chug barn

how can it only be wednesday?
how is that even possible?

today i looked through the small notebook that i usually carry around with me. i jot down things that cross my mind, i make lists, write down plans when my pda's battery is dead, ideas for songs, etc. each page i flipped to was a memory...ikea with david buying bookcases. nyc in february. sad thoughts on bart. songs for unfinished mix cd's. "get your war on" url. an email address i pulled off the wall in the alley one night when i was drinking there with sully...she picked two. we pinky swore to randomly email these guys, but the next day when we sobered up we both reconsidered. ah, the broken pinky swear still haunts me.

then, near the end, this thing that i have absolutely no recollection of, but it's in my writing, my red pen:

Daly City
    chug barn
    6 cars in front--
      2 champagne escalades

i have no idea what this means, but i think it's awesome.


a boring ramble, really just skip this one

pressure's on.

new work project is bound to wind up on slashdot freshmeat etc., is the consensus. a million smart & snarky people will be picking apart our code, some of which will be mine. ceo says "if there's ever a time to gold-plate, it's now."

mwf class i'm not sure i can get into. ah, but today i got a verbal agreement from my tues-thurs professor. i will be conducting a semester-long phonological study on a language of my choice. i have to find a native speaker. i will do acoustic models! i love being nerdy.

and let's not even talk about the fact that i get/have to meet the principals on a project at the research institute of my dreams next week. i have to convince them that i am somehow qualified to do this work (i have no idea if i am). then i have to find the time to actually do it.

i have to figure out my sections still, have to get my old computer ready to give away, have to think for two seconds about my mom's upcoming visit here, her first time out here in more than 8 years. i have to keep track of train schedules and commuter checks, project meetings and study groups and readings and homework. statements of purpose, letters of recommendation. bug tracking. midterms oh god midterms and let's not even think about finals yet, let's not even allow a whisper of an idea of finals into our minds, not yet. development environments and three-subject notebooks and apparently i do have a calnet id, but i don't know what the password is! did i set the password and then forget it? not like me but then again i wasn't really myself before the summer class started.

pressure's on but then i was always good under pressure.
time to see if i've still got it.


of bicycles and penguins

i have a love-hate relationship with my bicycle. i always think i don't wanna ride it so instead i walk or take the bus, or take one of my too-indulgent friends up on a ride offer. but when i do tell myself to stop being lazy and dumb and i ride my bike i have the best time. and i think yay this is so much fun i'm going to ride my bike EVERYWHERE from now on. and then i get home and it goes back to leaning against the outside of my little house, near the front door.

awhile ago one of the people who own the front house emailed me to nicely and at some length enumerate the reasons why i should really take advantage of the locked bike storage room that i have access to as part of my lease. i did that after i first moved in here, but then i just rode my bike even less. this way at least it's accessible, it looks at me every day when i come home. it welcomes me and reproaches me with the darkened stare of its AA-powered headlight. but the email was very convincing, leaving me sure there was a real possibility my bicycle would be stolen if i did not put it inside the storage room. and yet there it sits. perhaps i'm subconsciously hoping that someone will take it. i love my bicycle.

the other thing i wanted to tell you is that although my summer class crush has come and gone and been replaced by quieter comfortable feelings, last night at the movie when one of the penguins turned his head & looked into the camera, and summercrush leaned over & whispered "he's looking at you," i was quite charmed.

i want to go camping.



when i started my summer class, i'd gone down to campus ahead of time to get my id card and buy all my books, and to find just the right notebook for class. i was nervous and i was parenting myself. i had my backpack all packed up and ready to go, including a lunch, the night before. i'd located the class building on the campus map, which i lovingly tucked into an inner pocket of my pack. the adult me told the kid me it's okay, this will be great, you'll see. but the kid me said no way, they'll all think i'm some weird old creepy person. (okay the parent/child analogy breaks down here.)

tomorrow, fall classes start. i have nothing to take notes on and i have no clue what books i will need. i don't even know what the process is for concurrent enrollment, which is the way that non-berkeley students can take classes at berkeley. my backpack hangs empty on a coatrack near the front door and the bus sticker on my id is outdated and i have no calnet id so i haven't even found out my summer grade yet. i don't know the location of tomorrow's class.

i'm still hungover, my sink is full of dirty dishes, i didn't sleep enough or well last night, and tonight i went out to see the late showing of march of the penguins with a couple of people from summer class.

in other words: i think i am officially a student again.

wanted to show you the stars

sometimes it's like if you imagine a fish that knows it's caught and knows it's gonna die and it still thrashes around a little bit from time to time.

i miss him tonight, that's just natural right? i mean, it seems like the most natural thing in the world, to me. you loved someone, really loved them. their big feet and their dirty fingernails, their messy hair, glowing eyes, and their words, most of all their words. and how they played guitar for you and skated around even though they're twice as old as the other skatepark kids. and how they were the best friend you could ever wish for and the worst idiot boyfriend you couldn't walk away from. they are deeply and permanently flawed, and they are shining beautiful, and all of this is true.

when it ends then you can breathe more, you can breathe deeper. you can be in your life and stretch out in the bed, your toes can feel the corners. you can feel your strength, you can feel the corners of your self too, you can push them out a bit, play with their shape. you're more fully occupying yourself but it's sadder, too, at first it's really very sad. loneliness and freedom are different words for the same thing. you only call it freedom if it's what you want, and at first you don't want it.

