Sunday, May 29, 2005

skill sets

in an attempt to actually enjoy my days in los angeles (i know, "enjoy" and "los angeles" in the same sentence... blasphemy) i've been hiking. the hiking is great and enjoyable and we've actually discovered several unpaved, smog-free sections of this wretched city, but hiking here is nothing like hiking at home. for one, i have not found any toxic waste and two, at home i hike with someone tiny. simon is five foot something and her parents bound her feet so they are small too... this is not the case in california. here, due to my fear of falling into a ravine and missing so much work i can't pay my rent, i have been hiking with Very Tall Person*. very tall people are fine and all but they don't seem to understand that not everyone shares their vertical advantage. when simon and i went on hikes, she would remember branches that hit her in the face and hold the offending twigs till i could take over. Very Tall Person forgets, and all the branches that hit him in the shoulder whip back and hit me square between the eyes. this makes hiking a very edgy, hardcore activity where i have to focus on not falling into a ravine AND not losing an eye. also, Very Tall Person does not understand my leg span is not that of a pro basketball player. if there's a river to jump across, i will probably not make it to the cut off rock and just end up soaking wet. at home, simon would be rational and suggest we walk AROUND the body of water. but i suppose twig dodging and river leaping are skills i need living in this city... twig dodging... just like dodging bullets on the freeway... river leaping... will come in handy that day i finally snap in traffic and start jumping on the tops of cars. thank you Very Tall Person, for preparing me for a whole new level of los angeles enjoyment.

*previously known as intern, tape librarian formerly known as intern, graveyard ae, bagel bringer and that kid who refused to buy the keg

Saturday, May 28, 2005

There is no point to this post.

My sister having moved into her own house (notice the ablative absolute, the "Rolls-Royce of Latin constructions"), I have moved into her old room. It is considerably larger than mine, but somehow, flagrantly defying the law of conservation of matter, the stuff from my tiny closet of a bedroom does not fit into the galaxy of space in which I now reside.

The problem persisted after I threw out many things as useless as and including two pounds of writing utensils that were neat-looking (i.e. shiny, sparkly, pink, purple, holographic, or possessing any distinctive properties whatsoever), 99% of which have not fuctioned in their intended capacity for, I would say, approximately fifteen years. It has been a tedious job, and I have not even mentioned yet how annoying a process polishing a miniature silver tea service is:

Lucky for me, this sort of thing is my only job. I am now, officially, an unemployed English major. I feel fairly comfortable with this. I don't want to live in a world where people who can read Beowulf but don't understand the stock market are readily employable; that seems almost immoral. I think reading Neil Gaiman's biography of Douglas Adams may have had a detrimental effect on my attitude. I now think it is proper and right that the life of an English major should begin with an extended period in which he or she fails to find gainful employment. According to this model, things are going precisely as planned. What a relief.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Paradise Lost Indeed

When I was a kid I used to spend a lot of time playing in the woods at the edge of the neighborhood. I did very charming summery things like climb trees, follow deer paths, look at weird bugs, and get lost. Later on, Ivan and I (or possible Simon and I--I forgot which of us is which) went on numerous exploratory missions and set some very nice multi-seasonal picnics there. We named the landmarks. We took pictures. We discovered, christened, and quickly forgot the location of the rock Herman. It was like Eden. Granted, an Eden with a hell of a lot of bugs and suburbia encroaching on every border, but whatever, it was nice.

Now I find that this childhood paradise, this arboreal refuge, this flower-laden natural garden has harbored a dark secret all this time. A deadly secret. A secret no one could have imagined. Before the developer bought the land, before my parents bought the house, before I was even born, some jerk looked at the vernal landscape (which I suppose was, at the time, grassy disused farmland, but that's no excuse) and thought, "Now, this vernal landscape/ugly field looks like a great place to bury toxic waste!" Then he came up with another genius idea, which was, "Golly, now that we've buried toxic waste here, we should sell it to a developer so that people can build houses on it! Yesssss!" Then he did chest bumps with his buddies and they all lived happily ever after, cheating on their taxes and kicking puppies.

Until the government investigation. Suckers.

So I've been thinking, what can I blame on the slim possibility that I have been in some way affected by the contamination of a water source that I never used or by particles of lead dust that very likely never circulated in the air? Braces? Poor motor skills? No. Let's go for something bigger. This is it, people. THIS IS THE SOURCE OF THE ALIEN BABY SYMPTOMS. Surely nothing induces nausea like lead poisoning. Surely nothing breeds hunger like tromping around in a nuclear forest. Surely it is plausible that I might sustain a mysterious bruise from such a catastrophic, by which I mean rather minor, toxic waste spill, despite the fact that I was a couple hundred miles away at the time.

