off we go; nyc or bust -


tick, tick. at the stage where old groceries need to go, so i've been mixing lowfat cookie dough ice cream with my coffee. it lacks the butter that made my past grocery-store-frosting-as-creamer experiments so miserable.

on alternatives, a flunk-bashing talk with my hair guy (named paul, natch) yielded a pleasant hour with allison goldfrapp, a pretty little cocteau twins / portishead (atmosphere and enunciation - yes!) hybrid. other paul also forgave me for styling myself with a venus razor, which i appreciate.

this using-up-groceries thing is complicating my plans to entertain val and grant tomorrow night. yeah, it's possible to make something out of tahini, green beans, and goat cheese, but involving someone else with the result would be awfully rude. the haphazard college thing got old a few years ago.


i am Errand Woman, innoculatrix of cats. disinfectress of refrigerator, auto technicienne, laundrette. something about new york trips overrides my tee-shirt-and-notebook-in-a-backpack style of travel; joe promises that he'll be able to get his stuff together in two hours, but i had a fifteen-point checklist for today alone. as i initiated last year's jaunt, i felt responsible for everyone's fun. now i suppose The Clipboard's return is boredom-related.

today's cat appointments got me to the ex-office for the first time in a year. long-time-no-see negotiations always confuse me, so i hid in an exam room for a while - but someone else began the hugs and all was well. now i'm all interested in the etiquette of requesting a staff phone list to replace the one i threw away. though nostalgia is invariably deadly, i worked with good people; i miss the shop talk about declawing laws and soy protein. maybe activism can be the day job again.

david foster wallace: the los angeles times interview. hasn't read the iliad; appreciates tom clancy.


and, annoying band of the week: flunk, brought to my attention by the fops (for once, not a compliment) at a van ness vintage boutique. many withering counterperson glances for me when i asked if edie brickell was slaughtering "blue monday" over their loudspeakers - no, it was this norwegian chick. i was expecting more than trip-folk from the nation that gave us "take on me".

04.26.03 (davis, CA)

no crime fighting for me - got a terse letter from the county office announcing that i didn't perform well enough on the oral exam to make their hiring list. the loss, the pain - now who will pay me $50k to wear polyester pants? no one, no one at all. guess i'll swallow the hurt and move to manhattan on time.

for various reasons, we had a number of german teenagers live with us when i was wee. i grasped their fascinations with peanut butter and billy idol, but i never got the eastern bloc bathing suit thing - didn't they have body glove on the continent? tanning in the garden with mom's elton john sunglasses and black underwear, i finally understand - if you're going to make a first attempt at seeming californian, you may as well look like you've been elsewhere for a long time. it's a good excuse for being translucent.

identity: so-so. gimmick movies at their best - fight club, being john malkovich - are fine things; the rather obvious key to their success is to save a little artistic oomph for supporting details. at their worst - say, anything by m. night shyamalan - admiring the twist won't justify two full hours, and fie on sloppy writers and wasted time. on identity - tough to defend without spoiling the gimmick - the material for a toothy conclusion is there, but it calls for a healthy scoop of external logic. i have no problem with arguing that camp movies are more than the sums of their parts; when a director has a decent budget and / or doesn't include at least one reanimated limb, i'm less inclined to do his work for him. one thumb up.

someone is playing an ocarina out here. god, agricultural towns are weird.


today's san francisco moment: hopping the bus after leaving my car with the mechanic and seeing not one, not two, but three separate passengers reading a prayer for owen meany. second place was the mechanic's, where the service desk gave all customers long-stemmed roses.


recent movie rentals as cinquains:

harry potter and the chamber of secrets

less fun
than making dad
eat the product tie-in
(booger-flavored jelly beans - who
tests those?).

igby goes down

a strong
ensemble cast.
yet more proof that new york
makes everyone insane; how good
for me!

jackass: the movie

the guy
at blockbuster
(who hates me) was quite pleased
when we spent $4 on this.
he won.

the others

sixth sense
with better clothes,
more luxurious sets,
or the turn of the screw (bleh) +

spirited away

jen's right
(see her review
in the boise weekly) -
quirky, lyrical anime.
see it.

