Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Office

Thanks to you-know-who-you-are, apparently I am an addict. Last weekend I finished watching the whole kingdom of The Office. The faces of the characters race through my head, and British quips toss about in my ears. Here I am researching the show and celebrating it on the blog. I caught myself mimicking Tim earlier.

Do not fear traveling: visit the web site, which for future reference now appears in the sidebar. Peruse Gareth’s web site, learn about his prowess in bed. Learn David Brent’s hit song on guitar. Be assured that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, sadly though appropriately, will have no more good ideas for The Office.

To master at root both desire and cosmic balance is a high hop-scotch achievement.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

showing leg

Earlier today I was walking down the hallway at work, and a woman from the secretarial staff said, "Oooh, you’re showing leg today." Then she looked at the woman next to her and said like an art-hack admiring a trendy piece, "Sara. She’s so cute." What do you think I’m wearing?* (find answer below)

I’ve been re-thinking this blog, its purpose. It’s taking writing energy I'd rather funnel elsewhere, the matrical explanation of which I’ll keep to myself. I’d been experimenting with making myself more public. A blog makes this easy for a private person to do. At the time of writing it’s still physically an interchange with a screen and a keyboard. No judging or wandering eyes to contend with.

At the same time, there is still the knowledge that some people are reading, which makes writing on a blog exhibitionist and adds an element to the sharing of private things that I've been reconsidering participation in. By private things I don’t mean hearty dumps or graphic sexual exploits, though I suppose those are included. I mean the intimate world of inner processing.

Am seeking balance. I once was so private I barely spoke to anyone about anything. At some point I decided to turn inside out. Some might argue I didn't achieve it, which would be true to a point, but still in increased candor I feel I’ve cheapened some geometries and calculi that used to enrich my private life and feed my spirit because they had a home and weren't so much in open transit.

So this here blog may dim until I adjust my approach. I don't want to become a statistic and give up the blog after the initial hoo-ha; however, somebody needs to wear a hat. In the meantime, I’ve added a few links on the side. Only a few—don’t get excited. There will be more if I can keep my lasso focused.

*It’s a trick, because today I said Fuck it. I’m not wearing anything.

Friday, August 26, 2005

i didn't reach enlightenment but i know where it is located

A couple days ago I was organizing some old journals onto shelves in my office at work when I heard an explosion of surprise and recognition in the hallway. Someone whom I interpreted to be doctor, a neurologist of some kind, had come to see The Good Doctor (TGD) across the hall from me.

"What’s the lowest living thing you can get an EEG reading from?" the neurologist asked TGD. The neurologist was joviality itself, jest and congeniality, a short man with a radiant pink face and gray mustache.

My ears perked up. I could hear TGD was thinking, though I couldn't see him. I dimly don’t remember what he said, but he said something viable anyway, maybe a mouse.

"A spider?" the neurologist asked in a mix of profound learnedness and childlike curiosity.

TGD laughed like only a sage Indian curiosity can laugh, as if he knew the question was somewhat absurd but earnestly considered the possibility.

"You couldn’t attach tiny electrodes to its body?" The neurologist carried out "the joke".

Was it a joke? I wondered if the neurologist had an agenda or if he was just playing the role of running the conversation by asking a question that would interest TGD but which really meant nothing.

The neurologist’s tone shifted down from joviality into I-mean-it-now: "I’ve been researching consciousness…"

My ears perked up again and I turned off my music, subtly like a spy.

He continued, "I became interested because my daughter was studying consciousness. She was taking a class and reading someone—it was a philosopher. But I want to know what the lowest living thing you can get an EEG reading from, to be able to see the sleep-wake cycles…"

My ears perked more perkily at this. I saw where he was going. With sleep-wake cycles, you could detect consciousness and how it shifts or not between sleeping and waking and what sort of creatures have what sort of conscious capacity. My brain was a-flutter.

The door shut, the two having disappeared into TGD’s office.

A few minutes later, the door opened and TGD was stuttering a name out of his memory so the neurologist could look it up. The name was taken away by people shuffling past in the hallway.

They stepped out into the hallway and another man joined them.

"He wants to get an EEG reading from an insect," TGD said, laughing.

The three laughed.

