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Wednesday, February 22, 2006


travel day

today i: go to work. take a cab from work to the train station. take a train. take a plane. take another plane. take a cab to my hotel.

approximate time from work to hotel - 9 hours.

this does not sound like fun.

how do some people travel for work every week?

Thursday, February 16, 2006



"Not all who wander are lost."
-the air freshener hanging from my rearview mirror

It's been a rough week. A very difficult coworker is bringing me down. I'm trying to diet and feeling hungry all the time. I keep realizing I'm clenching my teeth, and then I get stressed that I'm stressed.

So yesterday I treated myself to a yoga class in the middle of the week. I usually only go on the weekends because it's too hard to get to the studio after work. But yesterday I had a doctor's appointment downtown - fittingly, for the week I'm having, I was 10 minutes late and they tried to make me reschedule because of it...instead I decided to wait it out and they finally saw me an hour and a half later. Sigh. Anyway, since I was already downtown in the middle of the afternoon, I decided I'd treat myself to a yoga class. And it was heavenly. I couldn't completely clear my head, but I was able to relax. I left feeling warm and buzzy.

I decided to walk home - it was unseasonably mild, as in, 60 degrees (despite the fact that it snowed 4 days ago), and it had been a long time since I'd wandered through the city. I wanted to savor this good feeling; I wanted sensations that would keep my buzz going. Do you know that feeling, of good fullness tinged with knowing that the beauty of the world could slip away in another moment?

So I wandered, and when I passed Kramerbooks, and saw the children's books in the window, I thought maybe I'd buy books for my niece and nephew, who will be coming over on Saturday. So I drifted in - it felt like coming home, to be honest, after all the time I used to spend there, browsing, sitting in the bar with my husband, waiting in line for Sunday brunch - and found my way back to the children's book section, and that's where I discovered it: Owen and Mzee.

I am probably the last person on earth to hear this story, but apparently after the 2004 tsunami, an orphaned baby hippo decided to adopt a (male) 133-year-old turtle as his mom. And a man and his daughter decided to write a children's book about it. So there, staring out at me from the shelf, was this big photograph on the cover of a hippo and a turtle, his naked hippo head resting on the turtle's grand shell.

Animals disarm me. They snap me right out of myself. I didn't buy the book - the information about the tsunami seemed too upsetting to share with my 6-year-old nephew and 4-year-old nice - but as I walked home, soaking in the activity of the city on an early Wednesday evening (people walking their dogs, sitting on patios drinking beer, talking to loved ones on cell phones at crosswalks), I felt anchored.

More about Owen and Mzee:

Monday, February 13, 2006


Overheard II

"duuude, your dog has booties."
-guy passing me, hubby and cosmo in walter pierce park yesterday. yes, cosmo was wearing booties. we don't mean to be fru-fru; he just gets ice wedged between his toes and starts limping and we end up carrying him. ok, so we're softies.

Friday, February 10, 2006



"What, honey? You said what to the rabbi? You called him what? Oy vey."
-woman on her cell phone while shopping for underwear


Dennis and Dubya

My friend John wrote the following in response to my last post:
I think your take on voting there is an overly dismissive POV... (Apologies, I'm reading into your writing a bit... :) When you only have two choices, it ignores the grey areas where most of us choose to live. I'm a registered Independent because I disagree with just as much Democratic Rhetoric and I do with Republican Rhetoric. I've met way too Republican environmentalists and Democratic Homophobes to feel confortable judging someone on a "Column A or Column B" choice.
Fair point, and let me clarify, I did not mean to make a blanket statement about all Republicans - I meant to characterize the way Bush I, Bush II and Reagan portray reality in a black and white way. And I should really just focus on Bush II, because his is the presidency I know the most about.

