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jugular dance

encore vide.

31 December 2003

The promised work-posts, slipping into the archive before the new year:

12/30/03
Was just talking to C about the happenings between Josh and I. It is ridiculous how much I love him. We are both so stubborn. How can I expect him to change? How can I change? How can I live my life without him? My heart hurts more than ever now, because of the small glorious time we spent together, and the large time I have to look forward to without him.

Snowclouds like unchipped ice glaciers
Ascension, cars in lanes like backwards-moving comets,
Frontlights diffused by height and air
Block homes like chocolate dominoes spread evenly over the
Paste of the countryside
Shall I see an antelope gliding through the brown hairless forest?

Had a Satan dream last night. Once every five years or so I have a dream in which I am possessed, uncontrolled, uncontrollable. That would be last night’s lovely rêve. It happened as soon as I fell asleep; I had been reading ‘The African Safari Papers’ and assume that the subversive ideas pertaining to love and freedom contained therein were the catalyst for a being I don’t even believe in to make an appearance in my dream. I was howling, spitting, screaming; everything was dim and I had no balance, no ability to stand. I lurched around, my head spinning. I saw myself in a mirror; I looked normal but far away from myself, my eyes slits. I have dim memories of the images of my parents, most vividly my father. I was screaming at him. I was in a dark apartment and was stumbling about. I kept yelling, ‘Get behind me! Satan get thee behind me!’ which Barb Nolan used to do when I would be a creepy kid and ask her whether there were demons in her basement. The feeling of the dream was not so much of evil or Satan but of being out of control. I kept trying to speak, and my voice was nothing but a demonic gurgle, a growl. I could not speak as quickly as I wanted, I could not say the things I wanted. The demonic voice slowed my own down, made it horrible. I was scared when I woke up; not as scared as I was during the Jesus-on-the-ceiling dream, but scared. I tried to turn the lamp beside my bed on but the bulb was not working. I had a candle burning and that made it scarier. I turned my computer back on, threw in ‘Kind of Blue’, and put it on repeat. Eventually I drifted back into sleep after resisting it for awhile due to fear of another similar dream. These dreams, I believe, are not indicative of Satan’s existence or presence, or anything even remotely close to these two ideas. They are more indicative of the fear and the loss of control that exists within me, with demonism or Satanism just being the symbol because Satan was a great image of fear in my childhood. There is no doubt that I am feeling slightly out of control; seeing Josh and realising the danger of our relationship but not being able to do anything about it has made me feel as though life might just ‘happen to me’, as my brother said to me on Sunday, as though I am a slave to fate.

Just had an exceptional conversation with T at the lunch table concerning religion and scripture and women and society. He, for being roughly my father’s age and carrying many similar beliefs, is quite open-minded in his views. It was truly a pleasure.

C just confessed to me and G that she stealthily stole and threw away the thing T uses to pick his teeth every day after lunch. It looks like a little cheese slicer with floss instead of a wire blade – and alas, it is no more.

One of our customers just shook my hand gently and said ‘God bless you’. That is a powerful thing to say to someone. He was rather a Jesus freak – handing out daily planners from his business with quotes from Isaiah on them, standing in the branch talking about his Christmas display complete with crosses and red sashes and Cabbage Patch Dolls as Jesus, etc. But then it seems many California residents are that way. The Inland Empire is home to 25% of the entire world’s population of Seventh-Day Adventists. What matters is that he was gentle, unproselytizing, nice-smelling, and kind. Yes, nice-smelling…I don’t know about the rest of the world but that goes a long way with me.

C and T are discussing my callbacks in louder-than-love voices. T seems agitated and frustrated. He just said something like ‘Why the hell would she do that?’ Uh-oh…perhaps they have discovered the fourteen accounts I secretly created for Frank’s Butcher & Tamale Shoppe.

The last two accounts I have opened, I have had the distinct feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing. The first was for a woman who was in a great hurry and essentially accused me – nicely – of being responsible for the fact that she had no time to go back home and retrieve a book to read at her doctor’s appointment. The second was about twenty minutes ago, for a woman – a pediatrician – just recently arrived from Nigeria. With her I felt like I was bumbling. I was efficient and answered all her questions; but even though she had a passport, she was missing some of the ID we require – a social security card, a driver’s license – and I felt like I was making her feel like a criminal by asking for all of this information. Perhaps it is just my acute paranoia at work.

White people in California say ‘Sandy Eggo’ and ‘Tickeedo’ and ‘Surreydose’ for San Diego and taquito and Cerritos. It’s highly humorous, the complete lack of rhythm that we have. Sure it’s annoying when C exaggerates the accent in every single Spanish word she says, but at least she observes the accent. We white folk have no clue about the Mexican ‘t’, but putting your tongue hard against the back of your front teeth and biting down and spitting out that little ‘t’ makes all the difference in the world.

12/31/03
Compliments:
C says, ‘I don’t know why but you look like a hottie today!’ Er…okay?
D says, ‘You’re a good writer’. That’s a bit more accurate.

Non-compliments:
J, who weighs 300 lbs, while looking at my photos of last Christmas, says: ‘You look like you’ve thinned out a bit since then, you look kind of heavy there!’ Hehe. Indeed. The reason I don’t mind showing people this particular photo even though I am aware that I look kind of hefty is that it is one of me and Josh, hugging, together. He has a beautiful soft smile on his face and I am obviously elated to be next to him. It is a fantastic memory, harking from just before the absolute crumbling of my family.

Further: C says my blouse looks very nice on me and makes me look thin. She’s exclaimed on the loveliness of my blouse and my figure in the blouse every time I’ve approached her. J has heard this and evidently does not like it. Was walking back to my desk and caught J sneering in my direction; or, more accurately, in the direction of my blouse. Either I will never wear this blouse again or I will wear it every day for the next year.

C also says I don’t need to wear any makeup because it already looks like I’m wearing it, and compliments me on my big eyes and long eyelashes.

T is this tiny little sensitive guy; he looks like the type that sips brandy and curls up with Dostoevsky and twirls his moustache as he watches Masterpiece Theatre. And he is; bizarrely, he also gardens, builds and fixes household things, loves sports, and hunts. He’s absolutely an anomaly, both in the environment of California and in the wider sense of all humanity.

30 December 2003

This is grand.

'Weak and Powerless' on the new APC is my favourite so far. Also digging 'Pet' which is playing right now...or at least it was, until I switched back on 'W&P'. Eee, MJK is so cool. I love his spine. And James Iha is so cool too. Smashing Pumpkins was my first concert ever.
LOL - 'hoping a certain saline visitor will arrive' - got my period Monday. Spent that exceptional day in bed with Josh exactly one day prior. Nearly missed my flight to Chicago. Was well worth it, I confess! C asked me, with humping gestures, if I got bum prints on his car windows. Hey, doesn't she know we're tall people? We need room to stretch!

Not feeling as guilty as I thought I might if I slept with him. Especially since he whispered 'I dream about this all the time' right before leading me onto the landing.

Looking for any way possible to salvage this relationship...
OK, been back in California for two days and am beginning to think that I overreacted slightly to Josh going to the Christmas party. I am in truth trying to find any means I can by which I can get over the stuff I don't like about him and so can still be with him. The chemistry between us is ridiculous. We are stupid not to be together; alone and separated we are contaminating the clouds with the disease of wishing for each other.

Had some work-posts that may have actually been worthwhile but forgot to send 'em along. Demain, peut-être.

Am about 215 pages into 'The African Safari Papers' by Robert Sedlack, which was a gift from the darling because he's reading it now and enjoying it highly. At this point I think it would be dangerous for you not to read it.

Listened through new APC twice last night. Not sure. Not as good at first listen as the last record; will need to give it more thought and ear. There are a few songs that caught me immediately, but the last record fucking had me by the soul all the way through. Eh bien, sophomore efforts. We'll see!

29 December 2003

One thing:

Today we were all eating lunch together and C told me that S has said - several times - that she wishes she knew me better. I am highly flattered; I thought S was annoyed at best and disgusted at worst by my presence. All the better environment for me to make the sausage for her; but I must admit I'm thinking of doing it to make S happy as well as doing it so he might notice and be impressed. Which, I think, would be a sign for me not to do it.
Wish I could blog with good conscience tonight but I'm fucking exhausted. Will be listening to the new A Perfect Circle record (given lovingly to me by Josh) and posting the following reruns. Bleh, bleh.

12/23/03
C is on the phone, flirting with him. I think perhaps he just asked her what she wants for Christmas. She said 'my 2 front teeth' – my standard answer. Now they are talking about me being called 'Rosemary' when I call other branches. I think perhaps he just expressed mild exasperation at having to fix my telephone. Feeling kind of sick in light of events from yesterday. Still having lingering suspicion that perhaps he digs her. He’s coming here, she just said 'see you shortly, buddy'. Now that elation has worn off I am beginning to feel useless and worthless again; tried my hardest but am not looking particularly pretty today. I think I’m going to puke.

Still feeling ill. Unable to do any work. Trying to figure out what I’m going to do when he’s here. I have little work and so am I supposed to just sit here and ferment? I feel like a trembling schoolgirl. In general I don’t think it’s especially healthy for the presence – the implied presence, not even the real presence – of another human being to affect me so. But I suppose that’s part of being alive and human, ne?

A realisation: being a self-centered bitch makes you exceptionally sullen.

I’ll bet his stomach tingles when he calls her extension. I’ll bet he flushes in the face when she talks to him. Eck. And as for D I’m sure everyone wants her to sit on their lap. I’m a quicker teller, I’m smarter, I’m better at new accounts, I’m funnier, I’m nicer – but I take up twice the space and my breasts are not nearly as perky (damned water-filled bras). Eck again.

He was here and he left and I survived. A curious combination of sweating and hand chills seized me, but I survived. He seemed to glance at me while over talking to T but did not even look my way when he left; just said 'see y'all later' and pointed his head to the door. Company party this eve and I am scared to death. Nothing will come of it – nothing comes of anything – back to the same old 'he doesn’t even know that I’m alive' routine. Though he does not have a girlfriend…so there is always hope. Realised that in light of the 'death music' talk yesterday I should not have come in wearing all black and a shirt with black lace on it. Seemed like a good idea yesterday…now he probably thinks I’m some crazy goth chick…ick, goths. The only thing worse than goths are people who think they’re vampires, goddamned melodramatic fools. The serious amount of overlapping of these two circles is perhaps the worst of all.

