Friday, August 31, 2007

Lately I've Been Neglecting My Special Time When I Lay Face Down on the Sofa and Ruminate


I have been pretty happy lately. Hanging out, writing a lot, swimming. Just in a general all-around good mood. Pretty soon though I am going to have to buckle down and get back to negative thought patterns, addictive behavior, sleeping 14 hours a day, and eating nothing but that which can be consumed through a straw.

On the other hand, I just might shirk my duties and stay happy for awhile longer. The way I see it, everyday I live my life as a happy and well-adjusted human being, I am taking revenge on people who thought I would never get off the couch.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Need To Start Traveling with the Doctor Right Now. Please Tell the BBC About Me the Next Time You Run into Them.

my cat, Gerard Butler, the victim of my manic roommate's latest manic cleaning spree

I mean, time and space are calling my name.

I'm not even going to be super picky about which regeneration I travel with. I'd easily go with either David Tennant or Christopher Eccleston. However under no circumstances with that buffoonish looking blond guy with curly hair and question marks on his lapels. Regardless, we'd just sizzle on screen, but of course everything would remain platonic.

I would make a great sidekick. I am less good at being in charge. For example, last weekend it was apparently my job to be in charge of writing down the address of the Lab. I did not do a good job of being in charge of writing down the address for the Lab. Luckily it was very close to BART and some familiar looking poets were lurking outside so all was not lost. Just three dollars each. And two hours each. Yawn. And BART fare each. Maybe it would have been better if we'd never found it. But then I would have been blamed for not being good at being in charge of writing down the address to the Lab without any chance to redeem myself. But I'm not used to being in charge, I would have tearfully defended myself. Nobody ever lets me be in charge! They think I will hurt myself and others with the sharp, pointy object of being in charge. I am a damsel.

Damsel or not, I can kick some ass. Aliens will have no chance against me. I will be armed with techniques I learned to protect myself while working in a home for disturbed teenage girls, all of whom were bigger than me and who hated my guts. Any alien who messes with me will be immediately subject to a level-3 restraint. No questions asked. And I won't be filling out any 'incident reports' this time around.

I have to admit that I have some ulterior motives for why I want to travel with the doctor. I am thinking that if I am really good at being his companion and kicking alien ass, the good doctor might do me a favor. Just like he let Rose go back to see her father. He would take us back in time to my kitchen and we would lurk in the dark little niche between the washer/dryer unit until I discover which one of my roommates has so callously depleted my stores of all-natural peanut butter, raspberry jam, coffee and chocolate soy milk. And which one of my manic roommates threw out Gerard Butler's collapsible cardboard cat carrier during their latest manic cleaning spree. What if my cat, Gerard Butler, has a tummy ache and has to go to the vet immediately? In such a situation there would be no time to run to PetPals in order to purchase another carrying case. My cat, Gerard Butler, would have to ride the bus with me in a duffel bag. I do not think Gerard Butler would like this. I do not think anyone would like that.

Be warned, roommates!

I am watching you. The doctor and I are watching you from the dark niche between the washer/dryer unit and the fridge. Unhand my chocolate soy milk, asshole, or it's level-3 for you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Today I Did Everything I Usually Do Except That Today I Did It with Jazz Hands

I had such a great day today serving customers at the major chain bookstore I'm not supposed to write about in my blog (or so the employee handbook says) but I do not work for Barnes & Noble, so you figure it out. I am so happy about the great day of serving customers I have behind me. Having such a good time like that really lays a foundation onto which I can place the building blocks of the rest of my day. Buoyed by my satisfaction at serving customers, I might sit down and write some poetry. Really, my poetry stems from a place of happiness and satisfaction. Again, I am so happy about the day I put in. I feel like I am really making a difference in people's lives, one customer at a time. Because that's the secret to great customer service, you know. One! Customer! At! A! Time! Making everything into a musical also really helps improve moral in the dreadful and low-paid working conditions at your local major chain bookstore that isn't Barnes and Noble. I do not think this here right now is a very good effort. But I gave all my effort to the customers. Jazz! Hands! People! Please! I have nothing left for you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When I Watch a Movie Called 'Druids' Set in 60BC and Starring Christopher Lambert, I Am Not Looking for a 'Cultural' Experience.

Let's resurrect the order of the Druids and go to Stonehenge once a year in our long white robes to celebrate the summer solstice in our completely authentic ancient ways! Oh wait. That is already being done. Somebody should talk to these people.

"There can be only one!" my roommate, the Schadenfreude Prophet, kept yelling whenever Christopher Lambert looked like he was going to get it.

