Monday, October 29, 2007


I need more free time, for a lot of reasons, but one such reason is that I need to re-watch a lot of TV shows. I've been going through this weird (for lack of a better word) parental thing with Justin because he's watching The Office from the beginning, and I'm loaning the DVDs to him, watching occasional episodes, and receiving reports on the ones he watches by himself. (Not actually as formal as it sounds.) So I'm of course feeling this pang of nostalgia for the first watching of the Office, an experience really that no one can understand until they've watched them all and are witnessing someone else do it for the first time (hence my use of the word parental). I'm also feeling the need to re-watch all the Wes Andersen movies, because I saw The Darjeeling Limited a couple of weeks ago, and I need to re-read and re-watch Wonder Boys, because I recommended the book to my friend Peattie and now can't remember anything about it. This is a disturbing trend given how much new media I have that I'm behind on - my Netflix are gathering dust, I am still not done with Season 1 of Deadwood, and if I delay anymore on watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer my friend Santiago might just kill me. Plus there's all the books I need to read and the New Yorkers and Believers threatening to pile up... it's a problem. Anyway, with all of this it's a really bad time for the release of the updated, apparently awesome boxed set of My So-Called Life, which I already own in old, apparently not awesome boxed set form but, well, the point is my set isn't awesome, and now that I think about it I do kind of want the awesome set. I also want to watch My So-Called Life again, and get my nostalgia on for the first time I watched that, which was sophomore year in college, while I was finishing crocheting an afghan, and I stayed up until like 4am on a school night alone in the lounge watching MSCL and crocheting in the dark. It was awesome.

Just occurred to me: Is it wrong that I have nostalgia for watching TV?

On Dumbledore & Homosexuality

It's articles like this one that make me want to be a critic and a PhD student at the same time, and yet simultaneously feel like I couldn't really be either. It's a pretty good read, and I agree with most of it (I think it's weird to see JK Rowling spouting random apocrypha about the books - it's not really necessary, the books are self-contained, and it just ends up feeling like a DVD extra or, worse, like when I used to write stories and spent more time elaborately charting my characters' minutia than I spent writing stories). What impresses me most is this:

In her outing of Dumbledore, Ms. Rowling seemed to be confirming the smarmy kiss-and-tell insinuations of her gossip-mongering character Rita Skeeter, whose lurid biography of the apparently saintly headmaster — titled “The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore” — is described in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

“Coming next week,” a newspaper article on Skeeter promises, “the shocking story of the flawed genius considered by many to be the greatest wizard of his generation.” Skeeter drops teasing hints about Dumbledore’s “murky past,” about his not being “exactly broad-minded” and suggests that in his mentoring of Harry there is an “unnatural interest,” something “unhealthy, even sinister.” As for the idea that Ms. Rowling suggested — that as a teenage prodigy, Dumbledore had a homoerotic infatuation with another prodigious young wizard, Grindelwald (who later went over to what in “Star Wars” is called the Dark Side) — Skeeter hints at this in coded allusions.

She proposes that when the two friends had a falling out in a dramatic duel, Grindelwald did not fight but “conjured a white handkerchief from the end of his wand and” — the passage then gives way to an obvious (in retrospect) sexual double entendre.

Such homoerotic imagery, at any rate, suggests a strong mischievous streak, not just among these dueling wizards but in Ms. Rowling herself, their contemporary chronicler in the world of Muggles (which is, of course, how the wizards refer to those of us lacking wands or the magic to use them).

What a read, huh? It makes me vaguely proud of JK Rowling for hinting without saying (usually not her strongest suit), and it reminds me of when I failed to realize that Billy Budd was an allegory for Christ. My analytical skills as an English major, are, I fear, lacking. Or were.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I just read a bunch of McSweeney's lists and feel the need to replicate them except I only have one item for the list.

Incidentally, have you ever thought about the two main formats for McSweeney's lists? They usually go like this:

LIST OF NAMES YOU COULD CALL SOMETHING IF IT WAS OTHER THAN IT ACTUALLY IS (e.g. alternate titles for things, what someone would have written if they hadn't written something else)
-Overly complicated run-on sentence that says something pretty realistic and/or witty
-Punchline (single word, sudden seriousness in place of irony or lightheartedness, or replacement of realistic complication with something pithy and short, or something mundane in conjunction with something lofty)

That's the basic template. The important part is the punchline - it's all about timing.