'Blood is mostly saline so of course you like the taste of it'…rubbish.

Hoping that a certain 'saline' visitor will come my way in the next day or so and preclude any intimacy with Josh. It’s hard enough to move on without having the added guilt of having slept with him in the midst of trying to move on.

T measures the time elapsed since the death of his mother in months. Another mark of his sensitivity.

I hope that I am able to flirt with such reckless abandon and sultriness when I am a married mother of three. Good god, the territory covered.

Was just able to sustain a 10-minute conversation with a customer about her parrot. I take this as a mark of my coming up in the world. May those skills of rhetoric serve me this evening when I am mingling with a bunch of businesspeople I couldn’t care less about.

Helped T do something with the Xerox machine. He thanked me profusely. I said, ‘T, I live to serve you’. He said, ‘Hehe…and you’re cute too!’ :)

12/24/03
T tells D that her daughter, because she can bake bread, will make some man a lucky wife. T said that (‘you’ll make some young girl very happy’) to him too, when he made some dessert for one of our potlucks. In my unquenchable jealousy I have noticed that no one has yet told me that I will make anyone – a young man, an old man, a space alien – a good wife.

I am suspecting the rise of another fashion trend, and it is going to make me sick. Over the last year capri pants have become vogue, for whatever reason. But today I saw, for the second time, a woman wearing dress-capri pants, over pantyhose, with dress heels. It doesn’t look nice, it doesn’t look professional, and it doesn’t look trendy: it just looks like your flippin’ pants are unravelling.

I had a thought while shaving my legs in the shower last night; it could be considered rationalisation, but I don’t necessarily think that’s the conclusion that should be jumped to. I spend all day helping people, helping people, helping people. That is all I do, that is all we all do here, is help people and make it easier for them to conduct their business. Yet I, because I am in theory opposed to the fundamentals of business and to characterising myself as a businesswoman, spend a lot of time denying to myself that I like what I do, that I’m good at what I do, and that it serves any purpose that would be considered to be ‘real’ by me. The realisation I came to last night was that this is absurd. I am good at what I do, I do like what I do, and it does serve a purpose – it makes a difficult process much easier for people. The reason I tend to deny that is that I don’t like to admit that anything to do with business could possibly benefit people; I like to think, with my bleeding heart, that the business world only perpetuates the evils of society, and that the only occupations that really serve humankind are ones involving aid, art, resistance, progressivism, humanitarianism, and other such idealistic things. But the truth is that my job involves making an unfortunately necessary aspect of life simpler and gentler and more efficient for people; I would like to think that that could be construed as serving humankind and helping them. People are meant to make the human experience easier for other people; that is what I do, and so it shouldn’t be looked at as wrong. Of course it’s not what I want to do with my life, but even if it were – it’s not necessarily such a terrible thing. There are worse business-oriented professions than being a bank teller and a new accounts rep, I think.

‘D’s Killer Loaf’

Another stupid thought from the EOY party: someone was talking about coffee, and the CEO asked me directly, ‘Do you like this coffee?’ I said that I dislike all coffee. He looked me square in the face and said, ‘Ohh, no, coffee’s the best! I drink like six cups a day’. ‘I am a tea drinking girl’, I replied. We did meet eyes occasionally; but it was generally quite uncomfortable, and I felt like a giant monster sitting across the table from him. At least I didn’t drop a buttered knife into my lap, eh?

After the new year I am going to make the Italian-sausage-peppers-onions thing and take it to S in the Riverside office with a loaf of bread and some provolone cheese, plus the recipe on a card. I am just as much of a cook as C, and I was grateful last night that S detracted attention from her and paid me something of a compliment. If you haven’t noticed, I am really feeling like my womanhood is being threatened here, and it’s a rather nasty feeling. I once wrote about two women ‘looking at each other like women do, like tigers’, and that line is coming back to haunt me with its truth. I am being catty and I am fully aware of it; unfortunately I am both insecure and mean when I want to be. Women are so hurtful to each other; I think female-female relationships are even more difficult to navigate than female-male ones.

OK, to be entirely realistic: what exactly was I expecting to happen at the party? One, I don’t act any more as though I like him in public than he acts as though he likes me; I ignore him and don’t really talk to him much. Two, it’s the EOY party, where the CEO of the company was sitting at the table with us, not to mention both of my supervisors and a bunch of our mutual coworkers. Even if he was interested, was he supposed to lavish me with attention and flirt with me in front of numerous people who have the power to terminate his employment? It wasn’t as though we were all mingling with the lights low, drinking champagne and talking seductively. We were all sitting at the same table for 1.5 hours, under harsh bank security lighting, eating chicken and drinking Pepsi. What am I truly thinking? It’s the romantic in me that might expect him to pull me aside into his cubicle and kiss my neck, but that doesn’t happen in real life. Three, so what if he doesn’t have a girlfriend? Lots of men don’t have a girlfriend; that doesn’t really make them any more or less available to me. What matters is if he finds me attractive and interesting, which is an entirely different matter. Since I have little-to-no evidence that he feels that way, it’s really not realistic to keep hoping this way. Of course I’m not going to stop hoping, because hoping for the semi-impossible is embedded in my nature, but it is certainly unrealistic to think that just because we had one semi-flirtatious conversation that I can expect him to fall head over heels for me. In short, the crappiness of the EOY party was not disastrous, but it wasn’t especially fantastic either. It was exactly how things should have gone in a professional environment.

Having said that, I must say I really have no clue how to pursue him further. I am completely aware that it is inappropriate and unprofessional for me to do so, not to mention the fact that I am 98% sure that he would unresponsive anyhow because he just does not find me attractive. Even if it were acceptable for me to pursue him, I can think of no way to logically do so in the shadow of her dynamic personality. I pale in comparison to her, and that doesn’t seem likely to change soon, so there’s really no way for me to make him think that I am interesting if he is, obviously, stuck on her.


27 December 2003

lots of drugs;
getting high with john on the way home;
'i love you oh do you yes i do very much';
i am uninvited and uninvolved;
a hugs me and i tell him i really miss him and i do;
i have no place in his life anymore.
...?

'i dream about this so often';
the bed of doom;
his pants look so nice on him;
that rude ska song that always plays when me j and a are in the car together;
i have to go back and forget about how i feel;
next time i see him it will be worse;
will he forget this?
'all my memories are tied to you now';
'is this enough toilet paper for you?';
'tomorrow we can snoogles & take a nap';
'you not understanding why this is a big deal is why we can't be together anymore';
'you asking me to give up parts of my life for you is also why';
'call me tomorrow may i have a kiss on the cheek please?';
'this is what suffering does to you'.
I am bleeding.

Spent the day with Lindsay. It was incredible and impossible for us to say goodbye. We talked for four hours straight and didn't even scratch the surface of ourselves or our lives. She asked me, 'Why did you move away? Sean and I have different theories on it. I think you went to go to school in a good place. Sean thinks you left to make a new start. Which is it?' I was appalled that her husband could make such an observation about me. I left telling myself it was to get an education; but I cannot live here, and I cannot love Josh, and I cannot be under the rule of my parents. Now I am in California and I don't even know why.

We tried to edge away from each other slowly so that the wind would not bring tears to our eyes but it was too difficult, and we wept in each other's arms.

We ate dinner together tonight, me and Josh and dad and Karen. Good Italian food, wine. Great conversation. I presented my theories on California living. We talked about Boston, Richmond, Vancouver. Karen said life is too short for living in one place. I talked a lot and am still unsure why. We toasted Uncle Paul and David. I wept as I hugged my father goodbye.

Josh took me to his apartment and played me his music, three songs that he has been working on since August. The first I have heard since its original incarnation, and every time I hear it it gets better. He changed the drums, added a guitar part played by his friend Scott, added some subtle percussion that carries the whole piece. The second was composed for Mike, who jumped off a bridge at the end of August. It reminds me of red, and the afterlife. The third is my least favourite and is still utterly brilliant; incredible percussion, and three guitar parts plus a bass line at one point in the song. He may be many things but simple is not one of them.

We listened to the first two in his studio and the last in the living room on the stereo. He moved back into the studio and I followed him. He pulled me into his arms and kissed me, on the lips, more than once. We sat on the futon and made out like teenagers. 'Are you doing this because you still feel attracted to me or because you haven't been laid in four months?' I asked, in characteristic subtlety. 'You look beautiful,' he mumbled, 'and I've missed you dearly'. He pulled me to my feet and he led me upstairs. On the landing he pressed me against the wall and kissed me again. 'Are you sure you want to do this?' I asked. 'Yes,' he mumbled into my neck, 'over and over'. I asked him again on entering his room; he pulled back, worried, asking, 'Are you sure? You keep asking me...' 'No, I'm not sure,' I said, 'that's why I'm asking you' - and then said the line I've been rehearsing for months for the time when I knew this would occur: 'I've been spending so much time trying to get over you...how am I supposed to do that if I'm still fucking you?' He laughed. 'I guess friends can still fuck?' he replied in a voice that betrayed he didn't guess - or believe - that at all.

We fell onto the bed. I will spare the details; it was intense and lovely as it always had been. We are absolutely in the thick of it when I hear noises downstairs. Adam, a roommate with incredibly awful timing, wanders upstairs, yelling, 'Josh? Are you here, man? Are you still here?' and mumbling to himself. At one point he actually knocks on the door; I feel like a child in bed with my first lover, hiding myself with the sheets so my parents don't see me. Eventually Josh goes downstairs to see what Adam wants; he is there to go to the work Christmas party that I am being ditched for. Josh brings me my eyeglasses, holds me, tells me we will continue tomorrow.

It has been four months since I have been in his bed. When he climbed between my legs and slid inside I felt like a virgin all over again, the pain, the pinching. I still love him but I am not his girlfriend. We work so well but we cannot work together. My heart aches for what has happened between us, this thing that we are now that is neither good nor bad. It is not our prior love with all the pain and faults gone, and it is not our prior love as it was, and it is not something entirely new either. It is painful and raw, and it kills me to participate in it.

