Monday, April 30, 2007

ask and ye shall receive

Here's the dorky picture of both my new haircut and my new orange party shirt. Rock on, orange party shirt. You're gorgeous.

Sorry you can't see the hair very much. It's hard to take a picture of your own self...

Now, one of these days I'll dig out a pic of the ol' caeser cut and see if I can't scan it and get up here. Your wishes are my commands...


Just because. (If you don't know who these people are, then it probably wouldn't matter to you anyway.)

substance abuse

Last Thursday, at work, I drank three-quarters of a cup of caffeinated coffee in my writing group, and I found myself turbo-energized. Not only did I immediately do my billing and update our writing group blog (after an embarrassingly long lapse) but I also cleaned the kitchen and swept three flights of stairs... just because.

So yesterday, when I went to my second choice coffeeshop on Alberta (since I can never again step foot inside the Black Cat b/c the nasty ex-wife might show up) and was told, once again, that they were completely out of decaf beans (which, I think, is a conspiracy perpetrated by the poser behind the counter), I thought to myself, "hey, one cup of caffeinated coffee won't kill me."

I was wrong. In fact, it DID kill me. I DID die yesterday from jittering and heart palpatations, but my body had so much residual energy left in it, I sprang immediately back to life.

Anyway, my point is: I can't drink caffeine in full doses. Ever. Under any circumstances.

And I should also lay off the beer. You know about my Saturday escapade with the lawschool people. Then, last night, I saw my friends Hoot and Dre and drank too much AGAIN. What is wrong with me?

Hoot and Dre are two of my oldest Portland friends and our friendship spans many years of hanging out and drinking too much. Granted, the definition of "too much" has changed over time (it now equals about half the beer it used to), but still: when we get together we don't quite know what else to do, so we drink.

It's kinda sad. There's absolutely nothing cool to report about the hanging out. Just that I came home soggy with beer, went to bed heavy, and woke up in a panic at 1:30am because I didn't know where I was. It was like I woke up and didn't recognize my life. I'd been dreaming about my college town (Boone, North Carolina), and feeling so fully present there. When I woke up, it was almost like all my memory of living on the west coast was temporarilly inaccessible. If I wasn't still in Boone, and I wasn't in Georgia with my family, then where the fuck was I??

It was such a freaky feeling, I slept the rest of the night with the bathroom light on. My dark apartment (which I usually love so much and in which I feel so content and safe) was still too unknown. I wanted to be able to see everything.

Anyway, I obviously blame the beer. My body is much happier when I'm careful about what I put in it. My mind is happier too. I don't otherwise wake up in a cold sweat, or hungover, for that matter. Next time, maybe I'll see if Hoot and Dre want to go roller skating at Oaks Park -- we can do that w/o beer and that would ROCK. I love to roller skate.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Ever since I started reading Jesus Christ's Blog, I feel totally ruined to all blogs everywhere. Once again, satire has revealed how asinine something really is. Which makes it hard for me to enjoy reading blogs anymore, and hard to keep writing them.

For example, I want to tell you all that I met my lawschool friends last night at the Doug Fir. I want to tell you that I hate the Doug Fir b/c it's full of yuppies, including my group apparently, and I want to confess that, for some unknown reasons, I actually chose the Doug Fir this time. It was my idea.

I also want to tell you that the Doug Fir was full of slicked up, gross old suburbanites in town to celebrate some woman's 40-something'th birthday by getting DEEEERRRRUUUUNK(!!!!) and running around hitting people with riding crops. One woman had coaxed the i.d. checking guy at the door to put two hand stamps on her VOLUPTUOUS and EXPOSED bosom. I want to tell you how gross and yet amusing all that was.

And, of course, I want to tell you that I never really enjoy hanging out with these law school people especially when they start talking about their work, which is invariably soul-sucking and awful. "Oh, you've been working to help Wal-Mart get approval for that site in Sellwood? Really? But you say you hate Wal-Mart and isn't it ironic that you're working for Wal-Mart yet you hate them? That's not ironic, that's YOU SUCKING!"

Finally, I want to tell you that I drank too much and went inside with two of the least obnoxious of my lawschool friends for some food. I ate a buffalo burger. Made out of actual buffalo. And it was really good.

So, I want to tell you all that, but all I can think of when I think of sharing those things is Jesus Christ's stupid blog and how all blogs are exactly the same and I'm just one more jerk pouring out my mundane bullshit to the world and taking myself way too seriously. Oh well. That buffalo burger was really tasty, by the way. You should know.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

not hip enough to get it

I went to Rudy's Barbershop in the Pearl today for a haircut. My last cut was growing out funny and I wore a hat all last week, so it was definitely time. Anyway, I haven't had a good haircut routine since I lived in Columbus, Ohio and went to a female barber. I went on Saturdays, she gave me a caesar cut, we listened to Car Talk on NPR, I paid her, like, ten bucks and that was that. Repeat once a month.

Now that my hair is longish again, I have no idea how to communicate my needs to my haircutter, and I end up babbling some stream-of-consciousness junk to them while sort of raking my fingers through my hair and indicating lengths and dimensions here and there. They usually seem perplexed, especially when they try to restate what they've heard and I say, "No, not that. That's not what I meant."

Anyway, they probably really hate me. And this, I think, is their revenge: at the end, ALWAYS, they "style" it a little and leave me looking like a fucking idiot. Have you had this experience? Today it went like this. He said, "I'll show you a trick, if you're willing to spend one minute on styling it in the morning."

Ok, sure. I can commit one minute to styling. So he put some gel in my hair and got out the blowdryer. "You just toussle it like this with your fingers while you get most of the moisture out..." and he's blasting my head, fluffing away, and my hair is turing into a giant tangle. Then he shuts the dryer off and says, "See, there you go. Less than a minute."

Less than appealing. I look like I'd just come in out of a hurricane. It was all tanlged and disheveled and ratty looking and he just left it like that! That's taking the term "bedhead" a little too seriously in my book.

This isn't the first time this has happened, it happens nearly every time I go in. They do some weird flourish in the end, leaving my hair, for example, all brushed forward and covering my eyes, and they say, "Alright, what do you think?" And I sort of discreetly brush some of it out of my eyes so I can see it and I say, "Yeah, that looks about right." And as I get up and walk to the counter to pay, I am trying to very subtly rake it back into a shape that doesn't cry "off meds" to anyone looking at me.

Because, I guess I'm really not as hip as all that. If that's what you'd call it.


Last night, while watching Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy (I laughed out loud, but I still don't recommend it... unless you're stoned and it's free), I heard six gunshots right outside my house and the sound of a car speeding away. WTF??

I knew I wasn't crazy, b/c the next thing I heard was the quick scuffle of feet across the floor upstairs. A sound that said, "WTF??? I gotta get a closer look!" I immediately called my upstairs guy who said he was going to call 911. Good for him. He called me back a bit later and said he'd conferred with another neighbor who also confirmed they were definitely gunshots. Within minutes, the block was swarming with cop cars, or so I'm told since I can't see anything from my basement besides the arbor vitae in the yard, however, I doubt they found anything.

Wow, so this is how it's gonna be? I haven't had the gunshot experience since I lived over on Albina and Shaver and we had two crack houses across the street and a recently defunct methlab two doors down. Those were the good old days. We heard gunshots every now and then and even though I wasn't particular scared of the crack people (they didn't mess with us, and we didn't mess with them) I was more than a little concerned about stray bullets.

My upstairs guy said this was the closest he's ever heard them. I hope it was just a fluke... but either way, I'm glad I'm in the basement. I think I'm pretty safe down here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

black cat cafe, you are dead to me!!!

True, I hadn't visited my once-favorite coffeeshop in the past few months. Ever since my body started rejecting caffeine, I've been opting for a cafe down the block that keeps decaf brewed in presspots for nerds like me. But today, feeling the pull of nostalgia, I decided to go to the ol' Black Cat anyway, just for old time's sake.

Well. I had a premonition that all would not be well in the first moments I was there. I recognized a few faces from my past in Portland's Southeast quadrant. You know that old addage "where there's smoke, there's fire?" Well, I thought, "where there's these folks, there might be my godawful, nasty, alcoholic ex-partner." AND I WAS RIGHT!

I had been there for one, slight hour when I looked up and saw CB of all people walk in the door. I don't think she saw me at first, or if she did, she played it cool and went straight up to the counter. My core body temperature went up about fifty degrees and I felt like I was trapped in one of those nightmares where a terrible monster has been chasing you and has suddenly cornered you in a place from which you can never escape, only the monster hasn't exactly found you yet, but he's creeping all around the room looking for you, and in only a moment he will turn and his eyes will fall on you and YOU WILL DIE.

That's what I felt like. So, in a near panic, I slipped my book back in my bag, left my beverage half-drunk on the table, and slipped out the door like a wisp of smoke. I practically ran down the sidewalk to get as far away as I could and when I turned to check for traffic before crossing the road, I saw her stupid little head poked out of the cafe door, watching me. GOD WOMAN! GET BACK ON YOUR SIDE OF TOWN!!!

