Secret Pop

Jun 25, 2003


I went for a very challenging run, and I'm a sweaty, throbbing mess. But I can attest to the restorative powers of sunshine and dance music. A fire engine full of firemen drove past me twice in Beverly Hills. I almost waved at them, because they were all looking at me and a few were smiling in a suspiciously non-derisive fashion, but I'm shy that way.

Right. I need a shower.


I'm actually amazed to be able to access my site today. Last night, the inability to check email evolved into applications returning errors of unknown usernames and bad passwords and still no cogent response from my hosting service. During the blackout, I experienced this profound sense of frustrated isolation. Maybe this is a smidge of what it feels like to be stranded on a desert island. You send out messages in bottles, and the tide keeps bouncing them back to you. You wonder if the croaking of the seagulls and the carrion eaters circling above you can be translated into a message of some sort. Think of all the communication you are missing out on. Maybe someone is trying to improve your mortgage rates even now.

Amidst my electronic paralysis, I worked on some art projects and finished a book I've been reading. Finishing a book is a strange sentimental experience for me these days. I usually take my time getting through books. I have a pact with myself to read a chapter each day -- usually right before going to bed -- no matter what condition I'm in. But I often read no more than the one chapter, and that makes for slow going in some thicker tomes. So, it may take me a month or two to read a book, and then those months forever become a period labeled by that book. Like when I was rereading The Lord of the Rings over the holidays. It's a pity to close a book finally. Metaphorically or otherwise. And there is a strange disconnected feeling that comes over me when I matriculate to the next title. How will the world look to me when I end each day with the words of Donna Tartt? Or James Joyce? Or Tony Millionaire? Okay, comic books don't count.

So back to my tale of the web hosting jack. In the end, I lost all copies of email I received and sent between June 18, 2003 and June 24, 2003, so if you are reading this and would like to forward me messages you sent me or messages I sent you during that period, you will help me keep my archives complete. Also, yesterday, my email was being bounced back for about 16 hours, so if you have been trying to reach me and have been unsuccessful, try, try again.

I went ahead and signed up for a new account with Dreamhost, so now I'm just waiting for the DNS addresses to be switched. There may be some downtime involved there, but one hopes it will be worth it. I will also be able to host all of my other ridiculous domains there, so perhaps this will be the beginning of something beautiful.

Anyone want to place a bet as to whether my current hosting service will refund any of the annual charge I paid in February?

I think I will go for a run. Surely this brand of frustration is carcinogenic.

Jun 24, 2003

Kvetching Is a Crappy Business

I prefer not to resort to this sort of thing here, but I am so furious with my web hosting service. My site and email were down for hours and hours, and when they finally became available again, six days' worth of email and web updates were just somehow deleted. Gone from my IMAP folders. Gone from my FTP. And my email and site have been experiencing periodic outages from minute to minute. I can't send mail. I don't know if I received mail. I can't retrieve mail I sent and received this past week. It's almost like having a housefire that burns six days' worth of records and valuables. The smarmy tech support responses I've been receiving don't really help matters any either.

It's bad enough that I have a sore throat and a waning desire to live, isn't it?

I got chills. They're multiplying.

Perpetual unrest is taking its toll on me.

I got a manicure and a pedicure, and that's an excursion I can recommend, but it's hard to paint when you're being careful of your nails. I suppose priorities might occasionally be at odds when one is a girl and fond of feeling pretty but also a brooding and driven producer of that which sets the left and right brain at odds. It's possible a lot of people who accomplished a great deal didn't have perfectly painted nails in the end. I wonder if they were judged harshly for it.

Jun 23, 2003

One Down

I finished filling all the pages of my first artist's journal. That means I spent a lot of time in the past few weeks waiting for pages to dry.

I kept meaning to go back to bed today. Eyes sore and burning. Stomach a bit off-kilter. Back on the unfriendly side of achy. Head swimming. But I never managed to do it. I'm impossible that way. My upstairs neighbor was playing Prince's Diamonds and Pearls album at an unbelievable volume up until just a few minutes ago. And apparently -- ironically -- he felt the need to talk over it, as well. In a way, it is a blessing that I seldom seek out slumber. He would turn me into a raving madwoman if the opposite were true. Why can't deadbeat musicians who are living off their girlfriends also keep regular hours?

