Thursday, September 30, 2004

I Guess It's True I Like To Touch Things

This morning I made a list that I will not share lest I breach contracts of emotion and dignity. It was black anyway. (I know. I’m being coy, or, as the American Heritage has it, annoyingly unforthcoming. It will pass.) However, so not to deprive Blogville of a list entirely, I have made a gluttonous one:

Famous Living People I’d Like To Touch (in no order):
Johnny Depp: I once thought we would marry until that French hussy stole him.
Beck: He was very sexy on the Midnite Vultures tour, or maybe I was just experiencing a sexual awakening at the time.
Juliette Binoche: She’s beautiful and luscious on screen. Does it carry over?
Carrie Brownstein: There’s something sexy about her boyish strutting on stage.
Doug Martsch: I’d like to touch the flesh that houses the thing that makes the great lyrics and guitaring.
Bill Callahan: I’d like to fondle and lick him, and then fuck him up. He’s earned it; he’d probably like it.
Christopher Walken: Who's more badass than he is? I read a great article that made him yet more appealing as a person behind the actor.
Bernard Georges: He's more one with his musical instrument than anyone I've seen play live. Transfer the magic, friend.
9. Bjork.
Milan Kundera: I have a lot to learn. (I also might just be pulling this out of my ass because I'm very busy at work today, yet I couldn't let this list go unfinished. However, I did just learn that his birthday falls the day after mine. (I just mistyped "I'm very busty at work today." It's amazing how the glands begin to swell when I walk into the hospital.))

While some of the list might reflect sultry fantasies, mainly these are people that have fascinated me obsessively for some period of time short or long. There are others but they're dead, and yet others who are too sacred too touch.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Take a trip down ghastly lane by opening up a medical dictionary pulped with photographs of human subjects. I tell you, gonorrhea on a woman is stunning in a most unbeautiful way, particularly close up. That was the first page I turned to. I went to the medical library to double check the spelling of a term in a manuscript and got lost in the dictionary. Stood there, flipping page after page: flinch, whisper "oh my god," turn page, flinch, "oh my god," turn page, flinch, "oh my god," turn page. It went on though I felt deeply, fully sickened. It was like the Saturday Night Live skit where one person at the dinner table smells the milk gone bad, flares in disgust, passes it on for the next person to smell and drink in the foul curdles: Let me smell it, let me smell it, let’s drink it. Everyone needs to take it in to know for themselves, to not be left out. Except this was just me taking in one ghastly curdle after another obsessively and more rapidly with each one. It was M&Ms, it was crack. Finally I looked up and remembered there were people sitting nearby and I felt a little embarrassed, having lost myself. Who needs Who needs liquor when you can trash your inhibitions with a medical dictionary? Pus and skinless finger, excessively bulbous penis-head, appendix like beef jerky dipped in barbecue sauce…I feel delightfully weakened.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Hurricane Aphasia

Today The phone rings. I say "Hello" because I don’t feel professional enough yet to answer more authoritatively. Besides, few people call me. Mark, Shin, and the people in the hospital who dial my extension because they want to get rid of someone who called them.

Lady: Who is this?
Me: Sara.
Lady: This is V____. How are you?
Me: Good.
Lady: Good. I’ve got a patient on the line who used to be a patient of Dr. (doctor I ain’t never heard of), and she needs to (Sara’s zoning out because she knows nothing here). I’m trying to get through to B____ and—
Me: I am an editorial assistant here and have no patient information—
Lady: I know. I’m trying to get through to B____ and want to transfer this person to a live person because she’s testy—
(Me thinking: So why the fuck do you want to transfer some testy lady to me whom you know is an editorial assistant who knows nothing of what to do with or how to respond to patients? Then she will be more testy and still will not have gotten anywhere.)
Me: I'll get you the extension to a real person.

And so I did. Lady won't be dumping on me, nope.

Yesterday I got my monthly issue of Scientific American in the mail. The cover article is on hurricanes. I picked it up just before I left for the library to tutor some poetry. While driving there, I had a thought: Hurricanes, a force that can't be controlled, which is infinitely and ultimately scary and I love that part of being alive here on the planet. I got to the libarary a little early, so I opened the magazine to the article on hurricanes. There are researchers working to control The Hurricane. Good chance it'll be possible in a decade or two. While I don't like to see coast-dwellers suffer or lose their homes, I do like the idea of there being god-like forces that ultimately control things. Genetic manipulation, it creeps me out. I presume there is a reason some of us humans are coming to figure out how to harness such god-like controls, a thought which runs opposite yet parallel to my being creeped out by it. I prefer to think that we and our things are just illusion and even though it might appear we're learning how to genetically devise our children, clone our pet puppies, and control hurricanes, we're really the same speck-sized fools we've always been (and more so?). I'm having a good laugh about it right now, that sounds like thunder.

Today I forgot to put on deodorant. I'm not foul yet. Yesterday I shaved only my right leg. Tomorrow I will not forget to put pants on.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Turtle & the Big Bean

Sunday I rescued a 4-inch long turtle from imminent death on a Connecticut road. It was my first time. Turtle was on the yellow line of a curvy road, and you know people often do not stay in their lanes on curvy roads. Kat who was driving pulled over and I hopped out. Two cars whizzed by before I could get to the middle of the road; one went right over, the wheels fortunately equidistant from her. Still safe. I picked her up and held her between my right thumb and middle finger. She pulled her head inside. I don’t blame her. I’d have been scared immobile too if I’d just barely escaped death. I walked across the street, back behind a house, through some foliage, down a hill, and set Turtle down on a rock half in a creek. Hopefully she keeps herself headed in a right direction.

This morning I was listening to the radio on my way to work. Jim Gearheart of 101.5 usually talks about topics that interest me and, though I don’t always agree with him, he usually offers an opinion I’m interested in hearing and offers details to support. Apparently there is a new stipulation—law?—going into effect (in New Jersey? in America? I missed part of the discussion) that bans junk food from schools. Especially after seeing Supersize Me I think this is not a bad idea, though I would like to hear the plan in full. Junk food in school is only part of the problem certainly, but many kids don’t know how to eat healthily. This is in part because the parents don’t eat healthily and they either don’t know how to either or they’re blind hypocrites. Greasy french fries, a slice of pizza, and a Hershey bar may taste good but do not come together as a healthy lunch for the growing folk. And most kids when given the option will select the above over, say, a salad and a side of green beans (particularly those slimy ones offered in schools). When I was in school I was made fun of for eating green beans (I’m still wounded; I dream of gigantic green beans wearing devil horns in cheerleading uniforms. (That isn’t true.))

