raybear: (Default)
I arrived to work early for a meeting, only to discover that its tomorrow. This is not the end of the world, its only half an hour, but its an extra 30 minutes with my officemate who I'm still trying to negotiate a method for engaging with her that is the perfect intersection on the cost-benefit graph of least effort and least stress. The upside is that I'm finally prodded into to writing an entry. I don't usually go this long between substantial entries, until I'm on vacation, and maybe I sort of have been on vacation lately. Its summer here, I'm out of the house and in motion -- going to the gym 4x a week, doing lots of bike rides and walks inbetween. When I'm not, I'm absorbed in a movie or a book or writing in a paper journal or having long conversations with imaginary people and other weirdo stuff that other writers may or may not do, but let's talk about pop culture instead! I've seen a lot of movies in the past few weeks, including, but possibly not limited to:

Sex and the City, Nosferatu, Wild Strawberries, Everything is Illuminated, Zoo, Smiley Face, Death Becomes Her, Fido, Touching the Void, The Fall, Baby Mama, The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Movie**, Go, The Bucket List, Midnight Cowboy, The Day After**

[**: both of these movies were about revisiting specific images from childhood that I've been thinking about. It was very surreal watching Looney Tunes cartoons again.]

And right now I'm nearing the end of Bright Shiny Morning and while I don't love it quite as much as this woman, but I certainly don't hate it as much as this guy (who, incidentally, taught at my MFA program, though I never worked with him, only attended lectures). The latter review is interesting to me though, because I wanted to know what an Angelino writer would think of the novel, and Ulin certainly told me what he thought.

I'm also near the end of The Age of Innocence (a book about forbidden, furtive love and desire that goes completely unmentioned aloud until 2/3 in? Yes, please!! I am still so caught off guard by my taking to Edith Wharton) and I'm also reading Eckert Tolle's A New Earth, because, well, I'm intrigued by spiritual/self-help books in general, and ones that end up being read by millions of the general populace especially interest me. That dude sure uses the word "ego" a lot. I mean, that's the whole point of the book, I know, but still, sometimes when I'm reading, it feels more like an overused catchphrase by a member of Landmark or Scientologists or someone in a marketing department.

Coxy gave me a couple issues of the magazine Stop Smiling, and I've been reading the jazz issue, which made me pull out all my Ornette Coleman and want to go shopping for Eric Dophy records (which I can't do until Friday because I spent all my money this week on a spending spree at Bike Nashbar.com). I downloaded the new Martha Wainwright album and also the Dennis Wilson album which just got re-released, after reading an article in the airline magazine, actually. Both of them I started listening to on the bike ride (halfway) into work. I just now learned that Dennis Wilson and Christine McVie used to be together. The circle is complete!

This also reminds me that on Sunday, DYA and I walked to Wicker Park to get tequila cheeseburgers at Salud for dinner, and at one point she asked what I would do "when the apocalypse comes" as far as what vices would you allow yourself to indulge in without care or concern for well-being, and I really think I'd become a 24/7 stoner beach dude in southern california, but instead of surfing, I would just walk/bike along the beach, nap and drink tequila. I suppose this is a possible career choice now, but I'm not sure I could allow myself such luxury for a long period of time, only if I knew it was short-term. So maybe this is more my strategy for if I was diagnosed with a terminal illness, since I am the person who has books on "Peak Oil Survival" so that I'll know how to grow and store food when we're all living off the grid because the capitalist structure has collapsed and all fossil fuels have run out. I also acknowledge that to a certain extent, this is alarmist thinking. To me, its also almost wishful thinking. At least until I run out of electricity to play records or charge my ipod.

Oh, and I planted a few tomatoes again, in pots along the side of the building. This year, I only put one plant per pot, unlike previous crowding attempts last summer. I also need to learn the best way to prune, and perhaps between these two modifications, I'll end up with more than one fruit per plant per season. A slight exaggeration of last year's crop, but not by much.
raybear: (scream)
My guilty pleasure magazine is Men's Health. Because really, I don't have guilt about reading Entertainment Weekly, that isht is informative and often quite funny, especially if you just skip all the features. But Men's Health is pretty sexist, ridiculous, and just straight up repetitive. Every piece is basically eat this food for this, but eat this food for that and take this vitamin for this and this vitamin for that and its sort of a information glut where you would be taking a million supplements and a dozen different exercise plans, but then again, I like knowing all that's out there, I just choose one that works for me in every category and stick with it. Which is why I don't have a subscription and just buy 3-4 issues a year, even though I supposed the cost of those 3-4 issues equals a yearlong subscription, so I'm kinda reconsidering. Anyway, in one issue recently, there was some bit about how a recent study showed people who visualized lifting weights (in addition to actually doing it) had some significant higher percentage of muscle gain. So now I catch myself, usually either at the computer waiting for something to load, or sitting on the toilet, not so much visualizing lifting weights, but just sort of doing fast bicep curls with imaginary weights. Does that count as visualizing? Maybe. It definitely counts as ridiculous-looking.

