Showing posts from July, 2009

the movie i can't wait to not see

Last night on the way home I listened to Terry Gross interview the people behind The Cove , a movie that could easily kill me. That’s probably a poor choice of hyperbole given that the movie is about actual killing, specifically of dolphins : They’re herded into a cove in a small Japanese village by fisherman banging metal rods underwater (which is basically the equivalent of firing a gun next to your ear if you have sonar). Once the dolphins are trapped, the pretty ones are recruited as swim-with-dolphins amusement-park whores, and the ugly ones are slaughtered and sold as meat. Which is poisonous, incidentally, because their bodies are so full of mercury. Leave it to humans to figure out how to kill an animal twice. Should I go on? Okay, I’ll stop there. “I think maybe I shouldn’t see that movie,” I said to AK at dinner (a reprise of Saturday’s mac and cheese , which turned out quite nicely, thank you). “Or maybe that’s exactly why I should see that movie.” “You cannot see that

after ellen on a book about the time before ellen

I've always maintained that other people can describe my books much better than I can. I get all self-conscious and bogged down by details. Thank goodness for people like Heather Aimee O'Neill at , who wrote a lovely description and review of Lilac Mines . And thank goodness for people like Jen over at Run Jen Run , who scan the internet and alert me to such things.

if you like it then you should put it on youtube

In much the same way* that, for a short time in 1993, I devoted myself to learning the dance that an angsty Christian Bale does in Newsies , a young man named Shane Mercado has learned the “Single Ladies” dance move for move: Which of course brings to mind the SNL spoof starring Justin Timberlake as a queeny and untalented backup dancer. When I first saw the SNL sketch, I laughed—Justin Timberlake has good comic timing (good lord, is there anything he cannot do?), but moreover, we’re culturally programmed to think guys in leotards are funny. Because it’s gay! And it makes us feel strange about gender! And when we’re nervous, we laugh! The moves are femmey, which Shane Mercado fully embraces…but he kind of comes full circle, back around to masculine. Because Beyoncé has curves, she makes the steps look sensuous, playful and easy. Because he is all sinew, you see the choreography broken down into its individual parts, each bone and muscle with a tough, admiration-worthy job. So ku

food of the living dead

I know this is a little crazy, but this weekend I'm going to try to make multiple dishes from recipes . And one of them is cookies. It's rare that I stray from my usual cooking strategy (stir fry vegetables, put on top grain product), and many people would argue that I shouldn't. But just because I've almost never successfully made cookies from scratch doesn't mean I shouldn't try out this recipe for zombie finger shortbread cookies for the first time on the night my book club discusses World War Z , right? What could go wrong ? Before I embark on the cookies, though, I'm making toast. I think I can handle that. The toast will become bread crumbs for the mac and cheese I'm going to make my dad tonight. My dad, like all the Kleins , is not a picky eater and is almost always thrilled to eat anything made by someone other than Trader Joe. So even though this recipe is also new, I'm not too worried about whether he'll like it. The bigger challen

keeping an eye on highland park

AK sent me this article about Highland Park that ran in the New York Times . Do you know how exciting it is to have my very neighborhood—specifically, the several-block stretch of York Avenue that is closest to my house —profiled in the New York Times ? It’s the next best thing to having them review my book, which, okay, I won’t say would never happen, because it’s also possible that a pig could be born with some kind of genetic mutation of its scapula in which a sheath of skin would be stretched between its back and a point of bone, forming a batty wing that would enable at least a chicken-like level of levitation. It’s almost cool enough to make me not really feel like rolling out my uncomfortable relationship with gentrification . But I will, just long enough to add that, from what I’ve read and observed about Highland Park, it seems to be gentrifying slowly, partly because a lot of poor people whose role is to get pushed out of “up and coming” neighborhoods weren’t so bad off i

three news items

1) AK checked the half marathon website, and her actual time was 2:16, not 2:19 as previously reported . They (the people who organize races) do this thing now where they attach a little tag to your shoe and scan you like a carton of milk when you cross the start and finish lines. That way, if you’re trapped behind thousands of runners and it takes you three minutes just to get to the starting line, your official time doesn’t suffer. This means AK met her goal and now rocks more than ever. 2) I will be reading in Seattle at Elliott Bay Book Co. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, at 7:30 p.m. It’s my first out-of-state reading ever and I’m excited and nervous. If even your second cousin’s ex-wife lives in a distant suburb of Seattle and you can convince her to come out for this event, I will be forever grateful to you. 3) My attempt at healthy living a la Laura and Mikko has already been derailed by an iced mocha at 7-Eleven and a low fat (but high everything else) cinnamon swirl coffee cake at

running makes you sexy, even to sheep

AK and I spent the last five days in...well, a bunch of places--San Francisco, Berkeley, Napa , a couple of minutes in Sonoma . You'd think we'd won a very short trip to Europe and were trying to cram everything in, in case we never made it back there. But hey, that's how we roll. And we had a great time. And despite the pace, we actually took a lot of naps. First stop: San Francisco, where we hung out with my college friend Nerissa on the far west end, home of reasonable- ish rent, better Chinese food than Chinatown and a lot of fog. "I just pretend I live in Cape Cod," Nerissa said. She loaned us winter coats and took us on a walking tour of Sutro Baths and Lands End . The trees looked like giant bonsai, and all the plants had a rugged, wind-worn look with a dash of bright California pinks and oranges. The signage was as intense as at Volcano National Park . The next day, we hung out in the slightly sunnier Mission, where we had lunch with AK's old


