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Figure Skating's Little Orphan Awesome
Everything following here today will require the use of colons.

Like so:

Works that are only tangentially related in that I am reading both: Mike Davis' Planet of Slums and Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues. Or maybe slightly more than tangentially, but I won’t be drawing those delicate threads out for you, Internet. I am very busy and important.

This is how I’ve rejoined society: a debit/check card to replace the ATM-only fossil I’d been toting around for years (my old bank doesn’t even really exist anymore). Friends and family have offered their congratulations, their hearty welcomes. Every time I use it, I hold my breath a little, certain on a primitive, cash-only caveman level that this technology can’t possibly work and I am fooling everyone. So far I have bought groceries, gas and Old Navy pajamas. I expect I will be arrested soon.

On Amish Friendship Bread: my cousin Aimée has been balls deep in this questionable food gift for weeks now and has provided several loaves to sample. Banana was good. So was Cream Cheese Blueberry. Chocolate Chip, however, was made to shoulder my disappointments. I am also unhappy with the recipe’s appropriation of friendship cuisine’s first place tiara when other dishes, given a revamp of their working titles, can be platonically affectionate (and more delicious) as well. This past weekend, I made Friendship Fish Tacos, Friendship French Toast and Friendship Fried Rice. Do you know what else I made? Accidental alliteration! Again! Isn’t that something.

What’s exciting to watch: the Bourne Trilogy, but I keep falling asleep during the best parts. Yet the chimp cannibalization in Planet Earth has kept me up at night, uneasy and irrationally, whitehotblindingly angry with monkeys. But holy shit, mouse lemurs, you guys. Pikas! Baobab exploding penis flowers! Bat hawks. It helps if you lead up to it with the old school Batman theme.

Recession-friendly cocktails: because I needed to do something with my last bottle of $4 peach champagne. I thought peach mimosas might be nice, but I didn’t have orange juice. Or I did, but I also had Tang and you can see where this is leading. Eventually, I added Arizona Sweet Tea and I would tell you what that was like, but you wouldn’t hear me over the ANGELIC CHORUS, SINGING HYMNS OF CITRUS DELIGHT, with half the sugar and one four-thousandth the vitamins of regular juice. My swung low, sweet liquid chariot was actually kind of awful, but I hear there’s a beverage that’s similar called Russian Tea, made with spices and lemonade. Mine is called the Perestroika. I don’t know any other Russian words.

The trick is to mix well and hope to die with dignity.

What else: Pictures, right. And hasn't it been awhile. [x]Collapse )

On survivors: Is LiveJournal completely dead now? Do we blame the terrorists?

Giant Model Solar Systems are the Silent Killer
jack burton
A man this morning asked me for change as I left the supermarket with Evian and Power Bars. There is a reason, I think, for the recent early A.M. fog that seems to swallow everything, including our mutual shame. Gas, he said, for his stalled car parked lopsided in front of the karate studio. Every little bit helps. Gas, I said, not three minutes later when I saw him pull up to the McDonald’s drive-thru, intent on a sausage biscuit and hashbrown.

My dad is due to arrive from the Philippines this week to surprise my sister on her birthday, at the start of the three month stretch when we will only be three years apart as opposed to four. I think this might be the year when I begin to celebrate unbirthdays. The goal being not to move myself backwards into my minority, but to move Thomas Kretschmann forward to a charge of statutory rape when I make him dress up as Englehorn and whisper all kind of sweet wacky German/Klingon nothings in my ear. Who knows if the laws governing underage penetration (and quantum physics) apply to intrepid steamboat captains. Who knows if they apply to a woman not literally capable of Benjamin Buttoning herself through time. Your guess is as good as mine, but the only correct answer here, my tasty choufleurs, is to nod your heads to the dope beat of Affirmatron and the Yes, Indeeds.

There is only one problem that I can see in this, apart from the many other obvious ones I won’t acknowledge: my technical unbirthday, that being the polar calendar opposite of my actual naissance, would end up in late December, much too close to Kwanzaa, a grave and eminent holiday for my people, and too far for my raging impatience. Bastille Day (July 14th) was in the running until I realized that Songkran (April 13th-15th) entails the same water-tossing mayhem that more faithfully reflects what happens in some countries during my usual. Usually, this is called St. John the Baptist Day, in honor of the same St. John who ended up losing his head one day after a New Testament strip show. Think of it! All the moisture and none of the decapitation!