Anyway, I was disappointed at JG’s automatic cynicism about the issue. He cynically said, paraphrasing, "‘They’ (legislators, I presume) think they’re going to cure obesity by banning junk food in schools, but they’re not going to do it for another three months; it must not be that urgent; meanwhile the kids are going to continue stuffing themselves." Well, maybe, but "they" gotta start somewhere. Does he expect the Junk Food Stormtroopers to come in over night and clear all the junk food out of every school in New Jersey? There’s plenty to be cynical about regarding legislation in New Jersey, from what I gather having lived here for three years, but what’s the point of trying at all if people knock down every effort? When one accuses another of idiocy at every juncture, that one becomes the idiot. I say this as a barely and rarely politically charged person. I was in a Stop & Shop this weekend. Ten out of twelve or so people gathered in front of the meat counter were unhealthily overweight, kids included. It makes me sad to see masses of people becoming larger by day, with little hope for little ones because they follow what they see.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Glitzy Twitching

I’d like to direct you to the newly monikered and active MakBlog.

Good news, The Good Doctor is "very" impressed, not only with the PowerPoint presentation I made for him but also that I taught myself the program in order to do it. Shucks, and the sun is shining. I done good. Ok, done tooting own horn. I'm all red-faced, uncomfortable in this position.

Other things in life that make me uncomfortable:
1. When people say "what’s up?" or "how are you" in passing, or ever
2. Churches, the mysterious etiquette while in service
3. Fighting, though in a sadistically exhilarating way
4. Turning down a suitor
5. Soggy clothing on the body

Last night I had all sorts of dream-in-wake scenarios. By that I mean I was asleep but I was aware of my surroundings in the waking and, with lots of jerking and sitting up, was having very in-the-waking sorts of dreams:
1. Talking to
Melissa on the phone about a date.
Jeremy was sweating profusely--and I mean profusely--sweat dripping like Niagra from his head; clearly he was dressed too warmly for the room.
3. Taking care of bidness at work, talking to The Good Doctor, close-up of long technical title of manuscript.

1. I still dislike traffic, particularly the jamming sort.
2. I'm still going to Las freaking Vegas, and to top it off Mak I are going on a glider ride, gifted to us by his Dad-o last Christmas.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

America's Youth Shows New Promise

Last night I was riding my bike because it was bloody beautiful outside. I heard a thumping against my bike and looked up. There were two boys walking on the sidewalk. (I was in the street.) Both said, nearly simultaneously, "Your water bottle fell out." Not only that, they retrieved it as I was heaving my bike up the curb and out of traffic. I had actually thought they’d thrown something at me when I first heard the noise and saw them. I guess not all of our youth are little fuckers made of cock and laze. That’s something to smile about.

However: I am very near completing my first PowerPoint presentation—for The Good Doctor, on a muscle condition. My mouse-clicking hand aches. Having come this far, I say, Fuck you to Microsoft Office programs that do things for you with the intention of helping you, and whether or not they’re actually helping you they do it anyway and don’t let you do otherwise. I’ve been thinking this for a while. When my grandma does this it’s forgivable because her heart is involved; this is not the case for Microsoft Office.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


"When God and the Bible were in school, drugs were not."

Or it went something like that on the bumper of ye olde gray car driving in front of me earlier. Ok bitch. I'd like to give that woman a hug, while wearing a body condom.

So an Irish fella came to my office today to teach The Good Doctor and me how to use the web-based system the journal is about to be inducted into. My ears still pulse in delight at the sound of his voice. Foreign-charmed sucker!

The event went well despite a series of bumbles...

1. The phone rang right at the beginning to a very VERY loud woman who kept fading in and out, to which I said Hello? at least ten times. I thought she was the lady from Health Benefits calling me back so I asked if I could call her back. Turns out she was wrongly transferred to me and needed to discuss "pre-certs." I felt a tad rude, and the call was volcanic, though our meeting carried on as if it never happened.

2. I have two unfortunate bright red pimples on the same side of my chin about which I feel very self-conscious today. In addition my hair is unclean; I am an oily ogre.

3. While our Irish friend was talking and gesturing he swept his arm into the picture of me and Mark, knocking it over.

4. I received another phone call, my hair and face still gross, from a secretary with a doctor on the other line, to which I stuttered: we meeting in are uh. She said she'd take a message. I rarely receive phone calls, and it's a good thing considering my business phone skills.

5. When we'd learned all there was to learn today, I offered our Irish friend a ride to the train station. Cabs suck, and that's how he'd gotten here. So we walk out to the parking lot, climb in my Gracie, engage in conversation, and take off. "Oh shit," I say, and turn to him, "Do you remember how you got here?" You see, I'd never been to the Edison train station. I had seen it once, but not in relation to any coherent set of directions from hospital. Mind you, he lives in Ireland; I'm the one who lives in Jersey. He remembers having come from the left out of the hospital, and later from somewhere off to the right. We go that way...then stop at a Shell station. A Pakastani guy putting air in his tires rattles: left, two lights, two rights, left, another two lights, dead end, two lights, right, then left, one mile. "Thank you," I smile blankly and return to the car. As I'm about to pull away, still guessing, he approaches my window, which I lower. He says, "Take this road to where it ends, turn left, and go until you see the tracks." Well, that was much easier. So we do that and, finally, reach the train station, with only a few minutes wait for the next train. All is well.

Throughout all these bumbles--yes, I know most of them are minor but I must still be high on whatever it was I smoked before work the other day that made my sensory receptors so vulnerable to the ills of traffic and office noise--things proceeded as if without them, like a pristine machine.

I feel like a droning rattler today.

I wish panache were spelled pinache; then it would be closer to being spinach.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I have no blog topic in mind today; list of ticks goes:

Earlier I went into The Good Doctor’s office. There was a businessman of some kind visiting him. The Good Doctor introduced me as his Editorial Assistant and said matter-of-factly, "She’s very important." So I gave a little bow, said "thank you" and "nice to meet you." How nice for it to be spoken that you’re important.

While I was in a stall in the bathroom a blonde came in, not whistling but doing a "che-che-che" sort of tongue-drumming. I don’t know if it was the same blonde or not. I thought the whistling blonde was thinner. Anyway, while she was peeing and I was washing my hands, we had a conversation about how the bathroom was disgusting and how it isn’t very difficult to do your business neatly. Never been a fan of public bathroom chatting with strangers.

Oh yea, kids, I’m going to fucking Vegas. This is for real, not like that bit about moving to Paris. Mak and I will be hopping on a plane on October 5 and returning October 8. I’m gonna dress up like a Playboy bunny (I'm not allowed to search "Playboy bunny" at work; probably I will be arrested later today for trying. Create your own picture.) and drink Cosmopolitans. Not much of a gambler. Later, if I remember I will post a picture from the first and only other time I was in Las Vegas. It’s a doozy.

