Wednesday, January 30, 2008

america, meet your next president

Maybe he'll pick Obama as his running mate...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Today I accompanied my friend Leo on some errands before I went to work as an excuse to hang out with her one last time before she leaves for South Africa tomorrow morning. She'll be gone for six months and I'll miss her a lot.

Somewhere in the midst of all that, I filled out, wrapped up and mailed off my declaration of intention to drop to "inactive" status with the Oregon State Bar. I have been making the decision to do this in the back of my mind for over a week now and today, while Leo was sitting in my floor waiting for me to be ready to leave, I made it all happen on auto-pilot. I was hardly thinking as I filled out the form, wrote the check, and stuffed it all into an envelope.

This began as a cost-saving measure. If I remained "active," my bar dues (due Thursday) would be $400. Going inactive means my bar dues are only $110. (Notice they still want at least *some* of my money...) I didn't even realize inactivity was an option until I was perusing the bar website for pay-online options. Once I saw that I could reduce my cost, the wheels in the back of my mind started turning and suddenly today I found that the decision was somehow already made.

Now that this new reality is forming, I'm left to ponder the ramifications of what I've done. I wasn't practicing anyway. In fact, I actively sought NOT to practice. I'm trying to get a promotion at the non-law job I already have. I feel nauseated even thinking about being a lawyer. There was a very brief window last month when I thought I should probably start looking at lawyering, but that window closed and hasn't yet reopened.

In reality, getting reinstated won't be so hard if I decide I've made a big mistake. I'd pay a $400 reactivation fee. Steep, but the same as the bar dues I owed this month anyway. Right now I feel sort of numb about the whole thing, though I wonder how I'll feel on February 1 when the change takes effect. Will I feel like Superman after cashing-in his powers to be with Lois Lane? Or will I feel relieved of the burden of obligation that came along with my active status? Or will nothing change at all?


This is something called the Beijing Watercube. It's for the Olympics. I don't really care about the Olympics, but I thought it was a really cool building, especially the nighttime pictures where it's all blue and glowy.

Anyway, I'm home alone, which is some kind of miracle, so I'm blogging. I had a lot of unpleasant shit happen at work tonight, but it's mostly boring, so I won't bother with any details. The only important thing for you to know is that Shmiel and I went out after work and drank at Billy Ray's and played Midieval Madness Pinball, which I love and in which I scored over 26 million points, which should have won me a free game, but didn't for some reason.

So here's my tirade of random. I had a relatively bad weekend, which is a shame but which, I suppose, is cosmically appropriate, since I've been having so many really, really good weekends, all in a row. I was in a funk, basically. I hit a minor dip in my mental health. But I was able to get my laundry done, which is good.

Last night I went to an "L Word" party and I realized that I don't really like that show very much anymore. I missed all (I mean every single episode) of season 4, and jumping into the third episode of season 5, I found that I could give a shit about any of it. And seriously? Jenny? Is directing a movie? And spitting her nicorette gum out everywhere? Please tell me somebody is going to show up in a few episodes and fucking kill her with a shotgun.

I also got into my first hot-tub last night. I mean: my first hot-tub since I was 12 and at my rich aunt Linda's house. It wasn't as awesome as I thought it would be. Sure, there was something really cool about being half-naked outside in the freezing cold, then hopping into a bubbling tub of piping hot water... but then... you know... now what? We just sit here? And I was having these weird bouyancy problems. My legs kept trying to float out from under me and pull my head under water (I think because my ass is so voluminous with the very buoyant substance known as fat) -- I couldn't just sit comfortably, I had to stay on guard constantly against being dragged under by the force of my powerful, powerful ass. This is a common problem for me... I'm always battling my powerful ass.

My new earrings are hurting a little. First of all, they required some stretching, especially in the left ear-hole which had been missing an earring of any kind for at least a week and had shrunk a bit. Also, the lovely spiral of the earrings, including a very pointy arc at each end, is very good at catching in every single thing on earth (including my scarf, the pillow, Mahavira's shirt, Mahavira's hair) -- basically anywhere I put my head, my earrings are sure to get hung. And that's especially annoying right now because the stretched part is still healing and it hurts.

Speaking of missing jewelry, I'd been wearing on my right thumb a really sweet little signet ring with a lovely cursive "M" etched into it (for Mahavira, duh) -- but now it's missing. I don't know when or how, all I know is it's not on my thumb anymore and I can't find it. I'm sad about it because I really enjoyed having a ring on my finger with an "M" to constantly remind me of Mahavira. Because I'm totally attached to her and it's probably creepy.