AUGH! I have never walked the eight blocks from the Black Cat to my house so fast. And the whole way, I was scared that her stupid truck would suddenly sidle up next to me. Blech. I'll probably have nightmares tonight.

Why is she on my side of town?? Why is she at my coffeeshop?? I'm sure she has no idea, but that's the coffeeshop I used as a refuge from her in the winter of oh-five when she was still on her bender and I was trying to leave. I drove all the way up to Alberta from our house off Powell and 58th (for those of you who don't know, that's a good ways away) and randomly chose the Black Cat as the place I would come to study where she would be least likely to find me. I literally HID from her there. And there she was, suddenly. In my neighborhood, in my coffeeshop, ruining my afternoon.

Jesus Christ I think I have PTSD. This sucks.

invasive flora of the american southeast

These are not monsters. These are trees covered in kudzu. I was hanging out with some folks last week who, for some reason, asked me what the "vegetation" was like in the south. The first thing that came to mind, sadly, was kudzu.

I don't know much about kudzu. But I know that it is invasive and I know that you can't ever get rid of it and I know that it covers trees like a leafy, gorgeous blanket and then, of course, it kills them. I know that kudzu is evil.

Kudzu won't stop at trees. It will eat your car:

It will eat your house:

It will even eat your old, rusty trailer:
But don't worry. It won't eat you. It will simply destroy everything you hold dear. So be careful when you head south. Or maybe check out Wikipedia and learn something real about kudzu. I just like these pictures.

P.S. Note the id stamp on the house-eating picture. UGA is the University of Georgia at Athens. The brilliant scholars of my birthstate are ON IT! The kudzu problem is as good as solved...

the taming of the shrew

And by "shrew" I mean the little three-year-old terrorist who lives above me and holds us all hostage with his shrieking temper tantrums.

I bumped into my upstairs-lady yesterday out tending the plants in the parking strip. She asked me if I'd gotten the note from Billy.* Note from Billy? Then she explained that he had been screaming so much that morning, she had made him make me an apology note. How sweet.

She said, "He was just out of control. I mean, we don't have screaming like that in our house."

Oh don't you? By my count, you have screaming like that in your house every, single day for at least half an hour. You're in denial. But anyway, this time I managed to sleep through it, apparently, because I had no idea which screaming she was talking about.

Regardless, I think it's really awesome that they made him write an apology. Its time the little monster starts learning that there are other people on the planet besides him. How else can he be expected to grow up and be anything other than a monster?

The note, which I finally fished out of my mailbox last night after work, was sadly not written by Billy. Billy, of course, is three and as suspected can't write yet. I doubt he dictated it, but hopefully somebody at least read it to him. It says "Dear Poet, Sorry that I screamed a lot this morning." It is punctuated by a sticker shaped like a heart. On the back he has drawn a picture. A big blue and green blob that is maybe supposed to be the earth. I guess his only talent is screaming. For his part, though, I learned he has a double ear-infection. I might be screaming a lot too, in his shoes.

*Name changed to protect the minor.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

passing time

Hi peoples. It's a pretty nice day here in Portland. The sun is intermittent, but the temp is good, the birds are singing and the air smells of fresh cut grass. I took a little walk to the park awhile ago and sat in the sun (while it lasted) and read a book. Ah, this life of liesure! How I will miss it when it's gone!

Yesterday I read a book called Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. It was a small book, 90 pages (big print on small paper) and I read it in one sitting. It was a slim little denunciation of organized religion, probably less obnoxious (or so I've heard) than Richard Dawkins's God Delusion, but still, he didn't pull any punches.

I thought it was interesting but utterly pointless. To say that he's preaching to the choir is ironically appropriate. No Christians will intentionally read this book, least of all the really hard-core Christians for whom this "letter" is intended. And even if they do, his declarations of the Bible's inconsistencies and illogic probably won't give them one moment's pause. I don't know about you, but I was brought up to take it all on faith and view all doubts as seeds of evil, planted by the devil. Harris and Dawkins have an uphill battle if they think their books of reason will diminish the ranks of Christians.

Regardless of the futility, after a lifetime of being beaten over the head with a religion I can no longer stomach, I found the book slightly satisfying. Like watching the runt finally mouth off to the bully. The bully may be undeterred, but all the runts everywhere feel a little relief.


You Are 50% Feminine, 50% Masculine

You are in touch with both your feminine and masculine sides.
You're sensitive at the right times, but you don't let your emotions overwhelm you.
You're not a eunuch, just the best of both genders.
The questions they use are totally asinine, but it still managed to peg me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

goodbye audrey forbes-hamilton

And goodbye to you as well, charming Mr. DeVere. Today I was finally forced to part with my box set of the complete To The Manor Born dvds. Who knew I would develop such a strange affinity for the British upper class?

The basic premise of To The Manor Born is this: Mrs. Forbes-Hamilton's family has occupied the Grantliegh Estate for over 400 years, however, her late husband Martin ran it into financial ruin. She learns, on the happy occasion of his funeral, that the estate is bankrupt and she will have to sell Grantliegh Manor and leave her ancestral home. Poor thing.

A rich businessman named Richard DeVere buys the manor and moves in with his Czechoslovakian mother and lots of big plans to turn the estate into a real working farm, which he hopes will supply some of his grocery stores with produce. Audrey is effronted by his being a businessman and (gasp) a foreigner. She moves into the old Grantliegh Manor Lodge, a tiny cottage at the end of the drive, to keep an eye on Mr. DeVere and their love-hate relationship begins.

The characters are all so sweet and the stories are so simple and engaging, it's just a shame there were only three seasons. I was surprised to feel so much sympathy with Audrey's interest in maintaining old traditions and mores. There was a sense of everything having a place that really appealed to me, for some reason.

I was also surprised to get from her such a sense of stewardship of both the land and the community. The idea of noblesse oblige arises in at least one of the shows, although it runs as a theme throughout. The idea that those who were born with advantage owe something back to the world. I know this was just a television show and who knows what the real Audrey Forbes-Hamiltons of the world are/were like, but I still found it inspiring.

And I'm sad to have dropped it back at the library. It's like I've just lost the company of a friend. And it's also like I am a big nerd. Oh well. I guess that's not news.

the most disturbing search terms ever -- UPDATE

Ok, you guys, somebody just accessed my blog with *this* search: "b - beautiful i - intelligent t - talented c - charming h - heartwarming"

See what they did there? They took the word "bitch" and broke it down into its different letters, and gave each letter a word that is really positive to show that women who get called bitch are actually really awesome on the inside. Isn't that so clever??

NO IT IS NOT!!! I hate shit like that. People who enjoy that kind of "clever wordplay" are the same people who forward emails with a hundred moving gifs of puppies falling down and smiling, or with fifty heelarious jokes about how a cucumber makes a better partner than a man.


More to come on my new personal war on tacky... stay tuned.

UPDATE: My mind is a sieve. Apparently, I already addressed this issue HERE. At least this explains why a search for these terms brings people to my blog...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

all you ever wanted to know about me

Ok, maybe not ALL. And maybe these aren't even things you ever wanted to know about me. But these are definitely things. About me.

Anyway, SoozieQ over at Veering Off Course was offering to send five unique interview questions to any blogger who asked. Any blogger! And all you had to do was ask! Well, you know how I love to answer questions, so how could I resist?

So here are my five questions and here are my five, exciting answers.

1) A person you don’t particularly like has food stuck between his teeth. Do you tell him?

This is quite a dilemma. If I REALLY didn't like him, I wouldn't tell him. Why? Not because I don't like him and I want him to go around with food in his teeth like a shmuck, but because there's something just slightly intimate about telling someone they have food between their teeth and if this was a person I REALLY didn't like, I wouldn't want to go there. I'd just ignore it.

2) What talent do you have that you think would surprise your readers?

I don't know if this would surprise anybody, but I'm really good at Mrs. Pacman, preferably the table variety. I can beat *anybody* except this one chick MaryAnne I used to know. She was just slightly better.

3) If you knew you could you try anything and not fail (and money was no object), what dream would you attempt?

I would try to write more seriously. If I suddenly won the lotto, for example, and I didn't have to work for a living, among many other things, I would probably try to focus on writing. I might also try living abroad. Oh, and I'd definitely go walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, which I'd intended to be walking right about now, but decided against it while I was in the delirium of studying for the bar.

4) If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?

I would like to wake up with a certain kind of almost aggressive confidence. The kind of confidence that you can trust to carry you through any situation, no matter how nerve-wracking. That would help in the job search, I believe.

5) Why did you start your blog and how (if at all) has it evolved since then?

I started this here blog in December of 2005, sitting in a coffeeshop, studying for exams and convincing myself to leave my partner at the time who was a terrible alcoholic. Through the two and a half year duration of our partnership (during which time we actually got married in Multnomah County because, for about a month, that kind of thing was legal), she had only been a mediocre drunk, but in those last few months, she'd gone on an incredible bender and had been making my life absolutely miserable.

