Thursday, December 20, 2012

seasonal

More than 2 weeks since my last post.  My, how the time evaporates.  You read that right, not "flies," because time doesn't even move any more.  It's gone before you even get to it. 

Sur La Table was jammed with shoppers ravenous for a bargain.  At the sale rack, a woman asked me how much more of a discount they'd be offering.  "I...don't..." and I drifted away.  Maybe I looked like a well informed shopper.  Since I didn't need a pair of socks that also polishes the floor, and because I am all set on pepper mills, I left. 

So.  At the pier, a man was using the self-timer on his camera to get shots of himself in front of the bay bridge.  The long ties of his Peruvian hat attempted to whip his face as he posed, arms folded tightly across his middle.  He'd run back to check the result, reposition the camera and set the timer again.  I thought for an instant of offering to take a photo for him, but he seemed to be enjoying himself.

I'm seconds away from deleting this bore of a post, so I'll stop now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stacks


Library.  I'll bet if you asked the average earbud-wearing youth if they've every been to a library, they'd be all, "Wait, what?  Yeah, no." because that's how people talk now.  "Yeah. No."?  Which is it? 

Say that word to me, slap on a blood pressure cuff, and you will see my numbers drop to double digits. First word that comes to mind?  Quiet.  As in "peace and --."  No overheard one-sided phone conversations: "No. Yeah.  I'll be over later.  I'm in the lie-berry right now.  Huh?  I dunno.  Some place with half-asleep glasses-wearing people in it."

Next word:  Musty.  Now, generally I'm not pro-musty.  Musty is no good for closets, but that's what libraries have going for them.  That smell, my friends, is knowledge.  That smell is leaving the present for another world created solely in your mind by another person's words.  That smell is literature.

There's the quiet again but there's also a special mothership kind of humming, a creaking of bindings unhinging, maybe for the first time in decades.  The protective plastic cover rustling, edges a little scratchy in your palm.  Your breath whistling through your nose and the shuffle of your soles on the flat dull carpet.

And the sights.  There's something for your sense of sight, too.  Tall, thin volumes; short, compact, purse-sized books, embossed gold narrow Times Roman titles, cover art that lets you know the contents are good, like a really cool wine bottle label. 

I think I'll let your sense of taste just…be.  It really doesn't come into play at a library.  What you do there is your business.  Just don't let the library staff catch you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Top 5s

Making lists are fun. Tossing your completed to-do list into the trash with a self-satisfied sniff, even better. Actually doing the tasks on a to-do list, meh.

But there are other reasons to make lists.  For the fun of making them! Like so:

Physical sensations I can't stand

1.  Water running down my wrists and forearms when I'm doing the dishes or cutting up fruit.
2.  The millisecond interval of time between touching hot water and the pain.
3. A piece of apple stuck in between two molars.
4. Getting licked more than once by a dog or cat.  One lick: awww, Two licks: get off me!
5. Post-shower inner ear dampness.

Physical sensations I like

1.  Milk foam bubbles popping on my lips when I drink a latté.
2.  Feeling a cat's purr while its sitting on my lap.
3.  When my back cracks during a firm hug.
4.  Being covered up with a blanket by another person.
5.  Hunger pangs just as I'm served a plate of food.

Monday, October 22, 2012

in pictures

This is all that is happening now: baseball and debates, debates and baseball. 

Is it any wonder I follow links promising to reveal who is not over which breakup, or whose ass has gotten bigger in the past three months?  To my credit, I also watched a short video about Ardipithecus, but I think the few lines I read about that British singer's new baby might have displaced it. What am I supposed to be worrying about, huh, TV and internet?

I let you curate my news for me on your little carousel with crappy links that don't work and auto-loading videos that could turn a monk twitchy. 

I think I'll go click "maps" and familiarize myself with the Western states.  But first I'll have to make room in my brain by shoving aside one weird tip for white teeth that will annoy dentists and a video of a cat stuck in a fish bowl.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ten Things

Because I am desperate for a break from work and can't generate an original idea right now to save myself, I'm going to steal be inspired by a post from our friends over at plastic love monkey

I'll call mine, "Ten Things I Have Learned in (never you mind) Years of Living" in no particular order:

1.  Some things don't taste as good as they smell.

2.  Failing to double-check to whom an email is being sent can be very embarrassing, especially when that email contains a cartoon containing profanity.

