthday, little site. you're a bit vague, a bit fitful - but i like your direction.


du hast: according to popbitch, rammstein's till lindemann will be releasing messer (knives), a collection of poetry, in september. if you haven't already gotten me the santa claus cthulhu for christmas, this would do nicely.

du hast nicht:
Werchter: --> we need your help here!
Richard has lost an ostentatious ring shortly before the show. It regards a huge ornated silver ring. Despite of an intensive search, this ring was nowhere to be found.

Richard emotionally clings to this piece of jewellery due to a very personal matter. Anyone who has news about the current whereabout, please send a mail to...

(pictures of said ring at rammstein.com)
what, one wonders, would rammstein consider an appropriate reward?

mom surrendered her keys to the old house this morning. at the moment, she's probably somewhere outside sacramento with a car of yowling cats. i began jamming sweaters and books into duffel bags this afternoon; i'll join her in davis with my first load of crap this weekend. she tells me there's a good thai restaurant and a tapioca drink bar close to the new place; she also says that the local kaplan center should be very happy to give me a job. we'll - discuss that.


the phantom edit, part the second: a concerned listener adds bass lines (and supporting vocals) to those pesky, minimalist white stripes.
What is most interesting about this project is to listen to Mr. McDonald grow more comfortable with each installment in his role as the White Stripes' uninvited bassist. In the first few songs, he tries to fit in and not detract from the original appeal and integrity of the music. As a result, the songs sound very natural, almost as if they were originally recorded with bass, but at the same time a lot of the rawness and power that came from the sparseness of the music is lost.


A highlight is "I Think I Smell A Rat," on which Mr. McDonald adds a bass line (borrowed from "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones), which, instead of blending into the song, stands in glorious counterpoint, adding to rather than subtracting from the White Stripes' version. On the next two tracks, "Aluminum" and "I Can't Wait," he adds his own California alternative-pop backing vocals, and it soon becomes clear that the less true to the White Stripes - and the more true to himself - Mr. McDonald is, the more worthy the collaboration becomes.

my sister anticipated this. when she was a wee girl, she found one of my drawings (nothing special, as then and now i can draw nothing but cats), colored it in and replaced my name with hers, and stuck it on the refrigerator to impress our mother. emily's art has always been aggressive - when i beat her out as mom's helper for cookie-making, she actually bit me in the ass - drew blood right through my purple corduroy pants, the little monster. i'd like to say that i retaliated later by shutting her in the toy chest and rolling it around until she threw up on her stuffed animals, but i actually did that without provocation. ah, girl-children. ask me about my chipped teeth sometime.

KISS, Pete Yorn and Tom Waits are the final additions to the line-up on "We're A Happy Family", the forthcoming Ramones tribute album, joining a glittering array including U2, Metallica, Eddie Vedder, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Marilyn Manson.
we're very excited about tom waits / "return of jackie & judy" around here, and i'll admit that marilyn manson / "kkk took my baby away" could be a good time as well. as for the offspring / "i wanna be sedated" - well, it's preferable to an actual offspring song (complete track list).

time to pay homage to the best jukebox in san francisco. technically it's the last boys' night before joey moves to chicago, but i'll pretend it's my send-off for davis - a week and counting, now.


i tried to post about the al-qaeda training tapes - the ones with the dogs - a few days ago, but their recurrence on the news makes me so angry that i have little to say. telejournalists will never cease to disgust me.

this won't seem related, but it makes sense in my head.
When I got there the dead opossum looked like
an enormous baby sleeping on the road.
It took me only a few seconds - just
seeing him there - with the hole in his back
and the wind blowing through his hair
to get back again into my animal sorrow.
I am sick of the country, the bloodstained
bumpers, the stiff hairs sticking out of the grilles,
the slimy highways, the heavy birds
refusing to move;
I am sick of the spirit of Lindbergh over everything,
that joy in death, that philosophical
understanding of carnage, that
concentration on the species.
- I am going to be unappeased at the opossum's death.
I am going to behave like a Jew
and touch his face, and stare into his eyes,
and pull him off the road.
I am not going to stand in a wet ditch
with the Toyotas and the Chevies passing over me
at sixty miles an hour
and praise the beauty and the balance
and lose myself in the immortal lifestream
when my hands are still a little shaky
from his stiffness and his bulk
and my eyes are still weak and misty
from his round belly and his curved fingers
and his black whiskers and his little dancing feet.

