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jugular dance

encore vide.

31 May 2004

text of the most literary spam ever received:
chain saw for pine cone sweeps the floor, and related to light bulb dies; however, cigar related to a change of heart about..debutantes remain hairy. Neil, the friend of Neil and returns home with hydrogen atom near apartment building. When turn signal around mirror reads a magazine, for guardian angel procrastinates. If chess board behind burglar a big fan of pit viper living with mortician, then haunch over beams with joy. arabia america anthropomorphism sulfurous dispense teakwood nd
I tell you, that's the best if-then statement ever put down! Who is Neil? Why all the brilliant prepositional phrases? Who plays in 'Debutantes Remain Hairy' (the new empty band for empty people, replacing 'Stubborn Sea Lion' as the current favourite, as they had a genuinely weak rhythm section, though their arias were top)?
Patrice finally got the outdoor tables and chairs sorted out, and I've had a nice day writing and reading, with cran-grape juice and leftover cake from the barbecue. Feeling happy, & like a bit of progress has been made. Sprinklers just came on and 'Everybody Here Wants You' is playing. Huh, I don't remember what I wrote on that list of records that would sustain me through this project but 'Sketches' and 'Mystery White Boy' are fast becoming the sole sources of nutrition. Poor SW has been quite neglected of late.
bleh, I've also got to go on call tomorrow I think, which I've been trying not to think about the entire weekend. I must be sure to wear clothing that actually fits me. Some guy called at like 5:30 on Friday, yet another old customer of C's and T's who is apparently quite high-maintenance. Naturally he was devastated to learn that C is no longer the new accounts, and that he would have to deal with me. He wanted to know if I was going to 'hold his hand and give him love and special attention like C used to' (that's a direct quote from C, who finds this all very amusing). I can't mention how scared I am to learn what 'holding his hand' might be a euphemism for. So of course she told this gentleman that I'm highly efficient and just generally grand ('sweet as pie' are words I heard actually coming from her mouth while on the telephone with him) - as though that's going to keep him from giving me a hard time. The guy is demanding that we come to his office, he can't even deign to come into the branch when he needs something done! The worst of it is that I'll be going ALONE, as T's on vacation in South Dakota, C can't leave the office because T's gone, and this customer has no need of a lending officer, which is the only function B would serve on a new accounts call. Ah, a full Tuesday of getting lost trying to find the office of some needy snob businessman (he runs a MORTGAGE COMPANY, those are the pushiest bastards you'll ever encounter) and fending off questions about how long I've been in this position and whether I'm REALLY QUALIFIED to answer all his check-ordering questions. And, though mildly intelligent and usually well-groomed, I am a positive disaster with most first impressions, because I'm not aggressive in the least bit and I become nervous around people who like to intimidate others.
I sit down to write and inevitably begin with a page of total self-berating doubts and feelings. I actually have a Word document entitled 'There Is No Way I Can Write This Book' saved. The final finished thingy will have a companion piece detailing how its life was threatened from the very beginning. It's very slow going. Mr Nabokov said
the pattern of the thing precedes the thing
so I'm trying to view it from a very small level, not to call it by its name too much (it does have a name, a long one in fact), not to call it what it is too much, not to really address it directly. It's rather lizardlike, honestly, kind of squirmy and uncooperative. I wrote
I feel like I am down in the ocean beneath this thing, looking up but unable to discern anything. I can't put ideas together, I have no idea what the governing principle(s) is/are, and I feel like the whole thing is being revealed to me piecemeal
Each time I sit down with notebook in hand I get the image of a story about Muhammad - that once he was riding a camel when the angel Gabriel came upon him with part of the revelation of the Qur'an, and by the time the angel had completed his task the camel was belly-to-the-ground, its legs splayed out in the four directions under the weight of revelation (and Muhammad of course, who was still sitting on TOP of him). Sensitive readers will note that I am [hopefully] obviously NOT comparing quality of content, source of revelation, or world relevance here, but merely imagery. At any given time Muhammad knew of the Qur'an only what God had revealed to him so far, and he did not receive the entire thing at once. It's how I feel here and it's bloody frustrating. I have lots of notes and ideas (but haven't yet resorted to using index cards), but each piece is separate from the rest and nothing seems natural. I've not yet even discovered the pattern of the thing. It's all JUST ideas, written out of order, disconnected and suspended in goo, feelings felt by my terribly lost and anguished folk. One of the folk is being exceptionally disagreeable - refuses to be pegged, to sit down and shut up for a moment so I can figure out who she is, hasn't even popped into the text very much except for a few semi-scathing moments which are not nearly as long or scathing as I would like. The problem with this one is that I am generally just not a nasty person, and she demands that to be written I inflame every latent nasty cell in me. What a jerk. Eh, please disregard this post, as it's hideous.

and another sad thing is that I have BITTEN OFF all my fingernails. this happened awhile ago, actually I think round about the time I began writing this thingy. The brother situation and the pain of continuously striving to write the truth have done nothing to encourage regrowth. Josh and my mother will both be very disappointed in me. And it doesn't help that C, formerly of nasty stubby fingernails on her chubby little fingers, has taken to growing hers nice and long and polishing them to a shine, thus providing me one more point of comparison between us in which I come up the inferior.

My conversations with Josh have ground to a halt, as he's not really able to speak much lately. Saturday was the funeral for Gram; he told me they did a really nice job, and she looked wonderful, and he grabbed some memorial cards for me to keep. We've spoken for two minutes each day since last Wednesday. He's quite depressed and I am of no use to him, and I don't think this state of things will turn quickly.

As for the brother, I've not heard from him since Friday 21st May. Nearly scared my father to death yesterday - I'd spoken to him on Saturday when he returned from abroad, and then Saturday night sat down to begin my student loan paperwork and realised I needed some information from him. Called Sunday, left a message with one of Karen's daughters. He called back; I was in the shower. When we finally got in contact with each other and I asked him for his 2003 adjusted gross income he nearly fell down weeping, and had to put me on hold for a moment to tell Karen all I was calling for was income info for FAFSA. Apparently they'd both got it in their head that me calling anytime other than the prescribed time ('later in the week' to be precise) indicated that I must have fresh news about Chris, and that that must obviously be fresh bad news. Why would I be the one to get the first call if something happened? Most likely it'd be my mum, as her information is on Chris's ID card. But my cool, calm, logical dad going wonky like that is not normal at ALL - it serves as a barometer for just how desperate this situation is. And again my mother asked me 1) whether I'd heard from Chris, 2) if he was ever planning on calling her again (how the fuck am I to know, as I just said, I don't know where he is), 3) am I still writing (how's that going? good? Good!), and 4) is the nice man still writing me letters (that's Jim). My dad having seizures of emotion and my mum remaining as thickheaded and dull as ever; I guess that's about par for the course for family crisis!

30 May 2004

uuuaaahh??? [moan of extreme query]

well this is a bit better anyhow
and for some happy news--

I will be eligible, as of Winter 2006 (only one quarter after I originally intended), for something like $10,000 per year worth of grant money from UCR!

I now fit, with room to spare, into a dress I bought for Josh's aunt Cooki's wedding in April 2002 which, at the time, I had the greatest of difficulties zippering and in which, as recently as last May at Lindsay's rehearsal dinner, I looked positively monstrous!

I am no longer, and will never again be, a high school student (however much I still have nightmares about getting thumped on the head with a football in 9th grade gym class)! I went through some notes, poems, and general schlock from the 9th-10th grade era last eve, always a good activity when a reminder is needed about how much more hellish life could really be. It's really quite excellent that I was so naive about myself throughout high school - if I'd known the true extent of how truly backward and pitiful I was, I probably wouldn't have made it to graduation.
Little Hellion Anthony is here again for the weekend. I know this because
  1. Last night he tried to burst into the bathroom - my bathroom, the one that no-one else uses - without knocking, while it was occupied, BY ME
  2. Upon being thwarted there he waited outside the bathroom with all the lights turned on for me to emerge, and then scooted inside my bedroom and refused to leave
  3. Woke me at 8:45 a.m. today by screaming out a song in the backyard - 'You got a raindrop, you got a puddle', Michael Jackson style
It seems I will not have a moment's rest for this entire summer. And Patrice's stupid son/daughter-in-law (who of course have many more children than they can afford or control) have just performed yet ANOTHER feat of irresponsible breeding, resulting in baby Troy, who, incredibly, I've not heard a peep from these last two weekends. They'll be barbecuing all day today, which means I must keep the window shut and the blinds drawn lest Anthony see me through the pane and try to climb into my room from outside.

29 May 2004

'The Cure have been playing mope rock for depressed teens since 1976'. MOPE rock, I say!

Lonely Planet has some really good, cynical-bastard travel writing. For instance, this.

Stupid Frank (SHUDDER!) suggested to me that Mary was responsible for the decline of the Cure. Nah, Frank, wouldn't have had anything to do with RS being an old fat cokehead, now would it? Ah, poor Robert, he's so pasty. And huh, the acoustic 'Let's Go to Bed' asserts, 'You think you're tired now but wait until SIX'. Apparently three was too soon to tell.
And to confront the inevitable question before it arises: Ya, the 'man-on-a-bicycle' thing is really common in California. Not as much so as in Rome, where apparently everyone owns a scooter, but common enough to be remarkable.
A mélange, if you will --
  1. Imagine my delight when, perusing the shelves of the 99¢ store, I found a few boxes of generic graham crackers that were in fact Giant Eagle store brand - Giant Eagle being a grocery store from back home (referred to by lazy Pennsylvanians as 'the Big Bird' or just 'the Bird') that doesn't exist in California!


