Happy New Year!
I have tried to write this sentence, explaining all
the ways that my life has changed in just 12 months, but finally
I realized that there are no words for it. I went back and read
posts from last January, and seems like I was spinning in circles,
with no sense of what I could or should do. Now, I am entering
this year with such a sense of purpose, such a sense of hope and
excitement and passion...
Anyway, I haven't made any New Year's resolutions,
because I never really do, but taken from a friend of mine, I have
some goals. So, here they are. Some of them are small and
shallow, and some of them are pretty intense and huge. I am writing
them so that I can see what kind of progress I've made on the things
I want and plan to do this year.
Move to a new apartment
Start working on literary project, and come up with a viable
page by page outline
Vacation to Texas, Canada, Thailand, Montana, and/or Europe
Entirely, 100%, completely quit smoking
Start working out and/or running with some sort of schedule
Pay off at least 1/3 of my debt
Try to see my friends at least once a month
Start officially bartending
Figure out grad school applications and get references from
Finish writing Thesis and graduate
Learn to cook steak
Take vitamins every day without being reminded
Get a real manicure/pedicure
Get a real haircut every two months
Paint enough paintings for a gallery show
Clean out my closet of all the things I don't wear, including
Get rid of all the stuff that I don't need and don't use,
and cut down on clutter
Learn to sew from vintage patterns
I am so incredibly excited about this year. Though it started out
a little bit rocky (It was New Years...you know what I mean) I know
it's going to keep getting better. I know that the calendar dates
are just arbitrary, really, but there's something so cleansing about
a new calendar, a fresh year, and shutting the door on the past.
It's like looking a fresh canvas, and knowing that what you create
there is entirely up to you.
I haven't been updating much so I figured I would post some pictures
and fill you in. I just had my last day of class yesterday, and
I've got only two finals, so I'm almost done with school for the
semester. I have been working a lot, doing graphic design stuff
and waitressing at a place in Berkeley. I'm trying to get some projects
finished, including two websites that have kind of been on hold
since the summer.
I'm also trying to figure out what I want to do when I graduate
this summer, which is a little overwhelming. I kind of just want
to do nothing for a little while, and see how that feels.
But, then again, with $10,000 of student loans, that's probably
not the very best idea I can come up with.
Anyway, here are some pictures. I'm not going to bother
to caption them, so I'll just tell you that they are from this summer,
include pictures taken in Santa Cruz, the Monterey Bay aquarium,
and the Sacramento State Fair. There are a lot of jelly fish. I
like jelly fish.
Recently, I installed Mozilla on my computer, because I had heard
it was really good, had better security and better browsing features.
Apparently, the other thing that it has is an inability to read
my webpage the way I intended. This page looks entirely jacked,
with huge spaces between the navigation icons that I didn't know
about until I loaded it up in Mozilla. Since I do a lot of my code
on Dreamweaver, I thought myabe there was something thrown in there
that wasn't reading properly, but when I looked at the source code,
I couldn't find anything. So, now I'm going to ask a favor.
Please, if you know anything about code, and you can figure out
why my page looks jacked in Mozilla, let me know. If you have the
answer, and you want me to, I will totally send you a tee shirt
or something for your trouble.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I hope you have a beautiful holiday season.
And I hope, most of all, that you are as excited about the coming
year as I am. I feel like anything is possible, and that I am so
close to figuring it out.
*edit* Never mind. I figured it out. For some reason,
the table width wasn't large enough, so the second image was getting
bumped into a new row. It showed up fine in Explorer, but not Mozilla.
When I was re-assessing the code, I also discovered that one of
my mouseovers was broken. Has been for a year. I guess I lose at
life. Also, sorry I lied about the tee shirt.
Everything else in this post is true, though.
I am very glad that October is over.
I am also very glad.
That is all. Not glad about anything in particular.
Just, you know...glad. I'm sitting at my computer, thinking
about all the work I have to do, and all the bills I have to pay,
and getting over being sick for the past couple of days (My halloween
costume was, are you ready for it? Sleeping!!) thinking to
myself "Hey, I kind of like this thing called life. It's pretty
much a pretty cool thing. I'm glad to be doing it."
Now, I just need to get off my ass and call people,
and tell them I'm still around, and see if they'll forgive me for
disappearing. Again. But really, I have to say, life is pretty
swell. How about that?
This month has been a difficult one, for so many reasons, but I'm
trying to get it straight again. I haven't painted in a couple of
months, haven't really written (outside of schoolwork, I mean),
and didn't have time to go out and be social with my friends. There
are people I haven't talked to in months, and I hope to God that
it isn't because they don't care anymore.
What I have done, however, is gone to a lot of shows (it's the best
part of my new job!), written papers, cooked a lot (yesterday I
made lasagna for the first time in years), thought about getting
a kitten, and did some serious figuring out of things. I decided
to postpone applying for grad school for another 6 months until
I know what it really is that I want to study, and where
I want to do it. I also realized some patterns of behavior in myself
that needed to change, and am actively working on chilling out.
When I was 15, I had my tarot cards read, and the guy who read them
(who's eyes, by the way, focused in two entirely separate directions)
told me that I worried too much. I spent the next several days thinking
about it, and being anxious about it, and not thinking it was true,
but then why would he have said it, and why did it bother me...until
I realized I was worrying about whether I was a worrier. So, yes,
I am. I get it.
And the thing is, it can cause problems. I have had several good
friends tell me I am going to give myself an ulcer (well, actually,
that has been proven to be a bacteria, so the whole idea of a stress
ulcer is a myth, but you get the idea), and that I need to just
fucking chill and stop thinking about things so much. I never really
thought it was a big deal, but I'm kind of getting the idea that
it is, in fact, a problem, and it's cutting down on my ability
to actually live my life, because I'm so busy worrying
How do you break a habit that you've had for a whole
Not by thinking about it...
I am so grateful for the things I have, but it is difficult not
to be disappointed when things don't go the way I hope they might.
I need to remind myself that life is about a series of hoops and
hurdles, and it's not always about where we are going, but how we
are getting there.
I've been so busy updating and working on other people's sites,
that I haven't even touched mine. How sad!
My life is a lot different than it was last year at
this time, and that feels strange. I'm happy about what I'm doing
with my life, but it's still a little scary.
I haven't been painting much in the past 2 months, but I've been
working on other exciting things. I started a website for my friend's
tattoo shop. I haven't had the chance to work on it in the last
couple weeks, but I'm hoping ot get it done in the next two weeks.
I have also taken over duties updating the website for a local promoter,
and doing web graphics and ads for her. That's exciting, because
I am now actually getting paid to do one of the things that
I went to school for. So far, that's only the third of many, many
courses I completed. I am certified in management and supervision,
bartending, and multimedia design (jobs I've held), but I am also
EMT certified, attended art school, culinary school, have studied
Women's Studies and Sociology and...well that's all I can think
of right now!
Frankly, I don't think education or learning is ever
wasted, and if I had my way, I would take classes for the rest of
my life. There's so freaking much to learn and explore in
this world; it's really quite amazing!
Unfortunately, I've been so busy the past month or
so, that I really haven't had a lot of time to go out and do a bunch
of fun things. I went to Love Parade, in the city, which was unlike
anything I'd ever been a part of, since I never really got into
the rave/trance/electronic scene. I've started doing box office
and event coordination for local shows, which lets me hear a lot
of music and meet a ton of people. School is flying by, which scares
me a little. It's already October, and I feel like I haven't even
started school yet.
Actually, the only thing that worries me is my financial situation.
Quitting my job was a real leap of faith, and I just hope it wasn't
a misguided thing to do. I believe it was right, but belief alone
won't feed me. Speaking of which, I totally want a sandwich. Hopefully,
next month will be slightly less stressful, but still just as full
of new and exciting experiences.
Just one final thought? Sometimes, life is really
fucking amazing to watch unfold. It doesn't mean it is always good,
or easy, or comfortable, but I try to remember to thank God for
it every day. Even the bad days, but especially the good ones. Sometimes
I can't believe how lucky I am to be a part of this world. It's
fucked up, and crazy, and full of hurt and sorrow, and I am no stranger
to tears...but, I dunno, somehow I still feel like I got
in past the velvet rope to go to the coolest club.
