Wednesday, March 31, 2004

The Modest Mouse mailing list tells me that their new single will appear on tonight's episode of "The O.C." This distresses me, although I've yet to pin down just why. It isn't only the usual, not wanting "my" band exposed to the mainstream - I gave that up when they signed to Epic, even before one of their songs was used in a c*cksucking car commercial last year. I suppose it's just that, despite my great love for MM and "The O.C." both, they just aren't meant to meet. Liking two things doesn't mean one wants them mingling. Like, I enjoy watching Al Sharpton speak, and I enjoy nature documentaries, but I don't want him hosting one. Hold on . . . yes, yes I do.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Recently, I've noticed an odd surge in the number of Berkeley men, presumably Cal students, wearing dull-green shorts the same color as their backpacks. Coincidence, I know. But when viewed from the rear and from some distance away, these guys appear, briefly, to be wearing lederhosen. What's remarkable in this is that, during that flash of an instant in which I believe they're so garbed, it feels like something to do with me, something threatening to me personally. What's that lederhosen guy doing around here, menacing me?, I think each time.

Monday, March 29, 2004

It wasn't that I'd thus far been disappointed in this season's Sopranos; not precisely that. More like, the mass influx of new characters and the sharp increase in plotlines that had to be inferred, rather than being explicitly explained, had left me feeling a bit adrift, a bit behind the learning curve. All the time with "Who's that? He shot who in the what now? What tractor-trailer hijacking?" So while I knew the quality hadn't dipped, that the fault lie with my own failures to pay sufficient attention, I was feeling slightly estranged from the show. Yesterday's episode, though. Yesterday David Lee Roth was playing poker with the gang. David Lee Roth, across the poker table from Tony. Any faith I'd lost, gone. Any doubt I'd had, vanished.

Friday, March 26, 2004

As if hippies haven't ruined enough already*, I've recently realized that no, I can't get a dragonfly tattoo, because of all the skirt-over-pants girls around who already sport such tattoos. And why do they? Dragonflies may be lovely and shiny, but they're about as far from butterflies and ladybugs as the insect world gets. They're ferocious hunters. The mandibles on'em! They're uniquely ill-suited as a tattoo subject for languid, slow-blinking pacifists. They're winged barracudas. And I'd like to adorn myself with one, but no. Nope. Can't do it. Vegans got there first.

*Take hummus. I'm forced to pretend to hate hummus, when in fact I love it.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

As the end of the week looms, I must again steel myself for this office's semi-casual Friday, and the onslaught of tasseled loafers it brings. It never gets easier. Especially not lately, with a trend (perhaps limited to this office) toward tasseled loafers in shades of toffee, butterscotch, even camel.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Today, I was going to address the Motorhead half of the 2-band unit I began discussing yesterday, via an examination of the great likelihood that the Oakland Zoo's hyenas (a pair of obvious dykes) would enjoy their music. Then I realized that this might serve to perpetuate the grievously biased popular view of hyenas, in which they're half a notch above demons, when in reality they're just superbly adapted predators. This then reminded me of how angered I am by the plot element in "Finding Nemo" in which certain sharks (or so I'm told - I've not seen the goddamn thing) give up eating fish and become, what, seaweed aficionados or something, and how this redeems them somehow, and how much that perpetuates the already destructive myth that sharks, too, are savage hellbeasts (the unreformed among them, anyway). And then I realized, I'm really not very much fun, am I?

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

There are two bands that nearly everyone who's a devoted fan of the rock enjoys, crossing most sub-genre borders: Motorhead and The Misfits. Let's leave Motorhead aside for a second and consider The Misfits. Scary, gory, occasionally vaguely Hitleriffic: The Misfits, they're dark. They're almost a cult. But think about how one dances to them, when alone and out of the view of others. The songs are so relentlessly bouncy, musically if not lyrically, that one moves to them like a toddler doing her first dancing: a sort of rhythmic bouncing at the knees, feet planted, with loose arms and, probably, a doofy grin. How dark is that? Not very. It's baby-dance music.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Random but intense olfactory hallucination, or symptom of brain tumor: which was it that caused the entire North Berkeley BART station to smell, to me, overwhelmingly of overcooked lamb? To such an extent that I had to shelter my nose inside the neck of my sweater? And with no one else taking any sort of visible notice of the stench? It had to be one of those two options. No other possibilities, really.

Or . . . I suppose it could have been some sort of mass prank at my expense, eh? I should consider that possibility as well.

Friday, March 19, 2004

The latest from Japanese roboticists: robots that belly-dance, and a chair/robot hybrid that serves both as seating and as transportation. Were these pressing needs? Were these wise uses of research funding? I don't believe so. I believe those resources would have been better spent on further advancements in devastatingly cute stationery, don't you?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

St. Patrick's Day in the Financial District: men in hunter-green sports coats, women in blinding electric-lime business suits, members of both sexes in violently unflattering leaf-hued slacks. I have great trouble believing that these garments were purchased with St. Patty in mind. I believe that they were purchased, in a moment of some obscure weakness, as legitimate daily-wear options, and that they're brought out on March 17 only with some sadness. "Pity that I can only sport this spring-green polo shirt with these avocado cords one day a year."

