Wednesday, June 28, 2006

bad sysiphus

I've mentioned this before. I've mentioned a lot of things before. I'm no good at making my own meaning out of life. I'm prone to sitting and staring into space with a low-level hum of anxiety vibrating just under the surface. Today the heatwave is gone, still warm, but not dazzlingly hot. I'm reading Joan Didion's "A Book of Common Prayer," a terse, beautiful, depressing novel set in a fictionalized South American country. SK reminds me, daily, that I've been shaped by the Southern climate of my youth. I am, for lack of a better word, tropicalized. Slow. Dreamy. I thrive in heat. I also thrive in cold, in crisp autumns and snuggly winters and wet, windy springs -- but it's the heat I find essential. It's the heat that resets my annual, inner-clock. I identify with the tropical characters in this book I'm reading. I identify too much with the protagonist who leads, according to the narrator, the least examined life ever conceived. Obviously, I lead an examined life (often publicly examined, as here) -- but there's certainly room for more. Diligence is necessary. Why wasn't I born rich? I would be so good at lounging in the sun, smoking and drinking in hot, tropical bars with fans spinning overhead, faux-philosophizing with other ex-pats on an endless bar tab, wallowing in the same existential crises that currently animate my less affluent, less tropical, less drunk life here. Instead, I will rise from this computer, put on my shoes, pack my bag and drive my poor, battered car to the dollar store at the Lloyd Center Mall to buy bingo prizes for the bingo we'll play at work tonight. SK and I did not win megabucks. I will not quit my job today. Nothing spectacular will happen except the continuation of life in this body, the breathing in and out, the beating heart, the digestion and excretion and all the miraculous functions -- the spinning of the earth on its axis and in 24 hours I will be in vaguely the same spot, thinking the same thoughts, being the same me. Which could be worse, I suppose.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

word of the day


Main Entry: so·le·cism
Pronunciation: 'sä-l&-"si-z&m, 'sO-
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikos speaking incorrectly, literally, inhabitant of Soloi, from Soloi, city in ancient Cilicia where a substandard form of Attic was spoken
1 : an ungrammatical combination of words in a sentence; also : a minor blunder in speech
2 : something deviating from the proper, normal, or accepted order
3 : a breach of etiquette or decorum
- so·le·cis·tic /"sä-l&-'sis-tik, "sO-/ adjective

Thanks Merriam Webster Online.

leftist propaganda only, please

Last night, home at 1:00am, fresh off the number 8 bus, fresh off an 8 hour shift, I sat down in my chair at my computer and did some blog surfing to help wind down so I could sleep. Actually, it was to kill time so the benadryl would have a chance to kick in and knock me out. I did a google blogsearch for "gay buddhist" and ran across a blog purporting to relate comments the Dalai Lama made about homosexuality in an interview with a British newspaper. At first I was confused as I scanned the contents of the page, which was laid out like many blog-pages, with a slick template, cool colors, nice fonts, a hip sort of art picture next to the profile link. The cool, contempo look of the blog created thunderclaps of cognitive dissonance as I began to understand that this was a *conservative* *blog*!

A conservative blog.

For some reason, this struck me as so, so wrong. It was written by a nice guy with help from his whole nice family. (The profile explained that even the four year old would have a forum for her diverse opinions on the issues of the day in their family blog.) It gave me chills. Then it made me really, really sad when I read the bit about the Dalai Lama and how he appeared to condemn homosexuality. The basic gist: if you're a buddhist, homosexuality is wrong. Why? Because sex is for procreation and using "the other two holes" is wrong. (Other *two* holes...? Am I missing something?) He said that gay couples have come to him seeking his blessing on their union and he has turned them away.

As someone who loosely identifies as buddhist and strongly identifies as queer, this shocked me speechless. Seeing the Dalai Lama in Pioneer Courthouse Square in 2001 was a pivotal experience in my life and still touches me today. I have read a few of his books and I have had glimpses of his slightly conservative morality, but this actually came as such a disappointing surprise. I have for so long considered him a kindly, grandfather type -- a religious figure who emanated compassion and reverence coupled with humor and warmth in a way no religious figure in my christian days ever did. And did I mention that I assumed he also emanated *acceptance*? Ugh.

I woke this morning and thought for a moment that my Dalai Lama let-down had been a dream, but alas, it was not. I mitigate the impact by reminding myself that I didn't necessarily get this info from a reliable source. I read it on a conservative blog that gave a huge slice of the rest of its space to the issue of "illegal immigration," and sported a giant blog badge, emblazoned with a stars and stripes image over which were the words "legal u.s. citizen." And when I tried to link to the article from which this interview was lifted, the link took me to a newspaper, but the page itself was blank. No article. So, who knows. Maybe it was taken out of context, maybe it wasn't even real. I can hope, but the shine is still off the Dalai Lama for me and that's depressing.

In that state, I walked into this coffeeshop (Fuel, on Alberta) and noticed a big sign up on the community board, yellow background with pink letters cut-out from construction paper: "leftist propaganda only, please." First I had a little chuckle. Then I thought, "holy shit, how narrow minded of me." And then I thought, "no, it's not narrow minded, it's self-protective." *Me* -- my life, my friends, my experience are routinely attacked by conservative propaganda. Not just my politics, not just my thoughts about the war or federalism or big government versus state's rights -- ME. My body. My love. ME. Some conservative family in Idaho decided to start a blog in which they post articles about the folly and ultimate wrongness of gay marriage -- some conservative family in Idaho wants to take something away from ME! They've never even met me! So fuck them and fuck the Dalai Lama too. For now, I'll sit in this coffeeshop with a wall full of leftist propaganda (which, by the way, doesn't want to take anything away from anybody -- it's full of art and sweet, peaceful hippie stuff) and try to forget that the Dalai Lama and some conservative family in Idaho have me on their shit list.

Sometimes I think the people on this earth can all just go to hell.

Monday, June 26, 2006

like a broken record (melting in the sun...)

We are having a heatwave and I am beside myself with happiness. Woke this morning on top of the sheets, sweating, next to SK who slept in a bit but soon jumped up and scrambled to get ready for work. Monday mornings are somber occasions for us as it starts our split for the week. We don't get to share a bed (or to see each other at all for more than half an hour) until Thursday night. And a very long, lonley three and a half days it is...

So, I drove off in one direction as SK cycled off in another and I kept my eye in my rear view mirror hoping to catch glimpses of her on her bike as we both disappeared around corners. Sad. At home, I gathered up my massive laundry and headed off to the laundromat at the end of my street. This time I managed not to overfill or otherwise damage my washer, thank god, and I even took the time to walk to the library to drop off and pick up stuff, and to Wild Oats for a yummy vegetable bread roll for breakfast.

Once the clothes were safely out of the washer and in the dryer, I walked across the street to Caffe Destino (avoiding the Starbucks right next to the laundromat because I'd rather poke a plastic coffee-stirrer into my left eye than patronize Starbucks) and got an iced americano which I enjoyed outside in a blue metal chair shaded by a tiny little tree in the only tiny oasis of shade on that whole block. As I sat, I saw the strangest caravan walk by -- two men (young men, really, boys) pulled two Radio Flyer wagons which each had two or three kids inside (all two or three years of age) while another toddler walked along on each side of each wagon, gripping the wood-railed sides for dear life, as the two men guided them down the sidewalk and across the trecherous Fremont Street towards Irving Park. Wow. I watched the unlikely procession until it was out of sight. Two men in charge of about ten toddlers. What a nightmare.

It occurred to me, then, that toddlers are probably not used to such an impersonal ratio of adults to, well, toddlers. I mean, aren't most toddlers accustomed to one-on-one attention most of the time? Maybe I'm thinking only of the toddling offspring of yuppies who can afford to stay home and tend them almost monomaniacally. I guess in daycare, the ratio of adults to toddlers probably changes. But, as I watched this unbelievably well-behaved gaggle of big-headed, overgrown babies roll by, I was struck by how peaceful and intent they all were, as though they sensed that they were each no longer the center of any one adult's universe and that they were now, instead, an important part of a large whole and they all had to work together to ensure the success of their particular adventure.