The majority of my dreams that take place in a city, take place in a specific Dream City that is familiar and recurring, but does not actually exist. Like, its not Chicago or any other place I've been, though there's certain familiar elements of other places. The best part is that, while huge, its not really to scale, so its easy to get from one place to another. Its like some mini-town at Disney, that seems actual size until you get closer, and it turns out the front door only comes to your knee. Except in my dream, when you get closer to buildings, the scale adjusts and it become normal size. Its kinda hard to explain, like most things in dreams, I guess, but what I think is more fascinating anyway is the recurring nature, that my brain has created a specific Dream City, like a set on a studio lot.

I started reading The Erotic Mind by Jack Morin, based mostly on a whim and a recommendation, and I was a little scared at first because on the cover is a blurb from John Gray, the Men are from Mars guy, but I must say, a few dozen pages into it, and it's kinda good. I suspect he might not go as in depth as I like, but we'll see.
raybear: (scream)
Yesterday morning I woke up thinking I might be a little sick. But it also might have been I didn't sleep well. So I went out and did my millions of errands, including going to work out. And I decided yesterday would be the first day I would use the steamroom at the Y. This seemed like an extra good idea given that I've been so dried out and dehydrated from this weather (yes, even with drinking 12 glasses of water a day). When I got to the Y, I realized this meant it would be the first day I would take a shower at the Y. Hmm. But it was mid-morning, and I had two towels, so I wasn't scared. And I did just fine really. I mean, when I think about it, I'm not surprised -- I was once a fat adolescent teenage girl who took gym and had to change clothes in a crowded locker room, so I'm pretty good at making quick-changes that avoid eye contact and cover up certain parts. And really, give the copious naked men I've seen at the Y, of various ages and sizes and shapes, I felt perfectly okay about 95% of my body. And that other 5% is easily covered with a towel around the waist. Plus, it was 11 am on a weekday morning, it wasn't terribly crowded.

I had the steamroom to myself and it was nice in some ways, for my muscles and my lungs, but afterwards, I feel like the fever jumpstarted my sickness. I managed to stop by the grocery store to get a few supplies in my haze, then made it home, called in sick to work and slept for 3 hours. I woke up and didn't feel better, but didn't feel worse, and I was hungry and craving comfort food, so I made a giant pot of chicken and dumplings. Sure, I'm sick, I probably shouldn't be so active, but I can't help it, my inner househusband caretaker comes out for everyone else, why not myself? Chicken and dumplings were an absolute favorite dish of mine growing up. My father mostly made them, but they weren't exclusive to him. One year I asked for them to be made for my birthday dinner, because I loved them so much. And the batch I made last night nailed that favorite childhood taste perfectly. They were ready when DYA got home, so we ate and watched The Wire. Much better than being at work. I drugged myself last night and slept a bunch and this morning, I'm less achey, though now I'm in the mucuous phase. I called off my dental appointment and I'm about to call of my date* for tonight, but I might go to work anyway, depending on how bored I am in a few hours. Or I might spend all day drinking licorice tea and neti-potting and eating leftover chicken and dumplings for every meal while reading We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Much like her other book, The Post-Birthday World, that I read last year, I'm completely transfixed but can't tell if its because I love it or hate it. Probably both. Well, maybe not 'hate', but 'bothered' is a more apt word. I think mostly I love it, yet I totally see why others would be completely bothered and annoyed by it, but it doesn't seem to faze me in the least. Maybe that's one of my favorite types of fiction: writers who do all these things that shouldn't work, but they completely do, and I want to figure out how and why.

*- Oh yeah, I unexpectedly went on a date last week and it was pretty great but I decided to not write about it here, mostly because I wanted to Wait And See until after date two. Which I guess I still am.
raybear: (scream)
I had to go back and seen when I last posted, I couldn't remember. This is going to be one of those "and then I did this, and then I did this" entries, because I don't have any specific topic or anecdote to relay, but if I keep not writing, then more time will pass and the gap will get longer and actually the "And Then I Did This..." are mildly interesting for me to re-read years later because I forget about things I've done.

On Friday night I left work and went over to [livejournal.com profile] vfc's house to 'pre-party' before the show at Schuba's to which I had won tickets. I drank a lot. A lot. I mean, maybe not that much more than a regular evening that I have decided to Do Some Drinkin', but I did all of it in the span of 2 hours, instead of 4-5. I will say, being drunk did make being up front and the loud rock way more enjoyable. Because I am generally a crotchety old man, not hardcore, never have claimed to be. But I can have my moments, I suppose. After the opening band, Teenage FBI (GBV tribute band from Nashville), we went out to the front bar and pretty much decided then we weren't that concerned about making it back inside for the Pixies tribute band. We were chatting it up with a couple people and around the time this picture was taken, I realized, whoa, I am druuunk. Looking at it, you can see why I felt that -- the telltale red face and even droopier eyelids than usual. I was slightly alarmed by it so I must go home RIGHT NOW. I left about 3 minutes later. I sat on the bus stop and watched the smokers outside, realizing for the first time that the smoking ban will change the landscape a little, to match NYC and California.

