tracy & me got into a fight today because she wanted to sit with mrs. dooley at lunch and she wouldn’t listen when i said mrs. dooley only comes out of the trunk on mondays. i told her to sit with hannah instead but she just started yelling at me and ran to the trunk to open it. i didn’t want mommy to hear so i put my head in a bag and made the world go away.
when i came back out the trunk was still closed but tracy was gone. I TOLD HER SO not to bother mrs. dooley when it’s not monday, but she didn’t listen. now everything’s scratchy and sticky & i need to clean up or mommy will make me sleep in the basement again. i don’t like it there because it’s cold and the man with no eyes makes ticking noises all night.
hannah isn’t sitting right anymore. i tried to sit her up but i think she’s sick. mr. dipple always knows what to do so i’ll ask him about it tomorrow.
i miss tracy.
rabbit rabbit. i forgot!
Found in my inbox, a happy 1/2 birthday gift from Miranda:
Hokkaido is algae-obsessed. These algae balls grow in abundance at the bottom of a few lakes here, and the native Japanese (Ainu, like our Native Americans) worship them. Everywhere you go in certain parts of Hokkaido you can buy marimo in jars, marimo stuffed animals, marimo keitai jinglers, and on and on. […]
It is said that if you take good care of the plant, it will make your wish come true.
Oh, I really hope my wish comes true! Still, knowing my luck with green things (and the rather complicated instruction sheet that accompanied the gift) I’m more likely to end up with a jar of dead algae* than my heart’s desire. Miranda says I can always put some other pretty thing in the jar if worse comes to worst. Jellybeans, maybe.
Anyways, happy 1/2 birthday to me!
The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin
St. James Cathedral, Seattle
Added more photos to the St. James Cathedral set.
There’s a beauty to spiritual places. I don’t hold to any particular religion anymore, but the cathedral has held a lot of wonder for me recently — a memento of something lost, perhaps, or a desire for centering in an increasingly out-of-control universe?
Not that I’m likely to be taking communion again anytime in the near future, but sometimes it’s awe-inspiring to witness what religion has inspired in countless artists, composers, architects… and at the very base of it, it’s nice to have some place to sit and quietly contemplate the infinite.
Random recent experiments in blogging and social networking:
I am lately in love with these web comics:
What are your favorites?
Also, yay for Family Guy being back on the air!
Installing Adobe Creative Suite 2… so excited!
Still feeling stalled creatively, but as usual I’m taking some small solace in my love for the tools of creativity. Not talking about CS2, which is big and beautiful to be sure, but there’s something disconnecting about it. In times like these what I really like to do is open up a box of pastels or a tin of art pencils and drift for a second or two in the smell of chalk or the smoky aroma of freshly-sharpened wood, or open one of my sketchbooks to a blank page and just lay my face, eyes closed, against the coolness of the paper. A relaxing and lovely experience, and though not actually productive, steeped with endless potential for productivity. Enough to stave off the malaise for a little longer.
It’s warped. I know.
I wonder if this is why Julia Cameron’s morning pages work so well — that the wells of creativity are primed more effectively by these physical acts, the touch and taste and odor of pen against paper or graphite dust wafting into the air. Ink stains on fingers. The click of a manual-action typewriter*.
On the other hand, writing or drawing on a computer is pretty one-dimensional. Everything feels exactly the same, and if there’s some appreciable taste or smell or dust to it, dude, clean your computer already!
Still, everything about the old way is time-consuming — setup, execution, cleanup — and I haven’t had much time at all lately. So I just open up the drawer and sit with my supplies, enjoying without creating.
Dreaming of next time, when the drawer stays open.
Awoke with fresh tears in my eyes. Another visitation from my dream-daughter, the one who has haunted my dreams but speaks only of death? But no, I do not remember her: though there was a church, a waterfall, a long fall…
Sometimes I am there again, walking delicately through a rainbow bed of fallen foliage, as soft sunset light falls through the canopy overhead and brushes my hair. There is no noise, nor rustle of breeze, and improbably, the leaves do not even crumple beneath my bare feet. Here is where she appeared first, apparition-like, with her words of love, of loss — soft-spoken, but heavy as a drum. A gift and message from the future. A future, one not mine, but hers.
She says: I wanted to meet you, just once.
Once. The word is what it is: final, fatal, unambiguous.
But there I go again, and wait. Because I do not choose or know where I travel, in dreams, though tears remind me.
Lord help me, I’m can feel myself getting excited about Star Wars again.
Real 1/2-birthday today, spent lazily at home, one brief moment of weekend rest in a whirlwind month-plus of nonstop travel for weddings, birthdays, and other assorted miscellany. Even had a chance to take an early afternoon nap, that rarest of pleasures — v. heavenly!
Won’t go into too much detail about today (some things stay secret!), but instead, some recent observations:
Divine bread/cheese combinations: Great Harvest’s rosemary & garlic loaf with Beecher’s flagship; also, honey whole wheat (Great Harvest too) and Tintern (wonderful Welsh cheddar with shallots & chives). Poor lactose intolerant me, with my irresistible love of cheese. Love is pain, as they say.