Anyway, speaking of sad, my dearest, oldest friend Leo (who I met in a mud-puddle in 1993, for you new-comers) is leaving in two days to spend six months in South Africa. I'm still not entirely sure how or why, but she's doing a volunteer gig in the Kruger National Park and I'll miss her a lot. She's going to come over tomorrow and drop off some clothes she wants me to donate to my workplace, and then I won't see her again until July. I'm sad about it.

There is a bag in my floor, red and black with white writing, that says on top "Do yoga" and on bottom "Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to." This is ironic, because this bag belongs to Mahavira and she's really jealous about all sorts of things all the time. It's almost comical. Mahavira having this bag is like my grandmother having a plaque on her wall that says "Why worry when you can pray?" Good question. Apparently my grandmother has a really good answer, because she worries and prays both like a fucking champ.

We're having a staff post-holiday holiday party this Friday with free food catered by a pharmaceutical company and I really wish I didn't have to go because it cuts into one of my two nights with Mahavira, but I *have* to go because I helped organize it. However, right now I hate the thought of it and wish I could just go bowling with Mahavira instead, which was our original plan before I remembered about the party.

I'm drunk(ish).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

new stuff to make me happy

I am now wearing one of these in each ear. Jealous? (Mine are a smaller gauge than this one though. Mine are just tens, but they're still totally hot.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

less is more

Welcome to the new, shortened version of the blog-title. What do you think? I love to prune!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

this will eventually gross you out

Sorry for my internet absence lately. Remember November, aka: NaBloPoMo, when I posted something every single day? Wasn't that so fun?

But then I met Mahavira on November 30th and we've basically been on one, long date ever since. Which means I'm sadly neglecting this little digital outlet. Though I guess I haven't really *needed* an outlet for all my rantings and ravings since I met Mahavira. *She's* been my outlet.

Anyway, I'm finally home alone for the first time since last Sunday and here's my chance to write a little something about life and things. Oh! I know what to tell you! I can tell you about the grossest thing I have ever done in my whole life. Why? Because it happened at work tonight.

For those of you who don't already know, I work with homeless crazy people at a kinda shelter downtown. Anyway, it can be a pretty gross place and I have done many, many gross things since I have worked there (plunging toilets full of shit is one example, cleaning up vomit is another) -- but what I did tonight really takes the cake.

Basically, I helped a client cut a giant mat (matte?) of hair off her head. She's got OCD and goes through long phases (like years at a time) when she can't wash her hair, so she puts it up in a pony tail or braid, puts a hat over it, and leaves it. Years of friction, between the hat and the pillow, create this enormous matted knot of hair, sort of like a helmet, all over her head.

Because she's OCD, she can't just shave it all off and start over. No sirree, she has to try and "salvage" her hair. A few days ago she told me she'd been "working" on her hair (trying to untangle it) and had decided that some of the mat would have to be cut off. Tonight she enlisted me to help.

I gathered up some supplies (a comb, a pair of hair scissors, a stool for her to sit on, a garbage bag sliced open to use as an apron to shield her clothes) and we locked ourselves in the big bathroom on the first floor. She's had a knit hat over her hair for a long time, so I really had no idea what I'd find when she took that hat off. It was intense. What seemed small under the hat turned out to be huge. A huge, thick mat of hair.

The first thing I noticed, as she took off the various other hairbands in place under the hat, was a yellow crust in the top layers of the mat. I knew she'd been trying to work the tangles out and had mentioned using conditioner and detangler, so I just assumed that was the source of the yellow crust. I took some time sizing up the problem and, like a surgeon, I chose the best place to cut. I wrestled the scissors into place and started slicing my way through the matted hair and yellow crust. Eventually I pulled back a great flap of mat, revealing more stringy, tangled hair beneath.

I also revealed a great deal of yellow chunks and gobs. "Did you say you were using conditioner to detangle?" I asked her, poking at the gobs with the comb. "No," she said. "I should, but I haven't yet."

So. The yellow gobs were not conditioner. They could only be massive collections of head oil, solidified. They looked like the yellow globs of chicken fat that congeal after chicken grease has been allowed to cool. Her hair was full of these disgusting yellow gobs, hunks of head-fat, it makes my skin crawl just to think about it. Fuck. Solid gobs of head-fat. Solid, yellow globules of congealed head oil. How many different ways can I say it to make you understand how gross it was?