but maybe one day you're helping your friend move and this song comes on. maybe it's his favorite song from this one record you listened to all the time together. and it's about somebody leaving, it's about saying goodbye. and you hear two notes of it and you lose your breath for a second. maybe that's because suddenly you realize it's been awhile since you thought about him. it's been awhile since you really really missed him, you can't remember the last time you cried. and that is its own kind of sad, so you skip the song and it's okay but for the rest of the day maybe you just feel like you're thrashing around a little, out of your water.

maybe it is a shock to realize that loneliness has become freedom.
it's strange how the mind & heart do not coordinate their movements.

another strange thing is gratitude, how we express it and how we respond to it. the friend i helped move, we were wrapping her dishes up in newspaper in her kitchen, stacking them carefully in boxes. and she said "thank you so much for helping." and without thinking i said "no problem" and then it hit me what a bad response that is. to this expression of gratitude, it's a brushoff answer. "no problem"...that's not even true. of course it's a problem, loving people, loving friends, sometimes it's work. but work can be good, too.

i'm not explaining it well. i didn't explain it well at the time either and i felt embarrassed and so i stopped.

she understood it sort of, she said "you're not doing it 'cause you love to do it." and i said "no, i'm doing it 'cause i love you." she's a bestfriend friend by the way, i don't always tell all my friends i love them so easily. although perhaps i should, perhaps it would be a happier world..

anyway, i'm not trying to say that helping someone pack is some grand thing, i'm speaking more generally now. what i'm saying is...do good things for the people you care about, because you care about them, and then let them be grateful. don't play it off by saying that what you're doing is easy, no big thing, whatever. it is something, that's the whole point...that they are worth it. respond gracefully, respond in kind. say "you are so welcome." even if it's small. you want them to know that with you, all they have to do is ask. it's that simple. and it always will be.


we're the unicorns & we're people too


"In the meantime, fans thirsty for a taste of that trademark Unicorns zaniness can check out "Do They Know It's Halloween?", a part-spoof, part-tribute to those grand, overblown charity songs we're all so familiar with, written by Diamonds and Adam Gollner. What started as a goofy idea has blossomed into an actual all-star UNICEF benefit single, to be released by Vice Recordings as a digital download on October 4 and as a CD and vinyl single on October 11. Diamonds and Gollner recorded the song with Redd Kross' Steven McDonald producing, and then solicited vocals from a galaxy of famous friends, including Beck, Karen O, Thurston Moore, Peaches, Devendra Banhart, Win Butler and Regine Chassagne of the Arcade Fire, David Cross, Malcolm McLaren and Leslie Feist. So basically it's an indie version of Live Aid."

(i want i want i want)

some lives you live and some you leave behind

today i got put on the really cool project i wanted to work on. i'd tell you about it but i think it'd be boring. it's about routers and open source and nerdy things like that.

i can't explain my life lately, i can't explain why any of this stuff keeps happening to me. i'm starting to worry a little that it's going to be too much of a good thing. the cool work project and the cool research gig and the cool classes and having to write a really outstanding app for grad school. i sold myself all around and now it's time to cash all the checks.

it's gonna be hard and i will tell you a secret: i am afraid i can't do it. i haven't really had to work for anything like this in a long time, maybe not ever.

figured out what it was about that serious conversation that was bothering me. wasn't that i said anything that crossed any lines, or that he didn't get as personal or more personal than i did. but it was when he said "you are more serious than i am" is what it was. which...i don't even know if it's true, i mean he's the one talking about the anatomy of regret, and our hearts are only so elastic, that's pretty serious stuff i would say. and he knows hardly anything about me really so it doesn't matter anyway. but it echoed david's "i could do this if it weren't so intense" and this stupid thing i do, holding back pieces of myself to keep someone around.

sometimes naming and realizing a truth is a kind of release in itself. now i think to nobody in particular but rather to all the potential somebodies whose paths might tangle with mine up ahead...if you wanna get personal, let's get personal. if you wanna go deep, let's go deep. i can laugh and play and be stupid too but if intensity is what you're after i will match you step for step, i will ride your ride and i will insist on returning the favor. there isn't enough time for anything else and do you really want to be one of those people who talks about the weather all the time? 'cause if you do then we're not gonna be very good friends anyway. but if you let me, i will change your life.


a line allows progress, a circle does not


okay...okay. i just have this friend, and she's doing this thing...with the stuff...
ah, nevermind. it's just sometimes you look at the decisions that people are making and you think wtf, man. and if you care about them at all it can be very frustrating. but you can't fuck with other people's lessons, you know? i can only tell her what i think, and i did, and now i will watch her get squished and then comfort her afterwards. this is karmic payback, i know it. 'cause for a long time i was retarded too.

but in other news, today i am wearing my favorite sweater and that means that fall is getting close. wool sweaters are fall and my favorite one is bright blue, and getting a bit frayed around the ends of the sleeves, which suits me just fine. i love the feel of fall's rad sunny-cool days. fall is crinkly, smokey, and scratchy. this year, september means trying to get into full classes through concurrent enrollment (read: last priority, g'luck chumpy) and trying to work out the research gig and trying to figure out the car stuff. this year, fall means details and details are boring. but it also means the olivias the decemberists and bestfriend birthdays.

and my feet are starting to itch, i can feel it a little. never been very good at staying in one place for too long and in the last year i've been to mn twice and nyc once and the mountains a jillion times and that was all so great but i really want to go somewhere else. somewhere different, not-family not-california and for more than a weekend. see? i'm a greedy human. everything is awesome and i still want more-more-more. i'd had delusions of going back to new orleans but alone this time, bringing piles of books and my computer and sitting for hours in du monde every morning just reading and writing and sipping my chicory coffee. just watching the slow river and letting the hot wet air press on me. i want to go everywhere and do everything and never worry about time or money.