Have also been playing a lot of Dance Dance Revolution (thank you, Cobalt Flux!) lately and I think I’m slowly getting better. I’ve been passing some seven-footers and passed my first heavy-difficulty song just the other day. Best of all, that after-workout glow is back, and I love it!
Thanks to kakumei, I’ve been able to try out some foreign DDR releases, and we’re totally getting the short end of the stick here in the States. The Japanese version of Extreme is just stuffed to the gills with fun, cute J-pop tracks, while Dancing Stage Fusion — a European release — is more Eurodance-heavy (incidentally, v. surprised & excited to find my television displays PAL video just fine!). DDR Festival seems to be more of a re-import of some of the U.S. tracks back into Japan, but has a few fun anime/J-pop songs as well. Still, nothing beats Dreamcast’s 2nd ReMix in my eyes (with all-time faves: “Boys,” “Dub-I-Dub,” “Butterfly,” “Hero” &c.). I miss it so much.
I’m not going to be wowing the aisles at Gameworks anytime soon, but still! Getting better.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou still makes me cry.
Finally, thank you to v. for the pretty pretty!
Think I’ll finish celebrating with a hot bath and the last of the Lush stash. Love you all!
Been so occupied lately that I almost forgot it’s SIFF season again, one of my favorite times of year! Am only just now getting around to browsing through the listings, so already I can guess there’s no hope of getting tickets for Howl’s Moving Castle (sigh!) but already a few others are looking promising:
- Strings: because really, how can you go wrong with fantasy, puppets and Derek Jacobi?
- a Murakami double feature of Tony Takitani and Tuesday’s Women (a short film which is, as told me by Alice, based on the story later expanded into The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
- Asian-American director Alice Wu’s Saving Face looks like fun!
- The Syrian Bride, an Israeli-Palestinian co-production. Could be too much to handle, but I’d like to see it if I can.
That’s only a first glance; there’s a lot left to read through. Unfortunately, since I’ll be spending two of SIFF’s first three weekends out of state (in Chicago and New York/New Haven), I’m sure I won’t be able to attend every film I’d like to.
Still, what are you going to see?
Oh! If you’re stuck on the eastside and craving Thai, I totally recommend Noodle Boat in Issaquah. It’s so good! I especially liked the “volcano honey duck,” which sounds a lot kitschier than it actually was, but really, everything we tried was delicious. Lots of sweet basil, lime leaf, cilantro, and a menu that seemed just a bit off the beaten path (with evocative, engrish-esque names like “Mr. Lime,” “Whatever you called?” and my fave: “Egg! Best friend”) — one of our favorites (“kao tod”) was almost like a Vietnamese “bun,” with deep-fried chunks of curried rice instead of rice stick noodles.
A word of warning, though: keep an eye out for the sign, since it’s almost impossible to see from the road.
Total Volume Of Music On My Computer
I don’t have much music on my computer proper, but on my iPod I have 7149 songs, 19.9 days, 31.84GB. I’m a packrat, and I’ll listen to pretty much anything (depending on my mood), which is a bad combination if you like really small music players — you know, the kinds that come in a variety of fluorescent colors. So right now I get by with my gargantuan white iPod which whirrs and purrs in my hand like a small kitten.
I like cats, but am hopelessly allergic, so this’ll have to do for now.
The Last CD I Bought
Joanna Newsom’s The Milk-Eyed Mender, which is all because of Miranda. She really is an acquired taste — you’ll either find her voice uniquely charming or like a shrieking choir of mutant babies, and that’ll probably color your entire impression of her. I love it, though, all dried flowers and snake tails and cinnamon.
Also in that batch: the Such Great Heights single, by the Postal Service. ‘nuff said.
Song Playing Right Now
“As Girls Go,” Suzanne Vega. I heart Suzanne Vega.
5 songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me
This is hard, because my moods & tastes change so often. I’ll stick with songs that are currently on rotation: right now, I’m feeling kind of turbulent, so the sounds are more introspective and mellow.
- “Hard Drive,” by Evan Dando. janjan introduced me to this soothing gem, and I can’t help but just listen quietly, eyes closed.
- “She Will Have Her Way,” by Neil Finn. Heard this song first on Sports Night, when it played during the second season opener. Can’t be sure how much of my love for this song comes from my love for that series, but it stands quite strongly on its own.
- “Pulling Me Under,” by Meghan Toohey, who fronts Boston’s The So and So’s (who totally rock, seriously). Their website has not only this track for download, but everything they’ve ever released, so do yourself a favor and grab away!
- “Every Song,” by the Francis Kim Band, also out of Boston. Soft and beautiful, and looks like you can stream it from their site, too.
- “The Long, Long Grift,” which was They Might Be Giants’ contribution to Wig in a Box, the Hedwig & the Angry Inch benefit cover album.
