Friday, June 29, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hey, ever wonder what's in my brain?

You know sometimes, when you google "pain on right side" and that leads you to google "ovarian cancer" and of course, everything points to you having it, I mean, that pain DOES feel like you imagine a tumor would, and you spend a lot of time imagining having to leave behind your sweet husband and family and friends and you know that if you were given just a few more years, you'd manage to make something of yourself, too, and you make it in to work but barely but you just spend the whole day reading cancer blogs and making increasingly frequent coffee runs and this is every day for years (and somehow no one calls you on it at work)?


Baffling anxiety was, for the longest time, like, my way of being in my world. I don't really know what ignited it, though I do know what fuled it - bird flu was a real boon for my crazy, boyoboy. And then, it stopped, if not all-of-a-sudden, almost. I wish I could take credit for it stopping, and I am sure there is some sort of cognitive trick I played on myself, but it wasn't a conscious effort, that's for sure. I feel like I was so terribly anxious my brain could not deal with it own crap anymore and just cut it out. Which is not really a reliable way of expelling the nutso, since letting the nutso run its course probably could just as easily wind up with you living in a lead-lined basement and muttering to yourself.

Haz(z)ard recently said to me "you know what I like about you?" (shiny hair? cutely bad singing voice?) "I like that you don't really speculate. You have hopes and all, but you don't really predict things. You would be a terrible pundit."* I took this as a real compliment, first because who wants to be a good pundit, second because it aligned with something I am learning to value in myself - the fact that I do not really value control. I am sort of an accidental Buddhist, eager to interact with the feedback loops I inhabit in what I believe are positive ways and yet unable to emotionally invest in the outcomes of my actions. Reconciling myself with this tendancy, learing to see it as a kind of wisdom, has been a big feature of my separation from my anxieties. This whole process, and this whole sort of acceptance has been more pronounced in my dealing with Big Problems than in my negotiating the fine grain of my days and years, and I am still able to get unduly worked up about when the pharmacy will close or whether I will like school or if Haz(z)ard is conducting his job search exactly as I wish he would, and I suspect that terms of how one inhabits the universe/how it inhabits one, those actually ARE the big problems.

That sounds terrible. That sounds like my experience in school > humanitarian crises. Let me rephrase. To the extent that I feel like a lot of this whole business is about interacting with unknowable loops, and not about purposefully creating results, I have a suspicion that interacting with oneself/family is creating one's own guide for interacting beyond.

I have been thinking about taking a class on non-accidental Buddhism. Am hesitant bc I am a giant yuppie douche already. Hesitance mitigated by fact that a) whatever, b) large part of the appeal is fat cute Buddhas who look a lot like a friend of mine who I venerate anyway.

*This was in response to a conversation I had with his father that was basically him all "It is folly to support anyone but Hillary bc. she is strongest candidate," and me being like "I dunno, whatever, sure, I still hope Gore will run,** and am attached to him even if he does not. That is the extent of my beliefs about the primaries."

**I relate to him. I think he knows what's what with feedback loops. Plus, he stepped on my foot once and now we are bound together in the eternal locus.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

And of course, I bought FIVE.

You know those rhinestone belt buckles that you can have customized with your name, or other appellation, like "bitch"? Ok. So, I just saw a multi-colored one that read "RAPE." That's thing's one heckuva signifier, lemme tell you!

Monday, June 25, 2007

You know,

seeing as how I mentioned both a) Edward I and b) artillery technology in the last post, it's a shame I did not find a reason to mention that Edward was responsible for the creation of the Warwolf, a giant, fearsome trebuchet (sort of like a catapult with a massive counterweight). That is all.

We Go Around The Forest Looking For Fights

I would like to engage something Rusty said and use it as an excuse for an outdated book review and a meditation on mountain-climbing.

