Monday, April 27, 2009

Save a Prayer

Washing my hands a lot lately. Thinking twice before taking some gummy bears offered by someone at the office. Who knows who’s touched those gummies a very simple way of thinking paranoia very simple desire pleasurable in some ways even to want to keep perfectly clean to be extra mindful of one’s hands and fingers not touching things you don’t need to keeping an extra foot or two between people L.A. is probably a good place to avoid catching anything as you can just stay in your car stay in your house keep your distance all the time some guy in my office building spending his lunch hour in his car in the parking garage listening to the radio and eating a sandwich the safety of being totally alone and not having to touch or rub up against anyone normally the people in New York sneer at the selfish Los Angelenos but how must it feel now to be riding a packed 9 train uptown with someone sneezing in your face of course we can’t live like we do in L.A. forever and the world would collapse faster than it already is if everyplace became more like L.A. it’s times like these when you become extra conscious of how few opportunities for face-to-face contact one actually has in L.A. and how easily almost all such interactions can be avoided there are no crowded sidewalks most people don’t take public transport times like this you sort of want to pack your car with provisions and head to some place in Idaho or Wyoming and just wait it out what bugs me is people who get off on aestheticizing disaster people who invariably have good health care and all sorts of financial and social safety nets and who can get off on the pornography of disaster from their secured locations and they are in their perverse way loving the current situation because it’s so dystopian and awesome just a high-brow form of sensationalism and more than a little titillation felt in being able to describe death and destruction while knowing that the privileged describer faces little chance of being affected by said death and destruction. Wash your hands and say a prayer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"The earth laughs in flowers."

April coming to an end. We have vegetable beds now -- four of them, sitting in the backyard. They're made of cedar or something like that. They're now filled with 81 cubic feet of compost and soil. We've planted beans, tomatoes, zucchini, scallions, lettuce, melons, pak choi, sugar snap peas, and other stuff. There's a black tarp laid out under the beds, and various bamboo structures placed on top of the beds for the climbing plants to attach themselves to: the whole set up looks like a large science project.

My role in our gardening project has mostly involved moving a lot of dirt and digging holes for trees. I enjoy that kind of work outside: it feels like good exercise and I find it relaxing to dig into the ground and move dirt around.

I have complete control over one patch of territory -- a strip near the driveway where I've planted several kinds of sunflowers. I'm especially excited about the giant sunflowers I've planted there, which are supposed to grow to twelve or fourteen feet. I've got seven or eight sunflowers growing there now; many of the seeds I planted were unearthed and eaten by birds or squirrels. I was initially impatient with the sunflowers, but I've learned to accept that I just have to wait for the little fuckers to do their thing -- at their own rate. Nature.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Automatic Transmission

Riding in the backseat of a car through the hills over the Rose Bowl in Pasadena I used to have these dreams all the time of being in the back of a car that was rolling along usually down a hill with no one driving the origin of these dreams probably had something to do with my crashing a car when I was two my mother had left me sleeping in a car seat in the back seat as she took my baby brother into the house the car was parked on our street at the top of a long steep hill while she was taking my brother in I somehow got out of my car seat got into the front seat and shifted the car into neutral and it started rolling backwards down the hill my mom saw this dropped my brother on the lawn and started chasing after the car which started picking up speed as it rolled down the hill perhaps taking out a mailbox or garbage can here and there with my mom screaming and reaching out for the car I don't remember any of this and then the story goes the car fell off the road into a ditch or a small stream -- I can't remember exactly which -- and my mom got to the car and pulled open the door and I was a little confused and scared but unhurt someone had called my dad and he raced back from his office at eighty or ninety miles an hour down the streets of Windsor, Connecticut later the back seat held happier memories as I would ride in a carpool to Montessori school with my friends and the parents would leave little picture books in the back for us to look at to acquaint and familiarize us with books to encourage us to hold and enjoy books because that would be important for us to become good students later which would be important for us to obtain positions of prestige and comfort so that we would live good lives and crashing cars before we could read was not part of that plan -- the ambitious plan for the children looking through picture books in the back seat though the thing I remember most clearly from that house in Windsor was being lifted into a tree sometime in the spring by my neighbor a girl a few years older than me named Nancy and there alone up in the tree I looked into a nest and saw the startling sky blue eggs of a robin