I was like a virgin all over again, naive, stupid. He slid inside and then away from me and now I am bleeding.

26 December 2003

And more grandness: Josh recently bought a copy of 'Grace' by Jeff Buckley...so my wish of 12/23/03 came true, sorta. Existential thanks to you! I am quite guilty of having downloaded songs by JB but never having bought an album. I have combed the Record Exchange looking for his stuff, but I have never been able to find any of his studio albums, and I am pained to spend $25 on a CD, though it will only get worse and I should get used to it. I really need to make the plunge, though, as 'Grace' is fucking beautiful, and it is good to hear the songs I know ('Mojo Pin', 'Lover You Should've Come Over', 'Hallelujah' (evidently a Leonard Cohen cover), 'Lilac Wine') in the greater context of the record. Eek, just went to cdnow.com, my eternal enemy, and found that 'Grace' sells for $10.99. It and 'Sketches for my Sweetheart the Drunk' (which I really want because it's got my 2 favourites 'Nightmares by the Sea' and 'Everybody Here Wants You', the sexiest song ever) go for $27.98 combined, plus shipping.

Unfortunately I swore when I took the pinko oath to never support that shitty online vendor of goods. More unfortunately, I can no longer remember why I swore so.

And another wonderful thing about Josh Groban: I watched a bit the bonus 'Closer' DVD where he was in France doing a photo shoot, and it is obvious to me by his speaking accent that he does not speak French habitually. With that in mind, he sings not only in French but Spanish and Italian as well, and for a non-Romance-language-speaker has an exceptional accent and fantastic pronunciation. I, the language freak, am ever so impressed by this.

The only question I am having here is where in his Spanish songs he seems to be using a reflexive verb (there's no lyric sheet so I can't be sure), and he pronounces the -se, the reflexive pronoun which in Spanish is attached to the end of the verb (as in 'irse' = 'to go (oneself)'), as 'see' rather than as 'say', where I was under the impression that the latter was the correct pronunciation. I really have no clue and am just being slightly anal; I like listening to people speak languages, is all.
OK, I think I've worked all the melancholy out of my system...though I'm not sure there's much left there in its absence!

Of all the propaganda that exists in the world, I truly think that that concerning the circumstances of travelling in California is the worst. My flights were exceptional: they were on time, smooth, and just generally wonderful. I left Corona at 3:00 thinking that I would need six hours to drive to LA. I arrived in LA exactly one and a half hours later, due to the fact that the freeways were no more or less crowded than they have been at any other time of the year. I checked my baggage in 15 minutes. I got through security in 10. I was at my gate at 6:00 pm for a 10:30 flight. This irked me highly; what a waste of time! I could've gone home from work and slept a few hours, considering I had woken up at 7:00 am on Wednesday and did not get to bed again at midnight on Thursday-into-Friday. It's not as though I slept on the plane; I tried, but I had my eyeglasses hooked into the V-neck of my shirt, and I kept jerking awake thinking that they had fallen or that my carryon was sliding down the aisle away from me. Yo sé, yo sé, better safe than sorry, but you would not say that if you had seen me walking wounded at 10:00 pm last evening, laughing like a drunk at everything and unable to focus clearly on any of my surroundings!

So in short, if you're going to travel within/from/into California, use your best judgment, and don't watch the news. On TV I saw hordes of police milling around LAX like it was a crime scene; when I arrived there there were no cops in sight! Lying bastards.

Listening to:

'Closer', by Josh Groban :: Yes, the entire record - it was a gift from my mum & Mike :) It's wonderful, as could be expected. I still can't believe this guy sought out and chose to work with a member of Deep Forest; I love DF and 'Never Let Go' is such a unique blend of their style and what JG's style seems to be. This is truly one of the most romantic records I have ever heard - 'My Confession', 'Mi Morena', and 'Hymne à L'amour' literally make my heart burn. But I am so surprised at the music - he himself and the people that work with him are fantastic songwriters! The music is so original, so beautiful, so modern and innovative. I was expecting mostly orchestral music, which often seems to be (to me, an untrained ear) imitative rather than innovative; it is absolutely not that.

My mom, being a freak, put on his first record 'Josh Groban' after we listened to 'Closer' together (and ate latkes - just as promised!), and it is just as good, if not better. It's not as romantic but is highly thoughtful - 'Let Me Fall' deriving from Cirque du Soleil, 'The Prayer' with Charlotte Church, 'You're Still You' (the song that makes my mother cry - and it did, she was bawling), and 'Canto alla Vita' with the Corrs are so incredibly creative and well-written. He is a phenomenal lyricist. The crowning glory of this record, the track which makes me undecided as to which of his records is the better one (for without it 'Closer' would win), is 'Vincent' - not an homage to, but a song about the person of, Vincent van Gogh. This song, of all songs, broke me down; that anyone could be so thoughtful as to write a song affirming the beauty and suffering of this brilliant, tortured, misunderstood man absolutely touched my soul.

One would like, I think, to label JG a trend; I certainly did, which is why I didn't hear his music until very recently. But there is no way to continue thinking that upon hearing his records; his music innovative, his lyrics contemplative and poetic, his style original and funky while still operatic, he is truly unique and uncategorisable.
No fiery crashes, I'm pleased to note. As promised I am broadcasting live from mum's basement; it's Friday night and I've actually found myself with some downtime.

Christmas was nice in some ways, but of course not without heartache. Mum & Mike retrieved me at PIT; the scene was nearly epic. I descended into the ground floor to baggage claim; mum was gazing with her back to me, looking agitatedly; she turned and saw me suddenly; she threw her shoulders up and darted through the crowd like a linebacker, beginning to weep; I, seeing her cry, began to myself (luckily 'Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire' was not on the PA), and we had a tearful embrace. It was actually quite nice to be greeted so. The weather was nice and cold and grey, thoroughly miserable in fact - just what I was hoping for!

I stopped to see Josh on the way home. It was relatively early and I woke him; he came downstairs unshaven & unwashed, and upon opening the door gawked as though we hadn't seen each other in years, and gathered me into his arms promptly. It was exactly as though I had just seen him the day before, except he was tenderer with me than he might have been in that instance, and except he looks different to my eyes. His hair is much longer, has a different curl to it; he has a little scruff on his chin and is about 30 or 40 pounds lighter (oy, I think I weigh more than him now!); he stands a little differently and seems even a bit taller.

He said the same of me, that I somehow seem subtly changed. Sure, I've had a haircut and shifted weight a bit and dressed slightly differently, but I'm convinced the changes we see are the physical manifestations of changes we have felt. I can hear the change in myself when I talk; there is just something different about the things I say, the things I do not say, the way I talk, the way I laugh. It has been four months that have been lonely and difficult enough for a whole year. I have gained and lost beauty, gained and lost grace, gained and lost.

I left him after a few moments and told him I'd drop him an email to let him know what time to pick me up to see my dad's side of the family later in the evening. Upon arriving home I did so, but put the hour a bit too late considering all the stops we had to make. Before leaving to go to my aunt Phyllis's home we embarked to Josh's apartment so I could set the time ahead a little; I had to go in person because his phone is momentarily not working. As we were on Jacks Run Road Josh's beat-up Bonneville races past us in the opposite direction; I note this to my parents in a shocked tone. Mike turns the van around and races to try and catch him, to no avail. I do some quick guesswork and deduce that he was headed to his dad's house, and so we head there. Upon arriving on the street we see his car - not parked in front of his dad's house but in front of Gram's house, his mother's mother who lives three houses up the street. I knock and Josh comes to the door with tears in his red eyes. His mother's fiancé David was hospitalised with an aneurysm on Christmas Eve and died within four hours.

Everyone is a wreck. I rush inside and embrace his weeping mother, now weeping myself. Josh, by the looks of it, wants to go home and crawl back into the darkness. His mother and Gram are adamant that he go eat something. I, on the fly, invite him to Phyllis's house to eat with us. We don't know how to get there, really, so we go back to his house to get directions from Mapquest, which we will soon regret horribly. We stand around and talk; he pulls me close, tells me how grand it is to see me. His hair is over my face and I nuzzle into his neck. He kisses me, on the lips, softly. It is exactly as it always was.

We arrive after navigating the whole of Duquesne and attempting to find several streets that positively do not exist; my mother is already loaded, dancing to Buena Vista Social Club with my aunts, who believe they know something about the world and its cultures because they own the BVSC's records and pronounce it 'koo-bah' instead of 'kyoo-bah'. My mother, at least, just dances to the music because it touches her soul with its beat and its passion. My aunts Phyllis and Theresa pull me into the 'girl room' and explain to me the dynamics of the BVSC as though I've never heard the music before and need a lecture on diversity and culture. Need I remind everyone where I have just flown in from? Hey, it's not Cuba, but it'll do!

The 'dinner' is all hors d'oeuvres, which is quite simply fucking ridiculous. I didn't come home with homesickness pulsing in my heart to mingle among my thoughtless relatives with a martini and a plate of lobster ravioli and cocktail meatballs. Food is very psychological, and my aunt, for being such an incredible world denizen, seemed to want to play the cruel psychological trick of making my family feel like they're at a Rockefeller wedding reception instead of Christmas dinner. I eat lots of meatballs (they're the most filling thing there); Josh hangs back and nibbles a bit, not feeling well. Later he lapses into conversation with my uncles and cousins about rock music; my uncles are great Godsmack fans and my cousin tells Josh about a Rusted Root show he just went to. Josh's eyes glisten as he listens and fights the urge to tell them that he owns a record entitled 'Rape of the Bastard Nazarene'.