Mr. Schwartz identifies rollercoasters as "pedestrian thrill-seeking a [sic] really embarrassing way to get maimed or killed." I am in hearty agreement. Hear hear!* This observation got me thinking about the time I went to go see Touching the Void (hahahaha, hahahahaha, hahahaha, ok, out of system) a fantastic and wrenching film about an ill-fated trip up an Ande. Now, I gleaned my lessons about friendship and the nature of life from it, about the connection between nature's beauty and harshness but the main lesson I gleaned was mountain climbers are mentally deficient. I can say this a) because it is true and b) because my father and brother are big climbers and they are often all and on this mountain! a father and son team! just like us! died of exposure! because they did not bring an extra fleece! WTF, right? I feel like there are plenty of spectacular natural settings where the line between life and death is not marked by narsty synthetic pullovers, but that is not how mountaineers think.

The basics of Touching The Void are recounted in The Dangerous Book For Boys (warning: crap Flash). This is a book about things, ostensibly for boys, that was much talked-about about a month ago. Here is Flea talking about it. She's right about everything, so yeah.

Anyway, I got this book for my brother-in-law and my sister-in-double-law who are moving to Paris, France and may need to know how to skin a rabbit. I liked it! It was pretty! It talked about the history of artillery! Onager, what?! I got that the super-gendered slant was perhaps not enlightenment em-bookified, but I couldn't get worked up about it, really, and in general, since I am pretty touchy, I figure that if I'm not upset about something, it's not that big a deal. Solop-who? (Also, the one guy who wrote it, Conn Whassit, writes like, historical novels about Rome, and I can't take any posturing about Manliness to seriously from someone who is obviously approaching it in a pretty oblique way himself.)

Then, I read more, and I realized, oh my god, this book does piss me off, for reasons other than the reasons I had been ready for it to piss me off. Though if I'd thought about it and not been like, ooh, shiny cover, I probably could have anticipated.

This book is like, amazingly neglectful of non-white people - honestly, to an extent I feel goes beyond clumsiness. All the Amazing Stories about Amazing Dudes are about white dudes, and the history of America in the American edition is like, 15whatever, America appears! No Indians present! Resources bountiful! Also, Rudyard Kipling is made much of in the Poems section. Ahem.

Two, wtf with the weird squickiness about the gays? Ok, so the section about girls kinda presumes that the object of any boy-child's romantic interest will be a girl, but that, I can in fact, chart to clumsiness. But then, I read the story about Robert the Bruce. The story of Robert the Bruce is closely linked with the stories of Edward I and II of Inkland. Edward II was a big gay, and also a bad king. Presumably, these qualities were not particularly related (other big gay kings of Inkland of the top of my head - Richard I (Robin Hood!), James I (Bible!), William III). Ok. Notable fact about Edward II, he was killed by being reamed with a hot poker. Nice, right? TDBFB, after explaining that he was "impaled" on a hot poker, explains that at the time, this was considered "a suitable commentary on his lifestyle."** You guys, what? Ok. I think there are two ways to approach this. 1, probably more appropriate, just say the guy was impaled on a hot poker, the ravenous children get the grossness they crave, everyone is good. Two, say he was impaled on a hot poker to mimic his presumed LIKING TO GET FUCKED IN THE ASS, and note that striving for this sort of synchronicity in executions is like, not ok. Probably not for a kids' (or fake-kids') book, right? But this weird, "impaled, if you know what I mean, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" tone that occurs in the one place in the book gheyness turns up is pretty alienating.

Look, I think that at least the racism problem is a result of this book trying to hit a Golden-Age-Of-English-Something note and using that as an excuse to abandon discretion about this sort of thing. You guys, you know you can take the book-as-objet aesthetic, and the love of nature and so on and leave the ethnocentricity? Anyway, to that extent, I think shopping parents and/or nostalgiacs would be better off shopping around for, say the old Scout's Handbook or The Boy's Own Book of Frontiersmen or simply The Boy's Own Book. I had this and The Girl's Own Book. Excellent. And these are all reprints on Amazon, but you can get beautiful old editions too. ANYWAY. At least the racism in these (oh, and it will be rife) can be engaged in the context of history, and how thoughts evolve, and not in the context of nerdy nostalgic twuntism.