I felt so crazy and alone during that time with her, the blog served as a great way to sort out my thoughts, make my plans, and have the sensation of having someone else to answer to. For example, if I declared in a post that I was going to handle something a particular way, I felt a sort of obligation outside myself to handle it that way, rather than letting the situation overwhelm me. It was really good.

I think I moved out of her house within a day or so of actually starting the blog, but the disentangling of our lives took a few months and I continued to blog about it prolifically. Until you've been intimately involved with an alcoholic, you have no idea how crazy-making and painful it is. Wow. It's pretty unreal. Thank god for the blog during that time.

Eventually, though, I blogged less and less about that stuff and more and more about life in general. At that point, I saw the blog as a writing exercise, a way to learn to write concise, self-contained pieces in one sitting with minimal editing. When I write for myself, I tend to labor too much over tiny details and slog myself up in self-doubt. The blog had such an immediacy, it was like a zen meditation exercise. I was able to stay really present with it because I knew I would press "publish" and then it would be available to the world, if anybody in the world was interested.

I loved it then and I still do, although as I have become more aware of a readership, I have felt slightly more constrained to write less for the sake of writing and more for the sake of entertaining people, even just mildly. I've also tried to be more aware of the differences between simple navel-gazing and sharing something that might actually be meaningful to someone about my own process. I think the first thing is annoying and the second thing is what I usually shoot for. And I try not to let the blog become my bitchfest-dumping-ground-of-everything-that-pisses-me-off. Thanks to SK, I at least TRY to take things one step further, to understand something a little better, to question myself and my reactions, rather than just lambasting everything that crosses my path. Because, really, look how far that gets us.

And I try not to sound too self-righteous.

THANKS SOOZIEQ!!! That was fun.

Monday, April 23, 2007

the things i've been hearing on the radio

Because, even though I have SK's tv in my house now, I still get no reception. I get all my news from NPR and here's what I've heard today, in order of appearance:

1.) Boris Yeltsin is dead. When I heard it, my first thought was "Wonder why Putin would have Yeltsin assassinated?" Although, I guess it's possible for a prominant Russian to, you know, just die. Like, of natural causes...

2.) GeeDub is still standing behind his boy Alberto which, from my observation, seems like the biggest kiss-of-death since "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." Al may as well start packing his bags.

3.) On Talk of the Nation, they were debating different solutions to possible future school-shooter scenerios. Caller after caller suggested that professors and/or students should be encouraged to carry concealed weapons on campuses. You know, so they could "take down" the next school shooter before he had a chance to kill too many people. Okaaaaaay....

You know, it would be one thing if it was just one crazy guy calling to suggest that, but there were SEVERAL crazies with that idea. Throwing guns at a gun problem seems, to me, a uniquely American (and, by the way, idiotic and ridiculous) "solution." Why of *course* we'd all be much safer if we were all carrying concealed weapons! Or heck! Why bother concealing them?? Why don't we just strap our revolvers right on our belts, just like the Wild West?? You know how safe the wild west was! What could go wrong??

I happen to like guns, but I like reason even better.

you can run, but you can't hide

You know the Bible 82%!

Wow! You are truly a student of the Bible! Some of the questions were difficult, but they didn't slow you down! You know the books, the characters, the events . . . Very impressive!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

I had no idea I'd score this high. I guess it really sticks with you... yikes.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

i spend my free time on imaginary girlfriends

I'm watching Muriel's Wedding. Can I just tell you that, if I didn't have the lovely SK as my real-life girlfriend, I would go stalk Toni Collette. I'm sure that, once she stopped being afraid of me, she'd love me.

Why are they all so mean to Muriel??? This is heartbreaking.

(Please don't be mad, SK. I don't really want to go stalk Toni Collette, I promise.)

(Also, for the record, this picture is obviously not from Muriel's Wedding. It's from my other favorite movie Little Miss Sunshine, which is SO GOOD.)

Update: "Since I've met you and moved to Sydney, I haven't listened to one ABBA song. It's because now my life's as good as an Abba song. It's as good as Dancing Queen." That's about the sweetest thing anybody could ever say. Why did it take me so long to finally see this movie?

drivers wanted

This is an old VW ad slogan. The idea is that there are two kinds of people in the world: drivers and passengers. This slogan challenges you to step up to the plate and announce yourself as a driver by buying a VW. Yeah, whatever.

But I've been thinking about this concept lately anyway. I tend to be pretty passive. I've had a lifetime, heavilly weighted in the direction of childhood, of experiences which conditioned me to be adaptable and open to a variety of situations. Specifically, I've been trained to let others have their way while I acclimate myself to their decisions.

This started out, I'm sure, as a survival skill, but it is turning more and more into a liability. I finally realized what it's like on the other side of my passivity during the silent hike with the buddhists last weekend. Several of the participants remarked that they found it really nice to know that they were being led on the hike. Because they trusted the leader and didn't have to worry about the details (picking out a hike, paying attention to the trails, finding the way back), they were able to relax into the detached mindfullness which was the point of the hike.

As they spoke, I realized I *always* feel relaxed on hikes because I am *always* being led. I'm never the one to pick out a hike location, figure out how to get there, find the trails and the ways up and down. I'm always hanging around with other people who have always seemed by their natures to take charge of things, to plan the hikes or trips or outings. I offer input when asked and otherwise I make myself amenable to whatever they want.

I realized, as people talked about the relief of being led, that it's been unfair for me to hog that experience, especially in my relationships. I should start planning and leading some activities so SK, for example, can enjoy the feeling of relaxing and being led along, not having to worry whether she'll remember the way back to the car. I should try and spread the joy a little.

And really, with SK in England for three months and with me out of school, circumstances are driving me to become less passive. If I sat around waiting for someone to come up with something to do, I'd be sitting around with nothing to do until July. Instead, I've started actually planning things for myself, lining up social activities and outings, checking the paper for movies and shows, checking out dvds from the library. After nearly four years of school and three very involved relationships in a row, I'm suddenly all alone (until July at least) and free to entertain myself however I like. It's pretty exciting. A challenge I look forward to tackling.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

oft repeated word of the night


Pronunciation: 'de-s&l-"tor-E also -z&l-
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin desultorius, literally, of a circus rider who leaps from horse to horse, from desilire to leap down, from de- + salire to leap -- more at SALLY
1 : marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose [a dragged-out ordeal of...desultory shopping -- Herman Wouk]
2 : not connected with the main subject
3 : disappointing in progress, performance, or quality [a desultory fifth place finish] [a desultory wine]

I'm on page 69 of Henry James's Portrait of a Lady and I have just encountered some variation of the word "desultory" again, for at least the sixth time. The first two times were within the first three pages of the book! Alright, already. Give it a rest.

Meanwhile, note the example phrase to defintion number one. That's my whole weekend: desultory shopping. No, more like *insultory* shopping.

Thanks, as always, to Merriam Webster online.

these kids today

Check out this Yahoo! story about a transgendered kid running for prom king. Highlights from interviews with hir classmates: "We live in a generation now where dudes are chicks and chicks are dudes." And, "I like lesbians, but they shouldn't be allowed to run for king."

HIGH SCHOOL kids are saying this stuff??? Even the guy who isn't supportive is still kinda supportive in his own way. WTF?? I don't know about you, but it looks like lot has changed since *I* was in high school...

my special (g-rated) fantasy...

...that when a dyke is truly in need, and her heart is as pure as can be expected under the circumstances, she had only to click her besocked heels together three times and before her eyes would appear the shimmering, magical image of the fairy-dyke-shoestore, fully stocked with sensible shoes, comfortable and stylish, completely appropriate for any occasion, having neither heels nor toe-holes nor any other girly ornamentation. After two days of fruitless shoeshopping, I am convinced that I will never find the type of shoes I need and am therefore left only to fantasize...

I mean, really, MUST they all have pointy toes and straps and heels and rhinestones (RHINESTONES?!?) and all the other girly shit I saw today? What's a dyke in a suit to do?? And don't tell me to buy men's shoes, because they're too wide. I know, I tried it and even though I loved them, they looked like clown shoes on me. Oh well, I could have plenty worse problems, I know. And otherwise, my last two days have been really, really nice, so I shouldn't complain at all. Except that this shoe dilemma is going to drive me to the MALL, my last resort, and you have to know that I really, really hate the mall.


Yesterday I met up with my old boss for a beer. He was a really great boss, but he left just a couple weeks ago to take a much better job within the company. I miss having him around, but I was looking forward to hanging out with him in a purely non-work capacity to see if he'd let his hair down a little.

Well, the guy doesn't have much hair left to let down and, as it turns out, he still keeps it pretty tight. He was the most professional and diplomatic boss I've ever had, but his goofy personality and his penchant for the f-bomb (sprinkled liberally like only a real New Yorker can) gave me hope that, once we were out of the boss-subordinant role, he might really open up and be more real.