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The past few years have seen a nationwide surge in awareness concerning the importance of nail salon hygiene. Improperly sterilized tools can and do spread bacterial infections that can be painful, unsightly, even permanently disfiguring or fatal. Given all this, I'd like to suggest to Berkeley's "Nails in Bloom" salon that their name has gone from faintly puzzling to downright ominous and should be changed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Another yoga note: the instructional DVDs I've amassed have underscored my dislike of limber men. Men aren't meant to be limber. They're meant to marvel at the relative limberness of women. They're meant to leer at gymnasts in that repellent, rancid-oily way, visibly lingering over the sexual applications of their flexibility. They're not, in short, meant to bend from the waist and put their head between their calves.

Monday, March 15, 2004

A fact about me: I reflexively scoff at yoga, "alternative" medicine, and most of the other New Age-oriented affectations endemic to the Bay Area. Another fact about me: I practice yoga and am actively attempting to cool my overheated chi with Chinese herbs.

(About that yoga, though: I don't think I will ever understand what is meant by the command "open your collarbones".)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Just as I'll forever be cracked up by sophomorically jocular photos of people straddling cannons at historical sites (bonus points if it's a Civil War site), so too will I be cracked up by substituting "human" for "Hunan" in the name of any Chinese restaurant containing the word. Lee's Little Human? Human Villa? Human Garden? Hilarious every time. Yet since I've noticed most others don't share in the hilarity, I point out such restaurants with preemptive defensiveness. "Look, honey, Human Paradise, next to that pawn shop," I'll sneer, already annoyed.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The intersections of race and sports: little interests me more. So - it's with relief that I report that the collective sports media have, over the last 2 or 3 years, mostly stopped "cleaning up" the speech of black sportsmen in print. Previously, black athletes whom we all knew spoke like black athletes (which is not, of course, all of them) had their interviews and post-game comments converted into standard English for publication. This always struck me as rotten. Was it being done, rather perversely, somehow for the athletes' perceived benefit? As though it was somehow racist to record their speech as it was spoken? Lord, how creepily paternalistic and misguided is that? May the practice rest in peace, and stay dead.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

When will I learn (I ask rhetorically, since the answer's obviously "never") that whatever I draw on my hands in the evening will not've faded invisibly when it's time to go to work the next morning? That no, ordinary hand-washing and showering will not erase the blue whales I've doodled on my knuckles? That yes, I will be gnawing on my flesh on the train, frantically trying to lighten them?

Monday, March 08, 2004

Just so you all know how good you have it, here's a partial list of topics I valiantly rein in the constant urge to post about:

* The O.C.
* unfortunate celebrity crushes, e.g. Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D.
* professional bullriding
* my preoccupation with lip balm
* marijuana
* my cats

Only my terribly fragile self-control stands between you and posts about the above areas. Let's all hope I can hold on. For god's sake, let's hope.

Friday, March 05, 2004

The convenience store on the ground floor of the Bank of Ameican building sells an impressive range of magazines for a store its size. Among its offerings are a handful of lite-porn magazines. Listen, I promise you, no one comes in off the street to shop there, only people who work in the building. Some of whom evidently purchase pornography basically at work. I find this mildly amazing.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

A couple of months ago, the long-vacant art studio + apartment space next door to my building was rented by an amiable group of anarcho-hippies. There are several things to like about them. They're sweethearts, for one, and more politically informed than most of their ilk. My favorite among their ranks is the glass guy. His glass-blowing station is visible from our kitchen window: I enjoy watching him, in his amusingly improvised goggles, grinning over his red-hot work. His wares crowd the display windows at the front of their space. The touching part: it could not be more obvious that, prior to moving into the decorative arts field, he produced only bongs. And the only alteration he's made to his designs, far as I can tell, is the omission of the bowl-slot. His vases are bowlless bongs. It's like he can't quite move past it. It's sweet.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The decades-long grace period is over: henceforth, anyone using "decadent" to describe a dessert or confection will not be afforded any indulgence. We can't use the same word to mean "in an advanced state of grotesque moral decline" and "super-yummy". F*cking stop it. F*cking stop it.

(Unless you're also prepared to say, in all seriousness, "This mousse is soooo good, it's totally depraved!" or "Ooooh, you should get the profiteroles, they're absolutely corrupt.")

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Have you ever viewed the vibrantly sensationalist syndicated television program called "Unexplained Mysteries" (note: not "Unsolved Mysteries")? I have a certain weakness with it. Perhaps it's because I've never watched many - any? - horror or thriller movies, but whatever the cause, this program gives me the howling fantods like nothing else has. Certain episodes of it render me such a rubbled ruin that I have actually clung to people in terror. The episode that aired 2/21 dealt with poltergeists. I made it through less than 15 minutes, despite having zero preexisting fear of or belief in ghoulery. It wrecked my nerves so thoroughly that a short while later, as I washed my face, I was forced to open my eyes every couple of seconds to peer blindly (my contact lenses being out) into the hallway, to check for apparitions. Aside from the obvious humiliation this incurred, there was the added issue of the tomato-based soap I was using. It's not something you want in your eyes. Particularly when you need your eyes to look for ill-intentioned spooks in your hallway. Imagine my poor self-image as I forcibly held my eyelids open as they struggled to close (due to the shattering stinging)!

Monday, March 01, 2004

"No, seriously, tell me why I shouldn't become a naturalist. What possible - "

"BeCAUSE, Jennifer, I don't think a naturalist's main career motivation should be hand-feeding snacks to wild animals!"