Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Was it a burst of uncharacteristic naivete, or was it sheer obstinacy & wishful thinking, that led me yesterday to exclaim aloud "Can't there be one non-crappy cobra pendant on all of eBay?" As though such a thing existed anywhere, let alone in that great rummage sale of the Web?

Monday, December 29, 2003

All of the following is excerpted, completely unaltered, from the actual text of the owner's manual for a space heater, purchased in the hopes it might warm up the cold storage unit that is my living room. (I realize that they may strain the limits of believability, so I will state that I'm more than willing to Xerox and mail any or all pages to any incredulous reader, on request.)

The fuzzy Mesh is made of metal covered with fibres. The Fiber prevents your hand from hurt/your clothes from burnt.

Extreme caution is mecessary when any heater is used by or near children or Invalids.

Due to the heating device is the wave transmission, the heating efficency would be lowered down when the Fuzzy mesh/inward coating is attached with the mess dust.

The fumes/odor is physically harmful; however, it may result the the uncomfortable reaction in the enclosed room. Please turn the power off and keep the air circulation well once your feel uncomfortable.

Please wipe with soft cloth. As the hard-dirt is concerned, please wipe with neutral detergent.

It is forbidden for water washing the whole unit.

Q.The heater operates with the "pun/hum" sound.

Please unplug the power cord from the wall socket urgently.

When the unit out of service life and needs scrapping, please send to environmental protection professional treatment factory. No throwing away here and there.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

[Owls!'ll be on holiday hiatus until Monday 12/29.]

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

A couple of things I should have realized, prior to owning an iPod, would become problems:

1) I am now unable to listen to any song, no matter how beloved, all the way through. How could I, when I have the frankly godlike power to hear any song at any time? How can I make it through one three-and-a-half minute track when the grass is, or so I feel at that moment, infinitely greener in all other directions?

2) That problem I have with thinking that everyone on BART is interested in what I'm reading, and ready to make erroneous judgments about me based thereon? Is much worse with respect to music, when anyone around me can see at a glance what song I'm listening to. How am I supposed to listen to Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" in peace when my seatmate might glance at the display and fail to realize I don't listen exclusively to crap?

Monday, December 22, 2003

I have now abandoned all hope of ever becoming a successful new-restaurant navigator. I must come to terms with the fact that I am doomed forever to accidentally enter the kitchen when looking for the restroom, to receive the withering, blistering stares of the bemused waitstaff in the restricted zones I blunder into.

Friday, December 19, 2003

It's taken me three years to grasp fully the fact that, when I am chastised by the older male employees of this firm for not bringing in homemade holiday baked goods for them, I am not being teased, nor is it said even half-jokingly or in any way lightly. They're dead serious. They demand an answer as to why I fail them in this critical way.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Does BART receive some additional grant money, perhaps from a Chilean literary-promotion program, if at least 25% of female passengers are reading Isabel Allende at any given time? They must. There is no other explanation.

On a brighter lit-note:
"His laugh was deep, moist, cavernous, like something alive down a cistern."
From Wallace Stegner's The Big Rock Candy Mountain. Whew! Nice work, Wally.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

In moments of violent boredom, I sometimes scan the club listings for the SF area, despite knowing there are no more than 5 or 6 current bands I'd pay to see. Often, I note something called "progressive house" mentioned on the agenda for dance-oriented clubs (which I wish we still called "discos", as they do in other lands, since it's the most truthful appellation). I don't know how this differs from standard-issue house, nor do I care in the least, but the name does make me giggle. Is progressive house mostly popular in regions like SF and NY, while centrist house dominates the interior states? Would I like reactionary house? Etc.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Two things to consider avoiding if you're not fairly sure what the results will be:

1) Compiling a list of your top ten least favorite traits in others. Make good and sure you're not going to finish the list and realize My god, this could as easily be a list of my own worst traits! I suffer from all but one of my most-despised attributes, which I am too proud to list here.

2) Attempting to label the fifty states on a blank U.S. map. I thought it'd be an entertaining, self-esteem-stroking little diversion. Instead, I muddled the Midwest beyond belief, and destroyed the Eastern seaboard.

Monday, December 15, 2003

I realize I'm not completely alone, as I know a fellow sufferer, but really, how many people well into their twenties still routinely have it's-the-first-day-of-school-and-I-don't-know-my-schedule-or-locker-combination dreams? Last night's was particularly vivid. No one would answer me when I asked "Where'd you get your schedule?" with rapidly rising panic. Everyone looked away, with a studied look of neutrality, when I asked what time it was, how did they know which locker was theirs, etc. I was lugging an entire desk drawer around with me in lieu of a backpack or binder, a detail I find especially chilling.

Friday, December 12, 2003

How does it happen, a usage error that's previously been fairly scarce suddenly cropping up everywhere, becoming more common even than the correct usage it bungles? Like "reticent" being used when one means "reluctant": this isn't a new screw-up, but lately it's been stinking up commentary left and right. "Fearing accusations of intolerance, city council members have been reticent to endorse the controversial measure", say. CLANG, and I stop reading. How does this process occur, and how do I wrest control of it and start issuing citations?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

For years I've assumed that my loathing of "community gardens" was wholly arbitrary, like my strong (some might say hysterical) negative feelings toward unlined index cards and songs in which both a man and a woman sing. But over the last couple of weeks I've decided it's actually because community garden projects neatly embody much of what riles me about the Left. This theory is still in its infancy, is a fledgling, inchoate thing, but I plan to polish it up real nice. How it will dazzle! Unlike those eyesore dirtpatch gardens themselves, just slightly less ugly than the no-ID check-cashing joints they tend to border. What will solve the various nightmares of these embattled neighborhoods? More cops? Offering businesses incentives to open there? No, let's just let little Johnny tend this broke-neck sunflower sprouting out of a bed of broken glass. Harrumph.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

"So've you made that soup yet?"

