Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Do you think it ever misses me?

Seeing your old apartment all spruced up with some stranger in the living room is like seeing your ex with his hot new girlfriend.

It made me strangely sad to see the newly painted building and the fancy new window shades although I live in a perfectly lovely new apartment myself. Still, thirteen years is a long time. Somewhere in my brain that apartment where some younger stranger lives is still what I think of as home.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Bring it, brother!

As I am getting my hair cut, another stylist comes up to my stylist and says:

"Is it heavy? Should I bring it?"

And, seriously, do those questions not suggest that he would imminently be rocking the mic, busting a move, or blowing our minds with a hella sweet riff? They do.

Did those two questions instead relate to a steam cleaner? They did. The disappointment was bitter indeed.

Occupational Hazard

You know that mass email you got from corporate/the guy in the next cubicle/your client? The one that filled you with fury? Well, that was a drag, I'm sure. And that is why I am offering you this moment of perspective from the world of education.

Email received this morning.
Subject heading: Mononucleosis and lice

Don't you feel better now?

Friday, October 01, 2010

To the death

Lit Quake is upon us and, for the first time ever, I'm participating in a literary-type way instead of only in an audience-type way.

Literary Death Match, people. Wednesday night. Come if you dare.

If you come, I think you and I will be the only people there without Pulitzer Prizes (I mean, I assume you don't have one, but I could be wrong), which means we could totally be friends.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Till death do us part or, you know, whenever

Periodically, I try to think of music I would like to have at my fictional wedding. There is really no excuse for this sort of behavior except, um, I'm a girl? The other day on the radio I heard an instrumental version of "There Will Never Be Another You." Gorgeous music, lovely sentiment. Ideal first dance material. I've been meaning to look up the lyrics since all I could remember was, "There will be another fall, another spring, but there will never ever be another you." And yes. That is a lyric. It's just that it falls somewhere in the middle. The lyrics in total are:

There will be many other nights like this,
And I'll be standing here with someone new,
There will be other songs to sing, another fall, another spring,
But there will never be another you.

There will be other lips that I may kiss,
But they won't thrill me like yours used to do,
Yes, I may dream a million dreams,
But how can they come true,
If there will never ever be another you.

Oohhhhh. So, that would make it the most cynical wedding song in history. Right. Just kidding. Still, a great song. Wanna hear it?

In other news, when I went looking for a version of it, I was sent to that link from somewhere else. It said "Hear it on We7." I saw no reason not to. Beside that it said "Yes, it scrobbles!"

Dear sweet lord, technology. What the hell is scrobbling and why is it worthy of an exclamation point? Give a girl a break, won't you? I'm still having all sorts of trouble with "blog."

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Oh. Right. My blog.

Remember me? I was bitten by a vampire in May and then stopped writing? Yes. Hi.

After that kind of absence, it seems that there ought to be a Triumphant Return (capital T, capital R) and, frankly, that is why the absence just gets longer and longer. Today I am ending it. There will be nothing triumphant about it, but enough's enough.

Since last we spoke, I turned 40 and, so far, people don't offer me seats on the bus or rush to help me cross the street. Also, nothing has fallen off of my body, so that seems to be working out. I had a really lackluster summer vacation that involved leaving town for a total of four days. However, in July and August I told a couple of stories on stage that made people laugh. Also, people dressed up for my birthday party; turns out I have good looking friends.

In the last few months, I heard many radio commercials exhorting me to buy sweet seedless watermelon. I think it ought to be an exclamation. As in, "Sweet seedless watermelon, Josie! You scared the bejeus out of me!" See if you can make that happen.

But now, the time of sweet seedless watermelon has passed and we are in back-to-school mode. Among other things, this enabled me to overhear the worst ever "yo mama" comeback in the history of speech today.

Student 1: Just go away.
Student 2: Go away, your mother.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The radio newscaster says "Police are calling it murder." And then he goes on to report that a body was found inside a suitcase floating in the bay.

Um...I am also calling it murder.

My father

Quoth my father:
"...you have to be sort of crazed and committed, because there's no stopping."

And there, ladies and gentlemen, you have what I think of as my father's personal motto. Oh. That and also "run your ass off." In fact, you will see that he has almost no ass to speak of. That is because he has been living true to both these mottos my entire life.

Imagine him running much, much faster than this and you might be able to envision the Dipsea legend on race day. My fearless, fleet-footed father. Personally, you couldn't pay me to even walk that trail. But I do definitely look like him, so I did inherit something along the way.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm thinking vampire

This year, I have been plagued by mystery bites. These are bites that seem quite small and innocuous at first, but then become monstrous: venom-spreading, heat-producing, mind bogglingly itchy blights. Previous bites have been on my leg and on my hip. I have ruled out mosquitoes and bedbugs; I was thinking maybe spiders (although why suddenly after an almost entirely spider-free life, I would have them crawling into my bed and biting me, I couldn't say).

However, this time I have formulated another theory. Vampire. Don't you think?