today i am impatient with myself and others.
i am restless and anticipating the next thing.


oh evil alcohol

come get a drink with us, they said.
wait...i really wanted to get this build working tonight.
get a life, he said. come to the pub with us.

well, okay.

i haven't been drinking lately. i haven't eaten dinner. one chimay later i was laughing and laughing and everything looked a bit glowy and i was feeling pretty damn good. out drinking with five guys from work and one of them is the totally hot coworker i've been background crushing on for months. so the chimay and then one had to leave to go meet friends at another bar and come with us they said. come get another drink with us.

no, no i really can't do that.

they got in a cab bound for the lower haight and these guys standing on the corner said "what, they're leaving you? can we come with you? do you live here? are you single?" ugh, no you can't come with me i said. walked to bart and rode home visualizing skin and mouths and heat, biting the hot coworker where shoulder curves into neck. just biting a little. just melting a little and wishing i were out drinking with them but of course i know better.

so i'm home, hungry and i have no food.
hungry and i have no boy.
the ex would be here in two seconds but that way lies madness.
that way lies sadness.
so i won't.

well. i do have bourbon and poetry and music to get fucked up by.
i haven't been walking to my nighttime spot in awhile.
i have cigarettes and beer and a bad attitute.

hello, darkside. glad you decided to stick around for awhile.


"the marvelous arithmetics of distance"

dream, not sweet

in my dream i was at a birthday dinner for a friend and i was seated across from tony pierce of busblog fame. i was all "wow, cool, wonder how they know him" and then somehow the conversation became represented visually by a blog rating/comments screen. and in this dream i had something called "the mcdonald's blog" and the point was that i would write about things that happened to me day to day, when i was out to lunch with my coworkers, etc. but in the spot for rating that blog, tony pierce had given me three red stripes (this was apparently bad) and written "too long. unfocused. what is the point?" it didn't really bother me though.

after the dinner i walked home to an apartment i don't have in a neighborhood i've never seen. i stopped in a convenience store around the corner. inner city ghetto scary and this strung-out crackhead young mother at the counter turns around and she has a gun. she starts firing at me, all six rounds close range in superslow motion and i hit the floor and just lie there trying to make myself as small as i can. bang...bang.......bang...bang..........bangbang. they all miss. vigilantes rush in and drag her out screaming. i grab the gun and try to sell it to two young men behind me, they don't want it. i slap it down on the counter and say "here lenny, for you." lenny is a wizened shrunken old vietnamese man. i leave the store.

i walk around the corner to home, stepping over thrift store clothing spread out across sidewalk curb gutter by unofficial blanket sidewalk vendors. i am thinking "i will write about what just happened on the mcdonald's blog, THIS is focused."

i step into the lobby of my building and suddenly everything changes. it's opulent, sparkling, muted, plush. walking through the lobby i see a group of four people, two couples it looks like. they are on their way out. one couple leaves and the other lingers behind, they seem to be hesitantly arguing. i look closer and i think it is my exboyfriend greg. (this is the only element of my dream that actually matches my real life. i went out with greg for two years, another life ago. he was mean, and is the only ex that i really cannot stand, have no desire to know.) greg looks up and sees me and his expression transforms. i smile and walk over. we hug and he introduces me to his companion, she gets a furious look on her face and says "oh, the FAMOUS amy," and coldly, angrily, leaves. he does not follow her or call out to her. he looks at me and he is different. he looks just the same but he is kind now, his energy is warm and embracing. even his lips are soft. he's christlike. (i just realize that now.) smiling down at me and asking me all those questions...you know those questions..."so how are you DOING?" "so what ELSE is going on with you?" then more pointed "so do you live here alone?" we kiss, it is one of those kisses you feel below your stomach and in your soul and i fall back against the wall. he wants my number, he hands me a photograph of myself and a bic pen. i try to write but i am shaken and i can't get the numbers to come out right.

then my brother is there (it isn't my real-life brother but a dream-brother, different). he's coaching me, yelling the numbers out. "east bay! 510!" i try and cross out, try and cross out. when the picture is full of scribbles, i've finally gotten it down right. i hand it back and laugh, it doesn't matter. my brother walks over and i am going to tell them about the shooting in the corner store but he starts asking me if i've ever slept with a prostitute. it's weird and greg is still there and we're both like "uhh..what?" my brother starts telling me a story. he and some friends, driving around in a car, wintercold, they see a homeless alcoholic person passed out under an overpass. he proceeds to describe in graphic detail their gang ass-rape of this man...graphic, brutal detail. now it's like i'm reading it in a book, horrified. i don't know if greg is gone now or if it's just that my awareness of him has receded. my brother finishes his story by describing the man waking up many hours later, after he and his friends have left. (because i am now reading it in a book, the omniscient narrator thing works.) the guy stands up, pulls up his pants, looks around at the stain slowly spreading out from his ass, and laughs and laughs and laughs into the cold grey sky.


one of my best friends says that i am not in touch with my dark side.
i record this dream as evidence to the contrary.


he said i am more serious

found myself in a conversation today that seemed to be at a level of depth unwarranted by the friendship. saying things that felt like revealing too much. i am in almost every respect a very open person, very comfortable being who i am, making that known. but in this conversation i was feeling nervous and threatened..by the subject matter, not by the person. and then i found myself saying that, describing that feeling.

there is a way that people sometimes try to forge closeness before its time. they do this by revealing secrets, discussing difficult sad or painful things, by exposing soft parts of themselves. today i found myself exposing my soft parts without really intending to. i wasn't into it at all.