Worry not, east coast friends. Big Trip will not inch in on Big Party to be held on October 9 for celebrating the birthdays of Mark, Melissa, and Lauren, and my moving into Mark’s, which will then be my, or (ahem) our cozy home.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Growing Old in Paris

I'm moving to Paris! Here's why. I can't believe I forgot to tell you.

By the way, it couldn't have been much more than 50 degrees when I left for work this morning, yet the air conditioning was on in the hospital. I'm wearing a wool skirt, two shirts, a corduroy jacket, and knee-tall boots. Still there are goosebumps all over my body.

This is how I shall begin my first phone-sex call when I start my new business in Paris. I plan on succeeding.

When I went to get food in the cafe a bit ago I saw the most bad-ass old man getting himself a fountain soda. I wish I'd had a camera so I could share him with you visually. He was wearing a ship captain's white hat and a black satiny jacket with the Soul Train logo needlpointed into the back in an assortment of colors. Grandpa Soul. He was about half my height. On the way back to my office there was an old lady wearing yet another bad-ass coat: mid-thigh length, Brady-Bunch plaid in olive and chartreuse over cream. Wearing great coats might be the only thing positive about getting old. Unless it gets better after you've forgotten you lost your memory and no longer mind shitting yourself in public.


Friday night Melissa and I played Twister, just the two of us spinning and contorting, in front of the door into Fuddrucker's, after I consumed a lot of beef and a 32-oz. Heineken. (Holy shit! Check out the gargantuan Twister mat!) During the frolic a fine gentleman in a suit appeared out of the sky and asked when the place closed. Upon our answering, "Eleven," he sauntered off toward the highway.

I could die today and feel like I lived successfully.

We also played frisbee and performed a short running race in the parking lot and, inside, we played
air hockey, my other love. Good times.

Did I Smoke the Nasty and Then Drive to Work?

Oh god all my sensory receptors are intensely receptive today. I feel like the whole world’s sensations are passing through and through my head, puppeting my nerves and worming around in my veins: the big trucks so big on the highway, the anger of the lady driving behind me, the singing of the woman in the hallway, the hold music on the speaker phone in the room next to me, the woman on the phone in another room, the printer, the fax machine, my CD playing on low, high-pitched beeping somewhere, the doctors talking in doctor voices back and forth outside my office, the anger of the pungent people here who hate their jobs, the mail cart jingling, cacophonously mingling conversations at both ends of the hallway, doors shutting, sneezing.

Things I dislike in life:
1. Money
2. Rush-hour traffic
3. Circular conversation
4. Belittlement, particularly as a result of insecurity
5. Pre-meditated jokes

I had a hard time with this list. I started making the list over a week ago. All of these things I’m fascinated by enough to enjoy as part of living at some point or another.

1. Money is and has always been the dominant or related cause of major and minor turmoil in my life and in the lives of most people I know.
2. Traffic fascinates me but on mornings like this one when I can feel everyone’s anger, sadness, and total disregard for other people, I’d rather be anywhere else, except for drowning in the ocean.
3. Circular conversation is high on my list of most frustrating situations, when people say the same things back and forth to one another, usually thinking if they say it one more time they’ll get the answer they want. This happened this morning. How many damn times need I say "I don’t know"? I could make up an answer, but where would that get you?
4. Belittlement as a result of a person’s insecurity: this happened a lot when I worked at Borders. So you hate yourself and the life you’ve made for yourself. It’s obvious so why try to mask it by shitting on the innocent and unrelated?
5. Pre-meditated jokes. Sometimes I can appreciate these, but really I’m just appreciating the person delivering them, when that person’s personality transcends his or her degenerate attempt at humor. At a friend’s house this weekend, where her parents were presenting a gourmet dinner, a friend of the family, when my friend and I visited the downstairs to pick up some appetizers, said to my friend’s mom with a despicable wink: "I see you got yourself a couple of maids for the party." Followed by his own laughter. He was trying to make the other old people laugh, and to make a "cute" joke to me and my friend. I continued facing the other direction, peering into the cabinet for a cup, particularly when he repeated himself, not receiving laughter the first couple tries. That was better than the look I might have given him. I know, that was bitchy. Finally I gave him a forced smile, poor thing. Old guy humor. Sometimes, nonetheless, it infects me too.

Friday, September 17, 2004


Read this. It is my all-day laugh stimulus. Thanks to Kate.

Should I go to neuroscience school? This morning The Good Doctor said I might as well be a sleep doctor since I'm learning so much about sleep this and sleep that. And he keeps teaching me bits about reading EEGs and actigraphs. I'm as good as accepted into any grad neuroscience program already. Ok, I'm being mock-cocky. But really... Imagine the house we could buy then, Mak, New Jersey or anywhere, and many Viszlas and riding lawn mowers.

Today I have been listening to The Cure and Joy Division. I wonder what's going on. It is awfully gray outside. I won't worry unless later I think I'm in high school calculus class and start drawing Cure logos next to differential equations, should I remember how those work. There are two more hours left before I leave the hospital today.

More Mike & Ikes from the quarter machine? Maybe later. May be another career option.

Here's to figuring and flailing in the funnel of love.

I dream of fish

Dream last night, that I have to record. Full of fish and fish skeleton, many of each but mostly bones hanging from a low roof of wooden pavilion/house, and an assortment of pictures, memories, and commentaries of/on my Papa. In one shot my grandma is looking at a young picture of him. She says sadly that he had been so fun and lively before, as if simultaneously he were alive and recently dead. She is distant. In waking life my grandpa is alive but seriously declining since his brain aneurysm over twenty years ago, arm in a sling and walks with a cane, doesn't speak well, used to be a jazz drummer and feed me ice cream. In the dream it was necessary to retrieve firewood. I went with a cousin, whom I don’t know well, to a place outside the woods, where an enormous tree grew. I don’t think I could see the top. In the tree were, of course, limbs and also cut logs balanced in the limbs. This was normal. My cousin and I began removing some and cutting some down. He was holding a 22-oz. Red Stripe. I don’t believe those exist. I had brought a 12-pack of some light-colored beer, cans, to the tree with us, for him. The scene rapidly flashes back and forth from the tree to the pavilion/house. Images of my grandpa flash, images of fish. A close-up: an entire whale skeleton, miniature to about the size of my forearm including my hand, which I believe to have contained more bone mass than a whale does. I poked at it with my pointer fingernail. It hung by a string, as did all the others which had less bone bass, mainly single bones strung together. Near the enormous tree was a pit—or the pit may have been instead or also at the pavilion/house—full of live fish. There was no fish scent given their overwhelming abundance.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Mysterious Visitors

Twice now after I’ve walked into one of the two bathroom stalls in the bathroom down the hall from my office a tall blonde woman has walked into the stall next to me, whistling. I’ve never felt like whistling when visiting the toilet, but to each his or her own. I’m on the watch for this one. Like my collection of superballs I also collect recurrent sightings of mysterious visitors.

