This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I Acted Like I Had The Flu, But Really I Was Hung Over As All Getout

Today I was absolutely, positively, disgustingly hung over. Last night I talked to Ginab for several hours, and when I talk to Ginab I like to drink beer, and well. . .

I did, however, show up to work on time, and while parallel parking on a steep hill I sort of rolled into the bumper of the car behind me. I drive a stick, you see, and when trying to engage first gear on the uphill I don't always make it. So anyway, I tapped my bumper into the other car's bumper after having rolled backwards the crucial extra six inches. This happens all the time in San Francisco, the bumper thing. No big deal.
Except the owner of the car parked behind me was like spying on me, and of course she came scuttling over to inspect her own bumper (which bore no evidence whatsoever) and to shriek at me. Apparently she was watching from behind her own car (a Toyota something, not much newer than my own piece of junk), just waiting to see if I'd fuck up. Or maybe I mean she was praying that I'd fuck up. Either way she was lurking back there for a while, because I'd been jockeying my car back and forth for at least five minutes before I made contact with her precious bumper.

Since she was shrieking, I rolled down my window in hopes that she'd get it out of her system sooner. I guess I was thinking that the shrieking combined with the pounding-hangover-thing would sort of balance out my karma and the universe would decide I'd been punished enough. But no. The woman demanded an apology and claimed that when I tapped her own car (which, I remind you, she was standing behind), her own car had bumped into her leg and injured her.

Which, I knew she was exaggerating her ass off. I asked if there was anything I could do for her. This woman said that no, though her leg hurt, she'd be all right in an hour. Again she demanded an apology and said that I should really not bump into someone's bumper when a human being is standing (or, as I would put it, hiding) behind her car. I explained that I didn't see her and that the tapping thing was a huge mistake and I again asked if there was anything I could do for this screaming woman. She repeated herself, still shrieking, and I realized that I was on the verge of something huge! -- puking, I was on the verge of vomiting -- and then, suddenly, this woman went away and I didn't even have to pretend to be sorry.


After that I opened up the store, which looked fantabulous, thanks to me. I'd spent nine hours straight the previous day making the place look spiffy. And since the store was so spiffed-out and I was so very, shall we say, ill with the flu, I decided to check out this new book we'd gotten in, as opposed to busting ass. It's called Post Secret.

But first, look at this:

So here's the story -- Post Secret is an art project. Participants are supposed to create and then send an anonymous post card on which they admit a secret they've never told a soul. The book is full of images of these cards.

It's a relief to read about other peoples' secrets and to know that my own deepest and darkest secrets are really kind of common. I thought I was a freak, but I guess I'm not! I'm mediocre! YAAAAY!!

Here's the story behind the book, should you want to participate by sending a card (I'm thinking about it myself, but I'm secretly reluctant to do it because it's anonymous and if I made this really cool card and got into the book, I'd want everyone to know so I could pretend to be modest about it).

Okay, and one more before I go. . .

See you again real soon, suckas!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tonight, Driving Back to San Francisco

Six boxes. Full of my grandmother's china. Earlier today I drove back to my house and packed up my dishes.

Six boxes of teacups, plates and saucers of innumerable sizes, tureens, bowls, wierd pieces with pedastals. A dish for pickles, a dish for olives, a fish platter and a platter for roast. Enough to host a five-course dinner for twenty-odd people. I saved packing up the china for last. There was something about it I couldn't face. And now I wonder why I haul these old dishes around? Why, when they're just going to sit in my roommate's garage? My mother loves this shit -- now that it's hit her that she doesn't own it, my mother covets this china; why don't I send it all to her?

My grandmother was not her china. Her name was Joy.

My grandmother was a scarf in the wind, a red camaro. She was champagne for breakfast and roses and sapphire. She was the beach, whether it was sunny or cold. A skipper of stones, a collector of beach glass, extravagant, forgetful, incapable of carrying a tune, my grandmother had tons of plates because she threw tons of parties. She was not her dishes.

Near the end of her life my grandmother contracted Alzheimer's, and the burden of her dishes fell to me because my mother wanted none of it, none of it, none of it.Tonight, driving back to San Francisco, I passed an extraordinary number of ambulances. I wondered if the darkness was thicker than usual, because my headlights seemed to just barely pierce it.

Tonight, I'm lonelier than ever. Tonight, I am a teacup.

Monday, June 05, 2006

In The Beginning There Was Pink, And Pink Can Be Scary Or Friendly, Depending

Do I talk too much about work? I do, don't I. D'you think? It's just that right now, my personal life needs to remain secret because there's something about words that cements things, and there's this really nice thing going on that I don't want to cement, or maybe I mean jinx. As you probably know, this isn't a matter of privacy. I normally tell all.

So, work:

One of my favorite jobs at the bookstore, aside from unpacking the new CDs, is creating the window displays. Sometimes, if the task is left to me, I'll choose a subject-theme -- I'll stock the window with books about death, say, or books about how to build wooden boats. But the most impactful windows feature books that have some kind of visual theme.

Most recently, I did a window full of pink books. Here are a few of them:

A Treatise On Each Title, Based in its Friendliness/Scariness

Zen And the Art of M. M.