Apparently enlightenment begins in the hallway of the neuroscience department of this hospital, and blossoms in the aptly disguised office of the sage doctor who is my boss. Apparently I missed out this time.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Giantism and the Chickens Clucking from the Bottom

"One day we will be as giants, stronger than the sun. But that day ain’t yet come."
--from M. Ward, "Poor Boy, Minor Key", Transfiguration of Vincent

I’ve been following the news about Lance Armstrong potentially having used EPO to boost red blood cells, and thus endurance, as far back as 1999 and win thousands of Tours de France. I’m not sure why. Aside from catching bits and pieces, I’ve never followed cycling. Maybe it’s the just the vulgar voyeuristic tendency to want to see heroes fall and get dirty that causes my finger to click on links to updates.

I don't want that.

When I was teaching remedial English composition, in the book I was given to use there was an essay on the shift of the hero in American culture. I used the essay in the remedial class and eventually in my other composition classes. The gist of it was that long ago, and not really so long ago, people like presidents and sports figures were seen as heroes, glorified as being superhumans who could accomplish just about anything.

We could take this back to the Greeks if you want, though of course there is the mischief of the gods and a vile, scandalous emperor or two to consider. Nevertheless, I thought Mary Lou Retton was superhuman. She was a perfect 10 gymnast, and the likes of that drove me to want to do great things and think that I should do great things. It was imperative to work toward something beyond me and beyond what was merely easy. I didn’t think about what dirty deeds she may or may not have done in the dark of night.

Now we get stories of rape, gambling, doping, theft, adultery—the dirt. When I was a little girl I still had superhumans to look up to, but someone who is, say, my brother’s age, 20, has had the superhumans and their dirt to look up to. Generally speaking, I had as a model at least some godly qualities; my brother had as a model the cheat and scam that got the godly to godhood, thereby making it not just ok but the standard for deeply flawed heroes to have achieved heroism by way of deep flaw, which we find out after the fact, or during.

It’s one thing to show the superhumans to the public to be merely human. At the outset, that might seem more of an inspiration than showing an impossible seven-time Tour winner, but what then is there to work toward. In the atmosphere of news of deviance, beyond showing the superhuman to be merely human, the thing to work toward becomes mutant. One might say then that that leaves a person to look to oneself for goal and drive, and that's important: one’s inner will and drive is vital to the motion both of chicken and egg. But still we learn from the start by observing others even when it doesn’t seem so, whether by mimicry, rejection of what we observe, or otherwise.

Becoming more candid, with regard to celebrities and parents, the media, might seem more true to task than clinging to false ideal portraits. I have always wanted truth. The impossibility of having the truth sometimes paralyzes me; other times it pumps recklessness and apathy. Seeing things for what they are may be half the battle, but what then. There we all are in our damned naked humanness. And at what age is a person ready to know god and then knock him off his lifeguard chair. Maybe there will be a bucking up and, with the dirt out for show in the forum, people will aim yet higher, for an 11. Maybe indeed I will levitate before I die.

Most of the students in my classes were about my brother’s age or younger and thought the essay was a bunch of crap, didn’t see the point of it, didn’t get it, or just plain didn’t read it, which is evidence for my point. There were also the few students who were older than I was, who had kids and witnessed the shift in hero first-hand. And some of them had shifted too. I could go on here, having been examining my own somewhat recent bout with apathy and degenerative mind. Also, there are many facets I'm leaving out, and I need to do some more thinking on all of this. That’s an ocean bottom for another time.

The "news" about Lance Armstrong isn’t even secured. The argument is in raw current going on in front of us. A kid, say, an aspiring cyclist may hear this and when he hears it hear that indeed Lance Armstrong's deific wins are manufactured and impossible; i.e., there's no use trying, at least not without the aid of some elixir. Let the giants be shriveled until we're sure that nothing is possible except by cheating; let not. On the contrary, that kid may have will strong enough, in the case when such rumors are true, to enact some version of "fuck that" and step ahead anyway. Or maybe that crag of hopefulness I hold onto is utterly naive. It doesn't have to be that way.

There is something exciting about being in the middle of news as it’s going on, but there is no insight upon reflection that way, no taking in the whole picture with objectivity, no balance in perspective. Everybody knows everything always in the present and chaotically. In this case it isn't news; it’s Gossip: the new hero, flimsy conjecture, dirty speculation, not real and not dynamic. Yet it bears a heavily influential club.

Monday, August 22, 2005

nota bene, mum…

- a vast variety of leg movement disorders. My favorite is the hypnic jerks. Before I die this will become the name of a really hip gang who wear leather jackets—purple, kelly green, orange—none black. The hypnic jerks, a.k.a. sleep starts preceded by the feeling of falling as you're twitching into sleeping.