1. Carbondale, Illinois. Bright white-yellow hair, orange face oompa loompa style. He often wore a bright blue jacket. The man walked a steady-pace loop around Carbondale, one leg of it swinging through the upstairs and downstairs of the Student Center. I’m not the only witness.

2. Iowa City, Iowa. Balding guy with black strands horizontal across the top. Short-sleeved white button-down shirt, gray pants, black socks and shoes. Laytex gloves. All of this every day. He passed my house, would be gone for an hour or so, and then he would come back the same side of the street, carrying mysteriously full trash bags. Every day. When I moved two blocks away, he was on that street, too.

3. Branchburg, New Jersey. Balding guy with black curly hair. Various combinations of bland casual work attire. Worked in the tech department where I was teaching. In every class I taught, excluding the creative writing class in another town, he entered during the middle of class either to bring in a TV, video camera, etc., or to remove one, none of which ever pertained to my class that was in session. He acted as though the students and I weren’t even there. The first time I asked him what was going on. He emitted a nasally indiscernible syllable, which I couldn’t help laughing at along with my students after he left the room.

4. Branchburg, New Jersey. Judith. Saw her frequently walking on Finderne, wearing a red satiny jacket and too-short stretch pants. Very weathered face, wild brown-orange curly hair, very weathered hands. I know this because she began coming to the writing center where I tutored and asking me for the definition of most words on a given page, while writing a research paper on sports medicine. One day I arrived at the school, where the writing center was and where I taught. I decided to wait an eternity for the elevator because I’d woken up with The Neck Problem and couldn’t move my head, neck, or back, much less walk many stairs while carrying a bag of heavy books. She passed me and said, "Take the stairs. You’re lazy."

5. Edison, New Jersey. Whistling Toilet Lady. Here’s to an exciting future.


Is it strange to have maternal instincts toward one’s car? I think I’m having those. Maybe I’m just at that age and have no child to direct those feelings to. Maybe I woke up on a strange side of the bed this morning. I feel excited today, though I’m not sure about what. I’ll take it, though. I was stuck in an Eleanor Rigby loop earlier with all the lonely people, where do they all come from. I’ve since moved on to Broadcast, into an unreal place filled with candy and shiny objects. Throw in some cheese and ice cream and need I ever leave this place? Speaking of which, need anyone ever leave their homes? Last night I was reading the Sunday New York Times New Jersey Section. In an article about grocery store marketing, a woman said she prefers to call in her order and pick it up; that way she doesn’t have to bring the kids. What is she doing in the meantime? I know, people are busy, everyone is busy, busy, busy, busy. It’s a pain in the ass to bring the kids to the grocery store; it’s also a pain in the ass for other people who happen to be in the grocery store to have to hear the screaming and contort to maneuver around those kids. But that’s just part of life, which, though it may be a source of irritation, is something to love about living. Suck it up and enjoy the ride, unless of course you live in New Jersey or somewhere equal or worse in the way of roads and traffic. Then, suck it up anyway, or move. I think of Grace out there in that big dangerous hospital parking lot and I want to bring her inside with me. I think of her on that packed and gritty 287 homeward and workward and want her to hover over it all. Do you want to take a ride in my hovercraft? I learned how to say that in Italian before I went to Italy. I didn’t use it once.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Best Medicine

It seems I've been found again, not that I'm hiding. With the People below, there are two more doorways back and forward to Iowa City days.

Taking off with the list experiment, I’m digging in, riffing if you will, from a previous list containing my favorite things in life. No, this will not be a list of my favorite ways of being naked with my boyfriend, yet. It will be a list of favorite laughing.

1. As mentioned before when writing about my Mom, my friend Jason has the most infectious laugh ever. While he’s laughing his eyes visibly create something out of what’s been said that’s even funnier. This goes on without pause and increases in entertainment. The night I took note of the way this worked, he was laughing and I couldn’t stop laughing in response, and finally he asked me if I was making fun of him. Nope. I’d been infected. There should be more of this kind of infection in life. I wish I had a sound byte to share. Or, hell, I wish he were here.

2. My brother Alex in March 2004. When my parents, grandma (Phyllis a.k.a. Sally), and brother visited New Jersey, my brother and I began developing a list of my grandmother’s varying laughs. There is the crescendoing sort of moan which falls back down in steps when she doesn’t think something is funny but feels it would be appropriate to laugh. And there is the sudden cackle, which is probably related to the nervous giggle demonstrated by other people including myself; however this version is far more disturbing. It jolts, it jars the whole body, and generally follows rather morbid remarks. On the plane on the way over, my brother was coughing a smoker’s cough. Grandma turned around and said to him, "Hope you don’t have SARS. SUDDEN CACKLE!" All night during dinner my brother, unbeknownst to my grandma, imitated her laughs as if he were merely participating in family time. I laughed so hard I thought I might vomit at the dinner table. This is the first time I began to feel close to my brother.

3. Kyle Wills’ pure, full, boundless laugh. A particular instance repeatedly surfaces in my memory: The whole slew of us were in Chicago where La Makita Soma was opening for Smog, during which night Bill Callahan revealed himself fully to be a prime asshole. Just before we began light-brigading for LMS, Gregg gave me LSD in a green gel tab, a rather potent dose which for the first and only such time made me fearful: I lost the capacity for speech, had no idea where I was in Chi-town, everyone fell asleep and I was alone and incapacitated. Gregg, Mr King, and I were the last awake, and I had determined that Mr King was my stronghold. Meanwhile, Gregg was filling himself with much whiskey. By morning when everyone--I think the rest of the twenty or so of us in one apartment--had risen, I had slept a single chopped-up hour and Gregg was in poor shape; he, Kyle and I were hungry for breakfast. For some reason we decided the Mexican grocery store across the street was a good bet. It wasn't. Passing through the turnstile, we quickly saw the store contained large bags of rice and such, no toast or eggs or even a box of Pop Tarts. So we decided to leave. Kyle and I began to walk to the turnstile at the exit; Gregg turned around right where he was and tried to leave. These were one-way turnstiles. He looked like a wind-up toy butting and butting again the wrong way into the turnstile's metal arm. As his girlfriend at the time I thought I should be supportive and not laugh, so I held it in. Kyle Wills, he let it out, a pure, full, boundless laugh enough for the both of us. Even the memory of that laugh feels like life should be.

It seems I can't just make a simple list, 1-2-3. So be it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Another Lag in the Workday

I swear I was working hard before this.

More quizzes:

What type of bra are you? I am a sparkly pink bra, sweet but tempting.

What drink are you? I'm a shot of some good old hard liquor!

It's sad I think there is nothing else in my brain right now: boob-holder, drink. My brain is frozen in the arctic office. Yesterday I was so cold I began shaking and went outside for ten minutes. It didn't help. Woe is I. Have I said this before? Maybe.

