Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Oh, fuck. Summer in California means heat.

I don't like it one tiny bit. Hey, Seattle, think you can arrange temperatures below 80 degrees for me this weekend? That would rock.

This weekend, I had some movies. Kevin and I watched Kinsey together, which we both enjoyed, mainly due to the interesting subject matter. Unfortunately for me, the narrative structure was pretty much a predictable biopic with weak dialogue and character development, but the content and the acting mostly rose above it to make a nice movie.

Also, I watched The Pillow Book. I'm actually not sure why I thought I wanted to see that, but I have very mixed feelings about it, post-viewing. It was visually interesting--occasionally exciting, even, mainly due to a really hot young Ewan McGregor--but also gross in at least one particular spot, not to mention convoluted and boring. So I didn't really care for the movie, but Ewan McGregor gets four stars. Until he dies. Then, ew.

My side yard gave me a bit of a workout Sunday, because I cleared out some of the weeds and planted squash seedlings and green beans and pea pods. Yay. They are all going to die.

In other news of the stupid fucking yard, Kevin received a call from our landlord yesterday that the neighbors finally filed a complaint, and we had to, you know, trim the lawn. So he bought a weedwhacker and gave it a haircut. It's enough that the neighbors can shove it. I hate lawns. What a pointless thing.

We also trekked to Santa Cruz Sunday night, just for fun. There was forest romping, beach sitting, Charlie Hong Kong eating, and Kevin's mom visiting.

I will be in the PacNW this weekend, dividing my time between Seattle and Seaside, most likely. Hope to see some of you around.

The last show of the regular TV season that I care about is about to begin, so I am going to turn my attention away.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Summer begins...now.

That is, when the shows all go into reruns, the bad reality TV crops up, and the summer concert season is upon us. A great time to be alive, basically.

Aside from most assuredly seeing the Gossip for a 6th (or 7th?) time next Thursday, I just learned that the Mountain Goats are playing Bottom of the Hill two nights in late June, which I am so down for it isn't funny. Even if no one will go with me.

A handful of Bumbershoot acts have been announced, including Devo, Son Volt, Digable Planets, and the Decemberists, so that's not a bad showing. Full lineup in mid-June, I guess, so I can decide how much of it I need to pay for then. But I'll start hunting for good fares into Seattle Labor Day weekend and possibly take off that Friday.

I don't know how I managed to avoid this for so long, but I finally obtained and listened to a full Dinosaur Jr. record. Wow, that is some happy shit. I mean, it made me happy, not that it sounds cheerful or anything. The new Mountain Goats is also lovely.

Someone will come with, right?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Free will of the stars.

This post is in response to this week's Free Will Astrology, which I happily own up to getting via email every week...

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): ... As long as you cooperate with the unusual flow of fate, you will thrive. Here are some exercises to get you in the proper frame of mind: Picture yourself having the body of the opposite gender.

There's a thought. Walking around like I had external genitalia and could pee standing up while pretending these appendages hanging from my chest simply weren't there might create some odd interactions at work, though.

Hold a pen with your non-dominant hand as you write about your taboo fantasies.

I used to practice doing that first part in my pre-calculus lecture. My taboo fantasies should stay firmly planted in my mind, though, I think.

Gaze at yourself in a mirror that reflects your image from another mirror.

I love doing that! It makes me feel awfully self-obsessed, however.

Consider the possibility that there's something you really need but you don't know what it is.

I consider it often. In fact, I'm sure of it.

Make up a dream in which you change into an animal.

I've never been good at forcing dreams. I wonder what animal my unconscious would pretend to be.

Compose a prayer in which you ask for something you think you're not supposed to.

I'd have to think of what I'm not supposed to ask for first. I'm not supposed to ask for... things I don't need? things I don't want? things that can't reasonably occur? things with negative, unintended consequences? I ask for lots of things I know I won't get, but I'm not aware of a line not to cross where whatever higher power is concerned. I guess I'm too agnostic for this item.