We leave before the caroling starts (gracias!) and make a horrid trek to my cousin Patty's house, during which trek we spin out a record five times. By the end we are laughing about it, but we could have died, and it would not have been an especially enjoyable death. My incredibly conservative Aunt Lee & Uncle Skip (the parents-in-law of the ever-so-unconservative Joel and grandparents of cutie Dean) are there, but the conversation quickly turns anti-war and they look at each other with almost visible sickness as Josh talks about how it's wrong to kill brown people. They leave several seconds later, and me, Josh, Joe (my cousin's significant other, who is an incredible, intellectual, loving person), and Coach, the father of one of Joe's sons-in-law, conduct an exceptional conversation. I myself am amazed that anyone could hear what anyone else was saying over the gushing, dripping sounds of all those bleeding hearts. ;)

We then make it to dad's house, where I sit around absolutely talking my ass off and telling California stories to dad & Karen & Josh and Karen's two daughters. I actually think I talked a bit much, because Karen kept asking me questions and making comments and urging me on. For some reason she not only loves to talk to me but also loves to really listen to me when I talk, and so when I'm around her I turn into a blabbermouth, which is, as you may or may not have gathered, entirely uncharacteristic of me. Her daughters, either quite entertained by my stunning wit or simply bored senseless, nodded politely. Josh seemed jazzed to hear all these stories that I could only really tell in person. My dad sat grinning, happy that his kid was home.

On dropping me off, Josh kisses me, just on the cheek, several times. He seems happy. I am fighting four emotions at once, but climb out of his car with a simple goodbye and see-you-later. He watches me go inside like he used to when we were just dating.

For all the tenderness he displayed and in spite of my short time in Pennsylvania he, Josh, has managed to find a way to hurt me nonetheless! Today I speak to him; he tells me when David will be laid out and we make plans to go on Sunday afternoon, after I get home from visiting my ever-so-incarcerated brother. He says, 'We'll exchange presents then, too', even though it was quite clearly the plan to do this after dinner & jazz with Karen & dad on Saturday night, tomorrow. I question. He reveals that he has just learned that his company Christmas party is on Saturday night, from 12m - 4am, an all-night bowling party. I protest, my stomach sinking, my skin tingling, my feet sweating as they do when he pisses me off. He protests that he doesn't see why I am protesting. He tells me that his company Christmas party only occurs once a year and he doesn't want to miss it. He tells me that midnight isn't that much later than when we would've separated for the night anyway. He tells me that we'll have time alone together on Sunday before he takes me to the airport. He refuses to skip the party for me.

This is Josh at his finest. This is why we are technically 'not together' anymore. As wonderful as he is, as well as we get along, he is incapable of not hurting me. I am not, by my own observations and those of several others, generally a demanding person. Josh finds this low level to nevertheless be far more demanding of him than he can tolerate. I would skip the party for him. If the two people involved were strangers and I knew the situation, I would expect one to skip the party for the other. I would not expect this of most people; but I would expect it out of someone who is meant to love me, and I would expect it from Josh. I will not press it any further, and I will not outright demand that he skip it - I already made it clear that his choice hurt my feelings, and I will not demean myself by begging him to choose me instead of his buddies.

But it hurts. I still love him, and it hurts.

So I will not get to see LOTR:ROTK with him, and I will spend Sunday at the funeral parlor. I was hoping to spend the night at his place on Saturday, just to catch him alone and talk to him, to relax and be mentally and physically close to this person that I have loved and missed so much; evidently that cannot be. As I said, Christmas was nice in some ways, but not without the heartache that is grey in the corners of my life on each other day of the year.

24 December 2003

Right...this is my last post from California. Happy Christmas Eve, and pray the words 'fiery crash killing all' don't make it into the news for the next few days. ;)

Joyeux Noel a tous!

23 December 2003

leaving tomorrow for Pennsylvania...flying out of LAX on Christmas Eve...will be fortunate to make it with all four limbs attached, from the way native Californians' faces seem to contort into positively satanic shapes when I mention this fact.

Overlay in Atlanta at 4:00 a.m. Christmas Day; lucky me.
Will be blogging up a riot in my mom's basement; lucky you.

Here's to better moods in the new year. The current ones need oil and are starting to make me slightly dizzy.

Had some highly insightful work posts that, because I was so preoccupied with the impending horror of the EOY party, I forgot to email to myself. Thus you will have to wait until later in the week. Hey, get off your ass and go eat something, okay? I have roast beast waiting for me in PA. Lucky me.

Listening to:


  1. 'Cloudbusting' + 'This Woman's Work', Kate Bush :: Ahh, she's so perfect; her voice is so buttery. I even like the Maxwell cover of 'TWW' - it (guess what) makes me cry. Oy, what will we do with me?


  2. 'Everybody Here Wants You', Jeff Buckley :: If anyone is stopping by the store to fulfill my wish for new moods, could you kindly pick up a JB record or two for me as well? I'll repay you with good cheer.


  3. 'Let's Chill', Guy :: Nice slow jam. How I love soul music. :)


  4. 'Summer Madness', Kool & The Gang :: This song gives me chills. Just as grand is Digable Planets' song 'Jimmi Diggin Cats' which samples this song. Mind ye, DP's know how to sample, man. The Onion recently ran a story called something like, 'P. Diddy decides to sample entire song, add nothing', but I can't seem to find it in their archives...ah, but I digress. :)


  5. 'Muhammad Mustafa', Yusuf Islam (=Cat Stevens) :: Lovely. YI/CS really does have a nice voice, even though his folk music is dreadfully cheesy. Er...except for the soundtrack to Harold & Maude. That, of course, is quite stunning.


  6. 'Kissing You', Desree :: This song makes me cry like a little baby. ;)


  7. 'Heaven's a Lie', Lacuna Coil :: Saw them live opening for Opeth in Cleveland. Their music rocks, but they all stood in a line swishing their fashionably long metal hair in time with each other, and the lead singer - the 'hottest chick in metal', apparently - danced about like she needed a pole between her legs. Josh enjoyed it, I guess, eh? ;)



Oh, and Josh sent me a mysterious email over the weekend asking for which King Crimson & Radiohead records I own...so perhaps that's listenin' for the new year. I would also really dig a copy of Porcupine Tree's 'Futile' EP that he says he obtained online (I don't know if this EP actually exists, but they played 'Futile' live and it just flippin' rocked out), and a copy of 'The Top' by the Cure, which I seemingly will never own as it lies just out of everyone's price range at nearly $35.

irregular memories from that stupid fucking EOY party that I won't be able to quit thinking about for the next ten days:

  1. C and he were talking wonderfully about how C makes everything from scratch and is such a fantastic cook; S, C's good friend in Riverside, interrupted, looking at me, and said, 'What I really want to learn to make is what you made!', referring to the Italian-sausage-peppers-onions thing I made for the Halloween potluck. S turned to him, said, 'Wasn't that good?' He nodded, rather meekly.


  2. Immediately thereafter I said, 'Oh, S, I'll make it next time', but then remembered that I had promised G I would try to make gnocchi for next potluck. I announced this; S looked positively drooling, said, 'Oh, what's gnocchi? Tell me? Is it good? What's in it?' Everyone at the table focused their attention on me. I looked S square in the face and explained about potato flour; he looked on.


  3. The CEO sits down right next to me and we are eating dinner. I am attempting to not flip the table over with my long legs (I am entirely too tall) and eat like a non-barbarian. He, who, I discovered, is left-handed, eats like Brian with two hands and salad dressing dripping from his lips (do all men eat like this? I mean...not that it's not sexy...*blush*). All of a sudden C blurts, 'So, Jenny, how's it feel to be sitting eating dinner next to the president of the company you work for?' and then immediately makes a comment to the others about how deep red I'm blushing. I look her square in the face and say 'Grand'. grrr...{exerts great effort to keep from cursing}...but in general the CEO is impressed with me, and asks me questions as though he really cares. I manage to speak to him quite intelligently and guide him to a correct pronunciation of the word 'Youghigheny' (a river in the PA/MD area). Grand indeed.

oh yeah...and today would have been 4 years, 1 month for the late, great duo that was Jenny n' Josh. not that he acknowledged this in the least.

grrrrr.....the cookies in the left drawer, the pistol in the right...
No, it was not especially grand. Good food, the CEO is wonderful, but not especially grand. Next year our reservations are at a country club and we are all able to bring wives/husbands/significant others. Evidently I will have to purchase one of those for myself, as I seem to have little luck in attracting one by the sheer value of my person.

Here's the plan: I'll go, alone, in a nice skirt (maybe I can lose 150 lbs by then), and flirt like a motherfucker with her husband. Latino men go for me. I've been catcalled at by loads of them, and Lalo wanted to fuck my brains out; surely I can get this one to glance at me for an evening. I can't stand to be in the presence of her fuckin' personality any longer, it spreading over everyone she meets like a fishing net, snagging their heads and turning them her way. I love her - but I am beginning to hate her. Did I mention she is my superior?

None of us can be vibrant around her. We are all supporting actresses. She laughs with us and laughs against us as it suits her schtick. She is perfectly comfortable as who she is and she pulls people in in droves with her charm. The CEO hugged her goodnight. I wanted a hug from him, this man who sat down beside me and, when I told him I had been with Parkvale for three years and had never shaken the hand of the CEO, insisted that Robert McCarthy should have made the time to learn his employees' names and visit the branches; who told me he was beyond pleased that I had treated his goddaughter so well and made her feel so special; who asked me how long I've been in California and about where I'm from and what I'm studying and where I'm going to school. But all I did is shake his hand half-heartedly, because I do not deserve the warmth, the camaraderie, the flowers and gifts, that she deserves. V was there, staring at her, making comments. He was literally leaned in towards her the whole night, joking, laughing, sharing funnies, being cute. It was wicked painful. I didn't cry, there was that. I saw him sitting alone just inside the door, and he glanced up at us and seemed to look when we came inside, but then he made an absolute beeline for the seat next to her, and stayed stuck there all night (see C-D of the glorious acrostic below). Luckily this was over in an hour and a half; if I had had to watch them simpering together much longer, I may have vomited, and it may have sprayed onto the CEO's dessert plate, and I may have gotten fired.

Don't be fooled into believing that I think I am not jealous; I realise that it is my jealousy of her that crowns everything. I am angry at being passed by, because I deserve someone to treat me the way he (and everyone else) treats her. I am worth sharing private jokes with, laughing with, going to lunch with, loving. Right now, in general terms, I feel completely worthless in those areas, and that only fuels the fact that I am jealous of her ease with people. I want to be looked at the way he looked at her, covering his mouth so no one could hear what he said to her.

Why does no one come to me? Am I so unlovely?

