Showing posts from June, 2009

what i have learned in researching mermaid tattoos

1. This blog provides good ideas of what not to do , and even better commentary. It also makes me a little nervous. I wouldn't want to end up on there. But by forgoing text (I love words so much that having one tattooed on me would just be too distracting), I eliminate the possibility of misspelling , which cuts my chances of appearing in the Gallery of Regrets by at least fifty percent. 2. It's all about the tits. Even though I walked into Artifact Tattoo with a ready-made mermaid, Justin gave me a couple of mermaid art books to look through for additional ideas. "Do you want her boobs to show?" he asked. My mermaid is roughly a B-cup, not hidden by cheesy, strategically-placed hair, but kind of in the shadows. Technically her boobs do show. So what he must have meant was, "Do you want her giant porno tits to protrude into the viewer's face as if she were shot with one of those trick lenses they use for those photos of big-nosed dogs ?" The answer


Our friend Joel wanted to celebrate the beginning of summer in an ancient and traditional way. So he did what modern people in search of tradition do, and went online. That's where he learned about Midsommar , a Swedish solstice festival in which revelers (and after months of Scandinavian winter, the Swedes know how to revel) decorate a may pole-like cross called something that sounds like " schlong ," dance around it and drink heavily. Joel and his wife Holly decided that Lightning Point Campground in the Angeles National Forest would be the perfect place to set up their schlong . We weren't able to join them for the official ritual (which wasn't so official, seeing as how it took place a week after solstice), but we drove up Saturday night in time to camp and appreciate an only slightly-wilted schlong . AK and I were finally able to break in the tent my dad gave us for Christmas. My dad, who loves camping but hates discomfort, always preferred motor home

black and white and days that burn bright

If I were to post a proper tribute to Michael Jackson, I would track down the video of the dance I choreographed to “ Black or White ” in eighth grade. But I’m not such a fan as to post a proper tribute, so I will just describe it to you, to the best of my recollection: Costume: thigh-length biker shorts, white V-neck, scrunchie. Choreography: I began in a crouch similar to what yogis call “child’s pose” and stayed in this position throughout the long, irrelevant-to-the-rest-of-the-song dialogue between Macaulay Culkin and Norm. When the music began, I jumped up into a straddle-squat sort of thing, then took big, jammin’ steps backward, pulling my arms back in a similarly funky fashion. The moves that ensued were stolen from three main sources: Gymnastics: I never did a dance that didn’t have at least one cartwheel or back-walkover in it. I had to distinguish myself from my fellow middle-school dancers (especially the ones gifted with, like, rhythm) somehow . Routines learned at Ac

when the cat's away, the mouse will clean out the garage

AK has been in Seattle for the past few days. Yesterday, she called me from the road. "It's great seeing people," she said, "but it's kind of nice being by myself in the rental car for a little while and getting to stop for food whenever I want." In other words, the extrovert had reached her limit. I've used my time to geek out introvert -style, meaning I have: cleaned out the garage* cleaned almost everything else, although I didn't get to wash the walls, liked I dreamed I would written--just the normal amount taken three yoga classes finally (maybe) figured out how to use the flash drive my dad gave me for Christmas in like 2007 made an omelet with cheese, which AK hates watched Anchorman And now I've reached my limit. It's been fun being a nerdy hermit (and as soon as I'm done with this post, I'm going to curl up with a bean-filled Japanese dessert and my book about the supreme court ), but I think I'm just about done. I need

there is a puppy who will kill us

My real Father's Day gift to my dad was finally cleaning out a couple of cupboards in the room we always called "the playroom," which was, at various points, an office, a parakeet room and the room where our second TV lived (as in, "Fine, if I'm the only one who wants to watch These Friends of Mine , I guess I'll watch it in the playroom"). My best find yesterday was a copy of Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi , signed with big colorful flourishes by the author/illustrator to my mom in 1962. But my most blog-worthy find was more early writings by a young Cheryl Klein. You may notice that plot has never been my strong suit. Some excerpts: Pickle the Passenger Pigeon historical fiction by Cheryl Klein, circa age 8 Hi! I'm Pickle the Passenger Pigeon. I am the very last, but I don't mind that. In fact it makes me special. I've had lots of adventures. I think I'll tell you about my favorite. One day when the sky was filled with Passe

my so-called summer reading roundup

What’s all this talk about summer reading? Living in a relatively season-less city, not being much of a beach person, not being a student or a teacher or anyone else with three months off, I’m both envious of the opportunity to curl up with a pink drink and a pink-jacketed book, and troubled by the implication that this may be the only time of year that some people read. But I never miss an opportunity to pimp out books I like (or chat about ones I’m ambivalent about). Below is actually just a list of the last five books I read, mostly in coffee shops or on CD in my car, none of them at the beach. But let’s call it a summer reading list. Because in spite of what my pasty skin and curmudgeonly attitude might imply, I really do like sun, and having fun in it. Beg No Pardon by Lynne Thompson: Lynne Thompson isn’t just an amazing poet, she’s a versatile one--there are persona poems in here, prose poems, short clever poems, long allusive poems, mysterious near-cut-ups, dense and troublin

banana post #3

I have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot go to CalArts-related events alone. I inevitably end up feeling shy and intimidated. But my own social-anxiety problems aside, last night was pretty cool. Giant photos of bananas and banana workers. Video interviews with banana workers—all in Spanish, so I felt proud of myself when I was like, Hey, that girl is talking about how bananas are a phallic symbol! She chanted a song whose lyrics seemed to be something along the lines of, Take off your clothes, take off your clothes, take off your clothes so we can eat the banana. (And Nelly thought he was being coy with, It’s gettin hot in here, so take of all your clothes. ) It did get hot in there, there being the LACE gallery in Hollywood, and pretty crowded. I said hi to a couple of people, ate some free snacks from Whole Foods and watched a giant projected video of plantation workers washing and bagging bananas. At one point, I left the room and came back in, and when I saw the

orange you glad i said banana?