I'm always vaguely amused and inspired by these horoscopes, but I never know what to make of them.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Our fabulous prizes.

I need to get out of here. A little mini-vacation is appearing very necessary, very soon.

And don't get me wrong, Washington people, but visiting in a few weeks won't be a vacation. It will be a lot of shuttling around and seeing as many people as possible. It will be a lot of transient face time and happy smiles and nice-to-see-yous. Not to sound unappreciative, because I do love you. Better than a family reunion, but not a vacation.

There is an unrelenting march of the increasingly familiar that drags from day to day until I just want to cry. The same stretch of highway filled with cars and drivers of dubious ability; a front lawn growing taller and taller; a mailbox full of advertising and things addressed to previous tenants. An office where I itch to spill red, purple, or green ink and log my time, just to justify my existence and meager paycheck.

I'm getting good at mediocrity, and there's no end in sight. I watch endless hours of TV, and I don't even get cable. I don't know where to go from here or when to start leaving.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Embracing my liberal anger.

I mean, I'm pretty much always angry at something. Sometimes it's a righteous anger, or an emotional/hormonal rage, but mostly it's just vague ire directed at, for example, other drivers or my neighbors I am afraid will try to bitch at me about the lawn in the 30 seconds I appear in front of my house every evening.

I've got a lot of the vague ire going on right now--I am having my period, which, while not an excuse, does tend to make things seem less rosy, ironically and disgustingly enough--but there's also some righteousness mixed in for good measure.

In case your eyes glazed over for the news that the Senate unanimously passed and Bush today signed $82 billion in war spending, anti-terrorism, and tsunami relief, let me enlighten you on one particularly unsavory aspect of this feel-good measure. The Real ID act is one Wisconsin Representative's underhanded way of slipping a national ID program into law. What's so bad about a national ID, you ask?

Well, I'm not smart enough to tell you, but I can link to a few people who are. I highly suggest you read up, at least a little, because this shit is going to affect everyone, and you should know what it is and how it can fuck you over.

Declan McCullaugh's FAQ of how Real ID will affect you is condensed and informative. His Politech mailing list is a great source of information and discussion on the subject, as well. Text of the law here for all those fluent in legalese. Google News rounds up the mainstream media coverage, which shows a remarkable lack of discussion on Real ID, while geeks with security and privacy concerns over at Slashdot and News.com pick apart the new law.

And it may just be my naivete regarding how the Senate works, but those Democrats quoted as being against Real ID who voted for it anyway? Where is their sense of dissent? Did they not learn in school that, for true/false questions, if even part of a question is false, the whole thing is false? Is it really so impossible to get a clean bill through Congress to fund things that evidently need funding, or at least a bill clean of major, divisive legislation?


Wow, fuck the legislative process, then.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

It's no fun reading fortune cookies to yourself.

Points to whoever knows the song.

Yesterday I had a henna experience. Henna is a much more awkward dye experience than, say, Manic Panic, and the results are more subtle. I tried to follow the Lush instructions to the letter, but I think I only tinted my hair a shade darker. It's treading chocolate territory, though I doubt anyone but me will notice.

For an hour and a half, my head was caked in what looked and felt like green mud and enveloped with sheets of cling film. It was squishy to the touch. The first rinse took awhile, and my hair was impossible to comb afterwards. The waxiness was so thick, I could barely style it into something less anime-freak and more just-having-a-bad-hair-day-greasy. But I let it stay that way for a few hours to see the full effect of the henna.

Three hours later, I was desperate to fix it, so I shampooed it. The waxiness was a little better, but not 100%, so a few hours after that, I applied probably 4 times the amount of shampoo I would normally use and let it sit for a minute before rinsing it out. The texture was fine and the color was somewhat apparent still, so I'm calling it good.

It's true I have no patience for things that are aesthetically displeasing.