I wondered how they'd chosen which kids were allowed to ride and which kids were made to walk along the sides of the wagons. I wondered if there had been fights and crying as some kids in the wagons wanted out and some kids out of the wagon wanted in. I wondered what would happen if one of the kids in the wagon just decided to roll off the back and into traffic as the boys pulled them across the busy street. I wondered what would happen if one of the kids had to poop, needed changed, needed a bathroom, needed whatever toddlers need. They seemed so self-contained, so calm, yet the whole effort was pregnant with impending chaos. That is a peace that just can't last. I wanted to follow them to the park, but I didn't. It's over 100 degrees today, I hope all the kids lived through the outing and didn't wilt or wither in the sun. Damn what a project.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Sorry for my lackluster performance these days -- so much has been happening and I've had so much on my mind, I've found I'm unable to sit still long enough for something thoughtful and interesting to bubble to the surface to write about. I just spent the most incredible two days with SK, but what can I say about that that won't be too personal or too boring for anyone other than me and SK? And just now, I spent three awesome hours with my friend Leo, who I really love and whom I've known for a million years, but what can I say about that?

I guess I can say a lot about that. I went to her house at 8am, which meant I had to painfully drag myself out of SK's bed at 7:45am even though she playfully begged me to stay. I got to Leo's a little late and was greeted by Ember, the super hot housemate Leo wants to sleep with. Leo made us extra-strong coffee in a french press and we sat out back in her shady yard and ate white peaches and talked about stuff. Leo's girlfriend is in Japan for two months for school and Leo is, as always, conflicted about everything and very, very horny. I hate the word horny, but what's a better word? I love Leo and she may read this and pull a Waspy and fire off a mildly miffed message demanding to know what I meant when I said she was "conflicted about everything." Oh well.

So we ate our peaches and drank our coffee and talked about Leo's girlfriend and Leo's crush on Ember (even though Ember was somewhere lurking in the house behind us) and we also talked about me and SK and how well things are going and blah blah blah. Leo's getting her Master of Library Science right now and we commiserated about the trials and tribulations of becoming a professional and how scary and unappealing it is, even though we both agree we don't want to remain destitute children forever. Then we walked to the park where we laid in the grass and watched kids play and kept up the same line of conversation.

I love Leo. She was supposed to work at 11, but I didn't end up leaving her house until 11:20, and even then she kept calling me back to the porch, back to the porch to ask a new question or bring up a new topic because she didn't really want me to leave, she didn't really want to go to work, but I did leave and she will go to work and the day will roll on like so. It's going to be 100 degrees today and I'm beside myself with happiness. I am also, right now, beside myself with anxiety because I can't track SK down on the phone and I really want to know what we're doing for the rest of the day...

SK is the greatest. The really, really greatest. And I'll stop gushing so it doesn't get tedious. But really, she's great. That's all. Now I'm gonna go lay in the park and pretend I'm in the South enjoying what, down there, would be a really comfortable day. (Not because it's usually hotter than 100 degrees down there, but because the humidity down there is so stifling, even 100 degrees feels comfortable when the air is dry and there's an occasional breeze...) Yeah.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

my kinda day

It is soooooooo hot outside! It's going to be 94 degrees today! And I am sooooooo happy about it! For at least a few brief and shining days here in the Pacific Northwest, I get to enjoy the kind of summer heat I'm used to as a displaced Southerner. The only thing missing is the humidity. And the sound of cicadas. And frogs. And a big, fat swimming pool.

Speaking of pool, SK and I went to Mirror Lake yesterday and had a lovely time. The water was a tad too chilly for swimming, but we sat on rocks with our feet in the lake for hours, chatting and eating our picnic lunch and having a lovely time. We saw a newt swimming through the water! It was the coolest thing, I wish I had a picture to share. It moved so gracefully through the water with it's little legs against its body and it's long tail rippling behind it. Every few inches it would stop and put its legs out and hover a moment, then it would swim off again. It was really gorgeous, with a brown top and bright orange belly we could barely see. I wanted to pick it up and hold it, just to study it closer, but I wouldn't have even tried. I hate to terrorize the fauna just to satisfy my curiousity.

Today is now a hot, shimmery question mark flashing before me -- I have no idea what we're going to end up doing but whatever we choose, sweating will be an inevitable biproduct because, did I mention, it's hot! Yay!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

a little more thoughtful

(Benign moralizing to follow:)

I don't like myself when I'm angry and petty. I have spent a lot of time in my little life trying to make sense of things, and my default setting has often been "angry and petty." Over the years, I've gotten a lot better, but every now and then it creeps back up on me. Sometimes it seems harmless and funny, but it almost always ends in heartache (or violent karmic retribution, like yesterday) and it's not worth it.

Why'd I get so riled up about Grey/Zelda's name name-change? What's *my* problem? If I dig a little deeper, I see that some of *my* problem has to do with my own lack of attention and my concomitant lack of a voice with which to ask for attention. I haven't given myself permission to ask for a certain kind of attention, and I feel threatened and perturbed to see Grey/Zelda blatantly demanding it.

I mean, yes, she's annoying and I don't want to psychologize the hell out of it, but the truth is still the truth: my "problem" with Zelda's name change has a lot more to do with me than it does to do with her. Instead of sitting with my strong reaction against it and trying to understand myself a little better, I fired off a crazy blog post, "venting" and hoping it all at least seemed a little comic. Then I got a wallop of karmic retribution, the consequences of which are still unfolding.

Anyway, for me at least, the best answer is never to get harder about anything, but to get softer. No need to get harder (meaner, nastier) to Zelda. Why not keep a soft, open heart about people and the world? Feels healthier. Even if Zelda is a nutjob, there's no reason I should have an aneurysm because she wants to change her name. And the fact still remains that I'm also a nutjob in my own, particular way. So why be an asshole?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

instant carma

You're thinking "hey there, loser, you spelled karma wrong." Yeah, I know. It's on purpose.

I ended my last post (the long, bitchy one where I vented a lot of unexpected anger) by apologizing in case my angry bitching gave anyone a stomachache. I should have apologized to my car which was sitting innocently outside and about to be the recipient of a fat wallop of karma that had been launched in my direction.

Damn, that karma works fast.

Within moments of typing up that post, I closed my front door (which had been open all afternoon and through which I could see my little golden chariot parked placidly on the street not twenty feet away) and went to the bathroom. I don't like to leave my front door open when I go into the bathroom because I don't want anybody swiping my computer which just sits there on my desk in full view of my door. Anyway, three minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom, opened the front door back up and there was my little car, gold and peaceful, exactly as I left it. Or so I thought.

I was about to leave for work and as I gathered my stuff and packed my bag, I became aware of a conversation happening across the street. It sounded like a neighbor was encouraging a solicitor to come to my house. "It looks like her door is open," said my neighbor, "why don't you go over and talk to her." My hackles went up and I was prepared to be not-so-welcoming when the little guy with cornrows walked up and said "Um, hi."

"Yeah...?" I said without even looking up from my bag.

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news..." he trailed off and I realized he wasn't a solicitor. "I just wanted to let you know what just happened to your car..."


So I went outside and he explained it all. He'd been walking home from the library just a few minutes before and he saw a huge truck from the City of Portland (whose famous motto is "the city that works"... yeah... works on fucking peoples' cars up...) came along, way too big for the back streets he assured me, and tried to take the tight corner on which my car was parked. Well, not only did he take the corner but he took a big fucking chunk out of my car too. The whole passenger side is scraped, flattend and punctured. The force of the turning truck even picked up the rear end of my car and sat the back right tire up on the curb. And did that big city truck stop? No it did not. Bastards.

The weirdest thing is that I'd been sitting there with the door open all afternoon and I'd just gotten up for three minutes to pee and in those fateful three minutes a big truck came along and hit my car completely unbeknownst to me. If it hadn't been for that guy walking by, I wouldn't have even noticed the damage until I started to drive my car to the dollar store for bingo prizes tomorrow and realized it was up on the curb. Jesus, I probably would've spent the whole day pondering the mystery of how it had gotten up on the curb before I ever even noticed the whole passenger side was scraped up, which would probably have happened as I returned to my car from the dollar store. Then I would've assumed I'd been side-swiped while sitting in the parking lot and the City of Portland would be off the hook. Wow. What luck all around.

Anyway, I went ahead and left for work and told SK all about it. Before I could even think much about what to do, she'd already managed to call the city and get a copy of a form printed off for me with a woman's name and number for me to call tomorrow about it. Meanwhile, that nice cornrow guy was going to see if he could find the truck (which he thought would be somewhere in the neighborhood) to get the identification numbers and put them on my windshield for me. It's nice to have good neighbors. And nice to have a good girlfriend (action-hero) to help sort that junk out. So... yay for me. :-)

Tomorrow maybe I'll write about my stubborn pride and my solitary streak that made it tricky to accept her help. Or maybe I'll just let that sentence speak for itself. We'll see.

because an anonymous blog is a safe place to be petty

After working till 12:30 last night and sleeping 5 short hours, I had to be back at work at 8:30 this morning for a completely unnecessary and ridiculous all-staff meeting. The one good thing about that meeting, the one thing I was looking forward to, was SK's presence. But I got there just a few minutes too late to get a good seat and ended up stuck two seats away from SK, which meant I wasn't close enough to write her notes, but I was too close to be able to actually see her -- I didn't even get to gaze lovingly upon her!! I just had to sit, one person away from her, for two hours, just knowing she was there, so close and yet so far away.