I think I finished another painting today. This one is very different
than the other paintings I've been working on, in that the code
is very simple, and is only a very small part of the image. I'm
not sure how well it works with the other paintings that are in
this particular series, but I like it, and I am exploring some different
techniques with it, too. I think this is one of the first finished
paintings that I've posted here. I'm not sure what I'm going to
do once I work all of these paintings out of me, because, quite
frankly, they are taking over my apartment right now. I have 4 hanging
in living room, 3 sitting in my kitchen, and another 3 hanging in
my hallway. My hope has been that, by the time school starts at
the end of the month, I will have done enough that I could actually
put up a show, someplace. I don't know if that's a possibility,
but it's been in the back of my head.
By the way, if you can't see the code, check out this
detail, and see if you can figure it out.
Life is full of letdowns but it is also full of potential.
You just have to leave yourself open to it. It can certainly be
difficult not to get disillusioned by all that doesn't go as planned,
and I have a pattern of closing myself off when I'm scared of disappointment.
I have been trying to just go with it, and I have been finding
that even those disappointments can brings some pretty amazing possibilities.
It's been so hot in my apartment that I haven't really been able
to paint as much I would like to. Instead, I worked in building
my friend's website, did some deep thinking about school, went through
entrance counselling for the Dept. of Education and watched about
15 hours of Stargate. It's so hot, in fact, that I have broken out
in hives. So hot that my car can't go more than about 10 miles without
risk of overheating. So hot that, today, my friend called me and
suggested we go see a movie, just for the air conditioning. It's
not unbearable, but it sure is pretty miserable, and, inland (where
I am) is about 10 to 15 degrees hotter than everywhere else that
is getting nice sea breezes.
Anyway, whine whine bitch whine, right? If I was still
working, I'd have air conditioning, so being hot is the price I
pay for leisure, I guess. Also, I finally heard back from Berkeley,
and it turns out I have been accepted into the honors Sociology
program, which is rad, because they took only 27 students. Also,
it's a damn good thing I already quit, because they changed the
class meeting day from Wednesday to Tuesday, which means I will
be going to school 3 days a week this semester.
Last, but not least, I have in fact been painting,
just not as prolifically as I was last week. Here's what I have
been working on for the last couple of days:
Here's what it looks like while I work:
I have no place big enough to paint on an easel, so
I just spread out a shower curtain on the ground and paint there.
That really sucks in the heat, because vinyl does not feel
good on skin when your apartment is a hundred degrees. Also, all
those sheets of paper? Those are the notes I reference for the code
I use, and the images that I am drawing from (in so far as symbolism
is concerned). My friend told me that I was making "nerd-art",
and I guess she's right, but I'd like to think that the paintings
stand alone even if you have no interest in the encryptions, or
the meaning behind the images I'm using. Hopefully?
Anyway, a friend of mine suggested it was time to
overhaul my website, suggesting that perhaps my priorities were
no longer just "queers, comics and civil disobedience".
I suppose he's right, since I haven't drawn a comic in nearly a
year, since I very rarely commit acts of civil disobedience (at
least, not where activism is concerned), and since my relationships
with people rarely have much to do with their sexual orientation
in the strictest sense. Given those things, it may be time to take
a look at either A) re-doing this site completely, or 2) getting
a new site.
Decisions, decisions. Luckily, I have too much to
do right now to ponder this particular question. And now? I am going
to the movies, where it is air conditioned.
With a nod of thanks to my brother, here's a half-finished painting
that I started working on today, because I was having trouble working
out the design for my friends' shop's website (what kind of awful
grammar is that? That sentence hardly made sense!), and needed a
distraction. It would be more done, but it's so hot that it takes
forever for the paint to dry, because nothing can evaporate
into this ridiculously humid air.
It's funny, yesterday I went to the communal baths
at the Kabuki in Japantown. I paid $20 to sit around and sweat with
a bunch of naked strangers, and I felt wonderful and invigorated
when I left. Today, I am sitting around and sweating, for
free, in my own hotbox of an apartment, and I'm all cranky about
it. Tom Sawyer was so, so right.
I know you can hardly believe that I have updated twice in two days,
and that, in addition, this post actually has some sort of content,
but you're just going to have to get over it.
Once of the goals that I had for my time off, as it
were, was to make some freakin' art, already. I had some good ideas,
but nothing that really moved me. Yesterday I was doing some
research, and I hit upon something that I thought would be a lot
of fun to play with. As I was driving around, picking up materials
and having some wood cut to size, I got totally inspired by a second
stage of my original idea.
So, I came home, and I started painting last night. I painted for
about 3 hours last night, and 5 hours this morning, and this is
where I am right now. It's not totally done, but it's pretty damn
close. I might redo one of the paintings that I think is the weakest
(the problem with a series is that you figure stuff out as you go
along, and then you have to try to make everything match up. At
least, that's my problem.) or at least try to fix it up a
Have I mentioned lately that I freaking love being
I have been officially unemployed for five days, and it is the most
amazing feeling. I feel as though a huge wait has been lifted off
my shoulders, and that I will be able to achieve anything I decide
to do. Being kind of a control freak, I didn't think this would
be such a good thing, but quitting my job has been one of the best
decisions I have made in the past couple of years. I think, for
once, my timing was just right, and I am cautiously optimistic about
the future. Neat!
I read about this new Sony ad for the PSP, in which
they advertise the upcoming 'white' PSP, in contrast to the traditional
'balck' PSP, using images of a blonde, white woman grabbing the
face of a black woman in an especially dominating way. There has
been a lot of uproar about it on internet blogging sites, with some
people claiming the ad is racist, others saying that it's just tacky,
and still others asserting it is totally inoffensive, and shouldn't
be charged with any particular meaning. Sony officials have defended
it, and said it is only constrasting the colors of the new handheld.
I think it is irresponsible to use imagery such as was chosen without
considering the racially charged content. At the very least, it
plays on a kind of sexualized 'otherness' that the designers cannot
possibly be naive enough to believe to be purely aesthetic. It has
a very high fashion editorial feel, that doesn't really play to
the audience for which a PSP would be intended, which is why I find
the campaign so interesting.
You can read a review and some feedback on the ads here.
And, no matter how they might defend it, the ad appears to have
been removed from the Dutch
site where they originally were shown, so it appears that they
at least recognize the public response is overwhelmingly negative.
I guess I'm just curious why, exactly, they chose this particular
ad, but, honestly, I probably never would have known about the new
PSP if it weren't for this, so perhaps it was, indeed, incredibly
I have been waking in strange houses in the small hours, blink through
bleary contacts and scramble for my keys. I seem not to be able
to sleep in my own house anymore, choosing instead to submit to
the worn couches of a chain of living rooms across the city.
I am akward when I sleep, kicking outwards, gasping
because I have dreamed I am falling, or, more embarassing still,
refusing to admit that I have been asleep at all. I pick up the
middle of a conversation never actually began, and fool no one.
I wonder if he remembers that I used to do that, early on? We would
talk for hours, neither of us ever wanting to say goodbye first.
Often it was me. I was the one who fell asleep; he said he would
listen to me breathe, and I would wake, pretending I had been paying
attention the entire time.
Ironic, really. I was always the last girl awake at
middle school slumber parties, and the first to rise in the morning.
In college, I used to lie with my arms around someone, my heart
racing, and wonder how they could sleep when it was beating so loudly.
And I always laid awake in our bed, listening to him snore, reading
in the dim light from the street light outside.
For awhile, I slept soundly in the nest of my bed; 300 count sheets
and down filled comforter. I was warm within the womb of my solitary
home, and would often forego social plans for the sheer joy of going
home to sleep.
I don't know what changed, but it is 4 am, and though
my bed is calling to me, I am reluctant to answer.
Tired. Happy. Proud of myself. Got two As and an A- after one of
the most emotionally exhausting past 6 months of my life. One of
my friends told me last night:
"There were a lot of people worried about you for awhile
there. But you look good, now."
It kind of shocked me, actually. I really didn't realize how exhausted,
burned out, and generally done I was. I spent the past 6
months feeling lonely, frustrated, uninspired, depressed and out
of my element. Luckily, I have some good friends, who stayed with
me and, occassionally, shook me to my core to try to get me back
on track. I still feel a little out to sea where my future is concerned,
but I feel pretty solid about today.
If I haven't mentioned it lately, to the people who really matter
to me, thank you. I love you.
Also! I am going to try very hard to have a productive summer.
Hopefully, there will be much to come. I am feeling inspired by
I think sleeping helps.