More bitching about the corporate tinge. Yesterday there was a knock at my office door. It was a secretary.

She said with a sharp tick in her voice: Is The Good Doctor printing three thousand pages?
(I thought: Let me check my telepathic signal, no I'm not picking up anything.)
I said: I don't know.
She said: Could you ask him?
(I thought: Why don't you turn around, take two steps directly across the hall, knock on his door and ask him.)
I said: Sure.

And so I followed her out my door, knocked on his door. He wasn't in there, and so I told the secretary. As I was taking the two steps back to my office I looked down the hall, both ways. There were people in a flurry in both directions, questioning who it could possibly be printing three thousand pages and holding up printing for the entire office! Oh my god!! Who is it?! What! Who! Why! The whole office!

About an hour later I went into The Good Doctor's office to give him a manuscript. While I was there, another doctor came in, with a little laugh in her voice about the frantic flapping that had gone on earlier about somebody printing three thousand pages, and had we heard about it. The Good Doctor got a look in his eye, asked when this was, said calmly, "That might be me." He and the other doctor began walking together toward the printer.

Turned out it was his stuff indeed holding up the whole office. I can see how it might be annoying if you have things to do and some jerk is holding up the printer. At the same time, given the extremity of it, it's pretty funny that somebody had unknowingly printed three-freaking-thousand-pages and somehow totally missed the scenario where the whole office seemed to be reacting to a bomb scare.

News on boobs at 11.

Six Feet Under the Irish Composer

Oh swoon. I just heard from my Irish boyfriend. It’s been several weeks, several. I worried my lack of Irish heritage had turned him away but all is well. So cute that he called asking about some obscure special copies of the journal as a way just to talk to me.

Ok, I’m back.

I finally saw the final season episode of Six Feet Under last night. This is what I think, and Kate. I am aware of the mild elitism that emerges at the end of my thoughts. It is truly despicable. I wonder if I’m in denial about the show or appropriately suspended in faith. Which applies to each of my life-choices.

Which fucked up composer are you? –as per Hazel Vitriol

This is me:

Captain Beefheart... you are one of the first modern fucked-up geniuses. When it comes to creating, you rank right up there with the likes of James Mangan, John Wilmot and Edvard Munch.


Monday, September 13, 2004


My car (This goes to somebody else's Mazda 3,which looks lighter in hue than mine, but you'll get the picture. There's a nice shot of the taillights.): she will be called Grace. It hit me like god as I was driving away from work Friday afternoon. So far here are my favorite things about her:

1. Her taillights. This is not suggestive or sexual. Her taillights are bad-ass.
2. Her interior lights. They look like crystalline brick walls narrowing toward some vanishing point in the roof of the car.
3. The volume control on the steering wheel. Saturday morning I found that I can hold a cup of coffee, make a sharp turn, and lower the volume of the music all at the same time.
4. The stellar pick-up.

What else...while I sit here in the arctic office and The Good Doctor suffers from jet lag across the hall...

In the spirit of the record show, my ten top albums as I figure them this moment (highly subject to change in a future moment)*:

1. Kristin Hersh - Hips and Makers
2. Throwing Muses - the first self-titled one
3. Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
4. Built to Spill - Perfect from Now On
5. u-ziq (What!? I can't make Greek letters on this blasted blog?) - Lunatic Harness
6. Beatles - Revolver (probably because it's playing right now and I'm lovin' it)
7. Zombies - Odessey and Oracle
8. Boards of Canada - music has the right to children
9. Slowdive - Pygmalion
10. Olivia Tremor Control - Black Foliage: Animation Music Vol. 1

*This list is a part of the flux-identity experiment and is funded by Sara S and PNC Bank, to whom we would like to extend orange thanks.

Another Identity Crisis in Boobville

Yesterday I went to a record show with the Shin Hsu in Springfield, NJ. At first nothing there struck me and then I found a table that pleased me. When I asked the large olive-skinned guy behind the table how much was the first CD I picked up, he directed me to a bin down the line in which there were several other "different" selections. That’s "different" with an italicized acknowledgement that he knew my kind and knew that I wasn’t going to be buying any Lita Ford. I found and bought from him the following:

1. a Cat Power session on French radio. The songs are good, not spectacular but good. I was most struck by the vast difference between her speaking demeanor and her singing demeanor. Where is she from? I forget. Wherever, she sounds very North Carolinian. I guess I’d never heard her speak before. I’d heard the tales of live performances rent with stagefright. She begins the session with a couple of strums, then stops to giggle and tell the radio guys she’s made a rule: nobody can look at her while she plays, then more giggling. And then, playing, she morphs into the confident sexy deity she is. Song over, there is more giggling, lots of "likes" flecking vague sentence structures, an odd but funny take-off into German-accented monologue, then more playing. And she talks about making the covers record. I’m glad I bought it.

2. Massive Attack re-mixes. I don’t know much more than this. Haven’t had a chance to hear the whole thing yet. There is a Portishead re-mix and some other notables. Sounds good so far.

3. My Bloody Valentine early tracks and rarities! This one was the kicker. I always want more and more MBV, but there is only so much out there to have. The sound isn’t the best, but that’s no matter. I’ve heard it only in the car so far and need to give it more listens before honestly critiquing; however, much of it sounds like primitive Isn’t Anything and more upbeat. Probably I prefer Isn’t Anything and Loveless, but I’m stoked about this one.

4. The other kicker—there can always be multiple kickers like multiple orgasms—is Brian Eno’s "Here Come the Warm Jets" on vinyl. I haven’t been a vinyl person. I have been chided by vinyl snobs in record stores, and the last record player I owned was Fisher Price. Soon I will have a record player. Meantime, I have this one on tape and CD. In the last few years it’s become one of my favorite albums ever, and I’m happy to now own the big, bad, beautiful vinyl version.

Yesterday, after the record show, my brain was taken over by the ghost of a teenage boy. The boob references were out of control. It began when I pointed out the difference in the boob size of Gwyneth Paltrow in two juxtaposed pictures of her in Entertainment Weekly. On the left she looked about my size, maybe a little bigger; on the right the boobs definitely looked bigger, I think to represent mom-Gwyneth and actress-Gwyneth. Boob-talk continued until I decided to go home: Shin held out an orange that the solicitor in front of Blockbuster gave him (yes, it was still solicitation even though the guy gave Shin the orange). The orange was very big. Here went my thought process: that is a big orange--probably bigger than my boob--I better check. And so I looked down to check. That’s when Tom, Shin’s roommate, called me out. All about the boob. I don’t know why this preoccupation. Involuntary, I say. I went home and did a quick exorcism under the influence of rosemary, thyme, and red rocket juice. Except to tell this tale I haven’t thought boob yet today.

In conclusion, yesterday is a day to remember.