It could've been worse, I know. At least her head wasn't teeming with lice, that right there is a miracle. And, surprisingly, it didn't stink. It just had head-smell. Regular old head-smell. At least it wasn't sour or rotton smelling. I'm serious, if a rotton smell accompanied all that head-fat, I would have vomited on her as soon as the reality of it all hit me. That would have been the end of it.

As it was, I pulled it together and managed to detangle a huge amount of her massive knot. The head-fat never ceased to disgust me, though I admit it was sickly fascinating and I definitely anticipate having disturbing dreams about it when I finally get to sleep.

And, strange as it might sound, this is just one more reason I love my job. I get to be involved in the weirdest shit imagineable. And I get paid for it!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

a really, really small world

Remember Gully? Maybe not. I met Gully a week before my birthday, back in November. We danced, it was hot, we had a date a week later, and we had really, really hot sex. Like... unbelievable. Like... unprecedented. Because I am a lady, I have not shared the details of this exploit. However, I will say that I did something that night that I had never done before. Something of legend. Something I wasn't even sure was possible, something I'd only ever read about.

Of course, things with Gully didn't extend past that first hot date, a barrage of insane text messages and a few strange phone calls. Ultimately, I met Mahavira and started having even better mind-blowing sex (not to mention I fell crazy in love with her) and I ended up writing Gully a nice message explaining that I wasn't available anymore, yadda yadda, she gave me her blessings and that was that.

Well. Last night I went to a birthday party with Mahavira for one of her closest, oldest friends, G. At G's party were some of Mahavira's other old, close friends, Little C and her husband Little J. I ended up chatting in the kitchen with Little J, a wisp of a little balding gay-seeming man, and we discovered that we both work in mental health. I work for a big non-profit and he works for a nearby county.

"Oh!" I said, "I know one person who works for that county's mental health," thinking of Gully and thinking it would be so unlikely that of all the people who work for that county, this random guy might happen to know her. "Her name is Gully."

"Oh my god," he said (in very gay-seeming fashion) "She sits right across the hall from me! We went to a training in Salem together in November."

I couldn't believe it. Mahavira, standing nearby, started laughing. It was during that overnight training in Salem that Gully sent me the barrage of crazy, sexually explicit texts. I shook my head and said, "Well, if you noticed Gully sending a lot of texts during that training, they were to me."

Then his eyes got big as saucers and his mouth dropped open (yet another very gay gesture) and he said, "That was you??" Then, with dramatic approval and a huge grin, he said, "I heard you two had some fun..." By this point Mahavira was doubled over laughing and I realized that Gully had probably told this guy everything. My prowess had proceeded me. It was the highlight of the party.

Friday, January 18, 2008

just as i suspected...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

what the people want

I currently get an average of 74 hits a day on this website. Several of those hits come from people who are actually interested in reading the stuff I write, for whatever reason. A few more hits come from people searching for specific topics I've written about. Most recently I've been seeing a lot of searches for "frozen car door won't shut." That has been a long time favorite. I also get lots of hits for the movie "Shortbus," which makes me wish I'd written something more interesting about it than my "ohmygod this movie is so awesome" post.

Nevertheless, the reason my average is at 74 (and growing) instead of 25 (where it rested for a long, long time) is because I posted a picture of the 80's hair-band Poison. A picture very much like this one:

I don't know why, but that picture has drawn people to my site like flies to a pile of shit. I don't get it at all. But I enjoy the traffic and I certainly like to give the people what they want, so here's some more steaming hot pictures of Poison. (Notice the probably 10 year age difference between these two pictures doesn't really yield positive change for the fellows, though at least one of them wised up and got a hair cut. And jesus christ, Brett Michaels. You look like shit.)

Wow. Yuck.

Anyway, while I'm posting pictures of old hair-bands, why not throw in a couple of my favorite hair-band front-man: Jon Bon Jovi. First, here's one from back in the day:

And now...

Holy shit he's nearly naked!!! Why didn't *this* picture exist when I was 12 and had centerfolds from Bop magazine all over my walls...

Monday, January 14, 2008

help me understand something

The first amendment of our constitution establishes the concept we know as "separation of church and state" -- which basically means that the government will not establish a state religion. This has been interpreted by the courts to mean that no government entity may take any action that appears to endorse or promote a particular religion, which means schools can't have prayers before football games, courthouses can't host christmas time manger-scenes, and federal buildings can't display the ten commandments (ignore for a moment that all these things continue to happen all over the country).