Actually, it's more complicated than that. Catbirdseat does this "Music-Blogger Best of 2007 list Cheat Sheet" and it's pretty awesome. I feel like I could do a cheat sheet for McSweeney's lists. That may be forthcoming.

Doesn't mean they aren't genius. I love lists and their proliferation in society, and frequently think of (um, for example, wow, I am a nerd, I can't believe I'm about to say this) the tags/labels on my blog posts as a sort of microlist - the same goes for tagging Facebook photos. They border on found poetry.

Anyway. Here is my McSweeney's-style list for today, with only one item on it.

Things that cause me to be consumed with a combination of bewilderment, indignation, and a feeling that possibly God, if he ever existed in the first place, has forsaken me
-TiVo inexplicably failing to record the Office.

The Hills

Breaking News: Reality TV not real!

I don't watch the Hills anymore but I read recaps and news. I don't know if that's better or worse.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Unread books depress me

I got this via Pages Turned... You're supposed to indicate which of the top "unread" books on LibraryThing you have or have not read. I'll do it like she did, and bold the ones I haven't read. God, this is going to depress me.

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (guess I should get to this sometime, I keep thinking about buying it)

  2. Anna Karenina (someday)

  3. Crime and punishment

  4. Catch-22

  5. One hundred years of solitude

  6. Wuthering Heights

  7. Life of Pi : a novel (started it once, but didn't finish, even though I liked where it was going and it was highly recommended. I think I have a copy at my parents' house)

  8. The name of the rose

  9. Don Quixote (assuming that excerpts in Spanish 3 don't count as "reading" this)

  10. Moby Dick

  11. Ulysses

  12. Madame Bovary (LOVE IT)

  13. The Odyssey (again, excerpts. I really want to read the Robert Fagles translation)

  14. Pride and prejudice

  15. Jane Eyre

  16. A tale of two cities

  17. The brothers Karamazov

  18. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies (own it, haven't read it. Think Lucie borrowed it)

  19. War and peace

  20. Vanity fair

  21. The time traveler's wife

  22. The Iliad (same as the Odyssey)

  23. Emma

  24. The Blind Assassin

  25. The kite runner (have been told I should read a Thousand Splendid Suns. It's apparently better. But I feel like I should read this before that one, but I don't really care to read this.)

  26. Mrs. Dalloway

  27. Great expectations (I'm counting this even though I read an abridged version. I just don't want to ever think about reading it again)

  28. American gods : a novel

  29. A heartbreaking work of staggering genius

  30. Atlas shrugged (NO interest)

  31. Reading Lolita in Tehran

  32. Memoirs of a Geisha (Mike gave this to me for a birthday. Have not read it.)

  33. Middlesex

  34. Quicksilver (what is this?)

  35. Wicked

  36. The Canterbury tales

  37. The historian : a novel

  38. A portrait of the artist as a young man (I didn't finish it. I was like 15 pages from the end. I am a bad person.)

  39. Love in the time of cholera

  40. Brave new world

  41. The Fountainhead

  42. Foucault's pendulum

  43. Middlemarch (I actually want to read this because I listened to Rachel talk about it all the time when she was writing a massive paper on it)

  44. Frankenstein

  45. The Count of Monte Cristo

  46. Dracula

  47. A clockwork orange (borrowed this from Pablo. Did not read it. Returned it.)

  48. Anansi boys : a novel

  49. The once and future king (REALLY need to do this sometime. I've read the Sword and the Stone. Can't believe with Mom as my mom, I haven't read this)

  50. The grapes of wrath

  51. The poisonwood Bible : a novel

  52. 1984

  53. Angels & demons (I would literally have to be tortured into submission to read this book)

  54. The inferno (really want to read the entire Comedy someday, especially after I read a New Yorker review of the latest translation)

  55. The satanic verses (Own it. Started it twice. Really need to get back to it)

  56. Sense and sensibility

  57. The picture of Dorian Gray

  58. Mansfield Park

  59. One flew over the cuckoo's nest (bought it, haven't read it)

  60. To the lighthouse

  61. Tess of the D'Urbervilles (actually want to read this. I liked the movie, and I liked Jude the Obscure a lot)

  62. Oliver Twist (don't much care)

  63. Gulliver's travels (for school! twice! or, like, once and a half!)

  64. Les misérables (started it, put it down. it's fat)

  65. The corrections

  66. The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay : a novel

  67. The curious incident of the dog in the night-time (should I care?)

  68. Dune

  69. The prince (Read this on Diane's urging in high school. I find that funny.)

  70. The sound and the fury (still haven't read any Faulker. Bad English major.)

  71. Angela's ashes : a memoir

  72. The god of small things (sadly, still haven't finished this, but started it and read a LOT of it, TWICE)

  73. A people's history of the United States : 1492-present (have wanted to read this for ages, just haven't built up the nerve)