I’m still being stalked in an electronic fashion, but that’s less taxing – and not taxing at all, really – than the miniature logistical planning of this surprise deal, or actual taxes (which I haven’t done yet), or even the pervasive dread and sudden bouts of panic that rear up any time I think about the national or my own personal economy. I should probably take on a second job for awhile, if I’m able, but that feels more selfish than self-preservative. Is it possible to move somewhere and live on only a couple hundred a month? I’m pretty sure it is, but so much of that would be taken up with maxi pads and heroin and heroin-laced maxi pads. I think I watched a CSI episode like that once. Some lady went cybersexing and rubbed drugs up her veejay. I guess that killed her, maybe, but it seems like such a waste of time when she could have been reading about lemurs on Wikipedia. I did this recently, to the detriment of my upcoming yearly review, refusing to stop even when my boss ordered me to eat pizza, drink beer, and watch the UMD v. Cal State game in the lower suite with everyone else. I have my principles.

I also still have a ways to wait for LASIK surgery, according to my optometrist. I say “my,” but he just works at Costco and is as much mine as he is the family pack of chimichangas and queen sized air mattresses on sale. My eyesight, this side of nonexistent no matter how you slice it, is apparently improving for reasons of its own. This is news after the steady downgrade that I’d come to rely on year after year. I've been wearing glasses, and later contact lenses, since I was 12. If my sight continues to improve, I should have 20/20 in my old age and the ability to see perfectly what kind of wrinkled monstrosity I’ve become. I bet I’ll be really hairy.

Come to Me, Eagle Powers!
The remote for the DVD player has gone missing, so I have taken to watching almost exclusively movies from the 1990s, because they usually don’t have any previews to sit through. What Dreams May Come has been on heavy rotation, along with The Saint. Braveheart, too, but that’s more fun to watch on mute until the appropriate moment presents itself to yell, “Are you a Jew? You look like a Jew. Sugartits! Sugartits!” That moment doesn’t really ever arrive, so it’s better just to pick one. You’d think it would occur to me to simply find the remote or watch movies on my laptop. You would be wrong.

Crumbling, like anything else, civilization goes pear-shaped along with the economy. This recession or whatever, this dowturn, this abyss makes it hard for anyone who isn’t already rich like a motherfuck to live with dignity. No hope for miles, so every day of employment now takes on a greater significance. The acts of paying bills (at least some of them), of affording light and groceries, are newly sanctified in proximity to that plunge. The work of barely staying afloat. I’ve never toiled very hard a day in my life and there are people losing everything that decades of labor have bought. Everywhere is the sound of chopping, but I still read the news, apply hand lotion and pen death threats to Nancy Kerrigan (she’s had it easy for long enough) to pass the hours at the office. These are days when every block near my apartment has lawns staked with For Sale by Bank signs and I’m just grateful to be making rent. It stands to reason that things will fall out from under me, too, expendable as I am in a variety of situations. Usually desert warfare. In the event of full collapse, I am moving to Tennessee for cheap duplex living and the miniature, petit-four joys of amazing hillbillies with tales about big city life and the virtues of marrying outside the family.

There seems to have been a recent cropping up of jobs on San Diego Craigslist with companies that produce Christian and Bible-related media. I wonder if this is a sign of heightened consumer interest in light of the circumstances or a concentrated blitz by religious organizations for fresh (and prodigal) converts. Hard times can make new believers and penitents will line up for all sorts of things, like new injections of hope and comfort, free iPods, abortions. Now’s as good a time as any for brokering implicit celestial deals to soften the harsher times ahead. Someone obviously prayed for Iceland to go to shit recently. I’m not saying it was me, but I am saying that I prayed for Iceland to go to shit recently. So, you know. You’re welcome.

These are other things I have discovered recently:

  • $4 peach champagne (!!!)
  • Hari Kunzru’s “Magda Mandela”
  • Reviewing everything I’ve ever eaten on Yelp.com
  • How to pronounce Slavoj Zizek’s name. I’d been calling him Sla-vodge Zeezek in my brains for a while now and it’s nice to circumvent vocal embarrassement for once. I kind of like him, kind of want to punch him in his crap-lousy Yugoslavian face.

