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.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Want So Badly to be Good at my Job,

so I've got to make a few changes, right now!

1. I need to be more patient. Machines sometimes slow down or malfunction. I need to understand that most tasks will take much longer than I want them to, because rarely does life run smoothly. I can only do what there's time to do, and getting mad at myself won't make me more efficient, it'll just make things unpleasant for me and for others.

2. I need to remind myself, always, of the things I do right, and to remind other people, too, sometimes. In other words, I need to offer myself more encouragement & take heart, and to keep firmly in mind the lovely compliments I've received since I started. (I need to give my officemate a Valentine's card.)

3. I need to keep my chin up, because in the long run I can't please everyone. If another person is displeased, I might not have the power to affect what has caused the displeasure in the first place. And if that's the case, I simply can't let that bother me — though I'm a very responsible person, it's irresponsible to blame myself for what I can't even control. But I can be as kind as possible because really, I value kindness above all else.

4. I need to remember, always, that I can't possibly excel at a skill that requires years of practice and knowledge to learn. In other words, I have to remember my limitations and accept that though I strongly desire to be excellent, I'm still acquiring abilities.

5. I need to let go and trust other people and delegate. This I know I can change because we have an assistant now and I already trust her. Still, though, I could do better.

6. I need to remember that there are a number of things I don't need to change and that overall, I really am good at my job. My impression of myself matters, too, and it even makes a difference.

(Am I boring you? Am I being kind of corny? Well, sorry, but this blog is about ME!)

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Oh, man, is it already bedtime on Sunday night? Well, I've paid my bills, and I can stay in my beautiful, tiny SF apartment for one more year, and I'm on the verge of being wireless again, and I like someone who's cute and nice, and he likes me, too, and. . .


I stayed up until all hours eating, listening to music, and talking to a someone who enjoyed Fishing With John. No new birds to report, just a long Friday (which is how Fridays should be!), a little sleep, a huge breakfast, and I think more nice times in store. 'Nuff said. I am happy & looking forward & feeling some optimism.


As I said, a huge breakfast, and in addition, several pugs. One of which was tied up outside a coffee place & had reached an age of weird toadishness. It responded to my petting with what seemed like friendly anxiety. Then I hopped in a cab and went to Japantown to meet adorable Miss S and the cool Miss M, who is visiting from Tucson. We did the usual wakame-beer-photo booth-bookstore-more food-more beer-back to my pad-tea-walk in the rain-kind of thing. Miss S was able to find her pornographic manga she so dearly loves, and after listening to Miss M's report, I'm sort of thinking about what it might be like to wind up in Tucson in some distant future. Cheap houses, y'all! Sunshine, good music, cactus, and lots of writing to be done.

This house is out of my range, but you get the picture. Old houses in disrepair are meant to be purchased and fixed up and loved.

After I dropped Miss S and Miss M at the MUNI station, I spent some time on the phone with ginab, who reported that men like to GRUNT when they lift weights, though you don't hear much from them in bed (I'm putting this quite a bit more delicately than ginab did because I am a lady, through and through). I don't hear much grunting in the Castro gym at which I have a membership. Except from myself, when I'm trying to do yoga. I remember certain noises, however, from the apartment above Matty's. Loud ones! I guess everything's backwards here in SF.


Why is it so much easier to write about the bad days than the good days? I mean, I'm keeping some of the good stuff private, that's true. You don't want the details of old-person dating and so forth. But sheesh, my Sunday!

At the risk of sounding like a complaining a-hole, then. . .

It started out great, because I slept in until 10, got up at 11, and read a great story from the collection Miss T gave me for Xmas. Gina Berriault had a unique handle on the short story and the subtleties of character. And really, if you like short stories, you MUST buy her collection entitled Women in their Beds.

I lazed around until the afternoon, then I went to the nearest Circuit City to pick up a car stereo my awesome dad bought me for Christmas. First, though, the spiral road up to the 3rd floor parking garage is unbelievable steep! So steep that at one point my tires were spinning and I couldn't go anywhere. So I was stuck in the middle of this narrow spiraling path, everything stinking of hot rubber, my legs shaking. My e-brake wouldn't even stop my car from inching backwards & with the stickshift, I just couldn't get up the hill. I finally thought to back down and try again (lucky for me, nobody was following), and after a running start, I made it.

But okay, big box stores like Circuit City confuse the hell out of me. So after trying three elevators and opening about twenty doors in search of stairs, I finally figured out how to get down to the store part, where I then had to discern what kind of stereo was covered by my gift certificate. I have a sneaking suspicion these kinds of tasks are, for most people, really easy. Once I made my choice, up I went to the installation guy, who looked in my side window and kind of grumbled about what he saw there in my dash, and then he said he'd call me in about an hour.