  2. Nobody, I say NOBODY, returns their shopping carts to the shopping cart aisle in California. They put them in the parking spot next to theirs so no-one can park there; they roll them to a stop resting against a random other car's bumper; they physically lift them onto grass or concrete dividers; they push them up hills; but they are COMPLETELY UNWILLING to just walk a few feet and roll them into a neat line in the space meant for them. Today I walked mine back to the shopping cart space, and people all about were staring at me as though I were humping something I shouldn't be.


  3. I just ate a low-fat Albertson's orange creamsicle and it was extraordinary. Almost as good as illicit humping. About which I know nothing.


  4. At the checkout line, the Albertson's girl viewed my squash, green peppers, stupid lite popcorn, heaps of fruit, and 14,327 boxes of Lean Cuisine meals and said, 'You're such a good girl, eating so healthy! You should splurge and get regular popcorn!' Hehe...what she doesn't know is that I ate nearly a whole pizza yesterday (and regret none of it)! So the popcorn becomes, then, rather a moot point.


  5. California freeways run above the surface streets, where in Pennsylvania (at least Western PA) they run below. This means that in PA you have to descend onto the freeway, where in California you mostly ascend. It took me (...counting...) TEN MONTHS to pinpoint that subtle difference that strikes me somewhere vague each time I get onto the freeway. But I'm gonna be an astrophysicist!


  6. Dad and Karen back from Italy today; they called me. Saw all the normal Italian sights in Rome, Venice, and Florence (Sistine Chapel, thousands of museums and churches, the Vatican, the newly-polished David [my favourite]), ate lots of pasta and minestrone, drank lots of wine and Italian beer, had a dinner in the hills of Tuscany after which my father, by his fiancee's giggling description, 'was a dancing machine', took a crowded midday gondola ride with six other people (which is stiflingly romantic), and apparently located the place where, some number of years into the future, they desire to be married. Good for them!


  7. Night before last I dreamt, for the second time since moving out here, of a cup of coffee that cost $17. I was in a Buffalo, NY-like truck stop with nameless others. Problems with this:
    • I don't DRINK coffee! Well, I did two weeks ago with Lalo and Frank (shudder), but that was more of a I'm-trying-desperately-to-improve-my-vision cup of coffee, rather than an I-drink-coffee-for-pleasure cup of coffee. This is proven by the fact that later that morning, when Lalo and I went to Denny's, I ordered another cup of coffee, and it tasted like shit.

    • These dreams were not similar but IDENTICAL - coffee in both, same location in both, same orangey quality of dream in both, exact same PRICE of overpriced coffee in both! Which prompts many questions, such as, Why am I dreaming about expensive coffee? What economic/psychic significance do these dreams hold? What significance lies in the number 17? Why am I dreaming about bloody expensive COFFEE? I could be dreaming about old RC, you know (no emails on that one, please), but no, it's COFFEE!


  8. 'If only tonight we could sleep/in a bed made of flowers' ... And exactly what good would that be, Robert? A bed of flowers doesn't change what the morning brings. You ask the question as though the beautifying of something painful heals it. Nah. We had so many sweet nights and everything still ended up grey. The flowers are nice but they don't change the trajectory of anything. You must've been young and idealistic when you wrote that.


  9. Every now and again (early yesterday evening, for instance), I zone out while in the bathroom and find myself fantasizing about being proposed to. It's really quite pitiful. As I'll never have that, I should probably stop rehearsing for it.


  10. Relatedly, newly-engaged snob S and her fiance R stopped by to see C after work yesterday (which, I believe, is what prompted the pot-perching reverie). J and G performed the obligatory moaning and shrieking over her ring, which is HUGE. I, being across the bank on the platform side, managed to escape having to fawn all over her, until C began screaming for me to ask me some wedding-planning question or another. I went to her desk where they were all sitting. C said 'Show her your ring, S'. I replied, 'I can see it! It's lovely, blargle blag, congratulations blarg.' S didn't even look at me. R kind of smirked and said thank you, I think. And C, great friend that she is, turned to S and whispered, 'She's just jealous'. She then compelled me to stay behind the teller line to help her verify cash, and began calling me Jenny-fer, which only increased when I became genuinely irritated and demanded that she stop. 'Help me count this cash, Jenny-fer. Jenny-fer, please stamp these straps, Jenny-fer. Thank you so much for your hard work, Jenny-fer.' That's her sense of humour, the one everyone responds to as though she's the wit of the ages. It KILLS me.


  11. And related to that (I may as well just get all the bellyaching out of the way at once): A few weeks ago, the very same day that he was there all day working at the desk next to mine, one of our regular customers came in. She'd recently been mugged by a guy on a bicycle, and she was telling us the latest chapter in her horribly unlucky story, that being that over the weekend someone had broken into her house. She'd found the pillows and sheets on her bed all in disarray. C, with wit sharpened, quips (loudly, of course, so everyone in the office can hear her), 'Somebody's been sleeping in my bed!' He, sitting right next to me, chuckles. I looked over at him, surprised. He looked back at me, as though I'd caught him doing something weird.


  12. The lilting end of 'Last Goodbye' by Jeff Buckley is, it has been determined, even more pleasing and beautiful than the little lilting singing part that ends 'Icing Sugar' by the Cure. It should be noted that the version of 'Last Goodbye' containing the most pleasing lilting end is the one during the live show in Chicago (in which he actually pronounces the word 'over'), followed by the one on 'Mystery White Boy' (in which he does not pronounce the word 'over' but sings it most beautifully), followed then by the acoustic bonus version on the Live in Chicago DVD (in which he dispenses with the lilting singing and just rasps 'It's over over over over over over over...'). Very scientific, that determination was, involving much listening and many pretzels.


  13. I was driving on Eighth Street and was stopped at the stop sign at Victoria, and somebody had a sprinkler going in their yard. I could feel a light spray from it, and it reminded me of walking round the Point in the summertime with my shoes off and putting my feet into the fountain and eating funnel cakes at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Apparently my joy from the sprinkler and its madeleine-like effect was such that I started speaking out loud - 'That feels so good!' A man on a bicycle passed by and whistled at me. Childlike joy is sexy, don't you know?

27 May 2004

Superficially things are grand for the moment: early pay tomorrow, three-day weekend, someone's buying us a nice goopy PIZZA for lunch tomorrow (quite welcome after a week straight of three vegetable meals a day), and 'Hanging on the Telephone' was playing when I entered the circuit room yesterday. But Gram's still dead, Josh's still heartbroken, I'm still lonely, my brother's still homeless, and the book still SUCKS! I keep thinking of Gram and I just can't believe I'm not going to be there to pay my proper respects. I looked at flights last night; the cheapest is about $420, which is completely out of my current spending ability. It's not as though I'd be much help anyhow, as Josh suffers decidedly ALONE, and he'll be devoting most of his time to comforting his mum. Plus I can't mention how pissed off MY family and Lindsay would be if they knew I spent all that money to come in for two days but didn't go to see them, especially since then I'd be expected to fly in if one of my own family members passed. So it's definitely a no-go; but I feel guilty that I can't be there for him and his family all the same. He was there for me when Uncle Paul died, which is the closest I've ever come to experiencing the death of a family member. He went to the viewing with the rest of my family even though he'd only met Paul like three times, and was more respectful than most of Paul's real family, and even defended Paul's honour to someone he didn't even know. But it's ridiculous to dwell on it; I can't be there, and the most I can do is take a nice big rose to her and Pap in July when I can be there. It's very odd that I don't feel more helpless and enraged than I do currently; perhaps I'm on the verge of yet another short-lived religious conversion. I'm such a spiritual adulteress.

26 May 2004

Spoke to Lindsay today, first time in ages. She and Sean and two unruly kitties have made a new glorious home on Mount Royal Boulevard and have taken to eating ice cream from a local homemade shop each night. The kitties are having difficulties with drippy bums. Apparently this drippiness is caused by a combination of slight illness with the constant appearance of an intimidating cat from round the area. This bully cat turns up and one Lindsay-cat, Figaro, flees, and the other, Artemis, shits. Later on, it seems, Figaro shits too, in the spirit of brotherhood. Just the other day she had to hose them off in their carrier and then turn it on its end, fill it with water, and let them soak. This is social pain with which I can identify on a deeply personal level. Lindz, so she tells me, was in the bathroom a few days ago with Sean, both leaned over the tub washing their poor misfit cats, when Sean blurted out, 'Why doesn't Jenny move back to Pennsylvania and rent out the other apartment?' - because the house they bought has, as you may have guessed, two apartments in it. I thought it quite nice that her husband, who doesn't really know me too well and has been subjected to far too many of our Monday nights together in his own home (we used to hang out at his apartment even before they got married and she was actually living there), was randomly struck with that particular Jenny-retrieving sentiment. I would love to go back home - I would really love to just give up on all this and retreat back and be able to be with Josh and Lindsay all the time, and be comfortable, and try to finish school at one of the substandard PA schools. Alas, it cannot be. The guilt and disappointment I would feel in myself at GIVING UP would be strangling, even more strangling than the loneliness. Even more.

