Monday, November 27, 2006


My mom sent me cookies for my birthday :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

androgynous theosophy

I love how, even when I've read something many times, I'll still find passages that I like that i never noticed before. This one is probably only really appealing because I like the phrase I used for my title (and the one that follows that), but here it is anyway:
"This was the forty-fifth trip down the Grand for Smith, and so far as he could measure, its pleasure was not staled by repetition. But then no two river trips were ever quite alike. The river, the canyon, the desert world was always changing, from moment to moment, from miracle to miracle, within the firm reality of mother earth. River, rock, sun, blood, hunger, wings, joy--this is the real, Smith would have said, if he'd wanted to. If he felt like it. All the rest is androgynous theosophy. All the rest is transcendental transvestite transactional scientology or whatever the fad of the day, the vogue of the week. As Doc would have said, if Smith had asked him. Ask the hawk. Ask the hungry lion lunging at the starving doe. They know."
-Edward Abbey, "The Monkey Wrench Gang"


It's currently 3 am, and I've been reading "Affinity", the only Sarah Waters novel that I hadn't read yet, all day long. It's really good, and I only have 45 pages left (out of 350), but I've decided I just can't cut it tonight. If nothing else, i hear there's a plot twist upcoming, and I don't want to read it and get all hyped up and never sleep again. I do like staying up reading, though; I have very vivid memories of my mom reading me books aloud until the wee hours of the morning when I was in elementary school, and it was a huge bonding thing for us. She once read me the vomit scene from Stephen King's "The Body" (the book version of "Stand By Me") at probably two in the morning, and I don't know if I've ever laughed that hard.
But anyway, other than the fact that i want/don't want to finish right now, I really like this book. I've read her other three books ("Tipping the Velvet", "Fingersmith", and "The Night Watch") and enjoyed them all, but this is probably my favorite so far. It's set on a fairly small scale, primarily just these two women interacting in a prison with a bit of backstory, which I'm discovering I really like. Epics have their place in my heart, but many times a more constricted setting or plot or whatever will really let me enjoy something so much more.
Okay, bed. I'll finish in the morning (er, maybe early afternoon).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy tofu day!

Whew, it's only 11:30 and I'm already all stressed. I decided to make vegetarian moussaka for Thanksgiving, which is basically a greek casserole layering baked breaded eggplant with a tempeh-white bean-tomato-mushroom filling and a bechamel sauce on top. It was fantastic the last time I made it, but it also took many hours to prepare. Every step takes so long, and you're trying to coordinate making all the different parts at once, plus today I'm trying to tidy up and shower and blah blah blah... Stress. But some friends are coming over tonight, and I finished the vegan pumpkin pie cheesecake yesterday, and by god I'm cooking at all, so there are many things to be thankful for :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

re: read

I'm currently rereading Haruki Murakami's excellent book, "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle". It's incredibly detailed, so much so that when I read it last year I felt very much that I was actually inhabiting this world that he had created. With most books I'm drawn in, but with this one I was living it completely.
It's a little different this time. I'm not quite so overwhelmed, which is fine. That kind of entrenchment can be a bit much. It's interesting how little I remember of this book also; I remember things as they happen, but up until they actually occur I can't imagine what will happen next. I wonder if my memory is just getting worse? I still remember things I read a long time ago in great detail, but I forget a lot of things I've read more recently. And this isn't like Inga Muscio's latest book, which I talked about blocking out because it was a traumatic reading experience; I genuinely liked this book a great deal. I don't know. I get the feeling I'm in for a lifetime of rereads of things I want to remember well.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

christmas cheer before thanksgiving

So yesterday I was in kind of an icky mood, and I had to go downtown to work. I walked to the train, cursing as I barely missed one, and climbed up on the platform. I saw another train coming close behind the first and was pretty happy and then it pulled up and it was the Holiday Train!
Every year the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) decks up a train with fake North Pole-related ads, candy cane poles, and Christmas-y seat covers. There's also an open car with a bunch of trees and people dressed as Santa and co. They run it on different lines for the month or so before Christmas, and I just happened to catch the first run. They played carols over the intercom, and a small girl in elf shoes gave me a candy cane.
There was actually this big fuss about the Holiday Train the first year I was here, because the CTA was having finance problems and was going to have to fire a bunch of people and cut service and raise prices. People raised a huge fuss, and they eventually reinstated it. I felt like it was something I shouldn't like that much, but the truth was it put me in a much better mood than I had been in before.
The best part, though? Watching the faces of people as we pulled into each station. Think bemusement plus horror plus confusion in the majority of cases. Good times.

Friday, November 17, 2006

fizz no more

In response to the previous entry, my friend Aaron (a big wine buff) sent me the following email.

your wine could be "fizzy" for a couple of reasons.

(1) secondary fermentation. this happens when there are left-over
sugar and yeast in the wine when it goes into bottling. it's common
practice for champagne and sparkling wine (hence the pop when you open
the bottle, and all the bubbles when the wine is poured). it's a flaw
if it's in dry, table wines. unless the bottle is super cheap, even
then it's a semi-rare occurance. i highly doubt this is the problem.