I went back downstairs to the main floor, thinking maybe there would be something interesting to pretend to shop for, but I guess circuit-y stuff just doesn't interest me. An employee asked "Do you need help finding anything, baby?" and I said no. He very kindly & leeringly suggested that I should ask him if I needed anything & he called me baby again. I wandered out to the street and feeling sort of rootless, I stood outside in the rain looking at my map and trying to figure out how to drive back home. This went on for some time, as I don't have a sense of direction. After I'd memorized all that, I went over to Mel's Diner, though I wasn't hungry, and pretended to eat some onion rings. Why do the waitresses at Mel's wear embroidered napkins in their hair?

After I'd killed an hour and a half examining the front of the menu, I went back to check on my car. The installer-guy said that he had no idea how to install my stereo, and maybe I should go see a movie up the street. Clearly, me seeing a movie wasn't going to enlighten him, so after a few phone calls he suggested I drive over to the Circuit City in Emeryville next weekend (which I will, but gaw!).

So I drove back home with a new car stereo in its box and two small bags of wires.

There's more, there's more, but it doesn't get interesting, I'm afraid. Chores. Tedious chores, downtown and right here at home.

Awwww, man, it's bedtime, and tomorrow is Monday.

Good night, and good night, and good night.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Just Had A Great Weekend

for a variety of reasons. My apartment looks clean (and you know how I feel about cleanliness!); I got to spend some quality time with Matty; Ginab sent me something beautiful, fun, and quirky; and I finally got to meet someone I've been hoping to meet. On Sunday I went for a ride in a rowboat, something I haven't done in years. Today, I feel pretty.

I'll tell you more later. I'm off to yoga with Jehfree, the best yoga teacher in the world. Who knows, it might snow tonight. I send everyone kisses and warm bonfires and the best of the best. More later.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, January 14, 2008

Jandek on Corwood

A couple of nights ago, after a nerve-wracking date, I met Alan at the Swedish-American Hall to see Jandek. If you're not familiar, Jandek is the sole band on the Corwood Industries label, which is owned by the man who sings and plays guitar (among other things) in Jandek. If you write to his p.o. box and ask for a discograhy, you'll receive a typewritten sheet with a list of his albums (I think there are 51, to date), hand-signed by "a representative from Corwood Industries".

Since 1978, "the man from Corwood" has been sending his albums, free and unsolicited, to music stores and college radio stations all over the country. Many of his albums have on their covers these photographs of a mysterious, slack-faced man. Though there was plenty of speculation, it wasn't until 2004 that his fans learned the man in the photographs is, indeed, the man from Corwood himself, because in 2004, he made his very first public appearance.

The talent behind Jandek is (or was?) an extremely private man. So private, that though big media (like NPR) has requested interviews, he's only granted two of them, ever. Despite this, he's developed a fairly large fan base. Over the years he's managed to keep his own background and history a secret (almost — you'll read on Wikipedia that before he started making albums he wrote novels. Seven of them. Which he then burned.). So when I heard that Jandek was making a rare appearance here in my city, I just knew I had to go.

The Swedish-American Hall was packed that night, so I was glad Alan and I arrived early (and secured front-row seats!). While we waited for Jandek to make his appearance I looked around at the crowd; many of the men wore beards, and a good number of his fans of both genders wore something that had been knitted. Just in front of us, the stage was empty except for a sparkly pink drum kit and, in the background, a beautiful red velvet curtain. Next to the drum kit was a sheet music stand. We waited for about twenty minutes, and I wondered what to expect. Then the man emerged, as did his accompanists, a drummer and a bass player.

The man from Corwood dresses in black from hat to toe. Beneath the hat, his complexion is quite pale. Because he's so thin now, the man looks a bit like a scarecrow in his clothes. He has an odd, moaning voice, and he picks the strings of a guitar he's tuned to a strange scale of his own invention. I can't remember who said this (it might have been Scott Tisue), but I think it's accurate: Jandek sounds like the efforts of someone who has had only a description of music but has never heard an actual song. As I mentioned before, the man tunes his guitar to a scale familiar only to himself and at first (to me, anyway), the sound was unpleasant. But somewhere around the fourth song, I found myself enjoying the music, and actually wanting to tap my foot.1

For the most part, the man performs facing his accompanists rather than the audience. Though it's tempting to explain this stance as reclusive, facing the other band members seemed necessary to the execution of his music, because I imagine that accompanying the man would require a shit-ton of concentration. Clearly, his accompanists were responding to the subtle cues he was giving them, both aural and visual.

