Sunday, January 31, 2010


In a Safeway in Sacramento, the woman at the check-out counter said to me "I love your hair."
"Thanks!" I replied, "I do it myself."
"You must not have a man at home who yells at at you if you cut it off, then," she said with a smile, laughing.
I smiled slightly and said "No one gets to yell at me" and thought but you don't have to accept this system, these systems, that your hair should be long, that long hair is feminine, that femininity is even worthwhile, that your husband or boyfriend or anyone has anything to say, much less to shout at you about it, that possessiveness is indicative of being desired or cherished, that this is what love looks like, and I said "Have a nice day."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

in memoriam J.D.S.

"Seymour once said to me – in a crosstown bus, of all places – that all legitimate religious study must lead to unlearning the differences, the illusory differences, between boys and girls, animals and stones, day and night, heat and cold."
- Franny and Zooey

"You can't live in the world with such strong likes and dislikes."
- Franny and Zooey

"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it."
- The Catcher in the Rye

"This is a people shooting hat...I shoot people in this hat."
- The Catcher in the Rye

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


A truly excellent variation on this was made in my oven a bit back (under the proper supervision, I assure you. I'm not taking any credit for this one). Check it out!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I don't mean to suggest

I could sing that all night. Cry all night, too, if I did, I'm sure.

let me see your sushi roll

because I won't show you mine. Saturday was great. It finally didn't rain for a bit, and so I got to go for my run. Then I went to see the Emigre exhibition at Gallery 16. Pretty nifty stuff. The clear highlight for me, exhibition-wise, was the booklet of love letters. Histrionic and erudite and dripping with the purplest of prose, it was a surprising and fun way to show off and market various Emigre fonts. Laugh out loud funny, at least for yours truly, and so pleasing to the eye.

Then in the pm my dearly beloved downstairs neighbors threw a sushi-rolling birthday party for a Japanese ex-pat accordion player. What's not to love? People brought just about every good thing to roll into the sushi, there were massive and intimidating pots of rice, and plentiful beverages. Well. Didn't I just have a good time. My serious failure for the evening, however, was in rolling the sushi. Like the true beginner I was (am), I got too excited and tried to put everything in one roll: mango, crab, avocado, cucumber, and probably a couple other more things. It was, ultimately, delicious and unstable. I think I ended up with three pieces that held together and could be identified as sushi. The rest exploded all over the plate upon slicing. But so very tasty. Then, live music and a little dancing. The company wasn't bad, either.

Sunday was quite a decent sequel. Yummy brunch, though I say it myself, and in the evening, free concert from the Conspiracy of Beards, an all-male Leonard Cohen a capella choir.

surely she's joking

Certainly many contemporary domestic scenarios are less than ideal, an imbalance which would often be at least partially aided by government-mandated (and perhaps supported) childcare. However, Sandra Sing Loh's NYT piece is so ridiculous reductive and poorly considered that I had a hard time believing I was reading it. This would not have been published in the NYT, I hazard a guess, had it been written by a man. While others – many feminists, as a matter of fact – have opined in the past that "everyone needs a wife," Loh's bizarrely idealized notion of domestic life in the 1950's shows that she should probably a) read The Way We Never Were or at the very least b) watch Mad Men. Bah. It's such knee-jerk reactionary nonsense that I'm even having a hard time getting my dander up about it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Always extraordinary housemate Kristin began brewing beer today. What a wonderful thing to wake up to on a Sunday. While we cannot yet drink the beer (oh waiting, you are never my friend), the smell – a jumble of bread baking, tea steeping, and well, beer – wafted down the hall in the most wonderful way all afternoon.

Meanwhile, 10 points to Lea for describing the hops, which I likened to rabbit pellets, as "astronaut beer." It's got to be better than Tang.

somewhat mystifying but decidedly aromatic bag of things which compose beer

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Nostalgia can be kind of like a drug, I think, if you let it get to you. You think not only about the way things are, but the way you always wished they'd be, the golden idyll of then which is at such a safe remove from now. But this entire longing backward is unsustainable, impossible – time is perhaps not an eternal forward march, but neither is it something you can just reach back and grab. It recedes and eludes. Like catching hold of your reflection in a pool of water. You've got something. Not what you wanted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

if all is going well

then I am currently learning how to sing like this (more or less):

It's pretty exciting. I had my first class at Zambaleta this evening. Only 5 more, so I don't expect proficiency at the end, but something. So interesting/challenging/fun. I like it I like it I like it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

mi mancha firenze

It's always a delight when I am presented with an opportunity to practice my (increasingly rusty) Italian. Enter Luciano Landi. A winemaker from Marche, he is as impeccably dressed and effortlessly charming as I have come to expect Italian men of a certain age (of any age) to be, and his English was somewhat hesitant at best. Cue the tiger pouncing. We got on famously, and I purchased two bottles. Well, under normal circumstances I wouldn't have, I'm sure, but nostalgia holds sway like undertow and I'm happy I came up with my head above water. It's all been a bit much, lately.

