dear internet,

i never know what to say to you these days.
have we grown apart?
is it just a phase?



i want my new blog to be here 'cause i keep coming across songs i want to put on it.
but webthings don't develop themselves, strangely enough.

this was spring break week and i had such grand plans, i was going to achieve total world domination for starters. but it turned out to be pretty much like any other week.

pretty much like any other week meant work, laundry, reading interesting things, watching a movie, nice things in the mail, and going to the gym. i even ran outside one sunshiny morning. an unplanned oyster&champagne dinner in the city while waiting out the bart outage. and dinner club last night, 19 friends went for shabu-shabu. i'm not complaining. not at all.

i have to start contacting schools to say "no thank you" and it makes me want to hide.


tales from the im log

the background is that awhile ago i was commenting that there are some weird things about being bisexual. like first of all, everyone wants to put you in a box like if you're dating a girl you're gay or if you're dating a boy you're straight, and you just switch back and forth between these two modes. or someone actually said to me recently that there are no bisexual people; they're just gay people who can't admit they're gay. or people tell me i'm both gay *and* straight but that seems to miss the point also. i think i'm neither one of those things.

labels aside, there is some internal stuff that comes up from time to time. like when i started going out with david the sex thing was weird the first time 'cause i'd been only with girls for awhile. and then lately/since him i haven't been attracted to girls much at all. and i get stressed about that a little, like am i just letting society tell me what i should be? and i forget "everything is fluid" and i just worry 'cause that's what i do. i worry.

anyway i was talking about all this and cj asked if i have any other friends who identify as bisexual and i really don't. most of my friends are straight, a couple are gay. and they're totally cool and openminded and i can talk to them about anything...but it isn't quite the same.


me: omg i'm so excited that xxxx is bisexual
me: i want to talk to her about it
h: heh. xxxx! i hear you like girls! i mean, i like girls! can we be friends? boobies.
me: hahaha
me: hooray for boobies
me: how did you find out?
h: we had like 2.5 hours of downtime yesterday
h: so we were talking, she asked about the fact that i'd been married. i mentioned xxxxx. we talked about relationships that aren't good for us
h: she mentioned xxxxxxxxx
me: oh
me: did you say "amy wants a bisexual friend!"
me: ?
h: totally . i was like Omg. you know amy? she used to date a girl who worked here and she was always sad that she didn't know other bi girls. be her friend, or i'll cut you
me: awww yr the best


light collects

i talked to the ex today.

and the world didn't implode and the stars are still hanging in the sky and everything looks just the same. i won't deny that i started shaking when i got his text message but i called back and everything was fine. i went into the conference room (all of our conference rooms are named after muni lines...f-market, j-church, etc. i was in l-taraval) and talked to him and everything was fine.

he's depressed which didn't surprise me. he sounded pretty bad and i felt the generalized concern that you feel whenever someone you care about is having a rough time, but i didn't feel that inward reaching-out, i didn't feel like saving him from himself, not anymore.

he is exactly the same.
i am exactly different.

all this time i felt a little (a lot) like a loser because i think you always do when the ex moves on really quickly and you're left standing there just wanting so bad for things to go back. but he told me about how he didn't end up applying for grad school and regrets it, and he sounded so defeated, and he's feeling old but it's so clear to me now that he's still not a grownup in any sense of that word and i realized. if there is a loser in this scenario, it isn't me.

i lost a relationship but that relationship made me miserable; there is honestly no point of it that i would return to. maybe moments here and there still grab me sometimes but there is no full week of it that i would relive. maybe he&i can be something better now. something not so overinvolved and like trying to fight a black hole. and just yesterday i was walking down the hall at work and i was completely suffused with a certainty: "somebody is going to really really love me again someday." and then i just couldn't stop smiling.

because someone else is gonna make me sparkle again.

and because maybe i already do, a little.


chestnut street

today this girl said to me "i really only try new things so that i can say i've done them." she was specifically talking about having taken trapeze lessons.

i said: uh-huh.
i thought: that's the most retarded thing i've ever heard in my life ever.

why would anyone do something they didn't care about, at least a little, on some level? it just made me a little sad actually, because it seems to typify this sort of glib clever-clever attitude that is too common among people in my demographic. ironically nonchalant and with a quick blase comment to fill up any quiet moment. you expect this kind of person to be wearing a shirt that says "i'm blogging this".