- (pop tarts, ah the memories.)

- the death of Robert A. Moog. "Moog drove an aging Toyota painted with a snail, vines and a fish blowing bubbles. ‘When I drive that thing around, people smile at me,’ he said. ‘I really feel I'm enhancing the environment.’" Now that’s fantastic.

- the 85th birthday of Ray Bradbury. Paint your hair chartreuse and call yourself a Martian.

- green tea, which is good ‘n’ good for ye.

- Sufjan Stevens
whom, thanks to keen friends with keen ears and a kind though possibly unfortunate fellow who sold his tickets just hours before the word Go, I witnessed in action on Saturday. A truly beautiful thing. I’m won over. My eyes are a-glaze.

- (by the way, while that’s partly in thanks to the fellow selling last-minute tickets, that’s no part in thanks to the jerk who earlier on had claimed he was going to sell his tickets and then out of highly degenerate morality bailed without a word. That Guy will not be a part of the Hypnic Jerks; he is a wholly other kind of jerk, the kind who will end up in a red basement, duct-taped to a wobbly wooden chair, where there is poison in the air.)

- when you’ve eaten only one meal for the day and the day has turned late into night, you should walk down the street and get yourself a cake to eat lest you pass out in a large and heavily breathing crowd. Dexter will demand it. Dexter will read your eyes. Dexter will know. Dexter the enormous black security guy is the Eternal Mother. Do not doubt this.

Friday, August 19, 2005

this ain’t no disco

Obnoxiously cantankerous week, you fruitful hyenas. Full moon, mom said. Whatever the case the DMV is irritant cardboard and my eyeballs are bloodshot from internet travels. I’m concocting an experiment where I split into ten and thus can please more people simultaneously. Two hands full. It'll put an end to all typographical errors and cure the common cold. I nearly broke my neck playing night-badminton two nights ago. Each muscle is wrought iron; I enclose mansions and people sit on me outside cafes. (disco in Latin means I learn.) My head is full of Kurt Godel, a timeline history of Israel and Palestine, the real David Byrne. Gum has fallen and been found. Statistics consumed the five senses. Frost blinded the lucy. Technology spat. What a jolly old man is he (i.e., the hyena). It’s rampant. The elephant remains attractive whether it roams American fields or not. Strip. This between Lester Bangs and Brian Eno is both interesting and important. Shifting light is shifting concrete components of the stage set around. If admission were to be free, chaos would ensue; therefore, admission will be a single toy derived from the source, one you make noise with.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

alice in the kitchen: "what the world itself cannot contain"

Perfecting the ramen in the kitchen of the mensically hot is one in ten top tasks to accomplish by the time fireworks go off in China. First, add cubes of tofu, flavored or not, then chopped fresh mushrooms, big pieces, a generous forkful of minced garlic (or boulders of raw garlic to burn and permeate), a scattering of cumin, a pinch of curry, and chili powder to your personal handling of hot things. Always minimize the use of ramen flavoring in honor of your progeny. Add something green, something chunked and red. Task accomplished. And then move on to salsa and piñatas, ambrosiac marinade, the hearse and the final book.

Coffee must be both delayed by half a day and minimized so that the stomach lining may still be used as a tablecloth at picnics. Orgasmic sneezes are required beading. It’s true. And then it rains.

Four-inch waves hardly seem worth mentioning, she wrote. And then she remembered about chiggers and whispers.

. . . . . .

It is madness to harass the mind, as some have done, with attempts to measure the world, and to publish these attempts; or, like others, to argue from what they have made out, that there are innumerable other worlds, and that we must believe there to be so many other natures, or that, if only one nature produced the whole, there will be so many suns and so many moons, and that each of them will have immense trains of other heavenly bodies. As if the same question would not recur at every step of our inquiry, anxious as we must be to arrive at some termination; or, as if this infinity, which we ascribe to nature, the former of all things, cannot be more easily comprehended by one single formation, [p. 1016] especially when that is so extensive. It is madness, perfect madness, to go out of this world and to search for what is beyond it, as if one who is ignorant of his own dimensions could ascertain the measure of any thing else, or as if the human mind could see what the world itself cannot contain. --as read in Pliny the Elder, The Natural History (eds. John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A.)

. . . . . .

Nothing must be called mad. That is why we cook--to straddle occasional uprisings of dubiety and bolts of alien lightning. The leftovers go into tupperware with no lids.

