Thursday, November 29, 2007


Ok, I know why I moved away from Chicago in 1997. It's because it was fucking cold. And guess what? Ten years of global warming have not changed the fact that it is still cold as a motherfucker up in this piece.

Today I went to visit my grandparents in their suburb, Morton Grove. I really find the name unappealing and random. It's basically a little burg sandwiched between Skokie and Niles. But if you're unfamiliar with Chicagoland then this fact makes little difference to you. Anyways, I thought I had the route down when I left the house, but I was so so very wrong. And the cold cold fact of that became apparent to me while I was waiting in twenty-something degree weather for buses that just never came.

The worst was when I confused the end of the line for a bus route and ended up in the middle of nowhere on the other side of Skokie Sculpture Park. Ordinarily, and in much warmer weather, I would've been pleased to discover a random sculpture park in the middle of suburban wasteland, but today it was creepy to see a gigantic head rising from a landscape that resembled a golf course. The beacon of light in this cold darkness actually turned out to be a mall. I remembered from my journeys to Morton Grove from the far northside of Chicago ten years ago that the right bus stops at that mall and so hiked past the Olive Garden and through the parking lot into it to wait for the bus.

While I was in the mall, still all bundled up, some G'd-out suburban teenagers who were obviously cutting school to "chill" in the food court laughed at me. And I thought, "wow, I really am in the suburbs and I really did just get laughed at." The last time I was laughed at by teenagers in a mall I was a teenager and it pissed me off. This time I took sort of a bit of pride in it. Aah, how times change.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the sound of fucking

I cannot believe that I just heard my old friend D. fucking his girlfriend in the next room. I mean, I believe that everyone should fuck who they want and when they want and particularly especially in their own homes. So, his bed is right next door to his office and I'm staying on the couch in said office and he's doing me a favor by letting me stay here tonight - my last night of this, ahem, vacation in NYC that I've been on for two weeks now. But dude, that was awful. (ok maybe not so awful as staying out in the cold or being forced to wander the streets all night but...) Yeeereesh...

Tonight, he brought his girlfriend over here to hang out and she was nice. I even maybe liked her. But that doesn't mean I was prepared to hear her get fucked - and, yes, she was really fucking noisy - by my old college buddy. I feel like that's just rude in a way, not to mention weird. I mean it's weird to be this old and still be in the situation where, against my own choice, I am forced to listen to some couple coupling.

Maybe this, um, position I've been put in should make me think about my life in a profound way. Like, say, if I was more on top of shit somehow I would've had the money enough to just stay in a hotel for my last night or two in NYC. or something.

Anyways, I just had to type this out so that I can read a book and go to sleep now without being all weirded out and also so that the couple next door can hear the sounds of my fingers on the computer keyboard typing this so that they will know that I am still awake and that I totally just heard them fuck. Maybe that will weird them out - or at least maybe her because she was so fucking loud - a little bit. or not. As for me, I am not even givin' a fuck.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I was at a loss for what to do with this rainy day, so I decided I would go to the Angelika Film Center and see the new Noah Baumbach picture, Margot at the Wedding. I set out from Fort Greene and made it halfway to the subway when I realized I had forgotten to take a crucial pill and so was forced to turn back. This interfered with my movie timing, but not severely since the film in question is playing every hour - in two different theaters. I filled the gap with shoe browsing, as I once filled much of my time I now remember/realize, on Broadway.

I decided a slice was in order, again, of course. So, I went to Pomodoro's on Spring St. There's a place called Pasta Pomodoro in SF, but it's totally different and only for yuppies or wanna-be yuppies. On the way back up to the Angelika, I walked on Crosby St. past the old freight entrance to Talas and that amazing taxi driver Pakistani restaurant and the Housing Works Used Book Store . There are a few more shops and maybe another gallery or so lining Crosby but it was so much the same that I got emotional - again.

Even going to the Angelika Film Center to see a movie made me a little emotional since I used to go there alot to see the arty (if not art) films to which I was (am) so partial. So, Margot at the Wedding: it's more subtle I think than The Squid and the Whale. Maybe that's a way of saying not as strong and it's true...I remember being moved to tears by that one and this one...well, a few chuckles, and some brow furrowing were it. I really love Jennifer Jason Leigh (the director's wife), so I enjoyed it just for her. Nicole Kidman does a great acting job, as per usual, but doesn't entirely escape being annoying, being Nicole Kidman, being such a big movie star for this smaller film. And Jack Black is actually not annoying in this movie. Go figure. He's actually good. I winced and cringed all through The School of Rock, which most people I know seemed to at least think was an ok movie.