Starvation, too, is a problem.

Wikipedia tells us that anorexia mirabilis (miraculous lack of appetite), also called inedia prodigiosa (a great starvation) was performed by a small number women and girls in the Middle Ages to demonstrate their devotion to God and illustrate the separation of the physical from the spirit. It was sometimes accompanied by self-mutilation/flagellation, lifelong virginity, donning of hairshirts, and being batshit insane. Also, unsurprisingly, totally starving to death. One famous “fasting girl” sustained herself by eating scabs and lice, and drinking pus from the wounds of afflicted. They were given a certain amount of notoriety for their practices, which persisted until the Renaissance, when the church began to consider them heretical, socially dangerous and possibly Satanical. Has since been replaced with the more common, but less interesting, anorexia nervosa. I like to think that a lot of starving, whether for the sake of vanity or Cristo Madness, might be sabotaged with a judicious application of Bacon Explosion and Drunken Negro Face cookies (thanks, springheel_jack!)

Still, my sister's Chinese and American New Year resolution is to lose her baby weight. She also resolves to win the California state lottery. The jackpot is currently at 50 million. I wonder if I should take that up as a resolution as well, if only to increase our microscopic chances at leading lives of pointless luxury, expendable wealth and profane, terrifying obesity -- the last of which we are well on our way to achieving regardless. Success! Without even trying! 2009 is off to a wonderful start.

Champagne Breakfasts
hrryank: so many things can go wrong
hrryank: so easily

Like marriage, like my outfit for work today. Aside from a taste for blowgun hunting and my Amazon.com password, what I have lost recently are infinite quantity, and not in that retarded Elizabeth Bishop sort of way, but actual tangible items. I can really only remember the first, though: my dignity, in the form of silver dollars. Then the perimeter key for my apartment complex, newly outfitted with a Hello Kitty key cap and all the more likely to appeal to drag queens and Japanese people. Then my cell phone and anything else that entails, like the possibly once-in-a-lifetime (though probably not) opportunity to call in too gay to work.

Aneurysms, too, which could bear some discussing. A guy who’s had a crush on me since high school, actually, was laid out by one six years ago. He was the purveyor of never ending flames, making a nuisance of himself over the years, but I assumed that nearly a decade of non-communication would have shaken his resolve. Instead, we find that my sweet nectar, like the combination of hazelnut gelato and Frito chips, is a nouvelle cuisine taste sensation and not easily set aside. He found me on Facebook last week, indicated almost immediately that his hopes for a relationship and therefore hardcore boning persist into the present day, and began a renewed e-courtship to take up where the failed one had always been. That is, solidly between the 'N' and 'O.' I declined -- delicately, as I am a virtuous Spanish noblewoman. Then the disclosure to end all or at least a number of disclosures, six years ago, at the moment of rupture, his aneurysm provided him a moment of rapture and an out-of-body experience that involved the gates of Heaven, a plummet from grace, and a VIP ghost baby. Upon his return to Earth and his now-damaged body, his cousin found him on the floor of the bathroom, calling my name. Since then, he says, he believes that the reason for his survival, the reason he was saved, is because I must teach him to "live and love again."

You guys. He thinks that God wants us to be together. I'm not sure it would help to tell him I'm pretty much an atheist.

I am a delight, obviously, as my trophies for rotisserie-themed burlesque performances can attest, but this? I am not a girl you moon over for ten years. I am not the one Our Father, Who Art in Heaven saves you for in order to impregnate. That is shrewtee. This is a lonely guy who is and has been projecting his want of love and tenderness onto me, drawing me up in his mind as his ideal (though almost entirely unfamiliar) ladyfriend, which is strange and depersonalizing. And M.Brio’s Cog. Sci. boyfriend, Sabado Gigante, who brought to light something I managed to overlook: the possibility of physiological damage in addition to the emotional and spiritual trauma of his experience. Aneurysms enjoy to get their fatality on. When they don’t, they can still irreversibly scramble your egg. He was inappropriate before, and needy, but who knows if this is just the ramped up progression of his crush as is normal for him or the ramped up progression of his crush on account of the crazybrains. I don’t want to hurt him. I do not want that. He’s been through enough already and he’s a nice guy, despite the stalkery. I’m not sure what to do. By that, I mean I am sure – I totally am – but I just haven’t yet figured out how to word it kindly, without being cruel or insulting, without causing more damage that isn’t really my responsibility to worry about.