  74. Cryptonomicon (what the hell is this)

  75. Neverwhere (ditto #74)

  76. A confederacy of dunces (my mom hated it, but other people I know loved it. What do I do?)

  77. A short history of nearly everything

  78. Dubliners

  79. The unbearable lightness of being

  80. Beloved : a novel (honestly? no interest. )

  81. Slaughterhouse-five

  82. The scarlet letter

  83. Eats, Shoots & Leaves

  84. The mists of Avalon (boy does this take me back)

  85. Oryx and Crake : a novel

  86. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed (kinda wanted to pick this up from my boss's bookshelf. resisted. stayed employed)

  87. Cloud atlas : a novel (started it. didn't finish! this is a bad pattern.)

  88. The confusion (?)

  89. Lolita

  90. Persuasion

  91. Northanger abbey

  92. The catcher in the rye

  93. On the road

  94. The hunchback of Notre Dame (don't know if I care)

  95. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of…

  96. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance : an inquiry into … (borrowed from Jordi, freshman year)

  97. The Aeneid (same as Odyssey & Iliad. I'm weak on the Greeks, what can I say?)

  98. Watership Down (bought it. have yet to read it)

  99. Gravity's rainbow (bought it used, started, read about a page. will read it someday. sigh)

  100. In cold blood (someday)

  101. White teeth

  102. Treasure Island (I think I was supposed to read this, and did not)

  103. David Copperfield (considered borrowing my sister's copy once)

  104. The three musketeers

  105. Cold mountain

  106. Robinson Crusoe (no, THIS, not Treasure Island, was what I was supposed to read and did not)

  107. The bell jar

  108. The secret life of bees (ugh, unfortunately)

  109. Beowulf : a new verse translation (have had this for years. have still not read it. Really want to. someday.)

  110. The plague

  111. The Master and Margarita

  112. Atonement : a novel

  113. The handmaid's tale

  114. Lady Chatterley's lover
edited: I realized I had read On the Road.

More book memes. I'm a nerd.

How many books do you own? No idea... My guess is around 200, here in SF.

Last book you bought? Just bought "Not Fade Away," "Ulysses," "Infinite Jest," "No Country for Old Men," and "Saturday" on Amazon a couple of weeks ago. Oh no! wait! it was "High Fidelity" and "Slam," the new Nick Hornby book, at Borrone's when I went to a reading. Oops... I may have a problem. I black out my book buying.

Last book someone bought you? I can't remember. I think it was "The Book Thief" which my mom got me for Valentine's Day. My friend Christian gave me "The Road," but he didn't buy it for me.. just gave me his copy.

Last book read? David Foster Wallace's "Supposedly Fun Thing I'll never do again" - and now I'm on Chabon's "Mysteries of Pittsburgh," as you loyal know.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

The Dwindling Party. I really want to get my own copy of this, but it's so much money now, since it's out of print. It's really sad and awful, but my aunt and uncle's house was in danger during the fires in Running Springs, CA, and the first thing I thought about was this book, somewhere in their bookshelves. (I should probably clarify that they themselves, and their pets, and their essentials, were and are safe at my parents' house. Also that, thank god, their house is out of danger now.)

The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes. I have this memory of my sister giving this to me the Christmas I was six years old. IF that memory is accurate, then she had nothing to do with actually picking it out, since she would have been 3 at the time. But I remember that, and so this is the most precious of my many Calvin and Hobbes books (even excluding the deluxe edition that weighs about 80 pounds).

Timequake, by Kurt Vonnegut. This was the first Vonnegut I read, and it's a backward way to go about reading him. It basically repeats everything from all the other books, all his little wisdoms. But it was first, and I loved it first, so I still love it, even though I have read everything else he's written which is arguably better or more original.

(This is starting to get really hard. I feel like I am excluding things.)

The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I wrote the author of this book because I LOVED it, so so much. I illustrated it with watercolor pencils (remember those?) I got busted for "reading ahead" in 5th grade when, home sick I finished this book the day after we started it, and went back the next day totally jazzed about talking about it and then really disappointed when it turned out I couldn't share and also sad my teacher yelled at me for reading ahead. Yes, this is a great book.

