Monday, April 30, 2007

Who Is This Soulful Girl??????

Is she posing for a Mary Mother of God contest? Or perhaps she thinks she looks--I don't know--intense, mysterious, sexy. Isn't that bob great--although I personally think she'd look better with a wisp of a bang. But I understand that she had these headbands, which I don't know that you can see, in a variety of velvets, wrought by her own hand. Because she was nothing else if not a girl who aspired to match.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

How To Make Me Mad...

I guess I don’t need any help in getting mad after all. This article in the Sacramento Bee did it for me. The subhead says it all, as far as I’m concerned. “Elk Grove officials aren’t enthused by Target, JCPenny at Promenade.” Neither are Elk Grove citizens, particularly this one.

The back story is this: Elk Grove has been dithering over a huge mall for some time now—probably since we started our surge to become the fastest growing city in the United States. The mall, to be over a million square feet, is sited at the east end of the city, where a nifty little exit to Highway 99 would enable the masses for miles around to visit.

The purpose, according to the city fathers (and mothers one would assume) is to put Elk Grove on the map, mall-wise. Right now, we have, it would seem, more than enough stores. In fact, one might say, I will say that Elk Grove is nothing but new houses and chain stores. However, a Real Mall with Real Stores is what is wanted. In other words, Nordstrom’s and Macy’s and, one would hope, Restoration Hardware and Williams Sonoma. Like they have in Arden or Roseville. And West Hollywood or Century City. Or Short Hills. Or Manhasset. (I’m not sure about those last two, but you get my point.) A Real Mall confers status and tax dollars. Right now, all of Elk Grove’s Real Mall tax dollars are going to Arden and Roseville—or internet shopping.

So the powers that be have broken ground, dug some trenches, and put in some re-bar. But they still haven’t decided (1) what the mall will look like, and (2) which will be the anchor stores. The argument re design devolves to Indoor or Outdoor. The absolutely latest, oh-my-gosh-we-gotta-have-it in mall design is Outdoor. As in LA’s The Grove, about which I have written lovingly in the past. Indoor is so, so Yesterday. I don’t have a hard and fast opinion on this one. I see the points of both sides—bad weather versus community gathering. It is the anchor stores issue that has me seeing red.

According to the Bee article, the developers of the mall, a Chicago-based (read, carpetbagger) company, are close to a deal on the two anchor stores. Not Nordstom’s. Not Macy’s. Target. And JC Penney.

Well, big whoop. And gee whiz. And close your ears if you don’t want to hear me spew a blue streak. !@#$%^&*()_!@#$%^&*()_!@#$%^&*()!

Now I bow to no one in my appreciation of Target. In fact, I would be sans wardrobe if it weren’t for Target, even now, as I write this. But—hear me—ELK GROVE ALREADY HAS A TARGET. In fact, we have two. And Penney’s? When we already have Kohl’s and Mervyns? How many low end department stores does one city need?????
According to the Bee article, a retail “consultant” from the Bay Area who “scouted” the Sacramento region thinks these stores are just fine for Elk Grove, and really we couldn’t handle more. “It’s a fairly moderate market, not the kind of place that, say Nordstrom would come into,” opined the scout, one Jeff Green of Mill Valley. “You have a lot of younger families who move there to get a little more house for their money, so there’s not a lot of disposable income compared to areas north and east.”

I don’t know where Mr. Green did his scouting (I suspect he included very moderate Galt and Lodi in the mix), but he certainly hasn’t gotten our demographics down. I don’t at the moment have the actual data to spew out, but these young families only account for one portion of Elk Grove residents. Some of us live in million dollar homes. Some of us have gardeners and swimming pools. Some of us, goddammit, have charge accounts at Nordstom!

My journalist’s nose is twitching: I wonder who pays Mr. Green’s bills. The Chicago developers? Penney’s? Fortunately for us, thus far, not the mayor of Elk Grove or one of the city councilmembers. They are reportedly “not happy” and they are saying that the anchor tenant issue could “hang the project up.”

I hope so. And meanwhile, I will continue to send the bulk of my tax dollars outside of Elk Grove.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Life Goals--or, um, Did I Forget Something?

Cce over at Mad Marriage tagged me the other day for a meme about goals not realized. At first, I felt nothing but flattered, in a Sally Field-ish sort of way. Then, I felt nothing. That is, I utterly blanked at the word goals – never mind the “not realized” part.

What are these things called goals? Have I ever had one? Would I know it if I had?