And I do too much of that, too, according to Kimchi. Sacrifice too much and the farmers are beginning to wonder where all their goats have gone and why I am always giving out those primitive wooden fertility carvings as gifts.

It’s a Venus of Willendorf, you assholes. I say it every time, but no one can understand me over the rattling of my goat hoof necklaces. Or the bleating, hoofless goats staggering around my yard. They fall down a lot now, but it’s a lot easier getting the rollerskates on.

Speaking of gifts, which we weren’t really, I have to buy some for my nieces who do not yet understand holidays or the privilege of my consideration in getting them anything other than lice shampoo and foot binding accessories. I want to buy them nothing but books forever because I am terrified they will be illiterate. Is this a bad move? Will they come to hate me for it, a little more each year? Yes or yes?

This Long-Sleeved Shirt Can Only End in Tears
jack burton
Hello, internet.

On responding during the early hours of November 4th to a text message that asked, how'd it go?:

I helped a brother out.

Oh right, guys, did you hear? Did you? This really isn't going to be another election post, since I’m a bit late for that anyway, but I do like to adhere to the custom of my peers. Later on, I'll start a blog on the internet and tell you all about my goings-on and opinions! Aside from this very good thing, that people in my state enjoy to swing blue, but not far or wide or entirely loving or accepting, makes me a sad panda. I assume that homo weddings would be crazy sumptuous, in addition to archaically sinful, and therein can perceive one big hitch in garnering a majority NO vote: bigots who had terrible, lackluster ceremonies would have yet more to feel insecure about, and their plates are pretty full up already. You have to sympathize. It’s one of those lessons they teach you in naturopathy school. I’ve never been to naturopathy school, but I can just imagine. And spending most of the past weekend reading back articles on the New Yorker site, I imagine, makes me kind of a douche.

This is a fact that Wendy Bailey works at convincing me of, over eggs and paté, during a recent friendate. Flush from her recent auditions with Iron Maidens (the only all-woman Iron Maiden tribute band, according to their site) and near brush with near camp majesty, she insists that I just shut up and put out for Microsoft Word once in awhile. She also ditches me on Halloween night, when we thought it might be a good idea to plan to dress up as half a Mark Twain each. I would have been the pants and mustache. So, it's some give and take, is what I'm saying. I'm going to eventually shoot her in the neck with a blowdart, is what I'm saying. But I'll do it, as I do so few other things, with true platonic, nearly sororal, love. That's progress. Wendy lives in Encinitas, where their mayor’s name is – actually – James Bond. And that's almost as good as progress!

This is as good as a bunch of photos.Collapse )

Médecins Sans Frontières put on a free exhibit at Balboa Park over the weekend, called A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City, which was humbling and affirming in the way that NPR listeners and people who receive forwarded newsletters, like me, enjoy so much. Fabricated latrines, shelter, checkpoints, field infirmaries and cholera treatment tents erected and cubes of cornmeal based nutritional supplements duly sampled, it’s a heartbreaking spectacle, but still incredibly distant, still hard to take very seriously while the red park tram dings by and planes fly overhead. Even the framed crayon drawings of guns and bombs, blood pooled around crude figures that look like cacti or ninja throwing stars. Even the plastic baby dolls, suspended at a weighing station next to rations of Plumpynut and shiny infant heating wraps, photos of kids so frail and tiny, who could fit right in your hand, and I still laugh at the word diarrhea.

I Swear I'll Get You a One-Way Ticket to The Gambia
An abundance of commas and hyphens does not require a federal bailout. It does, however, require some patience. Humor me, e-friends!