I've always been leery of this book, maybe because of the ferocity with which it's been recommended to me over the years. I've started to read it a few times, but I've never gotten far. It's interesting that this particular edition has a pink cover, since the story has lots to do with father-son dudeness. But then again, it's a new-agey tale of self-realization and bonding, which is appropriately pink. And because it's touchy-feely father-son stuff, it's scary.

Disreali Gears

This is a book of sheet music for the Cream album, which I used to listen to over and over again while doing bong hits, back in Seattle. All this happened in my my hot little apartment above Magus Books. I must have sold the album when I joined the Peace Corps. But one day, recently, my coworker bought a bunch of rekkids, and there it was, Disraeli Gears. I put it on and realized that while "Outside Woman Blues" is still a great song, there are a few wearisome tracks. But what a cool pink cover! This music is a psychedelic pink that strives to place itself, socially, on the outside and inside at once. This aspect of pinkness, self-exploration via rock, is friendly.

My Face For The World To See

This book is padded and features a lock. It's Candy Darling. Scary.

Survival Into The 21st Century

I see this one a lot, even though it's out of print. At some point, pretty much everyone who lived in Northern California had a copy of this book and a set of Peter Max towels and a jar of dried red beans. The line-drawings of nude people within the book's pages are a weensy bit scary, as is the term "survivalist". But the purpose of this book is to get people to eat health food, and what's wrong with health food? I deem this title friendly.

My Fair Lady

I used to take private opera-singing lessons from the one professional singer in the weensy town I grew up in. Her name was Maxine Fortune, a woman well into her sixties who wore a wild black wig. Her eyebrows, which she must have painted on every morning, were also black and severely arched, giving her this constant startled expression.

Every year our local theater put on a musical and no matter what, Maxine Fortune took the female lead part. One year they did My Fair Lady. I'll never forget it.

If that's scary not enough, look at the book's cover. Double scary.


This is Marjane Satrapi's graphic-novel-memoir of the author's life in Iran during the Islamic revolution. Fascinating. Cool. Friendly.

Herbs & Things

The author of this book, Jeanne Rose, is pretty much the expert on herbs & within these pages you'll learn, among other things, how to treat your syphilis using essential oils. Her books aren't easy to come by, but lots of people 'round here have them. Friendly.

Frida by Frida

The eyebrows: scary. Otherwise, friendly.

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

This one reminds me of my aunt because she had Peanuts posters all over her walls. She was ten years older than my, had hair down to her waist, wore leather miniskirts, and listened to Pink Floyd. I was in awe. Naturally, then, friendly.

Child No More

This memoir is by former Penthouse writer Xaviera Hollander, and by virtue of not having a lock or being padded, I'd call it non-scary. And when I think of the juxtaposition of the title with the cover photo, which is kind of funny because it seems as though those eyes are trying to support the titular assertion that Ms. Hollander is, indeed, no longer a child I have to err on the side of friendly.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Okay, Harold reminds me of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Now think about it. Casper was a dead five-year-old boy with the bald head of an infant, and he wanted to get friendly with you. SCARY. Harold has all of Casper's creepiness, plus he's writing all over your walls. Harold is asking for it. He's like the kid at the slumber party who sleeps with his eyes open. He wants things from you. And you can't tell him to get the fuck away from you because he's only a child. Scary.

k k k

Which Is Just To Say

I have a love-hate kind of thing with the color pink because pink bears a certain significance having tons to do with roles. When I was a very little girl I adored all things pink and was encouraged mightily to do so. But skip ahead to my fifth birthday, a sort of milestone for most children because at five, we begin to be people in our own minds. At that point in my life, pink became a system of expectations that oppressed me. I traded my pink for black, much to my mother's horror. But once I became an adult, pink morphed into something with a significance I could define in my own terms instead of allowing it to define me, and I found that I enjoyed playing with these notions, and that's how I became ing.

Or, In Other Words

Pink is friendly and scary at the same time. That's why I like it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Trip Inside My Head, Man

On Wednesday, my ex-boyfriend and I filled out the disclosure forms that are part of the process of selling the house. On these forms we reveal everything that could possibly be wrong with the place, I guess so the buyers won't sue our asses. All I could come up with was that the woodstove smokes a little when its first lit. But my ex-, who is wracked with feelings of guilt, had a whole list of things, including this: sometimes ants walk across the roof. So far, then, I'm well on the way to leaving the old life behind for good.

And after all that's happened in the past year, I've been thinking it'd be fun to take a trip. But where would I go?

Here's what I decided: the best kind of trip I can imagine is a head trip.Which, no, I'm not going to smoke up the contents of the compost bin. That, my friends, I will save for when Jane pays me a visit.

Instead, I'm going to take the month of November off of work, because November is National Novel Writing Month. Don't get me wrong; someday, I hope soon, I will visit Mongolia or Iceland or one of those countless places I'm dying to see. But between now and the first of November, I'll think, research, and prepare. Because sure, the result might well suck, but so what? I'm going to write a novel. If I'm lucky, I'll get a good short story's worth of material out of it. And stories are what really matter.

That's all I have to say on this particular subject right now. Tomorrow night, I salsa dance all over your hearts.