Whoever named the movie Druids probably never watched the movie. Although an aging Max von Sydow--Isn't he a cultural experience?--plays a druid, really the movie is about the trials and tribulations of Gaulish chieftain, Vercingetorix, as he tries to unite the tribes against the somewhat fey Julius Caesar, as portrayed by Klaus Maria Brandauer. Just another aside to all you snobby, 'cultural' people. Isn't 'Maria' also the middle name of famous German wordsmith Rainer Rilke? Isn't that a cultural experience?

Regardless, the movie does not necessarily have a happy end for two reasons. First of all, the really hot guy, Ludovic, gets it. He has a really cool hair style in which most of his hair is cropped quite close to his head except for these crazy floating things on both sides of his face. Almost like huge, unattached sideburns. This proves once and for all that being a barbarian does not have to mean you lack fashion sense. Plus, those adorable plaid pants! I need some of those, for sure. And those whimsical winged helmets!

The second bad thing that happens in the movie will hardly come as a surprise to fans of the Roman Empire, like myself, who know that it is no secret that Vercingetorix was forced to surrender to Caesar and was then taken to Rome and thrown in prison where he languished for a little while before being strangled on the orders of his good friend and Dictator of Rome, Julius Caesar. Of course, as many of us know thanks to the hugely popular HBO series Rome, Gaius Julius also gets his in the end from his good friend, Brutus. In the movie they just show Vercingetorix surrendering to Caesar and do a voice over about the other, bad parts.

In the middle of all this heartbreak, my other, snobby roommate did a voice over as well. He told me in no uncertain terms that while he used to think of me as intellectually intimidating--all that poetry and black and white samurai movies, no doubt--he no longer does now. He said it started with me watching The Phantom of the Opera. I am not sure why he thinks he's so great. All I ever see him doing is watching The Simpsons, heating up his hot pockets in the toaster oven, or eating his hot pockets while watching The Simpsons. I eat salad! And Vercingetorix, after all, was a Frenchman.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Thank You For the Money, Great Aunt So-and-So. I Will Now Forgive You For Your Weird Ethnic Customs.

Romania, the birthplace of the weird ethnic customs of my great aunt So-and-So

Lo-ove the baked goods and cash. Hate the doily you made me wear on my head at that stupid wedding of some relatives I didn't even know conducted in a language I can't speak other than to ask for various alcoholic beverages or to say dirty things about the Virgin Mary.

You know, great aunt So-and-So, there are Romanian traditions other than the fine art of wearing a doily on your head that might have been more fun for me to learn about.

You could have taught me how to make palinka. Because palinka is an alcoholic beverage, I would have even been able to talk a little bit about it in Romanian to you. We all know that is your favorite language.

But you insisted on making me wear a doily on my head.

Remember, I already knew the Draia family jumped straightaway into bootlegging when they came to the great country of Chicago. Instead of spending unappreciated time and energy making me wear a doily on my head, you could have just passed on some of your precious knowledge about distillery to me. I would have listened.

But still, thank you for the money. Maybe I can use some of it to pay back my adoptive parents a portion of what they've spent lulling me away from my wolfish ways and into the cradle of weird ethnic humanity.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Feral Child and the Tragic Bathroom: A Tragic Opera in 27 Tragic Parts, Each Part Lasting At Least An Hour Or So, If Not Longer

It could be the next Ring Cycle. Only better and longer.

The main plot point would be a thorough, operatic explanation of what happened to said feral child this morning when she whacked her head on some hard surface in her bathroom and bruised her tailbone on another, equally hard surface.

Obviously, something is wrong with the feral child. Luckily she already knows what is wrong with her so she doesn't have to sit around wondering whether or not she has a brain tumor. Getting all clammy and dizzy then passing out is just the feral child's body's special way of telling her she is allergic to something. The way she is allergic to ibuprofin. (And let me tell you, if the feral child weren't very, very allergic to iboprofin, she would be reaching for some this very moment to quell the pain of her bruised tailbone.)

So what exactly is the feral child allergic to this time around? Was it the "Neptune" salad replete with imitation crab meat and delicious Thousand Island dressing that she ate last night before going to bed? Or is the feral child allergic to only getting one hour of sleep the night before despite being in bed at an extremely reasonable hour? The little red numbers on the clock just kept taunting her. The clock will probably have a few arias to itself during some of the 27 tragic acts of the tragic opera.

Really I think we can all agree that it is a real tragedy when you find yourself whimpering softly as you lay your clammy cheek against the bathroom floor because the linoleum feels so nice and cool. I mean, if you're going to feel like that you might as well have spent the last 48 hours engaged in heavy substance abuse. And by substance I don't mean "Neptune" salad either.