Though my livejournal, like many language isolates (including Ainu!), is essentially moribund, my cyberless life is in some aspects, and really only sometimes, decidedly not. More than a month ago, my second niece in little more than a year arrived, round headed, one eye winking like the ghost of Victor Wong, in a gush of fluid, digits and indignity. The latter not being hers so much (she was quieter than her older sister, a pinky shade of mellow to complement a pair of rowdy blue mongol buttcheeks) as it was my sister's, or mine on her behalf. Something they don't tell the uninitiated about labor is the fact that all kind of people, ostensibly medical professionals, will finger-up and ogle the ladyfruit like they paid a dollar for it at church carnival. Twice already and I'm still appalled. Though I can’t help but feel a little left out. You’d think by now with robot pandas and washing machine-dryers, some kind of technology would be available to take that over. Regardless: 3:03PM on 8/14 rolls up and some 6-plus pounds, 20 and one-half inches of feeble softness entered, gasping in the air for the first time until, finally, a yelp of surprise.

"I know what you mean," I said. "I also hope the new season of Prison Break is better, even though I know it won't be. What the hell else can they break out of?"

Turns out I was right, now bereft of the Australian or whatever eye candy from last season with a shot to the melon and nursing the ache of a Discovery Channel Shark Week that ended long ago, since Wentworth Miller – attractive as he is – only seems to substitute urgent whispering for every range of emotion. I'm back on Supernatural now and only because it revives a long-buried and somewhat shameful college lust for trenchcoat-wearing angels.

Old habits.Collapse )

I called my mom after the birth to tell her the news, played back a video I took so she could hear, and was met with another yelp. She sobbed and sobbed. Then, I wish [gasp] I had been there [gasp] and I can't [gasp] I can't even --

I laughed and told her not to be a retard, said she was going to frighten the babies with all her waterlogged dramatics when she finally landed at the airport. Which she did, a month later, plus the half hour I was late to pick her up along the lonely Hawaiian Airlines curb. We found in the thick of this that Manang Esther, our aunt and Mom's oldest sister, had stroked out only hours before. And the combination of that grief and longing, that helplessness, that joy, could have swelled over the breadth of the Pacific to us and served the dozens of chocolate cupcakes she eventually took to the wake.

This, too, under the category of Hits + Misses:

"You seem like an intelligent person," he said, "I mean, you're pretty clever. So why are you here?"

Because I am not that intelligent, obviously. I am the balls at accepting textual olive branches, though, possibly on account of a newfound enjoyment of olives. A years-long frienship drama now put to rest, I guess it's probably time for me to start in on the more robust pastime of hibachi cooking.

In news less similar in subject as theme, I am also a new apartment renter and owner of a failed car. Two bedrooms, two baths and walls painted a soothing shade of khaki cannot contain my bewilderment, though it's plenty enough for the emptied quarts of coolant and H2O. A steaming radiator or part thereabouts tells me what what I don’t need to hear: my car may be used as a sauna and a year long lease is something to despair of in ways you pretty much expect. IKEA meatballs are acceptable custom for celebration and mourning, which isn't even technically right and not the reason, but probably one of many, why I will never work at NASA. That seems like a lot of capital letters for one measly paragraph. HERE ARE MORE!

On the day she died, my dad told us, Manang Esther had been cleaning her house and settled on the couch to rest. Her husband, out back inspecting the jackfruit trees, found the biggest one (an accomplishment, considering jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, growing up to 80lbs., when compared to my relatively puny and less visually intriguing niece) and brought it inside to show our aunt. She was already cold. Another accomplishment, considering Bacolod City’s average yearly temperature of 88.5°F. I imagine that, like my mom, my uncle must have found what it was like to have a really terrible and really awesome day at the same time. It's a wonder the Earth doesn't fold on itself, those kinds of forces at work on a single person.

I Will Never Literally Be A Tiger
What’s gone on lately, besides incineration:

Friend-dating at Shakespeare’s with a relentlessly supportive Wendy Bailey, getting our drink on while screaming planes take off and land over the bay. She tells me about her recent gigs and I confess my love of curry. The adjacent shoppe sells anglophile culinary curiosities and pastel china, including commemorative Princess Diana saucers. Packages of Curly Wurlys, Parma Violets and Clotted Cream Fudge opened, then rapidly discarded, carelessly masticated like so many victims in a Hills Have Eyes movie. I yell, "Suck it, Britain," and make chocolate-stained karate chops at an indifferent tangerine sunset. Wendy tells me this will be a great adventure. I should remember that I don’t really like candy.