He was ok, but he still didn't behave any differently than he had in the past. We ended up talking a lot about work, his new job and the state of my workplace in his absence. We also talked about social services in general and my upcoming job search, but whenever the conversation strayed too close to our personal lives, he'd get a little squirmy. I also noticed that, whenever he'd ask me questions, he would fidget and look away when I answered, as though listening to my answers was just an unpleasant biproduct of the social convention of asking questions. Weird.

But he did tell me one story that ended up planting the seed for a really cool dream I had last night. We were commiserating about the flu we both recently had and comparing notes on our respective medications when he told me about a bad experience he had a few years back with Vicodin. He said he'd never taken it before and had no idea that, within two hours of taking it, he'd be vomiting and hallucinating. I said, "wow, you may as well have just taken peyote," and he said, "yeah, that would've been a lot more fun."

So last night, I had this incredible dream that I was hanging out with my mom's family, all my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my mom. Some of them were the same in the dream as real life, and some were different, but I understood who they were supposed to be. And they were celebrating me for some reason, giving me presents. But the presents they were giving me were drugs!

First, an aunt came up with this huge brown bottle full of the prettiest, fanciest, greenest pot buds you've ever seen. They were huge and gorgeous and like something out of High Times magazine. And then, an uncle came over with a basket full of mushrooms, but they weren't the dried up, ugly little shrivles I used to see in college. No, they were huge and succulent, almost like some kind of fruit. And finally my mom pushed this tiny little pill across the table, the size of a bb and the color of beeswax. "What is it?" I asked her. "Ecstasy," she replied.

Pot, mushrooms, ecstasy. All from my family. And the coolest thing was that we were all going to use it together. I started slicing the mushrooms up into bites and ate them one by one with that same excitement I used to get back in the day. You never know what's going to happen, but you know it will probably be really cool. My uncles were rolling joints and everybody was really happy and really excited. It was pretty sweet.

It's weird b/c it's not like drugs have ever been a major part of my life. I haven't done *any* drugs in years and don't really plan on starting any time soon. But there was something so exciting in the dream about getting altered, the possibility of entering other worlds, of hallucinating... so interesting. And with my family! I'll have to spend some time on this one, sorting it out. It was a good one.

Friday, April 20, 2007

rethinking things again...??

I may not believe in god anymore, but his son has a kick ass blog. If you like clever blog-satire, check it out. Maybe this will renew my faith... in... something...

sun's atmosphere sings

This is probably the most awesome Yahoo! headline ever. According to this story, scientists have discovered that ropes of energy around the sun vibrate and make a kind of unhearable solar music. It's unhearable because it exists at a lower frequency than our ears are able to detect. I wonder if they'll be able to speed it up so we can hear it...? Either way, it's really, really cool and for some reason, I find it very comforting.

overwhelming participation

I was really surprised and pleased to see that so many people were interested enough in the topic of the last post to put in their two-cents. It is such a big topic and can be really weighted and that's one of the reasons I wanted to bring it up.

Being raised in the South by fundamentalist Christians, it was pounded into me that everything outside their narrow belief system was evil. If anyone reads Rob Brezny's horoscopes, there was a great example of that in one of his horoscopes this week. He told a story about a fundamentalist Christian woman who had gone blind. When her son found a Buddhist monk who was able to heal her, she was at first excited. But once she realized her healing had not come from a Christian, she decided it must have been evil. She didn't want to be cured by anything evil, so she experienced a relapse and returned again to a world of blindness.

It's a great story and could be many of my family members. My point here isn't to vilify fundamentalist Christians, it's to point out that not only was I raised in this atmosphere, a lot of people are, and for us to question anything for even a moment is really taboo. I think it's so important for those of us who escaped the clutches of such a narrow, paranoid worldview to talk openly about the path we follow. Everyone should feel the freedom to examine her own beliefs without the fear that to simply wonder will doom her to hell.

For me, my realization doesn't imply such a huge leap and doesn't signify an identity crisis, as SCG suggests. I am not suddenly free from worrying about ethics, as if ethics had anything to with god. Morality might be linked to god, but I've always thought of ethics as purely secular, to do with behaving fairly and humanely because you care about people and community, not because you fear the wrath of a vengeful god.

I made my biggest leap when I realized I didn't believe in Christianity anymore, that occurred years ago. I let go of that whole, well-ordered worldview. I struggled with the meaning of life, I still do, and I reoriented myself around a lot of other spiritual ideas. The only thing that lingered was the idea that there was some sentient being out there who was watching me and who would help me if I needed him. This vestige of my earlier religious indoctrination wasn't about judging or punishing me, it was all about scooping me up and saving me from things.

What I finally realized last week was that, even though that belief lingered a long time, it is finally gone. And even though habit causes me to sometimes offer the kind of beseeching prayers I once offered when I was really young, at my heart I haven't in awhile believed there was anyone or anything actually listening to those prayers.

If I wasn't me and I was reading this for the first time, I would expect that feeling to be lonely and depressing, but it's not. I can't explain it. All I can say is that I feel more free and I feel closer to my real self now. I am being honest with myself.

How do you order a life without god? How do you make meaning in this deity-vacuum? For me it's about people. We have to look out for each other, care for each other, tend to communities, etc. I believe in what the buddhists say, that life is suffering. And I believe we should help, even in very small ways, to alleviate the suffering of others. And if we really do die and fade into nothingness (which, by the way, I'm not even going to speculate on), then we should probably try and have as much joy and love in our lives as possible. Otherwise, we will have only had a lonely, miserable experience and we'll have nothing but the dust of our decaying bodies to show for it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

rethinking things

I realized last week that I don't believe in god anymore. I was a little surprised, really, but I guess it makes sense. To fully understand this shift, it helps to know my history with religion and spirituality. Here it is in bullets for easy digestion:

1.) I was raised Christian. First we were Baptist, then we were Mormon.

2.) I continued to believe I was Christian until I was about 18, and then I just gave it up. It stopped making sense.

3.) I minored in religion in undergrad and studied all sorts of spiritual practices, looking for one that felt best to me. Most of the traditions I was drawn to (buddhism, taosim) don't have a "god" as such, but even as I stepped on and off those paths, I still maintained some idea that there was a god out there.

4.) I read some pop-science and evolved some ideas that god was everything in the universe, united in a kind of universal consciousness. But still, in times of stress, I would revert back to praying to the benevolent patriarch in the sky in whom I grew up believing.

5.) As recently as last year, I seriously considered converting to Judaism. I started reading the Torah and portions of the Talmud and felt a homey familiarity. After all, the god of the Jews is the same god I grew up with. But instead of the Christian emphasis on faith and belief and all that stuff about Jesus dying on the cross to forgive you for your sins, the Jewish tradition had wisdom and stories and a spirited intellectualism. Those things, from a safe distance at least, were really appealing.

6.) And then, just last week I was taking some kind of online poll (you should all know that I really love answering questions), and I hit a question that changed everything. Or, if it didn't *change* everything, it at least shined a new light on everything. To paraphrase, the question asked me to rank on a scale of one to seven how much I believed a divine presence was actually affecting my life. My answer, w/o hesitation, was "absolutely not at all."

Now, if the question had been "do you believe in god," my answer would've been something like "yes, I believe in some version of god," knowing full well that I still sometimes pray to the god of my childhood. But because the question was asked in the way it was asked, it exposed to me the reality that I don't actually believe what my behavior suggests I believe. I don't believe there's anybody up there watching. I don't believe anybody is waiting to help me in my time of need. I don't believe the "footprints" poster: there is only one set of footprints and they're mine.

I guess, for those of you who don't believe, who never believed, for those of you like my friend Leo who grew up in the south, indoctrinated like me and who burned her bible in the front yard a month before she left for college, I guess my minor revelation isn't such a big deal. And of course, for those who *do* believe, my lack of belief can't be all that moving either, unless it moves you to want to come witness to me, or something like that.

For me, it's most interesting because it reveals that I've had habits of behavior that were built on inertia and superstition rather than actual belief. This has made my mind kind of cluttered and sometimes inefficient. Sometimes, rather than looking clearly at my life or my problems, I have (I admit) wasted a lot of energy hoping something intangible and unknowable on the other side would come along and intervene. Now I realize that's been a little bit ridiculous.

I still believe it's possible, even likely, that there are other worlds out there that we can't know or see directly. Why not? Spirits or other dimensions or just other planets with more life. I don't and can't know the significance of the vibrations of subatomic particles, I don't and can't know what goes on at the other end of the next universe over. Who knows what we would see if we could suddenly see everything? But since we can't, I will try and at least take a look at the things I actually CAN see. They will probably help me order my life better than a million exciting speculations.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

i'd like to thank the academy...

Right after I took the bar, I promised Waspy that she'd soon be seeing her name in my forthcoming bar exam acceptance speech (inspired by the Oscars which had just aired)... yet, no such speech came forth. Why? Because, in my paranoia, I feared that an acceptance speech given *before* I got my results back would just jynx me. Understandable, I'm sure.

