Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cucumber Sandwich, Variations

Cucumber, mayonnaise. Cucumber, mayonnaise, tomato. Cucumber, mayonnaise, tomato, red onion. I used cherry tomatoes because that's what I had. Cucumbers are high in calcium and they also contain a chemical that helps your body digest protein. They are good for your kidneys and make your hair grow. Cucumber juice is good for heart burn. Cucumber, mayonnaise, tomato, red onion, jalapenos. Listen to "Two Weeks" by Grizzly Bear. You could add basil, mint, or what have you. Bread is your business, but I had a baguette from a French bakery around the corner. It was kind of tough, but fun to watch the tomatoes explode.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Job Mr. Bruhl

While watching Inglorious Basterds this weekend, I was pleasantly surprised by Tarantino's choice of Daniel Bruhl, who plays Frederick Zoller, a Nazi sniper who becomes smitten with theater owner Shoshonna, although he doesn't realize she's Jewish. I've seen Bruhl in two other German films. (He's German but was born in Barcelona). In The Edukators, Bruhl plays a new kind of protester who breaks into homes, rearranges the belongings inside, throwing a couch into a pool for example, and leaves a note telling the owners to not be so materialistic. The film meanders to the countryside where The Edukators have taken a hostage from a botched break-in. Bruhl also starred in the very interesting Good-bye, Lenin!, playing Alex who, after the reunification of Germany, maintains and re-creates the presence of East Germany for his weak-hearted mother.

Daniel Bruhl very expertly portrays Frederick Zoller, both the show-offy soldier and the brutal killer from the film within the film, Nation's Pride. I've been on a Paul Newman kick lately and have been thinking about film and how those who are on film participate in many returns of life in that they are always alive somewhere, always preserved talking and shooting pool or whatever. This eternal point is made through Zoller's character: the weird documentation of Nazi ideas and Nazi horror through propaganda film. (It baffles the mind to wonder what made the Nazis use film as a way of instilling/forcing patriotism, that film, besides the tanks and the killings enforced Fascism. We must recognize the chilling power that film has here). Zoller, no less, *spoiler* dies during a screening of his own film and what a riveting juxtaposition it is to see the dead actor, who moments before wasn't really enjoying watching himself shoot many people although the German audience happily cheers. The character lives on, however, as the film continues to play out the atrocious acts he committed.

There is much more to say about Inglorious Basterds and revenge against those historical figures who caused so much grief for so many people that I know, but I guess I'll just stick to Daniel Bruhl. You should go see it, go see him, but know that the film is terribly violent and I had my knees in my eyes as soon as the club and the knives come out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Two Days Without Computer

The cat had his goop wiped. He has aged considerably. Sandwich queen: brie, fig spread, apples, provolone on toasted multi-grain. Sewn bind-offs are a bitch. I am almost done knitting a birthday present I began in April. The piles are smaller and have moved elsewhere. The journal and I have made eye contact. You know what the sign announcing just placed rat poison means: you'll probably see a large rat. I heard Brad Pitt pronounce Nazi like Knatzi. Three drawers were wiped clean and reorganized. I rode my bike in the rain. My dog Honey died. She had been my sister's. I saw someone I hadn't seen in a while. He reminded me that I used to teach. Some people are so tall. I took a wrong turn and went the wrong way. I wish I could do Saturday all over again because there are at least ten people I could sit and talk to all day. It's like there's never enough fucking time. Will I ever know if I'm a Bourbon or Scotch person? I think bartenders take me for a Bourbon person. Tomatoes are best in August. I have seventeen mosquito bites.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spaces: Waking Up in Los Angeles

My interest in space and place is accompanied by guilt about the materialism of it all. Do beautiful places indicate that you get one without the other? I don't know what to say about that, but I have always wanted to have a home of my own. Not just any home, but a place where people feel creative, feel like they can take off their shoes, or have some Greek yogurt.

Anyway, here are some photos of a place the old man and I stayed when we read for Rhapsodomancy and Vroman's in Los Angeles earlier this summer. The house is located in West Hollywood and everything about it is secret. You have to drive up walled and winding roads to get there, but once you're inside, it's all world.

Don't you see yourself knitting in this nook just beyond the kitchen (above)? It was so difficult to get the L.A. day started because I didn't want to leave the nook. Isn't that so nice? Being in a place you don't want to leave?