An outsized dinner at Hash House A-Go Go with an economy-sized M. Brio, formerly International Mouth Slut of Ireland and Haiti by way of Florida, where she tells me of her current adventures in dating a giant. His 6’6” to her 4’11” and I suggest Halloween costumes to accommodate their budding romance:

  • Viking, a much smaller viking
  • Tetherball pole, tetherball
  • Dr. Evil, Mini Me
  • Batmobile, Batman
  • Regular produce, organic produce
  • That guy from Total Recall, Kuato
  • Godzilla, the city of Tokyo
  • Bill Cosby, JELLO pudding
  • Antiques Roadshow appraiser, teapot

And me? My costume this year can be summed up in a single word: AWESOME.

Or more realistically: JUST A WIG.

Returned awhile ago from the Bay Area and its affluence of claw foot tubs, a somewhat disappointing search for acceptable rentals is balanced with unexpected evening butt-fondling by a supposedly unconscious Ganchu, frying dream eggs on my humps, my humps, my hapless lady lumps. Then classy dinner parties with Domingo + a leased Hotslana Sexovitch + flatmates, grubbing on sweet sausage lasagna and Kool-Aid pitcher appletinis. Humored for several days by Willfredo and k@, we give the impression of, if anyone where to observe, a really lazy Asian whorehouse. Their Belizean reculse has moved away, though southwardly still is my one neighbor who sits in a lawn chair outside of his garage at all hours, possibly crazy and almost certainly high, in a Bruce Lee tee-shirt and aviator shades. He doesn’t do anything, just washes his car everyday and listens to motown. Another neighbor once called the police to complain about the noise. It was 2AM and he was back out the next night anyway, but I never really mind because Smokey Robinson is pretty sweet no matter when.

Internet lothario/bald man, mengus, recently provided in his LJ an impressively organized glimpse into his post-making process. Though it may seem otherwise, I have a process, too. And while it usually only requires felt tip pens and drawing mermaids on the backs of supermarket receipts, I am on occasion incredibly high tech about the whole thing.

No, really.Collapse )

As you can see, I’ve touched upon all of these points in lucid, heartwarming, occasionally wrenching, but never too mawkish sensitivity. You didn’t even know it was happening. Impressed, Internets? You should be. Look at me, I’m like lightning.

The Japanese Agriculture Ministry Is Not In Charge of Robots
A fitful sleep at 4 AM when the news said two wildfires, burning away Ramona to the northeast and above the Tecate border crossing to the southeast. The Santa Ana winds roaring over the county knocked over plants, garden gnomes and set off car alarms in the neighborhood. Pushing west, eight fires now in a semi-circle of ash and heat and gawking bystanders. My cousin has been sending what I'd assumed were cryptic text messages since this morning, asking if I was okay. I'm fine, I wrote back, just kind of hungry. Thinking of getting pad thai for lunch. My sister and parents called, stuck in Los Angeles since yesterday. The freeways are shut down and paint cans are exploding like the sound of gunfire in burning garages.

Artist's Interpretation

All kind of shit's ablaze again, like every year, and I can see the smoke taking over blue sky the same way it did in 2003.

October 26, 2003: I suppose it's not a good thing when you come down into your garage, take a whiff of the air, wonder what's barbequeinq -- then realize it's your CITY. I am surrounded, not immediately (but very literally), by fire. The 805 South is closed as nearby as H Street while Chula Vista and Otay burn away. Maybe the border will burn away, too, and we will finally become MexiFornia, just like I've always dreamed. And SoCal will be the cauterized stump of international freedom. Meanwhile, up in the north, my work has made close neighbors with another blaze. We're officially in a "state of emergency" and the people have been told to voluntarily evacuate their homes.

Luckily, I live in an area full of flame retardant concrete, in a peach stucco condominium with no yard. We don't entice. But things are shit here, and people are dying and losing everything. You see on the news what's really important when it comes down to what it comes down to. One guy packed a stuffed moose head into the back of his truck while his child and dog watched on. I suppose I'd try to save the goldfish, then take my photo album and a change of underwear. Maybe my coconut cup. I don't have a lot.

This happens every year. And each year, they proclaim it worse than the last: Firestorm. Only this time I think it really is bad. Worse, even, than that Howie Long movie by the same name. But when Armageddon finally comes, at least we'll know it smells like barbeque. And if that's the case, it can't be too terrible, can it?

