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Showing posts from August, 2008

hasta luego

In about 12 hours, I'll be on a plane to Oaxaca. Never have I felt so, so ready for a vacation. No particular reason, just the burnout of daily life when it gets too daily-ish. So you probably won't hear much from me this week. But you'll be glad you fasted when I bombard you all with pictures and florid descriptions of, well, Oaxacan flora (something about tropic-esque environments brings out the maximalist writer in me). Have a great week, y'all.

learning to live in the second world

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Once in a long while, I read a meaty, educational nonfiction book. A few years back, No Logo by Naomi Klein rocked my world with its connections between labor issues, advertising, identity politics and postmode rn ism. For a very brief time, I tried to do a little small-scale ad-jamming by going to the mall and putting notes in the pockets of pants at Banana Republic and Pacific Sunwear: Hello Mr. Or Ms. Pants-Purchaser! Did you know that these pants were made in a SWEATSHOP? If you think sweatshops are BAD, here are some options: Put these back on the rack (I know they’re cute, but you can do it! ) Don’t get any pants today—the ones you’re wearing are very nice. Or, your skirt is nice. Get some pants at a THRIFT STORE. They’ll be FUNKY, ORIGINAL, & the money won’t go to BAD CORPORATIONS that use sweatshop labor. Visit www.sweatshopwatch.org to lea rn more. Thank you! So maybe it’s ironic that my most recent meaty, educational read was

antsy

If you'd asked me what my exotic pet of choice would be any day prior to today, my answer would have been " platypus ." Whose wouldn't be? But that was before the ants tried to take over my life. At any given point, there are 10 or 20 wandering around the bathroom...or the hallway...or the kitchen counter "like drunks," as AK described it. I watched one walk in small tight circles on the TV-with-a-tablecloth-over-it that is our living room "end table" (side note: If you need a small, functional TV that just happens to turn everyone's lips orange, email me). So yes, they're drunk. Drunk on power. The 10-to-20 groups are the ones we've started ignoring in order to conserve our energy for the armies that march in whenever one of the drunken scouts stumbles on a morsel of cat food, which is often, because we haven't successfully taught the cats to eat with bibs. In fact, between paragraphs one and two of this post, I stopped to wipe

shower spanish

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Because AK and I are going to Oaxaca in less than two weeks ( Oaxaca —yay!; less than two weeks—better figure out the cat sitter situation!), I am trying to give myself a crash course in Spanish. Unfortunately, I don’t have the motivating factor of knowing that I won’t know where the bathroom is or how much things cost unless I complete my Ultimate Spanish CDs because our friend Pedro, who’s going with us, is fluent. (Conversation with my dad: DAD: Can’t AK help you with your Spanish? ME: Well, I guess we could help each other. Her Spanish is a little better than mine. But we like to talk about things that are more complex than how the weather is, or what color our clothes are. DAD: But wait, isn’t she, um, Spanish? ME: If by “Spanish” you mean Mexican, yes. But her parents were bo rn here and always spoke English to her. So she took Spanish in school just like me. DAD: [ As if AK’s ethnic background, Orange County childhood, and the fact that not all Mexica

this is why they call her the captain

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This is an exhibit you should see: http://www.juliannaparr.com/timestamp/ Partly because Julianna (JP) Parr is an amazing artist who has been keeping a diary in drawn, painted and collaged postcards for ten years. Some are rendered in perfect watercolors (I especially liked a painting she did of some peppermints in 1998). Some are doodles. Some are scribbles. Some are poems. Some are portraits. One is a sketch of her skiing, semi out of control, in Mammoth . Some are melancholy and some are funny and many are both. You should also go, though, because unlike so many art exhibits—which are about Art Appreciation, and you have to be quiet and pretend to know things—this one is kind of a party. JP’s Craft Captain nature can’t help but rear its mohawked head: Hence there’s a cozy, zany Rumpus Room where you can make your own postcards, and a vending machine (at least as of opening night last night) where you can buy stamps and get your fortune told. I am in the process of co

new ways to dream*

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Nina Revoyr ’s third novel is as different in subject matter as her previous two were from each other. So far she’s chronicled girl basketball players , civil unrest in Watts and now the silent film era: The Age of Dreaming is the story of Jun Nakayama, a Japanese American star of the silents who—when a new part comes his way for the first time in decades—is forced to reflect on the abrupt end of his career. The reasons are as scandalous as an unsolved murder and as subtle as the growing anti-Japanese sentiments he tried to brush off. The through-line that draws me to Revoyr’s work again and again—besides her insider’s renderings of Los Angeles ’ many dark and beautiful sides—is her depiction of characters who are reluctantly shaken out of their passivity. It’s easy enough to write about characters who are brave or even tragic, but it takes serious skill to write about polite, reserved people whose very nature defies the nature of plot. Jun, despite being a ham, hates to

pretend to be a cheerleader, save the world

The next best thing to running away and joining the circus is taking the Gold Line downtown to see Cirque Berzerk , which AK, Christine, Jody and I did Saturday night. I wore my Peninsula Gymnastics Camp T-shirt (another find from my dad’s attic ) in hopes that the performers would acknowledge me as someone who could, at one point in her life, do a back flip. Miraculously, I made it through the show without imploding from envy. Despite Chantal Durelli’s ass-kicking-pin-up-girl trapeze poses (some of which I did in my trapeze class —!—but one at a time and with a lot of grunting and resting in between). Despite an amazing five-person trapeze act which combined extreme physical fitness and artistry with the one thing that seems more difficult in my opinion: group work. Despite the mesmerizing splits, handstands and pretzel-bends-on-steroids performed by contortionist Hayley Kent . She was a voluptuous girl, not a skinny Ukrainian rhythmic gymnast, which is the body type I usu

platypus, as promised

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This is Patty, the homemade platypus who served as a visual aid for my third grade animal report. Yeah, I was one of those obnoxious kids who always had great school projects and Halloween costumes because my parents were crafters. They were careful not to cross the line between helping and doing--I made the patterns for Patty's feet and bill and probably stuffed her--but I wasn't exactly an ace with the sewing machine at age eight, you know? My children will not be so lucky: It'll be store-bought plastic super hero costumes all the way unless they can convince one of their crafty aunts to take pity on them. But as I wisely noted myself in the short story " Why Wasn't I Invited? " life isn't fair . I'm also posting pics of some other items I found while going through the attic at my dad's house. Please note: I will have irrationally violent thoughts toward any commenter who makes fun of my ponies or stuffed animals. I know for a fact that they all