yes, yes, yes! one thing down. 1,115 to go. This is actually a precise number. All due Monday.
I am currently downloading The Watcher in the Woods in order to have screenshots to show Angela, who cuts my hair next week. But I'm kind of chickening out. Because it's a really stupid haircut. As I describe what I want (Karen from W in the W meets Sarah Connor from TV) ends up souning like Worst of the 70's meets Mullets Galore.
But for now, I'm taking a break, and a bath, listening to tunes, and updating my blog. The exam got out early, and I have a whole 3 hours I wasn't really expecting.
I got a new rug! It is so pretty, and the cats love it. Xander is sleeping on it right now. I got this rug because after I cleaned my apartment and got rid of a lot of stuff, I realized it echoed. So I found this Iranian rug. And I took pictures. Here are several pictures, of the rug and my cats (of course):
NEW: I wanted to take pictures with the couch uncovered, to make sure all the reds don't clash. They might a little bit, but it's ok. NEW: It looks so homey with the rug!
This is the rug. This is the tape I'm using to train Ladybird to stay off the counters. This is Ladybird, studying statistics for me.
I'm searching for a bike tire patch to fix my balance ball. I searched "bike patch" first, and now I can't stop thinking of it like a pumpkin patch, but with bikes.
I discovered that I can brew my yerba mate in my single-serving coffee brewer. This discovery went hand in hand with discovering a nest of silverfish in my single-serving coffee brewer. I'm not sure I can get over this fact, psychologically, however much I disinfect.
My professor, whom I gave a ride from one part of campus to the other this week, has a super-messy office. Like picture an absent-minded professor's office. Now double the amount of stuff in it. Bookshelves overstuffed with binders and loose papers. Stacks and stacks of leaning papers on every surface of a huge desk. The rest of the floor space is taken up by stacks of cardboard boxes that are all taller than I am.
Prof: Hmm, that paper is in here somewhere.... Me: What's in these boxes? Prof: [looks at them, startled] I have no idea! (note: these have been there since last semester) Me: Hmm. Well, you've seen my car, so I can't say anything about mess. Prof: It wasn't so bad. Me: I picked up hitchhikers a couple of weeks ago, and I was the one embarrased. They were the ones that ran out of gas!
We watched a video in Microeconomics about the Worldcom financial scandal. Eliot Spitzer was NY's attorney general at the time, and was interviewed a lot for the video. At one point, he said "propositioned," and everyone was kind of giggling to themselves, until someone must have made eye contact with someone else, and then everyone had giggles for pretty much the rest of the video.
The most awesome thing has happened! I got five dollars cash in the mail! And all I have to do is fill out a survey about TV. I might have done that anyway. It's like they knew that a) I've been doing nothing but watching TV since the new year and b) I really like one dollar bills!
I did not mention that during my trip to LA, I kept finding one dollar bills in all my pants that I'd brought. I started hoarding them, and sometimes when I couldn't find them, I would suddenly fret "My ones!" I was trying to pay homage to my brother's obsession with change for a dollar on one family vacation, but I don't think he got it. He only laughed when I offered to pay for something for him because "I have ones coming out of my butt. Apparently." Because I had just found even more mysterious ones in the back pocket of those pants, too.
I'm off to fill out my survey!
...hmmm. Now I've filled it out. It was kind of disappointing, because they first asked age, and I answered. The next screen they asked "How many television sets are in your household?" and I put zero. Then, pretty much no more questions. I wanted to tell them the strengths and weaknesses of the Sarah Connor Chronicles! And that they should bring Firefly back! And that BBC America should be available via antenna! No, they just asked if I was white, and sent me on my way.
It takes a special kind of nerd to create a site this detailed about the scarves of Doctor Who through the seasons. And it takes a special kind of nerd to have found it on Google. I blame Sara, my LA friend who knitted during a really lame hipster show we went to, for making me think seriously about knitting a scarf approximately 20 feet long.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
I’ve had a fantastic start to my spring break! I feel like I already had a full one in LA, and now I get to go back to Austin and have another one (even if I have to work about 40 hours during the rest of the week).
Rather than recount every place we went, everything we did, which I’m tempted to do because I feel like recording my feats of sociability and activity, I will try giving a paragraph to each of the California experiences.
The Pantry, Hotel Figueroa, The Bordello A group of us were trying to go to a burlesque show our friend’s friends were in. But my baby brother got carded. We thought of several ways to try to sneak him in. He reconned the kitchen, and we had an idea if he could sweet-talk the cook, he could get to the door just behind the doorman, at which point we would provide a distraction as he slipped to the main room. We even had our phones synced up for text message coordination before my brother lost his nerve. I had the idea that was “just crazy enough to work” of dressing him in feather-fans and boas and sneaking him in as a performer, but he didn’t go for it.
