3.30.2009

puzzles

Reading before bed is something I'd like to do but in reality don't really, mostly because it turns on the (over)thinking part of me that makes getting to sleep impossible. But for the past few nights I've been absorbed by Lorrie Moore's "Anagrams", a book admirable for both the inventiveness of its prose (" 'Are we healthy yet?' yelled Pat over the music, her face like sepia sunsets, her face the split apple face of an owl") and the poignancy of its observations:

"It was important to dizzy yourself with stars, he thought. Too often you forgot they were even there. He could stare at once star, one brilliant and fidgety star, so long that his whole insides seemed suddenly to rush out into the sky to meet it. As an adult he rarely had those moments of connection, though what ones he'd had recently seemed mostly to be with the children he taught. More and more he was becoming convinced that it was only through children that one could connect with anything anymore , that in this life it was only through children that one came home, became a home, that one was no longer a visitor. Gerard thought about the little deaf boy in his class, a boy named Barney, how just today Barney had said loudly in his garbled and unconsonated speech, 'Please, Mr. Maines, when you stand behind, can you stomp your feet louder?' The only way Barney could hear the music and the beat was through the vibrations in the floor."

After reading, when I am lying in bed, unable to sleep, this is what I think about: whether certain actions (reading, writing, imagining) unite more than they separate; what a split apple face looks like; how it is possible for something (art) to be at once so connective and so isolating. 

3.25.2009

lean back

It wasn't until I turned fifteen that deciding what to do on weekend nights became a source of concern. I was both a late bloomer and a creature of comfort, a combination that usually led me to obliviously dweeby nights at home (scrabble, cookie-baking with Mom, old movies from the Blockbuster at Geary and 16th). During my sophomore year of high school, the gap between my experience (one beer, which I hated) and everyone else's had become unavoidable. 

It might have made more sense to take baby steps toward weekend socializing (a friend's house party, a Smirnoff ice in the park), but instead I went to Blue Cube. The club was grimy on the inside and situated in the worst part of town, but it was owned by the father of a few boys from Saint Ignatious, who rented it out every month for overpriced Teen Nights. After ponying up our ten dollars and submitting to a full-body pat-down, my friends and I entered the bottom level through a blue velvet curtain. This area was best compared to a 50 cent video, circa 2003 (i.e., In Da Club, around the 3:10 mark.) The upper level showed more of the same, but it was sweatier and had an attached smoking area (fire escape). Downstairs was the Ladies' Room, in which ten to fifteen ladies could be found fanning themselves in various stages of undress. The Men's Room was a tiny stall next to the fire escape, which I knew only because I once accidentally walked into it while searching for Nora. 

Blue Cube was not without its perks. A fry station by the door served quesadillas and $4 water bottles to tired dancers (me). The clubowner's middle son, who called himself Big Daddy Rocco Bovo, wove through the crowd making sure entrants were hydrated and aware of future Teen Nights. Occasionally an under-the-radar rapper would come to perform, and compliments, however insincere, were not in short supply.

By the time junior year rolled around, Blue Cube had been replaced by Dolores Park, and the $10 admission charge we'd all been paying was refunnelled into the few corner stores that would sell forties to high school kids. Blue Cube faded in memory to become a peculiar, unaccountable part of my coming-of-age, along with water bras and brown lip gloss and my sixth-grade desire to become a cheerleader. Judging by its Yelp page, Blue Cube is still up and running, but I have returned to nerdy pursuits. Nora is bringing me around to good beer, but it still can't top scrabble. 

Blackmail material: en route to Blue Cube, 2003.

3.21.2009

construction

I'm workin' on a new movie. This one will be the final film for my documentary class. It took ages for me to pick a topic, mostly because I am overly ambitious. I was eager to work with 1) Delancey Street, 2. the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, or 3. the Brown twins. As it turned out, they did not feel the same way. Instead, I am doing a project that focuses on failed connections and unusual methods of communication. Tomorrow I begin to shoot (!). I only hope that I sound more professional during interviews than I will probably feel.  

Saw six landscapers hanging in harnesses from the UCSF medical center on Sutter and Divisadero today. Those who, like me, would choose to fly if granted a superpower might find this to be the perfect vocation.


Next Wednesday I start training to become a yoga teacher. This economy is not conducive to very many things, but it is the perfect time to take advantage of one's contortionist skills and generous spring break. If necessity is the mother of invention, it will be interesting to see what kinds of ideas and coping mechanisms the recession (depression?) yields. I am imagining crooked brainchildren and harebrained schemes, things before seen only in elaborate con movies and the novels of Mary Shelley.


Finally, in unimportant news, I cut my hair. 


3.16.2009

trekking

One neat thing about eyesight is that it is trainable. While in Europe, I developed an obsession with clotheslines. I'd never noticed any here in San Francisco, but on the way to my internship on Friday, I started to look for them. Then: they were everywhere! 




San Francisco is not spread-out--it is tiny and walkable and one neighborhood often changes into another within a few blocks, even a half block. An upside to this is that seemingly disparate elements can be found side-by-side.  By Washington and Montgomery: 




Spring break starts on Friday, which means that all sorts of school and work commitments have been crunched into the next four days. A bright spot will be Wednesday night, when Tobias Wolff is reading at California and Presidio. Must try not to stare moony-eyed from my folding chair. 

3.07.2009

on goodness

March has come on the way most head colds do: expected, but still faintly surprising (and requiring more indoor time than initially predicted). Connotatively, in my mind march = spring, but this month has only brought stormy weather. Although it is a pain to carry a soggy umbrella on the 24 Divisadero, the weather still makes me feel delighted. The city looks just-bathed, and there are now many puddles of ideal splashing proportions (several inches deep, 4-by-6 foot diameter). My bed is pushed up against a window, and outside the window there is a pipe that makes the rain sound strangely metallic. As far as sleep-inducing white noise goes, it is pretty tough to beat. 


After a few months of unemployment, I finally got a job as an Audio-Visual Technician (cue laughter?) This requires me to go around to different classrooms and stand in the back of the room while videotaping things like speech classes and presentations. I am completely ignored. Sometimes the teacher says hello, but sometimes not. I've never felt like more of a fly on the wall. This is the ideal job for me! 

On my bus ride home from work the other day, I was surrounded by highschoolers--one girl and three boys. (Girl: "Everyone thinks I'm a good girl because I'm nice to people's parents. But like, I do E!") This got me thinking. Everyone thinks I'm a good girl, too, but probably because: 

a) I have light hair
b) I often wear cardigans that have buttons, or
c) I did ballet.

This is okay; there are worse things to be. Yesterday, on the J Church, a large man wearing orange-tinted sunglasses and a tiny workout top came on with a boom box. (If you live in the city, you've probably seen him--he rides the 33, the 24, the 71 and the J while singing popular hip-hop songs with the tone and inflection of a foghorn.) First he sang Flo Rida to a girl in a long leather coat, but when she moved he sat next to me and started in on "Too Late to Apologise." After finishing, he asked if he could give me a name. I said that would be okay. He said, "BABY SUE!" The funny part is that his choice is kind of fitting.