12 July, 2007

I want this. What does that mean?


"The entire Dog Park sits on a play mat and Dixie can walk and carry the babies and accessories using magnetic features on his back and tongue that extends when you push his tail in. "

07 July, 2007

G'night, Jim-Bob

Here we all are, watching the fog roll in together.

A tout a l'heures...

The Beston Quote

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.

Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.

We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err.

For the animal shall not be measured by man.

In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.

They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

from The Outermost House , © 1928, 1956, Henry Beston


I have become that woman. I called the cops last night and after being hung up on three times by their automated phone tree system (it is Oakland, after all) reported a group of teenagers "standing in the middle of the street, setting off firecrackers. It's scaring the crap out of my animals."
Actually, it was just interfering with my television volume.
Yep. I have become that woman.

06 July, 2007

Out to Pick up a Gross, Honey

Is there a gender corollary to the forty years of life during which a woman finds herself leaving the house only because she's completely out of Tampax?

Do those of you with male sigoths ever hear "Hey--just popping out to buy a urethra blotter," or "Be right back--discovered I'm completely out of vas deferens ointment?"

Perhaps the only thing in my life which truly can accept no substitute. Why don't they have Tampax stands on every corner? Like mailboxes, or FedEx deposit receptacles.

I mean.

Fungi: The Microbial World

Question. If you leave your blue cheese in the refrigerator for, say, a year or more, and it grows hairy: is that bad? Was there a necessary mold management or mold control step that went missing?

I guess what I'm saying really is, is moldy mold a de facto bad thing? Or can one actually promulgate fungal plethora with a clear conscience betimes? In your response, please cite references. Or examples from your personal life. Please, no examples from your professional life: I'm not sure that would be applicable.

This is obviously a theoretical question--I would never have, say, things that were a year old or more in my, say, vegetable compartment. But, I think, an important one. For us all.

Fungi. On everyone's minds.


05 July, 2007


"There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do."

--Bill Watterson

04 July, 2007

Divine Intervention

Today I have to write four pieces, then meet my advisor, then go to a writer's party.

I need help.

I do have my shorts on with the glow-in-the-dark cat faces.

I'm not sure that's enough. I may need popsicles as well.

It will be hot. I will not leave my house all day.

Perhaps in my religion, popsicles will be a communion host.

03 July, 2007

Salvacion Tipica

Trópico Verde

Verde lluvia, vertiene y territorio
Verde el especio, la luz verde.
El clima verde. Verdes las colinas.
Las hondonadas y los ríos verdes.
Un lago verde del valle. La montaña
verdeazul, verdemar, verdeprofundo.
Lo cerca y lo lejano en aire verde.
Verde lluvia, vertiene y territorio.

Roto temblor el verde de los plátanos.
Casi líquida lágrima, el verdor
del sauce. El verde
militar del café, el verdor húmedo
de junco, cana y lirio. Verde música
en el órgano, -- oh verde viento! del bambú.
La plata verde
del eucalípto. El verde silencioso
de los pastos, las malvas, las legumbres.

Verde lluvia, vertiene y territorio.
De mi sangre saltó una estrella verde.
Y verdin, verdinal y verdolaga,
mayo estira su lluvia hasta diciembre
en el trópico verde.


The NYT reported things today that I would not otherwise have ever known. Beverly married a man going through a divorce who fought for custody of his kids back in the fifties in Cleveland, and for that, she says, “Peter was ostracized by Cleveland’s rinky-dink version of high society.”

She had two children of her own, a girl Meredith, who was discovered to be profoundly deaf at 2 years old; and a boy Peter, born with severe mental retardation complicated by it is thought now, autism. She received these pieces of news within six weeks of each other. She went back to work, and sang for twenty more years.

"[Before the children's diagnoses] I was a combination of everyone else’s ideas: the director, the conductor, the tenor. After I came back, I talked back. I stopped caring what anyone else thought.

“I began to have a good time.”

Oh! Can I please remember this forever. What is this feeling called, reading stories like this--


Street musician playing down the long corridor to the BART exit:

o/~ I need a twenty-dollar bill
in my hat/I need a twenty-dollar bill
in my hat
I need a twenty-dollar bill
in my hat
I need a twenty-dollar bill
in my hat
I gotta feed my dog,
I gotta feed my cat.