So you see the toxic waste spill in the ferny playground of my childhood is all for the best. In fact, thank goodness for the reckless irresponsibility of others. Let their thoughtless misdeeds be praised, until the government can gather enough evidence to PAVE OVER THEIR MORTAL LIVES.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

happiness is:

one dozen blueberry bagels... from wegmans. bliss.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Flashback Part 1: Paris

On this day last year I arrived in Paris with mon amie Christine. Because we were tourists, we of course went up the Eiffel Tower to see what all the fuss was about. The fuss was at first about standing in line forever fearing that the creepy guy next to me was going to pick my pocket. Then the fuss was about cramming into an elevator FULL of people who were likely to pick my pocket. At long last, however, we discovered that the fuss was about a bloody good view. So we took some pictures. Thus:

Shortly after taking this picture we got assaulted by drunken Italians who insisted on getting pictures taken with us, no doubt while trying to pick our pockets. Somewhere there is some Italian guy who's confused because in this picture he seems to be at the top of the Eiffel Tower with these two girls and he doesn't remember it at all. Sucks to his asthmar, at least we got a story out of it.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


a story about my neighbor as told to simon:
Ivan (8:44:03 PM): haha, i have a good la story to post
Ivan (8:45:38 PM): well, it's not a real story story:
Ivan (8:45:55 PM): B is my neighbor
Ivan (8:46:04 PM): B drives a porche
Ivan (8:46:16 PM): B drives his porche to work
Ivan (8:46:19 PM): B drives his porche to work at fox
Ivan (8:46:24 PM): the neighborhood shares a wall with fox. i could pole vault there if i wanted to.
Ivan (8:46:34 PM): end of story. welcome to la la land.
Ivan (8:46:55 PM): see, not a real story
Ivan (8:47:09 PM): my armpit hurts

That's Telekinesis, Kyle

The alien baby is giving me special powers. The other night after Becky and I watched Independence Day, I had a dream that aliens were taking over the country. I mentioned this to Becky and she was rather surprised because she had had a very similar dream. But of course we had both just watched the movie, so it wasn't all that shocking.

Then, two or three days later, I had an alarming dream that I was mysteriously pregnant. I told my dream unto Becky and lo, Becky had had a similar dream. Well, that is strange, I thought. Becky and I seem to be tuned to same dream channel. Still, we do live together and see each other every day, so maybe it can be explained that way.

BUT NOW, I have just received the information that MATT has been dreaming of aliens as well and CHRISTI has been dreaming of bizarre pregnancies.

Clearly the only explanation is that the alien baby is telephathically imposing my dreams on others, or stealing others' dreams and feeding them into my unsuspecting brain. So I'm pretty sure that within a couple of weeks, I will be able kill a yak from 200 yards away . . . with mind bullets. I can't wait to see what powers I get in the third trimester!

Friday, May 13, 2005

of scots and six car pile ups

TRAFFIC IS OUT OF CONTROL. every single morning it takes me an hour and fifteen minutes to get home. i've mentally prepared myself for this trip. it's always this way. it's a law of los angeles "thou shalt not travel south from the valley at a speed exceeding five miles per hour". my thoughts on los angeles traffic: traffic is bad. ok fine. road rage under control. breathe. between the hours of 8:30 and 9:45am i will sit in my car and practice patience. of course the moment i came to terms with the traffic, the heavens started to tremble with rage. ivan cannot be happy on her commute. no, she must be miserable every single moment she sits in her car. yes, the very moment i accepted traffic into my heart, the Powers That Be decided something must be done.

it was saturday. i was driving. i was perfectly happy. it was 3 o'clock in the afternoon. traffic was not bad. i noticed something in the distance. cars began to slow. "it's ok," i said to myself "probably just a stray rain cloud." traffic is worse on cloudy days. i told myself the congestion would clear up quickly. i swear i heard the forces that control the universe start to cackle with glee. i saw the road block. and then i saw the parade. and then i heard the miserable, wretched sound. it was the sound of small animals being slaughtered. fingernails on a chalkboard. the sound of bagpipes. the god of traffic sent me BAGPIPES. i hate bagpipes. my roommate junior year was a bagpiper. she liked to break them out at parties when she was drunk and play amazing grace. she liked to blame me for the fact that she could never practice. "ivan hates the bagpipes so i can never play them in the house". IT'S NOT JUST ME. NO ONE LIKES THE BAGPIPES. actually, they came in handy once. the neighbors were having some sort of all night rave on a tuesday and we asked them to turn down the music. they said no. the roommate went to war. she broke out the pipes and within two minutes the neighbors had turned off the music and were lying on the floor in the fetal position begging for it to end (and she said i never let her practice). so yes, there i was sitting on pico in the middle of the afternoon staring at a full on scottish pride parade, or a funeral, or a braveheart reenactment... i have no idea what it was. it was unnecessary that's what it was. i finally found my way onto a side street and drove around the kilt-wearing, plaid-loving bastards. since then i've had to deal with six car pile-ups, street cleaners, heavy construction, camera controlled intersections and general los angeles idiocy. it's ok. i'm ok. the scots have given me a whole new perspective on driving in los angeles: traffic is bad, but as long as there are bagpipers in the world, i am constantly reminded my commute could be much, much worse. and now that i've accepted this, i wonder what the Powers That Be will come up with next... i'm betting it rains oatmeal rasin cookies.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Alien Baby

