i'd been wondering when the really substantial california feelings would kick in. hello boys, been expecting you.

it's not the beach - i still love it, but we've been growing apart since i went to college (and no one outside of my immediate family is able to dive through the most robust waves, bless them for trying). it could be the excellent food, though i usually snag the fancy thank-you fruit baskets at work (The Corporation admires and doesn't eat their partners' gifts). it's been established that most of my friends are elsewhere, and i see more of dad on the east coast than i have in years. mom and the sisters are excellent phone buddies, so...?

i'm always asked for directions, for help with a dressing room, for the prices of random things. i could flatter myself and think that i look comfortable everywhere, but i think it's that i don't appear to be from anywhere else. i'd like to seem californian, or somethingian, but i don't have an accent, a look, regional figures of speech (excluding the time paul called me appalachian).

i found this weird little can of coke in one of my tchotchke boxes when i was packing the apartment. it was fifteen years old, a present from my elementary school best friend, back from visiting family in singapore. it was probably just like the cans they have there now, but it could have been a cool addition to our theme kitchen. i drank it on the porch and tried to think deep thoughts, instead.

it gets cheesier: said friend also brought me a miniature novelty mug from san francisco. i was going to throw it away, but mom said she was thinking of having a garage sale.

my favorite scene in monty python's the meaning of life comes toward the end, when the restaurant glutton explodes and the french waiter (eric idle) tells the cameramen to follow him outside for it, The Meaning. he takes them to the cottage where he was born, becomes intensely uncomfortable, and tells them to fuck off. in a less eventually misanthropic way, coming back to leave is like that.


i should be awake and perky when mars is closest to the west coast tonight - 1:53 PST, i think? for years i was annoyed at my inability to sleep and eat at appropriate times without friends around for cues - bedtime was eleven this morning, and i had a popsicle and an egg for lunch at eight - but if i hadn't been drinking coffee in front of the six o'clock news, i wouldn't know that i should be stargazing in a few hours. and no lines at the grocery store, hey.

when repacking joe's old pants loses its magic, i've been stitching debbie harry's nostrils. decided i needed a hobby that would yield something comfy for the apartment, and i'm too clumsy to knit, so needlepoint it is. i blew up and photoshopped an old blondie photo, bought a bunch of green yarn and strange tools from the people at 'the fuzzy penguin,' and have spent like twenty hours sewing and listening to NPR. addictive stuff, that. the next project will be a big yucky bug, or joe strummer.
Star light, star bright... we look up and we hope the stars look down, we pray that there may be stars for us to follow, stars moving across the heavens and leading us to our destiny, but it's only our vanity. We look at the galaxy and fall in love, but the universe cares less about us than we do about it, and the stars stay in their courses however much we may wish upon them to do otherwise. It's true that if you watch the sky-wheel turn for a while you'll see a meteor fall, flame and die. That's not a star worth following; it's just an unlucky rock. Our fates are here on earth. There are no guiding stars.

(salman rushdie, the moor's last sigh)
08.26.03 davis

i'd forgotten about the way california smells. hyde street in the city had flowering trees, and we were close enough to the wharf and north beach to catch breezes of ocean air and italian food. san francisco has nothing on davis, of course - quasi-rural as it is, i'm getting notes of orchards, mown alfalfa, mom's terrifyingly healthy garden, and some very promising thunderheads - but it's a nice thing to remember after months away. oddly, the moving-out-forever snifflies began when i got final whiffs of our corner store (windex, firewood, produce) and the laundromat.

my evil uncle-landlord did me the favor of obliterating what i remembered of the apartment itself. perpetual construction is still going strong, and he propped all of the doors to our place wide open (vile dung weasel) - there was a half-inch of sawdust and particulate crap on everything i own. he also painted the building, an ugly but stately grey lady, coral and baby-shit-brown. sometimes i wish rich people had good taste, or tastes similar to mine, so that i could vicariously enjoy the cool stuff they can afford. at other times my uncle really pleases me, for all the dough in the world doesn't get him much more than c. 1985 cocaine magnate furniture and a silo of smooth jazz. rock on, buddy.

'marriage ruins a beautiful mind'?
In a paper for the Journal of Research in Personality, Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science, declared that evolutionary psychology explains why male scientists, at least, lose steam as they age. Scientists achieve great things, he argued, because, like rams butting heads on the African veldt, they're attempting to woo mates and ensure their genetic heritage. Once they marry, their drive to achieve declines.
implausible and deeply amusing - two great tastes that taste great together.

08.18.03 nyc > minneapolis

though i love the dutch and people bound for ghana, i wish they'd picked another day to fly. i look weird when i run and i look weird after traveling all day, so getting through a packed terminal and out of new york was altogether not glamorous at all. this is what one resorts to thinking about when one has read the skymall and airline magazines and one is too lazy to start rushdie's the moor's last sigh. it's not easy, being uninteresting and uninterested.

the ghana folks were visiting accra, my fictional home in our high school marriage simulation. i became a u.n. representative overseas after my 'husband' told me to to skip college and stay home to raise our ten children in the presbyterian faith. he never remarried.

who would have the audacity to put vile artificial butter on their in-flight snacks? northwest airlines, that's who.

the fun eventually concludes in san francisco, where i'll be preparing our erstwhile furnishings for new lives with my mom, sister 1, and carefully screened classified ad respondents. joe should be doing this. i want to pretend that my stuff has a wonderful new life on acres and acres of farmland - i can't be the one who saws the sofa in half if it doesn't fit down the renovated staircase.

if we were too hip for the inwood sublet, our brooklyn sublet is way too hip for us. it's a studio loft in a renovated williamsburg factory, a block from the waterfront. the conceptual artist / owner generally hosts sculptors and painters, but he tells us that business has been horrible since bush's tomfoolery in iraq. it's us instead of arty expats, then - he must be pretty disappointed.

the big cat was desparate to reach the loft's sleeping level this weekend. we're both in day 2 of hard core sleep deprivation, as he registered his displeasure by sitting in the bathtub and howling until four in the morning. a bit hoarse as of noon today, he's now learned to flush the toilet to get my attention.