Ironically,* I sat in traffic for a long time in order to get to the studio to record the show that would combat traffic and patriarchy. I was nervous about getting a rogue coughing fit or sudden amnesia on the air, but it all went fine, thanks to Terry and to Lynn and Celina, the hosts. There are few things more wonderful than warm and welcoming hosts when you're feeling jumpy and under-prepared. But now I'm exhausted, the way that talking to people frequently makes me. And it was a weird week at work, and I have to get up in four hours and forty minutes to get on a plane. THEN, though, I will be on vacation. AK has to run a half marathon, but I will be there for the wine (it's in Napa) and the seeing of friends. Cheers! *Maybe. I've been a bit confused about the definition of irony since that Alanis song, when it became cool to point out how she misused the word "ironic." Now I second guess myself every time I try to use it.

combat traffic and patriarchy at the same time!

The 7 to 8 p.m. block on weeknights usually finds me on the eastbound 10 freeway. I’m pretty sure that’s where all of you are too, because despite altering my work hours precisely so I could avoid the so-called rush hour at 5 p.m., when I look out my window at 7, there are many, many cars on the road. So I don’t feel at all bad asking you to tune your car radio* to KPFK 90.7 FM this Wednesday, July 15 at 7 p.m. to listen to Terry Wolverton and I on Feminist Magazine . What else do you have to do besides try to decipher the specialty license plate on the car in front of you? Both Terry and I have new novels that cover the women’s movement of the ‘70s from an intergenerational perspective. I just started reading hers, The Labrys Reunion , which opens with a bunch of Baby Boomer feminists simultaneously despairing that the younger generation has abandoned the cause and—when confronted with the reunion of the title—sort of thinking, Oh god[dess], I REALLY don’t want to relive all that

small adjacent boats

I was as wary of Away We Go as the next person. And by “the next person,” I mean the self-conscious hipster art nerd who rolls her eyes at anything for which she might be an obvious target audience, while feeling incredibly envious of anything made by other self-conscious hipster art nerds who’ve tasted popular success .* Okay, now that we’ve gotten that moment of meta out of the way, I will proceed to tell you how much I liked Away We Go . It’s not the most original or brilliant movie ever, but its ordinariness proves it’s not the quirk-fest the trailer implies either. It’s a simple movie about a couple in their thirties trying to figure out their lives. One is an artist who’s lost a parent (two, actually). Sometimes I find books and movies about people in the same boat I’m in (or, say, a more pregnant, heterosexual, mountain-dwelling—but nevertheless similar —boat) to be incredibly stressful. I may have mentioned that I boycotted The Wonder Years throughout junior high . But ot

red, white and blood

When my friend Erin was training for a marathon, her girlfriend (now wife, and this is probably why) would ride her bike alongside, toting water and a stopwatch. When Craig ran the L.A. marathon , his boyfriend Kenny camped out at several spots along the route with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a small army of cheering friends. When AK ran the Palisades/Will Rogers 10K on Saturday, as part of her half-marathon training, I waited at the mile two marker and spaced out until I heard her yelling, “Cheryl! Cheryl!” I looked up just in time to distract her, then see her trip on a lumpy spot of asphalt. I poured water on her bloody knee and tried to put on a smile that said, I’m so sorry I just distracted you, but I promise not to make this one of those many times where I mess up and then apologize profusely as a strategy to force you to make me feel better about messing up. Today is about you. Run, AK, run! She ran off and I trudged toward the finish line. I looked very, very

bread and bread pudding

Although we devoured those fire-pit pies in a manner that would have made Cookie Monster proud, we still had two full loaves of squishy white bread left over. And while part of me wanted to wad them up into dense little balls and eat them like bon bons, I decided the more respectable thing to do would be to add a bunch of butter, sugar and milk, and make bread pudding . Because I don’t fare well with recipes that involve complex processes (like rolling out dough) or more than six ingredients, I went with this one : 4 slices buttered toast 1 (#2) can peaches 3 eggs, beaten 1/3 c. sugar Dash of salt 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 1 tsp. vanilla 3 c. milk Place toast in bottom of deep baking dish. Drain peaches and save juice. Put peaches over top of toast. Mix other ingredients and half of peach juice. Pour over fruit and toast. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. I left out one egg and vanilla, which I didn’t have. And baked it for an extra twenty minutes because our oven is weird. Neverth