(1) strange bruise of unknown origin on inside of upper right arm
(2) persistent nausea
(3) extraordinary appetite

Possible Diagnoses:
(1) This condition is clearly the result of exam week; students often cease to eat balanced meals and become overtired at this time of year. Bruise coincidental with other symptoms.
(2) This condition is clearly the result of having toxic mold in the walls. The bruise shows that the mold has already infected your body (cf. X-Files episode 4x11, "El Mundo Gira," a.k.a. "The One With the Mold Man").
(3) This condition is clearly the result of alien abduction. The bruise is the mark from an alien needle; the nausea and increased appetite are due to the fact that you are going to have an alien baby. Alien babies are notoriously hungry little rascals.

(1) Stop eating crap and get more sleep.
(2) None; you are going to die.
(3) Throw a baby shower.

Of these choices, I pick the alien baby. It has more style than plain exhaustion and isn't deadly. Plus, Maeve agrees with me that alien impregnation is the only explanation for the bruise. So if someone could notify the Inquirer for me, that would be great. In the meantime you're welcome to buy gifts. The alien baby likes books, movies, and tea. I'll happily provide an address to which gift certificates can be sent.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Lone Bongo Drummer

On the subject of the Lone Bongo Drummer: There is one. And he is outside my window. And he is not talented. And it is 1:28 in the morning. Rock on, Lone Bongo Drummer, rock on. Because outside of College Reality, people will call the cops on you when you do stupid things like this. And wherever I am, I will laugh the laugh of vengeance and vindication.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Saga of Dune is Far from Over

Becky and I have been watching the Sci-Fi Channel's adaptations of Frank Herbert's novels Dune and Children of Dune over the past few weeks, and we finished today. As Inigo Montoya would say, You killed my father. Prepare to die. . . . No, that's the wrong one. What I'm looking for is, Let me explain. No, there is too much; let me sum up:

In Dune, the following things happen:
William Hurt and family move to desert planet. Hurt gets hurt. Sulking son Paul fulfills prophesy as savior of planet known as Muad'Dib, becomes considerably hotter in process of doing so, due to spiking of hair. As Becky would say, Shizit! Also features many wild hats and wicked cool worm-riding. Most Horrible/Awesome Moment winner: Liet's death-by-spice-blow. But Frank, I liked him!

Anyway, the saga of Dune is far from over.

In Children of Dune, the following things happen:
Muad'Dib continues to be unbearably attractive, produces unbearably attractive children. Some stuff happens with rebellions, the obese floating man reprises his role from the original series, and a lot of people we liked go insane and/or die and/or wander off into the desert at various points. But the saga of Dune is far from over: the actor who played Liet is recycled as a completely different character. The worms, thankfully, reprise their original role. But the saga of Dune is far from over! There are still approximately three hours of footage of Muad'Dib's perpetually half-naked son! Even with worm-skin, it has to be said: shizit.

[I want to mention that despite the fact that Muad'Dib's son looks like a well-built 16-year-old, he was actually 24 at the time of filming. I will cut anyone who mentions Jeremy Sumpter . . . or Rupert Grint. I am having an alien baby and my hormones are all over the place. Watch yourselves.]

Anyway, Children of Dune was, I think, even better than the original Dune, as the acting is superior, Alec Newman being particularly impressive, and the villians are not as asinine (although I have to wonder who thought Susan Sarandon deserved those bangs. What did she ever do to you?) Also, it was interesting to see how the magnificent revolution in the first series fell apart in the second, and how Leto, O Inexplicably Naked One, brought Muad'Dib back to the status of a human being. I personally think Muad'Dib's loss of divinity was a direct result of his spiky hair going flat, but that probably isn't a sound religio-political analysis.

Thus, as The Beckly Hath Commanded, I have written of Dune and Children of Dune, the Sagas that are Always Far from Over No Matter How Close They Are To What Is Actually the End Until they Make Another and If They Do I Hope It Includes Flashbacks of the Spiky Hair.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Vote Beeblebrox

There are three series of books I love so much that they make my heart hurt. I shall list them for you:

1. The Lymond Chronicles
2. The Lord of the Rings
3. Douglas Adams

I would like to rhapsodize now, for a moment, on the third. Let us revisit my history with Douglas Adams. I believe I first encountered him when Ivan made me read The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul when I went to Cape Cod with her family. Incidentally that was the same trip during which Ivan's mother drowned me in sunscreen and made me sit under an umbrella all day because I'm an ice princess. But that's okay. I wanted to sit and read anyway.