Under these circumstances, somebody please explain to me WHY it's ok that the people running for public office, specifically, the highest public office, are allowed -- are practically REQUIRED -- to flaunt their christian credentials in order to get themselves elected??? Why is that not categorically banned, in the same way I am categorically banned from talking about my own religious beliefs at work? Why doesn't that violate the constitution? How much closer to establishing a state religion can you get than having the people vying for the office of president crying to the rooftops that they're good christians and that their good christian beliefs will help them run the country even better than their opponents??? It hurts the brain...

Meanwhile, YAY, this is my thousandth blog post!!! I wish I could have some balloons or something, and some confetti...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

bottom line, mahavira is a saint

I know you're all on the edge of your seats, waiting to hear how my night with Mahavira's family went. I'll tell you, it went pretty well, but only because they're all really awesome and the human spirit is resilient. One tiny little exchange between me and my boss during the last half-hour of my work day on Friday threw a huge wrench into my self-esteem and set me up for potential failure, but I managed to pull myself together enough to successfully navigate my way through that first family meeting.

The details aren't important, all you need to know is that I was very mildly chastised by my boss at 5pm Friday, thirty minutes before I walked out the door to go to Mahavira's. And, it turns out, I have absolutely zero emotional tolerance for chastisement. I started an immediate downward spiral, which I then vented on Mahavira by *being* the thing that I hate: I "chastised" her, in my own way, by being sarcastic and condescending and it is a miracle that she didn't either 1.) slap me, or 2.) send me home before we ever even left for her brother's house. Sadly, I repeated the bad behavior again yesterday... more than once. Mahavira deserves a medal.

Anyway, after putting up with some of my shit (and very appropriately calling me on it), Mahavira bought me a beer at the Amnesia Brewing Company and we sat outside and drank and I started feeling slightly better, though I was beginning to have a lot of anxiety about meeting her family because I knew I was in a bad emotional space. Once my beer was gone, I had just enough liquid courage to get up and at least try to face the challenge.

It all turned out to be fine. Mahavira's sister-in-law Ivy had definitely acted unilaterally when she demanded we come over. Turns out, Mahavira's brother Billie was having his "dude night" -- where his nerdy male friends come over and play RPGs, this week it was Magic... or is it Magik? or Majik? The house was full of children, Mahavira's two beloved nephews and their cousins. I met children first, then Billie who was very sweet and warm and made sure we each had beers within moments of walking in the door. Then I met Shelle, married to Ivy's brother, who (I learned later) had only come over to check me out. Then I met Tom, one of the "dudes," a man Billie and Mahavira have known for about 20 years. Mahavira informed me on the way over that Tom was the most awesome, perfect man on the planet and that she'd run off with him in a hot minute if he'd leave his wife. Fabulous. He turned out to be cute, smart and really charming, and he went out of his way to be nice to me, which led me to approve of Mahavira's assessment. Finally Ivy surfaced from the kitchen bearing platters of sandwiches which she layed out all over the table and pretty soon the whole chaotic bunch had swarmed into chairs around the table and everyone was eating and talking and it was like business as usual, except that everyone was serruptitiously checking me out and assessing my quality as a potential partner for Mahavira.

Mahavira is an intensely big, powerful person with an enormous personality and, literally, a cult following, an entourage of hangers-on, a fan-club, so it was really interesting for me to see her in such a different role: the role of the little sister, the one getting lectured by her brother about finances, the one being cared for by a slew of middle-aged, middle-class parents of small children who seemed to see her as a gangly, awkward member of their own flock of dependants. And, after her childhood of parental neglect, I know she loves being cared for in this particular way. I watched her eat it up with a spoon. It was good.

That was basically it. The sandwiches were eaten, the men lumbered off to play their nerdy game, the children were stationed in front of a movie in the play room and the "girls" all went outside to sit around a fire in the chiminea and smoke and talk. Mahavira invited the ladies back to her place to smoke weed and in short order we were all relocated back into the familiarity of Mahavira's apartment. So far, my vetting by the family was very subtle. I hadn't yet been grilled (except for the one question Billie asked me: why aren't you practicing law? Good fucking question, Billie...) -- and it kept going like that for a long time. They all chatted and caught up and had a nice time, yet I knew Ivy and Shelle were keeping me in their periphery and taking notes.

Finally Ivy, slightly drunk and slightly high, declared, "Wait! I want to get to know Dawn!" She asked me a couple of questions (where are you from, how long have you been out here, what brought you, etc.) and I answered them eagerly. I love answering questions. But she soon got lost again in chatting with Shelle and before I knew it, I was falling asleep on the couch, wishing they would leave because I was so tired. Shelle, the sober one of the bunch, finally dragged Ivy out the door and I collapsed in a mute heap, the whole weight of the day finally crushing me. Mahavira thought I was mad at her because I curled into a fetal ball and stopped talking. I couldn't make her understand (because I couldn't make myself speak words out loud) that I was not mad at her at all, that I was just completely exhausted and emotionally spent.