It was excruciating, as was the rest of the meeting. I don't mean to brag, and believe me this is nothing to brag about, I've been working at this little transitional housing facility longer than anyone else on staff (except one guy who works graveyard, but he doesn't count). I am the veteran. I was there back in the tail end of the good old days, before the merger of mental health providers, before the evisceration of the Oregon Health Plan, before it all started to suck and when it was a really, really fun place to work. I no longer have patience for the little pip-squeak, dipshits we hire who come in like petty-tyrants, treating clients like children, setting up their little micro-dicatorships, creating and enforcing a laybrinth of fascist rules and bringing all their snivelling, belly-aching, bullshit drama into our professional relationships. Our staff meetings tend to lean heavilly in the direction of group therapy, or worse: *family* group therapy, wherein the family consists of a slew of bratty, precocious children who aren't getting enough attention from the over-worked, hen-pecked, spineless dad or the completely absent (non-existent) mother. They kvetch and kvetch and air their personality conflicts willy-nilly like so much dirty laundry and I just want to bang a spoon against a pan and say "shut the fuck up, everybody! Learn to have your personal needs met elsewhere! This is your job!"

Let me share one very specific petty gripe, and then I will end this futile little diatribe. Remember my coworker Grey? (She is the creepy, distasteful fruitcake who bamboozled me into a surprise date with her and then kept hitting on me after I told her I was in a relationship... Yuck.) Anyway, I've never had the highest opinion of Grey and in all the time I've known her, she's never done much to raise it. She's whiney and unprofessional and passive aggressive and her social skills seem to have been permenently stunted in the attention-seeking, shock-value stage of development most of us leave as we leave our mid-teens. Anyway, Grey's latest stunt was to announce at our staff meeting (after much hemming and hawing and wasting our time with her qualifying and explaining) that she is changing her name and would like us now to all begin calling her Zelda.

What. The. Fuck.

Ok, true, she isn't really asking us to call her Zelda. This is an anonymous blog and I don't use anyone's real name, even stupid, made-up "real" names like hers. Also, she's so needy and narcissistic, I wouldn't be surprised if she googles her new name every day and I do *not* want my petty bitching to pop up in her search results lest she tattle to the boss or seek retaliation. That said, Zelda is *sooooo* close to the actual name she has asked us to call her, it is not an exaggeration of ridiculousness. It perfectly captures the spirit of ridiculousness embodied in this new name.

Now, I have always been a little suspicious of grown adults who suddenly start asking everyone to call them something new. Self-initiated name changes (of the first name variety, especially) seem dramatic and a little... I don't know... over-the-top. What? You hit that point in therapy where you realize you hate your parents and everything they've ever done to you, starting with the stupid name they gave you, and now you'd like to be called some crazy shit you made up by rearranging the letters in Emily Dickenson's name (true story -- someone I knew in college)?? Good for you, you fruitloop, but maybe there's more to healing than asking a million people to remember that you have a new, randomly chosen name? Maybe there's more inner work to be done??

I know, I'm in a terribly bitchy mood, which is why all this is going into my blog and why I didn't laugh out loud in the middle of Grey -- I'm sorry -- *Zelda's* announcement. I wanted to say "are you fucking kidding me, you fucking crazy piece of shit?? As if you haven't wasted enough of my time with all your whining and complaining and pontificating about everything else we've discussed thus far, you have to waste more time explaining to me your completely weird and unnecessary name change? Go fuck yourself."

Wow. I'm so glad I have a blog for this. I'd hate to have unleased it on the world... I don't like Gray -- I mean -- Zelda, but I also don't like getting fired. Time to go do some deep breathing and visualizations before leaving for work in a few minutes... (Ok, go to your happy place, go to your happy place...) Sorry if my anger gave anybody a stomach ache.

scary word of the day


Main Entry: mes·si·an·ic
Pronunciation: "me-sE-'a-nik
Function: adjective
Etymology: probably from French messianique, from messianisme
1 : of or relating to a messiah
2 : marked by idealism and an aggressive crusading spirit "a messianic sense of historic mission -- Edmond Taylor"

Thanks Merriam Webster Online

George wants us to do something about North Korea and Iran. Beheadings no longer seem surprising. The National Guard has been called in to keep order in New Orleans because it's been reduced to some Mad Max, post-apocalyptic wasteland down there after Katrina.

I'm afraid of the world right now. Anybody have anything reassuring to say about it?

Monday, June 19, 2006

word of the evening


Main Entry: vain·glo·ri·ous
Pronunciation: "vAn-'glOr-E-&s, -'glor-
Function: adjective
: marked by vainglory : BOASTFUL

The Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup. They beat the team from Canada. I'm from North Carolina and I find it mildly amusing that my state just won a hockey tournament against a team from Canada... I mean... am I the only one who thinks that seems a little wrong? North Carolina is a Southern state. A warm state. It hardly ever snows. We don't grow up ice-skating on frozen ponds and day dreaming of hockey. Hockey, as far as I knew as a kid, was a foriegn sport only played in other countries. I'm guessing all the players on the Hurricanes team are imported from elsewhere... I'd be surprised to learn that this was a team of tarheels. If so, the Canadians must've really sucked to lose to us. Wow.

now with 100% more pride

Sunday was the Pride Parade and it was, unfortunately, kinda lame. SK and I were in great spirits, but the weather didn't much cooperate. I foolishly left my hoodie in the car (far, far away from the parade) and ended up chilly all day in my tight T-shirt which had seemed like a good choice when the sun was actually out. The sun went away between SK's house and our parade-watching spot near Pioneer Square and it didn't really come back for the rest of the afternoon.

Besides the weather, the next sign of an ill-fated day was the lone, Christian heckler who dared stand in front of an emcee booth (not to mention hundreds of queer parade-watchers in the streets) and heckle the emcees with his bull-horn. Fortunately, I couldn't hear anything he was saying (though I could read his shirt which said something like "Don't be swayed by your vile desires"), I could only hear the "witty" comebacks from the emcees. At first it was mildy amusing as the emcees trounced him in front of a cheering crowd. However, he was only fueled by his own, hopeless situation, and instead of recognizing himself as outnumbered and outvoiced, he valiently persisted and the emcees just kept harassing him back. It was pretty tedious and pretty sad. SK, always the process worker, bemoaned the one-sidedness of it all. I shared her sinking feeling about it, if not for exactly the same reasons. It was painful, all around, and I was glad when the parade finally started and that guy moved along.

The parade was ok, but the gloomy weather (chilly and gray in late June is one of Portland's shittiest potential attributes) really did put a damper on our moods. How "gay" can you feel when a cold breeze is whipping up Broadway and chilling your little bones as you're trying to enjoy the bright colors and loud music? How sad is it that you find yourself fantasizing about curling up under a blanket with the Sunday Times instead of dancing topless later at the festival?? What kind of pride weekend is that?? Ugh.

SK and I lasted about halfway through the parade and then decided to wander down to the festival area a little early to get some food. We bumped into Sunshine and a couple of other friends along the way, and that was nice. Then, once we made it to the festival, we wandered around, picked up some freebies, signed a petition or two, then hopped in a long line for yakisoba noodles, and had an interesting conversation about lesbian culture and attraction. (I was drooling, as usual, over all the leather daddies and SK was keeping her eyes open for the slightly atheletic/bookish dykes... at least we won't be fighting over fantasy material...) Then, next thing you know, we'd eaten our noodles and were ready to get the heck out of dodge.

We walked all the way back to the car, which took a good half an hour, and by then we'd raised our core body temperatures back to normal. Then we drove to my house to pick up the waiting Sunday Times, *then* we ran up to Bonita Taqueria on Alberta for SK's weekend burrito fix. Yum. After all that, SK (lovely and talented as she is) took me to her house and gave me another accupuncture treatment for my stuck chi and for my allergies, which have been pretty rough. All totalled, I had nine needles quivvering in my body for about twenty minutes, two from the bridge of my nose and one between my eyes, I felt like an antennaed space robot, but once it was over I felt great. That SK -- she's got skills.

and a lovely time was had by all

Monday finds me recovering from a very gay weekend. Things with SK have been arcing wildly upward these past few days and I'm almost afraid to jinx it through unchecked gushing in the blog. Suffice it to say, things are going well. More and more well with each passing day.

