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Showing posts from July, 2008

when you park on top of me, it hurts my feelings

Until I get around to uploading the platypus picture (see comments section of previous post ), please enjoy this note I found on the windshield of my car in my office parking lot last night. AK and I spent a good half hour dissecting its weird passive-aggressiveness. A couple of things you should know: 1. All the spots in our lot are really fucking small. 2. Four out of every five people who work in my building are therapists.* La nota: I intentionally leave lots of space so when you park between lines I won’t knock your door and vice versa. You have been parking practically on top of me with ample space on your other side—you are over the line in my driver’s side. I can’t get in unless I go through the passenger seat and crawl in that way. Thanks. :-) AK told me someone once left her a note that said, “Lea rn to park, asshole.” She and I and Jamie all agreed that that’s preferable to the anonymous happy face and self-righteous “I” statements. Anyway, I’m working on m

i'm glad i'm not a slave! and other profundities

I'm at my dad's house right now, and, due to the small miracle of him finally getting DSL , able to blog. I came home to help him clean out the attic, and amidst baby blankets that made me want to cry and '80s clothes that made me want to cry in a different way, I discovered lots of school papers and stories. Here are a few excerpts: Untitled a personal essay by Cheryl Klein, age 5 (as dictated to a teacher) I'm thankful for sunsets and the beautiful world we have. I'm also thankful for the healthy life we have and for the sunshine and firecrackers. Untitled a personal essay by Cheryl Klein, age 5 I'm afraid that a car is about to hit me and getting killed. Untitled research paper? historical fiction? by Cheryl Klein, age 5 George Washington had two step children Jackie and Patsy. The Most Beautiful Doll a short story by Cheryl Klein, circa age 6 I always wanted a doll. But I could not have one. My birthday was tomorrow. Oh oh how I wanted a dol

how my art class is going

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I am learning things about water colors. I am learning how much I don't know. I learned that children's books almost always have 32 pages. I am learning a lot about my five-year-old character, Vivi . For example: Sometimes she's sad. Sometimes she's skeptical. Sometimes she's resourceful. Sometimes she dresses her cat up like a dragon and fights him. Sometimes she dresses herself. Sometimes she organizes bicycle rides to raise money for charitable causes.

scenes from a busy weekend

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A lot of things happened this weekend. I didn't take pictures of the first thing, which is good, because it involved Sara and Dave coming over for lunch and Sara being miserably sick and me making pizza that wasn't cooked all the way through (for the record, though, this is not what made Sara sick. Also, it enabled me to send her an apologetic email with the subject line "dough/d'oh!"). Then I went to a fun and snazzy reading for the lit mag Palabra at Tropico de Nopal . This is editor Elena Minor (the one without the giant head). Meanwhile, AK made dinner for her sister Lori and brother-in-law Canny . By the time I got home, they'd been struck down by food coma. We played trivia and it quickly became clear who the winner was, even though it was the '80s/'90s version and she wasn't born until 2001. Sunday morning Alberto made brunch for us and others. It was yummy, and made even more so by his fabulous red walls. The red walls also looked nice w

the signs were there

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Somewhere in the Klein family archives, there is a video of me receiving a large-sized plush My Little Pony for what is probably my eighth birthday. Hasbro made these big Little Ponies for a short time, and I was excited, because I wanted them to be parents for my stable of smaller ponies. I already had a mom pony named Bowtie who was blue with pink bowties on her butt. Semi-traditionalist that I was, I needed a dad. Later, there would be a line of boy ponies who had both the aesthetic and the professions of the Village People. They had names like “ Tex ” and “Chief.” But when I was eight, Pony Land was still an all-girls school. So my new large-sized plush “dad” pony—blue Bowtie’s husband—had wings and rainbow hair and long eyelashes. (I may have been a femmey kid, but the signs were there.) My mom sewed them wedding outfits, because my parents were crazy enough to make my sister and I all sorts of amazing gifts by hand. In the video, she says, “Since Bowtie already has

does it count if i went to REI recently?

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Usually the only people who call my land line aren’t people at all, but bill-collecting machines asking for Cesar or Rosa Perez. When I pick up, my expectations are low: I hope not for a friendly voice but for an “If you are not Cesar Perez, press 1 now” option. So I was pretty excited when a real live woman called last night wanting me to participate in a survey sponsored by the forest service. She asked questions like, “In the past year, how many times have you gathered with family or friends in an outdoor location that is not someone’s home?” and “In the past year, have you gone caving?” Although I have a newfound love of picnicking, it quickly became clear that I am a pasty mole of an urbanite. No, I had to admit, I had not gone caving. I had not gone camping. I had not swum in a river or jet-skied or hunted or fished. One of the questions was about an activity I hadn’t even heard of, something like “ orienteering .” I asked the woman to define it, in case maybe I d

we should all just be really funny all the time

I have seen a lot of one-person shows. The worst one took place in an airtight upstairs theater on Hollywood Boulevard . The performer read from a thick script (so, not only had he not bothered to memorize anything, but we couldn’t even delude ourselves into thinking the show was almost over because we could see exactly how many, many pages were left) about how tantric yoga had helped him through his divorce. Or something. I just remember him talking about his “root chakra” in a way that made me deeply uncomfortable. Even at some of the better one-person shows, I found myself wishing I hadn’t been required to tu rn my cell phone off, because I really wanted to know what time it was. This was not the case with Karen Kilgariff, whom AK, Cathy and I saw perform in I’m Really Different (Now)! with Don Cummings last night at Largo . At one point I did think, Wow, she’s been up there making us laugh for a long time. She must be tired. But I hope she’s willing to go until she passe