Opened two accounts for an eccentric businesswoman and her two fine-looking sons this morning, wearing the punk eyeglasses and looking wholly unruly. This woman owns fifteen businesses, runs them all out of her house, and is, though her sons are 25 and 33 (and both insane entrepreneurs as well), travelling for a month to Amsterdam and Kazakhstan to adopt two five-year-old girls which she will then raise as (mostly) her own. I find her fascinating and quite alarming, and also an insufferable SNOB. I explained the account I'd be opening for her today; she, in reply, turned away from me, to T (whose customer she is, from the other bank, remember your history), and said, 'I realise this girl doesn't know who I am, but I'll be keeping at least $60,000 in one account at any given time, and I don't want to even have to THINK about minimum balance requirements.' T grinned like he was eating shit and acquiesced happily, partly because she's rather pretty and partly because she's right. It's not like I've never heard someone say, 'I don't want to have to worry about a minimum balance requirement' before. It was mostly that first clause that stuck on me - 'I realise this girl doesn't know who I am'. I can only hope to someday be worthy enough that that be revealed to me.

and yeah, I haven't heard from Chris since last Friday, and neither has anybody else. Trying not to mope too much to that end, but I've no idea what is happening to/with him and that, also, is alarming. The Unshakeable Faith Mechanism is doing double duty, which at least allows me to sleep most of the night, and write about things other than the feeling of impending doom I get whenever I think about him.
Gram has died, Josh's mum's mum, this afternoon. She'd had cancer ten times, they'd killed it and it kept coming back. She'd been put into the hospital with pneumonia a month or two ago, and that was it, she just wasn't able to pull through. Josh told me that towards the end she wasn't even able to see or hear. All her kids (her remnants here) are really excellent people, and I feel comforted that she's finally with Pap again, who died just after we graduated from high school and who Josh was retarded close to. He liked his grandparents more than his own parents - his mum and dad bought a house just down the street from Gram and Pap when they married, so Josh grew up very close to them. He's told me about a million times how he would come home from school and go straight to Gram's, and she'd have cucumbers and sour cream or peach cobbler made just for him. I feel so awful that I can't be there for him, as the funeral's going to be really bad. I knew this would happen, though - I knew she would go at some point, and I knew it would be while I was still living out here, and I knew there'd be no way for me to physically comfort him. And his mum's even worse - her fiance just died in December, on Christmas Eve of all days. Actually it was in the funeral home for David that I last saw Gram and hugged her; that kind of makes me feel sort of ill. She was so fucking wonderful, to everybody, to me, to Josh especially - the things she's done for him, the times she's comforted him through his problems and gave him huge sums of money without expecting him to pay it back when he had financial trouble, just the fact that she was such a sweet little mother to him, at many points when his own mother was unable to be. But there's no question that in treating her so heavily for all the cancer and the related ailments we were just biding time - she was really ill and I think everyone knew there was no turning back. I imagine her and Pap now (though I never met Pap), strolling along, her with nice tiny breasts (she was a TINY thing and she always used to complain about her huge boobs and how she hated them cause they killed her back so she couldn't walk!), Pap wearing the Old Man Hat that Josh used to wear around for a long time after he died (until he lost it, in a Borders parking lot we believe, which was an all-night crying affair in itself). Goodbye and love to you, Laverne Watterson, I hope you're doing okay now.

25 May 2004

I was helping C put away cash in the vault towards the end of the day, and she said, incredibly, 'Do you feel like your boobs look smaller today? Cause I think they look kind of smaller today, compared to usual'

*sputter* WHAT???? As though she's a busty little tart herself. I've been exercising! The bust is the first to go! eesh...and of course I've got to respond, there's no possible way to actually ACT OFFENDED with her, she just digs the ridicule in deeper. Thus I was forced to engage, red-faced, in an actual conversation about the size of my own--!! aaaah! I'd thought I'd redeemed myself slightly by helping her and T figure out a HUGE general ledger problem this morning/afternoon, but towards the end of the day I became responsible for a problem that, though originating in the idiot farm that is Riverside's New Accounts, ultimately cost the Corona office $180, and apparently at that point it was decided I was open for all shots.

24 May 2004

this is so retarded cool, it's way past my bedtime and i'm sitting here shrieking about the sausage factory and Alasdair in and out of the lockers! And their CREEPY DAD!
S, C's henchwoman in Riverside, has gotten engaged to her IT-wizard boyfriend, and none other than C shall be playing the role of the whale of honour (catty phraseage courtesy of Jami). The bank job has nudged itself just past 'insufferable' to...uh, whatever charred blackness it is that lies on the nether side of 'insufferable'. You can be sure to expect no small quantity of whinging, bellyaching, and emphatic exclamations of 'Crap!' in this space until round about next June.

Also, Maritza is moving to Nebraska for medical school, which means I will have to brave this summer's PT show(s) all alone, and somehow singlehandedly devise a plan to make SW mine, without dear M who can just walk right up to him, tell him how great she thinks he is, and end up speaking to him for an hour and obtaining his personal email address (sadly there are photos to prove it). BLEH

Also worth noting is that I did find myself a rather large and shapely SPOON for administering my shampoos, and it is quite pleasingly NON-STICK

23 May 2004

Just received an email from Jami, a friend from high school with an ultra-feminine sort of demeanor who just had a baby and has taken to painting her toenails red, wearing diamonds in her ears, and outfitting her in lace. Jami's twin sister was taunting her today about her daughter growing up to be a tomboy, and they both laughed and said
'remember how we always told jen that if she and josh had kids they'd be republicans?'
yeah, they always told me that, all right - when we were fifteen, I was still repulsed by the very notion of an episiotomy, and I was intent on maintaining my delicious teenagerish love/hate relationship with Josh, the jerk.
and so to provide some levity against that last post, I shall now put forth the Welsh Cockle Pie recipe, which affords me no small amount of joy

Ingredients:
1 quart cockles
1 cup water
1 bunch Spring onions
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup of milk
pinch of pepper
short-crust pastry

  1. Leave cockles in slightly salted water sprinkled with oatmeal overnight

  2. Drain and scrub thoroughly

  3. Place in a saucepan of salted water for 3 minutes until the shells open

  4. When cool remove cockles from their shells

  5. Line the sides of a pie dish with shortcrust pastry

  6. Cover the bottom of the dish with cockles

  7. Chop up the onions and sprinkle over the cockles

  8. Add a layer of finely chopped bacon

  9. Repeat, ending with a layer of cockles

  10. Pour in the liquid in which the cockles were boiled

  11. Add pepper to taste

  12. Use strips of pastry to criss-cross the top and brush with milk

  13. Cook for 20-25 minutes in oven at gas mark 7, 425F

here is a British variation which seems even more mouthwatering

Ingredients:
900ml (1½ pints) Cooked Cockles
600ml (1 pint) Milk
225g (8oz) Streaky Bacon
110g (4oz) Fresh Breadcrumbs
75g (3oz) Caerphilly Cheese
50g (2oz) Plain Flour
25g (1oz) Butter
1 medium Onion
4 tbsp Dry White wine
3 tbsp Fresh chives

  1. Melt the butter in a pan, add the rinded and chopped bacon and chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is transparent.

  2. Add flour and cook for a further minute, stirring constantly.

  3. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk.

  4. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens then boils and becomes smooth.

  5. Add the cockles, wine and snipped chives and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

  6. Place the mixture into an oven-pie dish.

  7. Mix the breadcrumbs and grated cheese together and sprinkle on top.

  8. Place under a hot grill for 5 minutes, until golden brown.
no pastry on that last one, and I do hate using the broiler, but ohh, the addition of cheese!

#1 at http://www.hookerycookery.com/welsh06.htm
#2 at http://www.thefoody.com/fish/welshcocklepie.html
OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN are driving me nuts today. Patrice's son/daughter-in-law/grandkids are here in full force all weekend, which means that in addition to locking my door against the fiendish milkstealer each time I go out, I have to keep it locked while I'm in the room lest little Anthony burst in at any moment and plop himself onto my bed. Not that a locked door is any deterrent to him; upon finding the door locked last evening, he proceeded to bang on it and throw himself against it with vigor, the little bastard. Generally I like kids, and I'm actually very good with them (probably for the same reason that my dad was always good with little kids, his own especially - because I speak to them like little adults) - but it's quite uncertain as to whether this particular womb will ever be bearing any. When I was between 12 and 15 or so, I had a horrible revulsion to the idea of giving birth - I've a fairly weak stomach for gore, and the idea of afterbirth was almost enough to make me faint dead. That phase passed, though, probably with my beginning to date and realising that I wouldn't mind having a family - upon which I entered a disgusting fantasy world littered with as many as six children, a happy lovely family life, etc. I chose names, and appended them to the surnames of boyfriends. That all ended shortly after falling in love with Josh, when I actually became pregnant, and realised exactly how unfit I was for any mothering activities. That situation was remedied, but not easily, and the subsequent state of our relationship and our attitudes was/is not especially family-oriented. I must say that my desire for children has been on a steep wane since I was about 19. We both (listen to me talk as though we're still together) want these huge, grand, narcissistic artistic things for our lives; I think we both feel that our own sensitivity to and difficulty with actually living is more than enough responsibility. Of course there's the added fears of me being like my mother, him being like his father, and both of us being rather weird, quirky folk on top of it all.