Every day, I want more than I get.

Jun 19, 2003

Love, Loss, Impotence

My uncle passed away this morning. The announcement filled me with a familiar but unexpected grief. And a helpless compassion for my father and the rest of my family. I am angry at myself for being so ignorant as to assume everything would be okay. And I can't stop thinking I should have tried to call more times than I did. There are so many things I should have done. It's easy to mistake tears of sadness for tears of guilt and shame. And that is a cruel border to cross.

Whatever the sort, the tears keep coming. In unexpected waves. I can no longer count the number of days I awoke with no idea what sort of pain and disappointment was in store. It makes it difficult to proceed without the overcaution of recently burned fingers.

Tea Leaves, Tossed Cards, and What They Portend

I am up late. Again. Scanning documents for my little sister. Going back and forth to the table to see if those photos I doused with red paint have managed to dry yet. It makes me cagey.

And I feel as if I have been under the spell of some paralytic tongue-tying device that has pressed me into silence against my will. The more I paint, the more the trickle of words seems to slow. Maybe I can only have one sort of idea at a time. I'm inclined to disagree, though, because it seems I have at least two things going on in my head at all times of the day, and one of them is the same idea that never leaves me. And I am often able to pretend I'm not thinking it at all.

Poetry comes in three-word phrases over the span of days. My journal entries have evolved into hieroglyphs. Even the expression on my face is hard to read. Even for me.

I didn't buy the green pants. They were too big. But the peachy pink ones behind them came home with me that day.

Jun 16, 2003

When you were young and your heart was an open book

You know you did, you know you did, you know you did.

Jun 14, 2003

Scented Men

My dreams are so vivid that I usually think to return to them if given the opportunity -- even when they are angering or irritating or just sort of plodding on and on. And I wake so frequently that I have many of them. A lengthy series of disconnected brain movement making no sense in the long run and having precious little staying power. I read a few chapters in a book before preparing to be annoyed by punctual birds a smidge past five in the morning. I sometimes query this notion of input and its effect as a stimulus in dreams. Even the daydream sort. My mood can change for weeks on the basis of the book I'm reading. This is something I've both noticed and feared.

It's gorgeous sunny out today. I will make a point of putting sunscreen on the part in my hair to avoid getting a sunburn whose aftermath will look like the most embarrassing sort of scalp malady. The stuff I use on my face smells of sweet oranges and makes me wish I was gulping down great glassfuls of fresh-squeezed, pulpy juice. In the end, I would feel sick from drinking too fast. But a girl gets greedy when she hasn't had juice in a while.

My father's cologne is a potion that conjures memory and nostalgia and a strange and distant comfort. Even when he's no longer in the building and the scent is only an olfactory echo of his strides through the hall. Nostalgia has had a cruel sort of effect on me recently. I can almost not bear it. I've realized a desire to be free of sentiment and to see things for what they are. But I wonder if I shouldn't put off such edicts until after the mostly tentative high school reunion that is supposed to be happening this summer. Without the convenient tool of reminiscence, I imagine that event will be unbearable.

Why oh why will these paints not dry? They're watercolors for the sake of someone to be named later.

Jun 11, 2003


Amongst the many old things I have been collecting, I found a letter dated September 24, 1942, from a Mister Herman C. Rodencal, writing from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, to his wife, who was apparently receiving her mail at Conkeys Book Store in Appleton. (From another letter, I learned that her name is Vera.) It is written in pencil, in a fine hand, on white paper that is turning brown at the edges. It required three cents to mail. This is some of what it says:

                                                                                          Thur, 4:15 --

     I had such a nice birthday. I came up to the room this noon and there was a whole stack of mail. I couldn't understand so much mail. I took time out to open every one and then went back to eat lunch. Thanks so much dear and say thanks so much to Mother & Anita & Lester. Do you know -- I had 8 cards & a letter. Boy talk about getting mail -- I wonder what the mailman thought -- I bet he knew it must be my birthday.
     I feel okay again -- must have had the stomach flu or something. It's there a little bit yet but I'm really okay -- I was in bed by 4:45 and woke up when Dad came in at 7:30 and went back to sleep and slept most of the nite until the alarm went off. The lodge where we eat gave me some orange juice -- I felt a little foolish coz none of the other men had it but it went down very nicely and today my lunch tasted good.
     Its raining so we aren't going to work tonite. Dad & I may go to a movie after supper. Just as we were ready to leave the yard it snowed. Sort of wet but it was snow and now its wet out -- doesn't know what to do.
     My birthday has been nice honey. Thanks to the many cards -- I can't wait for my gifts until Sat -- The work went good and I felt better so all is well. Be seeing you soon -- honey -- We'll be eating at Bill's tomorrow eve. Sat isn't far away -- and I'm not sorry --