(notebook, 8 pm) i assumed that the power outage would send my friends home from work, so i had a vague idea that i would walk south until i could take a taxi to phil's. then it dawned on me that everyone would be hailing cabs - if the cabs were operating - and it would be best to stay here. the digital phone network went from perpetually busy to broken an hour ago, so i couldn't tell anyone where i was going anyway. so much for revisiting the excitement of the stanford blackout of '97, when my candle hoard was larger than the dorm's.

when was the last time this city was in near-total darkness? if you've seen 28 days later, picture a long shot of the london flat where a strand of christmas lights picks a single window from dozens of skyscrapers. maybe one in twenty-five apartments has a bank of candles, and the occupants of each lit room are peeping out to look at each other. my lights are at the coffee table, but i like this imagined idea of people asserting themselves - i am, i am, i am. i can't think of another reason to waste so much light at the edge of a room. makes me want to write a poem - no, really.

(notebook, 9.30 pm) hospitals have backup generators and someone's radio announced that the subway was successfully evacuated, so i'm allowing myself to be specifically worried about joe stranded at 42nd street (170 blocks from home). i hope his building had the foresight to get people out early, and that he walked to phil's place in chelsea. my cell phone is running out of batteries, but i don't want to turn it off and miss his call if i fall asleep and the power comes back. a neighbor said that the outage originated at niagara falls, that new york and most of jersey are dark. something else on a radio about how much this will cost the city, and that no, it wasn't a terrorist attack.


have developed a fixation on picasso's lobster and cat, thanks to yesterday's trip to the guggenheim with mum. to paraphrase the leonard nimoy should eat more salsa foundation: lobsters are excellent, and cats are excellent, and if picasso's version of their meeting hung in my kitchen - i would be an unstoppable force of excellence. the print would detract from our chosen 'arms race' theme, but one could argue that the lobster is reagan's star wars programs. i will, in fact, argue thus.

an equally powerful if less feasible fixation on dwarf dachshunds: nerves were frayed before the guggenheim visit, so i played the highest 'get happy' card in my hand (visiting the puppies at 86th & lexington). one wouldn't assume they were universally effective, but my god - the two pound, ten-week-old doxie girlpup could have drawn coos from a stone. fortunate that i didn't have (cough) $1799 to spare.

the brooklyn sublet begins tomorrow, the adventure in inwood concludes friday, and i have started feeling limbless when i'm not carrying disinfectant and paper towels. arrivals are easy, departures not so much.
SINGAPORE - The Singapore Tourism Board honored Ricky Martin by naming a yellow orchid speckled with crimson spots after him.

"Hello, sexy, how are you?" the 31-year-old singer asked the dainty flower during the naming ceremony Friday at Singapore's downtown Botanical Gardens. "You're supposed to talk to your plants, right?"



o, those furniture sellers. i need to stop browsing and have a nap.
Plush Red Chair of Cyndi Lauper Fan - $10

Super comfy chair owned by a Cyndi Lauper fan. It cannot make the move with us, so we must let her go. Please take her from us.

Nelson, the IKEA table - $15

Buy Nelson. He needs a new home. He is in excellent condition, and will be your friend. He is hot and chicks dig him. He is on sale on ebay.

Sexy Saucy Velvet Rocking Bench - $50

Rocking bench, ideal for sitting and making out is for sale. We have decided to stop making out, so we want someone else to enjoy it.

(per craigslist new york, natch)


i could have imagined that my father and i would run around manhattan for a last-minute pre-wedding coffee, though i tend to place myself at the center of those scenarios. on a parent as a groom, i'll but say that it's weird to watch an habitual stoic cry at the drop of a hat.

pre-ceremony, we were sent to the bathroom to change; it was mark twain's bathroom, so i didn't complain. it was unnerving to be utterly overlooked for the photos, but i'd made a point of saying that i wanted no part of publicized shots. reminded myself of that, tried not to feel like a red-headed stepchild.

dad's spoor, as joe would say, was all over the event - a humorous reading at the altar, gourmet potato chips beside the hors d'oeuvres, lamentable power ballads at the reception - but it did seem like new york was ingesting him. taking him from us, rather.



field trip to soho last night for neighbor judd's first gig with his new band. urban legend confirmed: there's a huge black woman trapped behind his rib cage. she was in fine form. i'd like to see him tour with the gossip, but that has more to do with the world's collective need to see him dance in his knickers. a worthy thing, mind you.

sister 2 arrives from los angeles tonight, sister 1 from belgium tomorrow. two days of demonstrating to friends that i was justified in bragging about them, then my father's wedding on sunday. this is another of those times when i feel i've been miscast - i suppose it's odd to say here that i dislike negotiating personal relationships around strangers, but empirically, come on. the occasion is deeply weird. an appropriate, neutral descriptor - weird.