Okay, here’s one. I wanted to be named one of Esquire magazine’s “Thirty Under Thirty.” Do they still do that feature? I gave up watching after I’d passed thirtyfive and Esquire had still not called.

I was beginning to feel a bit frantic about not having any Goals Not Realized to write about, so I did what I do whenever I feel confused: I researched the topic. If I don’t know what a goal is, surely the rest of the world will. Obviously. They’d have to. As they, unlike I, are functioning human beings. So I went trolling for Goals.

I went back to Cce's post and saw that she, too, has a problem with goals. “Aside from that MFA, I can’t think of anything I’ve set out to accomplish. Truly, I’ve got nothing. Perhaps I just have the ability to back off my goals, adapting to failure in a way that conveniently disguises my initial intentions.”

Okay, that's a kindred soul, but it's not particularly helpful for my purposes. So I checked the post of Ron, who originally tagged Cce, and saw that he has flipped the meaning of the meme. “Five Goals I’ve Never Taken Seriously” is how he titles it and the first three are telling: he’s never taken staying fashionable serious, or growing up, or getting the final goal in the World Cup. The meme for him, then, is Five Goals The World Thinks Are Important But I Am Better Than That. I followed his lead to the five bloggers he had tagged, but of them, only Cce had responded. Were the others too busy? Too befuddled by the meme’s actually meaning? Too befogged by the weightiness of calculating their goals?

Moving right along to the other four who Cce had tagged, this is what I found: SlouchingMom cited the meme as “What Five Goals Have You Largely Ignored?” All of them, she says. She realized relatively early that goal-making was, for her, somewhat crazy-making. “Goals are not good for me. I’m trying to live one day at a time, enjoy the here-and-now, something historically almost impossible for me. And that may be the one goal that I am proud to say I have more or less achieved, though I backslide from time to time.” And that was it for Cce’s other four.

So I googled: goals meme. And there I saw the way in which the meme had morphed.

One Alex Shalman seems to be the originator of the meme, and this is what his prompt for it is: “list and write about the top 5 to 10 goals that you gotta’ get so that you can truly say you have achieved your wildest dreams in life. These have to be your best, most exclusive, and over-the-top goals that you can pick off your goals list.”

Wow! That’s one fine game of telephone: from goals you gotta get to goals you’ve largely ignored. I wonder where the first bend in the road (to mix my metaphors) came. Who was the initial person to just slightly altered the meme to fit their own state of mind.

The conventional wisdom, when I was in the PhD program, was that the choice of your dissertation topic had more to say about your psyche than your critical interests. I’m reminded of that in this foray into the Goals Meme: how one answered depended on how one read the meme, and that had everything to do with where you are, as they used to say, “at.”

I'm slightly confused, so I go back to Alex Shalman's site, to see who he is and if therein is a clue to the morphing of the meme.

Ahhhhhh, yes. Alex Shalman sub-titles his site, "Practical Personal Development." He is about self-fulfillment and promises to make and keep as only a twentytwo year old can be. For those of us a tad older--well, we kinda recognize the way that wildest dreams goals reach up to bite you in the butt.

Still, I don't want to be a bad sport, so here are my five tags to do the meme next, , whatever it is, and however they want to phrase it: Toady Joe, Queen of Dysfunction, Leahpeah, Blurbomat, and HelenJane.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We Were Right!

We are reaping what They have wrought. They--those they and them and you over there--that voted for George Bush.

A terrific post that I came across at BlogHer's site. Must reading for a male, a Libertarian male, point of view on Choice.

For those of you in, near, and around the Capitol, next Wednesday, May 2nd, there will be a Rally at 10 am on the West steps of the Capitol. Says Planned Parenthood: "[Our] top priorities are the health and safety of our patients. We will work to ensure women are provided with the best and safest care under this dangerous law. The American people, the people of the Sacramento region won't stand for it. . . .We are sending the message to politicians and the Supreme Court that women's health matters and must be protected."

I'll be there. Will you?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In Which I Try To Regain My Rantedness...

I used to be a lot funnier, and I think I'm losing my edge. I'm thinking it's Big Pharma that's done this to me. They're making me nicer, more thoughtful, more what-the-fuckish. Things and people that used to bother me, to get me fired up for a rant worth reading--now, I'm all "eh, aren't people interesting...." So I'm going to cut back on the dosage and see what happens. And practice being mean again.

