Friday, October 31, 2008


Halloween snapshot #1. Berekley. 7pm

A very small fluffy bear comes to the door with a slightly taller Oompa Loompa and a fairy princess. "Trick or treat!" they cry. When my friend's two-year-old son gets home from touring the neighborhood with his father, he pronounces that it was "a bit spooky" but that he saw a skeleton that "went up and down." That, apparently, was a highlight of the adventure.

Halloween snapshot #2. San Francisco. 10:30pm

At a stoplight a few blocks from home, I see a man across the street in "sexy Alice in Wonderland" drag with his friend who appears to be a more miscellaneous "sexy girl." They are both in very short dresses and wigs. Miscellaneous faces the traffic, while Alice stands bowlegged, holding himself up unsteadily against a parked jeep while he pees copiously over the driver's side door.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

High school times two

I got to work early yesterday (Absurdly early. To make coffee. Let's not discuss it.) and consequently left early. I drove away at about 3:30. While waiting at a red light, I observed maybe a dozen dudes in the park skateboarding up a storm. I thought, "What the hell? Does NO ONE have a job anymore?" and then I thought "Oh, wait. Maybe they're high school students."

Something is off kilter when my first thought upon seeing a bunch of skaters is that they're unemployed thirty-year-olds. There was a time, not so very long ago, when a pack of guys on skateboards would have been BY DEFINITION teenagers. Not anymore. Not in this town. Oh hell no, not by a long shot.


Walking to work this morning, I found myself behind a small group of students. Another girl approached the group from the opposite direction and greeted a boy with a big hug. This was not a romantic-type situation, this was the heartwarming reunion of two teenagers who had not seen each other since the beginning of first period, about an hour earlier. I remember this about high school: it was very heavy on hugs. We were always exceedingly glad to see one another and/or very sorry to part. Either occasion was hug-worthy. And frankly, although quantity was certainly a primary factor, quality was superior as well. As adults, I fear we have really let this slide. In fact, the last really excellent hug I received was at my high school reunion. Coincidence? I think not. Let's see if we can step it up, friends.

Frankly, I could do with more hugs.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Le retour

I've said it before, but that makes it no less true: it is hard to start again once you've stopped. This is applicable for all manner of things, but for me it most often relates to exercising and writing. The former is so difficult as to be essentially impossible. It has certainly been more than a year since I've done anything that I would call Exercise with a capital e. Fortunately, I am still obliged to walk around the neighborhood from time to time, so my limbs haven't atrophied completely.

The writing? The writing is something else altogether. It nags at me differently, and perhaps more persistently, and it requires more concerted effort to ignore. But, as is evident to the four of you who read this, I have managed to put forth that effort for many weeks. Impressive, is it not?

Now, though, I am sitting here on a Sunday afternoon trying to sneak up on the writing through the blog, since the real task of the day is to work on the scary Big Project--the thing that would be my thesis if it were a thesis. Instead it is a Collection of My Work--a term which never fails to make me chortle. Nevertheless, it exists. Sadly, one of the designated readers has failed to be overcome by the brilliance of this mighty collection and has required many changes of me. So far I have reacted to his notes with A) defensiveness B) profanity and C) procrastination. Time is officially running out for this particular three-pronged approach. It is time to embrace such helpful notes as, "In humor writing, the jokes must be clever and work well." And try to make new jokes that this one man might find more clever or better working. Because, after all, I do wish to actually get the MA after all that homework and thousands of dollars and all. It would be silly to stop now.

Clever. Work well. Man, what a good idea. I'm on it.

Meanwhile, while I haven't been telling you four anything, I have been busy. First, I was sick. Seemingly interminably. But that excuse is weeks out of date now. Otherwise, it's been a cultural extravaganza.

A circus in the park.
A movie in the fog.
Colored glass.
Jazz at the museum.
More and more and more music.
One long play.
Movies indoors.
Six short plays.
Jazz in North Beach.

And, the glorious mistress of the Big Idea, Laurie Anderson. At Homeland on Friday, she held that audience in her thrall. When she played a encore on her electric violin, hundreds of people sat silent, silent. You could feel the listening humming through us all.

You should probably move here. There's a lot going on.