Category Archives: books

Like a sponge.

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Over the course of this past week in Portland I traded in my yoga pants for jeans and put on a real bra exactly twice, and that was to walk 2 blocks to see movies (Beauty in Trouble, Czech dramedy, eh; Tell No One, French psychological thriller, oh so good!) and drink beer in the daytime dark at the Living Room Theater in the Pearl district (pictured). Between said movies, I… watched more movies on DVD, thanks to a sister with “industry” connections (Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Reader… something else good I can’t remember), downloaded a bunch of new music (new Killers, Carla Bruni and Horse Feathers, old Magnetic Fields, Miles Davis and Mates of State among others considerably more embarrassing), read a boatload of magazines, finished The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Ilosa and started Seven Types of Ambiguity, a 600 page tome I’d picked up and put back a dozen times since it came out and finally decided to tackle thanks to long lines and the conveniently located Bargain Buys stack (damn you Powell’s and your strategic merchandising)– in short, did little but play tennis, hang with the fam, and soak up a ton great film, music and reading material and it felt good. Makeup didn’t touch my face, my hair went dirtier than usual, even my ears got a break from being ravaged by cheap earrings. Isn’t this what Christmas is all about though? When else can you be a complete slob if not in the comfort of your family over the holidays in a northern, gray city after having your emotions put in a blender on puree?

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What I’ve been doing since I’ve been gone.

I went home.

Twice.

I helped launch Ben 3.0.

I got pink eye.

I got robbed.

I fell in love with New York all over again.

Still going….

I had 2 more best friends bite the dust– I mean get engaged.

I went to the Interesting 2008 conference and learned that laughter is related to our fight or flight response.

I went to the After Nature opening at the New Museum and got very disturbed.

I rediscovered the power pop awesomeness that is Nada Surf.

I went to Venice, CA to see my lil’ sis. I went to Seattle a few times.

I saw Man on Wire and wondered where my singular passion was (again), I saw Vicky Christina Barcelona and wondered why I’m not waiting tables in the south of France like I always said I would, I saw Batman IMAX and wondered what took me so long.

I signed up for a public speaking course at NYU, yet another example of me inflicting pain upon myself for the sake of….????

I got in the pitiful habit of eating 3 meals at my desk.

I lost sleep over the possibility of layoffs following the demise of our biggest client Wamu.

Which brings me here….

The father, the son, and the holy crap, they cannot be serious.


Do NOT Turn Jesus On.

Originally uploaded by sepultura

Truth be told I’m a little bit of a Jesus freak. I think being raised without religion made me perversely fascinated by the whole thing: the folklore, the bizarre subcultures, the everyday hypocrisies. Currently on my bedside radiator is The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, which picks apart the argument for a higher being bit by hilarious bit. My favorite part so far are the logical proofs for god’s existence borrowed from Godlessgeeks.com. A few gems:

ARGUMENT FROM EXODUS
(1) If the Exodus story has any basis in historical fact, then God exists.
(2) Some guy found some chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea.
(3) There is absolutely no other way that chariots could get to the bottom of the Red Sea.
(4) This means the Exodus story is true.
(5) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPLETE DEVASTATION
(1) A plane crashed killing 143 passengers and crew.
(2) But one child survived with only third-degree burns.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM FEAR
(1) If there is no God then we’re all going to not exist after we die.
(2) I’m afraid of that.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM SHEER WILL
(1) I DO believe in God! I DO believe in God! I do I do I do I DO believe in God!
(2) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM EUROPEAN HISTORY
(1) Many prominent thinkers in pre-modern Europe believed in God.
(2) Let’s just forget about the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

ARGUMENT FROM INCOHERENT BABBLE
(1) See that person spazzing on the church floor babbling incoherently?
(2) That’s how infinite wisdom reveals itself.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

Oooh the list just goes on and on.

Art? Novel? Screenplay? Ransom note?

Neato. From New York magazine:

“British artist-writer Graham Rawle resisted the idea of printing Woman’s World, a new novel about a possibly homicidal cross-dresser that consists entirely of phrases clipped from sixties women’s magazines, in collage form; he was concerned it might be taken for ‘a novelty rather than a novel.’ He needn’t have been: Jean Doumanian decided to produce the movie without even knowing how the book had been constructed.”

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Some notes on his process:

1. “I think the word there was originally part of a title for a feature in [the magazine] Woman’s Own. Above it was a picture, the lower part of which showed a drab wallpaper background. When cutting out the word, I decided to include a fragment of it because the scene describes such an interior.”

2. “One of the problems with using only found fragments to assemble my story was finding multiples of people’s names, which were repeated many times throughout the novel. I decided on Mr. Hands for my antagonist because the word hands is easy to come by in adverts for nail polish, soap powders, and the like. The name also describes his licentious, groping nature.