But as for the opera.

Basically, the 27 tragic acts of the tragic opera would center around the figure of the Feral Child (albeit all grown up) and the awful events that transpire in her bathroom one morning when all she is trying to do is get ready for work. (Maybe she could wear a cute little headband with cute little gray wolf ears to indicate her heritage.)

The opera would also touch on the aftermath of such events. For example, some drama might ensue over the fact that there don't seem to be any soft, comfortable chairs around the house. I mean, for goodness sake, the feral child has just bruised her tailbone! The only sitting devices available seem to be those colorful, but bare-bones wooden structures known as 'Stefan' that everyone seems to have 3 or 4 of because they are only $19.99 each at Ikea.

I would, of course, play the feral child. Although I would like to take this opportunity to stress that although I know the feral child (and share some important similarities with her), we are not the same person. Just forget all that I said in the wolves post. I was really just talking about her.

I think Anna Netrebko should play my roommate. This way I would not be overshadowed by the supporting cast, in beauty or talent. Some of the libretto might go like this--

Me / the Feral Child: My ass hurts! A la la!! Where have all the softly cushioned chairs absconded to??

Anna Netrebko / the Roommate: I am pretty sure we burned them all for fuel last winter when the heater broke! A la lei!!


Anna Netrebko / the Roommate: It is so nice and cute of your expensive and pampered cat, Gerard Butler, to snuggle with you while you are icing your bruised tailbone!

That is great, is it not?

Really, if the feral child were still living with wolves, as she used to, she would not be making such a huge fuss about her bruised tailbone. She would just crawl into some dank, mossy lair and die until she felt better. See what being human does to you...

As for you, please stop paying attention to my adorable cat, Gerard Butler, or to my mildly attractive co-star, Anna Netrebko. Look at me instead! I am such a poor waif.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

In Other News, I Went Out for Cigarettes Last Night and Never Came Back

this neighborhood convenience store is the last place I was seen before I abandoned myself

In other news, Beowulf does reveal his dark secret to Kyra.

House of Curries is a lot longer walk from my house than I remembered.

In other news, now it is Hrothgar who is supposedly Grendel's father. Star Wars meets Anglo-Saxon literature. "Luke, I'm your son! Join me and we will rule the dark side forever!" "Noooooooooooooooooo!"

Previously I had claimed that wolves are easier to get along with than people. This is still true.

I am not sure what I'm going to do when I run out of cigarettes. I might have to come back.

Friday, August 24, 2007

There Is A Pet Owner's Version Of A Deadbeat Dad. After This I Promise I Will Not Post About My Cat, Gerard Butler, For A Very Long Time.

a youthful Gerard Butler, aged 3

The other day someone told me that my cat, Gerard Butler, may live to be twenty-five years old. My cat, Gerard Butler, is a Siamese mix and apparently this brand of cat is especially known for its longevity. Although I am sure it would upset Gerard Butler to know this, I have to admit that I was not looking for this kind of commitment when I first set my eyes upon my cat, Gerard Butler, at a sidewalk kitten adoption center that I stumbled onto after a leisurely brunch with out of town friends at La Med in Berkeley. I don't actually like La Med all that much. They put mint in everything, but that is beside the point. The point is that there was just all of a sudden this adorable little kitten with big blue eyes staring out at me from his collapsible wire cage. Gerard Butler's deadbeat dad and I decided we had to have him, right away. After releasing our names, dates of birth, social security numbers and other vital stats to the adoption liaison, we were allowed to sign a contract in our own blood that swore we would love and cherish our cat, Gerard Butler, for his entire natural life. (I feel compelled to mention, at this point, that the informational leaflet about kitten care stated that Gerard Butler might live to be sixteen, maybe even seventeen. If you ask me, 'sixteen' is not and will never be the same thing as 'twenty-five.')

Obviously, we sort of lost our heads. But that is one of the perils about cohabitation without getting married or having kids. There is this weird urge to establish domesticity in some other, pet-owning, way. Gerard Butler's deadbeat dad is a case in point. Not only is he Gerard Butler's deadbeat dad, he also has fathered a dog and another cat at various points in his adult life. Needless to say, both of Gerard Butler's half-siblings are also living with their mothers. I am thinking that the next time Gerard Butler's deadbeat dad feels the urge to shack up with a lady friend, they should probably just get a gerbil to symbolize their deep commitment to each other. Or maybe a house plant. Preferably something that is difficult to care for and dies quickly.

