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Showing posts from June, 2006

un-american activities

Last night the illegal fireworks began on my block. My cats hid under the bed; I expect that’s where they’ll be through the weekend. Yesterday, I told Jamie , “I’m going to a baseball game with AK tomorrow. I wa rn ed her that I know nothing about baseball, but that I could probably get into the general experience of attending a game.” “Oh, definitely,” said Jamie. “There’s fireworks and beer and peanuts and hot dogs.” “Well, I like the way fireworks look . From a distance. I’m not so into the loud noise. And I’m a vegetarian, so the hot dogs are out. But beer and peanuts sound great.” So as far as appreciating all-American things goes, I’m batting, what, a C minus?

if jesus is bread, then jesus is tasty

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1. the book of ragtime “They talk a lot about how we need to love and accept gay people and how the need to love and accept gay people is something we should talk about,” AK said on the car ride to All Saints Church in Pasadena. Sure enough, when we t iptoed into the chapel (a little late, because God made comfy Sunday-morning beds, didn’t He-slash-She?) the woman-in-a-robe who was speaking was talking about gay people. And black men. How both groups needed love and acceptance. Recently she’d been at an event where a group had sung “Make Them Hear You” from the musical Ragtime . My ears perked up as sh e read the lyrics (changing “ten million righteous men” to “ten million righteous friends” in good He-slash-She fashion). Hey! I knew Ragtime ! I knew gay people! I knew Ragtime because I was gay people! Could it be a sign? 2. ge nesis On the way to church, I told AK, “I haven’t been to church since high school,” but later I realized I’d probably been a dozen times. I was ra

make it a zombie porn blockbuster night

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I’ve discovered this new thing. It’s called eating at home. It can happen in one’s own home, as per Wednesday night, when Heather came over to my apartment (“Cozy,” she said sincerely, but we all know that “tiny” and “woefully bachelor-esque” live right next door to “cozy” in Adjective Land ). I made pasta with bell peppers roasted on an open gas-stove flame, a technique I stole from AK , who stole it from Meg, who I think was just bo rn knowing shit like that. Heather brought wine, but we soon discovered that I don’t own a bottle opener. The good news is that apparently I don’t do a lot of drinking alone. Or I just drink things with screw tops alone. Eating At Home can also happen at someone else’s home, as per last night, when Meehan, AK and I gathered at Nicole’s new apartment in a building that bills itself as “Casa Overlanda” (“Retu rn ing to the original Spanish name,” Meehan observed). We got tasty-cheap takeout from Sunin and crowded together with glasses of Charles Shaw

the only thing more boring…

…than sending work out to agents and publishers is hearing someone else talk/blog about sending her work out to agents and publishers. But I nevertheless have to give myself a little blog-cheer for finally getting off my butt (or at least hoisting myself up to a squatting position) and querying two agents regarding the book I finished back in February . As I sat on my butt, the manuscript sat on my laptop, gathering cyber-dust. Recently, my writing group listened as I rattled off a somewhat complicated psychological explanation of why I hadn’t been working on my new-ish novel lately. I concluded by adding that I hadn’t yet sent out my finished novel either. “Do you think it’s for the same reasons?” Terry asked. “No,” I said, “and I know that the big obvious reason is fear of rejection”—not the reason I wasn’t writing, by the way—“but that’s not it either. I’ve sent out lots of work and gotten lots of rejection, and I know there’s going to be plenty with this book too. It’s just that

ms. klein hears the mermaids singing

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I have decided that maybe what I need to do instead of write right now is to paint a giant picture of a mermaid. There’s a big blank wall in my bedroom that needs a large thing to occupy it. I tend toward the many-small-things school of decorating, but I’d been thinking about getting all Trading Spaces by creating my own art for said wall. TS usually encourages Mode rn ist work—say what you will about “my five-year-old daughter could have painted that” art morons, but it’s easier for the average homeowner to emulate Jackson Pollock than George Seurat. But I’m kind of a Grandma Moses—good with tiny little people, not so good with perspective. I figure that I will challenge myself this time by painting one giant fish-person rather than a bunch of little people-people. Because artists have to grow, you know? Two things this weekend have motivated me to (possibly) take this past the idea stage. On Saturday, I attended AK ’s friend’s housewarming party, in which she (AK’s friend

i heart hungry, grouchy, foul-mouthed sailors

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It’s happened again: I’ve witnessed something so brilliant and powerful that I’ve decided I don’t ever need to write again (just when I’d started writing again, in little dribbles, my characters puttering around chapter five with pained expressions on their blurry faces that said, “Could you please make us deeper or at least give us something interesting to do?”). Usually, the likes of Michael Cunningham or Richard Powers or Toni Morrison or Arthur Miller prompt such flights of ecstasy/despair. This time it was a bunch of teenagers. Or more specifically, the former teenagers who read old letters, poems and diary entries from their respective youths at the last-for-a-while installment of Mortified at King King last night. In between fits of laughter that almost made me drool, I couldn’t help but think that, while many writers and filmmakers devote their entire careers trying to capture the bittersweet magic of adolescence, and some do a really good job, none are able to do so m

on the 110, listening to regina spektor

For a minute there the world seemed so robust and glorious. Sure, there were some craggy rocks here and there, but I was a mountain climber. I had shiny gear from REI and an awesome co-climber, and the sun was shining, but not in a way that provoked sweating. I am mostly still there, climbing the big, gorgeous mountain. But sometimes, while you’re scampering upwards, feeling all muscular and happy and mountain goaty, you see a tiny little avalanche in your peripheral vision. Something tumbles into infinity—you don’t even hear it land. But you realize: Yes, right, the world is fragile.

sexuality is, like, totally fluid, you know?