As we were walking our friend from her car to the Bordello (which, incidentally, was half a block from the rock paper scissors competition from two years ago), Willie caught sight red light spilling onto the concrete—the backstage door was open! He seized the moment, and took off across the street sprinting into the door. Three guys milling around back there, whom we had hoped weren’t bouncers, exchanged glances, and the biggest two changed course and followed my brother.
Fortunately he didn’t emerge roughed up or bloodied, but we abandoned our attempts since pretty much everyone in there by then knew his face (it would have been funny if he had emerged on the stage in the middle of a burlesque number, but I don’t think that happened).
So a few of us broke off to return for a second night of Hotel Figueroa (fantastic, fantastic place—like Hotel San Jose in Austin, but on heroin). Mojitos all around (I broke my no-alcohol, no-coffee resolutions multiple times this trip; you can’t break the first without breaking the second the next morning). My brother’s girlfriend is great. I decided they are just like Anakin and Padme.
Before the burlesque show, we had a rushed dinner (Ethiopian), and S’s boyfriend was imparting wisdom to my brother and his gf on going to the burlesque show: “You have to applaud, which is already different from a regular strip club. You have to applaud, but you have to be doing it in a way that says ‘you go, girl! You’re really good at this, and I bet that means you’re good at other things in your life, too!’ So you have to applaud, but with subtext. Can you applaud with subtext?”
“Let me tell you about the very rich: they are different from you and me.” Santa Barbara is a beautiful part of California. Mountain, beach, green in between. I was there most of Monday. We spent four (4) hours touring someone’s ranch (by vehicle; it was very, very big). There were beautiful views, avocados, lemons, a few oranges, a private beach, dozens of vehicles including the UK army jeep used for getting around the trickier terrains of the property, and a dog faithfully trotting behind the jeep at every turn. So what was missing? A tank? Well, the owner had ordered one. A miniature tank. Jokingly he said it was because of a land dispute with a neighbor, but never gave the real reason he would order a tank (to them, it was apparently self-explanatory why a gentleman-farmer would want a street-legal military surplus tank).
At first I didn’t get the owner’s vibe (maybe I’d offended him when the first thing I said to him when he showed us his new still-empty barn was “You know you’re supposed to put stuff in these? I think I read that somewhere.”), but in the end, he was a nice guy after all. He took us down to the private beach (which, and I'm dead serious, he shares with the Jolie-Pitts). The beach itself looked like it was designed by the Style Network: aesthetically smooth stones stacked in pleasing and scattered piles, a trickling creek running across them, sheer cliffs and a fun-looking tunnel through them. The owner let me have an orange and a lemon and an avocado from the ranch. I will cherish them always.
On the other end of the spectrum, and speaking of the Style Network, the house my friend has lived in the last 5 years got re-done by the Style Network’s show Clean House since I was there last. The house is rented by a group of people struggling in the entertainment industry, so the yard sale of all their old stuff raised only minimal money. But the place looks great! I've always wanted to see a before-after in real life.
“Let’s go down to the pool at the Raddy and drink strawberry daiquiris!” Before arriving at my brother’s school, one of the activities he pitched was going down to the Radisson and drinking by the pool. “Wow,” I thought. “That doesn’t sound fun at all.” (Yes, I'm a hotel snob: San Jose is OK, Radisson is not ok. But read on)
I don’t know how to put this, exactly, but many of my worst fears about my brother’s school proved true: TVs bigger than my condo on every dorm floor, and a free (though faulty) air hockey table. Everyone wears bathing suits all the time, apparently, and many people are drunk every day (not my brother thankfully). Every night I slept in his dorm, one or both of his neighbors were…uh…with their girlfriends. I got to experience sexile. Every Sunday there is a music festival on the lawn (my brother played so I got to see him). Sex, drugs, rock and roll. I had forgotten many of the horrors of dorm life (shower shoes, bringing your products with you to the bathroom, in addition to the aforementioned).
But I remembered the fun of the yearlong nesting, and was impressed with my brother’s innovation in said realm—he’d gotten a used fold-out couch so his bed was a bit bigger, and it was enclosed by a canopy of draped sarongs from Venice Beach. I could tell he’d straightened out the room significantly in honor of my visit, but there was still no chance of mistaking it for a Style Network “after.”