Done again, again. Life reminds me of a kaleidescope; you can turn
it over and over and over, and no matter how different things look,
you're still, ultimately, just looking at the same stuff, refracted
in new and interesting ways.
Or, as my UPS driver says, "Same shit, different
If you don't start making changes, you will feel stressed and
nonproductive. Start with yourself followed by making your surroundings
more comfortable and efficient. Alter your life to feel good about
This is my horoscope for tomorrow. It's really kind of funny, because
I had this exact same conversation with AndiLu about 2 hours before
it arrived in my inbox. Lately, I've been kind of surprised just
how accurate astrology has been in respect to my life (except
in romance, where it keeps telling me I'm about to get hot and heavy
with someone special). Last night, my friend Laurenn listened to
all my troubles, and then told me that I'm just seriously going
through my Saturn
Do I believe all this stuff? No, not really, but I figure if it
helps me get a handle on all the craziness that is my life, where
I feel permanantly out to sea at all moments, then how can it be
Oh, also? My neighbor told me that I better hurry up and find someone
to love me, because, at 27, I'm running out of time. He did, however,
want to make sure I wasn't so frustrated that I might "switch
to the other team". I told him that I had realized long ago
that people are gonna be jerks regardless of their gender.
I'm sure the conversation could have gotten stranger, but I'm not
precisely sure how.
In other news, or, really, I suppose it is related news,
now that I am done with school for the summer, I am trying to put
my house in order (literally and metaphorically). I finally got
around to hanging some of the art I bought at APE,
which included a copy of this
piece by Jamie Zollars, a print of this
poster by Becky
Cloonan, An amazing limited edition screen print from Aaron
Thomas (who I can not find online) and an adorable print of a bunny
at a urinal (sadly, I have no idea who the artist is). I also finally
hung the vintage
Barbarella poster I found at a garage sale for $2, as well as
an etching I made in art school back in 1998. And, in one of the
most adult-like actions I have made since I moved out on my own,
I actually bought a vacuum cleaner.
The frightening adultness of this was mitigated by buying a 3 pound
bag of Tootsie Rolls, which I have now consumed to the point of
feeling slightly sick and tingly.
Oh, also? An hour ago my street was filled with fire trucks and
police cars, because apparently someone had lit a woman's trailer
on fire as some sort of revenge.
Having days off is very, very strange.
Another sleepless night. When most people say they never made it
to bed, it's because they were doing something fun, but for
me this is one of many nights in the past month where I've stayed
up almost all night attempting to finish school work. Working and
going to school full time is one of the hardest things I've ever
done. I feel like I've lost so much; my friends, my social life,
my relationship, because I gave so much to my job and my studies.
I feel like I sacrificed my performance in school in order to be
able to work, and to advance at work. I haven't made art,
I haven't contributed to my community, I haven't been able to be
a very good friend.
It's almost over, now. I have some big ideas about
what I may be able to do in the future, and I just really hope that
this will all be worthwhile. I am so tired right now, it is difficult
to feel proud of anything I've done, because all I can really see
are the things I haven't done. I worry that, by the time
this is over, it will be too late to salvage all the things I've
let slip. I miss my family, and my friends, and there are some things
I will never be able to get back. I try to believe that anything
I have lost was not that important to begin with, but it is difficult
to let go.
I told a friend the other day, "The people who
love you will understand that you are giving them all that you can,
right now." I said that people who cannot understand one's
situation are not truly friends. There's some trith in that, but
how much is a person supposed to accept before they feel that their
relationship is only one-sided? Telling a friend that you love them
seems so shallow when you haven't been there to support them through
a break-up, or a move, or illness, loss of employment, depression
etc, etc, etc.
I keep making promises to myself that I will try harder at the things
that matter the most to me, but, unfortunately, interpersonl relationships
take so much effort, so much energy, and, in the short-term, seem
so flexible. It's no big deal not to see your friend for a couple
weeks, right? But when you realize it's been 6 months since you've
seen each other, and 2 months since you called...I can't blame people
for not making the effort as much anymore. I try always to be there
for people, when they tell me that they need me, but who tells you
that when they haven't seen or heard anything from you in months?
Anyway, I am truly sorry for all the ways I have let
you down. I would say that I will try to do better, but I don't
think that's even a promise I can make right now. I have the summer
ahead of me, and I am hoping to rectify some of this. The thing
is, friendships, relationships in general, are not supposed
to be about convenience. I don't fully expect that saying "Okay,
now I have time to be your friend!" is really gonna
cut it. The worst part is, really, even if I went back in time,
I don't think there's much I could do to change it.
The other day I saw someone I hadn't talked to in years. I thought
we'd just lost touch, which upset me, but I realized it happens
sometimes. I had tried to look her up a couple times, but her e-mail
address didn't work anymore, and a Google search turned up nothing.
When I saw her, I was so excited to get the chance to reconnect,
until she made it clear that she didn't want to. Turns out, she
knew exactly where I was, and had known for as long as she'd been
living in the city. Probably, a lot of what I'm saying is a result
of recognizing that I hadn't even known we weren't friends anymore.
How do you not know something like that? How clueless can a person
be, how absent a friend am I?
In a year, this will be done. I will have my life
back, whatever is left of it.
The other day, I was heading home late at night. The stars were
out, and I was taking the drive I've taken hundreds of times in
my life, from Pleasanton, past the bridge towards Berkeley, and
you can see the lights across the Bay bouncing across the ocean
waves. I wondered how many times I could take this drive, and still
be awed by the beauty of the lights flashing across the water.
That, in turn, made me wonder how much longer I'm
going to be living in this area, what I'm doing here, and what I
want to be doing. It's been in the back of my head for the
past couple of months, knowing that I'm not doing what I feel like
I should be doing, but not quite sure how to get there.
Wait....let me backtrack for a minute.
I think a lot. Some people tell me I think too
much, and worry that, if I don't knock it off and relax for
a minute and a half, that I will drive myself absolutely crazy.
Partially, I believe this is just who I am, that I analyze like
crazy, and will never ever be wholly satisfied. I think,
rethink, wonder and retrace, because, though I believe we learn
who we are from making mistakes, I never want to make the same
one twice. So. So, yeah, I think a lot. That's where I was going
But sometimes, once in a blue moon, I don't really think.
I just know.
And then I act.
And it doesn't matter how crazy it may seem, how unlikely,
how ridiculous or over the top, or ill advised. I will commit to
it, and I will make it happen. Something like that, I think,
is about to happen. I have torn my life apart in the past 6 months,
and there is little left of what I used to know, or do, left around
me. And I think, if everything goes as I am considering, that it
is about to get so much more extreme.
In preparation for all these things, I am trying to simplify my
life a little bit. In the near future, I will probably be getting
rid of a whole lot of stuff. I am seriously really prepared to give
pretty much my whole life away. What I would really like to do is
have the opposite of a housewarming party, where people just
come over and take stuff away from my house. Somehow, I think
most people would not feel comfortable with that, so I'll have to
come up with something that feels less socially awkward.
Anyway. Expect more news soon. And by soon, I mean
whenever I get around to it.
"I wish I could have seen you when you were young," he says with
a smile. "I bet you were really something, then."
I'm already drinking from my bottle of beer,
something micro-brewed, wheaty and over-priced. I cut a look at
him from the corner of my eye, peering across the colorful label.
It always struck me that the labels of these beers must have been
designed my a well-meaning friend or lover who was incredibly
artistic in high school, but lacked any formal training in marketing
or design. Someone who said something along the lines of "People
like birds. I like birds. They're
so hopeful, and isn't that what you want people
to think of when they think of your beer?"
It's dark, so I don't know if he can see how I'm raising my eyebrows
at him. I can feel my forehead furrow in the way that makes me
realize why movie stars start getting Botox in their mid-twenties.
I wonder what kind of person thinks it's a compliment to get lecherous
about my teenaged past.
"Trust me," I say, slamming the empty bottle
down as I rise from the table, "I'm far more interesting now."
I've been trying to write out everything that is welling up inside
me, but it has no place to go. Nothing is changing fast enough for
me. I keep having this vision, standing on a tiny island, as the
waves rise closer and closer, until they begin to cover my toes.
What do you do, then? Do you keep still, and hope the tide goes
down? Do you jump in, and hope you reach land before you get too
tired to keep swimming? I really don't know.