So now that I've had the good news (!!!!) it's time for my THANK YOUS to all the people, places and things that made my successful completion of law school possible. Sadly, this will be a short list:

1.) Lewis and Clark Law School: at the top of the list because it was a really great school. Nice teacher/student ratio, very comfortable, collegial atmosphere, not particularly competitive. As far as law schools go, it was bliss. Not to mention, the campus abuts Tryon State Park, a gorgeous wildlife area. So it was a beautiful as well as pleasant 3 and a half years.

2.) In that same vein, there are four profs who get big fat props for being great and here they are in order of appearance:
-- Sandy Patrick: my first year legal writing prof. Southern, sweet, funny and very, very helpful. She made me feel at home from the very beginning.
-- Janet Newman: A wonderful, willowly, semi-hippie with a mind like a steel trap. I had her for first semester Civil Procedure and I will never forget our first class where she mothered us into law school. She told us that we are not our grades, that we should take good care of our selves and not get too stressed out and she gave us tips for amping DOWN our crazy ambitions. I always knew I'd be ok as long as she was around.
-- Jack Bogdanski: who some of you may know from his wildly popular Jack Bog's Blog, I had him for income tax about midway through my school-life and he was AWESOME. I can't imagine anyone explaining the intricacies of the tax code better, and he made it so fun, it was my favorite class! I'm also thankful to Jack because he helped inspire and launch my bloggerness, albeit semi-indirectly.
-- Finally, there's Susan Mandiberg. I had her early on for Criminal Procedure, but it was the class I had with her in my last semester that really sealed the deal. It was a comparative criminal procedure seminar and she was just incredible. So knowledgable, so articulate, and better at facilitating class discussion than any professor I'd ever encountered. My last law-school crush and the prof I'd most like to be like when I grow up. Thanks to all of you, you were GREAT!

3.) WASPY!! Waspy, we're an unlikely pair, but if it wasn't for you, my law school experience would've sucked a lot. You were there for me when I was leaving CB, you were there for me when I thought I failed Consumer Law, and you were there for me in the aftermath of the bar, and countless times in between. Not to mention, w/o your old barbri books, I would never have been able to pass the thing at all. I mean, if anybody deserves credit for me passing the bar, it's you. I literally couldn't have done it without you. THANKS!!!

4.) The internet: if it wasn't for the following glorious distractions, I would've gone crazy: 1.) Homestar Runner -- funny cartoons, 2.) Overheard in New York -- funny conversations, 3.) -- funny bad tranlations, and last but not least, 4.) BLOGGER. Blogging during this last year was a really great way to keep my head through the hardest part. Thanks to everyone who's been reading and commenting during any part of this journey. I've really appreciated it.

5.) My work. I love my job, I've had it for 6 years, and if it wasn't for that place, I would never have made it. My schedule was always flexible, my bosses were always understanding, the work was never too demanding, and when I took 8 months off, I was able to come back just like I'd never been gone. Thank god for that place.

6.) Thanks SK for understanding my unavailability through huge chunks of this past year and not getting too freaked out about it. And thanks for making me food all those times and for offering herbs and what-not when I've been sick. You came in on the tail-end of this law school thing, and under the circumstances, you've put up with a lot. Now that it's over, maybe we can work on settling into something more steady. :-) As soon as you get back across the pond.


The end.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

oh. my. god.

I PASSED THE BAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's all. More later.


a few last thoughts on procreation

When I first read about the whole bone-marrow-into-sperm alchemy project yesterday, and its implications for lesbian couples, I felt excited. It had a real sci-fi comes to life feeling and I was actually more amazed that they were able to do it at all than I was thrilled with the possibilities. Similar to the way I'd feel if I learned that they'd figured out a way to clone wings onto people's backs. Cool! But... wait...

Then I got a couple comments to the post saying "I know I'm not supposed to be for this, but I am." And I wondered why people "know" they're not supposed to be for it. Because I have the same feeling and I'm surprised to realize it's common.

I think, for me, it's because I like things that are natural and I distrust allopathic medicine. And maybe it's easier for me, because I don't want to have children. I think children are probably really wonderful for those who have them, but in the bigger picture, I think it's a tiny bit arrogant that every single person, at least in this country, believes that they should be able to have a kid if they want one.

I know "arrogant" is a strong word and people can rain the hate mail down upon me, but in a world already bursting at the seams with people and with so many kids who need homes, it seems a little unreal that fertility-challenged folks (whether they're challenged by low-sperm count, or no-sperm count) will spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying everything in the lab to get knocked up.

In terms of biology, I understand the natural urge to make babies with which we're hard-wired. It is a biological imperative that we maintain the species. But the species isn't exactly endangered at this point, at least not due to low birth rates. I also think it may be worth while to follow nature's lead: maybe there's a reason, in the very big picture, why a certain percentage of humans can't seem to make babies. Maybe the natural occurence of humans who prefer to choose same-sex sex partners is part of that. And just because we CAN override what is trying to naturally happen, doesn't mean we always should.

I guess, at the very bottom, I don't really have an argument for nature over technology. I guess what really underpins all this is a desire that people start considering the wider world when making decisions of all kinds. Especially in this country, but in other countries too, we are brought up to be very self-focused, selfish and sometimes no-holds-barred when it comes to getting what we want. I think it would be beneficial to relax that nearsightedness a little and start seeing beyond the tips of our noses as we're moving through the world.

Just a thought.

Monday, April 16, 2007

science is so fancy

Listen to this amazing news: scientists have figured out how to grow sperm from bone marrow stem cells. Yeah, I know, gross. But wait, there's more. Right now they've only grown sperm from boy marrow, but next they're going to try to "lure" sperm to grow from girl marrow, which would mean that WOMEN COULD FERTILIZE THEIR GIRLFRIENDS WITH NO HELP FROM BOYS! Sorry boys, nothing personal. Ok, it is personal, but whatever.

But wait, that's not all. A super-special bonus feature of this new lady-sperm: you could only make GIRL BABIES this way because lady-sperm would lack Y chromosomes. And the wildest dreams of a million lesbians just now come true: my girlfriend can knock me up and we're guaranteed a female child!! Pop open the bubbly then get me to the bone marrow clinic! It is really too good to be true.

PLEASE NOTE: the views expressed in the last paragraph of this blog post are not necessarily those of the person writing them... um... I hate kids, so don't rush ME to the bone marrow clinic. I was just acting the part of the excited lesbian wanna-be breeder. Definitely not me. Definitely, definitely not me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

adventures in movieland

I think Woody Allen has been reading Theodore Dreiser. Match Point = Dreiser's American Tragedy, only set in England and with slight variations. [spoiler alert] Social climber from the lower class, religious family, becomes successful in business, marries well, has an affair which leads to a pregnancy for which the obvious solution is murder. Oh well. I guess all stories are stolen. At least this stolen story features Scarlett Johanssen. Meanwhile, American Tragedy was one of my favorite books... maybe I'll read it again.

word of the day

noblesse oblige

Pronunciation: nO-'bles-&-'blEzh
Function: noun
Etymology: French, literally, nobility obligates
: the obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth

A concept we don't have in this country. It's a shame.


Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. I took the bus down to Pioneer Square this afternoon and stood for twenty minutes in front of a tent under which a man at a microphone read names from a book. Names of people killed in the holocaust. I was one of a handful of people, loitering around the tent and listening. There were chairs set up in rows, but hardly anyone sat.

What do you do on Yom HaShoah? What do you say to people? Seems like a time for lighting candles, being still, grieving. It felt jarring to stand in Pioneer Square, the bustle of a Portland weekend happening all around, people in the sun, walking and laughing, playing hacky sack, enjoying the weather. Then us, a few somber-faced folks listening to names, trying to imagine the people behind the names, the lives and deaths. Trying to make something real of it.

I just finished a really gorgeous book called The Lost, about a man who set out to find details about the deaths of six members of his family during the holocaust, his uncle Shmiel, his aunt Esther and their four daughters, Ruchele, Frydka, Lorca and Brunia. He starts with hardly any information, just fragments of stories, bits and pieces, and he manages to track down an almost whole narrative. He interviews survivors and flies all over the world to find them. It's a sweet, gorgeous, moving book. It's also a really smart book. Well-written. Engaging. I loved it so much, I read shorter and shorter installments as I neared the end, to try and make it last. Everyone should read it.

And everyone should remember. So we don't do it again.

in which i accept that i am too old to go out and see live music

This is the band I saw last night: Vagabond Opera. It sounded SOOOOOO promising. Ukrainian folk songs? Old Worlde Yiddish theatre music? Klezmer? Neo-classical opera? Cabaret? That guy with the accordian??? How could they go wrong?

Turned out, they had all the right ingredients, but the combo lacked pizazz. The opener, Pepe and the Bottleblondes, by far beat out the Opera in energy and enthusiasm. They played a latin jazz set, headed by Pepe who looked almost cross-eyed behind his thick, hipguy glasses. He had a great voice and was a real showman. It was fun.

Maybe I used up all my energy on Pepe, because, by the time Vagabond Opera finally took the stage, I was wilting. I was literally falling asleep in my chair, despite the music blasting and the crowd dancing in front of me. So, it could be the haze through which I was seeing their performance that made them all look wooden and mildly uninterested in the wild show they were acting out.

