Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blog gratia blogis

As is only too obvious, the Blog Bully is really not on top of his game. As such, I am a slacker. So this is me trying to do the right thing even when no one's looking (or whatever that Rule to Live By is). I'm going to warn you, however, that trying to be a good little blogger for its own sake means that there may well be no actual content. This will not stand in my way. Indeed, I can very easily continue to write sentences about nothing whatsoever for longish paragraphs at a time. I've been writing to online strangers for YEARS, so I've got the chops. But let's see if I can't rummage around in the untidy drawers of my brain and come up with something. Something more, that is.

1. Once a year, I hold a weekend meeting with s group of student playwrights to do a table reading of their plays. Whenever this event rolls around, I buy too many snacks. Far too many snacks. (The faculty room is now lousy with surplus hummus and cocoa-almond spread.) Deep down I must fear that teenagers in a room without snacks will go feral and turn on me. They probably wouldn't. Probably.

2. My previously mentioned imaginary friend Gideon Defoe attended the Oscars since The Pirates! was nominated. I actually enjoy the Oscars, unlike many people, but I enjoyed nothing so much as I enjoy this picture of Gideon looking at Charlize Theron with extreme anxiety.

3. For reasons that elude me, whenever I am in my office, I am cold enough to have blue fingers while I am also sweating in a "never buy anything that requires dry cleaning again" manner. Blue fingers and damp armpits. Equally unpleasant and seemingly impossible to achieve simultaneously. And yet. Every day. Only in my office, however. Vive the weekend.

What? I told you I had nothing to say. Can you be surprised it's come to armpits? I think not. The good news is that I know when it's time to wrap it up.

Friday, February 22, 2013


This morning while I was brushing my teeth, this image came to mind. I am sitting at a bar table across from some man. Between us, outlined in a slightly silvery light that in a certain kind of movie translates as "invisible", is a smallish heap of very tiny winged creatures, all of whom are curled up adorably, piled upon one another and deeply asleep--these are our collective pheromones.

And there, in brief, you have both a summary of last night and the inherent problem with online dating.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I am about to embark on a novel called The Death of Bees. That is, I'm going to read it, not write it. Don't get excited. Among other things, it seems someone is already using the title, so writing it would be a waste of time.

Here's my concern. I have already read: The Secret Life of Bees, Bee Season and Little Bee, three novels with radically different plots that I nevertheless freely confuse. Is there really room in my buzzing brain for more bee books?

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brought to you by reading brain

Every time I mention the plot of something I've seen to my mother, she archly remarks that I could be writing a great deal if I were didn't watch so many movies. This infuriates me, largely because it is infuriating. I also think it's false. However, tonight, as I was sitting [I was going to say "quietly" which I suppose is true in that I was very quiet, but it also suggests an atmosphere of quiet, which is decidedly not the case. The Upstairs Baby is crashing around up there in an unprecedented manner, which is not to say that I have not been expecting and dreading it. My most indulgent fantasy is not the one in which I find lasting love; it is the one in which no one lives above me. However, let us not let the Upstairs Baby thwart us in the middle of a perfectly good epiphany.]

Ahem. I was sitting here quietly, reading a book, when I felt an actual impulse to get up and write something. So, perhaps giving my brain a chance not to be stuffed with sitcoms and similar is to give it the opportunity to...wait. There's a term for it. Think. That's it. This is not to say that every time I read a book I feel like leaping up and writing one. On the contrary. Usually, I feel like doing nothing more extraordinary than continuing to read the book. However, I do notice a difference in reading brain versus watching brain. There is an expansiveness in the former that can bode nothing but good. Books. I recommend them.

Last week, the Festival of Wellness was in full swing and I was out and about every night save one. As a result, I have been rather exhausted and have gone to bed at 9:30pm the last two nights, but, just for fun, let's pretend I'm heartier than that. On the whole, I had a lovely time, though there were a couple of downsides. For one, my mother and I had to face the hard fact that we really don't care for authentic Indian food. We are regretful, but find that it is simply too spicy. Way too spicy. We have not yet reached the point where we have said this out loud to others, but there it is. If you have some Americanized chicken tikka masala, I'll happily join you. Otherwise, I'll just have a side of naan. Plain naan. (Which, now that I think about it, was also not available on the menu.) Another not so great thing, is that I had a convivial dinner with a man who fancied me, but actually, based on more recent evidence, I guess didn't? This has really only just occurred to me. Best change the subject.

The very best thing I did was attend Sunday Suppers. By merely buying a ticket, I was given access to a dinner party in a nearby garage. Indeed. A long table with a white cloth and flower arrangements, a delicious five-course meal, and 29 other people whom I had never met. In a garage. (Thank God. Dinners are usually outside, I believe, but it's winter. Even in California.) For me, that made for a unique Sunday. I was the only person to attend alone, but most other diners had the chance to meet 26-28 lovely new people, so it was an adventure for us all. I had the great good fortune to sit in immediate proximity to people I liked enormously. Plus, there was no avocado or mayonnaise involved with the meal. A triumph all around. Did I mention it was delicious? It was delicious. And the people were charming? They were charming.

I loved it.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go roll a small neighbor in bubble wrap.

Monday, February 11, 2013


As seems now to be traditional, there are little valentine hearts with messages posted all over the school. I happened upon one that said "I wish I could tell you that you're smart."

Is this a wistful would-be compliment from a shy admirer, or a snide put-down? We'll never know.

Monday, February 04, 2013

House cleaning

A couple months ago I had a plumber come out to take a look at my very sluggish bathtub drain. He left no word, but I did discover a Rastafarian wig's worth of my own hair in the wastepaper basket, so, um, I guess I know what the problem was there. I have learned a valuable lesson and put a makeshift hair-catching device over the drain.