I've been going back and forth about trying to get into the honors
program at my school. I've decided that much of it will depend on
what happens in my life in the next three months. Changes in my
work and home life have meant that I am no longer committed to this
area in the way that I used to be, which, though it leaves me feeling
sad and uncertain much of the itme, allows me a lot more freedom
to make choices about my future.
I need to make some big decisions in the very near future. If you
have suggestions for me, please, feel free to tell me. Otherwise,
there is a very good chance I will not be in the Bay Area at this
time next year. But you never do know. As the say, Life is what
happens...yeah. You know the rest.
This, too, shall pass.
There are several things that I really like about being an adult,
and these are the only reasons I will ever admit to being one:
I can eat icecream for dinner if I want to.
There is no one to chide me for staying out until 3 am
on a school night.
I still get ID'd for things, but my ID is totally not
Ha! Just kidding Mom! I never had a fake ID. Really.
Seriously. Why would I lie to you? Are you gonna ground
That's right. Cus you can't. Cus I'm an adult.
But no, really, I never had a fake ID.
Mostly because I'm from Ohio, and we had drive-thru liquor
These aren't really reasons that I'm okay with being an
adult. They're just funny.
I'm 27 and I still think it's funny to swear when I talk
to my parents.
And what are they gonna do about it?
Send me to bed without dessert?
No problem. I had icecream for dinner.
For real, though? The one thing I value the most in moving away
from my home, packing up and setting out for parts unknown, 2800
miles away from everything I'd ever known, ever trusted...Man, I
learned what was important. I learned what family is, what it really
I just talked to my Dad for over an hour, and talked to my Mom for
almost an hour and a half on Thursday. Looking back at the surly,
angsty, uncommunicative girl I used to be, in torn fishnets and
black lipstick, that girl who locked herself in her bedroom to write
bad poetry and listen to Bauhaus, who hid cartons of cigarettes
in her underwear drawer and sat in stony silence during hour long
car rides, it is amazing to me that I have the relationship
I have with my parents. I don't know what I would do without them,
I used to get homesick all the time, and think about quitting this
coast forever. I used to think I would never be able to belong here,
that it was a mistake to have come, that it would never feel like
it was mine. It could never compare to sitting in the thick branches
of the apple tree in my front yard, or of pulling up daffodils in
the spring time, that no turbulant ocean could ever compare to the
quiet drama of Lake Erie, that no house would ever truly be home.
And those things are no less true today, but I have recently recognized
exactly what home means to me. I am incredibly grateful to my folks
for helping me realize it, and for giving me the example so perfect
that I thought there was only one place to find it. I would admit
that you guys were probably right all along, but I'm not enough
of an adult to go that far.
Fuck this sentimental crap. I'm gonna go eat icecream for dinner.
Here I am again, standing dizzy on the edge, with my eyes closed.
This world of mine is spinning so fast I feel like I might be thrown
off at any minute.
I've written hundreds of words already, but none of
them were sufficient. Have I said yet, admitted yet, that I am scared?
Not just worried, or anxious, but literally and physically scared?
I don't know where I'm going, or what it should look like when I
get there. I'm travelling on faith, but she's a new ride, and I
don't know how long she'll hold out.
So I hang on, but I brace myself for the fall.
There is a dog barking next door, or maybe two houses down? It is
plaintive and desperate, crying into the night and waiting for someone
to come home. I wonder if it is hungry, scared, or just lonely.
I wonder what would make it stop. I wonder if they're raising it
to be mean, like the dog that snarled and tried to crash through
the chain link fence that I pass when I walk to the train. I wonder
if it will always be mean, or if, sometimes he rests his head in
someone's lap, and feels like a puppy again.
Is it dangerous, this romanticizing? Do I really believe
I can keep putting my hand out, without being bitten? The answer
is probably no, but that won't stop me from trying.
I have written a sheaf of letters I will never send.
I could paper my walls with the words I have been too shy, too shamed,
too guarded to let loose to the world. I have unburdened myself
on the faint blue lines of college ruled notebooks, like a lovelorn
teen penning sonnets to the popular, pretty one at the front of
the class. I find them torn out and folded into the spines of books,
shoved under couch cushions, crumpled in the bottom of my bag. There
are never names, but there are histories, and I am cautious with
them. I keep my heart close, a hand of cards I might have to bluff.
There are wings caught in my chest, trying to expand.
They knock against my ribs, flutter against my sternum. They have
attached themselves to my heart, and are trying to lift it out.
They accuse me of being a warden, holding myself hostage, placing
my words in quarantine, sequestering my heart in solitary confinement.
I want to defend myself, but I find I have no arguement.
My windows are rattling now, battered by the wind,
and I am curled inside the golden light that slips between the slats
in my blinds. I imagine where you are now, what you are doing. The
radius that a heart can travel is not bound by distance, and you
are in every room I've known. I see you alone at your kitchen table,
late at the office, napping on a couch in front of the blue light
of a television. You are in front of a canvas, paint on your hands.
You are drinking at a dimly lit bar. You are hunched over a keyboard,
empty dishes stacked on the corner of your desk. You are leaning
against a cinderblock wall, cupping your hands around a cigarette
to keep the flame from blowing out. You are asleep. You are waking.
You are reaching out. You are anywhere, everywhere.
I have written you a letter, and addressed it to this
I haven't done a photo log in quite some time, so here's a big
one. I went to Vegas for my birthday, and didn't take nearly enough
pictures of things like, say, Tom Jones, but instead managed
to capture a plethora of photographs of oddly colored alcohol.
And, now, so that you don't think my life revolves
around brightly colored, dry ice-filled beverages, here are some
pictures of what I have hanging on my walls. There are more, but
I got tired of doing image prep.
7 years ago today I was 20 years old, and I packed up everything
I owned, put it in a moving truck and drove to Virginia. I had never
visited the town where I was moving, and I knew only one person
there. I had $3 in change, and I maxed out my credit card to rent
the truck. I lied about having insurance, and they never bothered
to check. My punk friends came over, drank 40's and helped my boyfriend
move my furniture out of the house. They dropped the wardrobe I
had been given and broke the mirror. I assumed that was foreboding.
Halfway to Virginia I realized I didn't have enough money to pay
the tolls, and I pulled over to the side of the road and cried about
everything I left behind.
Almost 6 years ago I quit Virginia, and sped across
the country in 3 days. I stopped to rest only once, and to drop
off my friend in Vegas. We took turns driving, and gassed up in
towns like Abeline, Kansas, where there was a telephone museum,
and some of the best tacos I've ever tasted. I wore my grandfather's
pants and drove with my feet out the window. I smoked a million
cigarettes and dreamed about LA. There was nothing good playing
on the radio, so I drove in silence for hundreds of miles, staring
at the stars and hoping.
When I vacated Virginia, I left almost everything
I owned to my roommate. I took my futon, my desk, my iguana, my
computer and all my books. I left the wardrobe that had been given
to me by a man who maybe loved me. I left the couch and the table
I had acquired from a girl who kissed me at a club. I stopped in
Ohio and picked up my grandfather's kitchen table and television,
leftover pieces of his life that had kept him company while he waited
to join his wife.
The iguana died several months after I got to LA.
I woke one morning to find him cold and stiff. We hosed down the
clay in our backyard, dug a baby sized hole and buried him in it.
I think I gave the desk to Goodwill. It was one of those heavy school
issues, with metal legs and built in shelves and a laminate top
that was covered in paint and ink. The futon I must have left in
a garage off La Cienaga, because all I could find were the arms,
which we chopped up and used for firewood. I sent my computer to
Portland to an ex-girlfriend. My grandfather's kitchen table got
too water damaged, but I still have the chairs and his television.
His pants, too, though I don't wear them anymore.
I have been shedding my past as I go. Every seven
years our cells have completely regenerated, and we are technically
no longer the same people we were. At least, not in a physical sense.
I have seen my best friend die, lost a parent, given up my lover.
I have made friends with my mother, become an aunt, seen my brother
marry, gone back to school. I have hurt, and been hurt. I wonder
if I would recognize myself if I crossed my own path, 7 years ago.
I wonder, sometimes, what other directions I might have gone, where
else I might have found myself. I am not the same girl. I have given
that world away, left it in living rooms and on sidewalks, passed
it from hand to hand, packed it with styrofoam and sent it away.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
I don't know where this road leads, but I'm not looking
back, because nothing is left there to see.