22 May 2004

A weird thing about me is that though I dislike seafood and do not eat it, I love to read recipes for fish and clams and the like. I'm so tempted to post this recipe I have for Welsh Cockle Pie that I drool over regularly, even though I'm nearly 100% sure I hate cockles, but I'm feeling as though that might be a little weird. Maybe tomorrow.

21 May 2004

And something that just made me smile: the outcome of the derm appointment was a diagnosis of something called tinea versicolor, which needs to be treated with two different creams/suspensions. I asked the doctor how exactly I was meant to administer those to my own back. She suggested the curved side of a large plastic SPOON. Back at the office, I told this to C and J. J, looking worried, offered quite lovingly to apply the suspensions to me each day before we left work. This was AFTER I actually showed her what the rash looks like. Ah, so she thinks I'm schoolmarmish with the geek glasses; I suppose when it comes down to it she's lovely in spite of that.
And one more stinky thing, which I wasn't going to write about at all but now think maybe I should, in case I need to get the facts straight later. As we all know, the milkstealer puts me quite on edge. As we also all know, I'm exceptionally anal-retentive and meticulous with finances. I balance my checkbook to the penny. I know how much cash I have on me at all times and keep the bills all facing the same way and in descending denomination (years as a teller will do this to anyone). Alright, so yesterday morning before - right before - I left for work, I hear pitiful knocking on my door. The milkstealer is there. She's arrived on the pretense of wondering whether I received the $50 she left on my dresser. She hopes I didn't mind her coming into my room, but 'it was open, and...' as she said. Indeed, for I am more than ever a ripe fool. She tells me a sob story about having just had her wallet stolen with $650 in cash plus a $350 check in it. I make the appropriate sounds and back away slowly, and eventually get to work. I bought lunch that afternoon and I ended up with $41 in cash left. It was still in my purse last night upon arriving home, as I didn't go anywhere after work. This morning I woke up around 9:00 and showered. No, NO, I didn't lock the door. As I was coming out of the bathroom, someone was entering the laundry room (located, sigh, five paces from my bedroom door) and closing the door; the light was on inside, and as Patrice leaves at 6:00 am for work every day, there's not much question who the occupant was. In the afternoon I had my derm appointment. Opened the purse to pay the copayment; one $20 bill was missing. Look, a person who once handled $60,000 worth of cash in a till does not leave a $20 bill lying on a restaurant counter; I've thought and thought about it and it's out of the question. Alright, it's just $20. But actually, no, it's $20 PLUS feeling uncomfortable in a place I pay to live in PLUS having to lock the door and pocket the keys everytime I want to shower, pee, make dinner. Rather irritating, ne?
It's sad about G. The more I think of it, the more I realise that. Everyone at work's fed up with her, because she's whiny, irritating, easily flustered and annoying. She is that way at work. She's tense and she hardly smiles, and when she does smile it's a completely different smile than the nice one, and all her teeth look sharp and yellow and evil. I don't like who she is at work. I like being around her, going to dinner, hanging out at her house with her cool kids - but I can't stand her at work. She transforms, she's argumentative and batty, she talks over you and acts weird. True, some of that is attributed to her natural personality, but it's all outlined in charcoal when she's under you-know-who's oppressive regime.

Just spoke to Josh briefly; Chris spoke to him even more briefly but never asked to stay there, the stubborn shit. Ah, he'll figure himself out, I have this ridiculous abiding faith. I think it's that, the fact that I have no spiritual life whatsoever yet am capable of almost superhuman faith in situations where most other people would be helpless and desperate, which has and will continue to keep me alive.

And the Jeff Buckley DVD was, as expected, monumentally gorgeous, with lots of dramatic crooning and sillinesses. There's a world of regrets surrounding that man, but the number one would be that a live performance of 'Everybody Here Wants You' was never able to be captured. I just want to see what his face would have looked like while he was singing that...'I'll be waiting right here just to show you...'
Met G for dinner at that fantastic Italian restaurant. She'd spent 11 hours at Riverside helping out. Ah, the food was SO good and she had that smile that she has when C is not around. She told me that around 5:00 he walked past the front line for what must've been the eleventh time and said, 'When'd you get here?' 'Only around 8:30 this morning. Why ever do you ask?' was the reply. He's such an oblivious asshole.

Just got off the phone with Chris, who's spent part of the last week at his friend Bill's house (Bill who is a seriously bad influence yet somehow managed to put my brother up not just for a few nights this week but most of the two weeks after he was kicked out, in his parents' home) and the other part sleeping in an abandoned garage. Unfortunately someone called the police and the garage is no longer an option. He told me he just called to hear my voice. I told him to call me again tomorrow and he said, 'Is tomorrow the weekend?' He doesn't even fucking know what day of the week it is. But someone (presumably the ambiguous Bill) gave him some clean clothes and food last night, and he's applied for a part-time job at a gas station at which he's got an old friend, and he's going to call Josh and see if he can stay there for tonight, so we're taking it as it rolls at us and doing OK. My dad's in Italy for the next week, so we just need to get through this next week finding him somewhere to stay, and then my dad will work his dad magic and will pull through with one of the deals he's been working on (either some kind of shelter or the YMCA). He just called to hear my voice. How about that.

20 May 2004

Once a week each branch ships out excess cash according to what the branch's allotted limit is. V and New Accounts #2 processed Riverside's outgoing shipment yesterday in a terrible rush and with, it must be said, even taking into account that neither of them are trained to be a vault teller, not much collective brainpower. As a result, they overlooked the fact that they'd included the vault bait money, which contains the DYE PACK, in the shipment cash. As soon as the armored carrier stepped over the threshold of the door, the bag of cash EXPLODED. Yeah, because that's what it does. It doesn't just leak out and drip on your shoe. It absolutely DETONATES. Of course all the money was stained, and the carrier was covered HEAD TO TOE in unremoveable red dye. He turned on his heel, from what I hear, walked right back to the front line, threw the bag over, and said 'Here's your cash back', and walked out the door without shipment, his skin smoking slightly from the dye. I've never heard T laugh so hard; it was like someone kept pinching his bum and refused to stop. We were instructed to not call Riverside, AT ALL, for ANY REASON, today.

19 May 2004

quote from brother
i'm inside tonight so it's pretty good
hopes, reduced to their barest

also, a harrowing 35-minute conversation with mum today, right at my desk so that I believe J heard the whole stinking thing, me trying to compress my voice into dust and not lose control as i told her the horrific weekend Chris'd just spent out of doors and she responded with, 'He's manipulating you, Jen'. She says this because she wants so badly for it to be true, for me to be so recklessly open to suggestion, so recklessly out of tune with someone who is so like me.

brother:
i just ate
and i feel myself filled up with satisfaction as though it was me who ate food.

'Mystery White Boy' is such patchwork beauty I can hardly stand it

The haiku thing (one haiku a day for 100 days, each participant mails his to all others) is going to real mail, not email, and as much as I would love the thrill of seventeen syllables of mail per day, that's an awful lot of bank postage for me to...er, use shamelessly. Even postcardwise it'd be a lot. Must think on it carefully, even as I've already written one haiku and am escalating into terrible excitement at the prospect of this gloriousness.

Returned 'Four Contemporary French Plays' without reading 'The Madwoman of Chaillot'. I'm rather narcissistically immersed in my own writing at the moment, forgive me.
ah, the bird from yesterday died, it saddens me. i guess that's what falling in love is like, you hear and smell these creatures around you everyday in abstract mass until one falls out of the sky and makes its features intensely painfully KNOWN to you.