The talent was certainly there: the accordian player is a trained opera singer and I think the chick is too -- she also plays a mean alto sax when she's not busy belting out the operatic vocals. They were ALL really good, but still... something was missing. I liked it less than I would have liked the sum of all it's parts, if that makes any sense. And I left early because I was so, so sleepy. Oh well. Why don't shows start at 8 instead of 10??? I'll never understand.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

if a tree had fallen, we would've heard it...

Today I went on a silent hike with the buddhists from the Shambhala Center. Technically, I *am* one of the buddhists from the Shambhala Center, since I'm a member and all, but I haven't gone to sitting meditation in nearly a year, so I'm basically a stranger to them. Even those who look familiar, I only know from passing glances. Going to sitting meditation was always surprisingly antisocial for me. I'd come in quietly, do my thing, then slip out at the end, often without saying a word to anyone. I didn't make a single connection the whole time I was going.

Today's silent hike promised to be similarly antisocial, but it turned out to be otherwise. First there was all the idle chit-chat as we gathered at 9:30 this morning and got ready to go. Then there was the hour long car ride into Columbia Gorge, plenty of chatter then. And, of course, the ride back.

The hike itself was interesting. A silent meditation hike is very different from a regular hike. You go slowly, you focus on your footsteps on the path, and of course you don't talk. Ten of us walked along like that and I'm afraid we looked a little cultish to the other hikers who passed us by, yacking away to each other. We stopped three times, twice for ten minute sitting meditation breaks and once for lunch. All silent. I imagined that, to others on the trail, we might look like a family so dysfunctional, we had completely stopped speaking to each other. Probably what we looked like was buddhists, quiet, nothing special.

The trail we hiked was gorgeous, up a trail carved into a steep hill, a river on one side down below, a rock face rising high on the other. At first it was wet, then the sun came out. There were purple wild flowers, birds, a lot of moss, butterflies, waterfalls. It was really lovely. And the people were sweet too. At the end, we commissioned a stranger to take a group photo of us all around a bench near the parking lot. So strange, to pose smiling for a picture with a bunch of people you just met.

The ride home was a little raucous. Some of the women wanted to stop at Cascade Locks for ice-cream. The ice-cream shop was tiny but sold Tillamook ice cream served in homemade waffle cones. I had German Chocolate Cake flavored ice-cream -- soooooo gooooooood. But so rich! After that, the chatting in the car was out of control. Even *I* talked. Little old me!

Now I have plans to go see music tonight with two of the women from the ride. I can't remember their names and I didn't find them all that interesting, individually, but the music sounded nice and the impromptu social invitation seemed like something I couldn't turn down. I need to get out more. My stack of DVDs can wait.

PS -- 40 Year Old Virgin was *really* sweet. I never would've guessed!

Friday, April 13, 2007

a little something special

Ok. Please pretend the weird line through the top is a really cool, completely intended effect. Now. What do you think of this gorgeous columbine that's blooming in the little pot at the top of my front steps? I think it's awesome.

Today my friend Leo called me up and invited me to brunch at a newish breakfast place over on Mississippi called Gravy. For the first time in my life, I was enthusiastic about trying a new place rather than pissy and stubborn. How refreshing. And smart, too, because this newish Gravy place was really, really good. The selection was great, they offered tofu as a substitute in all the scrambles WITHOUT EXTRA CHARGE, and the portions were huge and moderately priced. I will happilly go back. SK, I can't wait for you to come back so we can go to Gravy instead of the Vita for a change.

In other news, I've been (ab)using my new TV and DVD privileges to enjoy this hilarious old English sitcom called To the Manor Born. It's about this woman whose family has owned this old English manor with a thousand acres for at least 400 years, but who had to sell the manor when her husband died and left her bankrupt. With what little money left her, she bought the "lodge," a tiny cottage at the end of the manor's drive. She continues to live there with her ever loyal old butler, still acting like the lady of the manor, and having lots of hilarious run-ins with the likeable nouveau riche new owner of the manor, a handsome man who immigrated from Czechoslovakia as a young boy and made his fortune in the grocery business.

Watching To the Manor Born (which SK watched as a teenager like I watched Facts of Life) helps me understand what SK means when she claims that watching American television is, for her, an exercise in cultural anthoropolgy. What she can possibly learn from the Hugh Hefner/Playboy Bunny reality show is beyond me, but when I watch this old, English sitcom, I find I'm learning all these minute yet significant nuances of English culture that I never would've imagined, especially concerning the English upper class/landed gentry/whatever these folks would be. It's a learning experience.

Now I believe I'll cook myself some supper and get ready for my DVD marathon: I've got four out from the library and they all look pretty good. I've got About a Boy (score! It has Toni Collette!), Whale Rider, Match Point and, the one I (shamefully) look forward to watching first: 40 Year Old Virgin. I might regret it, but I think it looks funny. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

i have arrived

I have a confession to make. About a month ago, when Roro of Creampuff Revolution did her Five Reasons for Blogging meme... I was a little jealous that I didn't get tagged. I thought, that's it, that's the pinnacle of bloggerdom: getting personally tagged at the end of someone's meme... I can't wait for that glorious blessing to finally come to me...

Well, my moment is here. Turns out, Melinda Barton over at Cult of Melinda tagged me, like, THREE WEEKS ago and I somehow missed it. So... now I feel pretty good about myself again... and I guess I should start preparing for SK to pick on me for my blog obsession...

In the meantime, here you go: the meme requires you to share six weird things about yourself. You're also supposed to tag three people, but even though I enjoyed being personally tagged, I just can't bring myself to do it to others. So I will be a lame ass and generically tag anyone who is interested in sharing.

Personally, I think I'm pretty weird and would have a harder time finding 6 non-weird things to share. But, here goes:

1.) When I was born, the tip of my tongue was affixed to the roof of my mouth and had to be cut free. Now I have a tiny split in the tip of my tongue and I like to tell people that I speak with a forked tongue.

2.) My mom (who really deserves her own weirdness meme) invented glow-in-the-dark stars and was abducted by aliens (not at the same time).

3.) From the ages of 7 to 13, I was a Mormon. I was also a member of Junior National Rifle Association. Those things are unrelated.

4.) Speaking of guns, I own the pistol that my dad shot himself in the head with when I was a baby. He lived, don't worry. And we NEVER TALK ABOUT IT.

5.) I am very interested in death and also in skulls and, if I could, I would really like to add an actual human skull to my collection of (so far) fake skulls, but SK forbids it because she thinks it's disrespectful. When asked how *I'd* feel if somebody had *my* skull sitting on a mantle after my death, I said I thought it would be pretty cool. Better than festering away in some coffin somewhere.

6.) I make really bad first, second, third, fourth and fifth impressions on people. I'm shy, awkward, arrogant, obnoxious and sometimes I even seem hostile. I don't know why, it's just ME. So it takes people a long time to get to know me and an even longer time to start to like me. Generally, the people who end up liking me, *actually* like me. They've really had to work for it. Which is why the blog is so easy and making new friends in real life is hard. I'm working on it.

So those are my six things. Anybody else want in on this? And thanks for tagging me, Melinda. I feel so acknowledged. :-)

and that's that

SK's finally on a plane and I am finally sitting in my house alone. I'm not *completely* alone, though. She's with me in essence. For example, my fridge is filled to bursting with all her condiments (or "con-dee-mints" as she says it): chutneys, relishes, jellies, sauces. SK's got a bit of a condiment fetish. Everything from her fridge is now in mine.

I've also got her TV and DVD player and her futon frame, so my mattress is finally up off the floor and I don't feel like such a hobo anymore. What a difference four inches makes! I never would've guessed. And with the TV sitting opposite the bed, I know where I'll be spending my lonely weekend nights for the next three months...

Although, if I get lonely, she bought me a book at the airport that might give me some social tips. It's called "The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping with Chicks." Should be... interesting... God bless Powell's and thank god, while I'm at it, that there's a Powell's in the Portland airport: their sale books are the best and they had this book about lesbian sex sitting right there on the sale rack in the middle of the store. Good times.

I guess that's all for now. Expect a lot of ramblings from me in the days and weeks to come. Who else do I have to talk to? Lucky you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I don't know about you, but in my experience, Chicago is always fucking things up for everybody else. No matter where you're flying, even if you're not flying to, from or through Chicago, if there's a problem with your flight, you can bet it's because of some shitty weather in Chicago.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, SK's flight was cancelled. I took her to the airport at 1:30 as planned and that's when we learned that her flight to San Francisco was cancelled. Why? Bad weather in Chicago. Sorry to all you Chicagoans who actually have to live in it, but christ. A million flights were cancelled or delayed all b/c of a spring snowstorm in the windy city.

Best they could do for my little SK: first class seats on a (basically) direct flight to London. Tomorrow. With a quick stopover in... (wait for it....) Chicago. Chicago is causing all the problems today, and yet, tomorrow she's supposed to fly to Chicago??? Does that sound like a good plan? Yeah... oh well.