My birthday has come and gone, and a good friend suggested that
birthdays can be seen as new years, an opportunity to start with
a clean slate. I agree with this, although, on a larger scale, every
single day that we wake up can be seen this way. Every day we get
out of bed is a chance for us to change our lives, fulfill our goals,
find our dreams.
So. Have you ever wanted something so much that it
invades every corner of your mind, wraps around your synapses at
night while you sleep, comes upon you unaware when you are trying
to concentrate on other things? There is a life I want, there is
something I need, and desire for it permeates everything I do, taking
some of the color from each morning.
I don't know how to get there, and I'm not sure if
I can, but I will hold on to this hope, and if it is meant to be,
it will be. The life we eventually live is never only about us,
after all. It is a culmination of every person we have known, every
place we have gone, all the lives, moments, people, things that
have touched us.
In other news, my downstairs neighbor really likes
music with tubas in it. And he likes to play it so loudly that it
shakes my floor. I'm tired of complaining, so I think I'll just
go someplace and read Foucault where the floors don't vibrate.
A summer when I was 8 or 9, and had probably just finished watching
a John Hughes movie, I turned to my Mom and I said "I hope
to have a letter jacket some day." I remember I was reading
a magazine, and there was an ad with some clean-faced teenager,
hugging her (boyfriend's) letter jacket, and somehow trying to advertise
for perfume. I remember the perfume, but not the name. It was colored
powder pink and sold almost exclusively to 14 year old girls. I
loved the toughness of letter jackets, and the way they always seemed
a little bit too big, which to me seemed to suggest the possibility
of growing into, rather than enveloping. So, "I hope to have
a letter jacket some day."
My mother seemed enthusiastic. "Really? What
do you want to letter in?"
I was perplexed, and said curiously, "Boyfriend?"
Because I thought, I really and truly thought,
that that was the only way that girls got letter jackets. I had
no idea they could be earned any other way. I did in fact letter,
in gymnastics, when I was a freshman, though it was more because
there was only one gymnastics team, and not because I was any good
at it. In fact, I was rather unapologetically bad, but I
loved the feeling of swinging in heady circles around the uneven
parallel bars, chalking my hands and slipping on the white leather
strips that never really protected my palms from the deep callouses
that eventually blistered and ripped off, leaving raw strips of
exposed skin like a badge of honor.
The fact is, until that moment I hadn't known I had any other option.
I remember this conversation, this moment. I wonder if it is a turning
point, a mile marker where I changed the direction of my path, however
slightly, tacking to the left and surveying the horizon for a new
I love my leather jacket, slightly too big and bulky,
faded black and worn on the elbows. It is not the stylishly cut,
slim motercycle variety, but rather the kind that has secret pockets
and its familiar weight feels like a protective arm across my shoulders.
The same moment I knew that I could earn my own letter, I never
had any mind to wear someone else's accomplishments. I will make
It is time, I think, to scan the horizon again. When
I used to sail, skimming across Lake Erie, low and fast with water
spraying into my face, I never had any mind for my destination.
I changed course to follow the wind, catching it in the triangle
of the sail, letting loose the mainsheet, feeling the burn as it
snaked through my fingers and across my calloused palms. I would
dig my toes in, lean back against the fiberglass deck, and ride
diagonal against the waves.
And often, I would cut the rudder to cross the wind, pull hard against
the ropes, hold them tight against my body until pressure caught
the sails and I felt the whole boat go over. Do you see? I had nowhere
I needed to go, and there was no failure in being bested. Plunging
headlong into the cold water, laughing, catching the daggerboard
as it slid from the belly of the boat, the whole point was to start
over again. The whole point was that I knew I could. All that ever
happened was that I got very wet.
Who can tell if there are sharks in these waters?
I feel I already know them, their smiles are bright with so many
teeth. Who can tell what may be over the gentle blue curve of the
horizon? I feel it reaching for me, or maybe I am heading towards
it. It is all relative, isn't it? It is impossible to stay in one
place. Impossible to be at rest. Maybe we are all sharks, then,
unable to cease our constant movement, necessary as breathing.
Have you ever woke in the weak morning light, slowly, blinking heavily,
and not known where you were, not recognized your own walls, or
your own fingers as they lay against your skin?
This is how I've been feeling, every day, for the
past weeks. I look around me, and I'm not sure where I am, or how
I got here. I heard my voice, and it was not my own, saw my face
in the mirror and hardly recognized myself. I would make faces at
myself in the mirror, just to see if I could move faster, catch
that smile in a lie. No dice, though. It is hopelessly, irrevocably
And when I came to accept that, I started to acclimate myself to
this new life, slowly and cautiously. It really is mine, all the
mess, the heartbreak, all the things I'm missing and any of the
things I've gained. Fell asleep on the couch last night, curled
on top of a stack of folded laundry, because I could, because there
was no one to tell me to go to bed. Today my neck hurt from sleeping
curled against the futon frame.
I've been writing love letters to the world, lately,
telling it how I'm always watching from a distance, but I'd like
to be closer. Like a nervous teenage boy, I watch it flit by, but
I'm afraid to ask it to dance. I write these letters in the margins
of my school-notes, in sketchbooks and on bar napkins, and then
come across them unexpectedly at all the wrong times. It makes me
blush, to see my sprawling cursive dashing across the page, passionately
extolling the virtues of turning your face toward the rain.
I'm afraid to scare the world away, though, afraid my passion, my
hunger, my desire will be frightening. I want to devour it, laugh
through my tears, eat icecream in my bed at midnight, share lunch
with the fat squirrels in Berkeley parks, stay up all night and
sleep all day. I want to embrace it. I want to never let it go.
I have made so many mistakes, but I have been writing a catechism,
etching the words onto my skin and into my memory and it is all
questions, so many questions and no answers.
And I am hungry and I am tired, but I will cook a
feast so that I can invite the world to the table and offer it my
bed to sleep in. My arms are full and I overflow with words, though
none of them are the right ones.
How long can I hold on
With these arms?
Spending time with people, even over the phone, connected
over thousands of miles, or reconnected after weeks, months, years
with people you haven't seen, it gives you a step back from your
life. You rewind, trying to fill in the gaps. What's happened
since we talked last, you think, where have I been?
Sometimes I don't know the answer to that question. Where have
I been? What have I done?
What have I done?
An accusation, of course, when you know full well,
can't face up to the reality. Earlier, talking about God, mentioned
that I have to believe, have to have faith, that even the mistakes
that I have made, continue to make, will always make every day that
I still draw breath, are going to take me someplace. Somewhere,
somehow. Turn them into art, weave them into stories, let it be
the paint that fills your palette, and then give that to the world.
I would rather be a fool every day, blinking against my own tears,
than numb to the world around me and hard within my shell. I conspire
to allow myself to be hurt, I suppose, because it seems like the
best possible alternative.
I wake every day in a bed that had grown cold during the night.
I wake up every day to varying degrees of grey light trying to squeeze
its way in through my blinds. Slog down the stairs with apprehension,
wondering what will wait for me when I get onto the dingy street?
Will there be the crazy man talking to himself on his porch, the
tricked out van that squeals by, throwing empty 40's out the window?
Will my car be there? Will someone be sleeping inside it, now that
it has been broken into once?
Anything is possible this morning. But remember...
Anything is possible. Today might be the day. The day that
things turn around, the day a smile makes your breath catch, the
day everything makes sense, the day you stop doubting, the day you
believe, the day you see proof, the day a door opens. Today might
be the day you understand.
But how long do I wait?
How long can I wait?
When I was 10, 11, 12 I used to have such headaches that I sometimes
couldn't see straight. I would close my eyes and push against them
with my fingertips until I saw dark pools like oil slicks, radiating
across the front of my thoughts. It wasn't a matter of if,
but how much. Discomfort is funny like that, ongoing, pervasive.
.ou do not recognize how much you hurt until you wake up one day
to find the hurt has gone.
Will I wake up soon?
I can't feel it now. Perhaps it is metaphorical, then,
that I have a habit of smashing myself into walls, corners, fixtures,
pieces of furniture with what seems to be reckless abandon but is
really just clumsiness. I am in a constant state of hurry, you see,
so that I do understand the nature of the obstacles in my way until
I bounce off of them. I hardly notice, do not notice in fact,
until later, much later, days, weeks, years I suppose in cases,
I find bruises, scratches, scars, but have no idea how or why or
when they came to be.
"How did this happen?"
"I haven't the foggiest."