(2) this is probably the explanation. it's common practice in wine
making today for winery makers to add a little CO2 to the wine to help
keep it fresh while it's bottled. (it also adds a little kick to the
wine which some drinkers like.) anyway, sometimes the wine makes go a
little overboard with the CO2, add too much, and create "fizzy" wines.
unlike secondary fermentation, which actually changes the taste of the
wine, "fizzy" wines are not flawed. to correct them, simply pour
yourself a glass of wine (this glass will stay "fizzy"; there is not
way around this). seal the bottle with your cork, give a nice good
shake, take out the cork, and let your wine "de-fizz." it should be
fine after that.

So now you all know.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

unwanted bubbly

Also, I bought some wine tonight and it tastes fizzy. WTF?


I just got a new, expensive-style haircut. Usually I just figure that because my hair is short anyway I don't want to pay a lot to get something that would look similar to my cheap Supercuts 'do. But I wanted to look different this time (I need some change, and hair is a good place to start), and I think I do. It's hard to tell from pictures. Plus I suck at trying to take pictures of myself. Anyway...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

modern moonlight

You can always tell when I have a lot of time on my hands because I post lots of little things. But anyway, I just got the new Dresden Dolls cd, and there's this song that seemed appropriate regarding what I was saying about text messages and how they distance us from having to actually talk to people. So here it is.

presenting modern moonlight just as advertised
coke and pepsi finally found a compromise
how can they complain that we're all fucked up kids
when they keep on changing who our mother is?

like it all you want it's fruitless
night is in the way of progress

retinas are bleeding for the enterprise
surgically wired into paradise
yesterday I dropped in at the MKB
everyone was messaging like it was going out of style
(it was just the cynic in me)
god, I love communicating!
I just hate the shit we're missing...

everybody join in the magnificence
yes! everything is absolutely making sense…
every time you turn around your soul gets sold
to the highest bidder
then they turn around and merger and they merger
and the merger and they murder and they murder
the one who murders most will take it all...

fight it all you want it's useless
night is in the way of progress

we're gonna take your cities one by one
catch your cables cut your cords and spoil all your fun
we're gonna make your lite a living hell
cause stripped of your equipment you'll be forced to face yourself…

wire cutters of the world
you know what to use it for
spread the word to all the tightrope walker boys and girls
brace yourself for miracles
you're in for a nasty shock
when the war is over
you can read the paper

a change of pace

Today, I am actually really happy. And yesterday I was quite cheerful also, at least most of the time. And... I'm practicing! For the first time in months, really. Maybe my music degrees aren't going to just languish in my dresser forever. I also think I'm going to cook tonight, another skill that has just been sitting in my head waiting to be used again.
In other news... I also got a search from statcounter for "lesbian cooking", which made me happy. At least happier than the neurotic one. Also a search for Pam Houston's "The Best Girlfriend You Never Had" from Amsterdam. Interesting.

Monday, November 13, 2006

i knew it

I too am now using, which is excellent. I found out that somebody in Boston looked at my blog because they were led there by a search for the word "neurotic".

Sunday, November 12, 2006


A few months ago, I was walking with Anna and we found a box of free books that somebody had left out on a sidewalk with a written plea to take what was wanted. Most of it wasn't spectacular, but I did find a copy of Li-Young Lee's "Rose". I was struck because the first time Anna and I met (or didn't meet, but saw each other) was at a poetry reading by Lee at the university.
Yesterday, I read the book for the first time. The sweet melancholy was overwhelming. It's a beautiful book.

"I want the rain
to follow me, to mark me
with a strip down my chest and belly,
to darken my skin, and blacken my hair.
I want to be broken,
to be eaten by the anonymous mouths,
to be eroded like minutes and seconds,
to be reduced to water
and a little light.
I want to rise,
the doors of the rain to open,
I will enter, rain alive
among my fingers, embroidered on my tongue, and brilliant in my eyes,
I want to carry it in my shirt pocket,
devote my life to the discovery of its secret,
the one blessing it whispers."
-Li-Young Lee, from "Rain Diary"

this is how i'll get repetitive stress injury

If anybody's interested, the second entry down from this one ("i do other things, too") has been getting a lot of comments. I always laugh when I get such heavy and unexpected response to something like a rant. It's funny because now I realize more fully that not only do I always get the same questions, but it seems like many professions elicit repetitive responses also. Are we all walking around with a set of questions for whatever profession we might happen to meet?
Today I'm more interested in something that's been taking up an inordinate amount of my time lately: text messages. Do people use those so heavily in other places? I don't know if it's Chicago in general or just my friends, but we are text messaging machines. I think it enables our ability to avoid interacting with people in a spontaneous way; most people I know will admit to some level of phobia about talking to real live people on the phone. But anyway, what I'm really interested in is the feature that most phones have where it kind of guesses what you're typing and chooses the correct letter from each number punch. Like I press "43556" and get "hello". (Without this feature on, I get "Gdkm".) I'm super fascinated by the level of accuracy, and also by the words that are and aren't included in my cell phone's brain. (My only large complaint is the lack of swear words and the fact that instead of "me" I always get "of". Maybe "of" is more common in normal writing, but "me" is definitely a big one in texting. Also the lack of contractions is annoying.) Nobody else seems to be, but whatever... I'm a little obsessive right now.
So I've been trying to type in various words and see if they show up. Shit, fuck, damn and dang aren't included, but hell is. Lesbian, gay, the ever-popular homosexual and even queer (which surprised me a little bit) are, but dyke and fag aren't, more's the pity. Bible is, but so is atheist. (Actually, initially I misspelled atheist and got buggest in the phone and felt really vindicated. Like, it's all a right-wing corporate scandal to subvert our texting because we're too lazy to manually type in atheist or dyke!) I'm kind of running out of things to try and I'm not sure it means anything anyway, but it was interesting for a few minutes.
So yeah, that was boring, but whatever... I've got a lot of time on my hands to think this shit up.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