we're becoming observers and reporters, not experiencers.
there is a difference between reflection and recounting.
don't you see?

earlier i had gotten impatient with karen when she had to stop in the middle of our run to pick up a snail from the path ("he might get stepped on" she said) but then i thought what a simple and beautiful action that was...probably the most vital thing i've seen anyone do in days.


it's relationship week at l-in-l

a four-legged spider has taken up residence above my shower. this is one good thing about having a boyfriend or girlfriend. all of mine have more or less cheerfully accepted their spider-removal (no killing, strictly catch&release) responsibility. it's not that it would be a dealbreaker if they happened to be afraid of spiders too, but it would be a minor point deduction.

we need to come up with a scale for potential someones that's like the new scoring system in olympic figure skating. all laid out nice & neat, required elements with base points that vary with difficulty, which can then be bumped up or down a little depending on how well they are performed, and a second score for general artistry.

with each of my serious relationships i've added more required elements; many of them are about what to avoid.

1. dc: no crazy people
2. g: no mean people, no losers with no job or school who literally do nothing but sleep all day and play games all night and live on their parents money
3. m: 7 year rule (he was 11 years older), nobody staid
4. ml: nobody ultra-possessive, nobody without some passion in life (or at least some interest outside of the relationship)
5. j: 5 year rule (she was 7 years younger), nobody on the verge of an identity crisis
6. dk: nobody super intensely damaged and depressed

when i'm feeling less grumpy i can think about the things i actually do want instead of what i don't want.

1. dc: totally creative and unconventional and sweet
2. g: uh. super smart and charismatic, i guess. i don't know, this is the one person i've been seriously involved with that i have absolutely NO interest in ever knowing again.
3. m: steady, grounded, generous, honorable, and absolutely trustworthy
4. ml: fun and attentive and appreciative
5. j: kind and gentle and idealistic and ridiculously hot. okay that's not a requirement but i didn't really mind when all the guys and half the girls everywhere we went just stared...
6. well, see the last post i guess, also super crazy brilliant and musically talented

there, there's my sweepingly reductionist relationship history, in twelve lines. it would maybe be more interesting to revisit short flings and one-night-stands (not that i have had that many) for their takeaway lessons, but that would require more thought than i am willing to invest at the moment.

god i feel like the guy in high fidelity right now.
i should go make a mixtape or something.

what are your must-haves and never-agains?



once i really loved someone.
i really loved someone, once.

the kind of way that makes you think all those other times you loved all those other someones were just practice.

and we had this crazy intense mixed up sad relationship punctuated here and there by moments of such beauty. he was depressive and a borderline alcoholic. and we could never click together and we could never let go so we spent our time in this weird polarized relationship riding rollercoasters into the ocean.

and i've written a lot about how much it hurt.
there are whole other blogs out there devoted to my epic descriptions of how much it hurt.

but i haven't written too much about the good part. 'cause before all that we were just coworkers, and then friends. and he liked to show off on his skateboard and make me cd's and take me to rock shows. he knew the best venues and of course the best bars and everywhere we went he knew people, it seemed like. "this is my friend amy" he would say to them and something about him saying that made me feel like i belonged in the world. i didn't really think too much of myself back then but he told me i was creative and amazing and beautiful. if i was ever sad he would say let's go for a walk and we'd just walk around for hours some sunny days. and he'd pick flowers and hand them to me, or put quarters on the train tracks and hand them to me flattened. and it was innocent.

he went through this funny clumsy phase where he would fall down a lot. like he'd just fall off a curb and be sprawled out in the street and i'd try hard not to laugh. once we were walking down by aquatic park in berkeley and he was looking off to the side across the street at something and i saw it coming but it was too late and he walked straight and fast and hard right into a street sign. i mean, he ricocheted off that sign. and i didn't laugh and he shook himself a little and i didn't laugh and we started walking again and he was rubbing his chest and i didn't laugh and then he said all cool and serious like maybe i didn't notice..."i almost ran into that sign." and then i laughed my ass off.

every time i moved he helped me. when i moved into laguna he spent two days at our house with his power tools spread out everywhere, building and installing soundboard inserts that would cover the sliding pocket doors separating my room from my roommate's.

when i protested the war and got arrested he waited at the jail until 2.30 in the morning to take me home. all evening and night he was there, outside, waiting for me and it kept me sane and he slept on my couch that night.