More recently then, when I noticed that my bathroom sink gurgled piteously long after I'd turned off the faucet left the room, I assumed there was another nest of hair to blame, but sinks are less intimidating that bathtubs, so I thought I'd try to sort it out myself. I got a three-dollar plastic stick at the hardware store specifically designed for pulling disgusting things out of your drain. And it did, just not hair. More like sludge. And then the stick got stuck, leaving me with a slow drain now filled not only with sludge but also a long plastic stick.

I had been told by several people that the stopper in one's bathroom sink "just unscrews" if you want to take it out. This did not prove to be strictly true, alas. However, I was feeling handy, so I looked it up online and learned how to loosen a nut and disengage a pivot rod. (Yep. A pivot rod.) Having done so, I was able to remove the stopper, free the stick, and have full access to the sludge, a further description of which I shall spare you, except to say that a plastic stick was not what was required to address it.

Having de-sludged as much of the drain as I could reach, I felt, I'll admit it, probably prouder of myself than was entirely warranted by the situation, but hey, previously, I'd never even heard of a pivot rod. That's when I discovered that releasing a drain stopper is at least 60% easier than replacing a bathroom stopper. Oh, the swearing. Oh, the long-armed contorting. Oh, the ultimate total failure to reattach the accursed nut. To sum up, I started out with a gurgly drain and ended up with a sink that essentially had a large uncovered hole in the drainpipe. In other words, a mostly unusable sink. Nice.

Fortunately, I have many friends who are way more competent than I am. (I recommend this strategy.) Many of these friends not only have tools, but know how to use them. One of these friends came home with me on a lunchtime field trip and between the two of us my (sludge-free) drain is now fully functional. In my defense, I will say that it turns out to be way easier with two people than one. You have to be able to look down the drain to line up a couple of things, while also being under the sink tightening those same things. This, for most normal people is not physically possible. So, I feel like slightly less of a loser, a thing I enjoy.

Bolstered by this flash of handiness, I took it upon myself to finally wash the weird soot-based tags that have been accumulating on the front of the house. I don't totally get what this is. Graffiti tags that are achieved (thankfully) not with ink or paint, but with the charred end of something? It's not as easy to get off as it sounds, but I was out there with my scrub brush and soapy water feeling very virtuous indeed. I am a renter, people. A mere renter. In a building I share with others. I will be keeping an eye out for my commendation from the mayor.

Did someone pee more or less into my garage that very night, obliging me to get out the damn soapy water again the next day? Yes. Did I feel as civic-minded and efficient? No. I mostly felt disgusted and furious, not unlike every other time someone has peed on my house.

1. If you need to take your sink stopper out, have a friend standing by. (But do not make them look at the sludge.)
2. Don't pee on other people's houses.
3. Don't write stuff on other people's houses.
4. If you see someone washing pee and/or graffiti off their own house, tell them you sympathize and that they rule. (Optional, but nice.)

Friday, February 01, 2013

New year

Guess what it is? It's February. That's what. And you know what February is? It is the month I slated to herald my own personal new year. I spent January first sick and weeping and then I had surgery a week later. That seemed like such a notably terrible tone to set for a whole year that I decided: Forget you, January. You're not the boss of me.

February, I'm happy to see you.

I feel like I'm back from some long absence. It's so hugely relieving to feel well after being out of commission to varying degrees since September that every day feels a little bit exciting. I've been feeling celebratory. This is jolly, but, also, I've discovered, dangerous. It transpires that "celebratory" means I spend money that I don't necessarily have readily available;* I go out too many school nights in a row; and, interestingly, I keep wearing shoes that hurt my weird broken feet. What can I say? One wishes to dress up a little for the Festival of Wellness. Today, however, I am wearing the Sneakers of Recovery, to make up from the longer-than-it-seemed-in-theory walk to and from the car in the not-so-great-for-walking boots last night.

Last week, a couple days after Porchlight, I took myself on a date (it's vexingly difficult to get anyone else to do it, so I just took matters into my own hands) to Nopa where I had pleasant chats with strangers as well as a very good vegetable tagine. A few days later, I went to a play that made me cry, after which the Blog Bully bought me a fancy cocktail and some brussels sprouts. See? It's been like that.

I've been at the Castro three nights this week seeing dames and hard-boiled guys fall in love and/or kill people. It's been a good time. Tomorrow, I'm going with my [brand new] friend Melissa to the Noir Nightclub, which will briefly allow me to pretend I live in an era better suited to my aesthetic needs (though, obviously, an era in which my feet would have hurt all the time, which is worth bearing in mind).

Coming up, there's Mud and Blood, a cool show that I saw in October, but plan to see again next week. You could go tomorrow if you want. A story with a band and at least one handsome man in a hat? I like that. The lovely Katy Stephan will be singing her very own songs at the Rite Spot on the 5th. Octavio Solis, a brilliant playwright and one of the kindest men I've ever met, has a new play at The Magic. Also, apparently there's a football game on Sunday, a thing I care about not at all, so my friend and I are going to go see a movie which, as far as I can tell, is a zombie love story. I'm generally not so interested in zombies, but I do enjoy love stories. And not watching football. When you're not lying around with a hideous illness or dulled by painkillers, there's a lot to do, is what I'm saying.

Hi, February. Happy New Year.

*That fiscal cliff and its resultant tax changes have left me a hundred bucks a month poorer, which, A) if you are me, is considerable and B) extra considerable if you're still paying for your accursed oral surgery. Boo.