We finally made it to the bed and woke around 4am (not unusual for us) and that was my first chance to apologize for disappearing into my fetal caccoon. Poor Mahavira thought I'd hated her family, hated meeting them, hated hanging out with Ivy and Shelle, etc, etc, etc, and it was all I could do to convince her that nothing could be further from the truth. I spent the rest of Saturday in a state of poor mental health, reliving my chastisement and self-flagellating, and occasionally alienating Mahavira by chastising *her* some more. I can be such an insufferable asshole sometimes. I spent the rest of my time apologizing.

Anyway, long story short, and as I said at the very beginning of this adventure: Mahavira is a fucking saint and she deserves nothing but good things in this world because she is nothing but good. After all that drama, all my difficulty and jerk-ness, she drove me all the way out to BEAVERTON (which is a suburb we both LOATHE) so that we could go COSMIC BOWLING with all my old-lady kayaking friends (which is my version of making her hang out with *my* family). She deserves more than a medal. She deserves a national holiday and a street named after her.

In closing, I love Mahavira, I enjoyed meeting her family and I am the luckiest person on the planet because Mahavira still loves me even after this weekend. The end.

Friday, January 11, 2008

look who's coming to dinner

Seems Mahavira's over-involved brother and sister-in-law found out through the grapevine that Mahavira is "dating someone seriously." Mahavira got a stinky phone call from the sister-in-law demanding an audience with the new girlfriend, so it looks like I'll be on display for the family tonight. Should be interesting...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

my assimilation is complete

I used to look with smug disdain on the pod-people. They're everywhere, you can't throw a stick and miss hitting one. Especially on the bus. They've all got earbuds and they're all completely encapsulated, held within the caccoon of whatever music they've got pumping directly into their ear canals. I used to look at the pod-people and actually pity them, as I rode the monotonous bus routes over and over and watched them, so insulated from the world. I told myself that I was a better person because I remained in touch with my environment. I wasn't afraid to go bare-eared into the world, to hear all the ambiant noise that Portland has to offer. I felt tuned in and scoffed at them for tuning out.

Well... it is with some little hint of shame that I admit: I have become a pod-person. Mom sent me that iPod for christmas and my brother (god bless his little robot heart) managed to put some of my music on it, and now I can hardly stand to walk out my front door without those dreaded white cords trailing out of my ears. What has become of me???

I haven't used a portable music device in so many years I can't remember. I have much clearer memories of my very first walkman, I got it when I was 10, the year was 1984, and the music was Madonna, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Cindy Lauper, Huey Fucking Lewis and the News, the Cars, Duran Duran... I used to ride my bike around the neighborhood wearing my headphones, it didn't even have a tape-deck, I just listened to the radio: G105, the station out of Raleigh. I still listen to G105 when I'm in North Carolina, just to see, but I'm always a little sad (and even surprised) not to hear "Lucky Star" or "What's Love Got to Do With It?" They still play pop music, but pop music is shitty now.

Now I walk around with this tiny little thing in my pocket, nowhere near its storage capacity, and listen to the handful of albums I managed to get on. Today I listened to the Pixies while I rode the bus home from downtown, stopped at Whole Foods (nee Wild Oats) to get myself some food, then walked up the street to my house. I have to make myself take the buds out when I walk in my door. And I notice something surprising: my mental health improves as a direct result of exposure to music! I had no idea! I tap my foot, bounce my head, smile at the funny parts or the parts that make me feel nostalgic... I can hardly stop myself from singing along and am just waiting for the day when I'm tired, my defenses are down, or (god forbid) I've been drinking and find myself sitting on the bus singing quietly to myself without realizing. Because I know that day will come.

While I'm reminiscing, I remember the first time I learned that other people could actually hear me singing when I had my headphones on. I was 10, I was listening to my first walkman in my family's living room, and suddenly, through the thick wall of sound I heard my stepfather's voice: "Dawn. We can hear you." Suddenly, with great shame and embarassment, I realized I'd just been serenading the living room OUT LOUD. I guess some part of me knew that I was singing, but my own voice was swallowed by the music from the headphones and, not hearing myself, I just assumed no one else could hear me either. I was wrong.