Better, I suppose, than to say I slipped on the stairs.
No abuse here, perhaps neglect, then.
It is not this deep pain I feel. Sitting for hours
under a tattoo machine and I laugh and tell stories and feel to
myself This should hurt. Something should hurt me. It is
when the pain is over, rinsing my skin with the watery soap solution
that I begin to feel the sting. Only then, after it is over.
Everything is a simile to me, everything is like something else.
Even when everything is new, it is all echoes of something else,
why I can love someone I have never met, hate food I have never
eaten, laugh at a joke before it has been finished.
I am waiting for the hurt to stop, so that I know
how deep it has gone.
I have a midterm due in 21 hours, and I have to clock in to work
in 15 hours, and would like to sleep at some point between now and
then. I'm having a slight issue, however, with the actual writing
of this particular midterm, uninspired, as I am, to say anything
further about Karl Marx, communism, the division of labor, the role
of the state, solidarity or any of these dusty, mustly theoretical
issues that seem to have as much relevence with the life I see outside
my window as snowscrapers have to do with L.A.
I'm tired. I'm worn out. I'm in love with life, but
it doesn't love me back, and as Frank Sinatra sang, "Unrequited
love's a bore, but I've got it pretty bad." It's starting
to be spring time, starting to be lovely, and I feel it in my toes,
the desire to skip through the sunshine and bury my face in apple
blossoms. I can smell spring on the wind, and taste it when I breathe
I want to paint it, want to touch it, want to write fucking love
poems to it, but I haven't got time, haven't got energy, haven't
the words that are enough to express it anyway. Can you be in love
with a season? Can you be in love with anything other than a person?
Hell, can you be in love with a person, drowning, insatiable,
unable to breathe for it?
I've always hated Valentine's Day, so I find it fitting
that I'm spending it writing loveless essays to the memory of Emile
Durkheim, optimist though he was, who believed that through specialization
and the most pure form of division of labor, we might find redemption
as a race, as a generation, as a species, might find justice and
hope and brotherly love and compassion. Through work, mind you,
because we would recognize, spontaneously, how absolutely interdependent
we were, how necessary to each other. We would discover this
through finding our true function in work, and then do this
work joyously, happily, recognizing that we were all brothers and
sisters and society would be healed from this.
We cannot heal ourselves, though, and we don't
know where we belong. At least, it seems, most of us don't. Durkheim
would probably say that we were simply in a transition, responding
to the advance of technology and global culture that has led to
different forces of production, and therefore a new division of
labor, and we simply haven't caught up yet, but we will, we will,
it's necessary, irrevocable, absolute, for the good of humanity,
it cannot remain in this tenuous condition, this abnormal stage
Forever is a long time, I know, but my life is much
shorter than forever, and I'm really not content to wait for the
division of labor to catch up so that I may be happy in my work,
sure of my place in society. What should I do while I'm waiting
Emile? Where do I go while I wait?
I'm a fucking yoyo of emotions today.
After three days I finally got past the 1st CD in
the three CD album 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields.
It may be that I'm fighting off illness, but really all I want to
do is rush home and lie on my living room floor listening to it.
I played the first CD about 15 times before I finally moved on to
the second one.
"a song of you and me and what and why
for time is all I have to keep
between these walls
and half asleep
the days go by
a million little nights and days go by"
- "Parades Go By, The Magnetic Fields
My District Manager told me that she worries about
me when I am done with school, because I won't know what to do with
myself. I told her she could assign me another project to work on,
and she suggested maybe I should pencil in "world peace".
This was all in response to my telling her I am going to start volunteering
at a local radio station for a couple of hours a week. I told her
that since I wasn't commuting anymore (or, not really commuting,
since my drive only takes about 25 minutes now), that I had an extra
3-4 hours a week, and I didn't know what to do with it. The fact
is, when I haven't got too much to do, I am not usually motivated
to do much of anything at all.
I decided not to exhibit at the Alternative Press
Expo this year. Comics aren't really where my art is headed right
now. In fact, I can't really tell you where my art is headed.
I'm kind of letting it do its own thing, and seeing where it goes.
I have realized that the more I try to control things, the more
fucked up they get. Being kind of a control freak, that's really
hard for me. I mean, I'm the one who, in group projects, says "You
know what, I'll do that," because I don't trust anyone
else to do it right. It's something I've had to let go of at work,
because if I had to do it all myself, nothing would ever get done,
but goddamn it's hard to realize that you're not necessary
to make things function. In fact, not only might other people
be able to do things, they might do them even better than
you do. Amazing!
And how does this have any real-world relevence?
In regards to the rather annoyingly long post below, I think we
try to control ourselves a lot, in one way or another. I often try
to over-rationalize things, because if something is rational,
I can control the situation, my response, and the likely consequence
of any action I make. I have a tendency, I have been told, to be
irritatingly un-emotional in arguments, refusing to engage. I often
justify but saying that it's because I have anger-management issues,
but it is also because I can feel in control if I over intellectualize
and analyze a situation.
The down-side? I miss out on a lot because I feel it it's too unreliable
for me to fully invest in.
Every now and again I get out of that, like when I
loaded up my whole life and moved to Virginia, site-unseen. Or Los
Angeles. Or, really, San Francisco.
Apparently, I have trouble with small things, so I pack all my sponteneity
into large, life-altering packages. Like, well, now, I guess.
When it's too big for me even to guess at, too big
for me to wrap my mind around, apparently it doesn't bother me.
I don't wonder about what might have happened if I hadn't done
it, because, well, I could never have imagined what it would be
like if I had. I was always the kid who jumped into the water
all at once, rather than stepping down the rungs of the ladder,
a little at a time.
"There's an hour of sunshine
for a million years of rain
but somehow that always seems to be enough"
- Sweet Lovin' Man, The Magnetic Fields
Child psychologists, teachers, and even most parents will tell us
that early childhood and adolescence are the formative years of
a person's life, the time when we discover who we will be, and how
we fit into the world around us.
I have an alternate philosophy. While I absolutely believe that
those years are important, helping us learn skills to negotiate
our way through the world, giving us the chance to figure out what
kind of things we might enjoy doing, honing our communication, and
gathering resources with which we will eventually assert our place
in the wider world, I also believe that we don't actually become
who we are until we have to be completely responsible for
ourselves. As youth, we have our parents to provide discipline and
guidelines to our lives, we have school that constrains us, and
we are not legally able to make many decisions about what we will
do, and who we will do it with. I mean, hell! It's illegal to take
a minor across state lines!
So, once we are responsible, once we are living on
our own, paying the bills, and once there is no one to watch over
our actions, I believe that is when we learn who we truly
And I will be quite honest with you; who I was, who I have been,
has not always been the best of people. Shocking, I know! Because
weren't you just the picture of purity and virtue when you
first moved out of the house? But here's the thing; from that time
when we first begin to make these decisions, there are warring factions
within us. It is not just the war between what is right and wrong,
good and bad, but also the war between the different parts of ourselves
that want opposing things. One part wants comfort and security,
another part wants excitement and passion, and often those two desires
seem mutually exclusive. One side wants spontaneity, another part
wants reliabity. It is reconciling the tensions between these differing
sides of ourselves that I believe makes us who we are.
And, I believe, if we are quite honest, we test ourselves
sometimes, to see what it is like to do the wrong thing.
Not just morally wrong, or ethically unsound, but really wrong for
ourselves, like going on a date with someone you're not attracted
to, whether or not it had anything to do with the prospect of an
expense-paid dinner. I think sometimes we like to push at our own
boundaries, and see how we respond. It's like poking at a bruise
to see if it still hurts, because how else would you know?
I believe that we all have a darker side, and that we sometimes
let it out to see what it would be like if we really listened to
that impulse. Most people I know have shop-lifted sometime in their
life, and it was never really because they needed or even wanted
what they took, but because they wanted to see what it felt
like to do it.
I think sometimes we also play with that ridiculously
pure side of ourselves, the selfless and giving side, who sacrifices
almost to the point of pain. I once watched my lover give away his
last $10 to a man who's car had broken down, knowing that he wouldn't
have any money to eat again until he got paid. I wanted to yell
at him to stop, that the man was probably lying, that he wouldn't
have money for food for a couple of days. I wanted to chase the
man down and get his money back. But, we all do these things, to
some extent or another. I used to spend my one day off volunteering
at an AIDS clinic.
There was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation
where this weird alien child comes aboard the Enterprise.