the flight back didn't go well and i was really late getting in and getting home from sfo was torturous and it was past 3a when i finally crawled into bed and then i had to get up this morning for work and the thing about this working fulltime deal is that they expect you to be there ALL DAY. so demanding.

do you ever get so exhausted that you just want to throw a tantrum?
'cause i do.


fargo, nd. wireless.

hi friends. i'm comin' at you live and unplugged from the lovely and scenic hector international airport in fargo, nd. amazingly enough they have free wireless.

ohmygod i can't wait to be home. leaving later than i was supposed to (fuck you very much northwest..though i shouldn't complain too much i suppose as the planes are still going even with the mechanics' strike) and i won't even get to sfo until 11.30 and the last bart train is at 11.50 and i have checked luggage and arrrrgh. i will be cranky in the morning, but no matter, i will be home home home.

9 days is a long time to spend in the land of yellow ribbons & american flags.

i had full-body patdowns both directions.
so i figure i must be doing something right.

on the upside and in the i-think-it-will-happen department...i'm getting a free car. well, one of two cars. they're both old with lots of miles but still in pretty good shape, and, y'know, free. and possibly possibly one might even be driven out to me. i do love my crazy family.

also i got to drive really fast across mn lakecountry at night with a swollenhuge pumpkin harvest moon hanging low, just listening to mission of burma so loud i couldn't hear anything else but tremolo, there wasn't even anything else anywhere anyhow.

what else do i need to say to you wirelessly from fargo?
1. i got a cryptic email from the ex today but it was more annoying than painful tugging. still a bit of ouch and more than a bit of tug though which tells me do-not-respond.
2. mom packed me 1.5 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a bag of craisins for the flight.
3. i started making a mix cd but it needs some work because after listening to it even i felt aurally assaulted.
4. if i can read a good bit of the johnson book by the time i leave msp then i will watch velvet goldmine on the msp-sfo flight.
5. they are starting preboarding now.

my friends back home are colliding in unholy ways.
hi my name is amy and i want to go home.


more like a stranger

being here is weird, seeing photos of me at various ages everywhere, it's like living all these moments from my past simultaneously. and many of them are not so good, just awkwardly trying to be someone else mostly. i wonder if everyone spends so much time just trying to be someone else. i want to tell those young captive versions of me: nothing is wrong with you. stop trying to be somethingorother and just BE. but oh god, honey, we have to talk about the sweater vests...

(my mother dressed me until i was in college, that's my excuse and i'm stickin' to it)

this disorientation hasn't really happened to me before, i'm not sure why it is now. maybe i'm spending more time alone here, or maybe all the craziness everyone is going through. or all the craziness i went through at home and now i have a bit of safe remove from all that. i don't know. i think too much. but i miss my home and my friends and my cozy little cottage and my life. i miss bart and ac transit and that sunny hill outside of kroeber hall, and that one particular bench i would sit on before class, under the tree, with leaves and flowers threatening to surround and sometimes will coming to sit by me there until it was time to go inside. and i miss foggy drippy mornings (really) and my bed oh god my perfect bed, and my coffeeshop. i miss my ibook and my guitar and my vine, and how the grapefruits from the tree outside hit the ground with thumpy plops, and how the raccoons crawl on my roof in the nighttime and i can see their bandit faces peeking in the skylights if it's dark inside.

there are good things here, too. today i did nothing productive. i took a very long and hot shower with decadent amounts of soapy soap and steamy steam. i went to lunch with my mom. wrestled on the floor with the dog. scratched my mosquito bites. made dinner for my family. stayed up after everyone else went to sleep, watching dvd bonus features. it is 1.31a central time, and it finally feels like vacation, and things are good, and also i can't wait to go home. to california-where-things-are-normal. to a complete lack of photographic sweater vest evidence.

(that can be our little secret, right?)



today i took my mother to her eye surgery. she has been diabetic for over 20 years and as a complication she has been having retinopathy. so today was her second in a series of laser surgeries to correct problems with blood vessels in her retinas.

my brother the medical student says "if this is happening in her eyes it is also happening in her kidneys and her brain."

the first surgery was terribly painful and so the doctor prescribed a stronger drug this time. darvocet plus acetominophen. also lorazepam to calm her down. none of it worked. she passed out today in her chair during the surgery. when she came to they wheeled her to a recovery room where she could lie down, and she spent the rest of her time there fighting her need to vomit.

people say i have a soothing presence and i did my best today and i felt so goddamn helpless. i babbled inanely where i generally am more quiet; my mother is the talker. but i told her about "berkeley time" and spongebob squarepants (huh? where did that come from) and anything else silly and faraway i could think of...and i fessed up to childhood naughtiness

(once upon a time i wanted to get my younger brother in trouble and i got it in my head that if my mom thought he was cutting his own hair then she would be angry with him. his hair was about the same color as my barbie dolls--i hated them--so i took one of the dolls and my mom's kitchen shears into his bed and cut some of the hair off and scattered it around his pillow. i knew she would be coming around to make our beds soon so i just waited. awhile later i heard her stomping down the stairs. my brother having no idea what's coming i thought here we go..this is gonna be great! my mom: "i want to ask you something. have you been cutting amy's barbie doll's hair in your bed?!" she never knew until today...)

you get to a certain point in life when you realize your parents are just people. i mean you really get that, you internalize it. you find away to wrap yourself around that fact and then you can forgive them for a lot of fucked up shit. then later on you get to a point when you realize that it's time to start taking care of them. that point came a lot earlier with my mom than i expected it to.