After the movie, I walked over the Cafe Rakka on 1st Ave. and St. Marks and had a falafel and hummus sandwich. it was very savory and tasty, but, alas, the balls were smaller than I remember and the portion of hummus managed to stay within the confines of the pita - also less than I remember. Maybe I got a skimper for a sandwich preparer.

After that I started walking uptown. up and up and up I went until I reached Times Square. following a brief interlude in Bryant Park where they've set up a little skating rink surrounded by little shop kiosks like how they do in Union Sq. So, what does a girl like me do in Times Square? Go to see a movie of course! So, for the second time today I seated myself in darkness and did what amounts to meditation for me - I watched a movie. I saw the Coen brothers new one called No Country for Old Men. It was good. I didn't realize it was based on something written by Cormac McCarthy until the end, but it definitely smacks of his style. which I like. And Javier Bardem, who I usually think is totally sexy, is actually really creepy and scary in it while Josh Brolin, who never seems to be in many movies that I watch, is totally sexy in it.

Now, I'm back in Fort Greene. It's late. I'm tired. I think there might be a big party across the way, right beside the Talmudic academy, because I can hear all this bass just pounding - boom boom boom boom boom - very rapidly. Tomorrow night I'll move to Williamsburg and spend another whole week in nyc. oy vey.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

a day in new york

Today I woke up on an L-shaped couch sometime in the early afternoon and was presented with a nice glass of strong tea with a bit of milk and maybe some sugar. I went and brushed my teeth and rushed back to enjoy the tea.

I bundled up, borrowed an umbrella, and set out with my compadres in search of brunch. The place we wanted to go, called Maggie Brown's, was delightful-looking and smelling but had a forty-five minute wait. So, we decided to search on for brunch. (This is all taking place in Fort Greene, Brooklyn by the way.) Since I remembered, from back in tha day when I used to live in new york, that there are places to eat brunch on Lafayette street, that's where we headed until we happened upon a place called Olea. very pleasant inside. I enjoyed my basic breakfast and good, strong black coffee as well as the light coming in from the gray-lit foliage fringed outside. my fellow diners said that they too enjoyed their dishes.

After this and a false start, I made it to Union Square in Manhattan and began walking down University Place until I reached Washington Square park. I noticed every bit so keenly on a street I used to count as workaday. strolling by Washington Mews. and then at dusk standing in the center of washington square and looking upward at the towers, the spires, I was astounded by how much it seemed to move me.

I breezed down Thompson street until I hit Houston and then cut up it because I wanted to have a look at the marquee of the Angelika Film Center. Margot at the Wedding is playing. maybe I'll go and see it.

I walked down Broadway, braved the crowds, past Prince, Spring, Broome, Grand and then I cut east past Lafayette and to Mulberry then further east still to the L.ower E.ast S.ide (this manner of showing off abbreviations has suddenly become very attractive to me tho I have no idea quite why)

I wanted to see where Cake Shop the newish music venue, record shop, bar was because Michael Hurley was playing there tonight and I needed to know where to go. I succeeded in scoping out the place but I had time to kill so walked up Avenue A and got a slice at Two Boots. Then my friend Sarah called right at the same time as my old college friend David called. When it rains it pours, right?

So, after a brief detour while Sarah picked something up that she needed for school, I met David at the subway entrance. David and I said good-bye to Sarah and went for tapas. I dragged him down to the L.E.S. tho he did not want to go. We drank several drinks and reminisced, caught up, shot the shit. Then he said good-bye and I went in to watch the show. It was wonderful.

Now I am back in Fort Greene and very tired. typing all of this out seemed like a more exciting idea when I began. Goodnight.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

new york, california, and my mom

I'm about to take a trip to nyc and I haven't been there since the end of July 2005 when I pulled out from the rent-a-car place in midtown, loaded up the chevy malibu with stuff emptied from the storage space in chesea and sailed up the west side highway and over the george washington bridge and drove to san francisco.

I've thought about the drive out to california many times since. It seems like a dream - for real.

So, now I'm going to visit new york after all of this time and I'm so nervous and excited that it's making my head start to turn faster again. Visions proceed now. textures and ideas agile sound angles.