As in:

I went to a meeting the other day --okay, it was yesterday, but I'm trying to disguise the facts so as not to hurt anyone's feelings. Ooops, scratch that. I went to a meeting yesterday, a meeting of people who live in my area of Elk Grove. We meet regularly because it's the only way we can get to know each other since our houses are constructed so that once we glide into our garages and push the down button on the door, we are hidden from the world. One might, if one were of a philosophical bent, say we stop existing. This in itself is worthy of a rant, but I'll save that for another time.

My topic today is: the meeting. We go around the room and introduce ourselves and say what our street is so that we can at least nod knowingly--oh, yeah, I remember that street...where is it again? I go first because I'm in the first seat, first row where us good girls always sit. I say my name, and then blank on my street. Which doesn't suprise me because it's such a dumb name for a street! And it has an apostrophe in it! Whatever. My point here--and yes, schmuck, I do have one--is the way in which every couple in that room introduced himself. Indeed, you read that pronoun right. "I'm Joe Blow, and this is my wife Wilma." Then Wilma would smile slightly or nod and the next Joe Blow would stand up. I was, to say the least, appalled. Is this not 2007? (I was going to write 1990, but--gee, how time passes when you're having fun.) Are these wives not entities of their own? Do they not speak? And if not, why not? This wasn't just an isolated incident; every couple in the room did this. And IT PISSED ME OFF....!

Topic number two: The cops came to the meeting. Yes, they were invited, and they drank our water and ate our cookies and one even brought her not-very-well-behaved child. The girl cops were in uniform, which fit quite stylishly and made me want to go right out and take the Civil Service exam. The boy cop--well, he was wearing a T shirt that had the name of his department, a kind of generic thing that they probably give out to the SWAT teams to wear under their armor. And he had a black leather belt to which was affixed his badge (which is VERY large). It wasn't a Sam Browne belt, I don't think. Maybe it was his Saturday meeting belt. In addition to his badge, it had his gun. A little snub-nosed something or other. And a little leather pocket in front of it that looked like it might be a good place to keep postage stamps. And on his other hip, he had--his phone. Well, duh. Of course. My point here--and yes, asshole, I do have one is this. After he introduced himself, with name and rank (and the serial number remember was on his badge), he told us he was undercover. So if we saw him on the street, we shouldn't greet him by name, rank and serial number. Or be hurt if he didn't say hi back. We should just walk on by.... Well, this perturbs me. I mean, doesn't under cover mean you're incognito? Hasn't he, by telling us this, just blown his cover?

And finally: a private, personal rant to you, over there, that neighbor who I have met on several occasions and who even when sitting across from me at a table, acts as if I'm not visible. I don't want to see you either. And get a better bra. Your nipples are pointing southward.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Moody Me...

I am in a crappo mood. Don't ask why; you don't want to know. Or maybe you do, if you're into drama-trauma-and-inertia, but I don't want to tell you. I am not one of those people who spills it all to the Internet. Actually many of those people talk of "telling the Internets", nb: plural, and what's that about? Is there more than one? Am I on it. Or--trust me--am I on the wrong one?

I'm filing and throwing and shredding and--holy crap! there's that tax bill from 2005. And there it goes, streamers of paper flying out of basket marked Very Important.

I may return later with a more uplifting post, but for now, this is it...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dead,dead, dead!

I was just reading Mad Marriage's blog about her inlaws visiting, which made me miss my parents, and so I commented on that, writing that "my parents are gone." As soon as I wrote that word, my mother gave my knee a sharp squeeze and my father shot me his best askance-looking look (both interesting gestures considering they are dead, dead, dead).

In my family, you called death by its name. Someone died. He/she/they were dead. Not passed away. Nor did you lose them. In the first instance, we'd be likely to say "away where?" In the second, "how careless of you; have you looked carefully?"

We were definitely not a family of euphemisms. I'm not sure why this was, except that my father was such a literalist. He wanted you to name things as they were. A bathroom was not a bathroom unless there was a tub in it. And, in fact, if you said you were going to the bathroom and you were just going to use the toilet, better say so.

Words mattered. And they still matter to me. I know a lot of them and I like them and I use them--except when I can't remember them, in which case I look piteously at whoever I'm talking to and, even if it's someone I don't know, beg "what's the word I'm looking for? You know--" Sometimes they do and sometimes, I'm sure, they walk away thinking I'm nuts. It's one of the few cognitive deficits left by the aneurysm, this losing of words. It happens mostly when I'm tired, and there's a technical term the doctors and rehab people use. But I can't remember it right now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting: some thoughts

When these tragedies occur, I go numb. Maybe my neurotransmitters spasm and flood my brain with endorphins because I cannot feel a thing. I can think, though.