250,000 people have evacuated already, told to shelter it up at high schools and military bases. My sister's mother-in-law lives in Eastlake, in the path of the encroaching Harris fire. She's trying to get to NAS North Island on Coronado, they said, where her husband works. If she can't, she may head here instead and we'll just have to save my collection of Faberge eggs and Russian nesting dolls (and Faberge eggs inside Russian nesting dolls) together.

I should probably take a shower and figure out where I stashed my birth certificate.

A 99¢ Chicken Sandwich, Justin
Tapped out sometime during Late Night with Conan O'Brien reruns, posted who knows when, and some of this will be true. Lots of it won't be, but you'll never be able to tell because I'm so subtle. I'm a tall, muscular black man. I can lift a car and have an army of octopus butlers. I spend much of my spare time buying thoroughbred racehorses, then encrusting them in pavé diamonds. Post-mistaken terminal prognosis for my previously hospitalized aunt, Eurofusion fooding and downtown clubbing for Ganchu's 25th, and what's left of my life recently is terrible Latin drag shows in Hillcrest + terrorist hookah dinner parties. My new niece is very tough and macho.

Born grasping, indignant, she is in large part ignorant of current events and global environmental concerns. Front row seats to the birthing process and the hoot-beep-clicking of hospital haute technologie makes the business of Life sound like a video game where waiting makes it feel like a pre-natal DMV. Giving birth really isn't that difficult, you know. I sat next to someone who gave birth to my niece recently and it's all chocolate chip cookies and cable television. I had a great time. I suspect this is something akin to con artistry, though, what she's done here. Essentially a mongoloid at this point in her life, a raving toothless derelict, a wailing enchilada of poop, and still – cooing. Wonder. She can be so ill-tempered and she farts a lot. I'm reading Robert Browning to her, and essays by Emerson, in the hopes that she'll one day be able to explain them to me.

It's like one of those heartwarming daytime movies, only I'm actually an adrenaline guzzling action flick that punches you in the face with guns and sex explosions. I am Sylvester Stallone and you are that whiny broad who couldn't climb a mountain or hang on to a rope, so I drop you into a canyon where you obviously die and together we are CLIFFHANGER. I am Ed Harris with a chemical weapon that resembles giant grapes and you are Sean Connery in a prison jumpsuit and together we are THE ROCK. I am all the former members of B2K and you are no one else and together I am YOU GOT SERVED.

Now in an itinerant state of mind, I make overdue trips to Tennessee in the middle of Elvis Week for compulsive bathroom cleaning and a kind of quiet on long dark roads that takes some getting used to. The way back to Oak Ridge from Knoxville demands a choice between skirting a lake or graveyard, both equal in nighttime creepiness. Most people seem to choose the graveyard and its flickering blue-gray "eternity lights" that pay endless, expensive tribute to loved ones' decomposed, fossilized departed. If those loved ones could see the lights at 3am after a night of Amaretto Sours, shadow puppets and flashing cops over pancakes at IHOP, they might reconsider. My legs are made of lightning and my eyes are solid gold.

Abid flew in for her annual summer sell-a-thon, one year away now from her classy science PhD and indefinite financial support of my nude composting business. She attracts Wayne Brady lookalikes for karaoke duets and us to her mom's home with promises of beriyani, wedding videos and piles of curly black chest hair. An appearance by years-missing Baby J, too, fantastically cute with a new afro that makes me jealous for more melanin and different genes. A friendshipackage loaded with candy perversions, complimentary clothing, Play Doh – holiday gifts for non-holiday opening since we're both so inept at getting anywhere near a post office. Somewhere in Illinois, a man with the same name as my cousin murdered his family in what the police blotter referred to as "a fit of rage." You could see that phrase coming a mile away. No one ever murders their family in a fit of tenderness, or a fit of grammatical ecstasy.

"Zombies," Danny offers. "That's probably my biggest turn-off." He doesn’t say it, but what he really means is that he's afraid of serial killers and being mauled by leopards. You have to read between the lines. My biggest turn-off? Probably rape. Staying alive through the middle of a sultry summer requires man to cleave from his environment for months at a time, huddling in air conditioned anything, enjoying nouveau Southern cuisine, like red velvet cake gelato and muffuletta panini. Talking golden Baby Jesus over iced sweet tea. Photo albums. Cicadas in every tree. Ambush familial discord. Geography can limit more than taxes if you're not careful. Black panties with white lace is an acceptable fashion choice, but white panties with black lace is the hepatitis of undergarments. A quick storm partway through one hazy afternoon and it's startling to realize, so many years in Southern California, that I'd forgotten the feel of rain on my skin, the smell of white hot pavement slowly cooling.

