Thursday, April 29, 2004

I lament: the near-ubiquity, now, of orchestral instruments in several sub-genres of "indie rock". The cellos, in particular, are out of hand. I lament the near-complete suck of the new Modest Mouse record. I lament greatly that coke is back in a big way. Coke, guys? Really, coke? The drug that made the 80s such a quivering minefield of bad taste, totally unironic preening and overall thrumming ridiculousness? This is what everyone wants to party with again?

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

One of the more enduring mysteries I've been unable to solve about myself: why should I be faintly (OK, thoroughly) put off by Russian-accented English, yet so glassy-eyedly taken by the sound of the Russian language itself that I literally freeze when I hear it spoken (not at all a rare occurrence in SF, and one that's almost gotten me hit by a bus at least twice)?

(I wonder - could it be the result of forcing myself to read so much Russian literature in translation, and being violently, sullenly bored by nearly all of it, the whole dour wooden lot of it?)

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

While I welcomed the advent of mononominal players in the NBA, did the first player to officially drop his last name and go only by his first have to be Nene? I.e., did the last name we lost really have to be "Hilario"?

(For the record, I'd've nominated Othella Harrington. I believe that, were he to be simply "Othella", his game would begin to show some much-needed paranoid ferocity.)

Monday, April 26, 2004

Muscle strains incurred over the weekend:

1. Removing plastic safety wrap from bottle of facial moisturizer (wrist)

2. Reading aloud German text from moisturizer bottle (neck)

3. Explaining Jimmy Carter's role in permitting the Khmer Rouge's Cambodian genocide to continue (abdominal)

4. Whipping head around to glare at person questioning the veracity of my Carter claims (jaw)

Friday, April 23, 2004

A Berkeley motorist doing the courteous thing, stopping to allow pedestrians to cross or allowing another motorist to pull in front of him or her, runs a high risk of being thanked not with a wave but with a two-finger "peace" salute. I find that this disencourages me from proper roadway etiquette. The correct response, when one receives a commonplace courtesy from a driver, is to thank him or her, not editorialize.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Browsing a travel guide to nearby Sonoma and Napa counties, I learned that a shop in St. Helena sells "$1600 owlskin lampshades from Japan". I'm not one for superstition, but it seems to me that anyone who'd purchase such an item is fairly begging for the natural world to stick it to them, hard and long.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I'm pleased to announce the first installment in an occasional series, the Lee Madueno Award For Creatively Absurd Utterances, named for the speaker of the first winning statement. Lee stated, with solemn seriousness, that he strongly dislikes snow-white dogs "because they look dirty". Watch this space for future Madueno Award-winning claims. (Most will probably be awarded to me.)
I'm pleased to announce the first installment in an occasional series, the Lee Madueno Award For Creatively Absurd Utterances, named for the speaker of the first winning statement. Lee stated, with solemn seriousness, that he strongly dislikes snow-white dogs "because they look dirty". Watch this space for future Madueno Award-winning claims. (Most will probably be awarded to me.)
I'm pleased to announce the first installment in an occasional series, the Lee Madueno Award For Creatively Absurd Utterances, named for the speaker of the first winning statement. Lee stated, with solemn seriousness, that he strongly dislikes snow-white dogs "because they look dirty". Watch this space for future Madueno Awards. (Most will probably be awarded to me.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

My surname contains a Q. As a result, I know intimately just how resistant the English-speaking population is to that letter. People don't like a Q. What they seem to like are Gs. Goodness, how forcefully folks try to turn that Q in my last name into a G! Whenever it's said aloud by someone I don't know, the -quette is, 9 times out of 10, tranformed into a hideous
-guette. I've taken to* making the tail on the Q heavily exaggerated. It now reaches the very of my name, underscoring the entire word with unignorable, strident q-ness. But no matter how long that tail becomes, it will still be read as a G most of the time. It's astounding, literally; I am astounded.

*when printing, not signing: my signature is a highly abstracted hieroglyph of the arrogant sort most often seen from people far wealthier than I am

Monday, April 19, 2004

I'm feeling a bit of blog-related fatigue lately, I confess. I'm thinking about taking this here online scribble-pad down. While others seem to find daily or nearly-daily posting a manageable task, for me it creates more anxiety than anything else. And I wasn't short on anxieties to begin with. So: anyone who has a strong feeling one way or the other about the continuation or cessation of Owls!, please send me an e-mail. (But do not "shoot" me an e-mail - that use of "shoot" is henceforth banned.)

Thursday, April 15, 2004

The tiny Ziploc bags, the discarded smoking and injection aids, the condoms, the shattered fortified wine bottles: these are items one expects to litter the concrete in neighborhoods like mine. They arouse no particular surprise or interest when they turn up. But - the finger cots? Why, Christ, why? To what infernal use are they being put?