I think it was after that that Ivan called me one weekend and told me to turn on the radio because the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio show was playing. So I listened to that religiously until it ended all too abruptly.

I read the five-novel trilogy during my senior year of high school. I have very distinct memories of having that huge blue tome in my lap when we drove through this very campus and I decided I wanted to go to school here.

There was a bit of a lull aftr that. Then, one day while I was shelving books in the library listening to my walkman, I ran across part of the radio show that I had partially taped over. It was the part where Zaphod is put into the Total Perspective Vortex. The fairy cake part struck me as particularly brilliant and I thought to myself, "Alas, I wonder whatever happened to that show."

My love was renewed when I went to England and met Helen and discovered that she and I had an admiration for Douglas Adams in common. I reread the Guide, and the partial novel Adams left after his death (thank you, Ivan), and after Helen went back to the States, she miraculously got ahold of a copy of Dirk Gently's Detective Agency, and I was dazzled by that, too. Then I saw a two-disc edition of the radio show on sale in Blackwells. I went into that store on probably six separate occasions just to look at it, the only copy they had. And then one day I found the courage to fork over twenty pounds and IT WAS MINE. And it was only after listening to the show several times, and randomly meeting Mark Wing-Davies, that I really began to understand Douglas Adams's brilliance.

It's pretty clear that he's a funny guy: "It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an airport' appear." I personally like Heathrow, but whatever, it's true. I can testify to the fact that Newark sucks; they even made putting rocking chairs in the terminals into a failure of an idea by getting the kind that, if you actually use them, irreversibly mangle your spinal chord. Anyway, yes, the person who came up with Bistromath, the Meet the Meat scene, and the line "Yes, well, that's just what we want to find out: do people want fire that can be fitted nasally?" . . . of course had an extraordinary sense of humor.

But what kills me every time is how he can make the total insignificance of the human race perfectly clear, reveal and dwell on all of its absurdities and flaws and outright failures, and postulate that Earth is in fact nothing more than an organic computer and that the human race is actually descended primarily from telephone sanitizers -- and then turn around and celebrate the hell out of the entire ridiculous and inconvenient arrangement.

My favorite part is in the first book when Slartibartfast is discussing with Arthur the rather tragic demise of Earth before it was able to reveal the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. He says, after all that, "Well that's bureaucracy for you." I've never read another book so concerned with the meaning of life that concludes with such glee that there is no point and isn't it truly wonderful. This has been endlessly consoling and alerted me to the fact that where religions feed off distrust of the human race, atheism requires an enormous amount of faith in it. And that makes me, a plain, inoffensive heathen, very, very happy.

Plus it's incredibly satisfying to think everyone I don't like will at some point be descended upon by a businesslike little alien with a clipboard, and roudly insulted. This, I feel, is very satisfying indeed.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

with your nose so bright

i have some sort of cyst/zit/growth/welt thing on my nose. it's very noticeable. it's very red. i'm feeling rather self conscious so i swear to god, if you see me, and ask me to guide your sleigh tonight, i will END you. fair warning.

and so the problem remained; lots of people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches

well, it took three weeks of sleeping 16 hours a day, seven days of a normal schedule, a week of insomnia and one friday night for it all to come full circle. i was so tired yesterday i decided to take a nap and twelve hours later, wow, sleep schedule RESET. wonderful. good to know it's THAT easy to get back to where you were. so i've traded in being terribly alert and annoyed during the night for being terribly alert and annoyed during the day and frankly, i'm not enjoying it one bit. california daytime people annoy me. seems like the sun brings out all the wackos and my cheery disposition causes them gravitate in my direction. saturday, on the third street promenade i was approached by a small asian man with a card full of questions "what question interest you the most?" he asked. i scanned through the list, which looked something like this:
1. Why are carrots orange?
2. Why are goats so entertaining?
3. Should you keep the cat your roommate is allergic to on the chance that is lying about his problems with feline dander?
4. Are bunnies cute?
5. Does God exist?
6. What's for dinner?
five stood out, so i (stupidly) said "five". the small asian man launched into a whole dissertation on the presence of god in our lives and after every long, long speech he would stop and ask "what do you think?" and i would say "about the existance of god?" and he would say yes and I would say "i have absolutely no idea" and then we would repeat the process. finally i was so fed up with the whole conversation i blurted out in the surliest way possible "god was disproved by the babel fish, the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42, the world is run by mice and frankly, i am sick of this conversation and need to go drown my annoyance in the gap sales rack." he left me alone after that. i blame myself. if it were not for my spastic internal clock i would still be on the "terribly alert and annoyed at night" schedule and we could have avoided all of this.