Monday, August 15, 2005

random emissions from the radio flyer

"Every time I close my eyes using positron emission tomography my skin conducts even the language of the rats," said the man holding an umbrella over his fat calves.

Sad day in the factory, as the little faux Icelander realized the coffee might be what’s making her ill each day. The silver lining? At least she need not be executed by electricity, but rather must just quit drinking the animal. Perhaps rather it’s a white lining containing the rain inside the shower stall.


A situation has arisen and I am being vigilant on the ship’s fiery prowess.

Update to come.

Friday, August 12, 2005

straddling a caesura in the face

Hiatus broken, I bought a CD yesterday. I had been impulsively, compulsively, voraciously, bacchically buying CDs and decided to put a stop to it—because where do I think I’m getting the money for the buying?—however keeping in mind a short list of music I would need to buy when it became available. Yesterday was the first on that list: Sons and Daughters—The Repulsion Box.

A little more than a year ago on a whim I saw this band with Melissa. We didn’t know what to expect, and they pleased us immensely. They were energy itself, very exciting. We saw them again months later in DC opening for Clinic (who bored me either because they just did or because I had a dreadful cold and couldn’t take in air without coughing up a tablespoon of phlegm and by that time of night was ready to knock myself out with whatever could). Sons and Daughters might have passed me by if I had heard them only on CD first. That first time live, I was tired and they roused me into a buzz.

A review of The Repulsion Box on Other Music describes the play between the male and female vocals as "urgent" and "erotically charged". I was glad to read this. The band excited me and I’m pretty sure I blushed and flushed while Scott Patterson and Adele Bethel had vigorous sonic sex right there on the stage. Indeed I developed a crush on the short Scottish fellow with a voice from the deep depths of bass. I am glad to read someone else has perceived the sexy charge in them and I wasn’t just being fanciful or responding to some extraneous horniness. I need more listens before further comment on the new album. It kindles me but I sense that like the Love the Cup EP it may be too quickly exhaustible. That could change. Meanwhile, keep the live shows coming, all puns intended.

For now I return to CD-buying celibacy until others from my list pop up. In other news, in an article about a recent court case I read on that CBGB’s pays $19,000 a month for rent. This figure recalls my first experience in New York City, a small-town girl having spent next to nil time in any large city. A bird shat on my shoulder, and to my cocked surprise everything was much too big to fear loss or dissolution in, like false gods you might dismantle, or just see eye to eye with.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

ra runs the river

Cool it down is today’s soundtrack. Tuesday’s too. Give me a high-pitched "Sheee’s" and love me by the hour. The ground was sand last night, brown, and that was before sleeping occurred.

occur: Latin occurrere, to run toward.

I ran after, recurrently,—

Let me tell you about sand. Sand is hard work. My gluts ache. Sand is in my pants pockets. Sand is in my socks. Sand is in my car. Sand is in my bag that was in my car the whole time I was in the sand. Sand is in my map of the state. People get lost.

—the volleyball that was chronically pitched outside the sand floor darkened by sky, rolling toward an empty ravine. My shapeless forearms bruised, my delicate necklace absorbed all sweat. Recurring anxiety dream came to life, then I served up the last dusk supper with my eyes closed.

Who loves the sun? Who knows the cyclops? One man had a vision, looking into the sun. Each head is totally loaded.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Composite narrative by young travelers

Back from the grave little men in mache sombreros stack the garage with old rocks, real rocks, not the fake rocks that people decorate real lawns with. This is just a flash of vision. When vision shifts part-way through completing the whole the whole loses focus and scatters. The effect of partial orange fills a small tin can. Buttons are tender. Call in the drill martial. The source has been halved and harvested. The toga-ed poet keeps the city in line with his many belts, exhausting his one-word vocabulary. Concrete tangent, I can hardly keep my head from bouncing down the hospital’s front steps.

Last night I uncorked a bottle of red wine with neither explosion nor mess. I slept soundly and I’d like more. Furthermore, my mom, it turns out, also favors my favorite newsperson for same reasons. Monday told me this. Finally, the matrix of trails behind the house I live in is becoming too small for me and my bike. Just like life.

Following her success as a commercial actor and then a detective, the girl will enlist as a geologist--archaeologist?--for Hindu architects.

I can hardly keep my head from bouncing down the hospital’s front steps.

Monday, August 08, 2005

passing into something else

Peter Jennings died last night and this makes me sad. He is the only anchor I have felt fond of. I wish I could have sat next to and conversed with him. He will be invited to my ultimate dinner party.