After buying a bathing suit, sunnin’ and funnin’, meeting about 30 of my brother’s friends a day, and getting myself a tan for which I felt moderate pride, I realized I was ready to go hang out at the Raddy. I got it! And it was kind of fun. Some kids were spoiled (after one sip, one girl sent back a drink the bartender had spent 15 minutes making, and didn’t act the least bit thankful; another in talking about what to make for dinner that night couldn’t decide between shrimp cocktail and steak), some kids weren’t bright (even my brother said, about one of his friends, “I don’t know if you noticed, but X? Is kind of a dumbass.”), but they were still fun to hang out with, at least for an afternoon at the Radisson pool. And many were so great I just wanted to take them home in my pocket. My brother congratulated my transformation when I used “chill” as an adjective.
My last night, I was going to be sleeping at the school, but it was revealed on the ride back that he’d had a big fight with his roommate before dinner (explaining his distraction), and I was going to be sleeping in his girlfriend’s room, while they would be sleeping in the basement. But as I was helping them carry a bundle of blankets down to the basement, we realized at the door that the roommate and the roommate’s girlfriend were also down there getting ready to sleep there. It was kind of a funny coincidence, since it wasn’t actually the dorm they live in, but both of them had been planning to sleep in that basement to avoid each other. The coincidence precipitated a resolution, and we all drove back to my brother’s room, and the five of us slept there that night.
At the airport, they just announced “If you left your laptop, and the Girls are Having a Great Time, please pick up your items from TSA.” What?
My flight has been delayed more than an hour. Plus my brother dropped my off about 2 hours early. But it’s OK to watch the sun set behind the mountains one more time.
A trip to the garden center renewed my latent desire to have, and kill, plants. I got some herbs to replace the ones that died over the winter, although as I cleared out the dried plant carcasses of the top layer, I did see that some of them were secretly alive. Like in the Secret Garden! I suddenly felt the horror of what I'd done, letting them waste away in the harsh elements, alone and unloved.
Anyway. Peppermint is the best thing ever. If I ever have a lawn, I don't want grass on it, I just want baby peppermint, all across. It's soft and low, like moss, but then you can smell the peppermint from feet away. Wouldn't that be a great way for your lawn to greet you every morning? Yes? Good, I'm glad you're coming with me on this... [a quick internet search reveals that I must have actually bought Corsican mint]
Anyway, I spent a good while this evening on my pot garden. Wait, that came out wrong. Balcony garden...of marijuana. Not really. The most potent stuff I have is oregano.
And because I'm apparently all music, all the time, here is a peppermint appropriate song, from an album I kind of love (but I swear I didn't write the stuff about peppermint up there just to have an excuse to link):
At first I thought I didn't like it (acid flashback to midnight Gumby movies that gave me nightmares. Not that I ever did acid, just watching Gumby at midnight itself simulates pretty well, I imagine), but I think I do like it. I tried to think of videos that I do like, and first off I eliminated most videos because a) I don't like when the videos are re-enactments of the songs; that's silly and b) I don't like when the videos have nothing to do with the songs (e.g. most videos, if you're lucky enough to see one, on MTV, where they splice several dances of the singer looking sexy into the camera). So what does that leave? Radiohead videos and Michele Gondry videos. I am, after all, a white person.
Speaking of him, links I stole from ortsorfragments... Be Kind Rewind video:
Michel Gondry reenacts the promo playing all the parts himself:
I don't think I ever blogged about the story of how I got a free Cat Power CD about a year ago.
I was borrowing my aunt's car, which had a CD player, but I didn't bring any CDs with me. I wondered if there was already a CD in there, and luckily there was! So for days and days I listened to that one CD. But weirdly, it was Cat Power's The Greatest, which didn't really strike me as my aunt's type of music. My aunt is really really nice to me, and I had a somewhat crazy thought that she'd somehow researched that I liked (or would like) Cat Power, and found out which album I didn't have yet, and put it in there to surprise me. This was unlikely, but somehow more likely than my aunt listening to Cat Power in her own car.
So when I returned the car, I remembered to ask about the CD, and she said "OH! THAT thing. Do you want it?" (yes, but...) "NO, we don't want it. George..."
[side note, George is her LTboyfriend, and our whole family calls him "the yankee," though as a term of endearment by now; but if there's anyone less likely to listen to Cat Power than my aunt, it's him]
"...George heard a review of it on NPR, so he got it. But he didn't really like it. He said 'Well, I can't understand a dang thing she says! And what I do understand kind of.... kind of makes me want to kill myself!'" So my aunt inherited the CD, and pretty much had the same reaction.
So, yay, free CD for me!
Speaking of Cat Power, I forgot to mention the day I couldn't stop listening to Thao Nguyen's "Bag of Hammers." It's like Cat Power is from the land of rock! And she doesn't make you want to kill yourself! She makes you want to kill someone else!