Showing posts from June, 2013

lots of daylight and no homework

The last time I had a reading planned, I canceled it to stare nervously at the wall while waiting for biopsy results. We all know how that turned out. But the first hint that I might be slowly turning the dial away from the all-cancer-all-the-time-cancer-channel phase of my life (knockonwood) came the other day the frozen yogurt shop. “Excuse me, can I just say—” began a woman at the next table. Here it comes , I thought, bracing myself for a comment on how brave I was to have not found a way to magically keep my follicles from releasing my hairs while on chemo. “I really like your purse,” she said. Friday night I gave my first reading in seven months, opening for Sean Carswell at Skylight Books. It was a friendly, mellow, well attended reading, with a bucket of PBR fresh from the liquor store and no ice. I read a little bit of my near-future story about genetic testing. Jim Ruland read about karaoke in Alaska. Sean read from his new book, Madhouse Fog , which promise

my review of the east, or: hot sexy dumpster divers

The East opens with Jane (Brit Marling, my semi-new crush) fingering a crucifix charm that hangs from her neck, asking God for strength, courage and humility. She’ll need all three when Sharon (Patricia Clarkson, my longtime semi-crush) recruits her to spy on the titular group of eco-activists. Toward the end of the movie, after she’s seen the evil done by the East’s corporate targets and sipped their Kool-Aid, she says a similar prayer. But this time the charm hanging from her necklace is a paper clip, the same one she used to pick a lock when she was handcuffed for riding the rails with fellow activist Luca (Shiloh Fernandez, my new crush because I love a boy in eyeliner). I'll bring the blindfold, you bring the eyeliner. I guess you could read that as a transition from mainstream morality (or lack thereof) to radical lefty morality, but I think the movie’s real message is one of self-determination and critical thinking. I.e., you have to pick the lock of whoever and whate

flatness, fun and fucking miracles

In high school and college, I would study so hard for my finals that, by the time exam day rolled around, I was a sweatpants-wearing mess with caffeine coursing through my veins and nothing in my stomach that hadn’t come from a vending machine. Before my AP U.S. history test, I was so delirious I started talking to my Winnie the Pooh shampoo bottle, wondering if he was an isolationist (when I told this story to Andrew recently, he said Pooh was most definitely an isolationist).   How do you feel about the Stimson Doctrine, Sham-Pooh? But oh! Finishing finals felt so good. The freedom made the stress worth it. When I had a school-free, work-free day, I would jump in my Toyota Tercel and drive to the edge of the known world, which for me was Silver Lake. It was mural-festooned, only half gentrified, with little houses clinging to the hillside. I’d write bits of fiction while eating guanabana pastries at Café Tropical and try on dresses at Pull My Daisy, which was still a thrift

the good news about spit tobacco

The thing about running and walking (and I have an incrementally higher run-to-walk ratio each time) is that you move both literally and figuratively. I started out feeling grateful for a sunny morning; the words Life is wonderful may have actually formed in my head. A mile or so later I was teary, and the words It’s not fair, I didn’t do anything formed. You know, just as a general rebuttal to The Man I’m constantly haggling with in my mind. By the time I looped around the York/Figueroa elbow and back to Franklin High School, I saw three beefy looking guys, one of whom was wearing what appeared to be a bullet-proof vest. Another was swinging a sledgehammer. Is this one of those see something/say something moments? I wondered. But I didn’t, and they made their way onto campus. Probably to fix something…right? Two blocks later, I was thinking about an article posted by Craig Santos Perez, about how processed salt contributes to various diseases. When I read it, I simultane

what i read in may

Fish wrangling doesn't pay a living wage. I’ve hated making phone calls since long before texting and email became semi-preferred modes of communication. So I don’t have to wring my hands about losing touch with humanity; I never wanted to be in touch. Getting my first job required me to call Lisa, the nice singing teacher who’d offered me free dance classes in exchange for filing sheet music and sweeping the wood floor at her studio. I must have practiced that phone call twenty times with my mom playing the part of Lisa before I actually dialed. I just used my lunch break to make three phone calls that weren’t exactly traumatic (i.e. no medical test results involved), but which were heavy with the weight of a future I have no energy to plan. Guess what? Two voicemails and one message-with-a-secretary. I love being able to check shit off my to-do list on a technicality. I actually really like people in person. And I like them in text form. It’s just phone limbo I hate. I also l

return to the sea(food)

A few weeks ago on Good Food —which I listen to with the non-participatory fascination that many people watch Inside the Actors Studio —a guy who might have been Michael Pollan was talking about how until relatively recently, meat was a special-occasions-only food in most cultures. This had to do with scarcity and the sneaking feeling that it was a slippery slope from munching on a roast pig to cooking up a fellow human. They developed elaborate rituals around meat eating to ensure it couldn’t be done to excess. With the exception of a petite slice of mozzarella in a Caprese salad made by our friend Hataya, I haven’t had fish or more than bite-sized bits of dairy since Earth Day. Portobello, grilled onions, cucumbers and hummus on marbeled rye. Well, I did nibble at a rind of brie last weekend. The rind is my favorite part. B and I used to argue about it—she thought the rind wasn’t meant to be consumed, and that it would poison me. (Her preferences were never preferences;