(Gerald Stern)

product research: the twenty-first century's answer to confessionals and selling plasma for fun and profit. two pleasant marketers paid $100 this morning to videotape me hopped up on cold medicine and poke around on kidchamp. the transaction was comfortable, though it's a bit strange that motorola now knows

- my sister christened her sneakers The Intergalactic Slut Shoes
- i am unable to sing "brave scotland"
- the portable toilets in petaluma frightened me.

is this information a weapon for the forces of darkness? have i prostituted myself? did it bother them that the apartment smelled faintly of cat poo?

i'm still flailing around for material to slap together on an 'about' page. i like the concept of an FAQ, but i'm not questioned (ha) very often - if you're burning to learn something, do let me know.
Yes: there was to be, as Lord Henry had prophesied, a new Hedonism that was to re-create life, and to save it from that harsh, uncomely puritanism that is having, in our own day, its curious revival. It was to have its service of the intellect, certainly; yet it was never to accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate experience. Its aim, indeed, was to be experience itself, and not the fruits of experience, [motorola] or [cat-related] as they might be. Of the asceticism that deadens the senses, as of the vulgar profligacy that dulls them, it was to know nothing. But it was to teach man to concentrate himself upon the moments of a life that is itself but a moment.

(oscar wilde, the picture of dorian gray)

caterina beat me to commenting on the verlan article in yesterday's new york times. i was all atwitter about having a personal frame of reference for something that interests the general public, but the argot glossaries at my disposal are a bit too rude to recommend. links are a delicate business, you see.

my french was fairly decent by suburban standards - i studied it for eight years before college, so i could hold my own with les trois mousquetaires and the occasional exchange student. then i dated French Vanilla (a guy who'd gone to high school near cannes and was in denial about being caucasian - long story) for a year and a half; my listening comprehension went through the roof and my grammar went down the toilet. in conversation courses at university, my professors would interrupt me to tell the class that i'd used an interesting term that shouldn't really come up with elders or strangers.
But along with its subversive element, [a professor of French applied linguistics] explained in an interview, "for the young urban professional, Verlan is a form of political correctness expressing solidarity with and awareness of the immigrant community at a time of anti-immigrant politics."


But Leyla Habane, a Moroccan-French university student...is leary [sic] of that interpretation. "I think these terms can be pejorative in any form," she said, though she admitted that they could also be used playfully. Perhaps because it has been so widely adopted by most French, she finds the term beur [verlanization of arabe] offensive.
my understanding leans toward ms. habane's; french is a bit tricky now, as mine is peppered with verlan and argot that i haven't exactly earned. also, predictably, my circle of francophones kinda contracted when FV and i stopped dating.

the times piece was nostalgic for me, though; i'm tempted to brave the conversation group at the benevolent bookstore we discovered last night. for now, it's France Battle time on iron chef.


beth orton / daybreaker: the all music guide warned me that this was the most conventional of her three albums, that maybe i should start somewhere else, but i'm still trying to believe in new releases. the title track here is strong - throaty, luxurious delivery, an appropriate dollop of burbles and wheeps, excellent pacing. i suspect that spinning this disc might have brought the fog back in; can't be sure, but i'll listen some more just in case. "mount washington" has an annoying effect that sounds like the cell phone when it's crushed in my purse and leaving strange messages on my friends' answering machines. i forgive beth orton for this on account of the weather.

david bowie / heathen: deserves most of the attention it's getting, may in fact be his best release since scary monsters. "everyone says hi" strikes me as a sequel to "young americans", and that's a good thing. crooning throughout the album reminds me of bowie's songs as the goblin king in labyrinth, and that's a very good thing - i may be the only girl in america who actually enjoyed him in the tina turner wig and those particularly startling leather pants. the "cactus" (pixies) cover is one of those happy paradoxes where the antithesis of an ideal vocalist is also an ideal vocalist. now i want a frank black version of "heroes".

i finally let the office know that i wouldn't be coming back in september. i've been chewing on the idea for a while, but after two years of gainful employment - it's a bit frightening, this official Nothing To Do. the move to davis is slated for the first of next month, so i'll be tinkering with poems and taking housework too seriously until then.

laura dern played the u.s. poet laureate on the west wing the other night. as the casting choice didn't bother me, i'm probably going to hell.


plush santa claus cthulhu (via logical creativity)! someone needs to own this. the jingle bells on His tentacles are so cute.

fully lucid dreaming has never really come together for me. i've been able to recognize that i'm having a nightmare, to change its course by tweaking its internal logic (if i'm being chased by a ghoul, i can crash the dream by playing scrabble with it) - but i never reach the super-effective stage where i can use my hours asleep to sort out solutions to waking problems. a guest speaker in my college sleep class was very excited about that stage: conceivably, it could extend one's work day in all sorts of constructive and not-at-all-restful ways.

in poking around a lucid dreaming site this morning, i came across a section on 'dream markers' - broken appliances, for example, tend to recur in dreams and can be an excellent indication that one is asleep. the flip side of that marker, though, is that a lucid-dreamer-to-be is directed to ask himself if he's awake every time an electric gadget doesn't work. yup, that's a recipe for mental health.