5 people to whom I’m passing the baton
I’ve been lucky for so long with airline travel that I’d almost forgotten what a real delay felt like, but here I am, stuck for another three more hours in Denver. I’m surrounded by people muttering to themselves about all the restaurants being closed — thank goodness I have half a heavenly margherita sandwich with prosciutto from Salumi and wifi, otherwise I’d go raving mad.
On the bright side, I used the time to finish up Sputnik Sweetheart, which really grabbed something inside me and took it somewhere. I’m feeling a bit split now, empty, like the characters in the book, and I know that I’ll have to think and re-read and dream before it all sinks in.
Also, I’ve started a story/entry called “Sumire’s Dream” three times now and nothing. Well’s run dry.
I’ve only one other book with me (Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw) — and I was saving that for the plane, so this delay had better not last too long.
I’m so bored! Somebody entertain me!
According to her father, her mother had chosen the name Sumire. She loved the Mozart song of the same name and had decided long before that if she had a daughter that would be her name. On a shelf in their living room was a record of Mozart’s songs, doubtless the one her mother had listened to, and when she was a child, Sumire would carefully lay this heavy LP on the turntable and listen to the song over and over. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was the soprano, Walter Gieseking on piano. Sumire didn’t understand the lyrics, but from the graceful motif she felt sure the song was a paean to beautiful violets blooming in a field. Sumire loved that image.
In junior high, though, she ran across a Japanese translation of the song in her school library and was shocked. The lyrics told of a callous shepherd’s daugther trampling down a hapless little violet in a field. The girl didn’t even notice she’d flattened the flower. It was based on a Goethe poem, and Sumire found nothing redeeming about it, no lesson to be learned.
(from Sputnik Sweetheart)
“Das Veilchen,” K.476
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano
Walter Gieseking, piano
Dove into SIFF 2005 in earnest last night, with Beneath Her Window, a lighthearted — hesitate to say “fluffy” — Slovenian film of the “creepy stalking voyeur turns into cute & eccentric romance” variety (think Wes Bentley from American Beauty but less on the creepy and more on the cute & eccentric). There’s a certain brand of movie I can’t help but find myself enjoying, in spite of not-so-subtly squicky undertones (Korean teacher-student love triangle comedy Lovely Rivals being a recent example I could name). It’s kind of a delicate balancing act, but I think this one worked. I mean! Stalking is totally no joke, but I guess this is lighthearted escapism and I can understand that.
I suppose if you can’t believe in the occasional fairy tale at the cinema, then it’s probably too late for you — at least as far as the cinema goes.
In the real creepiness of the night, Slovenia’s film industry seems to be populated with younger, cloned versions of British film stars — the result of some horrific cold war-era Soviet experimentation? I counted Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons and Clive Owen in this movie’s main romantic triangle alone!
yesterday i discovered a glass window in the back of tracy’s head and inside there was a blazing sun and an old tootsie pop. i ate the tootsie pop but later i took out the sun & instead i put all my secrets in my jewelry box and hid it there. she didn’t seem to notice so i think they are safe for now.
the inside of tracy’s head is dry and sticky like fruit roll-ups! eww!
i put the sun under my bed but it was too bright and i couldn’t fall asleep. mommy yelled at me this morning for not getting up on time so i threw it out the window & it rolled away but came back after lunch wearing a halloween mask. i think it’s trying to sneak back in. i don’t like the way it looks at me but i closed the curtain so it can’t see anymore.
i’m going to rip out this page and put it under my pillow so the police will know if anything happens. sorry if it hurts!
Okay, I’m now holding Sputnik Sweetheart, Dance Dance Dance, and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and from the look of things (or their back-cover blurbs, at least), I’m beginning to wonder if every Murakami book involves a search for some missing woman.
Totally flaked on Saving Face — I mean, Friday night, great buzz, and seeing how director Alice Wu is a former local, you’d have thought I’d have had enough foresight to get tickets in advance (sigh). But! On the bright side, from ginger comes word of a film I (and you, you and you) simply must see: Mad Hot Ballroom. Kenneth Turan says, “A kind of Spellbound crossed with Strictly Ballroom.”
Though I have to admit — at first read I thought he meant this Spellbound. Which would probably be good, yes, but a beast of a completely different stripe. Also, one that would bring nightmares — I’m rather certain of it.
As I walk back through the park in the twilight mist, I pass a young woman. She is familiar but strange, an image from a funhouse mirror, features etched in a lost language. Her hair falls in ebony cascades, and she wears the sea on her back and dancing fire around her legs. She glances at me and gives the faintest of smiles, but I continue on through the dimming haze, and soon she is beyond the edge of my vision.
I cannot afford hope.
She passes out of my life, again — as she always has.
In my hand, a jeweled bracelet, black and deep as night — fair exchange for another shard of my soul.
Someday, I may turn and ask her true name, and the puzzle will be unlocked. But not for me, not yet, not yet.