Now I've got to get my operating system upgraded (don't even ask why that hasn't happened yet) so I can put more of my music on my little music machine. I need a wider selection to not sing along to on the bus. :-)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

random thought generator

With numbered bullets, my favorite:

1.) I have been reading a book called "Wonderful, Wonderful Times" by an Austrian author named Elfriede Jelinek. It is a bizarre, quirky novel about a group of disaffected, nihilist teenagers in Austria in the late fifties. One is the son of a slain communist agitator, one is the wealthy daughter of anonymously wealthy parents, and the other two are twins whose father had been an SS officer who still treasures his memories of killing people during the war. Perhaps you have guessed by now that the title is painfully sarcastic.

Anyway, I finally finished reading it last night at work and oh my god. Not since "Life of Pi" has the end of a novel left my mouth gaping open in shock. I could not believe how this story ended and I can't convey my surprise (or cause you to really care) because I don't want to spoil it if you decide to read it. It would be worth reading, because it's quirky and interesting, and the surprise ending is just a bizarre, macabre bonus. You'll have to find it at a library though, even Powell's City of Books doesn't carry her stuff.

2.) Thanks to everyone who posted supportive comments re: my trip to Vegas. After awhile I started to understand why it impacted me so strongly: see, Vegas is evil. Just as the air in Vegas has no moisture, the whole creature that is Vegas has no soul. And just as the dry air was sucking all the moisture out of my body during my stay there (I came back itching all over), the whole creature of Vegas was trying to suck my soul out (via my ATM card). And it was a terrible, terrible feeling.

Has anyone seen that awful David Lynch film "Mulholland Drive?" I don't think I'm twisted enough to really appreciate any of David Lynch's work, but I did watch "Mulholland Drive" a few years ago and I tried really hard to understand it. I never did quite get a grip on it, but several images stuck with me. Remember the monster that lives behind the diner? The monster that comes in the end and brings the tiny little people in the bag to drive the girl crazy? He was so scary and just knowing he lived in that town, right there behind the diner, waiting to do evil things for money, it was like he embodied the soulless evil of Los Angeles. I suspect there is a creature like that lurking around Vegas and just being near him for two days was enough to make me almost as crazy as that chick in the movie.

3.) But I'm feeling much better now.

4.) My friend Shmeel from work is coming over in an hour to try and fix my car. Yay! Cheaper than the shop, no towing necessary, and done by a friend. Hopefully it's really the alternator belt, like everyone thinks, and not something more complicated and expensive. Otherwise, I might just be learning how not to have a car at all...

5.) Speaking of cars, and I can't believe this is coming in as an afterthought but it's only because I was trying really hard not to mention Mahavira... One of Mahavira's friends, we'll call her Manne, was in a car wreck yesterday and the other driver died. Damn. Mahavira got a call from the very hysterical Manne just after she left my house, and Manne asked her to come to a certain location on Columbia Blvd, then she said "I killed somebody." Turns out, the accident wasn't Manne's fault at all, and all witnesses (including the dead guy's son, who was a passenger) agree to this. She was driving down the street and the other guy pulled out right in front of her, she had no time to avoid him. But that doesn't make her feel a whole lot better. She kept saying "I killed somebody" and Mahavira kept trying to reframe it: "You didn't kill anyone. You were involved in an accident and there was a fatality." Hopefully that will help.

6.) Now I'm going to go take a shower.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

i apologize in advance

...and I promise to stop posting about Mahavira. I know it's got to be annoying. I just can't help it. This is my favorite picture of her and I finally figured out how to steal it from her mother's website and post it here. Fuck. Ignore her cousin and focus only on her gorgeousity. Wow.

Ok, I'm making a New Year's resolution right now to start posting about OTHER STUFF. I promise.


Things are finally beginning to feel normal again. As normal as things can ever feel for me, I guess. I was feeling a bit spirally on Friday and considered cancelling on Mahavira and going home to mope alone. But I pushed through it. Walked up to Whole Foods after work to buy her three limes to garnish the bean and tortilla soup she made me, then I took a bus to her house.

Things had been difficult for us since I'd been back and I wasn't sure what the weekend would look like. Turned out, the weekend looked great. From the minute I walked into her apartment, everything was fine. All the pieces that had been churned up by my brother's visit somehow settled like snow in a globe. There we were, on the loveseat again, her feet across my lap, drinking a beer and talking talking talking and it was so good. The soup was fantastic and then we watched a documentary about Rwanda, all curled up together on the loveseat. Everything was peaceful in my heart and mind and body again.