The real issue here, however, is of course the huge financial burden I am going to be carrying on my shoulders as I shepherd my cat, Gerard Butler, through twenty-five years of life. As it is, my cat, Gerard Butler, is somewhat pampered. For example, Gerard Butler does not eat Friskies. Instead he feasts daily on Iams Indoor Formula. He gets a new toy every time I go to the pet store. Also, Gerard Butler is and has always been a Tidy Cat, not a Johnny Cat. This level of care costs money, none of which is being provided by Gerard Butler's deadbeat dad. I may actually have to insist that my cat, Gerard Butler, interrupt his pampered lifestyle long enough to go out and get himself a part-time job. My cat, Gerard Butler, is after all extremely attractive. Maybe he could pose for cat calendars or something. Anything to defray the cost of his expensive flea treatments.

Really, what Gerard Butler really needs in his life right now is the firm hand of a father figure to help him correct some of his behavior problems that are causing my cat, Gerard Butler, to be very, very annoying. Any potential father figure is welcome to have him. At the potential father figure's house. Still, I love my cat, Gerard Butler, very much. Here's to twenty-two more years of my cat, Gerard Butler!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Used to Live with Some Guy in a Great Loft in Fruitvale. Now I Lead a Quiet Life in North Oakland with My Cat, Gerard Butler.

Gerard Butler, housecat, in a moment of quiet contemplation

I love my cat, Gerard Butler, so much. I love him so much that I even went to the extra trouble of putting up some cute picket white fencing around the bottomless pit in our back yard juuuust high enough so that he would not be in danger of jumping over and falling in.

To spice up our quiet life, my cat, Gerard Butler, and I sometimes play make believe. Once we pretended that my cat, Gerard Butler, and 299 of his closest cat compadres defended our side yard from that nasty little Pomeranian mix from a few houses down who is always peeing on our walkway and leaving other waste products as well. In the end, the Pomeranian mix won the day, but my cat, Gerard Butler, and his 299 closest behaved so valiantly that I have to say they taught me a real lesson about courage, teamwork, and sacrifice.

We also play at 'Beowulf' and 'Selma.' My cat, Gerard Butler, and I trade off who will play Beowulf and who will play Selma.

A typical interaction might go like this--

Me/Beowulf: Selma? Who the f*ck is Selma?

Gerard Butler/Selma: Meow!

Me/Beowulf: What's that you say? You're telling me that you are a 'sensual witch?'

I would love to be able to share with you many other intimate details of the quiet life I live in North Oakland with my cat, Gerard Butler, but other pressing commitments are dragging me away. My cat, Gerard Butler, is hungry.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"Let's All Be That Rough Beast Slouching Towards Bethlehem"

Oh look everyone, it is William Butler Yeats. Right now he is staring into the future at Dr. Karl, my high school principle. To my knowledge Dr. Karl is the only living literate person who has ever interpreted William Butler Yeats' famous poem "The Second Coming" with its well known 'widening gyre' and 'rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem' to symbolize how a rebirth of goodness is just around the corner. Talk about lining your clouds with silver! Talk about embarrassing yourself in front of the entire school because you choose to deliver your wild-eyed view of Yeats' poem as the focal point of your assembly right before Christmas break! Is that the entire AP English class snickering down their staid, buttoned-up shirt fronts? Why yes, it is. And look, there I am! On the end of the last row of folding chairs before the bleachers. Can you see me, William Butler Yeats? I am thinking to myself that the only thing better that could ever happen to me would be if Dr. Karl turned POOF! into a unicorn and stampeded about the gym looking for the lap of a virgin to lay her magnificent white head in. Unfortunately, Dr. Karl is the principal of an all girls' Catholic high school so virgins are very, very scarce. "Let's all be that rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem!" the unicorn brays. The unicorn prances about, tossing its mane. Oh William Butler Yeats, how I try to carry out your brazen wish as interpreted by Dr. Karl. I am so good it hurts.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Few Reasons Why Wolves Are Easier To Get Along with Than Humans