The Right Stuff

This picture was taken at Christmastime five years ago (wow). My parents invited me to tag along on a business trip to Santa Monica with the promise of a visit to the Getty the next day. After his client dinner, my dad came whooping back to the hotel room, opened up the minibar, pulled out a pack of peanut M&Ms and started jumping on my bed. My stepmother gave us a long look, turned her back to that side of the room, and opened her Joan Didion.
In this shot, I think he looks like a cross between Denny on "Boston Legal" and an astronaut from the sixties.
More striking for me, however, is how we've arrived at being exactly the same height.
And those gams! Sexy boy.

A Wait and See Attitude

Sometimes it's best to hide out in the pink cave and let a world go about its business without the benefit of your participation.

30 June, 2007


Walking home on Market Street I almost stepped on a pigeon that had moved on. Men were working right next to him on the windows of a closed storefront. There was nothing on the sidewalk to indicate what he died of--no evidence of violence, no weapons, no discarded coke can, no pile of tossed-out food. Everyone else kept walking. My heart jumped up to my throat and I started thinking about why dead pigeons are so altering for me. It just makes no sense, I thought. Every dead pigeon I see in the City has died before its time.

As I passed into another block, below a young ginkgo tree I saw a dead sparrow. It lay on its side in full profile and had been flattened, as if crushed; I saw it from above as if it had only two dimensions and was embedded in the concrete. It was a sparrow-mosaic. A branch with a leaf still on it lay just outside its beak. The mosaic was beautiful, green and brown and fawn and gray.

How do dead birds lie like this, on clean-swept, dingy sidewalks, in the City, people stepping over them? How do they die?

As if all tenderness had been wrung from the world for just that day.

29 June, 2007


The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

‘Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

PG and the Aby-Tabbies

This tabby ghoulash pic was taken when Fiona was still alive and we had just adopted Botwyn and Diana. Or rather, I asked Fiona and she said yes; and then we posed the question to them. Botwyn was the first to agree. He had no quarrel and only wanted never to be left alone. Diana was alarmed and left immediately, escaping through an inch-wide gap between the screen door and the sliding glass at about three one morning while I slept just below. Two weeks later she returned and had dinner from a bowl of kibble on the terrace. A month later she walked in the back door.

We were all very happy together.

27 June, 2007

Agouti Women

I was walking up the BART escalator in the fast lane behind a tall, svelte, crinkly-haired woman in an ivory denim jacket. She paused and shifted to the right.
She had on tight hip-hugger jeans with embroidered back pockets. She had hips the size of quarters. I take that back. Her jeans were not tight, they were form-fitting. Long, long legs. Something about the way she was made us notice each other. The air vibrated and a message was transmitted. I thought I was mistaken so it did not change my trajectory. As I was passing her, she said, "I love your opals. They're so beautiful."
My hand had been resting on my knee which was suspended over the step above. My knee was swathed in a pair of un-form-fitting, stone chinos from Eddie Bauer and below them, my feet happily rattled around in a pair of scuffed Dansko clogs in that color they call 'cordovan.' Above my chinos was a dun-colored wrinkled cotton V-neck sweater. My socks which had lost their elastic but stayed above my heels anyway, matched the cotton camisole which straps were showing from underneath the dun-colored sweater which matched my shoes, all of which were in the dark ruby-wine, oxblood-red color family.
But she didn't know any of that.
On the last three fingers of my hand there were Navajo rings, and in those rings were opals. Also in those rings wre turquoise and onyx and lapis and garnet. All this wrapped around my fingers, running along my hand, which was laid on the surface of my thigh.
As we got off the escalator, our bodies kind of leaned into each other, as if they weren't done talking.
'How astounding,' I thought, sliding my BART ticket through the turnstile, 'that such a woman would find me kindred.'

24 June, 2007

Editorial Collaboration

Botwyn likes to sleep on top of my mouse. This, I can manage; I just quietly sneak the pad out from underneath his (although we never say this in his presence) ponderous belly, and move the mouse cord lower so I have sufficient range. His velvety, wet nose is usually about a quarter inch from the right-click button.

This evening however Finn discovered the little white arrow that follows the text prompt on the screen. Shades of laser light flashing before his eyes, I presume, he planted his skinny self between me and opus #1 of my master's thesis. Punctuation and narrative arc become even more opaque than they had been to begin with.

I wonder if a margin set skirting the shoulders and ears of the feline would be acceptable formatting to my advisor?

I can't possibly be the first to have asked this question. All part of the critical dialectic so essential between academic and acolyte.

Luckily, like me, Finn has the attention span of a gnat. He has just decided that my glass of lemonade is much more exciting.

23 June, 2007

Finn would like it if I left the house more often. It gives him time to collect his thought.