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

There ain't no Florida deal

What is the rush to end every week? Racing to Friday afternoon, waking up on Thursday thinking it's Friday Mrs. Octopus on the phone with her parents speaking in Vietnamese I can understand a bit here and there and I'm watching the St. Louis Blues vs. the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs though I haven't watched hockey much since the Whalers left Hartford in the nineties which was deeply traumatic for most people in or from Connecticut I had gone to dozens of Whalers games growing up with my uncle who had season tickets through his company behind one of the goals every time we went someone got hit or nearly hit with a puck flying off an errant slapshot there were a couple die-hard fans -- they were sort of fat and scruffy and always wore their Whalers jerseys -- who had seats behind my uncle's and apparently went to every single game and knew all the staff at the Hartford Civic Center now the XL Center and were apparently allowed to bring in their own snacks and I respected them because of their commitment it was very pure and focused at least they could really commit to something they loved I wonder why I can't do that the Civic Center caved in after a huge snowstorm in 1978 and today it's an empty husk the sun has gone down Old Time Hockey eh like Eddie Shore the days are deliciously long again spring is wonderful I was thinking as I took the long Colorado St./Eagle Rock exit ramp of the 134 admiring the young trees in bloom with tiny pink blossoms in the median spring is here the Blues and Canucks are shoving each other and falling down on top of each other even though the period's over and here comes the Zamboni
Jettisoned like a spent booster rocket, tumbling to earth, burning up.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Steep my senses in forgetfulness

I've deleted at least three first sentences for this post. It's one of those nights. My soccer game sucked tonight. There aren't any good movies out. I feel tired all the time. Brown couch white ceiling blue tv set miss my black and white portable set that I used to watch in the mornings as I brushed my teeth before driving to Hartford through the snow sliding down the driveway one night I was driving my brother and my mom to go get Chinese food in Glastonbury it had been snowing and we slid -- very slowly -- into a snowbank luckily nothing happened but the car had to be heated so the snow packed into the bottom of the car would melt away I felt bad about that for a while and drove much more carefully afterwards polar bear chewing on the German woman already eight every morning already eleven thirty every night the medical marijuana on Colorado seems not to be opening there's a place down the street where they started building an apartment building but they just stopped it looked neat for a little while but now it's really depressing my sunflowers are taking forever to grow they're only six inches high now but they're supposed to grow to twelve to fourteen feet I want them to be gigantic and frightening and I want that now but I'll have to wait and keep watering them every morning the state motto of New Mexico is It Grows as It Goes and Kansas' is Ad Astra per Aspera which is also my motto and I have to come to grips with the reality that my favorite activity is book shopping and not book reading I need to do some more book reading some more writing and figure out what I need to do with myself.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The View from the Tank: Valu-Pak



[Explanatory note: We have some premium movie channels now, so I find myself watching a lot of movies I probably shouldn't or otherwise wouldn't. You will notice a resulting lack of commitment to most of these reviews and a general decline in analysis and care.]

Milk (2008)
Sean Penn is excellent. Josh Brolin is okay. The ending was ludicrous and unforgivable. 3 1/2 tentacles.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Not as good as you remember. Goes by really fast. I can't remember what it was I thought was so funny about this movie back in the day. 2 1/2 tentacles.

Sans Soleil (1983)
Bizarre and mostly fascinating. Marker seems to have been infinitely more interested and absorbed by the material from Japan. I don't see why the portions about Africa are in here at all. But then my French friend objected that I was always looking for a "purpose" in things. That's me: Anglo-Saxon empiricism and Protestant linearity and practicality all the way. And I admit to getting a little distracted during the interminable part where they visited the sites in San Francisco featured in Vertigo. Still, a movie all movie fans should see. A documentary with a little imagination. 4 tentacles.

Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)
Surprisingly entertaining, even if it may result in minor brain damage to the viewer. Theodore is very cute. The love interest is sort of hot. David Cross is hilarious as the hip, evil record executive who wants to exploit the rodents and "turn China Chipmunk." I sense several sequels. 2 1/2 tentacles.

Juno (2007)
The words coming out of Juno's mouth seem like an endless attempt to demonstrate how with it "Diablo Cody" is. Ellen Page does a good job of working in an actual character around Cody's absurd dialogue. Michael Sera does a good job playing himself again. It feels like this movie was built around an indie song that Cody heard during an Itunes commercial. 2 1/2 tentacles.

The Perfect Storm (2000)
I don't know what kept me watching to the end. I can't believe they all died. Clooney was wholly unbelievable as the Ahab-like captain of the Andrea Gail. I kept waiting for him to crack a self-satisfied smile and hatch a plan to rob the vault at the Bellagio. Mostly I kept waiting for the climactic storm scenes to be revealed in full HD glory. They were okay. John C. Reilly and William Fichtner are strangely compelling here. Worth watching if you can't sleep or do anything else. 1 1/2 tentacles.

Waltz with Bashir (2008)
Hallucinatory and powerful. A most perfect and strange documentary. Intensely personal and political. A crucial film. 4 1/2 tentacles.