Showing posts from July, 2007

ham radio

My aforementioned college roommate Amber once told me that I had a habit of interrupting people to tell stories about myself. For example, when she reported, “My dad almost cut his finger off,” I said, “My dad’s always injuring himself in some kind of shop accident.” I was trying to be empathetic, but I guess I see her point. I’ve tried to curb this tendency, but I haven’t been very successful. So it’s nice when someone asks to interview me, because then I know I’m supposed to talk about myself and that I won’t get in trouble for doing so. This weekend, poet Carlye Archibeque was kind enough to interview Jamie and I about our day jobs and our writerly lives on her Blog Talk Radio show Inspired by. Visit to hear: 1) Carlye muse on what color she’ll dye her hair next as she battles technical difficulties (I was on the phone this whole time, shouting, “Carlye! Carlye! I’m here!” but blog radio is in its scrappy, unpredic

rider with the storm

“I have a plan to switch lanes fast,” said our cab driver, Isao (American name: Storm). I was not surprised that he had a plan. Even before getting on the freeway, he’d told us about the various degrees he’d almost completed, including his MD, and how he was going to get rich by buying an office building in downtown San Francisco and then selling it after it appreciated—which seemed like a perfectly solid plan for anyone with $12 million to spare. “I turn on the emergency blinker, then the right blinker, then emergency blinker,” Storm explained. “People move out of the way. I am only concerned about your safety and my safety. Everybody else get out of the way.” In the back seat, Jamie and I looked at each other, as we would repeatedly over the next 20 minutes. Sometimes our looks said, Oh my god, we’re in the car with a crazy man. More frequently, our looks said, What did he just say? Storm had a thick Japanese accent and spoke very quickly. He was clearly comfortable an

in praise of obsession

1. the index of inactivity The other night I had dinner with Deborah Edler Brown , a poet and journalist I’d just met. We both had to drive back to LA after a meeting in Orange County, and we decided to wait out traffic together over really crappy sushi. “Sometimes I have these compulsions to do things that don’t seem to have anything to do with writing,” she said, “but I think they ultimately do. Like when I was having a really rough time after this I was in relationship ended, the only thing I could think about was taking all my books off the shelves and putting them in boxes in my garage. And now I’m reading all my old journals that I’ve been keeping since I was 16 and indexing them.” I tried to imagine what an index of my teenage journal might look like. Babysitting: 6, 14 Boys: 4, 13, 15 Cheerleading : --annoying me: 3, 6, 11, 13, 20 --making varsity next year: 10, 12, 17 Fauver, Bill, A.P. U.S. history teacher: 3, 10, 11 Friends: --annoying

an interesting night, but not my fave

“Let’s hear it for feminism! Let’s take down the patriarchy!” Because it was Jill Soloway saying this Tuesday night at Lady Party at the Echoplex, we knew she was kidding and also not kidding. That’s the beauty of her memoir, Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants, in which she unapologetically pines for an all-women island commune, but also fesses up to wanting to get it on with a big macho cop. A few minutes later, Jill and co-host Jessica Valenti led a game of “I Never”—you know, that game where you have to take a drink if you’ve ever done ecstasy or whatever. It’s a game that has traumatized me in my not-at-all-sordid past. I’m always the only sober one at the end. But Jill and Jessica’s version was sort of a test of the young feminist zeitgeist, and included statements like, “I’ve never gotten plastic surgery” and “I’ve never hooked up with a member of my own gender” and “I’ve never shaved my vagina.” All of which prompted questions like, “Does it count if you had a mole rem

yes, you could say i'm having a cow

In case you can’t tell from my MySpace page , I’m excited for the Simpsons movie. I’ve searched for trailers on YouTube , which is usually AK’s job, but The Simpsons , as she will tell you, is the one bizarre gap in her otherwise encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture. Me, I haven’t ever seen Goonies or Top Gun or most of the Star Wars movies all the way through—all I can say is that in the ‘80s, I was intensely focused on My Little Ponies, with occasional breaks for Little House on the Prairie . I didn’t even watch The Simpsons at the height of its popularity in 1989, although I did crush out on this kid Matt in junior high who was obsessed with them. Short little Czech-immigrant Matt in his oversized “Don’t have a cow, man” T-shirt was the epitome of hotness for a very select group of nerdy MBI girls. But while my early crush failed to turn me onto The Simpsons , by 1995, the show had gotten more nuanced in my opinion and, more importantly, was in syndication, which meant tha

if you give a fictional character an email address…

…he will almost definitely want a blog . And if you give him a blog, he will surely start blogging. And so Evan made three posts to . Don’t judge him too much. He was feeling grouchy and homesick. Normally he’s more philosophical and agreeable. And don’t get too excited, because he probably won’t be posting anything else—this is a short-lived project that serves mostly for his sister to discover him (but not too much about him) an ocean away. But of course if my novel gets published someday, Evan may suddenly start blogging again and doing a little grassroots marketing. It was thoughtful of him to link to Bread and Bread.