I guess it's time to go for an adult book, besides Timequake. For that, the Unbearable Lightness of Being, because it is, to quote Nellie Olsen, too-too. (That is what she says, right? In a later book, though.)

Ack!! No! I take it back! I will say instead The Long Winter, because how could I not include a Laura Ingalls Wilder book in this list? And, why the Long Winter? Because it is long and depressing and heartwarming and scary all at once, and because Almanzo came back with the wheat.


Whenever I think of Josh Ritter, in the back of my mind I hear my friend Rachel say the name "Josh," since for a while her cousin was his drummer (not sure when he stopped). I saw Josh Ritter perform in London three years ago, and afterwards we went out with him and the band to some bar called Crowbar somewhere off of Oxford Street (ok, I admit it, my memory is extremely hazy). Last night I saw him again, two albums later, at Bimbo's in San Francisco (a venue that reminds me vaguely of the House of Blues or the Fillmore, only smaller).

It was a great show. He seemed like he was having fun, and I love it when musicians seem like they are having fun. In fact he seemed positively giddy. He played all of the songs I would have wanted him to play except for "Me and Jiggs," which I have fond memories of him playing before. Seriously, I feel like I've been trying to get people to listen to him for ages, including my parents, who I feel like should definitely like him, but no one has. So without further ado I present you with Emily's guide to Josh Ritter songs and awesomeness.

I was very happy when he rolled into Kathleen and a disco ball started going. I really, really love this song. Laurel and Rachel and I used to be obsessed with it, and I still am. It fits into the genre of art I feel like I appreciate either more or less than I would if I had had relationships in high school. I think I appreciate it more, but because I just imagine that maybe this is what it would have been like. Sorry I couldn't find a better video for it. You can actually download it form his website or by right clicking here and selecting save.

One of the great things he did last night was play a couple of songs entirely acoustically. Meaning, he unplugged the guitar and stepped away from the mic and just sang. It was pretty amazing to have the entire club silent, no sound, no falling bottles, just a slightly-mood-ruining air conditioner blowing in the background. Here's the song he played like this for the encore:

I listened to this next song on repeat for about three months straight. I'm pretty sure I've posted it before. He played it last night and the only downside was that he let the audience sing along, which sometimes bums me out. I'd rather he just sing it, or maybe let the audience sing along if it's in a tiny venue:

This song was the big surprise for me last night. I hadn't really listened a whole lot to the new album, and so I'd missed this one. I think it's my new favorite. You can download it here until Thursday Nov 1.

I guess part of the reason I like Josh's music is that it's sort of grounded in all that Western lore I'm so into. It makes me think of Lonesome Dove.

Couple more things:
"Empty Hearts" may just be my New Year's resolution song
"Still Beating" was the other all-acoustic-no-mic song and really lovely.
"Harrisburg" is kind of awesome.
"Mind's Eye" was the rockout song at the end -- I think -- when the whole band wore Roman legionnaire's helmets. I love this new trend in music where people just wear crazy shit that has nothing to do with anything, like Sufjan Stevens and his whole band wearing fairy butterfly costumes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Watterson on Schulz

Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, wrote a review of the new Charles Schulz biography. It's nice to hear from him - I saw somewhere that this was only the third time Watterson has written anything publicly since Calvin and Hobbes ended. I miss Calvin and Hobbes.

"the Tiger Woods of the sport of bearding"

This is entire silly because my blog connects to my Facebook profile and I'm friends on Facebook with the subject of this article. But it's entirely worth reading. Jack Passion is one of a kind. Since Justin went to the World Beard and Moustache Championships, he is now friends with the Pash, and the latter came over to our house for a bit a couple of weeks ago. I for one am a fan.

Education in Intoxication

This makes me miss England. And New York. All at once. Yum. I need to find a place that's quieter than Toronado to sit down and have some delicious cask ales.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just found out that the role Clay Aiken will be playing in Spamalot is Sir Robin.

How amazing.

I kind of have this embarrassing love for the song "Invisible."

Monday, October 22, 2007

3191 with kittens

Love this 3191 today. Makes me miss my kitty, and all the other kitties there have been throughout the years.

It's so sensory. I can just feel the almost-splinteriness of the wood deck in the sunshine, the slight warmth that you can tell is there, the fragility of the kitty's ribs and featheriness of her fur.

I want my life to be like that.

DFW is a genius...

I've been meaning to post these bits for a while but forgot this book at Laurel's house. Here are two excerpts from David Foster Wallace's amazing essay "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction," which is in the book A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again.