So, an amended statement: our current president, George W. Bush, promotes a whitewashed version of reality, and tells the story of America like it's in a children's storybook - or, actually, like it's a comic book, with superheroes fighting villians. In his own words:
"Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil."
-September 2001 (source: pbs.org/frontline)

"We built a vast coalition of nations from all around the world to join us -- nations which understand that what happened in New York and Washington could happen to them, as well. They understand it's now time to unite to defeat evil."
- October 2001 (source: whitehouse.gov)

"Our war is a war against evil. This is clearly a case of good versus evil, and make no mistake about it -- good will prevail."
-January 2002 (source: whitehouse.gov)

"My objective is what I said in my second inaugural address:
to end tyranny
-December 2005 (source: fox.com)
Good idea, to end tyranny! Way to go right to the source of the problem. If only previous leaders had thought of that, we could have spared the world so much suffering. While we're at it, let's end injustice. Who's running for office in '08? That should be their platform: no more injustice. The world will be fair! We will hunt down everyone who's unfair and smoke them out of their caves and cubicles.

Note sarcasm.

You don't hunt down a concept, and no matter how much money or how many weapons you have, you cannot eradicate entire dimensions of the human experience that have existed for centuries. And the reality, to state what should be obvious to any adult, is that people's motivations are more complicated than good and evil; and good and evil are in the eye of the beholder.

To bring this all back to where I started - I am no expert on Dennis Hopper films, but I generally think of independent films as representing nuance, unique perspectives, exceptions to rules, unpopular truths, even - sometimes - unpopular characters. That's a huge generalization, but I think it's fair to associate those qualities with independent films versus mainstream films. And that's what led me to express surprise that Hopper, a guy who's certainly made more cult films than box office darlings, would support a leader whose vision of the world seems so dangerously like an Arnold Schwarzenegger film.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006



"I write poetry because I suffer confusion
not knowing what other people think."

-Allen Ginsberg

So, I am apparently harsh for saying Dennis Hopper looked old at Sundance.

Did you know Hopper has voted Republican since Reagan? Another reminder that no matter how well you know someone's art, you really don't know anything about the person behind the art. Who would have thought that the stoner from Easy Rider, the creepy guy from Blue Velvet - the icon in many ways of counter-culture films - would vote for people who promote a whitewashed version of reality, who tell the story of America like it's in a children's storybook ("and the good people believed in family values...and the bad people tried to squash those values...").

I learned to separate art from artists back in college, when my hero at the time, Allen Ginsberg, came to speak at my school. I was so excited - I had discovered Howl in my junior year of high school and loved it, and then my favorite English teacher gave me a copy of Cosmopolitan Greetings and I loved that, too. From there, I was a goner - I had a full-on crush on beat poetry and everything it represented to me: authentic experience, and the lyricism of authentic experience; truth.

So there's Allen Ginsberg, onstage in an auditorium down the street from my dorm, and he gets up to read, and - he is sing-songy. He reads his poems like they're jokes. I might appreciate that, now - might be better able to appreciate the playfulness - but at the time I was devestated...he was turning art that mattered to me into a punch line. After the reading I stood in line for him to sign my copy of Cosmopolitan Greetings, and I - young, naive, thinking my ideas were at the center of the universe - gave him a copy of a paper I'd written about him, Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams. I thought he'd be interested! Anyway, he looked at me, befuddled, and said, "I can't read this right now." Well, duh, Mr. Ginsberg - it's 30 pages and there's a long line of people behind me... it was the way he said it, like a confused old man, that just broke my heart.

Another example: I have loved Paul Simon for as long as I can remember. I truly believe the man is a genius - songs like "America" "Graceland," and "Darling Lorraine" alone are more powerful than what some artists create in a lifetime... the poetry of them, the way they reflect a life journey...the lyrics of "Darling Lorraine" alone tell a more impactful story than any movie I've seen since I can remember. Anyway, so I'm at a Paul Simon concert a few years ago, and he had the oddest demeanor - waving his arms about fancifully as he sang, sort of trance-like - and I thought, God forbid I'd meet this guy and he'd be a flake. I want to think that because he writes absolutely brilliant songs, he must be a fascinating person, but maybe the most interesting thing about him is his art.

Now, when people ask me, "If you could have dinner with one famous person, living or dead..." - I think of comedians...not because I think they'll be as funny in person as they are on TV/ in film/ etc, but because I instinctively feel like I'd have something in common with people who turn their observations about and experiences in this world into comedy. Tina Fey. Will Arnett, the guy who plays Gob on Arrested Development ("I've made a huge mistake"). I wouldn't want to sit around and talk about comedy, but I feel like they'd be fun to hang out with, and we'd have something in common.

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