I am disgusted with the post-game quarterbacking about the school's non-decision to shut down the campus after the first shooting. No one knew that this was a bloodbath in the making. No one knew or coulda known or shoulda known that the killer in the first incident was about to go on a rampage.

Second sight, precognition--they exist on TV, but in real life, not so much. And while killings on college campuses are not a regular thing, they do happen. As the cops and the administration keeps repeating, they made the best decision they could with the information they had. To insist otherwise is to either create hyperbole in order to sell commercial time...or to find someone to blame in a blameless situation. We're brilliant at doing that in America, and our news media is so very, very helpful.

When I saw the report that the shooter was an English lit major, I thought, "aha." Not that all or most English lit majors are nuts or all or most English departments make you crazy, but having experienced several--well, my "aha" made sense, at least to me.

When I was teaching Freshman Comp at Sac State, I had my students keep, as was the pedagogical trend at the time, Journals. These were places where they would write their personal responses to the work they were reading and the essays they were writing. It was meant to be a way of Keeping The Student Engaged In The Process. It was also a way to make sure students were keeping up with the work. I would collect the Journals every once in a while and go through them in the most cursory fashion.

I wasn't put off by the student whose response to an essay he'd read on dating was a soliloquoy on the woes of having a too-small penis. I was scared shitless by the student who wrote at length on his fears that he was in fact the reincarnation of the mad mind of Edgar Allen Poe. I took that one to my department head, who--well, I'm not sure what the disposition was.

One of the things you learn as a teacher of writing and lit is not to allow your students to go too far into themselves. Writing courses aren't therapy and the teachers are not psychotherapists. Encouraging someone whose mental state you don't know to mess in their minds is just plain dangerous. You--and they--have no idea what might come crawling out.

I stopped assigning personal writing in Journals after that semester at Sac State. It seemed the wiser course.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I am soooo soooo mature.....

I could watch this over and over again, if I didn't have to keep running to the bathroom so I don't pee in my pants.

With thanks to Dooce.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Chopped Rosso Bruno Tomato Salad

Chopped Rosso Bruno Tomatoes
Originally uploaded by By Jane.
The beginning of a tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella salad. The tomatos are heritage, I believe, and their skins are so dark they look to be chocolate. The basil was the purple, frilly kind and I tore it into bite size pieces. The fresh mozzarella was perlina, very small balls, the size of a pea. Mixed together and drizzled with an extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil.

Nothing more. Nothing less. Sufficient.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Things About Which I Might Write

Christ, my grammar is good. No dangling participles for me, nosireebob. (Picks nose, shuffles feet, clears throat)

1. I sent two--count 'em TWO--job apps on Monday, faxed them that is, and I have not heard from either. Such is my job search and thus it is going. D. posits that I might be a trickle or two hasty in expecting to hear back from them, but jesus, if they aren't dazzled by my resume and stunned by my letter, then what gives????? I expect major responses when I speak, people.

2. I signed up for BlogHer'07 today. I'm not eager or anything. Such is my social life and thus it is going, or not, as the case may be. I booked my hotel (the W) ages ago and got a double should anyone want to share (please send your Slam Book from high school as No Creeps Allowed. Just Nerds.)

3. This time I'm bringing cards. And t-shirts, the ones referencing Descartes: Blogito Ergo Sum that I'm having made up. I'll put them on the site when they're ready.

4. Blurbomat has a great photo on his blog, a sky shot, about which I commented, "Fan-fucking-tastic!" I am not only a grammarian of exceptional note; I am also articulate and well-spoken. If you like his, I refer you to mine on Flickr, which are pretty fan-fucking-tastic too if I say so myself. Which I just did.

5. I traded a necklace for a felted purse on LeahPeah's Trade A Craft site. This was our first trade, and we all shuffled around in corners fixing our hair and clearing our throats. Till one brave soul told me she liked mine and did I like hers and I did and we did and it was good. Go look. Join. Post photos. Be good.

6. Speaking of which, sort of, anybody else out there watching Work Out on Bravo channel? I'm trying to figure out what the demographics for the show are: gay women? straight men who like gay women? workoutbuffs hoping for a tip or two? Me, I watch it because it takes place in West Hollywood and makes me feel like I'm still a part of the real world there. I also like Jackie, although not in that way. Not that there's anything wrong with it. She's really brash and out-there (which I mean in the most non-gay way), but there is also a sweetness about her, a vulnerability that makes her seem like she'd be someone I'd want to know.