when jas & i broke up he was there and i hadn't even talked to him in so long because i was mad at him but he answered the phone and i was crying and he just came to pick me up. and drove me around to places that would cheer me up. he always loved to show me his favorite secret places.

and i feel like i am writing about someone who died.

because then we went out and it was a disaster.
because some things you can't un-say. can't un-know.

the very first night he spent in my bed i promised him we would stay friends like we were no matter what and some small part of me knew you can't promise a thing like that but the rest of me wanted him so badly and made the small part shut up. so i promised him and then we kissed each other like a miracle.

he told me a hundred times that it wouldn't work because he was sad and fucked up and incapable of what i wanted and i refused to hear him. but he was right. and when he said it wouldn't be worth it, he was right about that too.

it wasn't worth it. because now he doesn't answer my phone calls. and i understand why. today he wrote to me that he's not giving up on anything, but i know it's never gonna be the same.

after such a long long time of feeling the loss of a love, today i felt sharp and deep the loss of a friendship. when i say now that i miss david it isn't the recent past i mean. it's random adventures and music and all our plans to start a punk band called cesarean breakfast, or make a film where dressed-up pieces of silverware get flattened on railroad tracks, or get a street vendor cart and sell sushi burritos.

i wish so hard that i could just go back to how it was before.
i wish i could have understood that it was already more than enough.


i went to old places today, literally and metaphorically. what a relief to find that i didn't belong there anymore. the space that was mine to occupy (as observer or participant) could only hold its shape for so long before it began to collapse in on itself.

i guess that's the thing about memories; you're only ever a visitor in them. it's a little sad, but how else would one ever stop walking backwards?


since ithaca

since ithaca i've been living in the suburbs of depression.
so i don't really know what to say these days.

and i don't really know how to explain why i'm sad every night.
the days are better though.
this is the suburbs, after all.
we maintain.

today i was followed around after class by a strange spaced out homeless guy. i worked in a free community health clinic near campus for three years and got pretty used to strange homeless guys so normally this wouldn't bother me. but when i stopped suddenly and jaywalked he followed, he stood outside the coffee shop and watched me inside getting my coffee waiting for me to come out, and i didn't like that. i didn't like being scared to leave even though it was late morning telegraph avenue people everywhere and i knew i wasn't in any real danger but still it had a sinister feel. midmorning sinister. i didn't like that after that he tailed me to my car 10 feet behind me and then just stood there in the middle of the street watching me drop the keys getinfast lockthedoor. i resented his power but he only had whatever power i gave him. maybe i'm emitting some kind of crazy vibe because the world around me is in some kind of crazy disorder.

or maybe the crazy vibe belongs to the world itself, earthquakes, hail. locusts, horsemen. fucking dramaqueen exboyfriends.

i'm too sensitive, i know i know.
i don't really want to talk about it.

so i dunno what to say.
someone tell me what to say.


written over new england

as the plane took off wednesday into this pristinely clear early sf afternoon then looped around offering the left side of the plane a full live action moving panorama of sf-oakland-berkeley i had this feeling like the end credits were rolling. i was looking frantically for the campanile and finally i found it, i couldn't believe how small it seemed. and i felt stabbed in a million places, painfully, by so much love for this city and the structure i've built for myself here. like my life is the product of some monumental creative effort; i love it like a child and i can never take it with me if i go.

but "nothing stays" said heather's chris and maybe he was right. and maybe holding tight is a mistake.

maybe the leaving feeling was the side effect of some deep knowledge that things have taken on a life of their own now & are changing in unknowable ways. and nothing good ever came out of clenching too tightly to keep things the same.

so i am sad.
so the next person to say "but this is a GOOD problem" i might punch 'em with my fist.


living the dream

oh no. it happened.
the meeting of minds i was dreading.

my comfort level shifted yesterday afternoon and i really do like it here and there are a couple of professors doing things i'd like to work on. and everyone seems so concerned with letting me do what i'm interested in, a meeting with the graduate advisor today left me with the impression that second year spent in india doing fieldwork would be feasible. the resources here are amazing.