Friday, September 10, 2004

My Cold Mountain

Another blasted hour left at work. It's at least 10 degrees warmer on the other side of the neuroscience institute. Why was I put here? Put the girl with no circulation in the coldest room must be the first rule in the book. Every bedroom I've called mine has been the coldest room in the house.

Earlier I walked into the space behind the reception area, looking for a fax that may have come for me. Usually people mumble good morning or I get a side glance, or nothing. I guess I create my own reality: where I give little in social interaction, I get little. I offer quiet passing hellos to the majority here. Reverse: Do et des, hospital friends. This time three people, and two of them twice and noticeably, used my name when I walked in. It felt new and strange as if we'd been chummy for a fair time. I was taken aback but went along with it. I wondered what caused it. I liked it. Had they heard I'd driven here in a new car and that made me a more attractive associate? It couldn't have been the bags under my eyes or my ruddy, overtired complexion. Usually, when you feel good you look good and people are strongly drawn to you. That's what it felt like when the ladies used my name again and again, except let me assert that today I am not a hot ticket, hardly a beacon of any kind. Bags, ruddy face, oily hair. I am sleepy and achingly desirous of the outdoors. Like Will Oldham I will fuck a mountain when I leave this place, while my new car is watching. I guess I don't need to know why. For any of the above.

I try to occupy the time productively. But the hours! The hours! I keep shifting and forgetting where I am until a bang outside the door brings me back. My thoughts right now are becoming dumber and I haven't even given birth yet. As I'm signing off I'd like you all to feel my ice-hands curl around your necks.

MNOTS v. Listing

"Sara S. schrieb:"

This, from a German doctor in an e-mail. I sure did; I schrieb. Watch your back, or leave the room.

Awake in the middle of the night again last night. Reasons: 1) got a new car last night, 2) ate a burger late last night, and 3) obsessive middle-of-the-night thoughts.

Yes, after 2 1/2 hours (in addition to the full day over a month ago) and a confusing issue with pricing and financing, I finally got a new car. I said goodbye to Frank, hugged him, then drove home in this new one, a bright blue (winning blue, they call it) Mazda 3, which I haven't yet felt a name for. There are three particular places en route to work where Frank had no pick-up, none. An unfortunate thing in New Jersey. Together we pissed off drivers of cars behind us. I still loved him, petted him consolingly on the steering wheel. I do not jest; I really did. This morning I was in one of those cars who used to behind me, and now I believe everyone should by law have access to cars that drive well, quick pick-up and smooth-sailing. I also believe that I shouldn't be in this office without a window today: eager to get to know my new car, it's fucking beautiful outside, and coincidentally while The Good Doctor is away no work is coming in for me by e-mail either. I could probably leave and then return at 4: 30 to swipe the clock, but I'm too honest for that activity.

Yes, ate a burger with melted bleu cheese after the car deal. The middle of the night included gurgle gurgle brooooaaa goorar and then some.

Yes, more middle-of-the-night obsessive thoughts, from now on referred to as MNOTs. Say "em-nahwts." To them I say, what the fuck? I wouldn't be having these thoughts so obsessively during the day. Come on, guys, I'm trying to sleep. Mark Dwyer once wrote that he sleeps like a rock and that during that time "Nothing goes on." I am grateful for the capacity as a mostly healthy being to think, and I am even grateful for the quick-flitting, manic, chaotic thoughts that sometimes disturb my well-being. But to be able to have a rest from it and just lie down, go to sleep, and stay asleep would be a nice balm. I don't envy him the not dreaming, however. Dreaming is one of my favorite things about being alive, in the top 5 for sure. To try to divert MNOTS, open-eyed at 3am, I decided to go ahead and make that list. Probably the list changes, like everything else, including my Grandma's age and my Latin vocabulary, but for now I've decided on the following, in no significant order:

1. dreaming
2. laughing
3. being surprised (along the whole +/- spectrum)
4. being naked with my boyfriend
5. shifting into alternate consciousness while writing

I see potential in this list-making. Hopefully this blog will help ADD Sara remember it.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Doctored Up

"Dear Dr. S.,"

This began an e-mail I just received from a doctor in Italy. The positive deception of e-mail. I didn't even have to complete the appropriate schooling to earn this address. I tried to make my reply e-mail sound official enough not to blow my cover. "Thank you for your message. I will inform The Good Doctor also when he returns from Paris" rather than "I'll be sure and pass your message onto The Good Doctor and see what he thinks when he returns from Paris."

It's becoming clear to me, from these posts and from the thoughts that go on upstairs that are secret from you readers, that I am not satisfied with my current station in life. I like my new job, and I have learned something new about life, about people, and about myself, with each new job. But I don't like being anybody's bitch. Which is what I am at least some of the time with this job, but still a step up from previous jobs: my very own office with a door! When I was teaching I was in charge (though the department chair did her best to make me feel like her bitch); I had bitches: You don't please me and pass this class, you don't move forward in your college career. Although teaching taught me and I did get great satisfaction from the few people who were attentive and learned (and from some of those who didn't), in that position I felt like I spent more time babysitting and talking to the air than teaching or learning. The frustration that came with teaching required English composition at this particular community college came to outweigh the benefits (that and teaching & tutoring enough classes to equal full-time but not receive medical benefits). I feel more satisfied on the other side sitting quietly in a classroom taking notes and working them through my mind and into my own words and ideas. I still haven't figured out where to put those things, other than in poems that don't make my economic living. Which is why I continue to find myself in the role of someone's bitch. Where is the best of both worlds? Transcend, young Luke (my mom was going to name me Luke if I had been a boy)! Act now and achieve your dreams! Picture me perched on a mountaintop, pointer finger up toward the clouds. I am Aries, after all, supposed to charge and ram with fierce fire and war-like fist, not get lost in ambling, wandering, floating. I am Aries, also, with sometimes too little patience for process. Who knows what this medical venture will stir given time. I think Spencer Short, poet about to begin law school--which is bad-ass by the way, may have had something to do with this rekindled fire under my brain's ass. Merci. Nevertheless, I sometimes think I'm destined to flit from thing to disparate thing forever and it's up to me to find satisfaction in that. I'm tired now and losing train of thought. Bitch, schedule me that colonic and shiatsu massage.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Amo, Amas, Amat, and Then She Drools

I have got to get myself fluent in some languages other than English that are spoken today. I just went into the break room here at the office. There were three doctors getting coffee and talking language, instead of MRIs and angiograms for a change. One of them, backing into me, asked what a particular language sounded like--I don't know which language because this is when I entered the room. Another doctor replied something about French, Spanish, and Italian all coming from Latin, casting her smart around. I would liked to have joined in because, hey, I studied Latin and thoroughly immersed myself in translation (though I preferred Greek), and, hey, I know all about that Latin root business. Years having passed without regular immersion, however, I've lost a lot of vocabulary and need to refresh myself abundantly on grammar rules. So my participation in that conversation would have gone something like: "Yeah, I had three and a half years of Latin in college. And, yeah, French, Spanish, and Italian, they are rooted in Latin. You're right on that one, doctor. Uhh..." Which would have come off most dumb, and emptily haughty. Classics knowledge, and aptitude with the languages, both having become more and more distant from me post-college is a heavy cloud over the noggin. I have a degree, and then what? Time to do something about it or do something new.