People are not supposed to be the way she is with other people. People are supposed to take care of each other, look out for each other, be sensitive and aware of feelings and needs. T is more sensitive a person than she could ever be. Sure, it's fun working with her, because she's so over-the-top and funny, but it is a thorn in my side as well, a constant spearpoint reminding me that I am simply second-fiddle. My ego takes a wicked bruising from her. You know what? I like people to know I am smart, to trust me, to come to me with business questions, to feel like I know how to do my job; and more, to feel like I am fun, like I am funny, like they can have a good time with me. I was all of that at Parkvale; people loved me. The customers still ask about me; I still write to a good deal of them. Not the case here. T knows I am capable and intelligent; he trusts me and knows I learn quickly. All C does is belittle me, jokingly of course, and push me down into a competition with her loveliness which I can never hope to win. She is in everyone's grace - and she deserves to be. She's not the brightest, but she's dynamic and funny, and she knows her job well. It's not as though she's incompetent. It's more that I am beginning to fashion her as a megalomaniac, while it's me that has the problem. I hate being ignored, and while she is around that is all that will ever happen, at least where he is concerned. Customers will grow to know me and like me and request me; the CEO in time will learn that I am a valuable employee, and reward me accordingly. But he will never give me the time of day, not while she is on him like she is. I don't even know if she realises it. She apparently thinks he's just more of the same. I think of him as special, unique, interesting, and I doubt she looks at him and sees any of that. Her heart doesn't quiver when he walks in. She doesn't feel sick when he looks at her. She doesn't tremble when they engage in actual conversation. I think this is why I made such a big deal out of the conversation I had with him yesterday - because it was more like a conversation he would have with her, and it was like the conversations I used to have with Greg and Erik and the guys at PV. It made me feel like maybe I could be with him like she was, that she and I could be on the same level in his book. It gave me hope; but I should know better than that! It literally meant nothing. Less than nothing, even. He knows my name, but little else. He perhaps knows how old I am, and now where I'm from and what I'm studying and that I'm going home and where I used to work before, because these were all discussed at the dinner table (brought up, of course, by the bigmouth). But it's not as though he will remember anything, because I am simply not important for him. I'm new accounts at Corona. I'm Jenny. I don't have a last name, I'm a hillbilly, I'm without real identity. My job is to work and create excel documents and allow her to allow all the people to slide through her charm like she is a greased machine.
ick. christmas/hanukkah/end-of-year party over (enfin!). an acrostic for you:

All the food, being catered, was quite delectable, but
Boy, did
C act like a flippin' whore. I believe she managed to
Do him seven times with her hand before the
Emcee, Shelly, began to call for prizes. He did not
Favour me or even pass me a
Glance, except when I laughed at
His jokes. He passed me by, talking with C as though she is his goddess.
I did not even win the TV. He did! Stupid boy. The CEO said, 'It begins with a
J...' - but it was him, not me, as the winner. Relieved and
Kind of disappointed at the same time. TV/DVD combo. Would have been cool.
Lots of the Riverside staff sat together and
Made fun of all of us in Corona. We kept a cold shoulder, being out-
Numbered by them, and all
Of them being kind of fat and weird, anyway. The
President of the company sat next to me during dinner, was
Quite kind, commended me for writing a thank-you note to his goddaughter;
Really I was quite flattered. I
Shook his hand proudly. I am proud to be part of his staff.
That C has children and a husband seems to be no reason to not
Usurp his attention with her dynamism. I could barely breathe. Obviously,
Victory was not in the cards for me. I was quite in the shadow,
Wishing I could sneak to a corner every time he leaned in close to her, whispering
X-rated thoughts and smiling his smile at her. They laughed like kings together,
Young folk but older than me, knowing what they want in life, smoothing the silk over the
Zealotous demands of love and marriage.

22 December 2003

a secret santa memory from round about third grade:

we had secret-santa-for-a-week. I was in love with Matt Mager. he had my name. somehow i found this out. one day I found an eraser with a picture of a dinosaur (stegosaurus, if I recall correctly) on it in my desk as a present. I cherished this eraser and, as is wont to happen with things I cherish, I habitually lost it/had it stolen from me from my cunning friends.

ah, young love.
Oh, dear God - a quote from Ben Weasel's Blog:

You want radical? I've got one hyphenated word for you gutless wonders: Self-immolation. If mild-mannered Vietnamese monks can do it, what's stopping you? The upcoming release of a new Clash retrospective? A Whole Foods opening in your neighborhood? (Tues 12/16/01, 'Politics and Punk', top third of 6th pgph)

This, of course, in the middle of a brilliant diatribe on the narrow-minded trend of American liberalism and baseball. Read the whole bloody thing. It'll make your toes tingle.
oy!
here's what I wrote in the morning:

12/22/03
D seems to have recovered from her foul mood and is speaking to everyone…but me. No one has said a word of thanks or even acknowledged that I did anything for them. Cannot get stupid Excel to work and cannot save to the public drive, cannot save to my own drive and then move file to the public drive, cannot do anything in short. The CCO is here and everyone is eating Persian pastries from one of our customers; still no one has noticed.

C came over with the box of Persian pastries, saying 'I baked all night for you', jokingly. Before I could help it I shot back, 'Yeah, I baked all weekend for you!' She stared. It is not going to be a good day.

Then, this occurred:

{at C's urging, wrote him an email concerning the aforementioned excel difficulties. apologised for once again bugging him. he called me in reply. grandness ensued}

Ridiculous conversation.
‘You’re not bugging me!
‘Sorry…I feel like I’m always asking you for something!’
‘You only ask me for something like once a month!’
‘Oh, you’re keeping track?!’ (joking) {and how humorous indeed...because I am keeping track!}
‘No, no! I’m not…’
‘He, he…it’s cool – so, what am I doing wrong?’ (interrupting him as he was about to say more on the ‘you’re not bugging me, really’ front –)
… ‘oh, you don’t have that creepy desktop picture anymore!’

(that'd be this one)

           |
           |
           V



'Hey, it’s not creepy!'
'Yes it is!'
'No it’s not!'
'Is so!'
'Is not!'
'Yes it is!'
'No it’s not!'
'That’s the lead singer of the greatest band to ever play!'
'yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that before! All that weird death music…'
'it’s not death music! Give me five minutes to convert you…'
'They look like death warmed over, ha!'
'ok, well I’ll take it down and put up a picture that says {insert his name here} Stinks!'
'Stings? Jestings? What?'
'{name} Stinks!'
'What?'
'{name} stinks! it'll say {name} stinks!'
'Hey, I don’t stink, I shower every day!'
'yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that before!'
...and onward, and so on.

THEN:
...--he terminalled into my machine {actually, he already had minutes ago - that's how he was able to note the absence of the SW/AG photo; forgive me if my brain was scrambled at this point}, and lapsed into mumbling to himself as he attempted to fix me {which, may I note, even as I blush, is highly sexy}; {here someone on the other end was asking him what he was doing and if he could spare a moment; I heard him say 'It's Jenny' and 'I'm helping Jenny' a few times, but never 'It's just Jenny' - nice boy} and then shortly had to hang up because someone needed him on the other end; he fixed me eventually and then called me to tell me so; ten minutes later he called again and said he had also fixed my phone troubles so I could get my messages, and said 'enjoy!'…:)

mumbling excerpt (this might be construed as the 'sexy' part as, as we all know, I'm a sucker for technical language):

'...mrmmrmr...machine 239394eck...blurbish....and you're -'
'I - I'm Jenny'
'Oh, I know you're Jenny!' (quite sweetly)

and THEN:

he called right at end of day;
I answered;
he slowly introduced himself, lingered ever so slightly and allowed me to say 'hullo' to him, asked to speak to T or C;
C was right next to me acting goofy and I handed the phone off to her;
they talked randomly and she asked him what he had bought the person he had gotten for the secret santa (see here for the semi-scoop);
he confessed he still hadn't bought anything;
they started talking about somewhere he had been;
C asked, 'Oh, with a girl?';
I rather froze, and time skipped a second or two;
evidently he answered in the negative;
she prodded, 'Do you have a girlfriend?' well within earshot;
seconds later she said, 'No? Really? We could probably find you one, you know, it's not that hard!';
I do pirouettes and daisies spring up from the carpet;
some sort of business is handled;
they hang up.

HE DOES NOT HAVE A GIRLFRIEND.
il n'a pas une petite amie!
no tiene una novia!

recapitulation:

  1. a grand conversation;

  2. an occurrence of what could possibly be called flirting;

  3. HE DOES NOT HAVE A GIRLFRIEND.


...

yup, still pirouetting.

21 December 2003

I wrote Bruce from MA (er...that's Massachusetts) who had been selling me fugue state press books when I was in Pennsylvania. He went to Greece in the summer and I had not spoken to him since. During the massive inbox-upheaval I found a note from him offering the newest FSP issue, as usual, at under the list price and including postage. He's brilliant. So I wrote him and I mentioned that I was in California and that I yearned for the east coast. He replied, 'Are you disappointed with the place?'

The truth is thus: If there were California with no Californians, I would be pleased. I could not be less disappointed with the mountains, the sunrises, the lovely weather, the ice plants, the fragrant trees, the oranges, the beaches. This is stunning country. It's more that, to an outsider, Californians appear to be a mass of thoughtless, self-serving, self-centered people who will speed down the shoulder for a quarter of a mile just to get one car ahead of you, will park themselves in the middle of an aisle or a sidewalk and make you walk in mud or shit to pass, and are more familiar with current events concerning J-Lo than they are with those concerning...er, pretty much anything in the rest of the world.

Case in point: C does not know who Slobodan Milosevic1 is. No, really.

Californians - and the term applies not just to natives but to the proportion of people who have been living here six months or longer and thus have been inundated with the California 'lifestyle' - seem to be neither liberal nor conservative. Real opinions seem to exist on very few topics. It would be trite to point out that this is a state that elected Arnold Schwartzenegger as its governor, but I will do so anyway, because, though trite, his election is a very telling event - telling of the fact that living in California has nothing whatsoever to do with subscribing to reality.