So. Saturday night I had a little scare at the dyke march. SK and her friend Sunshine and myself were all milling around the North Park Blocks, looking at all the women and chatting about dyke (youth) culture. Sunshine is in, I'm guessing, her mid to late 50's and came into her queerness during a much different time, living in a much different place (San Fran). It was especially fun to be at the dyke march with an older dyke who is otherwise not much in the youth scene, because everything she saw seemed new and interesting to her and she seemed to have few preconceived notions about the possible meanings or intentions of different people's outfits and costumes. ("Oh, that's cute," she would say pointing, "She's got a little tutu on over her jeans!" "Wow, look at that lovely dress," she would say, pointing to a woman in a nouveau vintage A-line. Such wonder for things I've almost stopped seeing, they seem so unsurprising anymore. It was refreshing.)

My little scare came when, standing around in a happy little clump with SK and Sunshine, looking and smiling and appreciating everything, I suddenly spotted (and close by too) the terrible and dreaded CB! (For those of you who are new to this blog, CB is my ex-partner, a mean drunk, among other things, who I left last December and who I haven't actually seen since January.) I jumped like I'd seen a snake and started walking fast in the other direction. SK was sweet and supportive and Sunshine, knowing nothing about my CB saga, was confused. I bolted to the other side of the park where SK and Sunshine soon rejoined me and I spent most of the rest of the evening looking nervously over my shoulder for signs of CB in the crowd. She was wearing a white do-rag with big sunglasses and she was almost certainly drunk, running around with some indeterminately gendered person who looked about 17. I'm sure if I'd spoken to them, she would've introduced that person as her good friend, and I'm also sure that if I inquired further, I would learn that she'd just met that person moments before, because *that* is how CB operates. Every stranger on the street is her "good friend" because they're the only ones who haven't had a chance to witness and get sick of her shit.

But I digress, SK was super sweet and provided a sort of seat-belt for me all night, holding onto me at all times and keeping her own eye out for CB. Once Sunshine was appraised of the situation, she offered to protect me should CB come along and make a scene. It was all in all very sweet and I felt very well cared for and soon, as we walked with the march through the streets of Portland and into the waterfront festival area, I realized that my fear of CB was receding a little and I was starting to get my nerve back. By the time we left, I was almost hoping we'd bump into her, although I don't know what I thought I'd do. I was feeling a new, angry energy surging in me and I thought how nice it would be to just stand up to her, whatever that might look like. Though, I know it would only get messy and nasty and I would never go looking for it. I just know I'm better prepared for a surprise meeting than I was before the dyke march.

After all that, we drove Sunshine home, then SK and I made a little jaunt over to Besaw's, a tiny little restaurant near SK's, for dessert. I have never been such a big fan of dessert, but SK seems to bring it out of me. We shared a Tiramisu *and* a nectarine/pear tart covered with a pistachio biscuit *and* a side of vanilla bean ice cream *and* a cup of decaf coffee, b/c everything is better with coffee, even if it has to be decaf because you want to go to bed soon and you're too old to be chugging the real thing at all hours of the night. That was some goooooood dessert. Yum. I love SK.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

smoothly sailing into pride weekend with my girl

Ok. After that lonely Thursday night, things were quickly put back on track with SK. Such a lovely day yesterday, I don't even know where to begin. I'll stick with my current theme (Alison Bechdel) and share that SK went back to Powell's and bought me an autographed copy of her memoir "Fun Home" as an apology gift, however, I don't want to think of it as an apology gift, I want to think of it as something super sweet that I'll treasure.

We ended up spending the whole gorgeous day together doing a variety of odds and ends -- I brought over some homemade chicken soup and SK made avacado quesadillas to go with it and we sat out in her tiny garden during one fifteen minute burst of sun and ate. That was pretty lovely. Then we drove out to my campus so I could drop off my fall registration (somewhat late). I gave SK a brief tour of my campus, which is gorgeous and abuts the Tryon Creek State Park, thank god, so while we're all struggling mightily with law school, we can at least get a little solace from the forest view out all the windows.

Our walk through campus was sunny and hot, so we decided to go get ice cream, however, our drive to the gelato place back in SK's neighborhood was dark and perilous through driving rain. Amazing. We parked on NW 23rd and sat in the car a few minutes, finishing up some intense conversation, and by the time we were done, the sun was back out again. Gelato was bought and consumed (gelato is sooooo good) and then we decided to pick up some groceries and pop across the river to cut a head of lettuce out of my tiny little garden out back. My tiny garden is really flourishing and that lettuce is the first thing this season we've been able to eat from it. Yay!

Then we went back to her place, looked through old photos from her old days in India, Nepal and Australia -- photos which she found in storage at a friend's in Australia when she was there this spring and which she packed up and sent via sea mail (sea mail!) and which just arrived last week. Photos she hasn't seen in almost ten years. Exciting. After that, we took a lovely hike through forest park, then came home and she whipped us up some tasty baked, marinated tofu and veggies and we watched a few episodes from the second season of The L Word to prepare us for pride weekend. Fun times.

We watched the two episodes I thought were my favorites (the episode where they go on the Olivia cruise, and the one that follows, where they go to LA pride) -- and I was slightly disappointed to realize those episodes weren't as great as I remembred... I think they always seemed a tiny bit more exiciting because I was watching them in a dyke bar surrounded by tons and tons of other women and the enthusiasm of the entire pack was pretty hypnotic. Seeing it on a small screen with but one other person packed less of collective wallop and, instead, I often heard the cavernous silence that spells disinterest, like the sounds of crickets in a quiet theater. Hmm.

Then we went to bed. :-)

Tonight is the dyke march, which we will attend for the people watching. And tomorrow is the real parade, which we will also attend for the people watching. Hopefully the weather will get better, but we'll see. It's nice to feel happy for a change. :-)

word of the day

One of many good words in the new Alison Bechdel book:


Main Entry: ar·ti·fi·cer
Pronunciation: är-'ti-f&-s&r, 'är-t&-f&-s&r
Function: noun
1 : a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman
2 : one that makes or contrives : DEVISER "had been the artificer of his own fortunes -- Times Literary Supplement"

Thanks Merriam-Webster Online.

mission accomplished

After my last post, cold and home alone, I did indeed get in the bed and read the rest of Alison Bechdel's new book. Finding Fat Tony at the Pub was definitely alluring, especially after our outing a couple of weeks ago wherein I beat him at tons of games all starting with the letter "P" and got drunk and laughed a lot, but I knew he'd be out with a bunch of his friends, post-bike-polo, perhaps nursing a broken clavicle, and I didn't have the energy to jump on the social-train so late in the game. One has to be in exactly the right mood to enjoy a night out drinking with strange boys and this one was not in that mood.

So, Bechdel's book. It was incredible and so compelling I was up till nearly 2am reading it. Who knew she was so heady and literate! The "tragicomic" tale brims with references to Greek mythology and literature, Proust, Fitzgerald, Wallace Stevens, more Proust and a tiny bit more Proust after that. Lots of big words, too. She said, at Powell's, "I love words, maybe too much. I used a lot of big words in this book... my editor made me tone it down, believe it or not. It was much worse." Which was sweet and made me want to run up and hug her because I love words too and her love of words plus my love of words makes a special feeling start to burn in my chest... I wonder if she was planning to stick around for the dyke march which is happening today...

Anywhooooo... where was I? Right. Reading her book. I won't say much more because everyone should read it. It's lovely and tragic and my experience of it was certianly enhanced by the reading I saw. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned at that reading, and something I feel compelled to share, because everyone who knows her work should know this: she works unbelievely hard on each and every panel she draws. First of all, she seems to have no confidence in her innate ability to draw -- so she begins each panel (each one, even for her Dykes to Watch Out For strip) by doing extensive GoogleImage searches for the things she wants to draw -- buildings, clothing, hairstyles, whatever. *THEN*, get this, she uses a digital camera and tripod to take photos of herself in the position of every single character she's going to drawn in every single panel. Think about it. Each figure you see in each panel of each Dykes to Watch Out For strip, no matter how tiny and inconsequential and in the background it might be, you can bet that Alison Bechdel posed for herself to have a picture of what a body looks like in that position. Amazing. I mean, it took her seven years to finish this book, for Christ's sake! That's dedication to one's art.