One of the doctors left the room and the other two continued to converse in what sounded a little like Spanish, though not certainly. Of course, I've concluded that while I can hear nearly inaudible sounds that other people can't hear I might have a rare swampland hearing disorder in which sounds and syllables are muddied. The language may well have been obviously Spanish to somebody else's ear. To have looked up from the carton of half & half and jumped into the conversation those two doctors probably thought I was unable to understand would have pleased me greatly. In fact, any and every time I find myself in a situation where people shift into another language for secrecy, or maybe ease, I have achingly wished I could surprise them by including myself, or by later revealing their conversation and helping to solve a great mystery of universe. Sometimes I forget things are always changing and just because I studied Greek and Latin obsessively for those years, which colored me with something not everyone else had, doesn't mean I'll always know it and be colored with it, especially if I don't cultivate it. It's becoming an outline without the filler. This must be the same quality in me that makes me think my grandma is still 55. She's 73. Oh yeah, things change, and it's important to bring the whole brain along.

Speaking of brains and dumbitude, go here to read a short article on how research has shown that having children lowers the IQs of parents:

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Ramblin' Correspondence Dead

Best regards
Kind regards
Best wishes
Take care

The above is a list of ways I’ve been signing e-mail messages to authors, reviewers, and publishers I correspond with in my new job. None of them feel like me. Here and there I catch sight of a printed e-mail:


Sara S.
Editorial Assistant, S____ M_______

It looks weird. It is weird. But "more later," "love," and "touch me" are obviously unacceptable. I usually mean "sincerely" when I use it; and I just don't say "take care" unless I mean it, but the others feel like I'm wearing someone else's clothing. Does anybody know others? I’m new at this formal correspondence behavior. "Best" is new. I borrowed that one from the Good Doctor, from our correspondence before he arrived here in New Jersey. I half-enjoy the acting like I'm someone else who speaks like this; however, I am thankful when I hear from a doctor who speaks loosely, in a language I understand. Correspondence language I add to tax language and form language--all elude me. Let us speak like people, but with a hint of formality in a formal setting so that we still know we’re appropriately respected, but not so much that we're like cut-outs flanked with many empty words so that we just show off our capacity for using many empty words and only think we’re respected.

I was just sending out "hurry your ass" e-mails to reviewers who have exceeded the deadline in their time designated for reviewing submitted manuscripts. It’s not as taxing a job as, say, Kim’s [see sidebar for link]: telling people older than me—to their faces—to hurry up with their cigarettes because they have to go to bed and not have sex with one another at ye olde clinic. I don’t see the people I harass; we communicate only electronically. I could be a 300 lb German hard-ass as far as they know. I received a response from one of the reviewers not two minutes after I sent the whip. The reviewer tells me he has finished reviewing the article, but his secretary is on vacation, so she’ll send the review next week when she returns. Now, I don’t like to be an arrogant bastard: to each his own, and I haven’t walked in this man’s shoes. But if he was going to reply anyway, why not just send the review, too? Maybe he didn’t know how. I’m not complaining. I just don’t understand. I want to understand; that is my quest in this life.

If anyone out there has any suggestions on additional ways I might sign off e-mails, please let me hear from you at your earliest convenience.

Best regards,

Sara S.

Friday, September 03, 2004

50 Foot Wave

I'm a fucking addict. I can't stop listening to the six-song 50 Foot Wave CD I bought in March. I've taken breaks, but still it stands as the only CD I've listened to on repeat--for days, I tell you, and have not gotten sick of it. I'm still not sick of it. It's playing now.

In case you don't know, 50 Foot Wave is Kristin Hersh's new band, and she's rockin' like boundless teenager (even though she's in her late 30's and has four kids--what a woman.) For more, go here: Word is the second installment comes out in January. Feed me.

Recently I began digging for more information, needing more. I knew that the idea for this new band was to put out a CD about every nine months instead of the two-year standard label interval, and to play as many live shows as humanly capable, to make this thing truly alive. In a recent interview, Kristin Hersh said also the plan was to continue to put out these shorter-length CDs. Which at first I thought was annoying. Six songs doesn't get you very far. However, see above. It's just enough. I'm getting off but not being let off the ride. She said most full-length CDs contain filler anyway and her intent here was to do it with no filler.

Now that's getting the most out of life. And it fills me with and recalls the same full emotion as when my college professor of Romantic poetry had me and everyone else in the class just risen from our seats and eager to take with our tongues the very wine droplets he was drinking from Keats. I swear everyone in the class had something gone hard and swollen on their bodies in those still few moments. That man was a good teacher. Dr. McEathron and 50 Foot Wave, life's vitamins.

Today's Moral

I keep locking myself out of my office. I come in sleepy some days and neglect to, in addition to unlocking the door from the outside, unlock it from the inside once I’m in. Twice I’ve called and pestered security, once I got a key from a secretary who got it from the office overseer, and twice I located the Good Doctor who has a copy of my key, the last time being yesterday morning. He came into my office later and said he was going to be away most of the week, in Paris. And then, Indian accented, "That means you have to handle Everything. Are you going to be able to do that?" I said, "Of course. I may lock myself out of my office a few times, but I can handle Everything." And he replied, "You’d have to come to Paris to get the key."

Not a bad idea. Frankly, I feel a little embarrassed calling security and having to tell the secretaries I was a space cadet again.

There’s always an answer, even when things look sealed, like the issue with the same ole food in the hospital café: a new combination, an unforeseen solution, a surprise, like a naked hottie in a birthday cake (although that in itself isn’t new or unforeseen).

Thursday, September 02, 2004

#?!@ in the Workplace

Expletives as solidarity signals in FTAs on the factory floor

Drawing on Politeness Theory and the Community of Practice model, we examine the uses and functions of the expletive fuck in interaction between workers in a New Zealand soap factory work team. The factory team was extensively recorded in their daily interactions to obtain a corpus of 35 h of authentic workplace talk from which a small number of paradigmatic interactions are selected for discussion in this paper. Particular attention is given to the way in which the expletive fuck is used in two face threatening speech acts, direct complaints and refusals, and its contrasting function in the speech act of whingeing. The analysis focuses on the complex socio-pragmatic functions of fuck and its role as an indicator of membership in a specific community of practice.