my good friends, canis lupus

  • Wolves tend to live in forests with lots of room and not in shared living situations with four other roommates and one bathroom. Really, don't you think wolves can go the bathroom whenever and wherever they want anyways?
  • I am a human raised by wolves and I have better manners than many wolves raised by humans. It was a sad day indeed when some well-intentioned missionaries caught up with me in the forest preserves outside the Chicago suburbs. Until then my only contact with humans had been LARP (those engaged in live-action role playing games) and the occasional klansman, but suddenly there I was in Catholic school. Walking upright no less.
  • Ranchers taint sheep carcasses with lithium to teach those wolves a nasty lesson. They bite in and get sick sick sick. But the point is, wolves are well-medicated. They do not take out their personal problems on, say, their roommates. Also, if memory serves, wolves do not take hour long showers in the morning when other people also have to go to work.
  • People often pretend to be wolves when really they are just an exquisite, exotic kind of sheep. You bite in, they make you sick. Wolves, however, are just wolves. They remain fairly predictable in that they do wolfish things in wolfish ways.
  • A lot of people go haywire around the time of the full moon and act odd in strange ways. For example they might be extra grouchy to their, say, roommates and yell and pout that they want to be left alone even though they are in the middle of the common area and have a very large bedroom at their disposal where they can be very, very alone whenever they feel like it. It is not like anyone is stopping them. Wolves, on the other hand, just get together in their social groups and enjoy a good howl.
  • Wolves clearly have a better sense of style than some humans. Their sleek gray coats glisten in the moonlight in a way that horrid sweat pants never will.
  • Wolves do not throw away their roommate's food during manic cleaning sprees because the, say, perfectly good milk is one day past the 'enjoy by' date. Don't think you can convince me that wolves care about these sorts of things. They don't. I used to live with them, remember?
  • The dog, by the way, is not even its own species. It is a subspecies of the wolf. How's that for man's best friend?
  • Wolves do pool their resources to hunt as a group.

Monday, August 20, 2007

E tu, Beowulf.

First you show up in the 2005 film Beowulf and Grendel starring Gerard Butler as Beowulf and Sarah Polley as ‘Selma.’ ‘Selma,’ I soon learn, is a ‘sensual witch’ with whom Beowulf develops a rather complex relationship. Not too complex, though, for some old-fashioned getting it on. Now you are tormenting me with the upcoming Robert Zemeckis film starring Angelina Jolie as naked. Er, I mean, as Grendel’s dam of course. Er, I mean as Grendel’s super-sultry ur-accent kind of dam. And by naked, I also mean to imply a little fifth century Beowulf/dam shagging. Not that there’s anything remotely wrong about shagging or getting it on, I just don’t remember that part in the book.

I admit you still pique my interest vaguely by promising this most recent version is the story “as never been told before.” (What, are you going to tell me Grendel is your son or something? Doesn’t that seem like reaching?) However, I can only surmise that the Beowulf marketing team means “as never been told before” in the same way that some flimsy cardboard display at the AMC alerted me to the fact that King Arthur was “the untold true story that inspired the legend.” (To this cineaste, the story will remain forever untold, because I fell asleep in the theater.)

But really. I ask you. Who the f*ck is Selma? You’ve raised some serious questions, here, Beowulf, as you run amok through your own pages.

To be honest, you caused me to doubt myself. My first reaction to reading about Selma on the DVD box for Beowulf and Grendel was to feel stupid for obviously missing a huge chunk of the poem. Sort of like I usually miss the poem within a poem about Hengest’s sister or whoever. (I try to pay attention!) Then I thought I had perhaps read an “edited” version back in my all-girls’ Catholic high school because Sister Mary Patrick Francis Brian wanted to preserve my sexual purity. Of course, I had already read the Bible, so it was too late for that. The scholarly thing to do would have been to dutifully pour over the poem again. In what I think you will agree was a brilliant tactical move, I immediately consulted Wikipedia.

I read the plot synopsis. I scoured the list of subtly unpronounceable character names looking for ‘Beowulf Love Interest.’ Or ‘Lust Interest.’ That would explain things too. For all I know, you’re not really looking for something long term right now. But as it turns out, Sister Mary Patrick Francis Brian did not pull any fifth century wool over my eyes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure a warrior of your prowess gets laid a lot by all sorts of women and mythical beasts with subtly unpronounceable names, but it’s just not in the book. I never expected this slick attitude from you. I always thought of you as reliable and maybe even a little bit stodgy.

While I have your attention, I think I had better go ahead and bring up that 1999 film Beowulf set in the future and starring Christopher Lambert. (Incidentally, Christopher Lambert enjoys the distinction of having a key role in the only movie I haven't been able to watch all the way through. It is called Druids and somehow has made the leap from VHS to DVD even though it is so bad it's not even so bad it's good.) Of course the burning question on my mind here is whether or not you will reveal your deep, dark secret to Kyra (daughter to King Hrothgar) and accept the love she offers you. I don’t know the answer yet, but I have you coming next on my Netflix queue, so we will be able to exchange notes shortly. Please stop stabbing me now.