So how then have irony, irreverence, and rebellion come to be not liberating but enfeebling int he culture today's avant-garde tries to write about? One clue's to be found in the fact that irony is still around, bigger than ever after 30 long years as the dominant mode of hip expression. It's not a rhetorical mode that wears well. As Hyde (whom I pretty obviously like) puts it, "Irony has only emergency use. Carried over time, it is the voice of the trapped who have come to enjoy their cage." This is because irony, entertaining as it is, serves an almost exclusively negative function. It's critical and destructive, a ground-clearing. Surely this is the way our postmodern fathers saw it. But irony's singularly unuseful when it comes to constructing anything to replace the hypocrisies it debunks. This is why Hyde seems right about persistent irony being tiresome. It is unmeaty. Even gifted ironists work best in sound bites. I find gifted ironists sort of wickedly fun to listen to at parties, but I always walk away feeling like I've had several radical surgical procedures. And as for actually driving cross-country with a gifted ironist, or sitting through a 300-page novel full of nothing but trendy sardonic exhaustion, one ends up feeling not only empty but somehow... oppressed.

Think, for a moment, of Third World rebels and coups. Third World rebels are great at exposing and overthrowing corrupt hypocritical regimes, but they seem noticeably less great at the mundane, non-negative task of then establishing a superior governing alternative. Victorious rebels, in fact, seem best at using their tough, cynical rebel-skills to avoid being rebelled against themselves - in other words, they just become better tyrants.

And make no mistake: irony tyrannizes us. The reason why our pervasive cultural irony is at once so powerful and so unsatisfying is that an ironist is impossible to pin down. All U.S. irony is based on an implicit "I don't really mean what I'm saying." So what does irony as a culturual norm mean to say? That it's impossible to mean what you say? That maybe it's too bad it's impossible, but wake up and smell the coffee already? Most likely, I think, today's irony ends up saying: "How totally banal of you to ask what I really mean." Anyone with the heretical gall to ask an ironist what he actually stands for ends up looking like a hysteric or a prig. And herein lies the oppressiveness of institutionalized irony, the too-successful rebel: the ability to interdict the question without attending to its subject is, when exercised, tyranny. It is the new junta, using the very tool that exposed its enemy to insulate itself.

This is why our educated teleholic friends' use of weary cynicism to try to seem superior to TV is so pathetic. And this is why the fiction-writing citizen of our televisual culture is in such very deep shit. What do you do when postmodern rebellion becomes a pop-cultural institution? For this of course is the second answer to why avant-garde irony and rebellion have become dilute and malign. They have been absorbed, emptied, and redeployed by the very televisual establishment they had originally set themselves athwart.


It's entirely possible that my plangent noises about the impossibility of rebelling against and aura that promotes and vitiates all rebellion say more about my residency inside that aura, my own lack of vision, than they do about any exhaustion of U.S. fiction's possibilities. The next real literary "rebels" in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that'll be the point. Maybe that's why they'll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today's risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the "Oh how banal." To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Not Fade Away

"In case there's anyone who doesn't remember, Corning did not begin with the fiber optics business. In the 1950s, Corning manufactured plates and platters and Pyrex pans. What the company was best known for, though, was casserole dishes. Everybody had them, remember? Their trademark was an abstract blue flower.

Since my dad worked for Corning, my mom had every casserole shape ever made. We had one for stew. We had one for soup. We had one for potatoes. If they'd made one for individual spaghetti strands, we'd have had that one too! I can still see the metal cradles that the dishes sat in at the table...

But wait -- why am I going on about casseroles? I think it's because the approach of death has made me realize that there are no unimportant details in life. That childhood sense of wonder is somehow coming back to me. How can I put it? Things, and the meanings that they have, are being reunited in my heart.

Those old casseroles -- maybe they're just chipped and battered pans, but for me they're connected with incredibly precious things, giant notions like Mother, Kitchen, Family Meals.
So cut me some slack if I get nostalgic now and then over trivialities. The thing is, they don't seem trivial to me. I've come to feel that the big things in life are best understood by way of small things. Ignore the small ones, and the big ones just seem like fancy words, slogans without the truth of something you really know, and really feel."
--Peter Barton, Not Fade Away