i remember when i was six my grandma came to live with us during the last six months of her life. cancer really fucking sucks, bad bad way to go out. but we turned the family room into her room, brought in a hospital bed, etc. she always wanted me and my brother to go hang out with her so she would intentionally drop things under her bed. wrapped candies and small change. we would crawl around under there talking to her and thinking we found the promised land.

and i was so little then but i remember watching my mom mothering her own mom. and it hit me what a strange thing that was. i was little and my mom was everything to me, she was strong and she was everything and i could not imagine ever needing to take care of her, ever even being capable of that. i watched her taking care of her mother and i couldn't imagine me being grown up, or her being old and failing.

and then today i drove her home with her big dark sunglasses against her small pale face and she tried to smile and say she was okay and she wasn't and she wasn't and i grabbed the wheel so fucking hard and thought god DAMN it if i could go through this instead of her i would in a fucking heartbeat and i want to scream but i can't because this is about her not about me and it doesn't really matter how i feel right now just that i get her home safe and just say something say something to take her mind out of this so i talk about stupid things, stupid memories. and i thought what happens next time and next next next when i am not here when i am billions of miles away and she doesn't want to ask my dad to miss work and someone else will drive her but then she will tell them she is fine even though she isn't and they will go home and she will be here alone, asleep on the couch under two blankets sick and small and hurting and afraid like now except all alone.

goddamn it.


notes to self

1. don't watch coen brothers films with parents.
2. don't question whether "the liberal bias of the media" really exists.
3. don't try to put black pepper on the popcorn, for the sake of all that is holy!
4. don't ask what kind of beer they have on tap at a tiny little hick bar in a tiny little nowhere, mn.
5. don't expect to read an entire book on the philosophy of the mind while on vacation.
6. do ask for a thermarest for your birthday; mom likes to do theme gifts.

7. hope for thunderstorms...
(do you have any idea how much i miss thunderstorms?)
(do you?)

8. remember that the world has shown you over and over again that people are the most beautiful when they are the most fully themselves. and anything that brings anyone closer to that state is more than likely a good thing.

9. don't always be so contemplative, goddamnit. learn when to stop.

oh yeah, note to northwest airlines:
10. don't strike on friday. prettyplease i'll be your best friend.

no place like

oh my god suddenly i am the sane one in my family.
the flawed but honest and reasonably well-adjusted one.
who has figured out most of her shit.
who they come to for advice and grounding.

they are exploding around me.

and i sit there like...what just happened?

minnesota is weird as ever, but when it gets intense i just put on my running shoes and go down gravel roads under a dried-out tissuepaper evening moon.


a liquid cure for my landlocked blues

mmm. there's still no feeling quite like killing on a final. even after all this time, walking out of my last class today into thick warm afternoon sunshine with my three-thousand-pound backpack and my "see you soon"s to a few classmates and my awesome professor...i wanted to shout and laugh and run and say HAHA world, i did it! now i am free.

or no, wait, i'm not...i have to be at the airport in a few hours and then i will fly through the night and wake up in minnesota where it is hot and sticky in the august lakecountry, and where my fundamentalist christian relatives from florida are part of the already-assembled cast of the reunion which awaits. (c said "i'm guessing you don't like them very much" as i described my florida rellies, waving hands around and with a sour face...i said "yes i know i'm very hard to read" and she said "well, i'm highly intuitive.")

it's not really that i don't like them, it's that i don't know them. and somehow i'm guessing the godless lefty bisexual heathen (from san francisco, no less!) with the labret piercing isn't gonna measure up to their memory of the sweetly shyly smiling gap-toothed bowl-cut ten year old on applecheeked ski trips. i could be wrong...but i doubt it. it's fine, i mean it really makes no difference to me, i know what the people who matter think and it's all good. i'm just sayin'...it could be an interesting few days. and no internet, or sporadic internet, gasp choke i shall surely perish.

but i'm a little bummed that this blog is just getting going and now i have to leave for awhile. stick with me, you few but awesome early adopters. i will try to make it worth your while. photos of dour floridians, perhaps?


fretter vs. regretter

oakparkmastermind and thatnotsofreshfeeling linked me, which is pretty awesome 'cause i totally dig both of their blogs. so thanks, you two.

do you ever get so happy about things that it almost hurts, a little? because you feel like you can't hold it all because one body isn't big enough to hold it all. things were just right today. one of those rare days where the universe functions precisely according to specification and surpasses all expectation.

i had a meeting with the associate director of a research institute affiliated with berkeley. this institute houses the research that i would like to work on if i manage to get accepted into the grad program. they don't take volunteers, it's just not done, she explained to me the reasons. but that said...i think she is going to create a project for me, under the aegis of another project which is headed by one of the great minds of the field.

i mean, this is crazy, i can't even tell you. i can't explain why this should be happening, a dozen people have told me "no they don't have opportunities like that" and now one is possibly being created for me. i have a connection to her through a friend-of-a-friend who must have really put himself on the line here. she (associate director) said "i think someone with your background would be perfect for this." my background? a bachelor's in cs, some random programming jobs, and a summer class in cognitive linguistics. my background is nothing special.

maybe it's true what my professor told me in her office late one afternoon last month: it's a matter of convincing them that you already are on the inside track. you probably won't get there unless you can make them believe that you are already there.

i was talking about all this with a friend of mine (i had a crush on his mind for about two minutes and have since decided not to think about all of that just now) and fretting about what-next and what if it doesn't work out, etc. he says that i am a fretter and he is a regretter, and being a fretter is better 'cause at least you can do something about it still, when you're fretting. when you're regretting, it's already too late.