3.  Watching old re-runs on TV really is good for you.

4.  Safely running a left red arrow signal is liberating (as long as a cop doesn't see you).

5.  Three-hour naps are much better than 15-minute naps.

6. Ugly shoes are often the most comfortable.

7.  When it comes to drinking alcoholic beverages, it is not possible to keep pace with an Irish person.

8.  When a cat's ears shoot back and its tail whips side to side, stop petting it immediately.

9.  Most of the things I worry about are just not that important.

10.  The math teacher was wrong.  I never used any of that stuff.  Thanks a lot!


Photo: California Street, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

This is not a date



From the short-short story archives.  Enjoy.  Or, actually, sorry.

---------

He avoided using the word “date” at all costs. Meet up, get-together, or the worst, "hang out." I believe that's the current preferred phrase. What's silly and kind of sweet in an aw-shucks way is that he actually thinks calling dates "hanging out" precludes him from any mature adult behavior such as doing what you say you're going to do. A novel concept to many if you can believe it. He nixes the word date but keeps the other funky favorites like "I'll call you" and "let's do this again." How about "Thank you. It was a nice evening. Take care."? No promises there, right? He can go back to his studio apartment and play War of Worldcraft until this wrists burn with tendonitis. The woman can go home and realize, while he was nice and spoke extensively about current events, he is not going to call for a second date. "But…but why?" No. Stop right there. "But…" No. It does not really matter. Don't give it another thought. He won't.

If he does get to a second date – excuse me – second hanging-outing, hang-outing? No, that can't be right. Anyway. A second time seeing a woman, he then shuns any more activities that give an appearance of a date. He goes straight to "come to my place for pizza and maybe we'll rent a movie." The evening that starts with this woman coming face to face with this guy, obviously not long out of bed from a nap, the pizza not even ordered and something always, always has to be moved off the couch so she can sit down. He'll offer her a beer, which she doesn't like and told him on their first hang-out (hanging-outness? No, um…), but he offers reflexively because he's used to entertaining his male friends. She'll settle for soda that might be around from the last time his mom visited. She cringes.

She will do her best to look past all this and just concentrate on the fact that he said he would call, and he did, and he invited her to his home, which she notices the carpet was not vacuumed but she is still impressed with the phone call.

What's sad is that she knows sure as she's sitting on a lumpy futon, sure as I know it, and you reading know it that this evening is all about getting laid to him and all he's out is the cost of a half a pizza (because idiot that she is will offer to pay half). He'll get turned down and abuse himself later in the shower after she leaves but at least he finally got rid of that can of diet coke that had been in the door of  the fridge.

Friday, August 17, 2012

20

A nice round number.  A lot of hope is hanging on it.  One short story.  Twenty submissions.  There have been rejections, but counting those up and posting them here flies in the face of my little self pep talk.

Come on [insert name here] lit journal, liberate my story!  I gotta move on.

Monday, August 13, 2012

let's talk about it

Ennui. I used to really dig that word. Used it all the time. I even had Webster's definition nerdily memorized: a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction: boredom

Some things never change. Could be the ennui tide rolls in and out in the chemical tide of my brain. Hold on. Bad metaphor. High tide is supposed to be good, right? But then that would give me higher levels of ennui, which is bad. Isn't it? Oh shit. Back to the drawing board.

Via Flickr:
good for what ails ya, if what ails ya is ennui.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

go ahead, have another donut

No, I haven't turned into some doll-torso photographing weirdo.  I was in Walgreens and noticed they have Barbie dolls.  "Huh.  They really did go through with normalizing Barbie's bust to waist to hip ratio."  You lose sight of such things when you pack up your dollies and don't have kids of your own.  You don't see them up close very often. 

I looked for an image of the 70s Barbie, from the time I played with Barbies, for a side by side comparison. Boy, am I sorry.  Google imaging "barbie torso 70s" is a NSFW kinda thing.  Apparently, in answer to the girls who fretted over their own less than hourglass figures, the manufacturer changed her body type. 

I have no problem with that.  I mean, who cares, right?  As a child, it never once occurred to me to look at a doll and think, "wow, I hope my bazooms are that freakishly large when I grow up!  Surely, this is an ideal I should live up to."  Nope.  Not once.  I thought about how creepy it was when you accidentally hyperextended her knees, or how frickin' losable her pink kitten-heeled mules were.  You'd get them with a new outfit and they'd last one day, two days, tops.  They fell off and mysteriously absorbed into the carpet. 

I eventually gave up my Barbie playin' days when I became a little too interested in Barbie and Ken's "alone time."  Even after Ken's head broke off and it was lost.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

step

I'm at odds with my own beliefs sometimes.  I hear myself announcing obvious statements such as "time flies goes by so fast!" or "How can this year be half over?!"  You know, general whining or better yet, whinging (great word, with its nice chewy g sound in the middle).