Saturday was the first full day we ever spent together. It started like most of our truncated days start. We woke around eleven and Mahavira made us tea, which we drank (as usual) sitting up in bed. The bed is pushed into a corner against two walls. Mahavira leans against one wall and I lean against the other and our legs cross over each other. We drink our tea and talk for at least two hours. That's how Saturday started.

But Saturday couldn't stay so sublime because Mahavira's foster dog was sick and had to go to the vet. In fact, the dog woke us up every two hours throughout the night to go outside. Diarrhea and vomiting are no fun. We eventually dragged ourselves out of the cozy tea den and packed the dog off to a vet's office way out on 82nd. Three hours and $185 later we still weren't quite sure what was wrong with the dog, but we had some medicine for the symptoms and we hoped for the best.

By then we were starving since we hadn't eaten all day. Mahavira was dying to take me to Pepino's for a sweet tequila chicken burrito, which is in no way an authentic Mexican dish, but which is tasty nonetheless. We both ate way more than we should have, then we headed back to the apartment to try and force some medicine into the dog and to watch some more movies. When we finally went to bed at midnight, the dog hadn't had any episodes of gross expulsions in several hours and we crossed our fingers and hoped for a full night's sleep.

It was a miracle, but the dog didn't stir once through the night and we both slept like rocks. Hot sweaty rocks that were glued together all night and couldn't bear to be separated for even a second. And if *you're* now afflicted with diarrhea and vomiting from reading all this shit about my wonderful love affair with Mahavira, I really don't blame you. I'd probably be feeling pretty nauseated myself if I wasn't so busy swooning with bliss.

Actually, I'm busy babysitting the dog, who is quite the needy little monster. She has terrible separation anxiety and barks her head off if she's left alone, so Mahavira's been taking her everywhere for the past three months. Poor Mahavira. She's a saint. Patron Saint of needy dogs. Mahavira's working right now and I volunteered to keep the dog tonight since she's been sick and might've caused problems at Mahavira's workplace.

Turns out, most of her symptoms have disappeared (no bad stuff all day, yay) and she probably would've been fine with Mahavira. As it is, she's laying at my feet and whining for Mahavira every few minutes. It's kind of annoying. I mean, I miss Mahavira too, but I'm not *that* pathetic. I don't think...

Friday, January 04, 2008

lingering unease

I think I was disproportionately traumatized by Vegas. Nothing particularly bad happened. I wasn't mugged or assaulted, I didn't get violently ill, I didn't get ahold of any bad drugs, I didn't get food poisoning from shrimp cocktails, I didn't get lice. Yet, I came back to Portland utterly shell=shocked and I still haven't recovered.

Part of my unease is probably to do with my brother. There were a couple of moments when he seemed as far away from me as a dust particle floating in a dark and lifeless part of the universe. I saw in him tiny hints of autism or Asperger's Syndrome -- a certain unrelatedness. And it made me cold. It reminded me of his cold, aloof father, my step-father, and I wondered if these disorders are genetic. Dave was actually the one to suggest the possibility that he has Asperger's. He was joking, but only half.

I love him and I felt an almost desolate feeling as I hugged him goodbye at the airport Tuesday afternoon, just an hour after we'd arrived from Vegas. He put his arms around me awkwardly, like a badly constructed cyborg, and was sure to hold me as far away from him as possible. Mahavira and I had strange, repeating, tedious arguments for the rest of the afternoon and again the next day. We still haven't settled back into our usual routine. I'm in a fog and am considering an increase in my daily dose of happy-pill. It's such a weird thing.

Why should two days in a miserable city throw me into such a tailspin? I feel like holing up in a quiet cabin somewhere in the woods for a weekend, just to think about everything. I'd like to walk in a hushed forest, breathe cold air and look at the trees. I think that would help.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

viva... viva... las vegas!

How do you say the opposite of Viva Las Vegas? Something like, "Yo quiero Las Vegas son muerte." Something like that. I am so glad my brother and I went to Vegas this weekend, because now I never, ever, ever (EVER!!), ever have to do it again. Las Vegas is effed!

We stayed here at the Flamingo Hilton on the strip. This is supposedly one of the original hotels of the strip, but I saw nothing remotely akin to "history" here. Nothing but the nauseating in-house show "Toni Braxton Revealed." Ugh. No thanks, let her stay covered by the years and general disinterest, please.