The henna seemed only to stain the soap scum in my bathroom, which just highlighted the need to scrub it all down with Bon Ami. Which I did today, because Kevin would probably freak out if I didn't.

He's visiting his mom and sort of implied a desire to go alone because he doesn't go to see his family much without me anymore. When I pointed out that the last time he actually visited his mom--Christmas--I was in Oregon, he replied, "Hmm." We've seen his dad a few times, but not his mom. I can appreciate the desire to want to spend time without chatty ol' me, since he's quiet and tends to let me monopolize the conversation (I like both his parents, and we can talk about a lot of things that he doesn't care about). I only felt bad because I've been trying to get him to go to Santa Cruz for months, and he hasn't wanted to, and now that he has gone, he didn't want me to go. I just hope this doesn't make it look like I'm the reticent one.

Anyway, I really need to make some damn friends. Doing nothing with my free time is starting to wear me down.

This week's rentals: Home Movies: Season 1, disc 1, which totally rules; The Yes Men, a documentary about lefties who pretended to be WTO members and were responsible for the long-deceased WTO parody site; and Two-Way Stretch, an old Peter Sellers movie that was Kevin's selection and I probably won't watch.

Monday, May 02, 2005

If we get through this alive, I'll meet you next week, same place, same time.

Yes, Pulp's Common People has made it back into my frequent rotation. I know that's weird.

A potent combination of raw garlic and tahini still lingers in my mouth from last night's hummus, and I need to get my shit together for work, but I have the need to write some things down.

First, I was having this unsettlingly weird dream as I woke up this morning involving some kind of God-appointed, nukes-safe bunker in the middle of a huge lake that Kevin and I, as well as a hundred or so other people and a few pets, were permitted to enter when some rogue enemy nation announced they had nuclear weapons trained on us and, apparently, there was little we could do to retaliate. I think that was the least freaky part, though.

The way you got to this semi-submerged bunker was by swimming. If you didn't drown on the way over, you got to meet your maker, who decided whether you would live or die. Only I didn't know it was God until someone told me once we were inside. I laughed and said something about God being real and saving me, literally, after all my years of agnosticism.

There were many other creepy details I don't really remember. Everyone slept on giant bunkbeds and wore orange linen jumpsuits. Our hands were marked with a specific scratch pattern for re-entry. Fresh tomatoes were preserved in boxes and not jars. I'm not sure we had enough food to hold out for an entire nuclear holocaust.

Anyway, it was bizarre, and I hope it doesn't sit with me like this all day, because that would suck.

Margot is now 21 and hopefully not sleeping off too much of a hangover. I completely missed her friends and the one roommate I haven't met, but we had a good time. There was Thai food, delicious desserts from a bakery in Chinatown, visits to her candy store, a new Trader Joe's, and Cost Plus, and tons of walking.

We have Gossip tickets for the 26th, if anyone else wants to go to that, but Mike Doughty at Cafe Du Nord is sold out. I'd still like to see the Books if anyone, ANYONE has any interest. Opening acts include Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, so come on down.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

For a few movies more...

Watching movies was about the only exciting thing I did yesterday. Yesterday was stupid. Today will be at least marginally better because I am leaving the house to go to San Francisco and celebrate my sister's 21st birthday.

The birthday is actually tomorrow, so depending on the pickiness of establishments, she is still a minor and unable to purchase or consume alcohol legally until then, but I doubt that will stop the festivities much.

I really enjoyed Sideways. I'm not much of a movie reviewer, and a lot of people have seen it already and had more intelligent things to say about it, but I did like it. I also liked The Anniversary Party, but not to the same extent. The making of that movie is a little more interesting than the plot, anyway: Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh attempted to sell photos of their own fake wedding to the tabloids to fund it, for one thing.

My third DVD was from the HBO series, The Wire, and I have to say, I couldn't get into it. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood for it, but I gave up.