Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mind games

Sometimes I wish I could turn off my brain. Mostly it feels like I've got about a dozen hamsters churning away up there, working overtime and then some, along with a monkey on a typewriter (or maybe that's just the hangover).
One of my goals for 2010 is to think less and experience more. As a Capricorn and nervy--okay anxious--person, nothing makes me happier than a well thought out plan. But sometimes, a plan becomes a fence, and sometimes you just need to run free.
I've had some horrendous dentist visits the past few weeks and during the worst of it, I tried to think of people and places that made me happy. One image I kept coming back to was this one, of me and a friend on a dhow off the coast of Tanzania, heading to Bongoyo Island. I was dirty and hairy and hadn't slept in days and my body was covered with bruises from 2 weeks of construction site work but it was an extraordinarily happy moment, a warm sunlit happy day with swimming and lounging and a beach barbecue ahead of us.
I miss Frenchie. We did early morning yoga on the roof of our hotel together, we pulled pranks and drank gallons of konyagi and played dice til all hours and tried to solve the world's problems. She's a rare, lovely girl, and I hope the universe is kind enough to let us meet again.
I am a lucky girl and have the good memories to prove it. I'm trying to figure out how to make them the video loop in my head, because sometimes the Novocaine just doesn't cut it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Style vs beauty, round 2

I started this blog in October 2008 with thoughts on style, and Carole Lombard. I'm still thinking about style, especially as it relates to beauty. American culture seems confused about the two--everyone touts having their own style, when mostly they are attempting to achieve some bland bottom shelf of generic beauty.

Julia Roberts? Beautiful.
Chloe Sevigny? Stylish (and irritating as fuck, but there you are).

Growing up I felt like an ugly lump; my middle sister was blonde and radiant and sweet (everything I was not). When my father said I looked attractive, I was pretty sure it was code for "despite your moustache, crooked teeth and surly disposition, you are not entirely disgusting." A family friend even told me, "You look handsome--not pretty. But handsome."

Sexist jerks aside, I had such a passion for style. I couldn't get enough, collecting ESPRIT catalogs and devouring fashion magazines, snipping out photos of outfits that appealed to me and pasting them into little notebooks. My part-time job at the Mission Thrift Store was an addict's dream--I scooped up vintage dresses and a cloisonne brooch and a black wool toreador sweater with rhinestones that I am wearing as I type. I slouched around town in a man's fedora and raggedy brown Keds and was delighted when I was pronounced too seedy to ride in the family car.

I continue to study the stylish. At Sartorialist, which you know about. And here. And here. Oh here too. I absorb the images of Wallis Simpson and Sofia Coppola and (sometimes) Kirsten Dunst, and Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis. None of them classically beautiful, but so powerful and compelling that you can't look away.

Maybe that's the difference. Beauty is, and it is pleasant but it does not invite reflection, where style is elusive and variable, and you may not like it but you can't not look.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Joy in the crosswalk

In Wallingford this morning I was waiting at a traffic light and two boys skipped into the crosswalk in front of my car. They were maybe ten or eleven, in sk8ter outfits, with lanky blond hair and easy strides. Halfway across the darker-haired one did a balletic leap, grinning as if with sheer joy of the physical stretch. It was so natural and beautiful that I laughed out loud.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I've been having fun with images.
This is a photo taken in my bathroom mirror and juiced up with Photoshop.
Is it narcissistic to wonder just how you look to others?
I have trouble grasping my own image.
How I look.
The face I see in the mirror is a lot different than the one I see in photographs.
Even at this stage--post-college, teetering on my career as though it were a log-roll, mid-divorce--I feel like I'm still trying to get a handle on myself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Staring at Proust

There's a feature on DailyKos, a lefty political blog I read to ensure that I don't have low blood pressure. The feature is "Yes, We're All Staring At You" and it's a set of illuminating questions, similar to the Proust Questionnaire in Vanity Fair.

One of the questions is: what music makes you feel invincible?
I ask myself a version of this question sometimes: what makes me feel invincible?