Author Keywords: Workplace discourse; Complaints; Refusals; Community of practice; Swearing; Face threatening speech acts

The Language in the Workplace Project Research team includes core members Janet Holmes (Director), Maria Stubbe (Research Fellow), Bernadette Vine (Corpus Manager), Meredith Marra (Research Officer), as well as Nicola Daly, Jonathan Newton, Derek Wallace, Pascal Brown and a number of Research Associates. We would like to express our appreciation to the staff at Unilever Australasia who generously allowed us to observe and record their workplace interactions and the Research Assistants who transcribed the data. Particular thanks are due to Megan Ingle who did the fieldwork at the factory, and Tina Chiles, who assisted with the preparation of this article. The research was supported by grants from the Victoria University Research Fund and the New Zealand Foundation for Research Science and Technology.


Found the above on the web site for the publishing company that publishes the journal I work for. Not much to do the past couple days because the Good Doctor is busy with other things. Pat me on the back, I’ve been creative doing as much work-related as possible, and now I blog. I wish I’d brought more to do, things that would look work-related if someone were to walk by or, if I shut the door, walk in here. Probably there is a hidden camera anyway. I know—paranoid freak! When I was a little girl I was convinced there were cameras in the house. I was sure there were people watching me sit on the toilet and pee. That aside, I’m fascinated by the people scientifically researching the use of fuck in the workplace.

On Refining Kindness & Flattery Given Constraints of Human Error

There’s a new guy working in the café here at the hospital, where I get my coffee in the morning and my lunch in the afternoon. The food selection is limited, though limitation is a delusion created by demons. Today I should try something crazy, like tuna salad in the French Onion soup, and a root beer instead of water. I may have to think some more on it; demons are not that easy to subvert. Anyway, there’s a new guy. A very dark black guy maybe in this 30s, or 40, hard to say. Not much hair up top, a sparse bearding going on on the chin. Gravel voice. The first time I saw him I did not feel a warm connection to the new guy. I was in line, waiting to pay for my coffee in the morning; the line was long. He was having difficulty, being new and not knowing the buttons to press. That in itself is just human and excusable, but he didn’t seem to care about the lag he was causing. I wasn’t sure I liked his attitude. When it came my turn to pay, he said "What can I get you, my dear?" So I backed down and thought, well, maybe he does know how to properly act the part of friendly cashier, what a nice fella, etc. It was the "my dear." As I was walking away, I heard him say "What can I get you, my dear?" It occurred to me the "my dear" was less meaningful when delivered without discretion, but I thought no more on it and got my coffee. The next time, I was the only person in line and got another "my dear." There was nobody else there to get a second, diluted "my dear." I left happily. I’m such a sucker when the term of endearment is used smoothly. I know I’m a sucker, but I’m still a sucker. This morning I got another cheery "my dear." I walked happily to the coffee machine with my empty cup. As I was walking away I heard, "What can I get you, my dear?" Now that’s just diluted, over-used, barely meaningful. Don’t tell your lover you love him or her every ten minutes or your love is up for question. I think, in order to refine his craft of being the pleasing cashier, this guy needs to put enough space between the "my dears" so that during one visit to the café nobody who receives it hears it given to somebody else and that everybody who does not receive it hears it at least once but not more than a few times. If I were standing in a line and heard the "my dear" spoken to the person in front of me, I would think that was nice, he must know her. Of course there is always chance for the jealous bitch who will grumble in her head about why that skank in front of her got a "my dear" and she didn’t. So it goes.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Hot Bod

Mark spotted these fine threads at a thrift shop in Carbondale, Illinois, while visiting my college town and hanging with my friend/brother from outer space, Travis. Note the Martian zit on my chin.

And this is the back side. My baby got back.

Photo Time

This is a family gathering. Left to right, bottom row: Mark's sister-in-law's parents, Mark's mom, Mark (my boyfriend), my mom, Shin (my friend); Left to right, top row: Mark's dad, me, Alex (my brother), my grandma, my dad.

Enough of that existential drivel from earlier. It's time for my very first picture on the blog. I was looking at this one recently. This picture makes me smile. I think we'd be better rounded out if someone Latino, or Bjork perhaps, had joined us that evening. I love it that my mom is squeezing the shit out of Shin, and even better that she's managed to make her eyes look Asian here (though I don't know if it's noticeable here--just trust me). It's been suggested before that I might contain Asian blood: a yellow tint in my skin...

A follow-up tale: one day I stopped at a convenience store with Shin (above), whom I think obviously looks Asian. The Indian (or maybe he was Latino--it's been a while) guy behind the counter asked Shin where he was from. He never actually lived in China, but to make the conversation quick so we could get out with our beverages and his cigarettes, he said he was from China. Then, after glancing at me, the counter guy looked back at Shin and asked him, "Is she from China, too?" Apparently I look Asian more than Shin does. Again, I say it: What beautiful and confusing patchwork world we live in.

Kurtz's Kittens Go Left Field

Am I too young to have a mid-life crisis? I guess the obvious answer would be if I’m going to die at 56 I’m not too young. What is a mid-life crisis anyway? Another one of those terms like democracy that people indiscriminately lump a whole lot of stuff into, that manifests itself in images of sporty red convertibles, an old mate with a too young mate, and obvious blindness and denial by the subject of what’s at hand. Other people will say, obviously a midlife crisis is __________. Then I’ll feel stupid for toiling over the definition and life, mid-crisis or not, will go on, though I still won’t feel I know any more than before. I was just playing around with my blog profile, voyeuristically clicking on my interests, etc., to see who shared interests with me. It’s addictive, really. I get to comparing and then constructing personalities and lives around these people. "Oh, look he’s a dragon and Aries and loves Kristin Hersh, too. We must be best friends." "Oh, she’s only 19 but also an Aries and loves elephants and The Odyssey. I wonder if the age difference would propose itself an obstacle to our future long-time friendship. Maybe some day we’ll meet in Chicago over a bowl of hangover chili at Earwax." It goes on. Many people who share an interest in the book category also share an interest (or several) in the movie category and in the music category, and also zodiacally. Making the whole lump of our identities seem arbitrary and manufactured. Pointless. For good measure, each of us veers off into another grouping in, say, the music category, but then that all dissolves into the same the same the same. "Who am I?" plagues me more than anything else—well, along with where am I and who the hell are all these people around me? I look in every mirror to try and see what I look like to other people, which, of course, is futile. Here and there I think I hear my voice like other people hear it and immediately become frozen with horror. The horror! The horror! Our little hearts of darkness infinitely tangle me. Sometimes I can get my feet out of this mud and just be. Not today. Things feel palpably fragile. A tiny flick of the forefinger, the molecules disperse and then re-group into something else. Knowing that none of these ideas are new also itches in me. May we all triumphantly factor polynomials over poppy tea and be happy like kittens.