I staggered home, literally -- I was kind of cracking myself up at my own weaving walk, in between whispering gratitude that I made it this far without self-injury, while also marvelling at the body and mind's ability to care of itself while so offkilter. I woke up the next morning and went to the gym. First, I put a ham in the oven, then I went to the gym with [livejournal.com profile] unscrambled and [livejournal.com profile] keetbabe and then I came home and ate the ham, which I was so concerned of it drying out, but instead, with the frozen pineapple in the pan and the tightly covered foil, it sort of exploded a little with moisture. But tasted good. We ate it and watched lots of CSI. Then we went to Links Hall for Method to Madness. Then to a bar afterwards where I put a dollar in the jukebox, but only got one song, but that's ok, I spent most of the time talking to Jyldo and Brad. I drank only soda, as the thought of alcoholic beverages made my stomach turn. We came home and watched more CSI.

I slept in yesterday and wished we had biscuits to eat with the ham. I thought about going to the store, but then realized, wait, I have flour and butter and milk and baking powder, I'm going to just make drop biscuits. They were most delicious right out of the oven, but I'm having a couple now for breakfast and they aren't too bad either. Then I spent an hour playing all my scrabulous games that I had been neglecting for two days. Then I watched the Simpsons movie. And I thought about [livejournal.com profile] thirdreel's assessment of it, which is that if you love Simpsons (the TV show), you will love the movie. If you kinda like Simpsons, you will kinda like the movie. If you hate Simpsons, you will hate the movie. I used to love Simpsons (the show), but now I just really like it, I guess, even though I haven't watched much of the past couple seasons. I ended up really liking the movie.

Then I took the dog for a walk and got her muddy. Then I came home and bathed her, which she was overdue for anyway. Then we watched more CSI. Then I read a bunch. Then we watched the movie Waitress which was quite charming, though I thought just a tad overlong in certain sections, which I only mention because in my opinion it would have possibly been absolutely perfect at 89 minutes, instead of 112. But still, it was quite good and I got a little teary-eyed watching the memorial for Adrienne Shelly afterwards. Then I finished my book This Breathing World and maybe didn't really like it that much, though was compelled by it during it. It was weird and dark and sexual and horrifying in ways I often like my books, but I wasn't terribly satisfied with interconnection of the stories, it got too sci-fi in its quasi-explanation, even though I think it was instead trying to tap into some idea of universal consciousness/muse. I don't know. It felt good to be reading a novel again, mostly. I've been out of the habit, outside of short stories, essays, small things.

And now here I am, finishing my coffee, slightly wonky from fumes of the cleaner used in the bathroom, going to the dentist shortly to have my permanent crown put on, then the gym, maybe a million other errands too. Also, its 60 degrees today. And it was yesterday too. Its weirding me out.
raybear: (scream)
The highlight of my day so far was playing the word "tenderly" in my scrabulous game against [livejournal.com profile] mintwaster for a 50 point bonus.

Though burrowing under the covers and staring at the cloudy afternoon sky while listening to Bill Evans wasn't so bad either. Satisfyingly mournful and comforting simultaneously.

While climbing the stairs from the subway, I contemplated quitting my job. I don't know for what, so I didn't. I just had that feeling of dread about going into the office today, which isn't so surprising, after 6 days of not having to be here.

I'm still occasionally weirded out by the internet, and how you can, on a whim, google the name of a former best friend from high school and stumble upon video footage of her toddler playing on a backyard swingset. She ended up marrying this guy who I sat next to in 10th grade world history and argued politics with him all the time because he was a staunch republican. We weren't really close in the years prior to her marrying that guy, but it was sort of nail in the camel's back. They named their child "Noble", which was strange at first, but after a moment of pondering, realized it was totally par for the course.

I started reading The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers on the plane last Friday. Its hard to always find things I can read in transit, because if they require too much concentration, I will get nauseous, but if its too little concentration, I get easily distracted or bored. Also, sometimes books just need to be read at certain points in one's life and they will happen when they happen. And this one is happening. I have never read this before actually, its one of those "Yes, yes, I can hardly believe it myself" gaps in my reading self-education list. I'm nearly halfway through already, I don't think it will take me much longer to finish. Particularly if the weather stays the same. (And my direct deposit check never clears.) I am still trying to figure out "southern writing" exactly, particularly my own, since there are some key chapters in my own book that take place there and I think maybe my voice changes and I'm trying to figure it out.