this is what happens when people in their 30s drink

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Tonight I’m going to Largo and I’m flashing back to the first time I went there, on my third date with this guy Mike I dated for about four dates when I was 23. He was 31 and really nice and introduced me to a lot of good small music venues, but the problem was he was a full-fledged grown-up. He talked about things like buying a house, which at the time was a giant tu rn -off to me. I mean, my favorite musical was called Rent . He might as well have said, “What I’d really like to do next is pick my nose while shooting helpless animals with my hunting rifle.” Lately I’ve found myself beginning a lot of sentences with, “The older I get…” or “Now that I’m in my 30s…” Just last night, AK, Alanna and I—all of us between the ages of 31 and 32—had a whole discussion on the things being in one’s 30s might involve, including: marriage children wearing nicer clothes even though we still can’t afford them the fact that we are in our prime —no longer are we aspiring whate

i wish dick cheney would take up housekeeping

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I’m in the middle of Bel Canto by Ann Patchett . It’s about a party of diplomats, businessmen and one opera singer who are taken hostage by a grassroots terrorist organization in an unnamed South American country. The terrorists quickly set most of the women and servants free to prove that they are reasonable people, so the “important” men are left to fend for themselves and fend off boredom as their days inside the vice president’s overthrown house mount. I’m sure that many people had many wonderful things to say about this book when it came out in 2001 (it’s beautifully written, it’s funny and sad and humanizing, etc.), but what I love the most about is how the men in the story come to appreciate and practice qualities that are traditionally deemed feminine and hence lesser: Communication: A Japanese businessman’s trusty translator—who speaks dozens of languages—quickly becomes the most sought-after person at this inte rn ational involuntary conference. Cookin

hi, you don’t know me, but would you like to talk about gay rights while you’re in the middle of dinner?

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1. i hate the phone When I was 14, the woman who taught the only singing class I ever took (with largely unsuccessful results) offered me a work-study position at the performing arts center she ran. I sucked at singing, but I was all about free dance classes. “Just call me if you decide you’re interested, and we can figure out a schedule for you.” Friendly and generous, right? Lisa was a friendly and generous person. Nevertheless, I must have practiced making that phone call—hand in Y shape to my ear, parents taking tu rn s playing the part of Lisa—50 times. All of which is to say, I’m not a phone person. But I am a bit of a masochist, so of course I signed up to phone bank with Equality for All last night. Our job was to call a list of people who had already expressed interest in volunteering and ask them to commit to a date or donate money. (Yes, volunteering to recruit volunteers sounds a little circular, but there’s a whole strategy to these sorts of things,

red, white and blue rays

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AK and I sort of wanted to go out of town for the holiday weekend, but since gas is now roughly the price of gold, we settled for visiting The Deep Sea Via Long Beach . As we waited in the very long, very stroller-packed line for tickets--because apparently everyone else in Southern California had the same idea we did--I noticed one of those boards where you can stick your head through and take a photo that makes you look like, in this case, an otter. "Hey, someone should go stick their head through and take a--" I began. "No thanks," said Nicole quickly. AK, however, was already there, ottering. I like how much I can count on her to come through at important moments. Here's Nicole and I pretending that it's not 95 degrees out, and that parking didn't cost $7. It only seemed fair that we get to pet some sea creatures for our troubles. Luckily there was Shark Lagoon . You would think that "touching" and "sharks" would go hand in hand o

poetry spoiler alert!

On Tuesday, Jamie , intern Marcus and I were having a big geeky conversation about poetry: “ Eileen Myles doesn’t use question marks,” I said. “Sometimes I don’t want to use question marks either,” Jamie confessed. “You know, like if something isn’t really a question. But I’m not brave enough—I always go back and add a question mark.” (You don’t even want to hear our semicolon discussion.) Marcus said he had a continuing internal debate about just how “accessible” he should try to make his poems. That led to a discussion about the author’s intention versus what the reader takes from and brings to the work. For example, you could write a poem full of words that a reader didn’t know, and even if she (like me) was too lazy to look them up, she could still extract a strong feeling from the poem. It might be the same feeling the writer had, it might not. “At the workshop I went to on Saturday, the poet showed slides of a bunch of paintings and asked us to write a poem

hip-hop class update

The good news: Tiffaney taught a routine to Janet Jackson’s “Escapade,” which for some reason transported me back to eating bowls of ice cream in milk at Shallan Daly’s house in eighth grade. The choreography itself—boys doing one part, girls doing another, everyone changing formation around the “stage”—transported me back to drill team and cheerleading, which might not seem like a good thing, but in this case it is. That’s my choreographic comfort zone, for better or worse: I judge all dance routines by how good they’d look performed by eight high school students in green and gold sweaters. This one would have looked awesome. (We didn’t have any boys on our squad, but as a taller, fatter member of the squad and a go-to base for stunts, I’m sure I would have done the butch part.) The bad news: I really sucked—like, there was a whole eight-count that was just a blur. Also, there was a move Tiffaney actually referred to as a “Tiffaney Kick.”