Never having read any Anne Rice or Twilight, I'm not sure there's any documentation about people having an intense allergic reaction to a vampire bite, but it might make an interesting twist for a sequel. I may now be forced to live on human blood for all eternity and I won't be able to go out during the day, but that actually seems fine. Vampires neither ski nor hike, right? Perfect. In my old apartment vampires probably would have woken me up, but in the new place I wear earplugs, so I think it's entirely possible.

Yes. A rather dashing vampire finds me irresistible. Otherwise, poison bugs are crawling over me while I sleep. And clearly that can't be happening.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Recumbent women

This morning I had the occasion to ponder which song I loathe more, "Lay Lady Lay" or "Lay Down Sally."

The poor grammar is just the beginning.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Snap shot

I know. I'm not really on top of this writing thing. Let's not talk about it.

On Saturday I put on a hat and drank a mint julep from a silver cup (provided by my father, incidentally, who has won many such cups in a race. I'll bet the other winners of these cups don't drink juleps from them, which seems a pity) at my cousin's Derby party. She has a view of Mt. Tam and a pocket-sized bit of bay with sailboats. You'd like it. In fact, if you want to prove that you like it, you can vote for her in Apartment Therapy's Small, Cool Contest. She's in the teeny-tiny division. Let's make her the big winner, shall we? [At this very moment she is well ahead in the polls, which is exciting.]

Upon leaving her civilized gathering, I went to the car wash. It's a thing where you drive through, but there are also guys in there with rags and sponges and the like. They have this little platform that the guys can climb up on to reach the roof of your car. This means that, if the guy is short (and they all seem to be), when he is on the platform his crotch is framed in my window. That's how I happen to know that the guy washing my roof found it to be more stimulating work than I might have imagined.

I then drove home across the Golden Gate Bridge where, upon passing the north tower, I saw a bicyclist down flat on the ground surrounded by worried compatriots to my right and a would-be jumper clinging to the rail and in conversation with police to my left.

I don't really have a point except: huh. Bourbon in a garden, hard-on in a car wash, physical peril on a bridge. There's a lot going on out there.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The plane! The plane!

I have received an email asking me to order "three chicken sandwiches with everything and one roast beef, plane." Because I am a snob and because being constantly in charge of lunch orders already fills me with fury, being asked to order a "plane" sandwich brings all that simmering indignation to a boil . I'm willing to cut some typo slack on "your" and "you're" or "their" and "they're", but I am seriously drawing the line on "plane" and "plain." You have been warned.

Speaking of planes...I was in LA last week for work. I don't know why anyone would ever, every carry a laptop by choice and one wheel of my suitcase fell off somewhere between the Burbank airport and SFO, but generally it was okay. Flying out of Burbank, which seems like a Fisher-Price airport, was particularly pleasant. I was the only person going through security, so I took my time putting my things into three separate bins (again: laptop=a pain in my arse/right shoulder). During this leisurely belt and shoe removal period, the security man surveyed my driver's license. He asked me if I go by my first name or my middle name. Then he asked me if my mother called me by my whole name when I was in trouble. Then he said:

"How long have you lived up north?"
"All my life."
"Really? Do you ever go downtown?"
"Do you ever walk around while you're reading a book?"
"Yeah!" he said excitedly. "I was up there once and downtown I these people just walking while they were reading books. [pause as he sees this magnificent sight in his mind's eye.] I just think people are more intelligent up there than down here."

So, kudos, San Francisco. Nice work on the literary pursuits. Just please remember to look both ways when you get to the corner.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Dear Office Workers,

If you mean email, then just say "email."
There's really no need to use "ping" as a verb.
Thank you for your attention.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Frabjous day

Is there anything more beautiful to read than this?

"We have reviewed your claim and found it to be valid. Therefore, the citation has been dismissed."

I just did a little victory dance around the living room.

Goodbye, $80 parking ticket; hello, justice.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


The school where I work is next to a daycare center. This morning as I passed, the children were outside playing in their yard. Two very little girls and a handsome twenty-something man were gathered at the bottom of the slide examining something halfway up.

The man turned hopefully toward one of his colleagues, a middle aged woman, and said, "We're afraid of bugs. Can you get this off the slide?"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What? Again?

I know. It's crazy. Two days in a row. Yesterday, I spent ten minutes trying to remember my login information and today....I didn't. So, see? Progress, positive reinforcement, etc.


Living alone is delightful in many ways, but it has drawbacks. Most notably, being unable to lift heavy stuff with my own two spindly arms and having no one around to help. I have asked many a stranger on the street to get furniture out of my car for me. I'm not proud. But I am, apparently, impatient. During the aforementioned period of furniture shuffling/purchasing, etc. I did carry a surprisingly heavy armchair up a flight of stairs, ditto a chest of drawers. (A thing for which I think I ought to have sold tickets. Kinda weak, stubborn girl+wide dresser+narrow outdoor staircase+rainfall=hilarious. For others. I did not find it hilarious, but it's over now.) Various other things, particularly those made of particle board, I could not lift, but at one point I did get a (different) chest of drawers out of a room by very laboriously dragging it on a towel.