I had this phone fight with my mother tonight. The details of it are too ridiculous to repeat, but at one point I said, "I can't talk to you because you never let me finish a sentence. It's like you finish the thought aloud, but it isn't my thought you're finishing and it's not what I mean to say at all, so that makes it impossible to talk to you." And she said, "Well, that's your mother, that's just the way I am." And her saying that somehow really calmed me down and made me consider the situation far less dramatically.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I hate how I can feel it when people get sad. It always makes me feel somehow responsible for their sadness and like I should be able to do something to help them. And when I, albeit inadvertently, contribute to their sadness, or discomfort, or annoyance I feel so guilty. I really do not want to do anybody any harm. But that sometimes seems impossible. So, it's easy to gravitate to the other end of the spectrum and claim to not care about how others feel as a compensation for caring far too much. Shit, what do I care. It's late. I've had a goodnight taco. I've changed out of my sweaty, oldies night dancin' shirt, I've got some DVDs from the library to sort of sing me to sleep.
But I do care. it doesn't mean I can't put on a DVD tho. (btw, I've recently begun to enjoy shortening the word "though" to "tho". I don't know when exactly that happened or exactly why, but it has happened. I actually derive pleasure from the abbreviation.)

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Tonight on PBS they broadcast three documentaries in a row: first, Cary Grant: Leading Man, followed by William Holden: The Golden Boy, and finally Steve McQueen: On the Edge. When I caught wind of this programming, I quickly dubbed it a "babe-fest" and set about making plans to watch all three. Except for a brief break at the end of Cary Grant: Leading Man, I succeeded. It was actually pretty great to see all the scenes from old films that these awesome babes had starred in. The documentaries were obvioiusly from the 80s and so less sensational than what you might find on an E True Hollywood Story or some such. It's strange to think that the 80s were actually a more innocent time than the present, even though that's sort of a no duh. Perhaps it's because I grew up in the 80s and had older, very old-fashioned parents who were amazed at the time how much the world had changed from the 50s.

Anyways, it makes me want to watch Sunset Boulevard and Bullitt and Bringing Up Baby all over again. Maybe some others also...Also, since McQueen starred in The Getaway, it reminded me how much a fan of Jim Thompson's crime fiction I used to count myself. These days, presently, seem actually the perfect time to revisit my appreciation of Jim Thompson. Thanks PBS. It really is another case of PB Yess!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

whether or not

The patterns of weather here in San Francisco are so different from anything I've ever known having grown up in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, and having lived, as an, ahem, adult, in Chicago and New York. It seems that Indian Summer carries on forever. It's the first week in November and tomorrow I know it will be warm enough for at least part of the afternoon, in one part of these microclimatized neighborhoods to wear just a t-shirt and to take a long bike ride. To do so in most other climates at this time of year, any time of day, would mean a scarf and a jacket and gloves and all the cold weather accoutrement. I guess, to be realistic, it never gets as cold as it does in those more easterly cities, more four seasons oriented places. It won't freeze here in the city. It won't freeze and it won't burn. The ground may open up wide from a gigantic "big one" earthquake, but a blizzard is out of the question. I am still, after over two years of living here, amazed at this. So amazed in fact that I have no pearls of pithy wisdom or anything resembling it. I have only the difference between what I have known and what is. And I suppose that's really all I ever have anyway. Goodnight.

Monday, November 5, 2007

fall back

Today was the first day after the end of daylight savings time for this year. I took a walk to the park intending to walk as far as possible from there. I wanted to sort of try to take a long walk akin to ones I used to take in New York. Like a walk from Union Square to Battery Park or from Midtown to SoHo. Like that day four years ago when I won my bicycle ticket court case in Lower Manhattan and I was so proud that I had talked my way out of it I walked all the way back over the Brooklyn Bridge and down Atlantic Ave. to Bed Stuy where I was apartment sitting. Like that.

I wanted to see how far I could walk in this town before getting tired enough to retrace my steps. I wanted the exercise. I wanted, hoped, to clear my mind.

Instead, I ended up passing a delightful afternoon in the park sharing stories and trading quips with some friends in the bright Indian summer sun.

When I got home, someone challenged me to drink two Emergen-C packets at once. It seems like a silly challenge when I type it here, but I wasn't even givin a fuck at the time and mixed up two packets - one Super Orange and one Cranberry - and totally chugged that stuff. Since Emergen-C is an energy booster, I am filled with energy. Since I have had a full day of relaxing in the sun, and a full evening playing Scattergories, I am tired. The contradictory combination is so unsettling that it's destabilizing pretty much everything. What's the cure for this? Chamomile tea? muscle relaxers?