So, we're taking advantage of this extra night. I called off my shift and we just cooked dinner and now we're gonna watch Volver on my new TV... ok, SK's TV that I'm babysitting while she's gone. Yay! My girlfriend isn't gone yet!

See y'all later.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

the last of the lasts

One last, dramatic post before it's all over. I'm about to go meet SK for our last walk in Forest Park and I wanted to post a quick something now because I won't be on again until Thursday morning. I'm taking SK to the airport at 1:30 tomorrow, after putting the last things in storage. Then I'll rush off to a training on how to work better with sex workers. This should be really interesting. Many of our female clients do at least some sex work occasionally and we don't seem to know how to offer support around it. After that, I'll head to work until midnight and begin my three months alone.

As much as I whine, it will be good for me. As I just mentioned in response to a comment, after nearly four years of school and studying sucking up all my free time, I'm going to have to relearn how to live a normal life. How to plan activities and nurture friendships and all the things I never had time for when I was in school. I'll be a blank slate. It's kind of exciting. And, of course, I need to find a job. That will probably take up some time...

See everyone Thursday. Have a nice two days.

at last, recognition!

You Should Be A Poet

You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways.
And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery...
Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever.
You're already naturally a poet, even if you've never written a poem.

I just wish I had some pants...

more lasts?

Last break phone call from SK to me at work during my late shift: check. Last morning phone call from me to SK at work during her early shift: check. Last night in the same bed together: tonight... :-(

Yesterday a disparate group of coworkers all took SK out to lunch at House of Louie, a great Chinese restaurant in Old Town. Those things never quite work out like you imagine them. There are always complicated layers of relationship. The coworkers you also know outside of work. The coworkers you really like chatting with but don't know as well yet. The ones you never saw that much, who seem like missed connections, missed opportunities, the ones you maybe thought you'd become friends with, but the friendships never really took off. All these layers. All together at one table, confused about the dim sum and fussing over menus. Sometimes there isn't much to say.

SK's working a half-day today and I took tonight off. Last night in town: tedious. Let's be honest, counting down the lasts is no fun. You can't make EVERY moment a precious memory. We're taking another of our famous walks in Forest Park this afternoon. Then what? More bad movies? We'll move the last of SK's stuff, the mattress and the futon frame and whatever's left. Into storage. Then...? Last burrito at La Bonita? Last driving around looking for a parking space in NW? Who knows.

When she comes back (if, god help me, she comes back) we'll finally live together. The not-living together sooner thing is complicated, don't ask, but for me it's a record. We've been a couple since January of 2006 and we haven't lived under the same roof at all. A miracle. A sometimes miserable miracle. It was my idea, don't worry, SK will tell you that. But now it's time. She's leaving tomorrow, but when she comes back, everything will be different. We'll find a place together and what has felt like a kind of perpetual limbo will, hopefully, pass away. I'm looking forward to that.

Monday, April 09, 2007

a series of lasts

SK leaves for England Wednesday at 3:30pm and we are in the midst of a series of last everythings before she goes. Last weekend: just completed. Last Monday at work: she's in the middle of it right now. Last walk in Forest Park: will either be yesterday or Wednesday before we go to the airport. All these lasts are pretty depressing.

At least I have my codeine cough syrup to keep me warm at night after she's gone...

We had a very pleasant last weekend, all in all, considering I was sick and she was packing through most of it. She gave me a fantastic acupuncture treatment on Saturday and she also gave me some Chinese herbs that are... let's just say MOVING things in my lungs and sinuses. I hope I don't get sick while SK's gone... I'll have to go to Kaiser and all they've got are pills and, well, codeine cough syrup. So, there are plusses and minuses to that approach.

We watched a couple of bad movies. The first was For Your Consideration, the latest from the troupe who made Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and Waiting for Guffman. I didn't like Waiting for Guffman that much, but I thought the other two were HEEEEElarious. In fact, I saw A Mighty Wind at least three times in the theatre before buying the DVD and watching it repeatedly... and that's just not like me at all.

So I've been excited about their latest spoof -- this one was about the making of a movie called Home for Purim which is set in the '40s and about a family of Southern Jews; the mom is dying and the long lost daughter comes home to announce "I finally did meet the man of my dreams... and HER name is MARY PAT!" That seemed a promising premise to me, but the movie ended up sucking. The movie basically spoofed Hollywood which, as SK put it, "is like making a parody of a parody" -- and it just wasn't funny.

The second bad movie was a British lesbian flick called "Do I Love Her?" which supposedly won an award at the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Well... unless the award was "Best Queer Film Made in Somebody's Garage on a budget of Fifteen Dollars" then I can't imagine what kind of award it could've won. It was excrutiating. We shut it off halfway through and that's saying a lot, because I'll usually stick it out to the very end, even when I'm suffering. It was just that bad.

This means I can no longer give SK a hard time for picking out bad movies, b/c these were both my picks. I am so ashamed. If she wasn't going to be gone for three months, I'd have to put myself on movie probation. As it is, I'll be checking out lots of movies from the library and watching them on all my free evenings... all by myself... in my little hovel... with nothing but cough syrup and DVDs to keep me company. At least then I'll be the only one suffering from my bad movie selections...

Oh, also this weekend we went to dinner at the lovely home of Kiwi and her girlfriend Malibu. We brought a bottle of sparkling wine (NOT REAL CHAMPAGNE, just so you know) and all got a little giddy before dinner. I rarely see SK under the influence and, let me tell you, it's a real treat. I'll keep the particulars to myself... Anyway, the food was good and the conversation good and it was nice to get out. SK and I don't spend a lot of time hanging out with other couples and I enjoyed it this time.

Ok, enough boring everyone with the play by play of our Last Weekend. Sorry. There will probably be more boring "lasts" to recount between now and Wednesday. Then I'll transition seamlessly into boring tales of loneliness and woe... I know you're all on the edge of your seats! Don't worry, it will be worth the wait.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

quick dispatch

The best thing about being sick: cough syrup with codeine. Good stuff.

Friday, April 06, 2007

leader of the free world

Check out these hilarious Bushisms on Slate. So funny. So sad. So dumb, this president of ours. Anyway, the list is a mile long, so it will keep you entertained all weekend while I'm hanging out with SK and staying off my computer. I'll be back Monday for sure, but I may not have anything interesting to say... just more whining and moaning. Let's hope for the best.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

the thing about being sick

Ok, I'm really sick of being sick. I'm sure you're sick of reading about it. The weirdest thing about it is the subtle numbing of most of my senses. My ears are a little clogged, and I can't smell or taste anything. I feel like I'm suspended in gauze, or like I'm in a bubble.

Not being able to smell my pungent pine-tree soap makes taking a shower a hollow exercise. Not being able to taste leaves me with no appetite. My clogged ears make it hard to hear people and make me feel like I'm talking into a jar. It's weird. As disconnected from things as I sometimes feel I am, this is much more intense. I feel like a hologram, a projection, not real.

Meanwhile, I think my body is actually getting better. My mind, however, is completely blank. Sorry. Nothing interesting in there at all. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Lord have mercy. Looks like I stirred up an angry hornet's nest of protective Clay Aiken fans when I said in my last post that he was like a gay, show-tune singing Howdy Doody. I didn't mean it in a *bad* way. I just meant that he's among the American Idol high-ups who don't fit into easily recognizable, stereotypical, dominant paradigm type molds. I'm not saying he can't sing. Cuz he can sing. He can definitely sing. So, C.A. fans... let's be friends again. Ok? Ok. Cool.

In other news, I went to work today for five whole hours. Everybody treated me like I was covered in weeping sores, so that was fun. I heard a lot of "Wow, you're REALLY sick. You should go home," coming from people who were slowly backing away as they spoke to me. Eventually, I took them up on it.

I think, at this point, I look and sound worse than I actually feel. Just so you know. I think I'm getting better... maybe just a little?

Ok, now I'm going to bed. This time next week, SK will be on a plane flying to England and I will be... well... at work actually. But I'll be really, really sad at work. Really sad. Oh, and lest I forget, one more big thank you to SK for cycling all the way back to work to bring me some soup tonight. That was really sweet. Thanks, baby.

musings (yes, musings) on american idol

First, I have to admit that I haven't really watched Idol since the first season. (And let me tell you, I knew Kelly Clarkson would win from the moment I saw her first audition. That girl's got pipes!) But, you know, you can't help but keep up with it because it's all over the place. Even for me, a person who no longer owns a television, I see Idol updates nearly every time I open Yahoo. Which is why I'm coming to you now.

I was looking at a picture of this Sanjaya character who, the Yahoo News headline claims, is the saviour of Idol, and it occurred to me that, given the opportunity to vote, the people in this country tend to support a much less homogenous group of people than the entertainment industry likes to shove down our throats when it picks its own "stars."