he said:
- i elevate regret to an art.
- or a science.
- i should write an essay, "the anatomy of regret" and lay it all bare.

this smacked a bit of the "i'm so deep and complex you could never possibly understand me" bullshit that i have lately learned to avoid. but he really doesn't seem like that type of person. on the contrary, he comes across as very low drama and straightforward.

everyone regrets things, i told him.
then we decided that the time wasn't right for that conversation.
but i will admit that i am curious.


frank chu, part 2: prolific subterfuge

you might not believe this but i swear it's true.

after a couple years of seeing frank chu regularly around downtown sf. and after writing about him yesterday and saying how he'd never directly ranted at me. it finally happened...i've been franked!

i was running late today, i overslept and then i missed a train. so the financial district sidewalks weren't as clotted with clonelike businesstroopers as they typically are when i'm getting to work. as i approached the southeast corner of montgomery and bush (walking up montgomery from the south) i saw frank in his regular post on the corner. he looked towards me and i made eye contact (or, rather, eye-to-shade contact) and i could see it coming, he was gathering his energy, ready to hit me with a shot of his craziness.

before i even reached the corner it happened:

if you have never seen anyone get franked, he gets very close and he looks right at you, with his face only like 18inches from yours. he speaks very loudly, almost yelling. his voice is gravelly and deep and hoarse and he doesn't make coherent sense at all, though he mostly does refer to real things. he is very focused, insistent. he NEEDS you to believe in presidential perversions.

anyway, strange timing, no?
i wonder if frank reads my blog.

frank's story: wikipedia

after all that i decided to do a bit of research into our friend frank. turns out he has his own wikipedia page with lots of info on his history, his protest as performance art, and his signs.

"Frank Chu holds Bill Clinton responsible for directing the CIA to withhold payment to him for being the star of something called "The Richest Family" during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. His protests frequently call for the impeachment of Clinton although Clinton is no longer in office. Bill Clinton and various other US Presidents are frequently accused by Mr. Chu of cooperating with the 12 Galaxies to commit crimes and treasons. Mr. Chu is strongly interested in television reporters and newscasters, who will bring him the publicity he requires to inform the world of the injustices committed against him. This wave of publicity will cause a public outcry, which will result in the impeachment of various US Presidents and the awarding of $20 billion in compensation to Frank for the damages he and his family have suffered."


there's also a public flickr tag, where i got some of these photos.

four minutes with frank (rhetorical treasons)

some guy did a video interview. there's also a transcript.

"Frank: Also it is about some telepathic scientific inventions with some rhetorical treasons committed with slanders just...with extra sensory perceptions brainwashing me with numerous grand thefts and embezzlements, just trying to create some minor laryngitis or some permanent laryngitis against my campaigns, committed by the CIA and Bill Clinton and just former presidents George Washington and Ben Franklin with some resurrections that were top secret behind closed doors in Washington. But also I think most of the protesters here today that came out today I think they were also on behalf of my protest."

note: he sounds so much more calm on this video than he does when he's just randomly talking to people on the street. the language is much the same though.

frank faq (tasty budweisers)

finally, sfgate has a frank chu faq:

"Q. Which president has been worse to the 12 galaxies, Clinton or Bush?

"A. I would have to say Clinton because of the strong evidence against him for not paying my royalties as a movie star. But Bush still has another term to go, so maybe he will eventually be worse."


"Q. Do you ever call in sick or take a vacation?

"A. I was sick once a couple of years ago. I go skiing once a year in Lake Tahoe. Telepathic treason limits my ability to ski on the advanced slopes. I do not ski with my sign."


"Q. What do you think about the 12 Galaxies nightclub?

"A. It is an honor. I also like the progressive rock music performed there and the complementary and tasty Budweisers they give me. Sometimes they serve me special cocktails."

so there you have it folks. a san francisco institution, mr. frank chu.


homage to frank chu

frank chu is a fixture in downtown sf. at first look you would think he's just another asian businessdrone, fairly neat & well-groomed, often wearing shades, dressed more professionally than i ever am (not that that's saying much). until you notice that he is holding up a sign on a stick, like you might see someone carrying in a protest march. and you look at his sign and it used to say a lot of things about impeaching bush and clinton but these days it's mostly about the ultratronic/megatronic/technotronic twelve galaxies and robots and rockets and things. he also seems to have major issues with network news, he rambles incoherently about that in his strident, gravelly voice when the crossing lights are red and a small crowd gathers on the corner, people just trying to get to another day at the office.

there's even a newish venue here in sf called 12 galaxies, i think it must also be in homage to frank.

anyway, i see frank chu often on my way to work and it always makes me happy. i think he kinda knows that he doesn't disturb me. i always see him frightening tourists and other financial district workers with his crazy aggro vibe, but he just leaves me alone. maybe because once i caught his eye and i just looked at him like "yeah dude, you're dressed well, good hair and shit, you're obviously not that crazy. but it's cool, you just keep doing your thing and i'll do mine." then i nodded at him and maybe that was all in my head but frank has never once targetted me with his yelling rants. even when it's just me&him on the corner of bush and montgomery, he just stands there, quietly holding his sign.

some people are annoyed by frank but i just think...i love that i get to exist here, where someone like him is not only accepted as a part of the local scenery but in fact embraced, local businesses now advertise on the reverse side of his sign. "best webhosting in the twelve galaxies," etc. i love that there is someone like frank chu to break the monotony of the morning commute, just like i love the guy who's always singing "close to you" in the montgomery bart station. i try to give that guy a buck from time to time, and i would do the same for frank if he appeared to be asking for it.