on the personal side, my grad host has opened up a bit and we' ve had some good talks. everyone here is smart, it's a given, but overall there is a wonderful lack of attitude. except this one guy, another prospective who yesterday in a post-colloquium reception was going on and on and on about something and i smiled and i said "so...is that your thing? is that your soapbox?" meaning is that your pet project...is it your passion. but he looked at me and said smugly "i don't *need* a soapbox...i'm already *here*." ugh. ass.

but other than assy guy, people are cool. especially this one girl who is also a prospective who i liked from the beginning but who especially won me over when last night as we watched another prospective flirting endlessly with a grad leaned over and whispered "he's been bird-doggin' her since he got here." and we laughed at his body language, how he was almost falling off his chair. she wore a decemberists tshirt to breakfast today so i asked her about music, what she's been listening to lately, what she likes. when she mentioned lou barlow and that she was the music director of her college radio station i was like oh my god you're my new best friend! she's pretty and sassy and she's into caves and she worked at mit and lived in umbria for a year and has not a touch of pretense. she's pretty much fabulous.

so yeah. things are good and different and crazy here and i cannot deny it is nice to be courted by the department. today i've met with two professors and missed a typology class because the first meeting ran long; he was showing me the computational lab. next is lunch and campus tours, then a historical class and dinner at a grad student's house tonight. i want to go see the johnson art museum on campus which was designed by i.m. pei.

but you know, i'm not worried. everyone is right, between berkeley and cornell there's no bad choice here. even the faculty here acknowledge that ("wow, berkeley has a great lineup" said one of the professors yesterday after he asked me who i'd studied with & i told him).

oh god i don't sound pretentious like assy guy do i?
you guys have to be my reality check & smack me down, if i do.
i don't mean to.

it's more that i want to pinch myself because i realize that i'm living the dream.


news from the eastern front

so here i am visiting cornell university.
everything is different here.

arrived lateish last night by eastern time zone standards, was tired and soul-lagged but my body said "it's not time to sleep now, silly human." i lay there in the dark forever until my eyes finally closed. my grad host is a bit reserved but gracious; he gave me the bedroom and he crashed in the livingroom of his one bedroom apartment. everything creaks and you could hear people crunching by in the snow outside all night long. car headlights brightened the room from time to time. i've been spoiled by my quiet dark secret garden backyard cottage. i didn't sleep well.

the campus is lovely, all stone and brick and winter-black trees and slushy snow. you can feel that spring is coming, but it isn't quite here yet. it's slushing from the sky, too, a combination of rain and snow. weather, seasons, i miss this. i like this.

this morning began with coffee and morphology (breakfast of champions). second class was phonetics. philology was not happening when and where it was supposed to be, so i came back to the computer lab i'd been shown earlier. so hi. in a few minutes there's lunch in the phonetics lab. this afternoon i meet with a couple of professors, followed by a colloquium with a speaker from kobe university. tonight is dinner at a faculty member's house.

i find the grad students here to be more friendly than those at home. they are curious, too, they'll look right at you and say hi who are you? at berkeley i feel much more anonymous (which is sometimes good and sometimes not). perhaps it's because here and now our roles are formalized: i am the prospective and they are the hosts. there is a different feel here, calmer. i think i miss the frantic energy a little.

just before i left the bay area i received my acceptance to chicago. so i have to brag a bit and say i'm six for six. i didn't really think i could do this but here i am and i still have no idea how to make this decision.

except i know that berkeley feels right for me in some way that i don't think is only about familiarity.
except that my grad host's shelves contain books written by my professors at berkeley.
except that berkeley is...berkeley. there is no other department like it.

i think i know what i want, i just worry that it will come down to the money versus the dream.


an adventurer is me

i just realized my plane doesn't leave until noon which of course gave me license to not pack at all tonight. instead i spent my evening beating up on yetis.

yes i said beating up on yetis. i mean, they're the most lucrative kill for sure. i have a 22 pound leprechaun familiar, so if i use the "polka of plenty" buff on myself i get like 500 meat per kill! plus i usually get a yeti fur which i can sell in my store in the mall, too. at that rate it doesn't take long to save up enough to buy enough lucky surprise eggs and white canadians to last for the duration of my trip. see i already beat the naughty sorceress and so now i am just trying to collect a few items and finish a couple of trophies before i ascend...because...

in a parallel universe i am squinch, level 13 accordion thief.
you can feel free to go lie down for a minute if you're feeling faint in the face of my power and glory. it's okay.
i understand.

