Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Last night I got to sing along with the Decemberists and hundreds of San Franciscans to a song about being swallowed by a whale. And just now, I got carded at Trader Joe's by a guy who's about 15 years younger than me.

Plenty of things to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good times

It doesn't take a lot to please me, so possibly my good times would only qualify as your so-so times. What can you do?

1. Last night I had to drive home from Berkeley in some sort of mystery condensation (It was a weather condition, not something emanating from my person, nor from my vehicle.) and I wasn't too thrilled about it. But turned out the KFOG was playing ten songs from 1984 and, before I knew it, tiresome drive was magically transformed into Sing Along Spectacular! I became one of those annoying bass-booming cars. Because, you know, when it's the Thompson Twins, you've got to turn it up. Thank God I'm no one's mother. If I were, that child would be dying of embarrassment right this very minute.

Here's the set list:


1. Wang Chung - Dance Hall Days
2. John Cougar Mellencamp - Crumblin' Down
3. The Cars - Hello Again
4. Alan Parson's Project - One Good Reason
5. Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Two Tribes
6. Zebra - Bears
7. U2 - The Unforgettable Fire (Best of Set)
8. Howard Jones - What is Love?
9. Thompson Twins - The Gap
10. Pretenders - My City Was Gone

For me, it was tracks 7, 8, and 9. You?

2. As I was walking home on Saturday afternoon, I encountered a largish group of teenage girls heading down the sidewalk toward me. There were maybe ten of them, all quite lovely, moving en masse. Very close behind them was an unusually tall man with long hair and sunglasses. In my constant need to make order of the world around me, I decided that they were some sort of traveling school group and that he was their chaperone. However, once the girls had passed and the man came fully into view, I saw that he was wearing a full-length billowing cloak attached at his shoulders, knee-high boots, and a large belt to which was affixed a sword and other less readily identifiable metal objects--presumably some sort of additional medieval weaponry. not the chaperone, then?

Or better, the most kick-ass chaperone ever hired by a girls' school. Muggers? That guy scoffs at muggers. Bring on the dragons. Bring on Satan himself.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I'm listening to gorgeous jazz on the radio--a station that I've never happened upon before. It's fitting as I just got home from a fantastic show by these guys at this cafe (you'll see my table on the far right), where they played one piece by this man who had written it for this circus created by this friend of mine.

I'm feeling that perhaps all art is connected to all other art and that I'm incredibly fortunate to find myself unexpectedly in the middle of it and to know so many people who are involved in creating it. They will definitely be on my Thanksgiving list of things to be grateful for.

In my own small non-audience artistic pursuits, I am doing the final edits on my final project for grad school--ten shiny little humor essays by yours truly. And I've been invited by these fantastic women whom I completely admire to participate in Porchlight next month. Oh my lord. I didn't know my name was up on that site until just this second. Did I just experience a wave of panic? Um...yes. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The end

I have not had a television in my house for the last twelve years, largely because I am a total television addict and there is a risk that I will never read nor speak to another human being again if I allow myself to own one. Instead, I listen to the radio a great deal, watch movies from Netflix on my computer, sometimes read books, and even, from time to time, leave the house. These character-building activities sometimes fall short, however, and last night I found myself wandering around YouTube, like so many before me. I watched some excerpts of 30 Rock, a show I've never seen, but frequently hear mentioned. I noticed that all the clips were coming from here. And so, as though helplessly following the Pied Piper, I too, went there. At which point, my life, as I have so carefully crafted it, ended.

I watched FIVE episodes of 30 Rock after which I unapologetically watched a crappy movie. And I was entirely entertained for over three hours.


Triangulation II

Last time, Haight and Ashbury; this time, Page and Ashbury--a block away.

I pass a small, bespectacled boy with one of those backpacks on wheels, like a little stewardess bag, but backpack-shaped. He is standing on the corner rocking the backpack back and forth to make a "click-clock" noise while he waits for his nanny to catch up. Weirdly though, as I pass him, I am enveloped in a cloud of pot smoke, unusual among the kindergarten crowd. Then I see the bearded twenty-something guy sitting cross-legged on a dirty white duvet on the edge of the curb, about ten feet away from the kid, smoking a joint, staring absently at the parked cars directly in front of his face. Across the street, a man makes his unsteady way down the sidewalk with a futon mattress draped over his head and back. It extends to his knees on either side, almost entirely obscuring him, as though he is hiding or pretending to be a turtle.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I'm feeling all emotional and full of civic pride--partially it's my own "I Voted" sticker, but more, it's the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of identical stickers being doled out within blocks of my office. If that's true, imagine how many there are all over the country. Look at all of us. Participating. I was 14th in line when I got to my assigned polling garage this morning at 6:45 (a time, incidentally, when I am very seldom even awake, let alone doing any sort of civic duty), and while I stood there, another twenty people queued up behind me. We might as well have been from Sesame Street such diversity did we represent: all sorts of ethnicities, all sorts of ages, some babies, a dog, and, about six inches to the left of the line, a sleeping homeless couple curled up under an woefully inadequate blanket beside an empty bottle of malt liquor. My neighbors. I felt an enormous affection for all of them.

Vive Barack Obama. Vive all those happily married gay couples. And hooray for every citizen waiting in a seemingly endless line to complete that seemingly endless ballot. Long may we reign.