It grows incredibly rapidly, years in one human day. I remember
a scene where the child puts his hand in the heat from a stove,
purposely burning himself, just to see what it feels like. I remember
being moved by this scene, by the idea of consciously putting one's
self through pain, just to see experience it.
I think we all do it. Not just physically, but emotionally. I think
we all make mistakes, and I think sometimes, maybe, we do it on
purpose, just to see how we will respond when we do. After all,
"to err is human", right? No one's judgement is flawless,
so a person who has never made a mistake is simply a person who
has never had the opportunity to really challenge themselves.
My hands are in the air. I don't know anymore what
I should do, what I shouldn't. When I am rational, I miss opportunities,
when I am passionate, I am vulnerable and often hurt. When I follow
my heart, I am often misled, when I follow my head, I often overlook
other people's feelings, when I follow my gut, I always wonder what
might have been. I don't believe in regret for the things
I've done, only for the things I haven't. My mistakes are neither
few, nor far between, nor can I philosophize about them from the
safety of distance and time.
There is nothing that I can un-do, nothing I can un-say, no decisions
I can un-make. We are all of us caught in a constant state of writing
each page of our life, right in the middle of a chapter, authors
with no surety of how our own story might turn out. You've caught
me at what might be an interesting chapter, and I'm only hoping
that was has come before won't make you give up on what's to come
Earnest and ambitious, the ants keep coming.
Yesterday I woke up to a strange feeling on my arm.
It used to be that feeling something move near me, on me, or around
me was not such a strange occurance. I had a lover, we had cats,
and life was constantly in motion. Now, that same kind of movement
is cause for concern, invasion of privacy, breach of security.
Which brings me to the ants.
They were everywhere.
I don't mean that there were a lot of them. A lot
would suggest a trail of ants, such as we see commonly streaming
towards left over food. No. I mean that they really were everywhere;
in my bathroom they came in through the windows, in my hallway they
came up through the floor. In my kitchen they seemed to colonize,
building themselves a sanctuary that streamed in all directions
underneath the refrigerator, around the boxes of pots and pans that
are still stacked on the linoleum, and up the sides of my trash
Now, understand, I have never been the tidiest of
all creatures, and I have been known to leave dishes unwashed, but
these ants were studiously avoiding leftover pasta or the box of
Christmas cookies on my stove. In fact, I still have not formed
a complete theory regarding their specific direction, I only know
that they were very focused, and that, as I said, they were everywhere.
So, yesterday, before I could begin what was to be
a 13 hours shift to complete our twice-yearly inventory, I began
to kill them. Having only just moved in I was not prepared for such
a rapid onslaught of 6 legged insects, and so I only really had
one weapon, and it was bleach.
Now, no living thing really likes bleach, and I'm sure that no living
thing deserves to drown in it. I know that, in all probability,
these ants were trying to escape the rain that has been pouring
down for the past weeks, and saw my bright, warm little apartment
as a sanctuary from the weather outside. Because of this fact, I
feel especially bad about the holocaust I committed against them.
The problem is, they just kept coming. Today, I saw
no more, and thought I had been victorious, until I realized they
had just taken to more sheltered environments, and were now trailing
tightly against the dark and secret corners where my walls meet
my floor. I envision that they are building a resistance, and that
at some point in my sleep, a giant 6 foot Queen ant will break down
my walls, order all the ants to swarm me and hold me down, while
she pours a whole gallon of liquid bleach down my throat.
I have taken to spraying them with bleach, and leaving
their bodies on the floor, hoping that they will serve as a kind
of warning to the followers. "Go back! Go back! It's not safe
I've never had to do this before, you see. I was the
earthy and empathetic one, the one who said "They're not hurting
anyone," knowing full well that he would take action, and after
30 vigorous minutes of cleaning and spraying, the problem would
be approaching resolution. I was the one who caught spiders in cups
and released them into the street, feeling satisfied and caring.
He was the one who maintained it, laying down ant traps and throwing
away the scraps of food I left unfinished on plates, thinking I
might eat it at some later time. He cleared spider webs away with
brooms and crushed insects with napkins before flushing them down
the toilet. I turned a blind eye, learning nothing while he explored
new ways of eradicating them, vacuuming them with upholstery attachments,
drowning them in the sink, poisoning them with orange-scented 409.
Now it is my turn, and I feel shamed to have such
an infestation so shortly after moving here. I wonder if I am beyond
hope, if this will ever be a home, or simply a place to stay. I
have nightmares about these ants, steady and certain in a way I
cannot imagine; following one another blindly, resolute, absolutely
unswerving in their path.
I drink in the air around me, taste it with my tongue, suck it between
my teeth. I want to pull the night stillness around me like a blanket.
I am in love with the sky, and with the pigeons that run across
the pavement in scattered circles, and with the thick fog that envelopes
the Bay every morning. I buy lingerie on clearance, and fold it
into optimistic little squares in baskets in my closet. I eat with
my fingers, licking sauce from my wrist and reveling in the salty
taste of skin.
I feel heady with anticipation, flushed as if from fine wine and
spicy food. I put on red lipstick to sit in my bed and read. There
is an iris open in a vase on my desk, its petals reaching like desperate
needy fingers, and I find myself brushing it with my lips, like
a yearning lover. Every song feels like an invitation to dance,
every silence suggests a secret waiting to be revealed.
I just have to keep telling myself:
And one of these days, I will truly believe it.
And at that point, it will be true.
So it's a new year.
It's a new year in more ways than I can count.
I'm sitting in my new apartment, surrounded by boxes
that are beginning to cause me concern about how exactly I am to
get out from behind the computer. Having just moved the very last
of my belongings from my old house, I realize that when I wake up
in the morning, everything I've known for the past years of my life
will have changed.
Lately, I wake up alone in the thin, cold dawn air,
and I realize that in the middle of the night, no matter how concerted
was the effort to stretch out, that I have still rolled to the edge
of the mattress, leaving the other side empty for a partner who
is not coming to bed. I pull the covers up to my chin, and hit my
alarm for an hour before I finally, hurriedly dress and leave for
More often than not, when sleep overtakes me I just crawl into bed
fully clothed and fall asleep. Without the feel of skin against
mine, it seems fairly ridiculous to expose myself to the cold in
the manner in which undressing would necessitate.
Why am I writing all of this?
I have reconciled myself with the decisions I've made, and try not
to doubt myself. All of this is new in a way I had not expected,
and the experience has left me inspired. Painfully so, usually,
but inspired nonetheless. I'm not looking for sympathy. Far from
it, in fact, although empathy is always appreciated. Rather, this
is to say that I am beginning to realize that we are never quite
so eloquent as we are in the expression of our own misery. It seems
to lend vibrance to art and writing.
I suppose this could be because, really, when we are happy, we are
much too busy with whatever it is that makes us happy to make art
about it. Some people say that history is told by the victors, but
in all probability, history is just told by those who are left behind,
or who watch from windows as the battle unfolds.
So, the answer to the question, in this case, is that
I want to say that I am going to try to do both; I want to actively
participate in my own life, and hopefully find inspiration in it,
from it, and through it that I will want to share with the rest
of the world. It sounds like kind of a tall order, but, hey! Isn't
that kind of shameless optimism exactly what New Years are about?
The semester is over. The holiday season is almost over. This year
is almost over. In a couple of days I will reflect on all of it.
I will, no doubt, process and analyze it, as I am wont to do. But
for the moment, and with trepidation, all I can think of is:
"I can't believe I pulled this off."
"Iíve been sleeping so strange at night
Side effects they donít advertise
Iíve been sleeping so strange
With a head full of pesticide
I got no plans and too much time
I feel too restless to unwind
Iím always lost in thought"
-Bright Eyes, We Are Nowhere and It's Now
All I want to do lately is sit at home and listen
to music and draw. I'm not sure how that's going to translate to
comics, or what I'm going to make. Right now I'm listening
to Bright Eyes while traffic splashes through the rain outside my
window. I know that I need to finish my last exam, and that I should
probably start to write it, or atleast set up my desk so that I
don't have to sit on the floor while I write it. But, instead, I
think I will flip through my flash catalogues for inspiration for
a project I am working on.