                                                       I love you dear --
                                                            a kiss for you on my birthday --
                                                                 and more Sat -- XXXX
                                                                           Always your

Pardon My Advertisement

This is one of a crop of freshly scanned photographs appearing on my new Lomography feature Diario di Lomo. Most of them are not of me. This one is. I like it okay.

Jun 10, 2003

Oh, My Pregnant Head

I have been unable to stop this song from playing over and over in my brain since sometime last night. I even heard it in my dreams. And what dreams.

My errand outing took me past a bookstand beside which a middle-aged fellow was loudly shadow boxing karate-style. In a way I envied him. His assailants may be invisible, but he seems to know where they are. You can't really pull funky jujitsu moves on the silent killer, ennui.

Some of my photographs turned out pleasingly. Others showed me that I've been getting lazy about the use of the camera. I think every other batch has that problem. I get confident when my film comes back great. Then I have to learn the lesson again, that it comes back great only when I know what I'm doing.

I wish I could go somewhere tonight and look at the stars.

What I Need and What I Don't no particular order...

a break
the doom and gloom
another drink
a new look
a new outlook
steady hands
a reason
an excuse
an audience
arms to fall back into
a cushion just in case
more Adam Sandler
more closet space
a massage
girl power
cargo room
a nickname
a singing voice
running shoes
headache pills
something to look forward to

Jun 7, 2003

The Rosy Cheeks of Communism

Jun 6, 2003

Something Jade

Today is the thirty-fifth anniversary of my parents' wedding.

It's hard to believe they've been married longer than I've been alive, but the math works out.

June she'll change her tune.

I have been painting.

The grey, cottony ceiling of the gloomy sky today was welcome to me. The chill was welcome. I didn't long for sunrays, as I sometimes do. When it's grey like that, you don't mark the passing of the hours so clearly. You don't pay attention. There is no telltale rose-tinged sunset hue to foretell the coming of night. The night just comes, and it's upon you all of a sudden. And you've had the lights on all day anyway.

I let the art supply store inspire me today. I let myself have dreams and plans of the showing off of skills still out of my reach. But I did not fear reaching for them. I longed for it. I can only be pleased when I am set off in a day when I feel like making a great, greedy lunge at my future and whatever ambitions attract me. It's like being set on fire with the only hope of dousing it a palpable handful of something to be proud of. Sure, it slips through your fingers quickly, but while you're grasping, it has emollient properties.

In restless walks, she'll prowl the night.

Jun 5, 2003

Lyric Echoes

The book I was reading just before I went to sleep invaded my dreams somehow. Awake now, I'm charged with unrest and vacant memory and a sense of inexplicable nostalgia brought on by memories I don't actually have. What a wonder. You can fail in your dreams without ever even trying. And you can wake with the sting of failure still on you even when you can't remember anything else.

Those old familiar goosebumps are on me again. A chill that recalls times in recent years when I wrote in the wee hours because of vicious illness or idea-charged fatigue. I used to read that chill as a warning. Caution: nerve endings exposed, synapses firing. You're going to open your arms wide in welcome and be completely caught off your guard when something falls from the sky and crushes you, embrace and all.

I take the tingling sensation with me back to bed now, where I will scold myself for memory and feeling and trying to make sense of it all. Sometimes all this thinking is just a big fat indulgence.

Jun 4, 2003

"a weigh-above-average wardrobe"

This advertisement appeared in the September 1948 issue of Calling All Girls Magazine. I was flipping through the issue -- one in a stack -- and I stopped on this page, read for a few moments, and then laughed and said, "Oh, my god!" before running to the scanner. The text of the ad reads as follows:

"Don't worry," comforts your mother. "You'll thin down in a few years." But--who wants to waste precious Teen years, just waiting for pounds to melt off? Much smarter and smoother to wear Chubbette fashions, designed to minimize; sized to fit.