but i wonder how cornell would respond if i asked to postpone my trip because it comes at a REALLY inconvenient time vis-a-vis my kingdom of loathing ascension.

evil thought

for years, i have thought that a good way to kill lots of people would be to put some sort of deadly neurotoxin (hi, nsa!) on the glue part of the deposit envelopes they keep stocked at atm machines. then when people lick the envelope to seal it, they end up dying.

i guess it would be better if it were slow-acting. harder to trace that way.

now that i wrote this, that's probably how i'll shuffle off the ol' mortal coil. but no matter, i've been wanting to get it off my chest for ages.


full of wist

all i really seem to want to do lately is post poems or song lyrics but that's cheating. and really i do like writing for you but when i've drifted a little further out it can get hard to collect the threads into something meaningful, something makeable.

yesterday karen and i went walking on baker beach collecting rocks and sea glass. i wish i were there now. life is good and all but today i went to class then worked then went shopping and bought a pair of gray pants for my trip. [digression: one of the words i hate is 'slacks'. once someone asked me what do you want to call them then? to distinguish them from just regular pants which could be anything, jeans, whatever. i said 'fancy pants' would be fine.]

buying fancy pants is okay but i'd rather be out running from waves and looking at pretty things.

also: isn't it strange how a new pair of pants can make one feel suddenly in control of a situation? maybe it doesn't really matter that i don't know anyone there and that i don't even know where i'm staying or how i'll get from place to place or what the heck i'm gonna say to these people...

it's all under control.
i have the right pants.


i keep it for good luck

this week i finally figured out what my mascot is. it's a yellow bird.

they mean a lot of different things. in tibet, they mean freedom. on this bright eyes record that i love love, they mean ... well, i think they mean the best part of yourself. the gift you have to give other people, that you have to take care of and keep safe so that you will continue to have it to give to other people.

to karen, they mean a person who you love but who makes you absolutely crazy.
(not me though. different yellow bird.)

so far i like having a mascot though i haven't done too much about it yet. i plan to figure out how to fold origami birds (not cranes but some kind of finch type bird) and i also plan to consider a pet yellow bird but i'm not sure i'm ready for the commitment of all that you know? but i think i will use this yellow bird picture on my new blog with the music blog which is still there, inchoate, it's coming along. i haven't forgotten.

maybe i should call it the brussels sprouts blog.
my readership (all three of you) might dwindle but these are the sacrifices we make for truth.

random rambling babbling rubberbanding.

two days of work this week and then off to ithaca.
i hope i'll get to write to you from the ivy leagues.

do you think i should get a berkeley hoodie to wear over there?


School (in)Decision 2006 (tm)

i have been trying to show restraint but...

the weekend is coming fast and i still haven't thought much about my trip to ithaca next week. i was nervous before but now i am thinking of it like fieldwork. i'm going to ask the professors "what are the most important questions in linguistics?" following hamming, of course. i wonder if they'll realize they're my subjects.

it is fun to be courted by the various departments with their offers of dineros but it always makes me sad a little, too. to get a letter or voicemail saying we like you a lot & stuff, come here. we'll pay you to come here. and they say the nicest things, i can't even believe it. it's a situation i didn't anticipate; i will only say yes to one and that means no to four (or perhaps five) others. it feels like when i got the note in sixth grade from this kid saying "will you skate with me at the skateland party on friday?" and i knew my answer would be no so i dealt with it proactively and maturely, by never speaking to him ever again.


all day i have had auden in my head:

i cannot grow;
i have no shadow
to run away from,
i only play.

i cannot err;
there is no creature
whom i belong to,
whom i could wrong.

i am defeat
when it knows it
can now do nothing
by suffering.

all you lived through,
dancing because you
no longer need it
for any deed.

i shall never be
different. love me.


in the comma

today the radio told me "a song is not the song of the world."
so i turned it off.

the thing i didn't expect about spending a lot of time alone is that you start to like it. really really like it. and then one day you're sitting there waiting for the train to arrive watching a clot of businessdrones arguing over kenneth cole vs. hugo boss and talking too loud and smelling like a power martini dinner. they're cracking these jokes that you don't understand and don't want to understand. and then you see that they look like a bunch of geese, just clattering to turn off the quiet.

today cj told me "you're in the comma."
i think she meant that i'm between phrases.

i like it here in the comma.