"The which, the pancetta one?"


"No. Haven't gotten it together yet."

"What's to get together? It has like four ingredients."

"Well, yeah, but one of them's rendered duck fat."

"So? That's, that's like a staple."

[stunned silence] "It's like what now? It's like flour and sugar, huh?"

"Not like that basic, but yeah, I think so."

"I . . . I want to talk about this statement you have just made. Let me be sure I understand. You are stating that rendered duck fat is an item everyone normally has on hand."

"I feel like I'm walking into a bitch trap, but yes, sort of. It's pretty important."

"Can, um, can you compare it to another ingredient, in terms of staple status? Is it like, um, saffron?"

"Oh hell no. Saffron's a true staple."

"Wow. Wow. So what's it like? Think of something to help me out here, something else that's at the same level of semi-stapleness as rendered duck fat, in your incandescently privileged view."

"Jesus. Does every conversation with you have to be the director's cut? OK. Um. Candied orange peel?"

"Oh WOW God. You're like Little Lord Fauntleroy with neck tattoos."

"Can I go now?"

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Two things I've learned, at age 27, in the past few days:

1) How most people hold their umbrellas (i.e., others evidently do not rest the umbrella on their heads, thus saving the arm-effort of holding it up).

2) That others not only don't lean on walls/furniture at every single opportunity, nor grieve the option of leaning when it is not present, they often never lean at all unless exhausted or attempting to look "casual".

That last one really shocked me. Who would pass up an opportunity to ease the burden of standing?

Monday, December 08, 2003

In last night's new Simpsons episode, it was revealed that the Simpsons' dog had impregnated Dr. Hibbert's dog, resulting in a box full of 7 or 8 puppies. Homer was believed by the rest of the family to have had their dog neutered when they got him, but we learned via a flashback that he hadn't had the heart to do that [sic] to his canine buddy. "Irresponsible," I shrieked, hands trembling. "This episode is totally f*cking irresponsible!" I felt I could never again watch The Simpsons.

When I first thought about posting on this topic, I thought my point was going to be "Perhaps I have become too radicalized in my spay/neuter activism." In any other case, someone being deeply, pantingly offended by content on the goddamn Simpsons would be a solid target for vigorous mockery. Yet in the clear light of morning, I believe my point's actually "None of us should watch the Simpsons ever again." Which is more telling still.

Friday, December 05, 2003

I am currently deeply involved, emotionally if not intellectually, in San Francisco's hotly-contested mayoral election. I am not, of course, a resident of San Francisco, and can often be heard loudly wishing the whole damn city'd evaporate into a grimy, grainy puff of self-important vapor. Yet I care so profoundly about this damn mayoral race that my stress about it often leads me to act like a character in a supermarket novel: pulling at my own hair and howling God, I can't take this!

I've never had any doubt whom I wanted the victor to be. One, in my opinion, has a chance of improving the city's ever-plummeting quality of life, and the other will only further bugger it, if from a lofty ideological perch. Yesterday, though, I read a brief bit in the Guardian in which the 2 candidates were asked to list their all-time favorite albums. My guy essentially listed My First Jazz Albums from Fisher-Price. Picking jazz was bad enough, but these stale Jazz 101 basics? Sodden. What did the guy whose face I want to slap pick? Pavement, Joy Division and Zep! Pavement and Zep! Now what do I do? What on earth do I do?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Exchange that just occurred, between myself and that Russian coffeeshop employee who thinks I am uniquely well-suited to receive the brunt of his fatalism and misanthropy:

HE: Good morning, Lisa. Or, should I say, it is the morning, Lisa.

I: Oh, um, my name's Jennifer.

HE: Ah? Well, you have [hev] a Lisa face.

I: I . . .do?

HE: Oh yes. You are Lisa-faced. You should be Lisa.

I: I . . . apologize?

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Last night I had a dream in which I was one of those bloggers who have a little section on their blog, updated whenever they post, that informs the reader of the blogger's current mood (perhaps via smiley-face icon, unsmiley-face icon, cranky-face icon, etc.) and what album he or she is listening to. I awoke shuddering, shivering, glossed with terror-sweat.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

I'm not certain, but I think I may've just had my super-special, certainly overdue First Time I Was Taken for Insane by a Stranger moment. I took an immediate dislike to an HP billboard, reading "Because all colors matter" or something close to it, featuring stripes of no more than half a dozen colors. "Every color matters, that's why we're showing you five, five crappy ones," I said, really not whispering, really not mindful of being in public. An excessively-overcoated female passerby veered away from me with a seemingly calculated air of I'm not looking, I'm not provoking, I'm just walking, much the same as I carefully try to convey to at least a couple of nutjobs every day myself. I've never been the recipient before. It was a long time coming.

Monday, December 01, 2003

The Giannini Building across the street has begun its annual season of violently excessive holiday decor and event-planning. This morning there's a vocal quartet, garbed in full velvetine Victoriana, absolutely hollering carols. This caroling is muscular, is fuel-injected, is thundering. Poinsettia line the escalators, reaching their damp-paper "petals", bobbing obscenely, toward one's ride. A two-story Christmas tree groans under the weight of its decorations, nary a needle to be seen through the glassy clamor. It is a repellent tableau. I await the controversial, frighteningly oversized manger scene I know is coming.