As you are probably aware, Vegas is all glitz and glam and gambling and drinking (in that order) and that's all it basically has to offer. There are no peaceful little coffeeshops on the streets to rest in, no bookstores, nothing familiar at all. At least not on the strip. I'm not sure why we believed staying on the strip was necessary, but that's what we did and we both regretted it. Like a big Disney World with gambling, the strip was polished, sanitized, mostly G-rated and mind-numbing. The only "sins" I saw in Sin City were gluttony, greed and overconsumption. Oh, and mark-ups on goods and services that would make any good capitalist's jaw drop. They ought to change the slogan to "Whatever money you bring to Vegas stays in Vegas... and then some."

You see these slot machines? Three days ago I would've looked at this picture and thought "Wow! Decadent! I can't wait!" But now I know. I look at this picture now and all I can hear is that terrible, hypnotic "faux-euphoric" musical sound eminating from all those machines going at once. If you haven't been to Vegas there's no way I can explain it, it's like the "flashback" music that plays in a television show as the screen gets wavy and the image changes from the present to the past. And it blasts out from all the machines in one huge, disharmonious wave that must be intended to lull you into losing more money.

The strip is full of casinos. This was the only just plain BAR we could find to hang out in on New Year's Eve. First of all, none of these girls were there. I don't know where these girls went, but they obviously had other plans for New Year's. Instead there were a bunch of really sweet, really cute, vaguely ethnic male bartenders who all looked like brothers from the same Hawaiian island and who took good care of us all night. Or I should say all *evening* because we were there from just 4pm until 8-ish.

After drinking several (at least 6) Vodka Red Bulls each, my brother and I stumbled out the door onto the strip carrying gigantic "beer bottles" holding at *least* 60oz. of beer. People actually took our pictures, such was the spectacle. I'll take a picture of the bottle later and post it, because of course I saved it, but I don't have the energy now.

We ended up sitting on plastic pylons right in front of O'Shea's (where Vince Neil has a tattoo shop and an Irish midget is the mascot) because they had easy bathrooms to access and the strip was rapidly filling with people, making that just as good a place as any. David started talking to two German guys about philosophy (that's my brother, swigging from a 60oz bottle of beer and trying to get people excited about Kant) and I just sat there drinking and watching the crowd, including a guy who sat next to me for several minutes, finally puked, and then tottered off with his friends.

At some point near 11pm, my brother decided he wanted to go looking for some acid. This did not seem like the most well-considered plan in my opinion, but to each his own. I wished him luck and went looking, myself, for a Subway sandwich. It wasn't difficult to find. With about twenty minutes to go until midnight, I finished my sandwich and stumbled back onto the (now completely packed) strip and headed instinctively back to the hotel. We didn't even have a room anymore because we'd decided it would be foolish to book a room for New Year's Eve. Foolish, I tell you! Because we were leaving so early the next morning and we knew we'd be out partying so late...

Well, some of us were out partying late, and others of us were sneaking back up to the warm caccoon of the 20th floor elevator lobby of the Flamingo to sit in solitude above it all when the clock struck midnight and the sounds of fireworks exploding over my head from the roof of my building sounded like bombs dropping. It was a true blue spectacle, as SK would say. But one that I couldn't see. I could only hear the reverberations and see faint wisps of ash falling from above me.

Once the noise died down, I rode the elevator back down, got our bags from the luggage vault and took a cab back to the airport. By 1am I was laying in an uncomfortable heap in the deserted Alaska Air check-in lobby, trying to sleep but too cold to get comfortable. Dave called around 4am to say he'd finally made it to the airport himself. I found him and we both went back to the cold hard floor to wait until the check-in stations opened. I finally slept, for at least an hour, and it was bliss.

Now I'm home. All the airport stuff is over, Dave is gone back to North Carolina and Vegas is safely behind me. What misery. But because I hate complaining too much, I'll leave you with the two things I actually really liked about Vegas, are you ready?

These mountains, that cradle this unlikely desert city, are gorgeous. I kept staring and staring at them from our very high up hotel room. So nice. I told Dave I would rather die cold and alone up in those mountains than surrounded by people and warmth and the faux-euphoric trilling of the slot machines inside any of the casinos on the strip. Give me a cold mountian death any day.

The Flamingo Hilton is home to this lovely wildlife habitat. Seriously. The very lush courtyard of our hotel contained a variety of beautiful and unusual birds, including these flamingos, two sacred ibises, some kind of tufted crane, a pair of guinea foul, and at least one Australian black swan with curly black feathers and striking red beak. I happened to wander out yesterday during one of the informational tours of the habitat, so I learned all about the birds they care for there. This was, hands down, the best thing I experienced in Vegas, which isn't saying much, unfortunately...