This house is so incredibly well designed. Every space within this place is used to its utmost. Sometimes I daydream that I live there and my friends come over to listen to Bloodstone and hang out on the stairwell. I like a good stairwell stoop, even if it's inside. Also, I'm not sure if you can tell, but that drum kit is orange. (Moon eyes).

The cacti are located in two separate places. I wanted you to see the over-exposed one--sorry--on the left because just above it is an outdoor kitchen area. Man, I'd be cookin' for y'all every night in an outdoor kitchen. Concerning the cactus on the right: do you know what that path leads to? You guessed it--more outdoor space. If you look closely at the photo of the lagoonish pool, you can see a little plane flying by, reflected in the water.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I Be Where You Wasn't

Last night after Rum and Ethiopian food, the old man and I went to see Alela (pronounced A-Lee-Lah) Diane. I've been on a woman singer kick ever since we went on the road last month. I'm not sure what it is, but I find myself waking up already singing her songs as though I were singin' them in my dreams or something. Her show last night was incredibly beautiful even though I couldn't see because I was standing behind tall people. (Hey, at least I didn't get hair in my mouth. I always get somebody's yak hair in my mouth at shows).

She says she's from Nevada City, California, but now lives in Portland. Usually her father plays with her, but his Grateful Dead cover band was already booked last night. I'd link to Alela Diane's website, but it's in disrepair, so I leave you with just this.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why Don't You Just Quit Trying To Be A Person, Get Down On Your Knees, And Call It A Day

Karina Longworth's review of Katherine Heigl's new movie, The Ugly Truth, came (ha ha) after I read a pretty damning article about marriage in the Atlantic, and after watching my niece start high school. I applaud Heigl for her producer status in her latest film, written by three women, which we all know is a rarity in the male-dominated film industry. Also, I applaud Heigl's comments concerning the other women-damning film she stared in, the worst joke obviously being a crowning cervix. (The closest form of entertainment I can compare this to is black face, but in this case, instead of men dressing up as women to make fun of them, women do it themselves.)

Although a team of well-intentioned women are involved in Heigl's latest, I wonder why it is the movie manages to fail as a fresh point and succumbs to the banal, mainstream view of sex, women, and partnerships. One of Longworth's points about The Ugly Truth is that in the end, it doesn't matter if a woman fakes it or not and the film implies she probably should. If women fake it do they actually think they're doing their partners a favor? So Hollywood sex is that you one-up the dude because the dude can't tell? One trade of humiliation for another? I don't know what men are being used as the basis for films lately, but I would like to add to the conversation that I have friends who know when a woman is or isn't having an orgasm. Without asking. And they care. Most men do.

What's furthermore humiliating and debased is that we, the culturally inclined, have to take this crappy movie seriously for what it says about how little women are taken seriously and how little they take themselves seriously. Twilight, for example, highlights this point. The male vampire is conflicted (most female vampire roles are either butch or male vampire servants) and interesting (climbs trees fast, plays piano, is Studio 54 glittery), but his love interest falls in love at the cost of herself (the one-and-only obsession, there go the friends, education, etc.) My niece recently started high school (all things happen too early in the South) and I saw at least four different adults embarrass her by talking about cute boys in school and not about her studies. And the lesson is?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Children of the Republicans, Urban Harvest

Sometimes I try to image what it would be like to have liberal parents. I envy the old man for his folks. They are not Republican and don't hate anyone. How nice would that be, to have like-minded parents, to sit down together with a newspaper and shake our heads at the same Republican bullshit. A long time ago, my dad and I were listening to his Bob Dylan records. He stopped himself from singing along to every word in order to ask me how it is I turned out so liberal. (Pronounced librl). I'm still not sure how to answer that question. How about: I have empathy. How about: I don't like bombing innocent countries. How about: I like the environment. How about: I'm not proud to be ignorant. How about... you get the point.

What's difficult is the father-daughter tie-in of it all, that becoming an adult meant, for me and other liberal children of Fanatics (read: right-wingers), having to tell my father that all of his stupid ideas are wrong. When we were little, my sister and I told our friends that our father was Superman because he has black hair and is tall. The problem is that we weren't that far off: fighting violence with violence, everything only happens in America, and Metropolis looks so suburban in the latest installment. Last night my dad said that the health care system was fine and that we shouldn't have a new health care system because it might pay for abortions. I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry.