3. “Much of the material comes from romantic short stories featured in every women’s magazine at the time. Unfortunately for me, most of these are in the third person. Since my story is mainly written in the first, all of the pronouns had to be changed. Once I’d factored in punctuation marks and line breaks, there could be a dozen elements within one sentence.”

4. “Throughout the book, the word woman generally appears in some bold or decorative script or, as in this case, in color. It was probably the most commonly used word, so there were lots to choose from.”

5. “The word forty happened to be sitting on the top of my numbers file as I was pasting down the words, so I stuck it in. It also added a nice graphic element to the page.”

6. “It was fun trying to find a printed number for every page of the book. A bit of tinkering was often required. Here the 209 is intact as part of a telephone number.

7. “Little dogs can get overexcited and work themselves up into a lather, or, in this case, a ‘rich, creamy lather’—a phrase I found in an advertisement for beauty soap.

8. “The line I had in mind ended with something like, ‘…;whose resemblance to Sylvia Syms was extremely remote.’ Having previously categorized my found material into specific subjects, I searched my ‘measuring and distance’ category for the word remote but instead found the phrase ‘…could be measured in nautical miles.’ Much better.”

9. “Celebrity-endorsed beauty products were common in 1962. I think this bit came from an ad for a moisturizing cream used by British screen actress Sylvia Syms, which said something to the effect of: ‘Look over there. Isn’t that Sylvia Syms, star of stage and screen who keeps her skin so young-looking?’”

Favorite Things…

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1. Jose Gonzalez at the Fillmore. Just magical.

2. $150 cross-coast one-ways. (The other side of that coin: hour and a half taxi rides to JFK, missing your flight, hour and a half taxi rides to Brooklyn, rebooked and subsequently canceled flights on 2 different airlines the next day, getting stopped at security, finally securing a middle seat in row 96 and finding you’re #30 in line for take-off).

3. Call Zingo, a new concept in designated driving. Fully-insured, attractive (Flash intros don’t lie) drivers arrive at bar of your choice on COLLAPSIBLE MOTOR BIKES, stick the bike in your trunk, drive you home, expand the bike, and scoot off to their next client, all for a $20 base charge + mileage. (Awful logo but) neato website to boot.

4. Then We Came to an End by Joshua Ferris. Catch-22 meets Office Space at a bar and runs into American Psycho on their way back to her place. I can’t read a chapter without thinking of the “goddamn fucking shitty paperwork” cartoon that gets me every time (“One hundred forests must be cut down!”) so basically I can’t go a page without laughing my face off. I can’t find it on the internet but will scan asap.

5. A mid-morning weekday walk to Tennessee Cove in Marin with the sage and lovely Nicole Burke.

6. “Ocarina” by Birds and Batteries. Best when consumed while flying through the San Francisco hills in 15-year old stick-shift Saab with sunroof open and windows down.

7. WiFi at Farley’s (but still no free refills).

8. 2 words: Lonni’s Punani.

9. 60 Minutes and Sunday Sushi. The ultimate aphrodisiac tranquilizer.

10. Um, um…!

Favorite Things Friday.

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1. Tinderbox in Bernal Heights. Dinner consisted of the following: white shrimp and cheese grits with candied maple bacon in a vanilla-scented balsamic jus; crispy tofu noodle soup; char 2 ways (smoked and slow roasted and tartare on a cornbread blini); a bottle of Assyrtico from Santorini (“full-bodied with background notes of jalapeno and smoke”– definitely unique but a lot lighter and sweeter than it sounds) and the above pictured dark chocolate cake with molten blue cheese center. Oh and popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast, parsley, chives and butter to start. I fully plan to repent these sins another time.

2. School night poker parties!

3. Long, early-spring walks to nowhere listening to Radiolab podcasts. Also- the canopy of flowering trees on outer Folsom.

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5 . The only real mail I get these days are Christmas cards and wedding invitations. This whimisical-chic YSL wallet makes me smile.

6. MGMT, “Oracular Spectacular.” Something’s (finally) astir in Brooklyn again.

7. Coffee Bar on Mariposa and Bryant. A cup of Kenyan blend and an almond croissant in the AM and a glass of their amazing South African white in the PM.

8. Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City and Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Modern classics I finally got around to reading.

9. Coincidentally opposing color exhibits at MoMA (“Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today”) and the Met (“Jasper Johns: Gray”).

10. Pandora’s Zero 7, Guster and Rodrigo y Gabriela radio stations.

Ahhh……

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Please see above for the reason for my recent radio silence.  Just returned from 4 blissful, indulgent days of warm sun, noontime margaritas, thick paperbacks (finally finished Sean Wilsey’s Oh the Glory of it All!— fantastic) and quality girl time.

I’m almost starting to feel like myself again.