Let's Go Sit By Them Olda Boys
Fourth of July always manages to smell like burnt poultry and citronella. Even when, in the case of myself + L&K, you are actually consuming carne asada and brie, watermelon and mangotinis, ice cream and tortilla chips. They worried for my safety, Lisa said, alone with a propane tank grill and a bottle of cheap wine. I'd only planned to hard boil some eggs and watch Van Damme movies (I'm assuming that's what the colonists did anyway), but I don't think she believed me. She's has a suspicious mind because her uncle is Kim Jong Il, and because of her advanced syphillis, and because she hates FREEDOM. Unintentionally patriotic in color-coordinated outfits, we found our way to Coronado and a weird little park on the harbor. Fireworks are always a fun thing and ruining a good jacket to sit on a slope of ice plants is more so. I generally like to celebrate holidays with the wanton destruction of landscaping by pyrotechnic light, so it worked out.Collapse )

A few more weeks until I give two more weeks, unless I change my mind either way, and that's an agonizing wait even under the best circumstances. There won't be enough money for bills or much travel or my reprehensible spending habits - at least not for long - but I'm thinking it'll turn out a draw when I no longer have to endure inspirational book-inspired proselytizing and interior decoration. Or personal exterior decoration from a boutique that I imagine is called Man-Blouse Silk Rodeo. The Secret and everything, for fuck's sake, you guys. Really? Really! I think of cat macros whenever I walk by that poster of a rowboat with the word "Teamwork" underneath, or the "Leadership" eagle. I think it would look better with some miserable feline in overalls and the words: My Pokemons, Let Me Show You Them. Cat macros, I know, are so whatever months ago, but I'll holler down whatever goddamn tube I like on my own goddamn Internet machine. I just bought a book on tattoo design concepts by graphic designers, and that spells f-u-n t-i-e-m-z for me. It's an aesthetic that I've wanted to incorporate into a tattoo for some time, but have been unable to because I lack the necessary skills. Incidentally, my lack of native Kumeyaay ancestry would - I suppose, if I tried - keep me from living on the Cuyapaipe Indian Reservation in Pine Valley and setting up a totally sweet oxygen bar.

News from the family 'hood, and other than my sister these days, tells me that making the babies equals pure class. Turns out my 20 year old cousin has managed to impregnate his 16 year old girlfriend in spite of their two brains and all this modern contraceptive technology. That takes skill and determination! And some sperm and ovaries, I think. A cloaca is a shark's in-hole or its out-hole, maybe both. It's confusing, but I can't really ask because sharks don't speak English, only biting. Turns out I'm also nearly as afraid of midget horses as I am of regular-sized horses, which is a blow to my pride.

Local news informs me that a proposed downtown residential tower is causing an uproar, as far as uproars over imaginary buildings can go, on account of its suggestive phallic shape. The architect who designed the building says that it is structurally organic and meant to resemble a flower, but I saw the drawing and it's totally a dong.

Not that I mind at all. I have also just found out what nutmeat is and it's not as funny as I thought. As with Esperanto, I plan to eventually try out raw fooding, which - as far as I can tell - is kind of like eating a vegetable garden that someone fixes up nice on a plate. I can get down with that, though I'm still not sure what carob chips or almond cheese are supposed to do for me. Inspire pooping, probably, but a lifestyle change?

How are you, e-friends? And tell me, what does chicory taste like? I want to order a coffee and beignet mix basket from Cafe du Monde and theirs, they say, is mingled with it. I dislike coffee so I'm wondering if this will force a little love and understanding from my angry, hateful taste buds. I don't like camping either, but you'll never convince me otherwise because everybody knows that camping = sex outdoors = killed by a lunatic. I camped out in the woods once and got busy with some naturalists, but escaped death by jumping into a hot dog tree. And everybody knows that lunatics can't climb.

It's logic.

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