If my time-flies edict is true, then why am I so impatient sometimes? Hurry up and get here lunch hour or weekend or trip out of town!  I realize this impatience is the antithesis of zen, of just "being in the moment, man."  I would have made a terrible hippie.  Good thing I was born too late for that. Well, just a little.  Family photo albums reveal in my childhood wardrobe and long hair that I intersected with Era That Won't Go Away (I'll rant on "The 60s" some other time). 

Anyway, where was I?  I suppose I can figure it out for myself that I am the cause of the time-going-by-fast problem with all my finger-drumming and eye-rolling impatience.  I suppose I should ask a relaxed, patient person if she also feels time slips by too quickly?  Two subjects, not a very robust study, I admit, but it's a good first step.

Monday, July 2, 2012

the current

Halfway through the year, eh? I would lament "Where did the time go?"  "How can it be July already?" but really it's no surprise.  The days flash by comically fast and I just try to swim with the current, and stop to enjoy the scenery when it's feasible.

What a 12 months it been.  Big life changes are the ultimate shake-down. Your own personal internal hurricane, ripping up roots, toppling those nice neat piles of bricks you had stacked up. A year in, and we've still got the power on.  We're stocked up for the next one, too.

Friday, June 8, 2012

repeat

I'm starting to feel as though I have written some of these posts before.  They are sounding familiar, at least to me, in my head, as I type them.  Well, I couldn't feel them in my elbows, but wait...maybe I can?  Anyway, I'm pretty sure today's is new.

Today's photo is from the bottom of a telephone pole in my neighborhood.  There are others, all at ground level, sometimes accompanied by a smaller block of painted wood with a mushroom or other troll-esque accoutrements. (Like what?  Well, I dunno.  Shovels, picks, whatever trolls use in their folklore doings on a daily basis.)

The artist is unknown and there's never a sign or initial or anything to indicate who is adding these little squares of wonder to our otherwise urban landscape.  I like them.  A neighbor described them as "slightly evil" but I tend to disagree.  I mean, someone is going to the trouble to sort of, well, vandalize the neighborhood in a unique and artsty way.  I can appreciate that kind of civil disobedience. 

Thank you, mysterious stranger. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

'tis the seasonal affective disorder

For the first time in a week or more, the sun was out when I left for work.  No fog clogging the sky with a pillow fort of clouds, just clear sky, with a sun in it.  Neat!

My level of friendliness toward my fellow humans and my desire to talk with them have risen a few hundred percent today compared with yesterday.  Good ol' S.A.D.  I even had it as a child.  My first full sentence was to inquire about where the sun was on a cloudy day.  I won't write it here so as not to make you all hork up your favorite snack food.  Yeah, it's that cute.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

remo

I spruced things up around here. Now I just need to get to that writing part.   Yeah.  The entire point of this here bloggy blog.

Meanwhile, enjoy this little windup toy that I have at my desk at work for some reason.

Friday, May 4, 2012

stomping grounds

In a very "up in my head" moment, I actually considered whether it would be too "weird" or "depressing" to have lunch at a sandwich shop in the area around my old office. Sure, I scolded myself silently for being so neurotic -- it's a damn sandwich!  There's only one person in line and they have good sandwiches. 

As you might imagine, it was a complete non-event.  I ate my food without having a psychic break because I occasionally eat there.

But there is something to stomping grounds -- your old haunts, your past pathways, your spent trajectories.  There was a feeling assigned to that space -- good or bad, stressful or relaxed. They exist, only in our minds.

Now, if you didn't do anything but eat above-average veggie sandwiches in those spaces, you probably won't notice.  But what if you were really excited and hopeful because you'd just gotten a fancy new job the first time you walked into Pop's Hotdog Barn or Finnegan's Alleyway, featuring Finnegan's secret-sauce BBQ ribs? How happy would you be to go back to those places?

Where am I going with this?  I dunno.  I think I made my (obvious) point.  I could have written about the crazy guy on the sidewalk today shouting "Thank you!  Good night!" to passing cars.  Kind of a short post, but that guy did add a bit of whimsy to my current stomping ground.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

waiting

All day buzz-saws echoing off hills. Low-flying prop planes.
A day for warm window screens and loose cobwebs.
Things you didn't mean to say. Dreamy cat's eyes.
Cramped farmers market, strollers as big as cars, drivers just as blind.  Sweetest strawberries in the market, he said.  Did you mean what you said?  It was late. Very late.
Three petitions to sign, flower-specked greens to buy. Waiting to do. Walking in the sun, baby feet flexing in the spring light. Pelican stretching its wings in the murky, shallow end.  I'm with you there, bird. Wading (waiting) in the murky shallows.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

self-delusion

I've been living a lie. Not a big one, and maybe lie isn't the right word.  Delusion.  Yes, delusion.  A self-delusion at that.