Updated 6/26/07 to note developments in C. Whassit's nostalgiac twuntism.

*Though it should be noted - note it! that my aversion to roller-coasters is founded in something much less rational than this proposition, and dates back to a traumatic experience on a kiddie rollercoaster when I was five. (I mean, not traumatic beyond the standard trauma of a kiddie rollercoaster ride, all feet were maintained.) A date tried to get me to go on the Cyclone once ("aw, come on! Everyone likes rollercoasters! Being scared is part of the fun!") and I got all the way to the front of the line, shaking, paid for my tickets, and then collapsed in uncontrollable shuddering sobs. AWESOME date, let me tell you.

**I am pretty sure that the word used was not "lifestyle," bc that is not a Man Word, but the
effect was the same. Maybe it was "proclivities." .

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dismemberment planning

Did you hear about the 13-year-old girl in Kentucky who got her feet cut off on a roller coaster? I think this gets to the heart of why I don't like roller coasters or the like. The way I see it, that kind of pedestrian thrill-seeking a really embarrassing way to get maimed or killed. If you're going to do something stupid and dangerous that might get you maimed or killed, there are plenty of more bad-ass dangerous things to do, like playing with stingrays or running for president. I guess this is why I kind of like Jackass. All I'm saying is: don't get crippled by a ride at a freakin theme park, get crippled trying to ride a yak or trying to unite the gangs or something.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More about birds.

A big red-tailed hawk was by! I'd never seen one close up like this - you could see its yellow eyes and it's long, smooth head and its curved beak which was sort of shockingly fierce. It was very beautiful. Now there's a turtle dove at the feeder. And I found wild mint in the dog run. Too bad it was probably covered with dog pee.

There's something sort of memento-mori about all this nature turning up in the cracks of everything. There's something sort of memento-mori about birds, period though.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Australia is a scam.

Australians say Australia is so great. But then, wherever you go in the world, who's there? Australians. If it's so great, why do they travel so much? BUSTED.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Finch Scout

A pretty little brown finch came by the birdfeeder today. In its honor, I am posting my potato frittata recipe. Frittatas are often described as "Italian omelets," but this is BUNK. An omelete's honor and delicacy depends on it being cooked quickly (if your omelete is on stovetop for more than 45 seconds, you're fucked). Frittatas are cooked slowly, over low heat. This makes them totaly different in every concievable way.

This, with some green beans, serves three people dinner and then two of those people lunch the next day.

Quarter and boil like 3 normal-to-large brown potatoes. Takes like 30 minutes, I'd say.

Sautee some onion if you have one around. One onion? I used a half, even.

Drain the potatoes and mash them up with the onion. Sautee the whole thing for a minute like you are making hash browns. Turn heat off.

Mix eggs (I used eight) with some salt, pepper, maybe some leafy fresh herbs if you have. I used thyme. Basil would be way good, too. I would advise against rosemary, since I think rosemary w. potatoes is kind of trite. Also, not leafy.

Pour egg mixture on potatoes, swirl the whole thing up. Let it sit for like 10 minutes.

Cook over low heat until it's all solid except for a runny layer on top. This can take surprisingly long bc. we're used to eggs being fast-cooking, but WRONG. Don't be surprised if it takes 20 minutes, even. The heat should really be really, really low. The consistency thus achieved is key.

WHEN this is done, layer a semi-hard cheese (I used some Argentinian Edam, which gets 3.5/5) on top and cook the whole thing under the broiler until bubbly.


Thursday, June 14, 2007


The self-identified libertarians, they are legion in my new home in the City of Faces. I have had some bad experiences with self-identified libertarians. Paradox - actual libertarian ideas as they pertain to specific policies, not so obnoxious a certain amount of the time. But libertarians? Uniformly problematic! Here is why:

1)First, a decent percent of the time, these are straight-up Ayn-loving teenagers* who have figured out that if they go around calling themselves objectivists, they will never ever get laid, but if they switch to libertarian, they might get laid like, twice.