Matias was one of my favorite profs at CalArts because he was living proof that it's possible to be critical and nurturing at the same time. There was a period of time when I thought he looked at my boobs a lot, but then I realized he was just kind of short (and gay, which made a boob obsession unlikely). Anyway, lately he's been posting these great "25 Random Things About Me" lists on Facebook that are like long prose poems. Full of texture and nostalgia and sweetness and sharp edges. I think he's going for a hundred of them, which also seems very Matias--an ambitious and experimental project that is also meandering. He always seemed like maybe he just woke up from a nap; he had that malleable and innocent quality, though if his lists are any indication, his life has generated plenty of fascinating, not-so-innocent stories. Fallen Fruit (various puns intended, I'm sure), founded by Matias and two friends, is a very Matias- ish project: "an activist

let them eat banana heels

1. the mark of zorro I just started reading Isabel Allende’s version of the Zorro story —I don’t know the original version, or even the Antonio Banderas version, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it’s a great book so far, set in L.A. when it was just barely L.A. (Her Zorro is the swashbuckling kid of a Spanish soldier-turned-ranchero and a mestiza female-warrior-turned-ranchero’s-wife.) Most of the Spanish characters are pretty nice people, even though they make a living oppressing natives. Father Mendoza is secretly impressed by Jesuit theories and is more into teaching his neophytes than whipping them; Zorro’s father is not exactly a deep thinker, but when he’s attacked by a band of rebellious Indians, he decides to marry their leader (she likes him too) instead of executing her. Somehow this story got me thinking about slavery and how the south was so economically dependent on it. When it stopped, the whole region was devastated for at least a few decades. I had thi

the girl without the mermaid tattoo

Maybe if I put it in writing it will be true, like The Secret says it will. So here goes: This summer I’m getting a tattoo. It will be my second, so it’s not like I’m working up to it. I’ ve known what it will be (mermaid, ankle…not as lame as it sounds, okay?) for a long time. When I was making plans to get my first tattoo (vine, wrist), I had a dream that my mom, who’d recently passed away, was drawing a mermaid on my chest, sort of between boob and clavicle. She probably wouldn ’t have been surprised to learn that her stubborn child went ahead with the vine on the wrist, but come on—when your dead mom comes to you in a dream and tells you to get a mermaid tattoo, you have to do it at some point. Especially when, later, you’re going through some old drawings she did and you find three or four mermaid sketches. (This is not as Twilight Zone - ish as it sounds. My mom drew fairytale creatures all the time, so there was like a ninety percent chance she’d drawn a few mermaids in he

fun! i like fun!

I'm still on a high from Friday night, thanks to all of you folks who came or encouraged me in myriad ways. I think you're even responsible for the fact that links to me and my site actually come up when you Google "Cheryl Klein." Take that, Harry Potter book editor Cheryl Klein ! As loyal Bread and Bread readers know, the path to Lilac Mines becoming an actual book has been as rocky as the mountains it's set it. (Um, it's not actually set in the Rocky Mountains, but the Sierras are rocky too, right?) And as of Friday at 6:45 p.m., I had yet to physically see a copy of the book. But there it was waiting for me at Skylight , looking quite lovely--no upside-down cover, no obvious typos on the back or the first few pages (I have yet to check beyond that). And, just as importantly, there was Noel , corralling the four of us writers and performers into the upstairs office at the bookstore and reminding us that we were there to have fun and support our commu

cradle to page

Today I drove up to Valencia to buy a used desk I’d seen listed on Craigslist, because this is how you acquire office furniture if you are a nonprofit. The girl selling the desk was a theater student at CalArts, and it wasn’t until I pulled past the school’s always-empty security kiosk that I realized how long it’s been since I was on campus. I loved CalArts, but I wasn’t that involved in campus life, so I was surprised to be hit by a wave of nostalgia—the museum-y smell, quiet hallways, friendly receptionists. I even found myself thinking, Actually, it doesn’t look that much like an ugly 1970s hospital. I realized that I was wearing the exact same shirt that I wore to orientation in 2000—almost the same outfit, just substitute tan corduroy pants for light blue ones. I concluded that I probably need a new look. I’m not even sure if cords and bandanas-on-the-head were cool in 2000. But then I happily flashed back to other CalArts routines: listening to Colin make jokes about zappin

noel on 8

You may (or may not) have noticed that I didn’t have a lot to say when the California Supreme Court upheld Prop. 8 last week. Partly this was because I was planning a trip to Fresno, home of some of my favorite literary peeps and my very favorite sort-of-second-hand store . But mostly I didn’t have a lot to add. Gay marriage? Still for it. Bigotry and government meddling in people’s personal lives? Still against it. Meehan, my only queer appellate law expert friend (everyone should have at least one), hadn’t versed herself in the particulars of the case yet, so I couldn’t weigh in on the whole revision vs. amendment issue. Luckily, my friend Noel has all sorts of smart things to say on the Huffington Post . According to Noel, LGBT folks are an oppressed minority, contrary to the media’s portrayal of gay men as rich and fabulous, and gay women as rich and fabulous and crazy (at least on The L Word ). Although it always feels weird to deny fabulousness and talk about one’s own oppress