Before I moved here I thought that it was a general sense of progressivism that made California so cutting-edge, so worldly, so artistic. Imagine my dismay when I found that not only was I quite misinformed, the deception I had swallowed as twofold: perhaps aside from in metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, not only is there really not a general sense of progressivism in the state, but it is not so cutting-edge, so worldly, so artistic a place to live and create. California is quite caught up in the mire of its reflection in the mirror. It is consumed with the thought of moving up, but seems to simply give no thought to going forward.

It should be noted that I have found small bits of evidence to the contrary - here for instance - and I would verily beg for more, and more (perhaps another bloog is necessary to log these particles?). Unfortunately this is the internet - I could find supporting evidence for anything within its bounds, and am more interested in plain, old-fashioned real-life happenings.

Just try and keep the 12-letter words to a minimum, please.

***

1 (1/1/04): Just remembered. A customer from India needed to wire money there. C asks into the air, addressing no one in particular, 'Is India domestic or international?'

As promised, the brilliant Carl Sagan excerpt:

The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilisations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
Oh yeah, revelation: when you have a short haircut, refrain from drying your hair with your head flipped upside-down. I've found this tends to quite reduce the 'ugly-heifer' feelings previously experienced in abundance.
and so it continues...

What business have we calling ourselves human if we are offended by everything that makes our fellows human? Merci, Msr Chirac - c'est un grand jété en arrière pour les droits des humains.
was just reading my cousin Joel's blog...the hippest family around.
ah, rusting wet metal...my earliest memory of this smell is a good one, from the Portola house. sitting outside on the upper back porch. thunderstorms. smelling the screens and the twisted metal railings as the rain fell on them. my parents were still married. we had a breakfast nook. i seem to remember calling it something else but cannot recall the name now. i remember standing outside in the front yard with boxes and piles of our belongings as my mother stood and explained over the hedges to Nell that we were leaving. i don't remember what happened after that.
and more thoughts:

C said she really does dig my haircut and that she wants me to come over and play house with her on the weekend so she can fiddle with my hair with her curling iron.

D in a rather foul mood on Friday; unapproachable, even.

was walking in with my fifteen bags of baking groceries when the people next door were receiving Christmas guests. saw them hugging and kissing each other through the blinds. felt far from home and unspeakably lonely: 'close to the sky in lonely lands', you might say. will be posting an excellent piece from Carl Sagan very soon...

Jackie, one of the women I live with, called me into her room the other night to apologise to me for racist things her cousin had said in my presence. I forgave her outright, because I had no clue what the hell she was talking about. Apparently her cousin was here talking about honkies - I didn't hear anything, and it wouldn't have mattered much if I had. But it was cool that Jackie, an African-American woman, could suppose that a white girl might find racism offensive.

my anthropology instructor's last lecture was on race, and it was brilliant. or perhaps it was just the anthropological community's view on race that was brilliant, and she managed for once not to make it uninteresting. Most of the brilliance stems from the idea that race doesn't really exist. as you may or may not be able to tell, this idea has me preoccupied today.

we all want to know why we are different from each other but i cannot ask why without making you angry. you cannot notice my skin color. i cannot reveal that i do not speak your language. i cannot tell you that i have never eaten this, or do not know how to prepare that. you cannot tell me that you have never been here, or ask me how i liked it when i was there. if this belongs to you then it cannot possibly belong to me; our identities are halved like a butchered fish.

we fight over the ribs inside
in a most foul mood. woke up entirely too late. went shopping for three hours at four different stores trying to find ingredients for baking. the 99¢ store does not carry flour or granulated sugar, and is generally awful. there i realised i would have to buy measuring cups and mixing bowls and a hand-mixer as well as all the ingredients I needed, because I am a nomad and left all my bakeware in pennsylvania (in fact I think i gave most of it to thrift stores before i departed). so i chose some bowls and a mixer and some baking powder, all of which i do not have now because the dumb-ass clerk did not ring them up with my order. of course it is partly on me, because of course i should have been paying attention, but some guy with an accent and a very unnerving stare was behind me in line, and he kept nudging me and telling me to put my basket up on the belt. from there i went to el tapatio, where i felt like the idiot white girl i am, strolling up and down the aisles trying to find ricotta cheese. while choosing butter some guy came up and, spying my cart, put his bananas in it and made to stroll away with it. i looked at him and tried to figure out something polite to say ('what the fuck are you doing?' would have done, but in general i am a genial person). he laughed uproariously on seeing my face, bellowed, 'oh, es a tú? ha, ha!' and apologetically removed his bananas. i have to remember to wipe the lipstick off my face before i go in there - every teenage mexicano (and several well beyond teenagehood) gawks at me as though i am simultaneously intriguing and horrifying. while trying to navigate the incredibly narrow aisles with my cart, i crashed both into the buffet table thing in the concession area and the cart of some woman who was surrounded with guys of the aforementioned category, all of whom trilled the r's in 'sorry' and made the word sound like it should mean, 'you're the one who should be sorry, gavacha'. i was sorry. in some ways i am freer here than i ever could be elsewhere and in some ways i am more of a minority and more hated than i ever could be elsewhere.

The first time I met him, C's father called me a hillbilly. Her husband calls me gavacha, too. La gavacha, as though it's a title.

the cosmos is sorely mistaken if it believes that i am in need of a life lesson on what it feels like to be left out, or 'passed by' if you will. cosmos, i would have you refer to your tattered copy of 'Jenny's Life', volumes 15:4 to 16:1, entitled 'Tenth Grade'. The six ensuing volumes won't hurt as reference, either.

left el tapatio, got onto the 91 going the wrong way, of course. what would a day in my life be if i did not go the wrong way on the freeway at least once? ended up back on 6th street; went into a sav-on to inquire on ricotta cheese and ended up getting directions to a stater brothers that evidently only exists in the fourth dimension. if anyone knows the way to the stater's in corona on border, please email me so i can sleep tonight. continuing, in the search for the stater brothers i found a food-4-less; searched the aisles for a half-hour looking for chow mein noodles. it drizzled and the parking lot, the freeway, the streets all smelled of rotting garbage, rusting wet metal. the sky was horse-coloured. the cul-de-sac, that elegant development, had a cloud of fiber-rich cow shit hanging about it.

spent six hours baking; whipped all the butter and sugar together by hand. made all the thumbprints with my own thumbs. chopped the walnuts and melted the chocolate. washed all the dishes with my fingers because I own no dishrags. monday i will go in with everything in a basket and C or D will be there with the expensive mall-bought gifts they purchased for everyone, the price tags accidentally still on. everyone will politely eat one cookie of each kind, perhaps smile, falsely rave that everything tastes wonderful, and let them grow stale and hard on the kitchen counter. the notes and poems i will give them will go, misunderstood, not understood, into the shredder. He will come to fix something random, perhaps to oil the idea of the robot. they will tell him there are cookies and that i made them. he will eat one or two and not say a word to me about them, but will remark to C on the uncanny saltiness of the thumbprints. i will want to slit him ear to ear and seize my can of Morton's just so he can experience true saltiness...er, in theory. Yeah.

i should just sit and eat all ten dozen myself. fortunately for my hips and my sanity i am rarely able to eat anything i've cooked myself.

and i am as per usual terrified of going home...i am going to see Josh for the first time in four months in about four days. i am scared we are going to sleep together and then i am not going to know what to do with myself. how am i supposed to get over him if we're still having sex? do i want to get over him? some part of me listens to his voice and wants to never again be at the receiving end of his thoughtlessness. i have somehow convinced myself that we are truly broken up, that he cannot harm me anymore, that i will not be affected when he doesn't tell me he loves me or acts like i'm just one of the guys, and that i am ready to love someone else. and believing it makes it so...i've been in much better state of mind since i managed to impose this conviction upon myself. unfortunately i know myself rather well and i fear that once i am in his presence again i will not be able to sustain such confidence - i shall be 'brought to my knees', if you will.

Listening to:


  1. 'Smokin' Japanese Babe', Future Sound of London :: great song to write to.


  2. 'Too Funky', George Michael :: I only mention this because I wouldn't want to fool anyone into thinking I actually have acceptable taste in music.


20 December 2003

...and just so you know, HP sucked. Do not download movies off the internet and attempt to watch them in the tiny crawlspace of Windows Media Player. Quit being a cheap bastard and go buy yourself a $40 DVD player, ok?

dreadfully bored...going to try and make Lola beautiful. This calls for some QOTSA...out for now.

19 December 2003

Some work-posts from throughout the week. Will attempt to emerge from boredom mode and post over the weekend.

***

12/15/03
C looks beautiful today, her hair up, and I feel plain. She made me soup for lunch. I am a classic ingrate. Flowers were just delivered to someone upstairs: red roses with boughs of evergreen. Incredibly lovely!

Worrisome things today. Just spoke with my mom; my brother has revoked all rights of any of the people on his 'guest-list' to call and get information about him. My parents can therefore no longer even call out and ask if he is okay, or if he is even there. Also, my mom acted ultra-surprised today about an email I sent her over the weekend in which I talked about the speeding ticket I got on the 15. She chastised me, 'I can't believe you got a ticket and didn't tell me!' But I did tell her...two weeks ago. This is the second time she has forgotten something fairly big; when I told her I was coming home for Christmas (in the midst of the whole fiasco with Lupe), she forgot it too. This makes me seriously worry. There could be three reasons for this forgetfulness, and I don't particularly dig any of them:


  1. She has a lot on her mind with my brother, and has zoned out everything else.

  2. She was drunk when I told her both these things and somehow has no recollection of them.

  3. She is becoming older and is gradually losing her power of memory.


I feel sad. My brother doesn't want to see any of us on Christmas; he's pissed at the world because my parents refuse to release him from Ridgeview and sign him out of school. He doesn't even want to see me; I can't hide the fact that that stings more than a little bit.

and guess who these observations might be about...
Made comment about global warming ;)
Knows about European toys ('with two little prongs?')
Knows who Tony Hawk is.
Knows how the Germans celebrate Christmas.
'Made some modifications, souped it up a little, you know!' (er...robot?)
Will be back later in the week. Said that three times.
'I'm not Rosemary!' ...again. With a big smile and a laugh.

Dale says my hair looks cute and that Madeline did a nice job. She lauded it for nearly a minute straight. So how come I feel like an ugly heifer when he is here?