Ever since the constant threat of nuclear annihilation and northern migrating killer bees of the 80s, I haven't been much for the consumption of news.  "Would we all get nuked into dust before I got a boyfriend?"  "Will I know a killer bee when I see one?" Just insert any neurotic, obsessive thought a teenager might have about current events, and you've got it.  As years passed, I'd make sure that I knew what was going on in the world.  I'd tune in to your odd local news show or 60 Minutes on occasion.  But basically, I didn't watch the news, couldn't watch the news, because I'd lose sleep over every story.

Cut to the Information Age and me, carefully selecting news from the internet.  I curate me-approved news with a click. A terrible story about genocide? Get the salient facts and then soothe myself with a story about a puppy who's been adopted by a mallard.  Ah...that's the stuff. I'll sleep like a baby tonight.

But these days, I'm getting a little lazy.  You could even say, haphazard with my news gathering.  Today, I clicked on the following links, in reverse order, without really considering their possible content:
  • Mad cow disease found in California dairy cow
  • 40 white rabbits dumped at Huntington Beach park
  • Big Guy, a blind sea lion, finds a home at last
  • Woman bites driver who stole parking spot, police say
I'm not sure what to feel after all that. What do I lie awake tonight worrying about? You see, thinking I had control was the delusion. I will compulsively click on any story with a remotely interesting headline.  Blind seal lion?  Come on!  Poor kid. And he's overweight? Abandoned rabbits, sick cows, not to mention, milk with cereal in the morning has a question mark around it now. 

What a dilemma.  They still publish the funnies, right? 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Me? Worry?

What the hell do you do when you find yourself worrying about more than one person, and you only have a one-person capacity worry hopper?  Er, that is, you don't quite have the capacity, strength or brain power to worry about both at the same time? You can think "hey, he/she is an adult and knows what he/she is doing.  I got my own problems."  Oh sure, those statements might be, in fact, true but they don't help much getting through a slow, quiet afternoon at work. I'm trying to make the most of my worrying time.  I want to be a productive member of the American Society of Neurotics.  (Hey, there could be one of those.  You don't know.)

The ideas I've come up with so far are:
  • Send the individuals in question "good vibes"
  • Have a face-to-face confrontation with him/her in which I threaten to run around his/her places of business naked until they meet with my demands
  • Cry, wring hankies, eat nothing but candy.
  • Talk exclusively to the cats and pretend the larger "bald" cats I interact with are not speaking a language I understand.
Well, it's comforting to know that, at least during this indirect time of crisis, I can still generate bullshit lists.

Monday, April 9, 2012

autocorrect this

I get why autocorrect mistakes are funny now. I could no longer ignore the chorus of "one of us! one of us!" so I bought myself an iPhone.

I mean, here are some favorites:

"sock" was autocorrected to "dick"
"watching the baby" autocorrected to "eating the baby"
"screwed" autocorrected to "s'mored"

That last one is interesting.  I didn't realize we'd started using s'more as a verb. 

Well, back to proofreading my texts...


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

i am not a robot

You know what this is. This is catcha, kids! The future is here. It's up to you to prove that you are not a robot.

Have you ever chosen the audio option? If you don't feel like deciphering the squiggly text, you can listen to the letters of those made-up words spoken to you.  But beware, the recording sounds like something left on the cutting room floor during the editing of the film The Exocist or perhaps The Amityville Horror.  Scared the bejesus out of me anyway.  Give it a try next time. Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

what price dry socks

If you look closely, you can see rainbow swirls of toxic waste in that puddle. Could be from the cars on the street, could be my boots. My first pair of rain boots have been a cloying, toxic disappointment. Wearing them all day this past rainy Saturday gave me a headache.  Miserable, off-gassing $20 on-sale footwear!

Leaving them outside for 36 hours did nothing to reduce their poisonous aroma. They are now on top of our garbage cans, free to a good home. Or at least a home occupied by someone who doesn't mind petroleum products.

(I should also apologize to my friend who endured the fumes with me. Name the tumor after me.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

all but blank

I haven't written anything in I don't know how long. When I think about doing it, I feel all tapped out.  I'm still reading, still sorting through and looking at words, every day.  What's with the no-fly zone in my brain?

I can't even blame this on vacation.  It was like this before I left.  Trouble is, writing group is tonight and I will be damned if I know how I'm gonna produce anything.