Think about it: black kids, fat kids, racially indeterminable kids who look like Sideshow Bob (I'm talking to you Justin Guarini), Indian kids like Sanjaya and even Clay Aiken. Clay Aiken! He's like a gay, showtune-singing Howdy Doody: and the people LOVED him!

Meanwhile, the entertainment industry has really studied these things and "knows" that the public will respond best when different types of people show up in different types of roles: the beautiful, blonde white girl goes HERE (romantic leads, for example), the fat black chick goes HERE (bossy buss driver with a heart of gold), the wise cracking black guy goes HERE (sidekick for white hero), the chiseled white guy goes HERE (said hero). Where does Guarini go? Sanjaya? Clay Aiken?? They don't really have slots... maybe they go in the background of a commercial meant to look multiethnic. Who knows. But in Idol, they go to the head of the pack, they go to number one (or two, whatever).

Anyway, without putting a lot of thought or research into this, I'm willing to suggest that the people who vote for American Idols are also voting for a less homogenous picture on television. They're voting to see more of something familiar. Less of something prepackaged and decided in focus groups. It gives me the tiniest glimmer of hope for the future.

i think she's pulling a heche, only much worse

Is there a formal excommunication process within the queer community? Or maybe this is so bad, we should just get out the pitchforks and torches? This so-called lesbian (now rethinking her sexuality) is trying to have her adoption invalidated by arguing that LESBIANS DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO ADOPT. Oh my god, you selfish motherfucker. Your relationship went sour and now you want out from under your responsibility to your child and you're willing to TOTALLY SCREW the queer community to get it. WTF??? You are a fucking loser on ten different levels. With any luck the judge who ends up with case will have some sense and will say, "Sorry, you homos fought for the right to adopt, we gave it to you, now you have to suck it up and take care of your kids. You're EQUAL now, remember?" That would be nice.

I'm being one-sided here. Maybe SK will post a comment with something more balanced.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

this concludes day two of being really sick

The day's accomplishments:

1.) I *drove* two blocks to the store. That's how shitty I felt.

2.) I made myself homemade chicken noodle soup -- so, you can see, I wasn't quite dead yet. But I was still feeling shitty.

3.) My girlfriend came over and gave me an acupuncture treatment to help me with my cold. Is YOUR girlfriend an acupuncturist? I didn't think so. My girlfriend is obviously much better than yours.

4.) I watched an English movie called Wonderland. It was kind of good.

5.) That's basically it. Oh! And I took a shower. That was pretty important, believe me. Now I'm going to get in the bed and read my book until I pass out.

I must feel better tomorrow. Why? Metallica Tomorrow! No, really, I need to work tomorrow. I can't keep blowing all my paid time off.

am i dreaming this?

Thank you Yahoo news for alerting me to the fact that a Swedish couple are fighting to name their baby daughter "Metallica." Wow.

The worst thing, really, is that the couple's last name is Tomaro, which probably sounds like "tomorrow."

Metallica Tomorrow? Like, at the Amphitheatre? You got tickets? Sweet!

Poor kid. I mean: RAWK ON!!

sick log: day two

I'm not going to work today either. I just decided. Yesterday, SK insisted I stay home. Today, I had to decide for myself. I hate calling in sick to work, unless I'm actively vomiting. Otherwise, I usually drag myself in and suffer through.

Of all the bad things my mother taught me (how *not* to balance a checkbook, how *not* to pay back student loans), one thing she did, incongruously, instill in me was a masochistic work ethic. She NEVER called in sick and I would sometimes beg her to just stay home as she was dragging her sick body out the door to one of her shitty jobs. It always pained me to see her sick and leaving for work, knowing as I did that, as a single mother making barely above minimum wage, she was petrified of missing work for fear of the whole delicate thing crashing down around her.

So now, when I take a sick day, I feel a weird guilt for shirking my work, even though I'm not a single mom and I make well above minimum wage. I still feel a kind of masochistic thing that tells me I suck just a little for not bucking up and going in anyway. Although, I'm sure my coworkers would prefer to work with an on-caller rather that me, someone coughing and hacking and spreading my germs everywhere.

Yeah. And on that note, I think I'll go lay back down. I feel like shit.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Just finished The Squid and the Whale. Wow. Every moment of that movie was uncomfortable. Every. Single. Moment. Yet... it was a good movie.

Difficult, though, because the Jeff Daniels character is so (in my opinion) utterly unsympathetic, I was actually excited when (spoiler alert) he keeled over with an apparent heart attack. My stepfather was a big enough asshole, I don't find them entertaining to watch. I don't have the distance required to appreciate a condescending, grandiose, self-important father-figure. Gag me with a spoon.

But, like I said, it was still somehow a good movie. Teetering on the edge of being too painfully familiar, which helps make it both a well made, thought provoking movie and an uncomfortable experience, all at the same time. Hmm.

I'm still up in the air about it. Anybody else have any thoughts?

the hours go slowly rolling by...

Happy Passover!

I'm not having a sedar, but my upstairs people are. That's good. I don't feel so bad now.

I'm still sick, but I dragged myself down the street earlier to rent some movies. It took me probably a half an hour, wandering around the video store, before I finally found two movies that look interesting: The Squid and the Whale and an old one called Dog Day Afternoon, with Al Pacino.

That was a pretty good movie. I just finished it a bit ago. Al Pacino is a rock star. Very hot, with his little outfit and his messy hair and his "Attica! Attica!" And that shit really happened! Unreal.

Now, after a brief intermission, I will watch the other one. SK says it's good. Maybe you'll get another update after that, if I'm still conscious. Something to look forward to.


When I'm not busy being a crusty old asshole, I like cute stuff. Maybe too much. SK will tell you how annoyed she was with me for anthropomorphizing all the animals on the BBC nature special we watched last night. I am SO SORRY, but I can't help it!

First, I got misty when the polar bear tried to eat the sea lions. I mean, he was clawing at the mom and trying to pull her off her baby with his teeth! But then I got extra misty when the polar bear, who had been unable to eat any sea lions, dug a hole and laid down in it to die of hunger! He hadn't eaten in months! How pitiful! And he died!

Meanwhile SK said helpful things like "they're pups, not babies," and "but you didn't want him to eat the sea lions, what do you expect??" And also, "Stop anthropomorphizing the animals!" Which pretty much says it all.

Anyway, the point is, I like cute stuff, even if I have a problem with, you know, anthropomorphism. If you also like cute stuff, whether you ascribe human emotions to that cute stuff or not, cruise on over to Cute Overload and check out the precious Japanese bunny. So. Cute. Minus the rugged and heartbreaking struggle for survival, thank god. This is pure enjoyment.

happy happy word of the day


Main Entry: 1ju·bi·lee
Pronunciation: 'jü-b&-(")lE, "jü-b&-'lE
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French jubilé, from Late Latin jubilaeus, modification of Late Greek iObElaios, from Hebrew yObhEl ram's horn, jubilee
1 often capitalized : a year of emancipation and restoration provided by ancient Hebrew law to be kept every 50 years by the emancipation of Hebrew slaves, restoration of alienated lands to their former owners, and omission of all cultivation of the land
2 a : a special anniversary; especially : a 50th anniversary b : a celebration of such an anniversary
3 a : a period of time proclaimed by the Roman Catholic pope ordinarily every 25 years as a time of special solemnity b : a special plenary indulgence granted during a year of jubilee to Roman Catholics who perform certain specified works of repentance and piety
4 a : JUBILATION b : a season of celebration
5 : a religious song of black Americans usually referring to a time of future happiness

Thanks to Merriam Webster online and SK who suggested this for a word of the day. I had no idea "jubilee" meant anything other than a super-happy time. Who knew? I'll tell you who. SK. That's who.

this is embarrassing

I only share it with you so you can make your own. SK, I'm especially interested to see yours. I bet you've seen at least 25%, if not more.

I've got to travel more. Jesus.

pretending the bed is a raft

When I worked for Algonquin, we published a book called Pretending the Bed is a Raft. I guess this is something kids do, usually with siblings. They get on the bed. And pretend it's a raft?

Anyway, I never did that, but I'm doing it today. I have a nasty cold and so, at 12:18pm on a work day, I am now laying in my bed where I plan to stay for a very long time... or at least until I have to pee.

Here is an exhaustive list of all the things I have in or near the bed:

1.) This here computer, without which, no blog for you.

2.) Cell phone for calling SK at work and whining.

3.) BOOKS! First, The Lost, a book about the holocaust. It's sooooo good, but I'll write more about it later. Also, I have a book about Jewish holidays and a Haggadah for Jews and Buddhists, which I bought last year online. Passover starts at sundown tonight and even though I'm not having a sedar tonight (even though I'm not even... uh... Jewish) I've got these things with me in order to celebrate by proxy.

4.) One magazine: the first New Yorker of my new subscription. Yay!

5.) A cup of Gypsy Cold Care tea with honey and ginger in it. Yum. It helps.

6.) Big glass of water.

7.) Roll of toilet paper. This is very important.

Anyway, that's all. I feel like shit, but I'm sure I'll keep blogging all day. Why not? Misery loves company.