your love is like a rollercoaster, baby

Ugh, what an up-and-down week. A few things I wish:
-I wish that my bike tires were not flat so that I could go on a ride, because the weather is fucking gorgeous right now and who know how many more times I'll be able to say that this year?
-I wish that my friends still used AIM. It's kind of silly, but I log on a couple of times a day and nobody's ever on except my buddy Aaron (who's in Japan, so my night is his morning and he eats lunch when I'm trying to fall asleep).
-I wish I had some cheese. I also wish I felt like cooking, so I didn't have to live on take-out and frozen food. I'm a lame-o.
-I wish I could just lay in bed and listen to angsty music all day (like Dresden Dolls and maybe some angry Ani), but I'm far too restless.
But aside from pointless wishes, I wanted to say to everybody I've talked to in the last two weeks or whatever: Thank you. You are all wonderful fabulous people and I'm so lucky to have you all as friends. I don't know what I'd do without you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

i do other things, too

I know I've probably complained about this to everybody who might possibly be reading this, but god, I'm so sick of having the same conversations over and over. As soon as somebody finds out I'm a musician, it's either a rambling soliloquy about how they played the tuba in elementary school or the same damn string of questions that I always get.
"Is that a violin/instrument/keyboard?"
"How long have you played?"
"Are you, like, a professional?"
"Do you play in the CSO?"
I had both of my least favorite conversations with some talkitive guy on the bus today, and also at a bar last night. I'm just so sick of talking about it. I remember in high school refusing to write personal essays or give class presentations about music because even then I was tired of that being all people saw me as. Because this is what I do, it is utterly mundane to me, but unfortunately it's fascinating to everybody else. And I should be glad that people are so interested, but dang, sometimes I'd rather talk about literature or food or something.
Okay, rant over.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

chrome jellybeans

Here's a picture of the giant and much debated "Cloud Gate" sculpture in Millenium Park that my parents took last week. Neat, huh? A lot of people are pissed off because it cost a zillion dollars that probably could have gone to something more socially conscious, but it's still really cool to look at.
(Also, that building in the back that has the diamond-shaped face? Apparently it was designed to represent a vagina by a female architect who was sick of all thos damn phallic buildings in the world.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

kiss my lezzie ass

So I've been a bit down lately, and most of the books on my shelf are, as always, either a bummer or just way to freaking dense or I've read them approximately 5000 times. So I went to my neighborhood feminist bookstore today in the hopes of picking up something funny and not too intense to kill time tonight.
What I ended up with is a book called "Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World as a Smartmouth Goddess" by Susan Jane Gilman. As a rule, I'm not big on books like this: young feminists hoping to advise and inspire other young feminists on how to make their lives better, usually packaged with a cutesy title and some sort of femmey signifier (in this case, a big pair of pink lips) on the cover. But... I have a hard time just picking things up in bookstores. It seems like I've either never heard of it or it's too expensive (the book I wanted to buy, Nina Hartley's "How To Have Sex Like A Porn Star", was $26) or whatever. And I have Susan Jane Gilman's other book, a collection of personal essays titled "Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress", and I love it. It's one of my few "funny books" and as such I've read it until i want to puke.
But this driving me crazy. There are funny moments (one of the chapters is called "Niceness: Barf"), but I'm getting really annoyed by her repeated use of certain phrases and quotes from her elderly and feisty grandmother. (Her grandmother sounds like a hoot, but any sort of repetitive device like that gets on my nerves after a few chapters.) What's really driving me up the wall is this particular phrase: "we all, straight or gay, man or woman, want (insert topic here)." Aside from the fact that it feels like she's saying this every other page, this book is patently not for at least queers. I can't speak for men, but I am queer and this book is resonating zilch with me in terms of practical advice or telling me anything I didn't already know. If she's truly trying to write a book that is trying to reach any of the demographics other than "straight female", why are all the pronouns indicative of straight female perspecitive about partners? I don't know why exactly this is pissing me off so much tonight, but I guess I really just hate false inclusion. It's fine (or at least not a huge sin) to write a book for straight girls, but stop pretending it's something different.
Anyway, I'm on the verge of the token "lesbian relationship" chapter, which I suspect will not improve my mood. Ah well. Perhaps I'll try and trade it in for something else tomorrow.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

But I've never even been there...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Midland
The South
The Northeast
The Inland North
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
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