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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sometimes Selfish

Yeesh, I'm sorry it took me so long to say hi and to answer everyone. This holiday I've had to be a little neglectful in favor of pressing and personal stuff that's got my head a-spinning. I sure hope you all understand that I'm doing my best, and that it's no reflection on my feelings for you. I wish it was a comfort to know that part of me feels horribly guilty (though another part thinks her own needs take precedence this time & will defend that notion — the combination isn't pretty, I'm afraid).

I spent the last few days with my family, who I haven't seen but maybe once since the biggest and most public disaster and failure of my entire life (which also happened to be the wisest, strongest, and toughest decision I've ever made)! Yay! I did my utmost to convince my family that I'm not a complete mess, but I'm afraid I convinced no one (despite the evidence!!). So in this case, part of me feels deeply inadequate, while another thinks she's pretty damn amazing. Humiliation/pride. So ungainly! Ah, well.

Tomorrow (and probably for the rest of my vacation) I'm to drive around to haggle with car dealers (I've been on the phone with them all afternoon). I'd much rather spend what remains of my vacation riding my bike, writing short stories, and visiting the SFMOMA. Dear car salespeople: internally, I'm at war with myself & believe me, I'm not going to be your favorite customer.

To the rest of you, don't worry — I'll subject you to me soon enough.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh Christ, It's Christmas!

My dear friend Matty has "tagg'd" me, so in his honor, here are the answers to all of his Christmas questions. This time, though, I will only tag one person back: Sir William Shakespeare, an obscure writer and ardent fan of Tom Clancy.

When people say "Christmas," you immediately think. . .

I don't think of any one thing in particular. Maybe I remember these big old bug-eye lights in the fog and how one night in Seattle, during an ice storm, I ran around taking pictures of lights with an underwater camera, and how the next day a friend accidentally opened the camera and exposed the film before we could develop it, which made the pictures even neater in a way because now they're just pictures in my memory.

Or having to haul my bag and my presents about a mile to the Greyhound station to purchase a ticket with my tip money (it was never enough to cover cab fare) and somehow always winding up sitting right next to someone who'd crapped his pants. Or how my grandmother ran over our mailbox three Christmases in a row, and how she brought her boyfriend (what was his name? I can't remember) who smelled very strongly of cologne and came bearing all these gifts from Neiman Marcus, meaning that they came wrapped in these boxes that were clearly marked "Neiman Marcus" and were super boring for children and were often made of pewter or copper.

Favorite Christmas Memory

Um, I don't know why this is my "favorite" or even if it is my favorite, but my grandma on my dad's side tried to sew me a nightgown one year, and I remember that when I tried it on the hem was crooked so my grandpa had me pose for a photograph with one foot propped up on some hardcover books (Rudyard Kipling and O Henry, I'm sure of it).

The best gift I ever received was a year's worth of disco roller skating lessons. That was the year after my mom graduated from nursing school and had to work a 24-hour shift at the hospital, and I remember being sort of bummed that she wouldn't be there with us, but then I found the gift certificate for the lessons under the tree, and I forgot that I even had a mom and have mistreated her ever since, though I am an awesome disco skater to this day!

Favorite Christmas Song/Carol

When I lived in China, all of the ice cream trucks blasted a tinny version of Jingle Bells (even during the summer when it was sticky hot). That particular version of the song is my favorite, and the ice cream was good, too, though I don't know what flavor I was eating. Lychee?

Is Edelweiss a Christmas song? Because I like that one, too.

Favorite Christmas Movie

Favorite Christmas Character

Cousin Dell

Favorite Christmas Decoration/Object

This is the angel that Matty gave me a couple of Christmases ago, and despite all the tsunamis and earthquakes and apocalyses that have happened since then, I am living witness to its protective powers.

Plans For Christmas

I am flying back to Washington State for a very short visit. I hope to gain fifty pounds and to make and keep the peace and to leave with a little self-esteem.

Is Christmas Your Favorite Holiday?

No way, man! I like giving and getting presents — sheesh, I even like wrapping them, and to be honest I spend just about as much on the paper and ribbon as on the actual contents — but the best things just kind of happen without anticipation or warning. Besides, I'm not religious and am only in it for the free food, and the idea that everyone has to be nice to me, and to get a few days off of work.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sausagefest on Haight Street

This weekend was tough to beat, and though it went by much too fast (as usual), I think I came out the other end with a new perspective on a number of things, and I finally watched The Eyes of Laura Mars.