the fingers / dig spaces: i've been looking for a good new local band, preferably melodic guitar pop, for some time. the fingers are not that band; they are stroke 9 (of "little black backpack" fame) with a cellist. i'm slowly learning to ignore enthusiastic music reviews in the bay guardian.


i'm actually glad that i am trying to break your heart, the documentary on the new wilco album, opens in orange county a month before it comes to san francisco; down there, indie stuff tends to appear on the radar just as the rest of the country is getting sick of it. then again, i spent most of my time in southern california at debate tournaments or reading in my room. i'll admit that i might have failed to meet the hip kids.

dear enjelani is on her way to being formally hip; she landed a recording contract, quit her job at cisco, and headed for a recording studio in nashville. just two years ago she was playing our cafe nights at the french house...hooray for nice girls finishing first.

all sorts of talented people are popping up on the web again - paul is now broadcasting from tucson, stewart is back from his world tour, and also lauren has begun posting again. welcome back, everyone! i missed you.

every window was wide open last night as joe watched the giants game and i vacillated between my notebooks and the porch, waiting for the heat wave to break. we were both inside when barry bonds hit his 600th home run; fireworks exploded onscreen and thundered outside, reflected on the high-rises up the hill. i don't give a toss about baseball, but the effect was nice.


we ran into thoth, street-performing subject of last year's oscar-winning documentary, at the movies yesterday. as it was quite warm and he's known for appearing in a gold loincloth - in central park - i was surprised to see him fiddling away in a heavy cape for a knot of people exiting signs (not an epic film; wait for video). pleasantly surprised, mind you - san franciscans get cranky when summer is actually summery. we need thoth.

from "a chat with howl", christopher wunderlee's piece in zyzzyva's fall issue:
Wunderlee: Have you had the chance to meet any of the other great voices of contemporary poetry?

HOWL: Oh, sure. I met The Wasteland once, in London. He was depressing, kind of characterless, but you could tell he had had some tough things to deal with. I corresponded with Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird for a while, but it got tedious - he's a bit of a schizophrenic - one day he'd be eloquent and passionate; the next, empirical and austere. I never took to The Red Wheelbarrow - no flair, always spoke in short sentences. Same with The Road Not Taken. But Funeral Blues and I were very close; we understood each other. The Fish and I had a bit of a fling. I've played golf with Skunk Hour for years; he's a bit longer off the tee, but I catch up with my putting.

on repetition: in finishing a wild sheep chase, i've finally read all things murakami. it combines his customary elements (heavy drinking, cat with a fish name, mysterious woman, disappearance, sheep man) in a fairly satisfying way. as i've grown accustomed to his chattiness, his themes are comfortable.
"Remember the name of your cat?"
"Kipper," I reply.
"No, it's not Kipper," the chauffeur says. "The name's already changed. Names change all the time. I bet you can't even remember your own name."
Shivering cold. And seagulls, far too many seagulls.
"Mediocrity walks a long, hard path," says the man in the black suit. "Green cord via red cord, red cord via green cord."
"Heardanythingaboutthewar?" asks the Sheep Man.
The Benny Goodman Orchestra strikes up "Air Mail Special." Charlie Christian takes a long solo. He is wearing a soft cream-colored hat.
on flat-out boring, i let my sister talk me into seeing resident evil. i usually know better than to rent movies based on video games, but i'm a sucker for ZOMBIES WHO ONLY WANT ONE THING...TO EAT HUMAN FLESH!. if anything works in game-movies' favor, i assumed it would be that one is assured of a win at the end. not so! this thing concludes with poor bathrobed milla jovovich about to gun down a whole city of the not-at-all-scary living dead. she's quite striking, and i'm sure it's cost-effective to crank out sequels with little more than milla, gray makeup, and chocolate pudding, but - i want to like bad movies, and it's so hard sometimes.

08.04.02 dog years
Mostly, rankled, I yell: Dumb dog, how long
before you recognize, I belong here?

He never will, though I'm no stranger to him
than to myself. He barks when I pull up, barks

as I open my front door. I hesitate, but he's sure
that I've come home to the wrong life.

(Susan Cohen)
joe returned from the grocery store with a bouquet of flowers last week. i'm so accustomed to associating them with overwrought holidays, with forlorn men at the supermarket who forgot their anniversaries, that i was confused: did you do something wrong? are you planning to do something? he was just being thoughtful, though, and they're lovely. charles bronson enjoys them as well, and has been digesting and re-presenting them all over the kitchen. one wonders why cats are so keen on greenery - nearly everything is poisonous for them.