7. I have just drained the dregs of my morning coffee. And it's only 3 p.m. About tea time, yes?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On French Pedicures--or clean your toes, please

Make that clean your fucking toes.

I know it's still winter in the rest of the United States, but here in California we're already wearin' our flipflops. Thus, I have been treated to the proliferation of a trend that I hoped would die out last year: The French Pedicure.

It is derived, I do believe, from The French Manicure, in which the nailbed is polished pink and the nail tips are polished white. This is meant to simulate an unpolished, natural nail, and why that is so oolala French, I haven't a clue. It can be relatively attractive on those who have nicely shaped oval nails. It is less so, far less so if you ask me, when it is worn by women with short chunky fingers. It's pretty gross, however, when the nails are long and square and more suitable for opening chickenfeed sacks (or, so I'm told, snorting blow).

The French Pedicure, then, is the same technique applied to the toenails. It is never relatively attractive; it is always more or less gross. It simulates not ladylike toes, sweetly clean and pink, but Jesus-freaky digits, great horny things that scream FILTH, TOE CHEESE, CRUD UNDER THE NAILS.

The problem is that white stripe at the end of the nail. On toes, it is by definition, always too long. Toe nails may be keratin on digits, but that doesn't mean they're the same as fingernails. They are not. They are on toes. Which are on feet. Which are on the floor, dirt, ground, rooted in the earth, bearers of bunions and corns and--oy vey!--athlete's foot, ring worm, and other assorted fungii.

Toe nails should not be long and luxurious. Unlike fingernails which can signify a Lady of Leisure, long toenails simply signify Bum or, at the very least, Personal Hygiene Retard.

Is that the image you want for your feet?

On hubris, being chuffed, and my continued conflict with fear

All we have to fear is fear itself. I think ole Winnie said that. Or maybe Stalin. Or one of them guys who were ruling the world in the last century.

I beg to differ. Fear itself is a fearsome thing. It can roar up and bite you in the butt. It can scald your innards with poisonous gases. It can paralyze an otherwise relatively normal human being trying to go around her life.

To wit: I could go on ad nauseum and infinitum with these cunning rhetorical twists and turns, all to avoid telling you what I set out to say.

Which is: Yesterday I got an email via my Flickr account from a guy at a gallery in Georgia in which he said they are having a show next month on documentation and distortion, and he thought I should enter.

If I could breathe, I would say more--.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

First I Stalked Her; Now I'm Pimping Her

It's over now, so I can talk about it.

One Sunday afternoon, while out and about on my way to Target, I spied with my little eye a different kind of licenseplate holder, one that I'd never seen before, at least not up here in the woods. It was an URL for a site called Such a wondrous thing to come on in Elk Grove--or my life, for that matter--where I am, amongst those I know the rare one who blogs. I have felt quite lonely in that regard, so seeing in front of me an SUV that must I thought, I hoped contain a blogger was exciting beyond words. Someone like me. Someone to talk to. Someone who didn't think I was insane or just plain noodley for keeping a blog (and at your age, my dear).

So I did what any person lusting for friends would do (wouldn't you?): I followed that SUV. I was prepared to go some distance--maybe not way over to the South Side--but still, a ways. Except the runnerblogger pulled into the Target parking lot. Is that not a miracle? Or at least, kismet?

I parked my car any which way and ran to the SUV, from which was emerging a long and lanky redhead, with a kid in hand and one in arms. She was, I must tell you, gorgeous. Stunning really. And model tall. And model chic. And I loved her on sight.

So I accosted her. "Hi, I'm not a runner but I am a blogger," I said.


She, bless her heart, did not shun me. Did not look down on me from those 72 inches and whither me with a look. Puleeze. Who are you? And why are you in my air space?

Rather, she stopped. She smiled. She listened to me blather, and then she gave me her actual url, Queen of Dysfunction

I've been visiting her site for several months now. She is amazingly funny. An English major now studying to be an undertaker (am I the only one who sees the similarity? Or must one be an English major oneself to get it?). She writes about her life and her kids and her funeral-whatever studies She's got a couple of latino fish who think pudenda is a new dance. And a husband known as the King of Dysfunction. She is, I have to tell you, the dooce of Elk Grove, if not all Sacramento. Yes, she's that witty and that smart and that right-on-the-edge.

So I've added her to my blogroll. And you should check her out.