I'm deeply impressed and feel disgusted with my own lack of motivation to do anything that even begins to feel tedious around my own "art" -- I started working on a long story this summer (maybe something that could someday be a novel...?) about the place where I work, I got about 30 pages in and just abandoned it. Why?? Where is my drive and my stamina and my love of my "art"?? Why is it so easy to sit here and blog, but so difficult to open the word processing program with my story in it? The instant gratification of instant publication, for a start. Hmm. But nevermind, that question was meant to be facetious. Dammit all.

Read Alison Bechdel's book, it's great.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

i like doing stuff alone, but this is ridiculous

I had this thought, earlier today, to write a post called "i like doing stuff alone," because I was doing lots of fun stuff alone and I was thinking about the stuff I was doing and the aloneness of it, etc. But now, I find I am unexpectedly spending the whole night alone, and I realize I'm suddenly much less excited about my aloneness...

So here's my story. On very little sleep, I worked from 8am to 4:30pm today, functioning on a lethal combo of caffeine and sugar (bad for so many reasons). I had plans to meet up with SK at Powell's City of Books later to hear Alison Bechdel read from her new graphic memoir "Fun Home," leaving me two short hours to kill during which I needed to choose classes for next fall because my registration is due tomorrow. The bus ride home to get my car was daunting, and Old Town Pizza with it's delicious "magic cup" (Black Butte Porter with a shot of espresso, mmmmmmmmm) was so near and so tantalizing -- so I decided to stay downtown, have a magic cup, and work on my schedule there.

It was lovely. Old Town Pizza is in a gorgeous old building, on top of some of the infamous shanghai tunnels, and, sitting in some of their low-lit nooks and crannies, all adorned with antique furniture and decor, it's not hard to imagine a time when you could find yourself liquored up, dropped through a trap-door and spirited away underground to a waiting ship where you'd spend the rest of your days slaving away for some terrible pirate captain. I love Portland lore.

Anyway, I had my beer and enjoyed the atmosphere and picked out some classes I can live with for the fall, then I left. I decided to head over to the sushi-train at Sushi Takahashi on Broadway on my way to Powell's for a quick snack. Sushi trains are the perfect non-burger fast food. They're cheap, you can eat as little or as much as you like, and the food isn't all deep-fried and disgusting... though some of it is... and that's ok. I learned that I've been erroneously calling the sushi conveyor at Sushi-ville on NW 23rd a "sushi train" -- Sushi-ville just has a plain old conveyor while Sushi Takahashi has an actual train with a tiny little plastic conductor that runs around the bar on a real track delivering freshly rolled goodness, right on schedule. Choo, choo!

Ok... yeah...

Sitting at Sushi Takahashi, I started reflecting on how nice it is to have little downtown adventures alone. Going where ever my mood takes me, talking to strangers if I want, trying new things. I'm really good at bursts of aloneness. Long periods of sustained aloneness, however, are harder and can get me pretty depressed. Yeah. With all this on my mind, I headed off to Powell's to grab seats for me and SK before the teeming masses arrived. I'd expected a nice hour alone during which time I planned to read more of Bechdel's new, aforementioned graphic memoir (which I'd begun at Old Town Pizza), but as soon as I got there, I ran into a couple of old friends and we ended up chatting the whole time till SK showed up and the show started soon after.

I had no idea until today that Alison Bechdel had a new book or that she was coming to town. This morning, SK mentioned out of the clear blue that she'd gotten the book and read it all last night and that she was interested in going to the reading. I went to see Bechdel years ago when "The Indelible Alison Bechdel" came out (she's famous for her "Dykes to Watch Out For" comic strip, FYI) -- I bought one for my friend Bec (see old posts concerning Bec's recent visit for context) and had her inscribe it: "To Becky Jo," which was meant to irritate Bec, but she probably didn't even notice. SK loaned me the book today and I read the first chapter -- fascinating and touching, grim and gorgeous, it documents her complicated relationship with her father, their conflicts with gender and each other, their shared, careful study of the masculine, in fact, their shared queerness, and her father's (possible) suicide when she was 20. Wow. Don't worry, all that's in the first chapter, so I gave nothing away.

The reading was intense and Bechdel was quiet, shy, introspective, quirky and awesome. Oh, and also gorgeously, masculinely hot. She's really quite something. The audience brimmed with a genuine, warm affection and she was so humble and forthright, she deserved every ounce of their good attention. Wow. It was really something.

We left when the book signing started and SK and I parted ways. She cycled home and I headed towards the bus mall (stopping first to check out Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past," which figures in the memoir... Uh, yeah, it's in three volumes, all of which are very long... now I remember why I've been avoiding it all these years...) -- I was planning to catch the 8 back to my house to pick up my car and drive back over to SK's, but while I stood, waiting on the bus mall, SK called to say she was just going to take a bath and go to bed. Ouch. I was uninvited.

So now I'm home sulking and blogging and trying to decide if I should head up to the Pub to meet Fat Tony who called ealier and invited me. Apparently he was going to play bike-polo and then out for a beer with his buddies. Bike polo, according to Fat Tony, was invented so you could "ride bikes and break your clavicle... or something..." Whatever. I like keeping all my clavicles and somethings unbroken. And I think I'm too tired to drink a beer. Maybe I'll just read the rest of Bechdel's book and go to bed like a good girl. See what tomorrow brings.

word of the middle of the night


Main Entry: in·tran·si·gent
Pronunciation: -j&nt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Spanish intransigente, from in- + transigente, present participle of transigir to compromise, from Latin transigere to come to an agreement -- more at TRANSACT
1 a : refusing to compromise or to abandon an extreme position or attitude : UNCOMPROMISING b : IRRECONCILABLE
2 : characteristic of an intransigent person

Today I made SK check my grades for me because I was too afraid I'd failed my Conusmer Law exam. I mean, I failed to *finish* it. I failed to complete about 30 percent of it. I thought that would surely mean failure of the whole exam and I wouldn't have even checked my grades at all, except that I needed to know how many hours I'd have to register for this fall to graduate in December. Holy shit, I'm almost done with law school...

Anyway, SK was super sweet and gleefully accepted my half-joking suggestion that she check my grades via computer instead of me. And ohmigod I can't believe it but I didn't fail. I eeked by with the lowest grade that doesn't count as failing, which means I get credit for the class, which means I only have to take nine credits this fall. Yay. SK was so sweet, she went out and bought me Philip Roth's autobiography, since I'm on such a Philip Roth kick these days, as a "you didn't fail" present. That's awesome. That's the first gift I've gotten in my whole long life for grades. Wow. Thanks SK.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

we're just dumb

I'm working tonight with Fat Tony and Chubby and we're acting like twelve-year-old boys. We've made a whole night of "stroganoff" jokes, and I'm not even going to explain what's funny about it. If you can't figure it out on your own, you're better off not knowing. I love my job.

taking every opportunity to bully the freaks

So, I guess some report was just released citing improprieties in the distribution of aid money by FEMA post-Katrina. I keep hearing about it on NPR and I saw blips about it on the internet news engines. Of course it sucks that aid money was misappropriated and given out to the wrong people for the wrong things by the inept bureaucracy of FEMA, but I can't help but notice something troubling. I saw this highlighted on the internet and just now I heard it again on NPR: some guy in his thick, Southern accent, was listing off all the shockingly inappropriate things the misappropriated aid money was actually used for, including gambling and trips to strip clubs. I was braced and sure enough, he saved the best for last. "And get this," he said, pausing for effect. "This money was even used to pay for a sex change operation." With heavy emphasis on these last three words. As though a sex change operation is the height of frivolous, lecherous luxury, a thousand times more wasteful and debauched than gambling and strip clubs combined.

Ok, yes, I appreciate that sex changes seem exotic and titillating and are certain to get people's attention. I also appreciate that sex change operations were not necessarily what FEMA had in mind when it handed out post-Katrina relief money. But fuck, have a heart. When I think of somebody scamming FEMA for money for a sex-change, I don't think of some fat-cat, opportunist laughing all the way to the nudie bar, I think of somebody in genuine physical and psychological distress who is too poor to privately fund an operation that virtually no insurance on earth would cover, grasping at the best and likely only opportunity to come along. Jesus, it's not like this person (whoever he or she may be) got the FEMA check and said "Sweet! My FEMA check! What's the most wasteful, crazy, fucked up thing I could do with it?? I know! I'll get a frivolous and unnecessary sex change operation! Awesome!!"

