so long, susan sontag. lady critics' collective sex appeal takes a decisive dip in your absence. thank you for notes on "camp", particularly
4. Random examples of items which are part of the canon of Camp:

Zuleika Dobson
Tiffany lamps
Scopitone films
The Brown Derby restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in LA
The Enquirer, headlines and stories
Aubrey Beardsley drawings
Swan Lake
Bellini's operas
Visconti's direction of Salome and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore
certain turn-of-the-century picture postcards
Schoedsack's King Kong
the Cuban pop singer La Lupe
Lynn Ward's novel in woodcuts, God's Man
the old Flash Gordon comics
women's clothes of the twenties (feather boas, fringed and beaded dresses, etc.)
the novels of Ronald Firbank and Ivy Compton-Burnett
stag movies seen without lust
on camp, i took great interest in the living room scale [site presently busted], a checklist that determines one's social class based on furnishings (add points for hardwood floor, for instance, and subtract for naugahyde). we scraped past "high prole (working class)" thanks to inherited turkish rugs (+5 each) and took a big hit for one of my mom's sculptures (-4), though its market value is possibly higher than the rugs'. my favorite items on the list are "tabletop obelisk of marble, glass, etc" (+9) and "potted citrus tree with midget fruit" (+8); i can't imagine anyone other than a drug lord / soap star or miss havisham, respectively, having either of those. that's the lumpenprole in me talking, naturally.

saguaros are attractive in holiday mode; if we had a yard and could acquire one without going to jail, i'd be tempted to go for it. phoenix, in turn, is unlike southern california just enough that i don't feel the old resentment for balmy christmases. last night was desert-nippy and ideal for a few hours in front of joe's uncle's fire pit.

i've been congratulated many times for keeping my shit together among the joe-clan. it couldn't have been worse than several years ago, when i made such a bizarre effort to impress his family that they all urged him to leave me at the side of the road as soon as possible. woo hoo comparative normalcy of '04!


the christmas iPod is teaching me new and curious things about myself. i do not, for instance, need to have every track from the moon and antarctica at my fingertips; paying a buck for def leppard's "photograph," on the other hand, was essential.

the corporate world is also instructive. if asked by The Man to freelance at my old job, i will apparently say yes. one can argue that the gig will be good for my resume and that being able to buy cat food is always nice - and one would be right - but at the end of the day i know it's shit-eating.

earnest winter link 5: herr tremble's "can you believe it's christmas in brooklyn?" - that is, a festive photo safari in dyker heights.


southern california report: the ladies' restroom at the movie theater had a scale complete with a height/weight chart. even though i passed muster, ew.

lemony snicket's a series of unfortunate events (+1/2). gorgeous costumes - with the exception of young klaus, who spoils the neo-victorian vibe with too-modern sweaters and slacks. gorgeous gloomy sets as well, thanks in part to a member of tim burton's team. the snicket books as eye candy are a rousing success, but daniel handler's snarky asides and plot contortions are no match for jim carrey and several hammy cameos (meryl streep, this means you). carrey is partially excused, as count olaf is supposed to be everywhere, implausible, and annoying, but he's still overcooked. though i want handler to have lots of money, the unfortunate events are crying out for an adapted miniseries (an episode per book?) aimed at a slightly older audience. aired at prime time, that could justify a whopping budget, no? and no more product placement, please. the scene with the AFLAC duck hurt my soul.


craig, the baby turtle i rescued from chinatown two christmases ago, seems to be flourishing in my sister's care - originally the size of a silver dollar, he's now as big as joe's palm (and terribly handsome). go craig - like lindsay lohan, you're finally legal! he and his aquarium pal are spending the holiday in my father's bathroom. dad is convinced they are eating the sink, so he crept up on all fours (his lawyer-shoes were too noisy for stealth) to catch them in the act. exotic pet perk #73: they teach your parents tricks.


earnest winter link 4 (via caterina): i used to believe, "a collection of ideas that adults thought were true when they were children." among my favorites,
A friend of mine used to sing 'Oh my god! There's a snowman' instead of 'All we've got is this moment' to INXS's 'Need You Tonight.' He was convinced that these were the correct lyrics and tried to justify this to me by saying 'Well, they come from Australia, so they've never seen snow before.'

I had no good answer for Joni Mitchell's "gay pair of guys [who] put up a parking lot." My only thought was, "Okay, well, good for them."

I used to believe that a man had as many testicles as he had children. So I thought the Catholic guy next door had nine balls and that I'd only have two kids when I grew up.

When I went to nursery school we got to drink milk or water at certain times of day. I used to think that if you mixed them together, and drank it, you would turn into a dinosaur.
the congresswoman's constituents, in turn, think that joe will grant their wishes if they give him godiva chocolates (always godiva - yay upper east side!). they are welcome to believe this.


why do i love lukas? because when i click through to his flickr site (incidentally, dear, shouldn't los angeles have tanned you by now?) i get sidebar ads for cell phone stun guns ("Does Not Work as a Cell Phone, only Stun Gun"). santa, though these cannot be shipped to new york, note that i will be in california and arizona 12/17 - 12/31.

in other zappy news, i joined getcrafty just in time for the "knit your own uterus" thread, source of three of the best directions i've read in some time -
Push down gently on inner tube to make cervix look plump ("pouty", if you will).

Stuff body until it feels firm but cuddly.