18 May 2004

me, grunting on the tricep-working thingy at the gym, sopping wet sweating
a lady who i recognise having seen before in the circuit room
she's STARING at me
[our eyes meet in the mirror]
'I was trying to figure out what's different, you don't have your glasses!' she exclaims
i let out a gut laugh/groan of suffering at someone remembering my face
'You're so PRETTY!' she smiles
huh? ... oh! thanks. i still can't believe that even as i've only grunted beside you maybe four or five times at most you recognise my face enough to be able to notice that nuance. plus the exertion of talking to you while exercising is making my breathing all wonky and i'm DYING
although--yesterday i saw a girl who was in the very first yoga class i ever took but who i haven't seen since, who in the yoga class was admiring another girl's implants and saying she was going for them herself next month, and the other girl said she'd probably want bigger than what she was getting, and OH GOD she'd got them and they don't need to be any bloody bigger, before she was wearing dumpy t-shirts and a ballcap and yesterday she was wearing the Britney Spears Workout outfit, eh. But then that's California for you. constant metamorphosis.

then i went home and found a dying bird in the street. put him on a leaf in the shade (Patrice, cruel and capitalistic, suggested throwing him in the trash, just as he blinked) but unsure as to whether he'll make it. last i saw he was prowling for blueberry-shaped bugs.

today he arrived unexpectedly/expectedly and C immediately fell on him, asking what he was doing for lunch. they ended up going out together to some grill and coming back ten minutes late. is sixty minutes not a reasonable measure of time for them to be together, that they have to dig it in and nudge it to seventy? B, lending officer and all-around weirdo, asked me sometime along where C was. I told him that she and he had gone to lunch together. his grimace was swift and hideous, made all the more so by his extremely left-tending lazy eye. oooohh, was i was hoping he would publicly discipline her for cutting into my lunch hour with her brazen seduction of a coworker, but alas, no, i believe in that hope i was forgetting that EVERYBODY LOVES HER. he, he, of course didn't say a word to me, not hello (and not goodbye since i was out to lunch when he departed), nothing, and of course i had little to say to him. i've just recently acquired the ability to talk in front of him. it's all bloody hopeless and besides, i'm still pining for Josh, remember?

and dad finally made contact with Chris, and is trying to find him a room and so on. mum wrote me today asking yet again how Chris is (as though she can't guess), saying she had a feeling i was mad about something, and that she was sorry for going on about asking about Chris but that she is 'just being a mom'. arg, but if that doesn't put an icepick in the forebrain.

17 May 2004

a list of things, as i'm too tired for paragraphs
  1. Just ended a phone conversation with my unfortunate younger sibling, who is bedding down at Josh's tonight, sounds thoroughly despondent and unshaven but still quite alive, and has promised to speak to my father tomorrow


  2. 'I am a railroad track abandoned'


  3. Bought some exceptional coconut-lime body butter which i owned once, left in PA upon my move west, and could not wrangle from the grip of Josh, who is still chief custodian of all my superfluous cosmetics


  4. The milkstealer, late last week, deposited the much-anguished-for $50 onto my dresser whilst I showered


  5. John did NOT die over the weekend, but had quarts upon quarts of blood drained from the surface of his poor quivering brain, and if John can make it with a stroke and diabetes and a bleeding brain and heart troubles and a generally disagreeable personality, so can my well-meaning but ill-tempered brother


  6. Patrice keeps walking up and down the hall outside my room spraying air-freshener, which only sharpens my goading sense of self-doubt (alright, I may not know anything about fashion, but I am hygienic! see no. 2!)


  7. Am the proud soon-to-be-owner of one (1) 'Jeff Buckley Live in Chicago 2000' DVD, as well as a fresh bag of delectable Butter Snaps purchased at Albertson's


  8. Chris has gotten a job landscaping


  9. I doubt my ability to ever thoroughly and satisfactorily forgive my mother, or speak to her without a twitch in my eye


  10. I've also been having morbid phantasies of late in which I have to fly home early for The Funeral That Shall Never Be and finally get to tell Phyllis and Theresa, twin harpies of the same womb as my Medusean mother, to fuck off and die


  11. Phyllis's middle name is Agnes; is it the ugly name that makes the ugly person?


  12. Like an eighth-grader, I saved a piece of paper on which he, in his terrible left-handed penmanship, wrote down my password for something or other: J3nnY. God, but I love clever men


  13. I read 'Caligula' and laughed thoroughly; it's not a far stretch from Camus's Caligula to your average native Californian, who, with the belief that his is at the top of the pyramid of destinies, will speed past you in a lane that's ending, across the white line, and into the shoulder, just to prolong till the very end that moment when he has to sacrifice the lamb of his own fucking ego and MERGE WITH TRAFFIC. god, but I miss the east coast


  14. Relatedly, ate some amazing Italian food with G on Friday lunch at a place owned by a gentleman from Pittsburgh; he's from the Monongahela Valley, Monessen (where Josh and I like to drive in the autumn) and we shared a moment of bonding while both remembering a good expensive Italian restaurant on Rt. 51 just before the tubes


  15. Rereading 'The Prisoner of Azkaban', more for the great personality of Remus Lupin (does he realise he shares a name with the older and quite formidable Fujiko-chasing Lupin III, do-do-do-do-dooooo?) and all those encounters with dementors than for the impending (stinky) film


  16. Adam has a crush on Fujiko, even as she's animated, and everyone teases him about it


  17. 'I can't help from looking outside for a guarantee' - now I understand why Geek Boy is addicted to that line


  18. I feel really stupid at having searched for the better part of five minutes for the APC record in the A's when in fact it was in the P's. I was unaware that the article 'a' was subject to the same frivolous, disrespectful droppage that 'the' apparently enjoys. Forgive me, I'm really not very smart


  19. ...the continent is an island and so are we, all things floating with a barrier of space between them and other things. Even the ocean an island. The gulls are islands, the fly crawling in the heelstrike of my first footprint in the sand an island. But I do not believe the bridges we build to each other are artificial. I believe they are real, realer than any synthetic bridge which everyone builds but nobody loves and everybody has to spend money for. Love, friendship. Does this gull always stand, always walk, never rest? (San Juan Capistrano, 4/3/04)


  20. I miss my brother and want to hold him in my arms.

16 May 2004

new discography, acquired on the birthday wishes/giftcards of others
  1. A Perfect Circle, 'Mer de Noms' :: This took me forever to find, because it was filed in the 'P' section, not the 'A' section. I had a copy of it once upon a time, bought for me (I believe) by the boy at the hallowed Record Exchange (now just called the Exchange), which I lent to my brother about a year and a half ago, which has since been swallowed into the void, and which I have been long craving. The whole record is mindblowingly pleasing. How I wish 'Thirteenth Step' was so dazzling.


  2. Jeff Buckley, 'Mystery White Boy' :: I intended to buy 'Grace' but alas there was nary a copy. This is live recordings from all over the globe and while the actual quality of the recording leaves a lot to be desired (you can barely hear the music for 'Mojo Pin' until like 1:00 into the song), his voice is sweet and aching and his songs make me squeal like a little girl.


  3. The Police, 'Outlandos d'Amour' :: I needed to have some Police, and this one seems to be lesser-known, as well as having once made an appearance on SW's playlist.
Also listening to:
  1. Bjork, 'Debut' :: In the wonderment of 'Post' and 'Vespertine' I'd forgotten how grand and Sugarcubeish her, uh, debut actually was. Spinning it constantly now.


  2. Jeff Buckley, 'Sketches for my sweetheart, the drunk' :: But of course. The boy always knows just what rib to pluck on me musicwise.

Things are bad here, though. Not here, physically here, but in life. Thursday night I spoke to Chris via IM; it was his last night in wherever he was, and he was generally going to go sleep on the streets. The conversation started out well enough but deteriorated quickly. It's the end, he tells me, he has nothing and no-one, he can't trust anyone, he hasn't eaten or taken a solid shit in two weeks, he doesn't want to sell drugs all his life. I begged him to find a shelter, offered to email him my phone card instructions so he could get in touch with our parents or someone, reminded him we were trying to buy him a port authority pass so he could have transportation and thereby get a job, he refused everything. It's the end. He's going to die on the streets, he tells me, and he expects it and he feels that anything else, trying to get a job, trying to finish the GED, trying to go to a shelter, is postponing the inevitable. What am I supposed to do, get him on a bus to California so he can come live with me and start new? Even if he would accept that it would be impossible. I can't provide for him and myself and I shouldn't be expected to; that's what PARENTS are for. To that end, my mother had this to say on Thursday: 'Is Chris doing ok? God, I'm worried for him. We're going away this weekend for our anniversary. Do me a favor, sweetie, don't mention to him that the house will be empty'. No, no, but of course not, we wouldn't want him to have somewhere to sleep. I've no idea where he is or what is happening and I spoke to my dad on Friday morning and he is all out of ideas and so generally we're just waiting to get a call, not a good call, a bad bad call from someone who's found my brother's body, and that waiting and not knowing is eating away at me. I can't think of anything else. John who used to work with me had a stroke a few weeks ago, and the bleeding on the brain has resumed, and on Friday we got a call at the branch saying he wasn't expected to live on till Monday morning. So all his friends and family are waiting for him to die. I feel the same. Something bad is coming and it's incomprehensible and terrible and if I try to prepare myself for it, I think 'Fuck, I'm being really selfish, do I want for him to die? why am I thinking these things? shouldn't I be praying for him to be spirited safely somewhere safe?' but when I try to think everything will be ok, I feel like I'm being lied to. No-one knows where he is. He's been on the streets for two weeks. No-one cares where he is and no-one can find him. He's selling again, he's using again, it's a matter of time. My father says so and I'm a six-year-old girl and he knows everything. We've tried everything. And I keep trying to think of him like J told me about his brother, taking trains across Germany and transforming his despair into something quiet and private and borne of freedom instead, but it doesn't fit and I have no hope for that. So I went out with Lalo on Friday night and it was awful, because I was in a different place mourning something. He's something of an idiot but even he noticed, and we were sitting in the pagoda in downtown Riverside and he said 'You're not at all here'. Not 'part of you is missing' but 'you're not at all here'. I don't know if that was fair but he's a penchant for exaggeration and so I conceded the point and we commenced to get stupendously drunk. Well, I commenced doing so. I think he was already drunk when I arrived, which is wholly unsurprising. I realised once again that he really bugs me when I'm sober. and wider than that I realised how little tolerance I have for most of the people I meet outside a professional setting. all of which combined (with a fifth of something good-tasting) to make me so exceptionally intoxicated i could not see more than five inches in any direction. somewhere along the line we met a guy named Frank wearing a Cramps shirt who was very, very smart and who I talked to about all sorts of political and musical things while Lalo snoozed somewhere feeling shunned no doubt. Sometime in the small hours i was in a beautiful lounge in the Mission Inn drinking the most delicious cup of coffee that ever existed. During this time Frank and I discussed Iraq, Hussein, Bremer and Bush, Crowley, the quality of Satanic women, and Antigone, and he gave me his telephone number, which I quite clearly did NOT want. Made it back to my car round 3:45. Listened to 'Debut' twice through. Frank told me he'd been told he was good (no, goooood) in bed, and that he had a thing for 'fat chicks' (and that made me feel like GOLD, let me tell you). He asked for my number, asked if I would meet him in downtown again tomorrow (last eve). I, sobered slightly, had the good sense to keep my bag wound tight round the shoulder facing away from him and decline politely, telling him I was still pining terribly for someone far away. Like I want to fucking date a 31-year-old with 2 kids who finds my feet attractive. He departed (thank god). Lalo awoke on the backseat (the same one he'd puked on last fall) and we went to Denny's (only slightly better than the one in Youngstown OH) where i ate a sandwich and he ate French toast. somehow made it home. slept till three. awoke in the throes of despair, yet to shake it, even as I just ended a conversation with My Saviour Josh during which he showered me with sweet things, offered to share the futon with me in July (!!), told me he loved me crazily, and mourned with me for my brother's doom. John died over the weekend. Everyone knew it was coming. What about us, what do we know is coming, what are we supposed to do?