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On Saturday, AK, Nicole, Annie, Meehan and I went to Dyke March LA 2006 (as the printer-made letters at the front of the, um, parade spelled out). It was basically 50 chicks walking down Sunset to a Silver Lake bar. A few people lamented that alleged infighting had broken Dyke March into two, making both marches smaller. But to me it seemed nice and cozy—such a welcome alternative to the expensive, uber-sponsored official Pride activities (though the eternally fun Bangles did make WeHo Pride more than worth the money we didn’t actually end up spending, thanks to AK’s ability to sweet-talk security guards). One cheap Gauntlet beer after we arrived at Dyke March’s destination, we were all suddenly talking about boys we thought were cute—a Brad Pitt vs. Vince Vaughn discussion that has taken place in sorority houses everywhere (as has plenty of girl-on-girl action, I’m sure). Although Christine did specify, “I like boys and girls who look like Brad Pitt.” Sunday was all about heterosex

cutest kitty-witties vs. tiredest girl

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It’s been a while since my last cutest kitty-witty in the world post. Rest assured that I’m still working at the cattery, and the residents are still extremely cute. It’s just that my inherently lazy nature (see previous post ) has intervened. I do wonder how long I can sustain this particular project—the road to my personal hell is littered with brief volunteer stints: PAWS , Project Angel Food , My Friend’s Place , WriteGirl , Spoken Interludes Next (well, actually I got paid for that one, and I still dropped out after two seasons). Animals, people with AIDS, homeless teens, teens who are failing English, teens who are locked up. All sapped the very small amount of energy that I gave them. During the first week or so that I worked with Jamie , I made some kind of confession regarding some small guilty pleasure—probably Starbucks was involved. She shrugged and said, “Hey, life is hard” with an implied “Gotta treat yourself.” While I think most women’s magazines abuse this phi

6/6/06: the end of the world is nigh

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Not for the obvious reason, though. The end of the world is nigh because said world is full of people like me. Today I did not vote in the Califo rn ia election. I moved a few months ago and never received a sample ballot and hence was not sure if I was supposed to go to my old polling place or a new one…but really, I’m sure I could have figured it out with a phone call or two. But no, that was just too much legwork for democracy. What was apparently not too much legwork was logging onto http://www.mystarbucksvisit.com/ , where I answered 15 or 20 questions about how long I waited for my green tea latte in exchange for a code number that will get me a free beverage of my choice upon my next Starbucks visit. On one hand, I hate myself. On the other, maybe Starbucks is onto something. More people might vote if there were a frappuccino in it for them.

two reviews and a preview

1. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler is to Jane Austen as The Hours is to Virginia Woolf. I.e. a book about the experience of reading that performs all the particular beauties of its homage subject while solidly occupying the pomo shelf and, also, presenting an ensemble of characters who are far too complex and entertaining to serve as mere tools of homage or literary experiment. But whereas The Hours can’t (and shouldn’t) get away from that whole filling-your-dress-with-rocks-and-walking-into-the-water thing, neither can The Jane Austen Book Club get away from the fact that Austen loved a fortuitous marriage and a happy ending. Hence the five women and one man that make up the titular club live mundane, middle class, precisely and wittily etched lives that careen toward happiness. The book, perhaps like Austen herself at times (and you don’t have to really know Austen—I don’t, Gen Whatever slacker that I am—to like The Jane Austen Book Club ) seems to ask: What up w

mamey is the new vanilla

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The store across the street from me is no 99 Cents Only store—which will always be the holy grail of odd, off-brand products; where you can always be assured of finding Olympics-themed Lucky Charms years after Michelle Kwan has hung up her ice skates—but it still has some gems. Yesterday I was tickled to discover that they sell dishwashing soap billed as “Non-Ultra Joy.” It’s just such an emotional roller coaster of a name. The “joy” holds so much promise, but it’s like Mr. Proctor and Mr. Gamble want to make sure you don’t get your hopes up too high. This product will bring you, at best, a medium amount of joy. A sort of “hey, there’s my missing sock!” kind of joy, not “oh my god, I think I’m in love!” joy. But I wasn’t in the mood to do dishes anyway. I was in the market for something in the cool-summery-dessert family. I scanned the waist-high freezer case and grew vaguely annoyed. Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s and Dreyer’s were all represented, but there were no low-fa

dear diary, the weather is just too nice

When I was 13, a typical entry in my diary looked like this: Dear Diary, Today Shannon and I went to the mall. I can’t believe I’m a size 7. We both got really inspired to lose weight and are going on diets tomorrow. I really love Spanish class. Yesterday John Peetz and I talked a lot about the present tense. He has really nice eyes. Your friend, Cheryl In other words, my diary (and I was always compulsively starting a new one, so my closet at my dad’s house is full of little pink books with five or six pages filled) existed mainly to document goals (because once I lost 10 pounds, wouldn’t I want to look back at the fateful day when my miraculous weight loss began?) and prove that I did, contrary to popular belief, have a life. If I did something fun or if a cute boy talked to me, I wrote it down. Or if a cute girl talked to me, I’d write it down in a way that didn’t acknowledge, even to myself, that I thought she was cute: “Anita subbed my jazz class at Act III