2)No one is going to attach themselves to an ideology based on complete or almost-complete individual sovereignty and the possibility of success or failure in those terms unless they are pretty convinced of their own exceptionalism. People that attached to their own exceptionalism = douchebags. Similar situation. Have you ever read Genealogy of Morals with a bunch of 19-year-old boys? It is INSANE, because they are all over it and you can SEE the little wheels turning and them thinking "well, gosh, this UberGuy sounds a lot like me..."**

3)Ok, so 19-year old boys are all in a place where they are thinking they are the UberGuy. Statistically impossible! Isn't this evidence enough of a)the like, complete fallibility of individual self-perception and b)the webs/waves/whatever of whatever that connect all things? Take that, imaginary libertarians!

*I think the thing the American Universe is possibly WORST at is dealing with teenagers. More apprenticeships, STAT!

**This is not an indictment of Freddy himself, whom I like, if only bc. he writes like an awesome fiery writing machine. Also, re. 19-year-old-boys, see note above. I like 19-year-old-boys fine. I just think they are insanely vulnerable.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rumours of whatever, greatly whatever

Rusty Schwartz = totally still alive

Just... so you know.

Update - 9:55 PM:

It is not the British spelling; it is the Fleetwood Mac spelling. You are welcome in advance.

Double update - 9:58 PM:

To reflect proper tyrannical Violetstyle.


A robin and a cardinal stopped by the Antonio Gramsci Memorial Birdfeeder this morning. The cardinal is a symbol of vitality (and the state bird of Illinois!) and the robin is a harbinger of spring/beginnings/&c,&c. Nice things, I think. So I'd better have a good day or I'm going to find those birds and kill them.

Update - 11:20 PM:

Day was only middling. (Return of weird eye infection! And only ok productivity - 300 words and a couple of phone calls. However, my improvised potato and Edam frittata turned out well, and had a friend over and watched Undeclared.* Birds are on probation.)

*Am going to have to contemplate this soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dear Men,

How is it going? I bet it is great having all that upper body strength! Wow! Gosh, I wonder how many heavy boxes of books and dishes you could lift. Oh that's just great! It looked to be as easy for you as casting a feather aloft. You're really good at lifting stuff! Obviously you need something more challenging, something worthy of your mighty biceps. How about... gee, how about this futon? That's a good start, right?

Oh my! The whole futon! I guess there just isn't a thing a Hercules like you can't lift. Oh I have an idea! Do you think you can carry it all the way up these stairs? Wowzas! Why don't... why don't you see if you can make it all the way to... um, let me see... apartment 4F? How's that? Under the window in the front room? No, over a couple of feet. Ok, thanks.

Real Name oops! Violet

The Beatdown Magazine relocation extravaganza begins 6/18/07


Autobots good, Decepticon bad.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Word Count

Ok. This here blog is going to be an accountability tool so's I can keep track of my writing. Stats currently:
-Have about 20,000 words of random jibber-jabber from abandoned draft, 30% of which I anticipate recycling.
-Have another 3000 words of reworked draft.

Wrote 850 words today, in the early childhood episodes.

I have to do a lot of research on DC suburbs in 1985.

self-loathing and its contents

So, on the one hand:

I have pulled my shoulder during a yoga class. It hurts.

On the other hand:

Isn't that what I get for being such a yuppie?

On another hand, maybe on another person:

Maybe if I became Hindu, I would not hurt myself anymore, via shield of authenticity.

On some fourth hand:

I think it's kind of cool that I am approaching yuppie. Proscribed roles save time and energy! Where is my i-banker boyfriend!?

Saturday, June 2, 2007


Went out to Breezy Point today. For all my complaints about Flu Spork, it is a fine thing to remeber how much of Flu Spork there is. And the southern beaches of Long Island are always particulalrly beautiful, in their sparse, expansive way. And very ancient-feeling. It is easy to imagine yourself a Canarsie Indian 500 years ago, if your peripheral vision is not particularly good.

Isn't it funny that the place where the Rockaway Indians lived became Richmond Hill, and the place where the Canarsie Indians lived became the Rockaways? And who even knows who lived in Canarsie.