13 May 2004

uncomfortable bad day today, though i can't really put my finger on exactly why. very busy. T noticed i was quiet and asked if i was ok. C noticed too, and true to form treated me more nastily yet, alternating between whispering to J right in front of me while ignoring me, and making me feel utterly useless in every task i endeavoured. it seems impossible that i get through a solid work week without having malicious thoughts about her. top of the week she's lending me her digital camera, letting me stay at her house, orchestrating the birthday bonanza; by Friday the whispering's begun and she's asking me snarkily why i didn't bother to do any research before i came to her asking help with a problem. i'm at a helpless loss to reconcile her two faces.

Ms. B did turn up eventually, too - she called sometime last week, the same day he was working at the desk next to me all day, from a hospital, asking me how much she had in her account and whether it was enough to buy cigarettes. Everyone got a good laugh out of me exclaiming passionately, 'I'm so glad you're alive!' to her. Evidently that is not the appropriate thing to have said. eh, i was caught in the moment.

Milkstealer just came to introduce one of her pretty friends, M. everyone always smells so nice and has such pretty cheekbones and is NOT REAL. i just want to drink my grape juice and work on my thingy which is hiding behind a rock for days now LEAVE ME ALONE! thankfully the CD List Guy described himself as anti-social (in the shy, pathetic sense, not the carbombing deviant sense) so i will not have to impress yet another pretty person with my dreadful haiku. we're all in this together it seems
i'm quite pleased to announce that after months of toil and subversive threats, my work telephone has finally been changed from 'Rosemary' to 'Jenny', and not even by him either, the jerk, but just before he arrived yesterday, by a kind Englishman named Simon who grinned madly when I picked up the handset, dropped it down again, and saw my name.

12 May 2004

egad, one more thing. in the boy's card (a silly one full of an inside joke about high school French we seem to still share) was inscribed this lyric
i can't help from looking outside for a guarantee
it's from a JB song. was entirely unsure as to the meaning of it, so listened to the song, and read the lyrics in full. still in the dark. asked the boy about it. he chuckled nervously - 'it's just a good quote, is all'. he NEVER pays attention to lyrics. a good illustration of this regards the song 'Where We Would Be' by Porcupine Tree. we were lying round listening to it one day, and we heard the lines
...where we would be when the future comes
And how you would paint while I wrote my songs
and the boy, dear but bumbling, says 'that's what it'll be for us, we'll have a house, you can write your stories while i compose my songs'. Of course the sweetness of this was not lost on me, but the fact remains that the song is NOT a love song with the narrator saying 'Yes, everything's pink, i'm a singer and she's a painter and we're in love', but actually a really SAD song (it makes me cry when i hear it now, partly because of this episode) in which the narrator is reminiscing about a woman he loved and made grand plans with, but was separated from and is horribly wistful for.

I was always the one deciphering lyrics - he would bring home death metal records and have me sit with my ear to the speaker trying to figure out what the fuck was being said (growled) - and he was always the one talking about chord changes and dropping the D and 'crazy arpeggios'. But he noticed this line (granted, JB does repeat it fourteen thousand times in the song, and it is perhaps the single most beautifully sung line in rock music), enough to remember it, keep it with him, AND put it in a postscript on my card. It's either the power of JB or a changed Josh indeed!
also today i went to the pharmacy to fill the antibiotic (anti-greenies) prescription and
  1. it only cost $3.56 (where in PA my copay was $20)
  2. printed on the, er, printout for the prescription was 'Happy Birthday for 5/10/04!'
how lovely! of course, i was made to endure 'counselling' from the kindly Vietnamese pharmacist who asked me quite in earshot of the gentleman waiting behind me exactly what kind of infection i was hoping to treat (to which I blushed deeply and dropped my eyes to my waist), but eh, i'll weigh the differences.

and for those really hoping for mother/daughter reconciliation, spoke to mum monday and promised not to yell at her anymore for being an idiot. made no further concessions. she wished me happy birthday and bade me keep the check. brother's whereabouts still unknown, but i spoke to him Sunday-into-Monday via IM and am ever hopeful.

finally i must say, with regard to belle de jour (grr, want to change that to DU so very very badly, it kills me to read it every time) who has entranced the world with her writing, that i'm rather disappointed of late. she's funny as shit when writing about the dynamic of having sex for money. that's the selling point, hence her getting a (biting back turquoisecoloured jealousy) BOOK deal. however, weak philosophizing, writing-about-writing (or blogging-about-blogging), stabs at exotic and mysterious travel writing, and a blatant ripoff of homer simpson ('My exact double? How could this--oh look, a dog with a curly tail!') are quite frankly boring. i like to read her when she's writing in character and revealing her own characters. i, sadly, have no interest in her opinion on Abu Ghraib and cultural atrocity. but i suppose that's the ideal of the blog, an exposition of the IDENTITY, anything can be included, and so it's not really the diary of a call girl, which was the original schtick (and it is a schtick), but in fact the diary of a person who happens to be a call girl but cannot keep her 'person' out of the writing. i suppose that should be a positive thing, except that i really don't find her passages about anything else even remotely interesting. i find it easier to keep my personal politics and philosophy out of this space, as my towering beliefs tend to ramble for decades and overshadow the fact that i'm an actual honest person. this is primarily for me to read, and i know what i believe about the 'things of the world' (politics, religion, etc.) and the hot points in the news without having to record them - as opposed to myself and the qualities of being human, about which, i've discovered since i began, i know shamefully little. i think i'll come to a full stop here, as i believe i could've quit round about expressing jealousy about the book deal and the point would've been gotten fully. ;)
glorious days! I fully intended to post Monday night but, er, never quite made it home. Went out with C, G, and T; ate some bizarre food I barely remember, drank quantities of wine, was bought an apple explosion (approximately) by a customer who was dining with his wife (his SECOND wife: 'Jenny, what's Mr. S's wife's name?' 'Darlene. Ohohoh, no, wait, that's the DEAD wife!'), took photos, decided against driving for fear of killing someone, went home with the gracious C, changed into a pair of her pants and her husband's Corona (beer, not town) tshirt, played, cackled and recited poetry ('Never Shake Hands with a Lobster') with her wonderful children, watched Mulan with her daughter in her Barbie bed, fell asleep, went home at 6:00 am. Waiting for me was a package from the boy containing one (1) copy of Jeff Buckley's 'Sketches for my sweetheart, the drunk' which sent me into morning spasms. Showered. Checked email, wherein was birthday greetings from JIM, an email from Maritza who I'd not heard from in months, and an invitation from the CD List Guy to join an intercontinental haiku exchange (I've just emailed him; still obviously unclear on the details of that one). Several more hours passed, which brings us to right about now. Also, Lalo called me Monday, just when I'd been thinking he'd either moved from Lupe's and she'd burned his mail, or he'd gotten my note and dismissed me as a whore and burned his mail. Alas, no, and we are slated to hang out Friday/Saturday. Anything to get round the evil milkstealer, about whom I had horrific vampire dreams Monday (no, that's not the same night I dreamt of R, J).

Other things: Josh tells me he's getting a kitten. Boy, Buckley. Girl, Grace. What a geek. I told him yesterday that I spent Monday at C's house, C whose name is rather ambiguous, and I could hear him sputtering on the phone. Sent him a photo for gender confirmation, poor boy.