I've been in a bit of another world lately. I'm still not sure if I want to shake myself out of it or not. I might actually have to go deeper in, to go through it. I think this will be okay.
raybear: (chik-fil-a)
One of the drawbacks of having grown up so rigorously united methodist (and loving to sing) is that I have numerous hymns lodged into my memory banks that will get triggered at random moments. Like seeing the word "assurances" in a legal contract I'm editing and suddenly I can't stop singing on repeat in my head "Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine" which would frequently get interrupted with phrases of "Isht! No" or "Fckity fck" because I was wrestling with the format of a document.

I'm only a few dozen pages into Special Topics of Calamity Physics, but I'm enjoying it okay. I think it will be a fast read. It annoyed me right off the bat, because it had two devices I'm burnt out on: a) the Extremely Quirky/Savant-esque Narrator (why does everyone have to be so damn special?) and b) the Self-Consciously Aware of Being a Novel Novel, i.e "I'm writing this book because....". Its a novel, its ok, we suspend disbelief by opening the thing up. Just embrace the device, or subvert the device, but I'm tired of always showing awareness of the device, mostly because it feels sloppy. Like maybe the writer doesn't trust themselves to pull off creating this whole world that the medium requires. Which doesn't instill a lot of confidence as a reader. But, you know, aside from all those strict opinions, I'm reading it. Besides, part of what I'm saying is more about my personal preference as a reader, not so much grand declarations in the literary theory realm. Really, my biggest complaint about this book is that its big and heavy and so carrying it around takes up lots of space in my bag, and it was perhaps not the wisest idea for me to bring it along when I decided to walk half of the distance between home and work downtown. It was even more annoying for me to stop at the library and check out two DVDs and two more books, to add to my back. Oh well.

I was really social for almost all of this weekend. By late Sunday night I was definitely feeling it, so strangely I had the mix of weekend end/monday morning lows, mixed with relief at having back my time alone that comes with a work week. But I'm glad for all the people I saw and things I did all weekend. Well, except for the one piece in a dance performance that was kinda fcked up. I was actually inspired enough by my frustration to write an e-mail to the choreographer this morning, so I suppose that's something. Though maybe a little sad that I never track down strangers to tell them when I like something they've created.
raybear: (sexy!)
I accidentally had sex on valentine's day. I didn't mean to, it just happened. There were no roses or hot tubs involved.

I liked valentine's day as a kid, because it involved giving and getting mail and homemade mailboxes. It also meant usually waking up to something left as a surprise on my dresser from my mother, like candy and a card, though one year she gave me two bendable Fido Dido characters which really impressed me, as I didn't know she was aware I was so into Fido Dido at the time, nor was he a character that ever became hugely popular or marketed. (I just read the wikipedia article when I went to google a picture, and find it hilarious that at one point in my teen years I was "into Fido Dido". I think it's because I bought a t-shirt on the streets of NYC with him on it and I wore it all the time.)

I used to think when I grew up Valentine's day would be about going out to dinner and slow dancing to someone singing me an Anita Baker song. I could take or leave the holiday, but I'd still take the latter. Or you can sing Patti Austin. Or Melba Moore. Or Randy Crawford. Or Patti Labelle. Or really just any R&B song by a solo singer between the years of 1980 and 1992. Hence me currently listening to Pandora and my "Anita Baker" station in honor of the holiday as how my pre-teen self dreamed for my adult self.

I've been without a novel to a read for the past few weeks, feeling ambivalent about what to jump to next, partly because my last one was so dense and I needed to breathe a minute. I've been carrying around J.M. Coetzee's Slow Man for a few days, which, since it's Coetzee, I'm assuming is physically an easy read, but thematically maybe not, hence my hesitation. I'm taking in bunches of short stories. Dear gentle readers, I have been recommended Alice Munro by people who's opinion I generally find favorable, but I have only read maybe one story by her, and it was okay but very much This Is A Short Story. And today I started one but just got bored and gaggy, it was again, such a Short Story, with its married couple driving to something and seeing something on the side of the road and then one of them gets cancer and they try to go back to the country road and blah blah blah literary something blah blah. Zzzzz. I had just read a Donald Barthelme story about an adult man who inexplicably finds himself back in the sixth grade and ends with him having sex with the teacher in the closet. It was weird and hilarious and playful and smart. Perhaps I'm just not in the mood for Alice Munro or perhaps I'm just never in the mood for her. Unless you, gentle readers, have a favorite you can recommend.

Omg, "Love Power" just came on. I need to do this at karaoke. I wouldn't even mind being Jeffrey Osbourne, you could Dionne. Oh wait, never mind, I want to do the part when she sings "....or can we get it there?"

(Ok, fine, you can be Dionne.)

May 2010

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