This film is awfully disconcerting, mainly because the actors are so good, yet the script is so UNBELIEVABLY bad. In it, Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is an eccentric high-fashion photographer who takes shots of scantily-clad models in controversial poses. Glamorous babes lay splayed in pools of blood or viciously catfight while overturned cars burn in the background. Then suddenly, Laura Mars develops the psychic ability to see real murders through the eyes of a killer while the murders are happening. She meets a detective named John (Tommy Lee Jones), who at first doesn't seem to believe in Laura's gift until, suddenly, he does. Decadent models with breasts bared slink around in their underpants. Disco music pulses from New York's hedonistic soul. Faye Dunaway sports a variety of unflattering hats and cumbersome wraps. She sprints down the city streets in high-heeled boots and weird split skirts. Suddenly, she goes for a walk in the woods with the detective, and suddenly, they are madly in love with each other. Her manager with whom she's suddenly very close is murdered, as are the two models who are suddenly lesbians and — suddenly — also very close friends of Laura Mars. Faye Dunaway wrings from this script a masterful scene where she mourns the deaths of her best friends, but soon Laura Mars forgets about them because she's so in love with the detective while being simultaneously terrorized by her own visions, as depicted in the many close-up shots of Faye Dunaway's expressive eyes (see poster, above).

I'd say more, but since you'd never guess the ending, I don't want to spoil it.

But Wait! What About the Sausagefest?

I'll tell you what, it was so cold out last night and S and I had spent much of the afternoon shopping for presents. In search of something to eat and feeling sort of burned out on pizza, we found a place on Haight where they grill a variety of sausages; apple boar, duck and fig, plain old beef, and even vegan. I'm not much of a sausage eater myself, but since the restaurant was fairly empty and the windows were steamed up and lit with a warm yellow glow, in we went to place our orders — two sandwiches "for here." While we waited for our sausages to grill we grabbed a couple of vacant stools near the door, well out of the path to the counter.

I was glad to be in from the damp, nasty street, glad to be able to shut the door behind us. From where we sat we had a great view of the dripping-hot sausages and the orange flames that flared up while they cooked. The restaurant smelled smoky and oily, and there was something homey in the clang of the stainless steel spatula against the charred grill, the scent of fried onion and pepper.

We'd just gotten settled when a couple of men dressed entirely in denim entered the restaurant, leaving the door open to flap in the wind. The draft seeped in through the seams of my coat and I rubbed my arms, praying for the men to finish up so I could slip past them to shut the door. Then several more men spilled in, pushing the door even further open and leaving it that way. After the denim-clad men clarified what they wanted, they backed up until they were standing right in front of our stools. We were completely hemmed in by their massive backs, their shifting buttocks and thick hams. Then two more men entered, and more, and more, and though there were only twelve men in the place at any given time, each man took up the space of three as he shoved up to the counter to order a sausage, or stood in a large block of space facing the grill, or shouldered between the rest of the hulks to plant himself in front of the condiments so no other man could get to them without shoving, too.

Now, what is it about men who so enjoy sausage? Because when our order came up, we — my friend S and I, the only women in the place — had to weave our way between bodies that seemed to have taken root. I mean, even though they could see us coming, not a man in the place was willing to budge.

After struggling around jutting elbows up to the counter to pay, after tripping over a thick network of sprawled legs and clumsy boots, we returned to our stools only to find that the men at whose backs we'd been gazing had planted themselves there in our seats and had apparently turned to oak stumps. So balancing our sandwiches and drinks we strove on to the far end of the restaurant where there were two more empty stools at the end of the row, shoved together in the cramped bit of space that was left, and after clearing the greasy plates and wadded up napkins left by the men who were through with them, we settled into our spot away from the draft seeping in through the door.

Once we'd secured the space that was left to us, we ate in silence while the room full of sausages and men cleared out a little. And once it cleared out and we'd eaten our sandwiches and cleaned up after ourselves as we always do, we realized that we had discovered a well-kept secret: if you, or I, or anyone for that matter is in search of a husband, there's no better place than the sausage restaurant, and it's practically around the corner! O, the romance! It's all so irresistible! You may not know it, but there's plenty of sausage for every woman who wants it, and though she might have to compete with the men to get it (because clearly, men adore eating sausage), what great rewards await us if we are just patient and diligent and stay out of the way!

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Why I'll Never Be a Great Leader Who Makes Famous Speeches

What I mean and won't ever say is that I want to feel — or rather, know — that in the minds of the people I choose to include (i.e. when I carve out some time and share it), I am to them as they are to themselves, at least to some degree. I'd like others to value me as they value themselves, as evidenced in their words and their actions, because that's where knowing begins. And once the way they value me has been demonstrated, I'd like to reciprocate. First one, then the other.