Gently bend fallopian tubes forward into a curve, or however you wish to pose them.
if i could knit, i'd knit that. instead i've finished the johnny cash needlepoint and have moved on to a kathleen hanna portrait (a four-shade enlargement of her photo from the cover of le tigre). progress reports and pix - no lie, i'm working on it - to follow.


i'm starting to enjoy the meatpacking district. it smells like stew and is full of fashion types who should be shot from cannons into shark-infested waters, but it's terribly interesting. example, i found the Most Expensive Candle Ever: these folks will sell it to you for $280. i also found the Ultimate Useless Accessory (price unknown), a jewel-encrusted ear bud with three lengths of sterling chain (instead of wires and sweet music). "your hearing will not be so good now," said the clerk as she wedged one under the ring in my tragus. in related news, i bought a 7-pack of panties at old navy for $6. one pair features a mule and an elf.

david bowie (david bowie!) was sitting 20' to our right at the pixies show on saturday. that's unquestionably within underwear-throwing range, but i was wearing the cheap-ass mule/elf pair. faced with a heartbreaking choice when he took off before the first encore - watch godlike band, chase godlike icon? - i opted to stay put. i can only report, then, that he wore a hoodie and sneakers, rocked out for "caribou," and picked his nose through "u-mass." thanks to jodi j, i saw the pixies again tonight: naturally they played the song ("gigantic") i would have missed while weeping and crawling after ziggy stardust. crap.


closer (+++). goodness, what a vicious little film. recall the worst instants of your worst breakups, throw in the questions you were too squeamish to ask, add the revelations you were too kind to share, repeat a dozen times, and you've got closer. though the cast is Big Hollywood (Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Clive Owen [yes, he counts too]), the structure screams art house; to critics' dismay, patrick marber's adapted screenplay is heavy on events the audience never sees and telescopes anguish without development or resolution. given how vividly he and mike nichols present the flare-ups we do see, i don't really mind. i think the blue language (not so terrible, really, but there's quite a lot of it) is justified as well: sure, you don't want to bring clive owen's larry (or any of these characters) home to mom, but his dirtiest tirade comes right after he learns he was cuckolded on his very own sofa. a few hours ago. oh yeah, and it's been happening for a year. closer's only t&a - natalie portman's much-anticipated turn as a pole- and lap dancer - is one of the film's cleverest and least titillating scenes: larry and most of the western world have been led to believe that natalie (remember the countdown to her eighteenth birthday?) should be nekkid, and she gets there with such chilly poise that we feel like covering up. the last scene's 'revelation' recalls that feeling nicely: lovers are intimate strangers, and no kink or sentiment can change that. wow and ouch.


i think i've come full circle with tom wolfe. for reasons long buried in the sands of time, i read the bonfire of the vanities in seventh grade: to a twelve-year-old who knew fuck-all of new york, the cra-azy '80s, and wolfe's previous stuff, it was an exotic page-turner that, though detailed, kinda underwhelmed. i am charlotte simmons, on the other hand, is straight outta my backyard: all of the stanford kids remember wolfe's weird campus fact-finding missions in our junior and senior years. again i read quickly; again, i won't feel like re-reading any time soon. poor charlotte reads like a gothic heroine, or jane austen's fanny price:
She slumped back into the chair once more and stared out the window a few light-years into the darkness. This, she figured, was it. Right here was the point where she either cried out or she didn't cry out. Momma, only you can help me! Who else do I have! Listen to me! Let me tell you the truth! Beverly doesn't just return in the dead of night and "go to bed really late"! She brings boys into bed - and they rut-rut-rut do it - barely four feet from my bed! She leads a wanton sex life! The whole place does! Girls sexile each other! Rich girls with fifteen hundred SATs cry out, "I need some ass!" "I'm gonna go out and get laid!" The girls, Momma, the girls, right in front of you! Momma - what am I to do...
ingenues are useful when one wants to share research about big, bad university life, but they should be plausible and sympathetic. charlotte sounds like a time traveler rather than an innocent, and her Golden Child confidence ("The invincible truth was, she possessed a brilliance unparalleled here or anywhere else") sucks the pity right out of me. wolfe's constant reminders that she and her buddies are types rather than people ("Adam, essentially a literary intellectual, didn't realize he was listening to the typical depressed girl who has made the appalling discovery that she is worthless"), in turn, makes them unlikable and uninteresting. no more fiction, tom wolfe. please.


earnest winter link 3: my favorite crafty aussie has begun a month of softies, where assorted artists create dolls, monsters, and so on based on her themes (november's was "the accessorised elephant"). i haven't the digital camera needed to join the fray (still looking to steal george's in order to post needlepoint pictures), but it's a lovely project.

in other news, my refrigerator evacuation project yielded

bootleg taco salad

- 1 head green lettuce (shredded)
- 2 tomatoes (diced)
- 1/2 large white onion (diced)
- 2 c button mushrooms (chopped)
- large can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 c rough-grated (not powdered!) parmesan cheese
- cayenne pepper
- corn oil
- seasoned rice vinegar
- balsamic vinegar
- salsa
- sour cream
- a near-dead bag of tortilla chips

combine lettuce, tomatoes, half of the diced onion, grated parmesan and kidney beans in a large bowl. use ~1 tbsp corn oil to brown mushrooms and the other half of the onion in a frying pan on high heat; after 2-3 minutes, add a splash of water and sprinkle liberally with cayenne. brown for another minute, then spoon into the bowl and toss with 2 tbsp of the rice vinegar and a teensy bit of the balsamic. serve with a dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of salsa, and a handful of the pulverized chips.

vile-sounding, you say? o ye of little faith, even joe the gourmet god requested and enjoyed a serving, and he's never felt the need to stroke my ego by putting his life on the line with my cooking.