I am incredibly burned out right now. I have written
two finals in the past several days, one that compared childhood
spaces and places fom a Sociological perspective, in how they give
meaning to the experience of children in culture, and how that informs
their growth, and another on media framing in news, and how that
relates to the recent findings of illegality concerning the Bush
administration's funding of a private public relations firm to analyze
news coverage, as well as place prefabricated news stories praising
administrative policies such as No Child Left Behind.
Isn't that just so interesting? Don't you just want to talk
about this for hours with me? Don't I know how to have a
The truth is, I am so burned out, I haven't even listened
to NPR in a week. A whole week! Usually I listen to
NPR for about 3 hours a day, but at this point, I honestly have
no idea what is going on in the world around me. If no one I knew
thought it was interesting enough to talk about it, I wouldn't know
if Southern California fell into the ocean, probably. I only know
about the execution of Stan Williams because they were talking about
it on KALX.
Do you remember when I started this website, 5 years
ago? I used to update it every single day. I started it in
the fall of 2000, and it was mostly just a journal and some links
and about 4 or 5 pages of comics. Look at it now! I'm not sure what
I am going to be doing with it from here on out. I've removed a
lot of the stuff that I don't feel is as relevent anymore, but I
still feel a sense of impermanance about the whole thing.
The fact is, I have so many words that I feel them stumbling and
pouring out of me lately. I've always figured things out by talking
about them, but since I spend a lot of time alone lately, I guess
I have been trying to figure it out by writing about it. I should
probably try to focus this energy, so that I can do something productive
with it. Well, we'll see about that.
"I found a liquid cure
From my landlocked blues
Itíll pass away like a slow parade
Itís leaving but I donít know how soon
And the worldís got me dizzy again
You think after 22 years Iíd be used to the spin
And it only feels worse when I stay in one place
So Iím always pacing around or walking away
I keep drinking the ink from my pen
And Iím balancing history books up on my head
But it all boils down to one quotable phrase
If you love something, give it away"
Bright Eyes, Landlocked Blues
Hi! Last night when I was up late, I decided to scan and upload
a new one page comic. I wrote it in a bar, and then finished it
later, but I kinda dig the whole 'bar comic' phenomenon, so maybe
I'll do more of them in the near future. I removed my update section,
so I'll post anything new right here on the main page, for easy
access. Anyhow, click on the picture below if you want to see it.
I finished my paper on President Lula and agrarian
reform. I also finished my paper on the semiotics of packaging in
children's toys. I now have to finish writing 3 papers, all between
5 and 10 pages, on everything from colonialism to street children.
I can tell that I'm burned out, because that doesn't sound interesting
to me at all, even though it really is.
I'm going to attempt to get comics on here more regularly.
I know I always say that, and I always mean it, and I'll go a good
couple of months, and then it will stop. I know. Sadly, as much
as I wish it were otherwise, art just can't be a top priority all
I've started the great reorganization of 2005. Some links will probably
be wonky for awhile, so please bear with me. I promise, it will
all be over so very quickly.
Ha. I'll give you a dollar if you can tell me what
movie that is from.
Oy. I can't bring myself to write this paper about President Lula
and agrarian reform in Brazil. I have the attention span of....wait,
what was I talking about?
I packed some today for my ongoing move. At this point
I have packed my clothes and my books, and that's about it. And
I'm realizing that I have way too much stuff. I filled up
an entire trash bag with clothes I'd like to discard, and I'm wondering
how much stuff I can just get rid of. I would love to move with
a clean slate, with less material and more quality.
Like, spring cleaning, only different. And with a lot more car trips.
So. I don't really like to hear myself complain, and
I know for damn sure that no one else likes to hear me complain.
So I've decided to find the bright side of this particular cloud.
Here's what I've come up with, so far.
It takes time. For everyone. But you know, whatever doesn't kill us...
I have learned that Margaritas hurt less the next day
than whiskey. Oy.
I have learned that sometimes procrastination really is
the best way to get something done.
I have discovered that I am not, in fact, too old for ____.
I thought I was, but I was wrong!
I have re-discovered a love for music that makes me feel
like I'm 15 again, where every song has more meaning and more
ressonance than any song I've ever heard before. And also? I am
SO sure the band totally knows exactly what I am going through
I have so many comics in my head and the only thing that
is keeping them from being out of my head is my complete and thorough
lack of time. Eventually, I will have some, and then! Then you
will be astounded!
When this is all over, I will feel really good. Like the
time I cried because I finally could afford to buy food, I imagine
that once I am all moved, and can sleep in a bed again, I will
feel like I'm on a fucking resort vacation.
I will finally have a bathtub again, and I intend to takes
baths as often as possible. When I was a little kid, I thought
taking showers meant you were grown up, and now that I've lived
with only a shower for over two years, I am beginning to feel
that bathtubs are the very lap of luxury.
I really have tried very hard to lighten up, and I think
I've actually shown a lot of progress. Instead of acting like
I'm 65 with a mortgage and 3 children, I feel like I've moved
down to a more reasonable 45, with a car payment and an overdue
It's 4 in the morning and I just finished another paper. Actually,
this one is late, which is the first time I've turned in something
late in years. I go back and forth on whether to explain
myself to my teachers, because I don't want special accomodation,
I just want them to know. Know I care, know I am not usually
the kind of person who skips classes and comes to class at 8 am
with a hangover. It's not how I got in Berkeley, it's not how I
earned a 4.0, but it is a reality of where I am right now.
I've neglected a lot in the past 3 months. I've neglected
some of my friends. I've neglected my art. I've neglected my partner.
I've neglected my home. And now it all kind of comes back, and you
have to figure out how to get through that, too. Because, it isn't
just everyone else. I've neglected myself, too, shoving all
my concerns into a little cubbyhole for later. But it's all filled
up now, and spilling over onto the floor, and I can't just shut
the door on it and pretend I don't see it anymore.
I know that, when this is all over, I will be inspired,
and I will have material for my comics and my art and hell! Who
knows, maybe I'll break new ground for myself and start churning
out emo-folk tunes or something. Right now, however, I am hardly
inspired to get out of bed, much less to write an 8 page paper on
the semiotics of the aesthetics of toy packaging, or the structuralist
perspective of President Lula of Brazil. I mean, really...would
I deleted all the journal entries that were here prior to 2005.
That still leaves you with a whole year to read here, although I
haven't had a whole lot to say during this past year, have I? I
also deleted the index to the archives of all my old journals. I
have not, however, actively deleted any of this stuff. I mean, hell,
I still have the diaries I wrote when I was 15, so unless my computer
is detroyed in the inevitable earthquake that will probably destroy
everything I own except for a can of refried beans I've been moving
with since 2001, I will keep these journals around for awhile, too.
It's just that, really, no one needs to see what I've been thinking
for the past 5 years.
I'm pretty tired, but I'll leave you with this picture.
Yes, that's my foot. Yes that's a tattoo of a compass.
Yes it hurt. But not as much as the rest of me hurts right now.
I've decided that, though the site is back up, I'm going to make
a bunch of changes to it. I'll probably remove all the journal archives,
because, really, I can't imagine anyone has the need to go back
and read 5 years worth of my banter. However, if for some reason
that is something you want to do, then you should probably do it
now, while it lasts.
I'm also probably going to take down all the writing,
at the very least the stuff that was done by anyone not me, the
DIY section, the mailto: form, the mission statement, and the art
galleries of stuff that isn't by me. I want to eradicate the chronological
archiving galleries, and instead have all relevent media available
on one page. Basically, what should be left will be my comics, maybe
3 months worth of journals, any relevent art and writing, and, if
I feel like it, a photo gallery.
I'm trying to simplify my life, and it seems like
my webpage could use some love, too. I know that really, nobody
ever comes here, and at this point it is like having a banquet for
200 when you're only expecting 6 dinner guests. I'm hoping to have
all the major changes made by the new year. There's a lot more on
the horizon, too, but I'm not really ready to talk about that.
You might have noticed that I took my website down for a little
If you didn't, I guess it means that you don't check
my site compuslively, or else you have bookmarked something other
than the main page.
If you did, then I may owe you an explanation. Unfortunately,
you won't get one right now.
Suffice it to say, I took it down for a reason, and
then I realized that my reasoning might not have been sound, and
that lying to myself was a terrible thing to do, and I really needed
to rethink my position about why I would take down a site that had
been part of my life for over 5 years.
I saw Bauhaus last night, and I've been drinking a
lot of margaritas, and I saw DropKick Murphy's and life is hectic
and that's all you'll probably hear from me until next year. I know.
I've never been good at this.
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