He delivered the news with a smile that told he "knew" things beyond what he was to tell us mere humans. Not in an arrogant way, but rather in an astutely intelligent way laced with gentle care. We humans can handle only so much, but still there are things we must learn to handle.

He delivered the news like a human being, wise and sensitive. Tears in his eyes when you could see he felt it, yet he maintained composure enough to tell the world’s happenings.

I never felt creeped by him like I feel creeped by many people on television who with their clown make-up and lego-hair inform me of one thing or another. The weather people are particularly buggy, the sports people crawly.

I never felt like if I put the scissors to him he would be just cardboard.

Many other tv figures I imagine to be like sharp elbows in your ribs in place of a hug; Peter Jennings I imagine to be in spirit like warmth under the old family blanket you hope to inherit.

Friday, August 05, 2005

pop happiness

King me and I will bow down. I have finished reading Infinite Jest.

By no means by finished do I mean finished. There are pages still flapping non-sequentially in me, dog-ears, underlines, and side notes. It’s still positioning itself.

Two nights ago I saw Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. People will expect and say what they will. I say it’s fucking weird, differently from before the grape exploded in my palm. What. And by fucking weird I mean simply fucking weird. What. Clips of Johnny Depp’s made-up and blastedly insane face now shoot across my inner vision without permission, and that helio-androgynous voice, like flashbacks of halluci-lore.

When I returned home from the movie I went for a short run. It was dark, it was hot, it was humid. I brought my walkman playing the dungen CD that had arrived at my house the day before, the final CD of my recent buying binge. Smack, smack, I have stopped for now. I can’t get enough. I am pursuing happiness.

I ran in the circular neighborhood down the road, where there are no people but only big houses and sprinklers peeing. There were few lights and the music was so loud it distorted my vision. Depp Wonka Swedes replicant Oompas syllabic psychedelic lomping not in time with my feet hitting the sidewalk so loud my cheekbones spoke.

Those songs sung in Swedish make this listening much like listening to songs in English. My ears while they detect subtle presence of sound do not differentiate very well between sounds. Most verballing sounds like foreign language to me. Perhaps it was all those early childhood ear infections.

I am most impressed by the unconscious hilarity on Hal’s face, the distance. I press play and

this week is comprised of reading and finishing and reading. Baby farming, Spanish gypsies, kin terminology on Syros, The Cage of searching. The day is long and short, fast and slow.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

rubbing the nuns out

"26, Mom. I have 26 mosquito bites on my left ankle."

"26?" she questioned. "Are you sure they’re not chiggers?"

Revelation by examination. Chiggers, fucking chiggers is what I have. Not 26 mosquito bites. And that’s just the one ankle. Writhing insect mouths are inside my skin, red welts.

The extraordinary odds: the night before, I’d frolicked in the outdoors and then slept in a tent made for midgets, 50 yards from which two Hispanic gentlemen chopped down a tree with machetes in the morning—Not one bite by insect. I went home and played badminton in the back yard with my roommate for half an hour and fell to full affront by the chigger brigade, red devils.

When my well-being is being tested I lose discretion in public. "Hey Sara, how’s it going?" Bereft of social grace, without greeting or lead-in I reply, "I have _________." Fill in the blank with any of chiggers, cramps, week-long headache, razor burn, nose full of snot, dirty hair, no deodorant on.

Last night after some badminton in the early eve with my roommate, we went to get food and a Guinness from the tap. By the time I finished my victuals, my ankles were fucking alive.

Small, Gumby-like men as if trapped in the toughest bubble elbowed like nuns after the Pope—sink your teeth into this mixed metaphor, baby—, stretching the skin of their unintended wombs—dreadful life, o we born into this foul stench of street and piss—Release us from this skin! Get out get out get out. A thousand voices and elbows in cacophony turned up to 11. The itch of living in the skin of—

This was going on in my ankles. I rubbed with my knuckles, having convinced myself that that wasn’t really scratching and making it worse. The lies we tell ourselves.

Pained face, I rubbed. The bartender’s maternal eyes focused in at me, her face wrinkling with concern.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

"I—" pause, "uh-huh." Nodding, teeth showing not quite in smile. "Can we have the check?"

I used self-control. I did not wet myself. I did not say, "I have chiggers." Discretion. A kernel of hope for the drunken phalanx in my mind, flaring with either hot flashes or chills but rarely comfortably in line for a soda as the ferry takes off.