the dirty dozen {notes from my hometown police blotter, as reported by the oc register*}

Suspicious person in a vehicle. 12:08 p.m. The caller reported an elderly man in a Toyota Camry, driving slowly in the neighborhood and possibly casing.
Disturbance. 8:17 a.m. The caller reported two male transients dumpster diving.
Vandalism report. 6:37 p.m. Caller reported someone keyed her car.
Keep the peace. 2:00 p.m. Caller said her neighbor below was yelling at her when she was walking.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 12:40 p.m. The caller reported two men walking inside and out of the business without buying anything.
Disturbance. 10:01 p.m. The caller reported kids using laser pointers.
Citizen assist. 8:47 a.m. The caller said a house owner hired the caller and other workers and is denying them any bathroom breaks.
Disturbance. 12:58 p.m. The caller reported a man asking for his money back after he ate a bad sandwich. The caller said the man told her, he was going to get his mom and come back to kill her.
Citizen assist. 10:56 p.m. Caller said she has an emergency with her TV.
Assist outside agency. 2:03 p.m. The caller reported a large bee hive with swarming bees on a city tree.
Disturbance. 1:58 p.m. The caller said a woman pushed him and told him to get out.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 5:20 p.m. The caller reported a man sitting on the corner and talking on a phone. The caller didn’t like him in the neighborhood.

*previous installment here.


What we build not only reflects but determines who we are and who we'll be. 'A city is an attempt at a kind of collective immortality,' wrote Marshall Berman in an essay on urban ruin; 'we die, but we hope our city's forms and structures will live on'. The opposite is true in the suburbs. They have no history and don't think about the future; very little there is built to last. Posterity is irrelevant to a civilisation living in an ongoing, never-ending present, with as much care for the future or sense of the past as a child. In his classic 1961 study The City in History, Lewis Mumford describes the naivety of the suburbs, which sustain in their inhabitants 'a childish view of the world', a false impression of security, if not an outright political apathy. Terrible things happen elsewhere, but never here, not now, not to us. It's the most natural paternal instinct to want to give your children a better childhood than your own; but the generation of city dwellers who invented the suburbs blew past 'better' in their pursuit of an impossible social isolation. It is as if they were trying to give not only their children but themselves the childhood they never had. The suburbs present the world to their children as if padded in felt, as if life were something gradually accumulated through commercial transaction, store by store. Often American literature and films about the suburbs feature children and adults alike losing their innocence, surprised, unprepared, for how terrible life can be: The Virgin Suicides, American Beauty, Revolutionary Road, Weeds — all of these ask not only 'is this all there is?' but 'is there really that, too?'

(lauren elkin, from flâneuse: women walk the city in paris, new york, tokyo, venice, and london)
elkin's take on the suburbs (she grew up on long island) is a savage one, but it tracks with what i remember and how i talk about orange county in the '80s and '90s (and even how i talk about going to college in a suburb*): it was a very conservative and homogeneous place to be, i would never want to live there again, but it was a safe place to grow up, and i know that my parents chose our unremarkable** stucco house in our unremarkable neighborhood because it meant that my sisters and i could eventually go to the very good, exceptional, local public high school. i also felt like a freak until i got to college, and i think sometimes about what i would do now with all the hours i spent in, say, church-related youth groups because i wanted friends.

*i didn't have a car or even a bike in college, incidentally; my bikes were stolen so quickly that i decided the universe wanted me to be a pedestrian. i started taking long late-night walks around campus when i was a freshman and crawled all over the school for four years, but those nights were nothing like the ones i'd later spend in san francisco and new york. those are other stories, though.

**architecturally speaking, that is. the roof was fantastic for climbing and there were so many places for lizards to hide.


the dirty dozen {twelve things i learned in tonight's squirrel-care class}*

01 "talking to them is OK, because they will eventually turn on you."
02 squirrels born in the fall aren't as healthy as squirrels born in the spring.
03 in the last stage of weaning, squirrels eat pumpkin mash (lab block dust, baby cereal, and puréed pumpkin—NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING).
04 "someone gave a squirrel pumpkin pie filling by accident once. he was really excited, but it didn't go well."
05 squirrels like to sleep in makeshift polarfleece hammocks.** "of course they drag all of their crap into their hammocks."
06 ADR in a veterinary chart = Ain't Doin' Right.
07 squirrels should not have KMR (kitten milk replacement), which has too much protein and will give them terrible diarrhea.
08 squirrels should have squirrel formula (fox valley), which is much better but can still make their hair fall out if you don't wipe their faces and arms after they nurse.
09 "is the squirrel nervous? try a burrito."
10 you can help a nursing squirrel that's aspirated milk blow its nose by covering its face with a tissue, putting your mouth to said tissue, and inhaling.
11 if maggots are crawling out of a squirrel's ears or eyes, you have to put it to sleep.
12 one turd is not enough.

*do not use these points to care for squirrels! call your friendly local wildlife rehabber.

**i knew that part.


And Autobiography is a lot of a bit much — nearly 500 pages, with tiny margins and no index. So instead of flipping around looking for "Boorer, Boz" or "busses, double-decker" or "Bowie, David, argument over fruit-salad buffet in 1992 with," you have to jump in. There are great moments everywhere, including that breakfast with Bowie. "David quietly tells me, 'You know, I've had so much sex and drugs I can't believe I'm still alive,' and I loudly tell him, 'You know, I've had so LITTLE sex and drugs I can't believe I'm still alive.'"

(rob sheffield, from "morrissey's autobiography: the dream is gone but the book is real")