That there was ever actually a brand of fashions called "Chubbette" is a marvel to me. The caption "Photographs by Zogbaum" is only slightly less amusing.

Don't worry. You'll thin down in a few years.


I think I'm drunk. And I didn't mean to be. But I'm far gone enough to be unable to draw a martini glass in my journal, so I think that means something. It's a pity. I expected to have a wealth of things to say. Instead, I can barely type. Save me, will you?

I feel bitter about certain things. And pensive about others. I feel as if I have been filled with this sense of dread this week, and I'm not sure why. And it's all the more frustrating, because I'm too tipsy to type properly.

Jun 2, 2003

Barn Dance & Hay Ride

My day was stress-speckled, but I think I managed to set things right. I went shopping for fresh produce and meat, and I made myself a lovely dinner -- something I often lament not making the time to do. There's something about eating prepared foods bought in a store that makes me feel unloved. Also? The lyrics to that song Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? by Bryan Adams and Michael Kamen from the Don Juan de Marco soundtrack indicate that no one has ever really loved me. Isn't that a shame? These are some of the reasons it's important for me to make my own dinner. In addition to the fact that I should enjoy it now while I can -- I don't think they let you handle cutlery when you're locked up in the booby hatch.

I saw Henriette Mantel at Whole Foods. She looked like she had just had her nails done.

Oh, my aching back, and other exclamations of misery and discontentment for want of pity and relief.

I have objections to it always getting to be so late so quickly. And to watching television programming that brings tears to my eyes when I've got so much work to do. I just end up sitting in front of the computer -- eyes burning -- resenting that I taxed my eyes at all to begin with and knowing that I'm going to end up wearing some very unsatisfying corrective eyewear one day soon. And I'll deserve ever cursed moment of it. I treat my eyes like vermin, and they're beginning to get wise.

Here is something I wrote down a while back. It is a list of retorts made by a character in A Confederacy of Dunces. I was entertained by them and caught myself hoping that, one day, I might be able to have a dialogue with someone wherein I got to say these very words in this very order, sandwiched by the disagreeable responses of my discussion partner, who would be none the wiser and would likely find me hateful and difficult in a miscreant sort of way. Here they are, though, in their original order:

What am I seeing? Tell me soon or I'll die.

You really are insane, aren't you?

Are you kidding?

Get with it, please.

Oh, you really are on the moon.

Oh, you're truly fantastic.

Where will you ever end?

Marvelous! I can't wait to disagree with someone! How pithy I will get to pretend to be for a few sentences! Coincidentally, the dialogue I dream about is actually the construct of an improv game we do at the theater called "Pick a Play," but I'm sure I'll never get to say these things on stage, because we don't have A Confederacy of Dunces in the ratty old bag filled with dirty, spider-infested scripts and plays and restaurant menus that we use as fodder when the game gets played. Which is probably a good thing, because a lot of that book is not funny to me at all, much to the chagrin of many of my peers. I didn't dislike the book. But I was bewildered by the number of people who described it to me as the funniest book they had ever read. Please. This just wasn't at all my experience.

Anyway, the point of this was originally that it's late, and I'm tired, and it always seems to be late, and I always seem to be tired. And my back really does ache from the curvature it adopts when I work. I don't believe in catching up on lost sleep. But there are times when I wish I did.

In the absence of any sort of segue, here is another photo from last night. I like it, despite the fact that it makes me look sort of scary and insane.

Jun 1, 2003

Dilemma and Dawn and the Inevitable Fade

I took hundreds of pictures in the last twelve hours or so. Hundreds. If I hadn't taxed my digicam battery, there would have been even more. It was an evening riddled with photo opportunities and visual splendor and comical circumstances and titillating glimpses of secretive sessions in dimly lit corners. I have the desire to share a great many of them, but I am bleary-eyed and wasting away.

I liked this picture especially. I thought it might be one of the frames on the Viewmaster reel of me that will never be made. It's a shame. I rather fancy the idea of my life advancing in frames with the depression of a lever. One that makes that slight scraping sound that my red plastic Viewmaster always did.

Fitful dreaming commences in a matter of minutes.