By now, I have the great majority of my furniture in place, so most of that sort of thing should be done, but the prettifying still continues apace. To wit: bedskirt. In my very girly bedroom, I did need to solicit aid to hang the chandelier (that's right. There's a chandelier. In my bedroom.), but I figured "bedskirt" should fall well within my skill set. I mean, it's not like I was setting out to sew one. True, I did spend quite a lot of time ironing it, but on the whole, Operation Bedskirt is pretty low-tech. You know what, though? I cannot lift a queen-sized mattress by myself. Did I spend a half-hour lifting it a millimeter at a time and trying to drag a piece of fabric underneath it? I did. Was I absolutely certain I did not need help? Even when it was clear that the box spring was coated with some kind of nonslip surface to keep the mattress in place, such that fabric dragging was virtually impossible? I was. Did I sweat and swear and hurt my back? Yep. I then realized that the method I was using was really efficient at one thing: wrinkling fabric. A lot. Rendering forty minutes of ironing irrelevant. Damn it. I admitted defeat, removed it, ironed it again, folded it neatly and plan, begrudgingly, to ask the neighbors for aid tonight.

Following this household mishap, I went to a release party for the Nice Guy Trio's podcast. It was held in some kind of artists' collective space which means a big empty room with some instruments, a sound board, two kind of questionable couches and about 20 bicycles hanging on the wall. There were a lot of twenty-something guys with intentionally disheveled hair and/or beards. Had there been a contest, the winner would have been this one guy with copious white-guy dreads and a long pointy beard who was wearing shiny, possibly spandex polka-dot pants with a ruffle at the bottom, a jaunty ladies' hat from the 40's, and a little blazer. He was friends with the long-haired dude wearing the enormous furry hat with animal ears on top (a sartorial description that is sadly very generic in San Francisco). I also met an unassuming young man who was visiting from France where he 1) recently sailed from Bordeaux to Turkey, 2) plays saxophone in some kind of genre-defying band and 3) is about to go on tour in Eastern Europe with what is apparently a very famous metal band (think: opening act for Metallica) for whom he is a sound engineer and producer.

And I thought: you know what these people are probably not too worried about? Bedskirts.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I was never really gone

You'd think I'd have some sort of amazing story to share about how I've been trekking through the wilderness or was kidnapped or in an enchanted slumber or something. But no. Just not feeling very writerly. If it makes you feel any better, I always feel really lousy about myself when I write nothing for months (or years) on end. Actually, why would that make you feel better? You're not mean spirited.

But here we are on the brink of April and springtime and Easter. Rebirth galore. And I had a weekend full of great art:

1. ODC Dancing Downtown, which I think has now closed, but you can take a look at some video of my two favorite pieces "Grassland" and "Waving Not Drowning" here.

2. The Nice Guy Trio playing a fantastic concert of music by local composers (many of whom I know, which made me feel QUITE special, I don't mind telling you). You can see them playing a short set of their own music on this great podcast released every full moon. Tonight's the full moon and I don't know whether the new video is released werewolf-style once the moon is shining, or if it will be up sometime today.

3. Dan Hoyle's The Real Americans. I think Dan Hoyle might actually be magic. If not, I can't really account for how he inhabits so many other people onstage so entirely that you don't see him up there at all half the time. I don't really think it's because he puts on a different baseball cap. Lucky you, his show has been extended to May 30. If you want to see it, you should buy your tickets immediately, because part of his magic is that his shows sell out in the veritable blink of an eye.

If all those people can do all that beautiful work, I can probably update my blog. I can try. I mean, my friend Katy is committed to writing a new song every week for a year and that has got to be much, much harder than this, no?

So what have I been doing all this time? Well, lots of things, of course. But the short answer is: I moved and I met a fella.

I moved in January after thirteen years in one place. I only moved over the hill from one San Francisco neighborhood to another, but it still counts as a big deal. The new apartment is very lovely indeed and also very noisy. If you have an unusually loud vehicle of any kind--anything from skateboards or grocery carts full of bottles to semi trucks and Harleys--I invite you to join the endless parade outside my window. I wouldn't want you to miss out on the fun.

I think that all the noise may be to keep me from being insufferably smug, so enamored am I of the apartment itself. Is it possible that all my creative energy has gone into choosing furniture? I think it is.

As for the fella, I also spent quite a bit of energy (pointlessly, as it turns out) trying to win him over. He is determined not to be won, but, even still, it is refreshing to meet someone who awakens interest. I began to think such a thing was never to happen again.

At Saturday's concert, Nice Guy trumpeter Darren Johnston said at the end of a song, "I love those bittersweet songs. I do. 'Cause that's life. They're like 'Alleluia anyways.'"

And isn't that the glass-half-full view of "real life despite my best intentions?" Nothing really goes quite according to plan, but here I am in the middle of the messy celebration that is my life. Beautiful, noisy apartment. Delightful, standoffish man. I'll take it. Alleluia anyways.

Amen. Amen.