  • Modern art, for one--Brancusi, Miro, Kandinsky, Jim Hodges, Robert Davidson, etc etc etc.
  • Graffiti.
  • Crazily stylish people.
  • Inventive music, not too downbeat--Chromeo, Gorillaz, Gaga, Mel Torme, Madeleine Peyroux.
  • Smart ass detective novels--any Chandler, most Deighton, any Lee Child or Lehane or Connolly.
  • Late night giggly gab-fests with my nieces.
  • Naps with the dog.
  • French 75's.
  • Cute boys, gallant old men, and sarcastic girls.

There's more, but think about it. What makes you feel invincible to the horde?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Auntie Up

So here's where my head is -- when I saw this tag today I read "Auntie Up," as in I'm an auntie and "up with aunties." Something along those lines. Because, it is all about me, no?
The non-aunties among you may read it differently.
Ante up, I guess, or up the ante, in 2 different adjacent tags down on 1st Avenue South.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Another weekend of birthdays is coming up--my sis over at bylynnkrestel, a passel of cousins, a good friend. Prost, all you Cappies!
I hear a lot about astrology from various quarters, and still have no idea what my birth chart is, nor my moon sign. I have learned when crazy shit starts going down to say wisely, "Is mercury in retrograde?" and solemn heads will nod all around.
My nieces and I like to page through French fashion magazines and we always read our horoscopes aloud, in our best accents a la Francaise, and then translate them as literally as possible. It makes us laugh, and I'm guessing we're getting close enough.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mon anniversaire

Welp I have to say, a pretty good birthday weekend all around:
  • Drinks'n'giggles with my sis Friday night at Lola
  • Complimentary Greek muscat and coconut cream pie from a very cute waiter
  • Then I wore 2 different sneakers around most of Saturday
  • Mad fun--drinks/dinner at La Isla, funk at The Tractor--a sweet Saturday night with eleven of Seattle's hottest, finest people
  • Cupcakes from my nemesis, how I love to hate you and your red velvet
  • And, my car did not get towed this morning and the dog did not get impounded

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A meelion little pieces

My mother (English teacher and grammarian extraordinaire, rest her soul) abhorred any kind of misspelling. No big surprise, I don't mind it at all. Phonetic transcription is a skill linguists practice for years. A creatively spelled word here and there slows your reader down, gets meaning across in a way a correctly spelled word can't.
Par exemple:
Hey, mind your own business. (Direct, a little hostile.)
Hey, mind your own biznazz. (Direct, but funny. Am I right?)
Posting this picture because it's how I feel on the brink of another birthday. Creative. Somewhat fractured. Sparkling.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Do it again, only faster

I'm a bit of a movie junkie (and my sis and I quite rightly agree that anyone who knows zilch about the Hays Code is a few syringes short of junkie status) -- anyway I'm not a George Lucas fan but this story about him makes me laugh. And it makes a point.

I'll quote The actors [in "Star Wars"] found George Lucas to be very uncommunicative towards them, with his only directions generally being either "faster" or "more intense". At one point, when he temporarily lost his voice, the crew provided him with a board with just those three words written on it.

I've been thinking about my glacial pace in getting short stories accepted. In lieu of being a Lucas (although given his net worth maybe that wouldn't be so horrible), I think I need to change things up.
  • I re-joined the writing/reviewing community on Zoetrope.
  • I'll submit a story a week somewhere, even if it's to a fanzine with a subscriber base of ten.
  • And, I'm considering digital media. The Rick Moody Experiment had its problems, but like Thelma and Louise going over the cliff, it's where things are heading.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Twenty Ten

About a year ago I wrote about a very cold but cleansing trip to Port Angeles on New Year's Day. I still had a lot on my mind as 2009 staggered out the door, so I repeated the trip a few days ago.
No snow this year, but rain thrummed gently against the windows. Moss sprouted in light green tufts across the sodden ground and coated once-bare tree branches in airy, snowy clumps. Blown-over trees and cut cedar trunks lined the gravel road, still red, like raw meat, a testament to recent windstorms (and industrious neighbors).
The moon was out the second night, round and intense and bright. Waking up at two a.m., I fumbled for the switch overhead, thinking for a minute I'd left a light on.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How very

Last night I pondered the similarities between the movie "Heathers" and the TV show "Gossip Girl." "Heathers" predates GG by 20 years. "Heathers" could be GG's alcoholic stepmother.

bsp videos don't sleep on 'em