I mean, really.

all the weird shit happens at 11:59

Just as I'm ready to leave work and head out for my bus some drunk guy comes in and messes everything up. First of all, the on-caller at the door buzzes him in, thinking he belongs here. He doesn't. Second, he's drunk and feeling very entitled. He argued with us when we explained that we are not a hotel, even though our sign still says we are. Drunk people with entitlement issues tend to think we're lying when we explain that it's a historic building and we leave "hotel" on the sign for that reason. Trust me, drunk people. We're not lying.

Then he wanted a bathroom. I know, we seem like monsters, but we are private housing with vulnerable clientelle and we do not let drunk jerks in off the street to use the bathroom. Sorry. That made him even more mad. We finally convinced him to walk back out the door, but then he just stood there on the other side of the glass staring in at us and telling us how illegal we are. Um. No. Whatever.

So I called the cops on him. Sorry dude, but you can't just stand there in our doorway scaring our clients and keeping me hostage. Now I have to walk to my bus in a few minutes and hopefully the cops will have come by then so he doesn't stalk me all the way to the bus-stop. I think I can take him, but I'd rather not have to, you know what I mean?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

woops: misadventures at the laundry

Today was to be my big laundry and errand day, however, unanticipated laundry troubles turned the day into an extended laundry adventure. It's actually not that exciting. I went to check my wash when I anticipated the cycles would be finished, and saw through the little round window that my clothes were still steeping in tons and tons of water. Hmm.

So I went to tell the little lady who sits behind a desk on the other side of the laundromat (the dry cleaner's side), and she came over to investigate. It hadn't drained, it hadn't spun, it had just stopped. She got out six quarters from the register and ran all the cycles through again, but it never drained and it never spun. So, after quite a long delay already (and already mentally juggling the rest of my day's errands which were already planned on the tightest of schedules) she prepared for the worst: to open the front loading washer while filled to the brim with water.

It was really amazing and I could tell by the nonchalant way she assembled the necessary items (armloads of towels and a giant, empty trashcan) that she'd done this before. She was nice about it and I was nice about it and then, when everything was in place, she opened the door. It was amazing. She had the trash can positioned right in front of the little round door and when it opened, the water just spewed out in an arc, right into the trash can. It looked exactly like the washing machine was vomiting water. It was really, really cool. Most of the water ended up going right into the trash can and the rest that oozed out was absorbed by all the towels she had spread in front of the machine. When all was said and done, there was only a little water left on the floor to be mopped. Pretty incredible.

By then, I was hungry and I really needed to pee (lots of coffee plus no public bathrooms at the laundry equals discomfort) so I headed home, while the lady dragged my completely drenched and dripping laundry to the back room where she would run it through another washer's rinse and spin cycle to prepare them for safe drying. I just live a couple blocks from the laundry, fortunately, so I had a quick trip to the bathroom and a super yummy sandwich, then ran back to the laundry, congratulating myself on my patience with the whole experience and happy I wasn't the kind of person who treats employee's poorly when things go wrong.

Thank god I hadn't been nasty to the woman, because it turned out I overfilled the washer and that's probably what made it malfunction. Woops. As she rolled the big cart full of my recently spun laundry from the back she said, somewhat less friendly than before, "One problem was that it was overfilled. That can sometimes mess the machine up." I felt like a dipshit, though I can honestly say that I didn't realize I was overfilling the machine at the time. Isn't it such a fine line really? Who's to know exactly how much is too much? Not me. Although, I'll be much more careful next time. Watching the machine vomit water was cool, but once was enough.

Monday, June 12, 2006

poem of the day

This Is Just to Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


Last night I went to a Process Work party with SK. It was a birthday party for a very, very long-time and well-loved member of the community and it was interesting to watch the dynamics among the people who were there in Zurich at the beginning of what became Process Work, people who have known and loved each other for twenty, thirty years, depending which people you're talking about, and the layers upon layers of new-comers, mostly sitting reverently by, just soaking up the contact with their elders.

I was a little awkward, but it was ok. There was wine and several people I knew. The weather was wonderful and the house was in the West Hills, clinging to the side of one of those hills, actually, and we spent a lot of time out on the back deck which dropped off into a steep, lush ravine. Gorgeous. Everyone was warm and happy to be together and I sat with SK, at times wanting to crawl into her lap.

We left after one short hour to run to the airport to pick up Dutch who was just coming back from Holland after getting her PhD in Organizational Psychology. So now she is Dr. Dutch! She was exhausted from a long flight but very happy to see us. We wanted to bring her back to the party, but she was too tired. She was a sweetheart and brought me back a treat, some funny little butter-syrup waffle cakes. At first I was *mildly* disappointed that she hadn't brought me back the super-yummy, salty licorice she'd gotten me years ago in Holland, but then I tried one of the waffles and wow! They're really good and unusual and now I'm happy to have gotten something different.

Back at the party, after dropping Dutch off at her apartment, we were too late to get any of the food (brats and a huge hunk of smoked salmon, among other things, which had seemed plentiful when we left) -- but we got there in time for the "speeches." When SK said, "Oh, we're back in time for the speeches," I think I groaned b/c I've been conditioned to associate "speeches" with some kind of unpleasant, forced formality of speaking. However, these "speeches" were just really sweet reminescences by the birthday boy's oldest and dearest friends, almost all funny stories, many of which to do with his old, long-deceased dog that everyone seemed to remember fondly. It was like peeking in on someone else's family reunion -- full of love and warmth and laughter and the timing, of course, was perfect. Nothing dragged on too long, the speeches ended just when they should have, the cake was promptly presented, cut, dispersed, and done, and the crowd began to trickle out magically. We all disappeared into the night before 10:30 and it was lovely.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

me and the world

Today, as promised... to myself... I roasted a chicken for SK. Well, I didn't just roast a chicken for SK, and I didn't just promise myself I'd roast a chicken for SK. Several days ago (or maybe it was just yesterday??), I realized that my lifestyle of idleness was making me miserable and one of the microscopic things I decided to do about it was start cooking more for other people. Specifically SK. So, today, I made lunch. But not just, like, BLTs and chips lunch. Like a good old fashioned Southern Sunday Dinner. Only, without the gravy or biscuits and less about fifteen side-dishes (b/c Sunday Dinner is usually a pretty big affair...) I made roast chicken with roasted red potatoes and asparagus. Yum. And I am going to float the idea to my friend Leo to start having weekly "Sunday Dinner" type pot-lucks with our other Southern friends... and perhaps some of our regular friends too. We'll see.

So, while SK and I sat on my front steps in the sun eating our tasty lunch, and I explained to SK my new ideas about cooking, she said, "I'm curious about you -- about how people function in your life."

I wanted to say, "So am I."

I wanted to say, "One at a time."

I wanted to say, "Badly." Or, "Inconsistently." Or, "For short periods."

I don't think I actually said anything but later I noticed, as I walked alone to the park, that I went out of my way to avoid the people with which my neighborhood was teeming. I walked to each corner and looked down each possible direction, opting for whichever street had the least visible people on it. The weather is gorgeous for the first time in awhile and, of course, everyone wants to be outside. I have this notion that I want to be around people, that I want to function within a community, but I seem to find it impossible to walk peacefully past a couple weeding their flower beds, or a family sitting on their porch, and smile and wave or say hello or do the things I think normal people probably do when they encounter otherwise friendly members of their own species.

I watched dogs play at an off-leash park a few days ago and it was really enlightening. It's so simple for dogs, their socializing is so clean and well defined. There's a moment of sniffing. There's a clear hierarchy that generally isn't challenged. There's a little wagging, and then they're off. The dogs I watched, as new ones joined here and there, seemed genuinely happy to be in the park, to be in the sun, to be running, to be in the company of other dogs. I think that I am also happy to be in the company of other humans, but I guess that isn't always true. I told SK that I'm like a cat who wishes it were a dog. Cats are tempermental, bitchy, suspicious and lazy. That's me. How can I bring out my inner yellow lab? (A labotomy? No, that's just the cat talking, ignore it...)

So, for practice, I'm going to a party with SK tonight. I washed and conditioned my hair with the Nexus samples that came with my New York Times a few weeks ago and thought of Henry Miller. Hopefully the party will be fun and I will not be too weird. Everyone cross your fingers.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

my idle life

I sat in the coffeeshop for hours today. My inner scene is this violent place and I do a lot of battle there even if it looks like I'm only sitting, drinking coffee, staring into space or appearing to read. Sometimes I *am* reading. Sometimes I'm struggling quietly with all these demons, feeling like Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton rolled into one and not a little disgusted with myself, and that's the point. Always disgusted with myself. That's the demons winning.