I found myself wondering if the sounds I heard and the sounds the man heard were at all similar; what I mean is, did he hear a tuneful, harmonic noise, or did the notes he was strumming sound to him almost as they did to me? No, I'm not referring to the subtle differences discerned by a familiar, loving, or practiced ear. I mean something like this: what if I said, "Put your mouth where your foot should be and dance," and that's what all my listeners heard, but what I thought I'd said and heard myself saying was, "I give you a fragment of this broken rock." I didn't wonder this for too long, though, because the explanation just didn't seem plausible, even if I wanted it to be true.

But why did I want this to be true? Just today, a friend who'd watched the documentary film called Jandek on Corwood said that he feels there's a creepy element to the man's songs, or maybe he means to the man himself. I haven't seen this film, but I know that it's socially unacceptable for a person who could be sort of rock-star famous to not claim that fame. Further, in our society the creator is closely associated with the product, and as far as I can tell, the man from Corwood has treated Jandek, the product, as though it exists independent of the man who created it.

But, but, but why is that creepy? Maybe we want or need to hold the creator responsible for the product, to keep the reins taut, and in this way to prove that their work is explicable & therefore within someone's control. This wouldn't be the case if the thing created wasn't done with deliberation, so it wouldn't be true of, say, a song consisting of randomly-plucked strings on a guitar that had gone out of tune all on its own. But it was clear to me, the night of the concert, that the man wasn't playing random notes, nor was he free of method, though his music was so unfamiliar to my ears that at first, it sounded random. Ultimately, his deliberation was the disconcerting thing.

So more specifically, to alleviate our fears, maybe we need the man from Corwood to take responsibility for what he has made, because if the creator can't be held responsible, if art that is difficult to grasp is not held accountable. . . well, I don't know how to finish that sentence. Could it be that we think art that's tough to grasp is intrinsically evil? If so, what does that say about our fear of chaos and our inability to trust the universe?

I don't know, and I'm not here to pass judgment on anyone. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and I'm so glad I got tickets!

1Though I didn't, because I was was afraid that others in the audience would think that out of pretension I was feigning enjoyment, which was quite irrational, because people were clearly tapping their feet in enjoyment and most certainly wouldn't have noticed me, let alone cared what I was doing.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Oh me, oh dear, dear me. . .

I've been soooo sick, and I'm tired of being sick! I spent the entire weekend in bed, watching Twin Peaks. I thought I was out of the woods but today at work when I tried to eat my lunch, I just couldn't. So I drove home, where I lost it. Now, I feel like I'm never going to be able to eat again. And I'm freezing! And ready to go to the gym! And I'm full of aspirations! It's so frustrating! I was just about to conquer the world!

I'm not that old, but you know, the more years you accumulate, the more of a concern illness becomes. Am I dying? Are these just the symptoms of some kind of incurable disease? Will I, in fact, ever be able to hold down a meal again, or am I going to starve to death, slowly, here in my freezing apartment? Right now I'm drinking hot water with honey, and though I'm kind of uncomfortable, so far I've been able to keep it down.

So while I was sick and Satan tricked me into thinking I was on the way to recovery, I realized that I've never watched Twin Peaks in its entirety. It's just amazing, up until the middle of the second season when I guess Lynch was pressured to reveal who killed Laura Palmer, after which he mostly abandoned the show; forced to prematurely string together a bunch of clues, the solution feels forced. He wanted the story to be an unsolved mystery and to allow the powers of evil to remain on the fringes while we learned about (and he discovered through trial and error) his fascinating characters, and I wish he'd had his way. I'm just about done, and from what I understand there is an unsolved mystery in the end, or maybe it's no mystery at all.

Anyway, over the holidays I went and saw the Joseph Cornell installation at the SFMOMA. The parrot-boxes you see here are the works of Mr. Cornell, dime store alchemist (& correspondent of Henry Darger! Creepy! Cool!). I wish I could show you here what exactly I saw, but I only had an hour to rush through & since I'm on my deathbed you're going to have to put up with my inadequate description. Of all the exhibits, the one I loved best was this free newsletter Joseph Cornell put out; it was written in a reporter's style, with editorial comments and lots of pictures Cornell had collected and then pasted into the body. The articles in the paper corresponded to the pictures, and many of the pictures were of birds, animals, and people in unusual situations. Clearly, the news stories had been written to make sense of the pictures, and the results were quite funny! Then I realized where McSweeney's gets their ideas (and, to an extent, The Onion). Interesting. . .

Now, Tibet

This is probably my favorite scene from Twin Peaks, wherein Agent Cooper reveals the kind of thinking that makes him the greatest FBI agent on the planet. Maybe there is more to the universe than meets the eye. . .

Labels: , , , , , , ,