training day

hawke: one brown shirt,
every film. denzel:
pawn oscar (kinda undeserved),
buy spares.


a hit;
ending worthy of a
short story. ang lee, watch out for
snow globes.


this morning was phase three of my peace officer examinations. the panel had less to do with cops and robbers than the aptitude tests did, but i'm slowly regaining my abilities to throw on a power suit and make inspirational comments about stress and teamwork. if they were impressed enough, i'll be 1) the super-duper jet setter who hops between coasts for a few weeks, or 2) sitting on my ass here for a month while joe parties in new york. silly, rigid schedule for patrol car ride-alongs. developments posted as they - develop.

on san xavier del bac, the misson we visited last week (see paul's comments) - i was tricked into that trip. as native americans of the southwest were my superquiz topic in (mumble, mumble) academic pentathlon one year, i hate missions - but joe and paul promised that it was spooky and decrepit. it's actually been restored and floodlit, and smoky candles are no more. bah! there was a wooden st. francis with a moderate layer of milagros (tennis elbow? pin a tiny metal arm to the saint's shroud), but he wasn't especially dramatic. i hope my roll of black-and-white film adds some chill to the whole undertaking.


arizona was good to everything except my nose - i've recommitted myself to brief, brief stays in dry places. paul, our prospero, summoned herds of javelinas to dance for my amusement before everyone else woke up; he also had excellent suggestions for my sestina. joe's parents, in turn, stuffed us with home-cooked meals and reminded me to dye easter eggs - i do love quasi-pagan holidays.


Paul here, telling you about Zachary's pizza down by campus. Big, thick, deep dish, weighs as much as a baby or two. We ordered far too much pizza; Joe managed to eat 18π square inches while Lauren and I managed a paltry 12.25π apiece. Lauren's dining experience was complicated by her decision to order the "Flying Z," featuring spinach, pineapple, garlic, and jalapeños. She claims it's the best pizza she's ever had, but I think she's just saying that. She isn't really bisexual or fluent in Russian either.

I have to go. The woodpecker outside has started whacking his head into a metal sheet again, and it still sounds like gunfire and makes me want to get away from the window.

arizona, yes. i am lucky enough to be requested in several places, but boise, madison, and washington d.c. were beyond what the volkswagen could do in a few days, so here we are. big cheers to paul for taking us in on such short notice; hisses to southwest airlines for refusing to sell reasonable last-minute tickets. they will get me to idaho cheaply; they just don't know it yet.

the biblical storm that chased us from san francisco and tangled us in los angeles became something much more civil when it reached tucson; i started the day with rain chattering at the window and a friendly cat in my face, both good beginnings. paul destroyed me at chess with a tube of chapstick instead of a rook - less auspicious. the afternoon promises thrift stores and a possible leprechaun in the hood screening; wish you could join us.

the concept of babies with blogs doesn't unsettle me, but the fact that most of them update more regularly than i do is fairly humbling. that said, i hope emma marlowe takes the web by storm. congratulations and hugs, steve and amy!


in tucson. details tomorrow, when i've recovered from nine hundred miles of road butt.


stephin merritt rocks my pants - the show last night was magnificent, even though bimbo's has started charging $5 for a bottle of heineken. how does one do that with a straight face? lovely lo-fi renditions of "i'm lonely (and i love it)" and "good thing i don't have any feelings" - i like chris ewen's electro-tweaky EP versions, but my chances to see stephin with a ukelele are few and far between. the eternal youth material was strong; "the world is a disco ball" is becoming one of my favorite claudia gonson songs, and "i'm a vampire", already a cherished topic, had a well-placed daniel handler cameo. i bumped into him on the way out and got to deliver another of my Asinine Comments To Indie Luminaries. i try to remember that it's best to shut up around celebrities, but i'm still interested in besting the girl from my queer studies group who gave the cure's robert smith a first edition of alice in wonderland. it's probably impossible.

another fine link from lauren nyc: all consuming, a database of bloggers' reading lists and recommendations. when i get around to finishing this beckett book, i'll try to contribute an intelligent something.
Finally I [Lowenfels] burst out, "You sit there saying nothing while the world is going to pieces. What do you want? What do you want to do?