Anyway, I wish I could say all this idleness had a good purpose. Today, I did not: walk to the store for cucumber starts, buy a replacement lightbulb for the one that burnt out last week over the sink, cook SK (who has spent the entire day transcribing last night's class and seeing clients) a nice dinner, wash my dishes or my laundry, clean up the Sunday Times that has been laying in the floor for seven days or check my mail.

SK says "I don't understand how you spend your days." Or something like that. Neither do I.

We watched the film Broken Flowers yesterday. SK says, "I like these little vignettes." I wonder if I could ever make a living from vignettes.

I'm reading a novel/memoir by Hemingway and it's very sweet, the relationship between himself and his wife who is called Miss Mary by everyone including him. He and Miss Mary have a firmly established respect and tenderness for one another -- a palpable trust. She trusts his knowledge and his ability to *do* things, he trusts her knowledge and the consistancy of her compaionship and, at the heart of it, they both seem to really like each other without having to be too claustrophobic about it. I am studying them.

I want to say to SK, "Don't mind this idleness. I may appear to do nothing, but really I am composting my life experiences in my mind into the mulch of my writing." I want to assure her that my apparant idleness is all to a very noble, artful purpose. And, in some part of me, I believe it. After all, I'm not actually idle. I'm reading, writing, thinking, researching -- all the while beating back the demons that say "you are worthless, you will never write anything but unread blogposts, you will never get a job you love, you may as well hop under the wheels of the next bus that thunders by." Just fighting the demons alone is like a full day's work.

I want to say all that to SK, but I'm afraid I'll never produce the results that will show my explanation to be accurate. Nothing but blogposts and coffeebreath at the end of the day. In the fall, school will start back and save me from myself. By the time August comes, I will be thankful for it.

word of the day


Main Entry: pre·ter·nat·u·ral
Pronunciation: "prE-t&r-'na-ch&-r&l, -'nach-r&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Medieval Latin praeternaturalis, from Latin praeter naturam beyond nature
1 : existing outside of nature
2 : exceeding what is natural or regular : EXTRAORDINARY (wits trained to preternatural acuteness by the debates -- G. L. Dickinson)
3 : inexplicable by ordinary means; especially : PSYCHIC (preternatural phenomena)


It's been about a month since spring semester ended and summer recouperation began and, I'm sorry to report, things in my world have been pretty lame. Things with the lovely and talented SK have been bumpy. The weather has been shitty. And I've been feeling depressed: lethargic, flat, bored, sedentary, brain-dead, regular-dead, unexcited, unentertained, uninspired and pathetic. That sucks a lot.

I've been realizing, lately, that I seem to do better when I'm really busy and only have tiny increments of time for the things I feel passionately about. When I can only read a little, I read passionately. When I can only write a little, I write passionately. My blog posts were deep and interesting during the semester when I had the least amount of time for posting -- but as soon as the world opened up before me, I found I could not manage to go deep or write interestingly about much of anything. Even with SK, I seem to shine from the periphery, but I sputter and fail when I'm experienced full-on.

What *is* that?

I'm thinking about getting a second job or volunteering somewhere. I think I'm no good at structuring my own time. As Sysiphus, I fail at establishing my own meaning for life. I've stopped bothering to even roll the boulder up the hill anymore, now I just sort of sit in its shadow and sulk. Seems very much against the rules, as Greek myths go, and my depression feels like punishment for taking myself outside the system and off my task. But what's the system, in this context? And what was my task? To get a law job over the summer? To work for birdlady? I don't know. I'm lost. At least Sysiphus's task was simple and clear. Roll boulder uphill. Rinse. Repeat. No point becoming immobilized by indecision, there was nothing to decide. Just the labor and the brief respite as he walked back to the bottom of the hill to begin again.

But, on the other hand, I'm a little disgusted with myself for this indulgence. I mean, what a privilege in this world to sit in my comfy apartment on my high-speed internet with plenty of food to eat and water to drink, safe from harm, indulging in a little existential crisis. I should go live in some third world country where the crises are less esoteric, I think my soul would suffer a little less and my body would stop rotting from lack of use.

Friday, June 09, 2006

opening up all around

It's nice to see Blogger is done sucking. Every time I've tried to post the past few days, the service has either been interminably slow or completely malfunctioning. Keeping my fingers crossed as I work on this post, hoping it will still be working when I'm done.

Yesterday I had my first therapy appointment with a real, live, high-priced, Process Work therapist. It was pretty good. I was on fire, really, with all the things I wanted to say and she didn't have too much work to do at first. Then it got trickier and she really came through. So... that was pretty good.

And later, SK gave me an accupuncture treatment. Among all the other incredible things SK is and can do, she's an accupuncturist. A few weeks ago, she was stimulating my liver channel (by pressing the living shit out of some points on my foot) and accidentally unleashed a chi-monster that has been making my right eye twitch ever since. So I asked her please to do something to try and stop the eye-twitching before I go completely mad.

So she pressed those points on my foot again for a bit and then she said, somewhat nonchalantly, "Shall I put a needle in, just so you'll know how it feels?" I immediately drew my foot up and hid it under my other leg while she rummaged around for a pack of needles. I've always considered acupuncture a viable treatment option and one that I would eventually explore, but the thought, suddenly, of having a needle stuck into the tender skin on the top of my foot was pretty unpleasant.

SK cajoled and I relented and pretty soon I found myself impaled on five, spindly little needles: one in each foot, one on each hand and one between my eyes. I lay there like a star-fish, pinned to a corkboard, for ten minutes and felt subtle and sometimes painful things happening to my body. It was really incredible -- these tiny needles, which I could barely feel as pricks to the skin, were causing deep, massive, painful sensations in my hands and feet, as though heavy rocks had been laid on each limb. SK assured me that was good, it was a sign that my massively stuck chi was actually moving. I took her word for it and concentrated on relaxing my body, which was tight as a spring.

By the end of ten minutes, I was a lot more peaceful and I was even feeling a bit euphoric -- a sensation emanating from the needle in my forhead. It was pretty amazing. After she took the needles out, I still felt like iron rods had been driven through my hands and feet. That feeling slowly changed to the feeling of being bruised. Now, twelve hours later, all that remains is a thick lump of very, very tight, painful muscle between the thumb and forefinger of my right hand, the hand which had had the biggest sensation last night.

But you wanna know something interesting? Lately, when I've been using the neti-pot each morning (thanks again, Joolie) it has been taking FOREVER for the water to run through. It just drip-drip-drips out so slow and sometimes just stops completely! But this morning, it poured through like a charm, faster and smoother than ever before. So I reckon some chi got moved around in my head last night, and that's awesome.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

word of the day


Main Entry: iras·ci·ble
Pronunciation: i-'ra-s&-b&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle French, from Late Latin irascibilis, from Latin irasci to become angry, be angry, from ira
: marked by hot temper and easily provoked anger

The bogged-down, chronically malfunctioning has been making me feel irascible today. Just to use it in a sentence for you...

it was only a matter of time

I got stuck working graveyard last night after my swing shift should've ended. One of the graveyard guys overslept and by the time he woke up, the buses weren't running. Yeah, sure, whatever. I ended up napping a lot and getting a little bonus for working the double shift, so I can't complain. Now I'm delirious and ready to lay down for a real sleep for a few hours. As soon as the benadryl I just took kicks in and these freaking sneezes stop...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

i take it all back, dickie

Thanks to the chicks over at The Dyke Squad for making me hip to this quote, lifted from the Chicago Tribune, from my new favorite shot-gun wielding vice prez concerning homo marriage, a current hot topic among the fascist bastards on the HIll who are currently trying to shove an anti-gay marriage amendment into the constitution:

'Vice President Dick Cheney, in 2004, said, "People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. Traditionally that's been an issue for the states. . . . That would be my preference."'