This rambling, this here rambling that I'm doing right now is no good to anybody.  Maybe if I just keep rambling, roaming, meandering eventually I'll find the bottom of this blankness.  Unearth a big ol' chunk of fetid, rotten story that's been waiting to be found for months, maybe years.  I sure hope so.

In the meantime, I'll think of crazy new ways to describe my all-out lack of words.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

red nova


These two people are unlikely to succeed at much.  As a couple, they don't match, so a successful partnership is out.  They each have trouble holding down a job, so in that way they are alike, but it's not like being good at math.  It's like being good at shoplifting.  Amber alternated between cocktail waitress and pole dancer, but lately she has been excelling in the field of sleeping in until two in the afternoon and fighting with her downstairs neighbor, who insists she doesn't walk across the floor, she stomps.  

Today, her costume is a dressing gown with a belt from a terry cloth robe she no longer owns, and, if the laundry has been done by Chet, she wears underpants.  Her lack of underpants is another complaint her downstairs neighbor has made. 

"Getting an eyeful of that mangled Brillo is not something I wanna see!" her neighbor, Reuben yelled up at her retreating bare legs through the steps of the cement and wrought iron steps.  "Jesus, lady.  I like women, but that --" He was cut off by Amber's slamming door, which was just as well.

In the apartment, Amber kicked aside a stained throw pillow and a nearly empty bag of corn chips.  She looked at the pile of salt and greasy chip crumbs she'd unleashed onto classic apartment beige carpet with a mix of apathy and pride.  It had nothing to do with her.  She dialed Chet's cell phone.  

"Where you at?" She demanded after he answered.  

"Well, hello to you too, baby.  I'm swell, thanks."  

"Come on, where."  

"I'm still here."  

Here was the local Quik Stop Chet had lied his way into for job.  He got less than 30 hours a week, but it cut the daily run to the very same convenience store he used to make on Amber's behalf anyway.  Tampons, donuts, lottery tickets and beer, naturally.  She needed only to call in her order when it was close to quitting time for Chet.  He always brought what she asked. During his shift he drank either Cokes or Icees, always mixing, a.k.a. "suicides."  Bursting blueberry + wild cherry + pinnacle pineapple. The sugar high he derived from the Icee lasted him through his 5-hour shifts and he passed the time between customers reading magazines, counting soda cans, and sweeping up.  

Tonight he was a half hour into the next shift because the new guy was, so far, a no-show.  

"I don't know how late I'll be and no I don't got the guy's number to tell him to get his ass down here. This ain't the Gentlemen's Lounge, you know. There ain't' no goddamn phone list."

"What am I supposed to do for smokes then?  I ain't dressed!"  Amber snatched at the lapels of her dressing gown, annoyed to find herself exposed in her own living room.  

"SIt tight, will ya?  I'll do my best here.  Maybe I can close up for 15 minutes and bring you your stuff.  What do you want anyway?"  

This conversation went on for a few minutes more, ending with Chet slamming down the phone, muttering "bitch" as he opened a plastic sack to fill with Slim Jim's and menthol cigarettes.

What either of them saw in the other is anybody's guess.  They were no good to or for each other, but it was unlikely they could ever get another person to tolerate them.  Whether they will last throughout time or circle each other until they explode to form a red nova, leaving only one fragment of each of them, no one knows.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Walk On By

Open Letter to Pigeons of San Francisco:

Just when I thought I could get used to the sight of your mangled toes and peg legs, I've started noticing more and more of you limping.  A bobbing, greyish bird surveying the sidewalks for questionably culinary treasures is a typical urban visage, but a bird with an off-kilter gait?  I cannot bear it.  A limping animal taxes my empathy beyond its limits.  Because scooping you up and taking you to physical therapy is not an option, I shall cast my gaze elsewhere. 

I wish you good fortune in your travels, little bird.

Sincerely,

A Friend

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

skate

This photo that I took today might need a little 'splainin'.  It's what's left of the ice skating rink at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco.  I had seen it one day, about a month ago, with blasting Top Ten country music, the rink full of skaters -- giggling teenage girls, confident soloists, brave children, and that guy.  You know him, he's that guy at every ice rink and roller rink:  weird outfit, thin, about 37 years old, pony tail, and a fancy skating technique.  The guy that day was decked out in camouflage and inexplicable San Francisco 49er accessories. Oh, his arm flourishes were impressive, don't get me wrong, but I get the impression That Guy, though creepy as all get-out, is a little sad inside and is just trying to skate the pain away.

Back to today, I realized I never thought about what an ice skating rink must look like when it's being dismantled/melted.  There's a lovely metaphor in their somewhere, but the Hawaiian Airlines branding is making it hard to see.