During dinner we were talking about unauthentic Mexican restaurants and I managed, in this conversation, to reveal a linguistic faux pas perhaps even stupider than the Nova - unfortunately, one that only I have heard of, apparently. In PA there's a (failing) Mexican restaurant called Chi-chi's. G, who's from Boston, has never heard of it. Neither T nor C have heard of it. Is it just a Western PA creation, a figment of our pierogi-sick minds? Regardless, it's clearly not a Mexican creation, for chi-chis are Spanish slang for tits. As I learned/realised when I contributed to this conversation by saying 'Have you ever heard of Chi-chi's?' and C stuck out her chest and said 'I've these two, what more do you need?!' If anybody from anywhere other than California is reading this godforsaken passage, please affirm to me that I'm not mad and that I really did spend my 13th birthday in this place or if all of us from SWPA have been deeply deceived and it really is just a pierogi house.

Reading Lolita, but refraining from comment as I fear my response to this novel is highly unethical. I like Chekhov's characters, especially the Chameleon. The stories seem to snap shut without warning, but his people are beautiful. 'New Year's Prayer' is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard. Also 'Opened Once', and I can't describe the infinite joy of being able to hear 'Everybody Here Wants You' while driving. I don't know what's going on with all the proper capitalisation and all, but don't expect it to continue, as I've a reputation to uphold. Have plans to completely do away with nominative pronouns; I believe it's the only way I'll get through this book (mine) alive.

09 May 2004

new bibliography:
  1. 'Madame Bovary', Gustave Flaubert (packed with critical essays in addition to the actual text)
  2. 'The Portable Chekhov', editor Avrahim Yarmolinsky
  3. 'Lolita', Vladimir Nabokov
also to be attacked are 'Caligula' by Camus and 'The Madwoman of Chaillot' by Giraudoux from the last bib.


08 May 2004

just ended a grand hourlong telephone conversation with JOSH. he is still my best friend in all creation. interestingly he's also the only person who's having dreams about being in the shower with me as well. it's a good life, this one!
god, the more i think of this, the angrier i become. i do realise - i DO - that this space has been nothing but a swamp of whinging for the last week or two and i'm very sorry for anyone who comes across it. having said that, commence more whinging. i can't believe i gave her MORE MONEY. i don't even know her how do i go about bringing up the repayment of it? does she believe she doesn't have to pay it back, that she can just come downstairs whenever she needs money? i'm so fucking irritated with myself because of this, because i'm so desperate for human company that i allow myself right away to be compromised. i don't WANT to be her buddy i just want to be left alone. i don't want to go out partying with her and 'get fucked up' in a hotel room and hang out in Pomona or wherever. she has 'so many freakin friends it's crazy' by her own description. WHO CARES? i don't want that. here's my number-one personal goal, you milkstealing fiend:
TO BE FREE OF THE LEECHLIKE HOLD YOU'VE TAKEN ON MY PRIVACY AND MY BANK ACCOUNT AFTER ONLY A SCANT ONE WEEK OF LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSE!
i'm really scared by this. i don't want to be friends with her. we're nothing alike, we really have little to talk about. the only reason a decent conversation was kept up at all during our drive was because she's one of those bubbly cheerleader types who can chatter on and on incessantly about anything at all just so small spaces are filled with the sounds of talking. perhaps i'm a bit harsh, but i'm really thrown off by her suddenly strongarming her way into my little cove. if this is other people then hell IS other people and i don't want them around me! is this how 22-year-old women are supposed to interact with each other? i'm quite horrified. i sense little intellectual value here and a whole lot of discomfort and strangeness.

alright. done for now.
feeling kind of violated. was almost to the end of 'the halloween tree' when the milkstealer knocked on my door, wheezing, asking to come in and 'visit'. the result of that visit was me lending her an additional $40 (which i drove into dt corona to withdraw) so she could go to urgent care and get the fluid in her lungs drained with a footlong needle, or something. during this drive she
  1. called me darling numerous times
  2. confessed her desire to be a film actress (AGAIN)
  3. described herself as a 'typical party girl'
  4. described las vegas as 'the best place to get drunk and laid' (ya, that's a quote)
  5. told me she has lots of ideas for my 'books'
  6. told me she and all her friends are CHRISTIANS
she now owes me $50, which i'm entirely sure i'll never see again. on the one hand, a lot of people were very kind to me when i moved out here, making me food and giving me money and just generally looking out for my welfare as people should, which might dictate that i do the same when needed. on the other hand, i don't know her from eve, that was money for an oil change, and i'm literally the most gullible person on the green earth. she told me she wants to sit down with me and write a list of our personal goals and our goals as friends. I'VE ONLY KNOWN HER A FUCKING WEEK! where is all this coming from? is this what real people are like? this SCARES me! i'm crawling back into the hobbithole for now.

and a great package was lurking with Pennsylvania postage when i emerged into the light to drive to the ATM, from mum/husband. in it is a load of noodles (which i had requested) and a birthday card with a check for $100, which makes me feel absolutely guilty as sin, in addition to stupid and kind of violated.
WAHOO mum heard from brother yesterday! he called to announce he was coming by to pick up his stuff and proceeded to hang up on her when she tried to question him, the dear boy. he's so brave. i keep crawling back but surely he will not. as it is everything is up in the air for July because apparently mum and I are no longer speaking now. she called me at work in response to my semi-scathing email of thursday eve, we battled wits a bit (huh), ended by her saying 'yeah i'll talk to you later. MAYBE.' and quite hanging up on me. we are a family of hangers-up. my mum feels it's quite dramatic, i think. haven't heard his voice yet, but i'm sure my dad is making some sort of progress finding him a home. A the milkstealer from upstairs came down at round 11:30 (waking me up, me the lazy bum) to let me know that poetry night is CANCELLED (thank heavens oh thank you) but that we should still hang out later in the day and do something (sure sure one-on-one interaction is quite preferable to me in the middle of the viperpit). weirdnesses:
  1. last eve i hadn't changed from work yet and she said 'i've never seen you in heels before!' er...known you five days?
  2. calls me 'girlie' and 'jenny-poo'
well that's all at the moment, but i'm sure there'll be more. could she have designs on me? goodness knows i'm adept at attracting both sexes. oh no, wait, she told me last time she invited herself into my room that she has a boyfriend. eh. nix that fine, fragile idea. dad sent me $80 worth of bday gift cards to various places in the hopes that i shall become fashionable and better-read. that glorious copy of the Qur'an is now MINE (well not yet but you see)

06 May 2004

worked side-by-side with HIM nearly all day today, as he was at the branch working at the desk right next to mine. barely exchanged two words, how pathetic. he came a few minutes before the branch opened (fumbling with his keys as usual) and stayed till i went to lunch (i kept putting off going to lunch until he left and ended up not leaving until 12:45 pm or so). showed back up just after i'd returned from lunch, and stayed till about 4:30 or so. he came over to randomly ask me to sign on to Deluxe, and then kindly fixed it so I could use my own logon instead of C's. We shared a smile, it was lovely, he was standing behind my chair hovering over me, and I looked up over the top of my eyeglasses at him. I think it's the closest I've ever been to him and I was dazzled. Alas, all good things are found in a vacuum, and nothing of the like occurred again, though he did look over at me every time i spoke to someone else, and stared as I spelled my last name for the UPS deliveryman, and Wishful Thinking Jenny wants to say he checked out my legs when I went to do some filing, and K, an employee of the company housed upstairs who is really beautiful and curvy, came into the branch and left again without him so much as batting an eye at her.

also the whispering & camaraderie between he and C seems to have seriously cooled down lately, temporarily I'm sure, but cooled nonetheless. he barely spoke to her today. he barely spoke to anyone today, except to show G his slides from Australia, and to make a golf date with T (he golfs! er...). No buoyant conversations, he just sat at the desk quiet for seven hours. I wish I'd have at least said something - but nobody else was talking to him either, so I didn't feel so bloody left out. I can only hope I make him as nervous as he makes me...?

and I actually referred to T, in speech, as 'T' instead of his name. the blog is taking over my soul! too bad my dancers are gone, stupid angelfire being selfish jerks.