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

For the last week or so, I've been hijacked by my own daydreams regarding the 2005 launch of the new Ford GT. I wake up thinking about it, go to sleep thinking about it, even wake up in the middle of the night to think about it some more. I'd say a solid hour out of each 24 is spent dwelling on that machine, that . . . beast. But I don't think about it in a general or free-ranging sense: I don't imagine myself driving one, I don't dwell on its specs, not much of that. No, it's the paint job. Specifically, I think about what three colors I'd most like - one base color, two stripes of varying width, depending on shade imagined. (A tri-color scheme is essential for this vehicle, and if you disagree, well, a great gulf lies between us.) I can't stop. I'm consumed by imagining one set of colors, switching apple-green for mango, chocolate for gunmetal, powder blue for mustard. Which colors get a black stripe, and which optic white? Which get one of each? How can I break this spell? I'm not playing here, it's become a distraction. I need rescue. And I've barely begun to consider the interior colors. I may have to go on disability when that starts.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Did everyone but me know that the guys who show up to parking meters, ticket machines etc. to collect the amassed cash are armed? Probably. It's the sort of thing I routinely learn for the first time, only to find it's common knowledge among everyone I know. At any rate: I'm not sure how I feel about that. An armed society is a polite society and all that, I know, but really, those guys are who the cops giggle at, like they giggle at private security guards. Given how poorly cops often behave themselves, should the guys they consider half-witted flunkies be packing .45s?

Monday, April 12, 2004

The high point of this weekend's animal adventures, which included walking alongside a very tall crane in the hills bordering the Berkeley Marina and patting teeny new (black!) lambs and goats (young enough to still be lamb-soft) at the Tilden Farm, was the discovery of a half-decomposed skate or ray of some sort baking in the sun on the breakwater rocks along the Berkeley waterfront. "I'm a naturalist!" I repeatedly shrieked as I worked to narrow down what the rotter might be (it was tough to determine, before the poking/flipping sticks were brought out). Sadly, my pride in my tough gut and experimental zeal was short-lived, as the corpse of a sea lion not 40 feet further down the waterfront took it right out of me. A dry fishy body is one thing, bobbing gray viscera trailing from a deceased mammal another.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Next Owls! posting will be Monday 4/12.
Several years ago, an acquaintance and I briefly (but testily) argued over the correct pronunciation of "lychee". She claimed it's pronounced "LIE-chee", while I claimed it was "LEE-chee". As no dictionary was handy, the dispute fizzled quickly, since neither of us had any way to prove our side. I never doubted that I was correct, and every single dictionary I've looked at since has supported me, not even giving "LIE-chee" as an alternate. But her defensive, almost temper-losing attitude during the spat had made it clear I couldn't, the next time I saw her, say anything like "So, um, the reference materials are with me on the 'lychee' thing." This would not be within the bounds of civility. The result? I still think about it, oh, every week or so. "Like HELL it's pronounced 'LIE-chee'! She was so wrong!" This happened about 5 years ago. Why must I hold onto things like this for so long? Why must it stick with me so tenaciously when I'm right but no one but me ever knows?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I have had a minor epiphany: men believe that large breasts are a behavior. They must. What else explains the looks I get: not just leering, not just aggressive lechery, but a look that clearly states "I see what you're doing, and I sure like it." I can't quantify it, of course, but it's there. An attitude of "Well, why would you do that if you didn't want me looking?", with the "that" being having the breasts. Fascinating.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Certain pieces of cookware, like woks and high-end irons like Le Creuset, aren't to be scrubbed - the accumulated crispy-ish residue of previously cooked food is termed "seasoning" and should remain there, as it somehow improves the quality of future cooking. Seems counterintuitive to me, but OK. I accept that there's such a thing as this "seasoning". What I can't seem to get straight is what's seasoning and what's gunk that should be removed when the item is washed. I've had people lunge toward me, so agitated as to seem in war-movie slo-mo, howling "Nooooooo" as I grind away at what I guess must be seasoning, allegedly "ruining" the expensive piece. I've also had people show me a skillet or grill I've washed, point to what I thought was not-to-be-scrubbed seasoning and demand to know how I believed that the item had been properly cleaned. How does one tell? Which brown residue is filth, and which is essential to gourmet cookery?

Monday, April 05, 2004

Additional yoga commands I will never grasp: Let your ribcage support your heart. Breathe into your hips. Release your groin.

Friday, April 02, 2004

I had a scary moment last night - an unexpected, vertiginously uncharacteristic return to my literary-theory days (read: my first couple years as an undergrad, when I'd parrot any old crap my professors said). In discussing a music video, I stated, to the two others present, "The assumptions you're making are in no way grounded by the text." The text. It's only in a lit-theory context, of course, that a music video can be referred to as a "text", just as, in lit theory, a platform shoe, dog food bag, heart-shaped eraser or indeed any other object in the universe can be called a text. I can only hope this was an isolated incident, and not a harbinger of a return to other relics from past assiness. Will I soon be attempting to listen to Blonde Redhead again? Is my future that bleak?

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Last night a chum and I came up with a devastating, richly imagined list of the most frightening things possible to see in your dentist's office juuuust as you're slipping beneath the anesthesia. But because the generation of this list was fueled in large part by our ingestion of several Soma tablets, it's all vanished from my memory. I grieve, I rue. It was a treasure, that list. All I can recall is something to do with Glenn Danzig.