***

12/16/03
Mood of mourning here. CEO, CFO, and CCO were in the office today to tell us that B, the manager, resigned. This was not a half hour after we were all gathered around the breakfast table together, exchanging gifts and drinking tea and coffee, smiling and listening to B hold back tears as he read from a card his daughter wrote him for his birthday and make her words into a toast to all of us for light and hope in the new year. None of us realised he was saying goodbye to us. If we had - if I had, for one - I would have been more tearful than I already was. I didn't even say goodbye to him; I thought I'd be seeing him in the office in twenty minutes. To top it, D believes that perhaps it was not a resignation in the traditional sense. Bleh.

T says my handwriting is 'not that good'. Okay...?

C: 'Yo momma smells'
T: 'Yeah. I know. She's dead.'

***

12/19/03
Good day today. C and I were in the depths of camaraderie. Classes are finally over, and I am going to watch 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' and blog all night tonight.

Was writing a note for a customer with information I require for him. T hovered over my shoulder, saying, 'Make sure you write so he can read it!'

Joke of the week: I'm in love with B and his big sexy body and his crazy bald head. C has teased me about it heartily since I burst into tears upon his resignation. I'm truly not even close to being in love with him - rather I'm just a big baby, and I was just upset at his emotional goodbye. But it's funny - C told me that if B had known how in love with him I was he wouldn't have resigned. She also told me I was allowed to take home his Christmas stocking and his ornament as keepsakes. Hopefully this dies out over the weekend.

Update: it's Friday and contrary to promises he has not showed up again. Eh well...I can breathe easy. Until Tuesday, the evil end-of-year party, where I will be forced to mingle, and to survive three hours of staring at his loveliness and receiving absolutely no recognition or stimulation in response. Six days until I fly home and I still don't know what I'm going to do when I see Josh. Am beginning to rather dread it...?

Someone delivered a huge vase of flowers - lilies, carnations, snapdragons - to us on Tuesday or Wednesday. They are lovely but they smell like a funeral. Everyone is becoming inadvertently depressed upon crossing within proximity of this dangerous bouquet. I have more than once glimpsed J crying silently while gazing at a red daisy.
All right, back to me normal self. {draws Cynical Bastard Cloak tight against the cold of the impending nuclear winter} Down with capitalism!

Astronomy and Anthro finals went fairly well. Classes are officially over, which means I have time to bake fourteen dozen cookies and reread the 'Harry Potter' series. Spent three hours cleaning out the old inbox and writing notes to people I haven't spoken to in varying and unacceptably long lengths of time.

Him update: Am still in the clutches of the crush. Still doesn't look very promising. Shall I bring him a bag of sandwiches from Pittsburgh and try to ply him with food? Am baking this weekend, as cookies are a great weakness. Potato chip cookies, applesauce cookies, jam thumbprints, chow mein noodle cookies, and ricotta cheese cookies with lemon curd. It's grand to make cookies out of things that aren't supposed to be found in cookies. Every once in awhile he sneaks into the branch to eat, as the Riverside office apparently starves its employees. Perhaps the cookies shall endear him to me, and we shall discuss the robot.

Listening to:

'You're Still You', Josh Groban :: Am stuck on the lyrics. Am slowly realising this song should be Lola's theme. Perhaps Mr. Groban accepts cookies in lieu of royalty payments?

15 December 2003

Against myself I feel proud.



For once he deserves to wear that shit-eating grin. Way to go, GWB, for using intelligence the way the 'leader of the free world' should. The news sources all say, 'Without firing a shot', and I'm proud of you for that. Now please, continue to do the right thing - Geneva Convention, ok?

Hey, what kind of honest person would I be if I didn't let my heart bleed all over the floor at a time like this? ;)

14 December 2003

Oy! In keeping with my recent tradition of reading a whole lot o' blogs that I normally would not be reading, here's a link. Not exceptionally varied or original, but the fact that she identifies herself as a Christian conservative and a reader of Henry David Thoreau wins points avec moi.

Relatedly, my comment on her Thoreau selection (goodness, I'm really starting to schmooze too much for my own good!):

The thing I would hope to gain most from my faith would be to be able to contemplate these thoughts anywhere, in any conditions, always knowing that I am before the eyes of God. Isolation worked for Thoreau because he was very sensitive soul; though I am similarly sensitive, I find that when faced with the possibility, I simply find the world and its possibilities too devastatingly beautiful to achieve such isolation.

Yeah, not my most eloquent, I know, but we all do what we can within the confines of a 350px X 350px box.

Listening to:


  1. 'Seven Nation Army', The White Stripes :: Eeeeeeeehhhhh, it's so lo-fi and delectable...


  2. 'Blues for Pablo', Miles Davis :: Cool...it's no 'Nefertiti' or 'Someday My Prince Will Come', but cool.


  3. 'You're Always On My Mind', SWV :: God, I can't believe how much this record jams...good memories :)


  4. 'Oy Chanukah', Budapester Klezmer Band :: This song is amazing. I have to learn Yiddish (in addition to Hebrew) so I can serenade everyone I know with this song. And I suppose learning Yiddish would necessitate learning German as well. And perhaps I'll take concurrent Mandarin classes, just for the shit of it.


  5. 'Ot Azoy', New Orleans Klezmer All Stars :: For all of you who insisted that there are no klezmer songs that you could skank or mosh to, this song would be the evidence con! ('ot azoy' = 'that's the way!' in Yiddish)


  6. 'Help On The Way', Grateful Dead :: Well, technically I'm not really listening to this song, but it's been in my head all day. I tried to download it but couldn't find it, and I'm just not up for putting in my 'Blues for Allah' tape (yes, tape, not CD, cassette tape) and trying to find it.

My mom is hilarious...went to the pay phone at the gas station as I do every Sunday night to call her and my dad, and she put me on hold for a minute so she could turn down her 'Josh'. I was confused for a second, thinking, 'What the heck is Josh doing at my mom's house on a Sunday evening?' She said, 'Oh, yes, my Josh Groban CD, I just love it so much!' I guess my stepdad bought 'Closer' for her for her birthday. I promised her we would sit around eating latkes and listening to it. She squealed with joy.
Sadly, no meteor shower. Quel déception. Went outside at 2:30 or so...could see stars, Orion's Belt, whatnot, but no meteors. Will ask my astro 1A instructor on Thursday if he saw anything, or if perhaps meteor showers only exist in the fourth dimension. Was standing outside on the driveway, craning my neck towards the stars, letting 'Jupiter Crash' by the Cure run through me head. Would've been almost romantic if I hadn't been so cold...

Went to bed at 4:00 am; got up out of bed again at 1:30 or so. Not as unreasonable as yesterday, at least.

Listening to:

'Knowing Me Knowing You', Abba :: SW, who, as Maritza and I recently found out, has a wicked love and respect for Abba, recommended this as one of the top 3 Abba songs to check out. Being weak (especially in the realm of obeying SW's musical commandments) I downloaded it. Which brings us to this very second.

Also trying to obtain some songs from SWV's 'It's About Time' record...I owned it once long ago (around the same time as I owned 'Jade to the Max', 'Dookie', and several En Vogue records...ahh, 8th grade!) and I flippin' love it. I am a sucker for strong voices...and while SWV's lyrical content might not be the most imaginative or original, those women can sing! I hear 'Weak' every once in awhile on the radio...I cry (are you surprised?).

Speaking of strong voices, am rapidly becoming a fan of Josh Groban...I must admit this is the first time my mother has ever influenced my tastes musically! Because I was only able to obtain one song from the new record through downloading ('You Lift Me Up'), I went reluctantly to cdnow.com (which I fairly abhor) to see if perchance they had samples of any of the tracks...eek, 'My Confession' is so highly beautiful. I'm definitely going to buy the record...perhaps me and Ma can sit around eating potato pancakes (as she has promised to make me when I go home) and listening to it.

Yesterday I downloaded some foreign-language wordlists from freelang.net to sate my monstrous appetite for languages. Ones obtained so far (all are to/from English): Afrikaans, American (this one is humorous - it contrasts British English with American English), Basque, French, Greek (in the Greek alphabet), Japanese (in Romaji), and Old English. If you yearn in your soul for any of these (or any other languages) you'll need to download the actual dictionary program first. I myself am bummed at the current absence of Arabic and Hebrew, but the presence of Japanese seems to have made up for those in the annals of my twisted brain, at least for now.

Found a great translation of the Qur'an which I intend to buy upon the ringing in of the new year. It was between this copy and the Penguin Classics copy, and I absolutely detest everything Penguin Classics does. Their typeset is too small and they employ some of the worst translators in the history of language. In this case, the PC copy does have the original Arabic text on each page with the translation, but it's a tiny snapshot of each page rather than full-sized script that a normal human being without lemur-like eyes could actually read. The other copy, my chosen copy (I can't remember the publishing company!), has each page divided into two columns of equal size: the outer for the Arabic, the inner for the English translation. In addition the Surahs are each numbered, where in the PC copy the translation would go ten lines without a marking and then notate the group (e.g., 1-10) at the end. How the hell am I supposed to know where one ayah ends and the next begins, eh?

And you may have noticed that I am reading 'Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul'...and you may be gagging. However, I have already gotten a good deal of the 'historical', 'intellectual' picture of Judaism from my textbooks and from the Torah. While grand, this picture says little about what it means to be a Jew today, which interests me at least as much as what it meant to be a Jew in the time of Jesus. I think probably the two best ways to learn about a religion or a culture in terms of what it means to be a modern member are 1) read books of their folklore, and 2) read books of their jokes about themselves. 'CSFTJS' fulfills the first category to some extent, and this site fulfills the second. :) How people fascinate me.

One last thing: I added a link at the top of this fine page to the Porcupine Tree site. In case you are feeling lazy and don't want to scroll all the way back up there, here's another one: blarg. Go there, listen to the new record, download as many songs as you can, buy lots of merchandise, adopt a star in their name, whatever. In case I have not been utterly clear, SW (famed in song, blog, and story) is the mastermind of PT, and, in Maritza's kind words, 'everything he touches is fuckin' brilliant'.