i sent a version of this to barack too

Dear Senator Clinton, I recently saw Michael Moore ’s documentary Sicko , in which you come across as a great healthcare hope who sold out to pharmaceutical companies. But I haven’t given up on you, and I hope you haven’t given up on implementing a national healthcare system. Sicko, which details how private healthcare companies strive to provide customers with the least amount of medical attention in order to maximize profit, was eye-opening because of its intensity, but unfortunately it didn’t tell me much that I didn’t already know or suspect. I could add plenty of my own anecdotes to the film’s healthcare horror stories. I’m a healthy, fit 30-year-old who has never even had stitches , but last year I was denied an HPV vaccine because my healthcare company deemed me too old, and a few years ago, when I did not have employer-provided healthcare, I was denied individual coverage because I’d seen a therapist after my mom died. To me, therapy is a form of preventative medici

blog on FROG

Saturday night Meehan hosted what all involved hope will be the first of many FROG salons (that's Furnished Room Over Garage for the uninitiated). It's a simple and brilliant concept: invite your arty friends to perform at your awesome studio apartment (Captain's Quarters wet bar complete with gold-trimmed, clipper ship-adorned mirror is a plus, but not required), add booze, door prizes, poodle lights and guacamole. Repeat. Some highlights: Our hostess and her modest (or drunk) singer-songwriter friend Emily J. Wood . Nicole and Mike read from their book The Bisexual's Guide to the Universe . Anything you need to know about bisexuals on Jupiter, just ask them. I apparently laughed a lot at my own story. Emily said, "Just in case playing acoustic folk music at a house party isn't gay enough, now I'm going to play a song with an alternative tuning arrangement." (Is that uber gay? I don't know enough about music to know.) Oh, wait, this isn't a ma

soul man-on-man

Is it just me, or is I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry the Soul Man of 2007? I saw a preview earlier today when Sara and I went to see Knocked Up (which was so sweet and funny and thankfully different from any movie we saw a trailer for). In Soul Man, C. Thomas Howell, through a wacky tanning mishap, is mistaken for black and reaps the benefits of affirmative action at Harvard. A lot of white-guy-trying-to-act-black zaniness ensues, but an Important Lesson About How It’s Hard To Be A Person Of Color is tacked on at the end. In Chuck and Larry, two shlumpy straight guys pretend to be gay so they can reap the benefits of domestic partnership—which, as we know, is the jackpot of civil rights. A lot of straight-guys-trying-to-act-gay-without-actually-kissing zaniness ensues. It’s unclear from the trailer whether an Important Lesson About How Gay Marriage Should Be Legalized is tacked on, but I’m guessing it is. I’m pretty sure the Gay Mafia wouldn’t let them get away without

i am a honda commercial

A couple of days ago, I would have said that Starbucks was the anti-Bally’s , but today I can testify that, in fact, Honda is the anti-Bally’s. To make a long story short (and to avoid car lingo that I don’t know), my ’97 Civic had a problem that made it fail smog checks . Out of the blue, I received a letter from Honda saying that some ‘90’s Hondas had a problem that made them fail smog checks, and that they would reimburse you for any repairs you’d already done and extend the warranty so that you could go get the problem fixed permanently at your local Honda dealer. Today I, who usually frequent Drulis Brothers Auto Repair in Hawthorne where my dad haggles with the brothers over prices, walked into Airport Marina Honda feeling nervous and doubtful. Sure, I had a letter saying they would fix my problem for free. Sure, Honda had already reimbursed me for my previous repairs after merely seeing a photocopy of an indecipherable invoice covered with Walt Drulis’ chicken scratches.

monkey vs. penguin

Because we live in a world where more and more things are instant and connected, and because AK is staying at the house of a girl who has internet access and sleeps way later than her jet-lagged guests, there are already photos and a blog of AK's trip online. This picture would have illustrated my previous post better than Batz Maru.

nothing less than my own heart

AK is in Japan this week. It’s her first trip off the continent, and I’m excited for all the things she’s going to do and see, and how she’s going to fall in love with the country and not even realize it until she gets home and walks by a Sanrio store and finds herself so unexpectedly flooded with nostalgia that she buys a Batz Maru eraser. Meanwhile, back on the home front, my big plan was to Get A Bunch Of Shit Done, the kind of stuff one never gets around to doing when one has any kind of social life: tune up my car, repot my plant, make an appointment with my oral surgeon, sleep for a full eight hours a night. Because I’m a geek, I was sort of excited about doing these things, and about the light, free, post-finals-esque feeling I would have when I was done. I’ve checked a couple of items off my list, and I do feel a little bit lighter, but I also really, really miss AK. I’m having all sorts of fake conversations with her in my head. This morning, while cleaning my toilet