Thanks Dick. Considering your daughter Mary is a big ol' dyke, you could've been a little more explicitly supportive, but Jesus, at this point in the Republican rhetoric, your statement sounds like a ringing endorsement of the homo agenda to me. I could just kiss you on your fat little jowl... if you'd just lay that .12 gauge down first, please...

in the middle of the night

So, remember how I was all whiney last week when I missed the 12:06 bus and had to wait for the 12:36 bus after work? Well, it gets worse my friends. Tonight, Old Hippie was 45 minutes late for his graveyard shift, which meant I couldn't catch a bus home till 1:36am. That's a.m. my friends. That's late. And another bummer is that I misread the schedule and didn't realize there wasn't a bus at 1:05, so I left work and went to the bus stop soooooooo much sooner than I needed to. So there's me, sitting on the corner of 2nd and Everett, on the concrete, leaning against the bus-stop sign, half-asleep, reading "True at First Light," the last published novel by Hemingway, with $120 in cash rolled up and resting under my arch inside my sock, which I did almost superstitiously -- I'm generally not afraid around this town, but I also don't generally walk around with six twenty dollar bills in my wallet (happens to be pay day)...

Anyway, I got home at 2am and by then I was too zapped to sleep, so I've been sitting here eating chips and hummus and entertaining myself on websites. I just spent the past fifteen minutes reading the extensive wikipedia entry concerning Fraggle Rock, a portion of which I have cut and will now paste here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy: (who knew Fraggle Rock was so deep??)

Fraggle Rock is a children's television series created by Jim Henson, primarily featuring a cast of Muppet creatures called Fraggles, with music by Philip Balsam and Dennis Lee.
The vision of Fraggle Rock articulated by Jim Henson was to depict a colorful and fun world, but also a world with a relatively complex system of symbiotic relationships between different "races" of creatures, an allegory to the human world, where each group was somewhat unaware of how interconnected and important they were to one another. Creating this allegorical world allowed the program to entertain and amuse while seriously exploring complex issues of prejudice, spirituality, personal identity, environment, and social conflict. Fraggle Rock generally refused to over-simplify any individual issue, instead simply illustrating the consequences and inherent difficulties of different actions and relationships. Though the Fraggles do learn important lessons, they rarely are aware that they are learning them. The ideals of friendship, being true to yourself, and learning to love those who are incredibly different, were the cornerstone of Jim Henson's work throughout his 40 year career, and he considered Fraggle Rock to be one of the purest and most successful expressions of that vision.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

real life x men

Ok, I'm no big fan of comics, so I might be getting the point of X-Men all wrong, but I just wanted to draw a slight comparison between the comic series and a real-life event. According to Yahoo News, doctors in China have just removed an extra, third arm from a baby boy. The kid basically had two left arms, neither was perfect but both were "surprisingly well formed" according to the docs. I'm not saying they flipped a coin to decide which one to remove, but it sounded about as arbitrary. In the pics on Yahoo you could see really clearly how amazingly *right* both his little arms looked, which leads me to wonder...

Why not leave the kid with his three freaking arms??? I mean, how cool would it be to have an extra arm?? Or at least leave the arm long enough for him to grow up and decide whether he wants it removed. And what if they picked the wrong arm? What if the arm they removed was actually the one with the most sensation or the most latent ability to be flexible or dextrous or whatever arms and hands can be. I mean, forget the arm, think for just a minute about the extra *hand*! Having an extra hand is like having an extra face: hands are so expressive and communicative and helpful -- so full of life and personality.

So, back to the X-Men, aren't we doing what those comics warn about in their alternate universe? Aren't we squelching the mutants among us, literally? This is similar to the gigantic paper I wrote last semester about "gender normalizing" surgeries performed on babies born with so-called ambiguous genitalia. Instead of allowing a whole panoply of sexual development and expression to flourish, we squelch it in it's infancy and apply a crude cookie-cutter to babies, almost always opting (against all outweighing physical evidence) to make the baby a girl because it's easier to make a hole than a pole. No matter how much testicular tissue has to be permanently cut away, no matter that you might have to administer female hormones at puberty to induce development of secondary sex characteristics, no matter *what* medical contortions are required to successfully "normalize" the kid -- we've decided that this is the best way to "treat" difference.

That's fucked up. And I guess that's my big statement about it. That it's fucked up. So there you go.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Sometimes I love boys. Last night, after a particularly sad phone call with SK, I went out and got drunk with Fat Tony and a couple of his friends and it was really, really fun. We went to my favorite old dive bar, Billy Ray's, and thought our low supply of cash would prevent us from drinking too much, but we were wrong. We made our cash stretch further than we imagined it would and Fat Tony drew the ire of the bartender after scraping together *just* enough to buy us two last (giant) PBRs but not enough to tip. (Not only did she give him a dirty look as he grabbed the beers, she made a point later to say, as she walked by us upstairs, "What, you didn't like my service?" To which Fat Tony replied "It's not that, I'm just broke." To which she replied, "Must be nice." To which I replied, "Cunt." But she was gone by then and didn't hear. Fat Tony then said something surprisingly generous about how *she's* really the one who suffers inside from her bad attitude. So true, Fat Tony. So true.) After that, and after I whooped Fat Tony's ass at the three Ps (ping-pong, pin-ball and Ms. PacMan), when we thought the fun was over because the money was certainly gone, Fat Tony's housemate Captain Morgan showed up with three Ranier Tallboys (for those of you not lucky enough to live on the West Coast, Ranier is like Pabst... which is like Budweiser only cheaper...) What a sweetheart for buying us a round, even after I beat him at Medieval Madness pin-ball. I have to say, I was on fire last night with the games and Fat Tony was surprisingly gracious as his ass was handed to him over and over again in each successive game. I may get shitty grades in school, but I kick ass at bar games. After hours and hours of drinking and playing games and chatting and taking drags off Fat Tony's cigarettes, the party was over and we all went our separate ways. What a good night with boys.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

the night is alive

I am at home alone for the second night in a row and I don't like it. I don't want to be at home alone. Instead of being in the place I'd rather be, I'm sitting at my desk with the computer in my lap and my front door open. It's warm enough out, which is a surprise, really, because it hasn't seemed like a warm day, even though it was. And it's raining. Which I imagined would cool the air down dramatically. Instead, it just feels humid and the humidity feels familiar, which is comforting.

It's also busy out. A busy Saturday night. Cars are back and forth and I can hear loud voices on the block, now people somewhere nearby are singing happy-birthday. It's sweet. It makes me forget, for the moment, that things with SK aren't going well, that I'm sad, that I hope each passing car might be her and that I know it won't be her. The sound of other people's happiness lifts me up a little.

Tomorrow I will try and go to Shambhala. I haven't been in weeks. Hopefully my Times will come. I will piece together some happiness for myself out of little things. Meditation, the Sunday paper, coffee, a good book, my journal. One foot in front of the other until something feels natural again.

to live a good life

I was just wondering, as I walked back from the coffeeshop, if it is at all possible to construct for one's self a good life. I don't know if I'm just depressed or if this is a perpetual state of being, a fact of life: I have no idea what to do with my life to make myself happy. I can set up a series of structures that feel good to me, based on my own little value system: I can choose to live a certain way, to eat a certain way, to take the bus to work, to recycle, to buy local, etc. I can also choose to fill my time with things that seem important to me: reading, writing, and... and what?

I sit on my ass reading and writing too much. That's part of my problem. And when my relationships feel out of whack, *I* feel out of whack. And what do I do after I've been sitting there reading and writing all day and I find myself feeling lonely? Where are my friends? Where is the love I'm supposed to have in my life? Am I incapable of managing happilly without the constant input of another person? One, close person? What happens to me when I'm left to my own devices? Do I curl up and whither like a leaf on the ground?

I don't know what to do with myself.

word of the day


Main Entry: mel·an·cho·lia
Pronunciation: "me-l&n-'kO-lE-&
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from Late Latin, melancholy
: a mental condition characterized by extreme depression, bodily complaints, and often hallucinations and delusions; especially : a manic-depressive psychosis

I dreamed last night that things in life had gotten so bad that I was homeless. Actually, in the dream, I had *been* homeless, but was, at last, living in a room in the very place where I work. For those of you who don't know, I work in a transitional housing facility for the homeless mentally ill. In addition to twenty shelter beds, we also have 30 single rooms -- tiny little rooms with beds and sinks and that's about it. Bathrooms and kitchens are shared. Yuck.

So, there I was, in my dream, having moved all my stuff into my new room, feeling finally relieved to have a place. So relieved, I didn't have the slightest inclination to freak out about the fact that I was living in a dirty, crappy homeless shelter. Weird.

Friday, June 02, 2006


I'm sick of myself. I'm sick of the post I had up before about dreams, so I took it down. I'm sick of the past couple of days. I'm sick of my attitude, sick of my behavior, sick of being needy, sick of wallowing in something, sick of hating myself, sick of not taking care of myself, sick of my old storylines, sick of my flailing and floundering, sick of all my circumstances, sick of my shit.

I am sick of my shit.

I'm done.