Lacrima di Morro d’Alba. Cin Cin!

there is no good reason

that I forgot to quote this months ago, when I read it. It bears reviewing:
Ebenezer hesitated ' 'Tis a great step.'
' 'Tis a great world and a short life,' replied Burlingame. 'A pox on all steps but great ones.'
'If you'd live in the world, my friend, you must dance to some other fellow's tune or call your own and try to make the world step to't.'
                   – John Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

tuesday night

in which I crack open walnuts using a garlic press. I am nothing if not resourceful.

Monday, January 11, 2010

glory in the flower

oh, man. Splendor in the Grass is the hottest thing I've seen in I don't even know how long. They really ought to put a couple-three x's on the case of that film. Natalie Wood is a complete knockout and Warren Beatty is such a dream. 

Whew. I think I need to catch my breath.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

vs. the mountain

Today I discovered that I have, for some time now, perhaps my entire life, secretly been a quite good skier. Who knew! My mom & I went up to Northstar at Tahoe earlier today. The universe is in league with me again, at least temporarily: I had signed up to take a group lesson, but upon arriving (a few minutes late, granted) was told that the group had departed and assigned a private instructor. Amend that: a cute 23 year-old instructor from London named Alex. Alex is a great teacher and was quite ambitious for me and after about two and a half hours of lesson, I was skiing down a black diamond slope. No falling. Quite decent turns.

Now I have come out the other side of exhaustion and am planning on a kind of non-alcoholic, non-mountainous Après-ski. It is, quite frankly, probably a terrible idea, as my body is desperately trying to convince me to pass out. But how else to see one's friends?  

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

new historicism

"More than ever, I am convinced that history has meaning, and that its meaning is terrifying."
                     – Rene Girard, Battling to the End


of a kind. Before my camera batteries died, at any rate.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

I know I'm biased. But I don't care. There are time when I simply adore California.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

farewell, naughties

In the minor controversy over what to call the past decade, I do believe the Australians have emerged victorious. In British English, a "naught" is a "zero," and so the past (or yes, yes, not truly past until 2011, don't write me, I know) can be referred to not only as the Naughts but as the Naughties. Nothing tops this.

Despite the fact that Wired seems to have reported on this back in, well, the 90s, I hadn't heard of it until the other night. So I'm giving the credit to my downstairs neighbors' homeland.

At any rate, einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!

Monday, January 4, 2010


is so passé.  A revolution is clearly necessary: 

Why have I never heard of this before?  ¡Viva la interrobang!

(all credit to CS)

blood, boiling

I want to write a nice holiday/happy new year post. About family and warmth and hope for the future. But the first article I read in the news today was about how Uganda is trying to pass a law that makes homosexuality punishable by death, and about how this, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (that's its real name), was inspired by the recent visit of several U.S. evangelicals, including Rick Warren, whom you may remember from Obama's inauguration.  I don't care how much he tries to back down from it now, this is the logical consequence of such hateful, dehumanizing rhetoric. 

Immediate tangential questions: Obama, what were you thinking? Rick Warren, why are you smiling so much in your appeal to the Ugandan pastors? Most pressing, however, is: what are we to do about such virulent calls to violence?  No, the Americans didn't say kill all the gays, they said they're destroying your family, they're preying on your children, there's an international conspiracy, something must be done to stop them. 

Something must be done to stop them. I only wish I knew what.

oh by gosh

All truly good holidays are centered around food.  I predict that this thesis will be difficult to disprove.  (I am way behind in posting these, I know.) 

Above, Christmas dinner (crown roast of pork), below, Christmas Eve Eve wildly delicious buffet.  Mmm...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

stop your life

and read Doris Lessing:

"Mrs. Quest sat alone, listening to the radio.  It seemed to her that for years, for all her life, she had sat, forced to be quiet, listening to history being made."
               – Doris Lessing, Landlocked

When I finish this quintet, I don't know what's going to happen to me.  Maybe my life will end. 
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