dear you,

i am having a moment. i'm fine. but right now i'm just gonna do this, okay?

i am letting you go now. and i fought that for so long because i know a part of you feels it as just one more abandonment. and i want to tell that part i am sorry, i'm sorry i'm not stronger or more malleable but after where we've been i can't go back. you want what you want and attachments terrify you. but you don't get to hold me there anymore, i won't do it anymore.

after the end, i stopped looking when i crossed the street because i hoped there would be a bus there moving too fast to stop. there never was. for a month and a half i didn't listen to any music, not one show one record nothing. you said "that's crazy, music is in your soul" and it's true and later i figured out that i wasn't listening because it was your songs that were stuck in my head. i kept hearing your songs and i didn't want to replace them, i just held onto every trace of you. weirdly masochistic thing to do, even as i was with so much pride refusing to take up your offer of "call anytime you want to see me."

after the end i felt raw, i was an open wound and i didn't want anyone near me. i couldn't stand to be with my close friends because their softest touch, arm around shoulders, the tiniest compassion opened everything up and so i slapped their hands away. i just talked to people who don't know me that well, then i could laugh with all the false bravado i could muster.

and are you so selfish that you would want me to go back to that? we are only human and you want what you want, but what about me in that equation? the force of what i felt...like i invented love. like all the other times i said it, all the other people, as amazing and beautiful as they were in their own way...like i didn't even know what it meant. j said "who wouldn't want to be loved like that?"

the answer: you wouldn't.

but i could never get angry with you because i understood you too well, i knew all your sad broken littleboy stories. my understanding, it doesn't make things okay. if i could feel anger, this is what it would be about: the time not long ago you said "i think i could do this if it weren't so intense."

stupid. that's why you loved me, you know. because of intense. you were scared because you are broken. i wasn't the fucked up one, i was strong, i knew what i wanted and i was never afraid of it. you wouldn't do it but also you wouldn't let go because another part of you wanted it desperately. so you left these threads, you thought you could do it if it weren't so intense. yeah, i tried that, i tried forced casual. i gave you your space and i waited for you and every time you thought i was angry i smiled at you and i said it's okay baby, it's okay. and it was okay because it was me&you and i was trying everything.

and all of this, my little words, writing it here...is stupid and childish and just complete bullshit but i don't care. i am so close to free now i can feel its breath on my forehead, no more thinking of you until my lips form your name silently like prayer. the emotional force of you is receding and i am covered with new perfect pink delicate skin. i am at last not in the shape of you, i take my own form. nobody can stop that, not me not you and i am starting to love time now.

i still remember your songs, the ones about me.
but i don't hear them in my head anymore.
and i don't miss them.

love (but different now),

my vine

i live in an in-law cottage in the back yard of a house in oakland. the people in the main house share the yard with me, and it's overgrown and lush and verdant and thriving. how thriving is it? check out this awesome vine that is growing into my house from the edge of a windowsill.

here it is closeup. ignore all the yucky stuff up there...i can't see that high without standing on a chair, so it doesn't exist.

i thought maybe i should remove the vine but it is kind of beautiful, when you think about it. also, it's faring much better than my houseplants ever do:


bathrooms, bob, and bart

i didn't get too far on the fauconnier. my friend bob made me go into the city and watch wedding crashers at the metreon. i got there a little early so i wandered around taking photos, the metreon is always such a weird place for me.

i really wish this photo were more in focus because...is that a dog?! did someone bring their little poodle-lookin' dog into the metreon bathroom? rad.

my friend bob is interesting. he's this total rocker motorcycle dude, pretty hot i think but our vibe is definitely platonic. so he can say things like "i know we're just friends, but if you ever do want to have sex, just let me know." and somehow i just laugh and it isn't creepy...because it's bob. it must be some kind of superpower. i remember one time i was very sad about the ex (i always feel that deserves capitals, THE ex) right after we broke up the first time and i was im'ing bob and he said all the usual things you would say to cheer someone up and then i said i was signing off and he said "okay, well call me anytime if you want to talk." and then a couple seconds pause and he sent: "naked." and i just laughed which was pretty fucking amazing at that particular moment.

i am so lucky because right now i have more friends and better friends than i ever have, at any other time of my life. they are amazing, super smart and creative and perceptive and honest and awesome. and the lengths to which they have gone in being good to me is completely astonishing. the thing is though, and i feel like such a brat even saying this, even thinking it, but my best friends are basically all female. well, the ex was my best friend before we went out, and i guess he probably still is among my best friends but we're not hanging out so it's abstract, it's not a friendship that really touches me these days. anyway, it was nice tonight, hanging out with a friend who's a guy and who i'm still getting to know. guys just have a different energy and it's good to be around that.

oh! one other interesting thing...the operator on my bart train back to oaktown...his voice sounded exactly like tony pierce of busblog fame. i wonder if his new job is secretly being a bart operator on the pittsburg/bay point line?

every time i sit around i find i'm shot

yesterday drove a friend's car around doing errands & getting stuff for my trip to minnesota next week. mostly i had to get shorts. it struck me how funny that was, so i called and left a rambling crazy-assed message on my parents' machine. "so anyway i was just driving around thinking that everyone thinks of california as being sunny and warm, and minnesota as being snowy and cold. but in the bay area we don't ever really wear shorts, it's not hot enough. so i'm out buying shorts for my trip to mn. weird, huh?" then i asked them if they wanted me to bring them anything. "you know...just anything. like...something...from california?" i don't know what was going through my mind but i'm expecting the white coats to show up at my door pretty soon. my mother is the flinchy type, when i lived in iowa city she called the police there more than once to check if i had a drug or criminal record.