13 December 2003

Three thoughts (evidently that's my daily maximum):


  1. I, supposedly a writer, am entirely in the dark about how to treat titles of works. Books are underlined, I am almost sure. What about titles of songs? Titles of records? Magazines? Films? Poems? Manifestos by obscure Canadian trapeze artists? Perhaps I should quit trying to teach myself Arabic and re-read my MLA handbook!


  2. Tonight while at the mall some guy working at a kiosk was wielding a frightening, balloonish device which floated in midair, seemingly by remote control. It freaked me the hell out and, while I tried to be subtle in moving slightly away from its path of destruction, the guy 'operating' the monstrous 'toy' made it zoom towards me, saying, 'Hey, check it out!' I was quite terrified that the thing was going to hit me on the head and knock me for a loop in front of all those people. Am I the only one??


  3. At Barnes & Noble (which is quite inferior to Borders, which apparently does not exist on the west coast), I saw multiple copies of 'Amphigorey Too' by the much-loved Cynical Bastard Edward Gorey in the 'bargain' section, being sold for $10. This made me quite sad for several inexplicable reasons and one explicable one: Crap, if you're going to sell the middle book of an artist's anthologised work at a cut rate, at least have the common decency to sell the first and last as well! Shrink-wrap them, or something! fuckin' A!


I slept until 3:00 pm today...now that is hideous. However, I think there may have been a reason...a meteor shower (ick...can't remember the Greek name right now) is peaking at about 3:00 am (in four hours or so) and now I shall be able to stay up and watch it. If the California sky does not become suddenly cloudy, that is. Such would be my luck - I arrived here in mid-August and did not see a single cloud in the sky until late October. I am entirely confident in the power of California clouds to thwart my meteor-viewing plans. If not I shall take mad photos and post them all right here. Lola will be with me. She likes affirmation of the inconceivable hugeness and beauty of the universe. Plus there'll be pomegranates.

What I am listening to:

  1. 'Buying New Soul', Porcupine Tree :: The saddest song in SW's 'back catalogue', at least in my opinion. SW himself identified the saddest song as 'Stop Swimming'.


  2. 'Erotic City', Prince & Sheila E :: Holy crap! How did I get to be 22 years old without ever hearing this song? 'Cause I think I could have done with another 22 years without it.


  3. 'Closer', Goapele :: This song is ageless. When I first heard it I thought it was a 1970's soul song - her record just came out this year!


  4. 'You're Still You', Josh Groban :: I downloaded it because my mother, in a survey I sent her {guilty grin} told me that this song makes her cry. It's quite lovely. Quelle voix!


  5. 'Witches', Switchblade Symphony :: Sadly, still the only song I really like. 'Tonight' and 'Gush Forth My Tears' by Miranda Sex Garden are, frankly, quite superior. ;)


  6. 'You Don't Know My Name', Alicia Keys :: Oy, can she sing!


  7. 'Songs for the Deaf', QOTSA :: Yeah, the whole record, not just the eponymous song. If you must know, this is the record that fueled my late-night coding to make this page beautiful. Ha!




Just got in from the mall in Riverside. As predicted, was hideous...but not too hideous. Managed to get a good 75% of my shopping done, in about 1.5 hours, at two stores. In that sense it was not too hideous. There were lots of people, but I had braced myself for that. I lucked out and got a fairly decent parking spot, because someone happened to be leaving just as I was pulling in, so that in itself was not too hideous. And as I was walking, slight smile on my face, lipstick nice, a man at the T-Mobile kiosk said, 'Here you go, Blondie. Are you having a good time tonight?' and gave me a great smile, and handed me papers on T-Mobile. This man - not boy, not guy, but a man, tall, with beautiful brown skin, brown eyes, heavy eyebrows - was so devastatingly handsome that I believe I smiled at the whole rest of the mall on his behalf. I didn't even answer him. I smiled in what I would consider a flirtatious manner; I barely even figured out what he said until I was feet past him. He called me 'Blondie' because I was wearing a Blondie t-shirt. I just kept smiling. He smiled back. Perhaps he thought me mute, or non-English-speaking. Ahh, men with heavy eyebrows! I tell you, if there is one physical thing I dig in the opposite sex it is hair. Hair, and lots of it. Eyebrows, eyelashes, head-hair, chest hair, sideburns, you name it, I'm okay with it (and I would think you can continue this list downward with your imagination). This one had a big ol' mop of brown hair, and those eyebrows....:) The ego stroke from this brief encounter was enough to ward off the hideousness of the mallish surroundings. In Barnes & Noble 'Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire' played, and I had to fight off tears. That was somewhat hideous. But I spent lots of money on books for my loved ones, and was happy again.
ha. ha. {author struggles to remove her 'Cynical Bastard Cloak' before putting pen to paper, as it were}

religious thought is a child in a closet. she has blocks to play with but is a tot and can only hold one at a time. in order to hold one, all the others must be put onto the shelves.

hence the clever descriptive phrase, 'intolerant as a conquering Muslim', from this1 page.

I am not Christian in the sense that the writers of the afore-referenced blog are Christian. In fact, I would decline to describe or identify myself as Christian in any sense! However, I like to fancy myself not so dense that I cannot see good, original ideas when they hit me on the forehead. There are some good ideas here. For instance, while clutching her bleeding heart, the author would refer readers to the really-quite-realistic assessment2 of 'liberal intellectuals'.

Unfortunately a prevailing idea - which seems more implicit than explicit, which in turn invites criticism of my own powers of perception! - seems to be that some folks who strive to be close to God3 do not have the concept of being 'jugglers for God' (who said I couldn't be rhetorically spontaneous?!) - that is, being able to handle more than one block at a time and being able to understand that each has its purpose in striving to love, honour, and be close to the phenomenal presence of God.

Muslims love God; one only needs to truly read the revelation given to Muhammad - that is, the Qur'an - to understand that. Muslims do a lot of other things - but Muslims first and foremost love God.

I may not always understand or be morally impressed with the 'degrees of separation' that occur between Muslim philosophy and Muslim action - but I will never accept the idea that God would want people who love him to be put on the shelf and allowed to collect the dust of misperception.

My Cynical Bastard Cloak is creeping stealthily under the rug towards me, issuing faint hums and begging me via the clicks of its buttons against the floor in Morse code to put it on and resume my traditionally unfriendly-to-Christian-fundamentalism outlook. However, it is Saturday, and I'm trying to be flippin' kind for once, so I will hunt-and-peck out the following observations on statements made here4 with my right hand while attempting to fend off the advances of the CBC with the left:


  1. The description of the Second World War as "awesome" - even within the bounds of 'military-speak' which, being non-military, I understand does label any victory as potentially awesome - will mostly likely not win you any votes with the generation who fought in it.


  2. The assertion that the Arab world has "done absolutely nothing for the modern world" could be based on several facts: One, the one making the assertion is of American military stock and has thus been trained to view other humans as either enemies or comrades (no Communist pun intended) rather than...well, just as humans; Two, a misunderstanding of Islam and Arab culture which tends to view those two edifices themselves - 'Islam' and 'culture' - as entirely representative of the populations who are grouped together under their names; and/or Three, simply a dislike or lack of appreciation on the part of the one making the assertion for the things that the Arab world has contributed (e.g., poetry, mysticism, visual art, textiles, and an incredibly beautiful means for viewing and defining the human relationship with God - yes, that'd be a reference to Islam).


  3. Starting a sentence with 'Now, I'm no racist, but...' will almost certainly generate suspicion among the crowd you...well, I mean, the people you want to...er, well - among any crowd that you indeed are a racist, and one who is not particularly adept at covering his predilection for racism besides! I suppose an exception to this statement would be a crowd of racists - though they, if not exceptionally dull, might catch on and begin to applaud you.


  4. Lumping Arabs and Japanese (yes, Japanese, not 'japs') under the blanket of 'Eastern culture' is rather a misportrayal of both cultures, as their languages, religious traditions, and cultural ideals differ heartily.


  5. This last note will be to inform readers that the author, in a final act of heroic abstention, will simply refrain from comment on the phrases 'the Muslims have no honour', 'one eastern culture [the Arabic one]...is backward and evil', and '[Islam is]...the last great cancer of the earth'.



I would simply suggest spending more time reading sources other than FoxNews (not because it is either liberal or conservative, but because it is only FoxNews!) and attempting to become slightly more humanist. If Jesus was so humble as to allow a whore to wash his feet, does any member of humankind have the right to designate anyone as 'the last great cancer'? Don't laugh - this may be a trite, overused Biblical example concerning the person of Jesus, but it is so trite and overused because this example of Jesus's exceptional humility and humanity strikes people - both people who believe in the truth of the New Testament's portrayal of Jesus and many who may not - like a brick in the face. Continuing, it would be my belief that the propagation of these views is simply the propagation of fear, which is, among many other things, entirely unconducive to love. To make use of my favourite verse in the Bible:

'There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.' (1 John 4:18)

If we wish our fellow humans to be made perfect in love - to be touched with love - we must make conditions less conducive to fear, and more so to love. If that, and not insane political objectives designed to subjugate one group while exalting another, is truly our goal, then we as humans simply have no business expressing such ideals as the ones shown in #5 above. These ideals use one cloak (if you will) - 'I am a member of Christianity', for instance - to encompass or justify other ideals - 'Islam is the last great cancer of the earth', for instance. These two ideals may be compatible on a social or political level, even as they lend credence to the not-so-uncommon perception that many Christians are racist or just generally hateful - but they are absolutely not compatible on a humans-interacting-with-humans(-before-the-eyes-of-God,-lest-you-forget) level.

To conclude, I would argue that philosophical thought does not have to be in the form of a block. It does not have to be square and six-sided and with sharp lines and definitions of where it stops and what is 'outside' it begins. It does not have to allow groups of ideals to be admitted within its boundaries and others to be shunned and mocked and denied validity.

Children cut their hands on square, sharp, six-sided objects. Then they go on to cut the hands of others.


***

1 'Abortion Revisited', Mon 8 Dec 03, last sentence of 1st pgph.
2 'My Theory on Liberals', Mon 8 Dec 03, 4th pgph.
3 'Answering N', Tues 9 Dec 03, 5th non-italicized pgph.
4 'So I Was a Week Late...', Fri 12 Dec 03, whole edit.

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