I emailed my mum today, too, a response to the ludicrous 'Everything' email which I'm sure, even though I specifically said I wouldn't be calling this weekend in order to avoid a fight, will begin a fight, because she sees a text and selects only those things she wants out of it, with no attention to truth or intention. No Chris yet, obviously. Next step is dad going knocking on random doors. He spoke to Matt, the guy Chris went out with sometimes, and he said Matt didn't seem like a total wastoid, but it's impossible to know for sure. He doesn't know where my brother is either way, and as time passes the chances of him evaluating his situation as hopeless/worthless and doing something rash increase by exponents. I wrote to my mother that I won't be calling until I hear his voice again.
stupid angelfire GRR

05 May 2004

oh ya - C told me today that T was not, in fact, getting loaded yesterday at or near the hospital with nearly-dead-John, but was invited to lunch by his wife (very much alive) who evidently drinks at every meal. also T just moved from Long Beach to Corona, and C took her kids over to see his place; he had a bowl full of suckers which he offered to them, and you could bounce quarters off his bedspread, which led C to ponder whether T was in fact a pederast. i myself am quite unsure as to how her logic spiralled down to that particular conclusion, but i found it notable nonetheless.

also, my toe hurts. i hit it with a broom while playing with C's kids and now it is purple
everyone has invited me out next monday to the Outback for my first california birthday, how grand! it was all C's idea, of course, and the whole branch will be going
T, who will get loaded, pinch me, call me 'speedbump' and sing about turtles
C, whose back starts to hurt after one glass of tequila and who is really a great friend
G, who will complain from beginning to end about the lack of avocado
J, whose daughter's birthday is the same day as mine yet is coming out to party with me
and B, who said today, of me, 'too bad she's too young for me' (he's 63), and who wants desperately that I be his loan assistant
it should be right grand. if only we could get a certain him to come out and have a couple glasses of red wine, mmm...

still no word on Chris, though my dad left work early today like a sleuth to go looking for him. physically looking for him. i bought him a graduation card today. god how i hope everything will be okay.

opened accounts for Mr & Mrs P today, who own a riding stable. Mr P offered to get me both a horse and a husband, as he raises horses and apparently knows a fair quantity of young men. huh, it's not young men i'm after (er, it's not 63-year-old-men either, you sickos) but we shook on it anyhow ;)

took a laxative for the first time ever today, as round about noon i made a hideous cash management mistake that had me in convulsive tears and the resultant nerves (combined with worry for Chris and vague distaste at having mustard put on my lunch sandwich unwanted) tied me up. the results of that have been horrid. how women can become addicted to these things is beyond me. C walked me over to the Mexican pharmacy and asked really loud, in front of a nice-looking (young) man to boot, 'Is this the fastest-acting one you have?' Ya, if there were an image I'd want to project to the public at large, it would certainly have to be, 'I'm absolutely desperate to shit'. On the whole I would not recommend laxatives, unless of course the choice is between those and the gum suppositories of old, of which i was a regular recipient when young. I think perhaps I should wrap up that nostalgia trip in a hurry, sorry all!

And last: A just came to visit (again), invited herself in (again), confessed to having used some of my milk to take her medicine (eh, that's ok i guess), told me she begins acting classes on Friday and is utterly unafraid of being herself, invited me (again) to poetry night in LA on saturday, and told me a story about how her parents used to make her go out trick-or-treating and then steal all the candy and fill up their candy jars at work. I'm completely defenseless against this girl, I just want that to be known up front. I will go on saturday but i will be a STONE. She reads her poetry in front of millions of people! I can barely carry on a one-on-one conversation about parrots without feeling uncomfortable and false! How am I going to survive an hour car drive with all her exuberant crazy friends? i'll drown in the car full of maniacs. there's no way any of my poetry is going to see the light of day. perhaps i'll just take my latest book of notes and start randomly reading from it. those affected hollywood types, they won't know the difference. egad, but i'm scared.

tomorrow: taking back the Ursula LeG book which has betrayed me horribly. Her stories SUCK, i'm so disappointed. and the history of Islam is, while beautiful, dreadfully slow-going, as is all history for me, which is why i don't read history, which is why i never know what's going on in the world, which is why i look slightly puzzled during most conversations. g'night.

04 May 2004

today T, slightly tipsy from an afternoon spent visiting in the hospital with John (that's John who was almost once Dead John from bleeding on the brain and whose latest medical exploit is a massive stroke crippling his speech), passed me as I was filming work, pinched me on the side crazily and said 'what's up there, skinny minnie?' For some reason this maneuver made me gloriously happy.

no word yet on the brother. long, long email from my mother today, entitled - no, seriously - 'Everything'. no mention of the fact that she has no idea where 50% of her offspring is currently. oh, three sentences about how they're having patches sewn onto their jackets and they should be done by Friday in time for them to ride the motorcycle over the week-end, plus the same old garbage she writes in every email lately (you're so brave going out there! all my coworkers think you're just splendid for it! everytime i look at your photo [that'd be my high school senior photo] i tear up! somebody has a birthday coming soon!) and several paragraphs about the petunias NOT A WORD about my brother, to whom, lest it be forgotten, she gave birth. i don't want to go back home. going to go look into cancellation. maybe someone out there can use the return half of the ticket to come see me, and then buy a ticket back home. of course there are millions of other people to see but it doesn't change the fact that i'll be staying in the house of death and that it will surely end up in me leaving angry at/not speaking to mum. AGAIN.

still nursing the heavy crush on he who must not be named. it's quite rather SICKLY. i have an interface with Deluxe, a checkprinting company. it was not working properly yesterday. i, sucking it up, wrote him an email saying just that. quite short, no flirtatiousness whatever, nothing incriminating or insane. He wrote back an exceedingly gentle email about how the Deluxe interface was down because the internet itself was down, and that all should be ok now, and to 'please let him know' if i continue having troubles. an entirely and completely straightforward, unromantic email, granted, but one i was quite feeling nice about (he said 'hi Jenny'! he wrote more than three words! he signed his name! he said to please contact him with my various troubles!), UNTIL C said something this morning about the internet having been down yesterday. THEN it occurred to me - always too late, too late - that the entire staff of this lovely bank (minus me, of course) must've known he'd taken the internet down for maintenance, and that if i'd just tried to access IE i would've known it straightaway, and not had to send the infuriatingly dim email in the first place. WHY why does every last speck of my correspondence with him have to be steeped in such stupidity? Once while talking on the phone to him we digressed to the subject of Rosemary, and he said, and I quote, 'Rosemary wasn't too bright, you know'. The same has been said, not by him but generally, much more recently of Dolores. Why must I consistently give him reason to believe that T is utterly incapable of hiring an intelligent new accounts, that I'm just as much of a bump on a log as Rosemary & D? Ai, it kills me. I'm so not stupid (granted I can't calculate interest in my head) but he must think I'm an imbecile. God, but i'm glad he didn't show up today...the dress I wore was flippin' TENTLIKE. Actually it's quite weird, because a few years ago I'd gained some weight, enough so that I saw this dress while i was out shopping with Josh, tried it on, and refused to buy it because i felt like a heifer in it, even as he loved it and wanted me to buy it. later on i went back and bought it anyway, but it's always been a bit snug - and now it hangs in sheets. hence the 'skinny minnie' remark from the slightly besotted T.

i bought some butter snaps yesterday and they are SO GRAND
going to go reread a children's book josh sent me when i was first out here and living at Lupe's, entitled 'We Were Tired of Living in a House'
sweet boy--
but I'll still be sleeping on the futon!
(it is to be hoped that the amtrak station in newark NJ has a good supply of nonlumpy futons, preferably with cats named Ziggy living on them)

03 May 2004

brother gone. cannot locate. dad called this morning to inform me that he left the house saturday night and never came back. a direct quote from brother ca. 10:30 pm saturday (EST, of course)
ehh whatever im leavin in a little bit i gotta get out of here... everytime i look at her slumped over it makes me want to choke her
then he left to play pool and he came back sunday morning and they promptly kicked him out & made an emergency Home Depot run to change the locks because, you know, there's always time to go to Home Depot. chris called dad soon thereafter, and josh soon after that, as both told me today. nobody's really sure where he is, he's off with a guy named matt, so he said. i'm not even worried about him. my dad has vowed to find him and reel him back and get him a room to rent and get him to his first day of work and his last GED class and i'm going to send him two alicia keys records cause he loves her and he's worked hard. i'm not worried about his safety. just completely appalled at my mother. and dreading DREADING dreading staying in that house in july. with chris gone there's no reason for me to be there. i'd cancel the trip completely but josh has told me i can sleep on the futon a couple of nights and lindsay & sean just bought a house so i know there's room for me there and the rest, who knows. and saturday 10th july we're going to have a pretty pretty party where all my mother's sisters can gather round and discuss the fountain in the yard. perhaps i'll go to new jersey for a week.

A just came to borrow $10 and i gave it to her cause, you know, she overslept and missed the bank and hey, i work in a bank and i know we have shit hours for working people who work real shifts and so am i a fool? likely. perhaps i'll go to new jersey for two weeks. finally read my copy of 'waiting for godot' which made me cry. perhaps i'll go to new jersey for two weeks and read nothing but 'waiting for godot' in the amtrak station in newark, for that is truly the muddy pit with the single willowless tree if it ever existed.

02 May 2004

anouilh's antigone was brilliant, as was the reread of sophocles i did just prior to it. no exit, equally so, must read more sartre, MUCH more. the ursula is deeply disappointing, considering 'the left hand of darkness' is one of my favourite books ever. all right, the world'll be different in 200 years, let's make it as shocking as possible - it doesn't make for very subtle or challenging reading. patrice is having a rare cooking day and the house is full of smells of bacon and sausage and potatoes and eggs. this somehow makes me miss my mother, who is a fiend with fried potatoes.

'we' (I) like salamanders too ... they're all over in the ice plants out here. that's what you get when you go to the PO & ask for something other than the blasted american flag on your postage.

01 May 2004

new girl A just came from upstairs to introduce herself, says she's got a mass of poetry accumulated, is 3 classes away from graduating with a psychobiology degree, invited me to a movie sometime! she came in to see my exceptionally messy room with books and papers and forks littered about and commented positively on my view of the palmtrees and violets. she says 'dude' a lot which completely puts me at ease. que buena!

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