ah, i love my mom.

today i am attempting to read all of fauconnier's mappings in thought and language. he's a great writer, but my mind isn't fully in it and i keep wanting to doze off. i feel lazy and summery, wearing my new shorts and with orange toenails and all. this is the last week of my summer class and i've known for awhile that i wanted to continue taking classes into the fall while applying for grad programs. i was really nervous to talk to my boss about that though, when i talked to him last spring about taking this class i said "i will definitely be coming back full-time after the class ends." he's awesome and i didn't think he'd be mad or anything but something about changing your story after the fact...i just don't like it. so each day last week i told myself "talk to him today" and each day i just...didn't. until friday when this happened:

boss: amy, how's school going?
me: excellent, i love it.
boss: good. so have you signed up for more classes yet?
me: [that cartoony thing where the eyes bulge out & steam comes from the ears and a train whistle sounds]

no, not really...

me: umm...not yet but i think i would like to. i was actually going to talk to you about that.
boss: no problem, we'll catch up on monday.

so it seems like that will be okay, i am planning to take two classes at berkeley in the fall and work maybe 30h per week which seems rather crazy but as long as i'm taking my emotional refuge in academia i might as well really sink myself in, right? i still think the berkeley ph.d. program is going to be a loonnnggg shot but i'm trying not to think about that as much right now. i told someone recently when he asked WHY i want to pursue a ph.d. in linguistics, "mostly i want the thing i spend most of my time on to be something i'm passionate about. and programming isn't that for me, anymore."

oh, i got too into writing this and nearly burned my tofu corndog.
shut up, they're good!


luv u muthrfukr

today i got the following text message from an ex-gf who i'm now good friends with:
"Thx 4 the call. Sam came thru im hangin w them now. How ru?"

graaaaahhhhhhhhh. i hate that! i can't even tell you how much i hate that! they haven't invented letters yet to encapture so much hate. i think i just made up the word 'encapture'.

okay, i do kind of enjoy 'thx' but 4 and u and thru drive me absolutely crazy. who are you, prince?! no, you're my hot little asian ex-gf so i know you're not prince and you're also not a teenager so stop writing like wow-this-is-my-first-time-in-a-chatroom-lololol.

nobody but prince and teenagers should type like that. if you can legally enter a bar and you don't have a predilection for purple velvet then you need to type ALL the letters. or at least a majority of them.

i think this is because i've been around the internet for a pretty long time, since way before the www and aol even existed. i understand lazy fingers, i haven't capitalized anything in years (even in work emails, so unprofessional but i really don't care) and i see punctuation as something that is nice but not really required. but you just have to draw the line somewhere, you know? and that line apparently is just on the 'yo' side of 'you'.

i kind of want to text her back with:
i m duin gud 2.


praying for blood

my ex and i broke up over the course of many months, starting in late january, ending for real after a lot of off-on-off in early june. it fucked me up pretty bad. he called once in late june, we got dinner then he wanted to come inside, i said no. i saw him again in late july, i'd stayed out too late in the city and missed the last bart train back to oaktown and in a semidrunken haze i called him. he came to pick me up and we talked for so long in his car and then i found out he'd dislocated his elbow falling off his skateboard and he had a cast under his jacket and then i was like awwwwww you poor wounded bird, come inside i will take care of you.

he came inside and at 5a when he got up to leave, instead of putting his shoes on he came over to where i was sitting on my red couch and he lay down stretchedout put his head in my lap and then...well, you know what then. after we woke up it was just like before, so comfortable in my space he just sat there reading my books, checking his email but for me it was so weird that he was there and i told him that. so we talked and nothing had changed but he wanted us to just "be normal" meaning just start the same old cycle all over again and i said no, i said we aren't normal and that was what i always loved about us. and well it was longer and sadder than that but i said i can't do this anymore.

the point of all this is:
i stopped taking birth control in june after we broke up for real.
and we didn't use anything.
and i can't remember when my period is supposed to start.
but i know it was in early july, done before the tenth or so.
and i don't feel that about-to-bleed feeling yet.

and i'm scared and i don't want to tell my friends.
so i'm telling you.


turn off the lights and shake your hips...

i am totally cranky today. i think it's because i have a crush on this guy..and i really don't want to. i'm getting over someone and it seems like the "right" thing to do (whatever that means) is just space out and not sink myself into something/one else right away. but still, the crush is there. and i was thinking about it the other day and i thought the thing with relationships...if you're not getting hurt, you're probably hurting the other person.

so of course i handled my mood sensibly by being crabby AT the dude i like. then he said "i think i'm getting on all of amy's nerves today" and i felt bad so i got on the bus and went home.

also i have to write this paper tonight and all i want to do is get fucked up on bourbon and william carlos williams or some shit like that.

i'm obsessed with the unicorns record "who will cut our hair when we're gone?" lately. it's so great, spastic and weird and lo-fi sunshine honeylove dripping down your ear canals.

turn off the lights and shake your hips
let's make like a couplet, like two pairs of lips


last night in sf

city hall, as seen from u.n. plaza. i don't often hit the touristy places in sf, last night i just happened to be walking from the amc van ness (saw willy wonka, quite disappointing) to civic center bart. it was foggy & cold & lonely & beautiful.

i know it's totally non-pc and wrong and all, but this sign always cracks me up. as seen here on the side of a muni stop.