Just an excerpt from the book I'm reading right now. I already wrote about it on my Goodreads profile, but the story is that this guy at work keeps recommending it (he forgets he recommended it before, so he's done it about 3 times), so I finally bought it remaindered for about $4. I don't normally read memoirs, especially memoirs or stories about cancer, because, well, as the author of this book notes, cancer is like this thing with a life of its own... once it's in the picture, the picture isn't about anything else. And it makes me think of crappy movies like A Walk To Remember. But anyway, this is sort of different, and I'm reading it now, and it's simple and good and I admire the guy who wrote it, partly because he's such a dad, the way my dad is a dad. I don't know if that makes sense. But the other thing I've been thinking about while reading this is what he talks about here: the little insignificant things that matter. I have lately felt as though I've lost memories of little things, and in my reading of this memoir and Jonathan Franzen's The Discomfort Zone, I've felt more and more like I need to start writing the little things down. So I don't lose them forever.

Also, I had, or am in the middle of having, a conversation with Justin about our grandparents, and those stories become the kinds of stories where the little things matter a lot. And then on a meta, writing, authorial level I realized that my feelings about this may be different an interesting if I just write them down... and then I thought, as I have thought a lot recently and failed to put into action, I can write about this. So perhaps I will.

I'll report more about this book when I've finished it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More Lit Crawl - Stephen Elliott

I took a Continuing Studies Creative Non Fiction class from Stephen Elliott, a major staple of the SF lit scene. (You can't avoid him, especially in my 'hood: his books are at McSweeney's/826 Valencia and Good Vibrations, and he lives there.) I like Stephen and I liked his class, although I've only read some of his stuff (which he assigned, um, in class). I get the sense that there's a Stephen Elliott crazy-fan contingent out there, and I'll say right now as a disclaimer that I'm not in it. But. He spoke at Lit Crawl the other night (because he is a Star of the SF Lit Scene, he had a session all to himself), reading this piece "The Score" which was published in The Believer this March. I'd read it before, but his reading made it funny, in a sad way (which, given his subject matter, makes sense), and he had photos and videos to accompany the reading, which was pretty fun as well. It made me happy I'd taken the class and that he recognizes me (barely) on the streets.

When I left her apartment the Tenderloin was full of fog. It floated near my kneecaps. The air was cool and wet and it wasn’t totally dark. There were drug dealers and college students in front of the red and green flag of the taqueria. Forty thousand people had gone to the desert carrying art to burn and pills. A spontaneous, impermanent city.

She would call and say it was over. She would send me a note detailing all the time we’d been together and she had felt alone. Sitting on a bar stool later that night I felt the floor shift beneath me. I felt profoundly fucked up and sad that I hadn’t spent the night with her. I wanted to tell my friends about it. I would build up to the punch line: “And then she fucked three guys just to make sure she didn’t go back on it. And then, get this, she tried to go back on it anyway.”

It also makes it pretty amusing that I know a lot of random information about his love/sex life.

Laura Fraser at Lit Crawl

Went to Lit Crawl the other night. It was pretty fun. I loved Laura Fraser, who read this piece about being and not being a vegetarian. She was funny and self-deprecating and totally the kind of person who would write for O magazine, and I mean that in a good way (everyone I've encountered who writes for O is really warm and friendly and not a sap at all, which surprises me, but which is kind of cool). I recommend her piece, although I think the reading-aloud really made it better for me. Lit Crawl is a great idea, but it's too crowded. Sort of a shame.

An excerpt:

The truth is, I became a vegetarian in college for two reasons. One was that meat was more expensive than lentils, and I was broke, or broke enough to choose to spend my limited budget on other classes of ingestibles. The other was that I was not a lesbian.

This is not to say that all lesbians are carnivores; in fact, there's probably a higher percentage of vegetarians among lesbians than most other groups. But there was a fair amount of political pressure to be something in those days. Since, as a privileged white girl from suburban Denver, I couldn't really identify with any oppressed minority group, I was faced with becoming a lesbian in order to prove my political mettle. I had to decide between meat and men, and for better or worse, I became a vegetarian.

Recommitting to the blog...

I'm trying to get back into this again, as I'm feeling semi-inspired. Not to write real things... I'm still stymied in the writing process across the board (especially in my writing group, but that's not the point here)... but to write little "I'm thinking about this" today. Whatever that may be. Articles, videos, food, anything that's on my mind, just a short, quick entry. Like a Facebook post or note, which I've gotten in the habit of doing. (And I like it. Boy, do I wish my whole life could be integrated in a sort of Facebook/Google/Hype Machine mashup of awesomeness Internet-style.) But I don't want to give up on my Blogger. I feel it keeps me honest. Hence, this new attempt.

Stay tuned.