He [Beckett] crossed his long legs and drawled: "Walter, all I want to do is sit on my ass and fart and think of Dante."

(deirdre bair's beckett)

That's a circle of health.


sorry about that - i was in los angeles visiting family. the drive from san francisco was a particularly successful mullet safari - i saw a guy in kettleman city with (some) hair down to his waist. i also determined that women at the beverly center average hairstyles roughly four times the size of their asses.

the grandpa archives swelled as well. he told me of a tom sawyer party he threw with a friend in the thirties, when he "got a keg of beer and had [his] friends bring cans for paint...[they] whitened the picket fence, painted fences on the trees, added lanes to the postal road, and gave the girls moustaches and beards." he also mentioned meeting a girlfriend through having dated her younger and older sisters. it's unfortunate, having less game than one's grandparent.

tonight: the future bible heroes show at bimbo's. i'll arrive when the doors open, as usual, but travel scrabble is coming along this time.

tomorrow: finishing a sestina at last, i hope. line endings include typewriter and identical.

and i passed the peace officer thing. good?


the peace officer exam was at least twelve times more fun than the GRE: if my middle school detention squeaks through an upcoming polygraph, i'm absolutely going to pursue this as a secondary line of work. purse snatchers, beware!


stage n of nauseous coupledom, or poverty: the impromptu hair salon. i'm stretching the truth, though - i was brave enough to attack joe with scissors, but he chickened out when it was my turn. i seem to have given myself the pixie shag i always wanted, so i recommend the experiment - provided that you're willing to 1) live with someone who looks silly and 2) shave your head, if it comes to that. come to think of it, i know a lot of people in that situation.

do-it-yourself part two: vegetarian split pea soup. the key this time is liquid smoke and dried porcini mushrooms. forget tofu - i think mushrooms are the key to meatless living. if the chewy fungus part is too much, they make excellent stock.

the city of san mateo is giving me an aptitude test tomorrow, supposedly to determine if i would be an effective 911 responder. written exams are dandy, but i tend to laugh at inappropriate points in interviews. circa march,

1: would you be comfortable with taking a drug test?
2: ...yes.
1: would you pass?


i have a Skullcap of Pain headache, the sort where it feels like the bones themselves are being attacked. aches are rare for me, or i think they are; ever wonder how your tolerance for pain measures up? i'm a champion in tattoo and piercing studios, but that's elective discomfort. ay me, how loud noises buffet the head.


for those of you who missed my debut as an eighteen-year-old jehovah's witness from toronto, the short version is that there was a template free-for-all on blogger's servers this morning. if it was a hack, it was beautiful; i'd like to think someone cared enough to build me a rainbow site with umpteen references to the matrix (joe misses the mutating hues - something like the horse of a different color from the wizard of oz - already). sadly, it was probably a coding glitch rather than a poisson d'avril.

on enjelani'n'jen's depression thread:

after seeing a made-for-television movie version of a person i actually know, i had a dream about being cast as myself in a biography. i was a horrible actress - missed all my marks, delivered dialogue as though it had been translated into russian and back, even flubbed my own facial expressions. when i woke up, i sent poems away to a man named napoleon and bought a handful of fizzy candy. take that, noonday demon.

via bellona times, the incomparable hello, tarot.

via the national cattlemen's beef association, real girls eat meat.


The Anableps

At the university's insistence,
the freshmen posted letters to themselves.
Four years later the medical student
received a note on a map of Egypt.
Dream of pyramids, or the anableps.
The mathematician found a message
in a bottle at his vacation home.
Matryoshkas: Zeno's paradox with eyes.
The political scientist awoke
to a blaring radio, a pamphlet
in his nose. Defiance swallows its tail.
The writer financed an apartment
with her collection of found poetry -
Letters: 'That Is Not What I Meant, At All.'
A stain becomes phrases on the carpet.