Is life like this for you as well? You should get Eric Alterman's book, Why We're Liberal. It's a good source of information in situations like these. Talking to people who have been brainwashed by the Republican media is quite difficult and it's nice to have a resource. Go ahead, make yourself feel briefly proud. You earned it. You won't get anywhere, of course. Republicans tend to not believe irrefutable evidence that disagrees with them (read: off-shore drilling, evolution, abstinence-only programs). If you ever need someone to cry with, just give me a holler.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

No One Loses In Louisiana

Check out the political frontier of one of my former home states. Porn star Stormy Daniels is quite possibly running for senator here in Louisiana. She will run as a Republican. Sigh. Doesn't she care about women's rights? Everyone knows that Republican women look ten times as fanatical as Republican men, aren't allowed to make as much money as them, and protect fetuses and shoot cute animals. Anal sex is illegal in the state of Louisiana, so I'm not sure how she's going to get around that one... Anyway, she's going to be running against David Vitter, of the former D.C. Madam fame, of the former asking his call girls to dress him in adult diapers fame, of the former using his campaign funds to pay for his defense fame.

This is no joke. Do I have to remind you that in my former great state, two of our three insurance commissioners left office, charged with felonies? We don't play down here. Stormy Daniels' public relations person's car has been bombed. (Did you ever see the TV Nation episode where they drive a truck throughout Louisiana, filled with Soviet materials? It only made it a week or so before that was bombed).

What really kills me is my selfish reaction to Stormy Daniels's career switch. I have needs to! Stormy Daniels is one of a few women who actually direct pornographic films and although I wish she could direct women to stop chirping when they fake pleasure, she would be a loss to the male-centric porn industry. Shame on me. I guess it's okay if she wants to pursue her own interests. I'm looking forward to the debates.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dumplings and Trumpets: Ross Brighton

Let me introduce you to a gorgeous chapbook filled with beautiful illustrations. I was re-reading Ross Brighton's A Pelt A Shrub A Soil Sample for the twenty-something time, this time in the park by my apartment, and his tight phrasey yet lush poetry of an over-abundant natural world was an incredibly refreshing juxtaposition to the city stacked so high nearby. Do not think these poems are some cute la-la about trees or New Zealand (that's where Ross lives). There's so much sensual landscape, so much body, that you'd be foolish to miss the ache and thickness therein/thereof.

Ross Brighton's thready ambiguities leave me thinkin' and thinkin' hours over the so many multiple meanings he's able to conjure. It's like a match. In his poem, "Fauning," the title has quite a list of different meanings and connotations--birthing, exaggerated flattery--but I found myself enjoying the over-thinking of it--fauning as browning over, fauning as being so richly fresh and young, and (Lara Glenum did this to me with her "bullying") fauning as, well, you know. Faunin'.

He dedicates the poem to Claire Hero and you can order his chapbook from his blog. Have a listen:

Lordy, all the foresty sounds, so much onomatopoeic shh that you've got to hush yourself to hear how loud it is (rushy, thickish, underbrush). There's middle-thought rhyme like two deer chasing each other (dalebound the trail/ and uphill down) and repetition (warpaint, warpelt, warmth of fur) that makes this simply a damn fine poem to read.

At the heart of all this sound, cut and jazzy, controlled yet fluid, of all this John Keats meets Ronald Johnson language, there's flirty play with space and meaning. Just when I think I have it in my hands, a line drops or white space emerges. Something is going to be named, but instead meets space and something is finally being told "this is it," but more tab space follows before the last mention of "a path/ a way through". It's a comforting sort of tension. Refer back to what I was saying about the Ambiguity Multiplex and remember that "the-way-of-things" in this poem is the way of all things, the way of all flesh, death and sex, but the furthermore running from and chasing of both. Chasing: two deer, two dearie lovers, a restless reader.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fantasy Feature No. 105

You wanted so badly to not have to pee on the side of the road. You were just driving along, avoiding bright orange construction cones that flew out in front of the car. Nothing has ever hit you like it hit you in Utah and the Spiral Jetty that was supposed to have been an hour off the road was two more hours on serious off roads that shook the contents of your insides. You forgot about your mosquito bites. You lost cell phone service. The cattle gates were bladder jabbies. Suddenly your orange thermos was empty and the ground was salty and deserty. How is it possible that no one pees on his own shoes? You couldn't do it to save your life, wind taken into account and all. The old man laughed at you. He told you to watch your laces. Toilets are such a waste with their lack of recycled gray water and all the flushing, but you have no desire to pee anywhere else. Have you lost touch with nature?