Saturday, March 06, 2004

Two recent instances of my brain taking a while to work, possibly because it's too full.

At the library I saw another video of an author reading their works and picked it up thinking, "Wow! Wallace Stevens! Quite a coup finding video of Wallace Stevens reading his work. Why, look at that. He looks just like Wallace Shawn. Oh, maybe it's Wallace Shawn reading the works of Wallace Stevens."
Then rereading the title of the video, "Oh. Or maybe it's Wallace Shawn reading Wallace Shawn."
Which is actually probably better.

Driving down the road tonight I almost slammed on my brakes when I drove past a billboard (one of the three or four they have on Cohasset.) "Holy Crap! Laurie Anderson is coming to town! But who's the fat guy in the pict... Oh, crap it's Louie."
Which is actually about as big a disappointment as I've had in a long time.
Let's see. I had my first experience with the Chico Friends of the Library sale today. They're really dumb and backwards about how they run it. They only have the sale for one hour each Saturday. So I got there ten minutes before the sale and the place was packed so much that I couldn't get in the door. I talked to a lady outside who says it's always like that mainly for mysteries. When they finally opened the doors it was shoulder to shoulder inside. It was tough work to browse. But they've got like 15 volunteers or so. If they were smart they'd have two volunteers per hour and make it all day every Saturday. They have more than enough call for that. And then we could all browse at our leisure.
Ninnies.
So after I got about 20 books I decided to check out. I figured I could swim upstream some more and get some more good finds (nobody else seemed to be interested in the very cool feminist theater books they had), but I decided I'd done good enough and I'd rather go back home at that point. Besides I was going to try and catch a movie.
I put the books online and went down to the art house cinema downtown. The art theater here is about as big as my two rooms. I hear it seats about 30. And they weren't showing the film I wanted to see in today's matinee. So I came back and watched Spirited Away, which I'll review soon.
I ate a spicy dinner of a tofu wrap that I think had more peppers in it than tofu. But it's always weird when I buy a prepackaged vegetarian dish and it's really spicy but the rice I make to go with it ends up even spicier. I'm not going vegetarian by the way. I'm just eating less meat.
Poster Nutbag stayed around a good deal of the day. I learned that he, like me, has a hard time waking up in the morning. I woke him up while he was sleeping in the garden and he didn't run from me. He just looked at me with creamy eyes.
I fed him more turkey. He still doesn't let me get more than five feet from him, but he doesn't run quite as much and, like I said, he's been around more often. This evening I even saw him playing in the backyard. That's a good sign.
And I learned why there are so many blue jays around. Our backyard is chock full of little spiders. I met some of them today.
After filling myself with spices like a dead Pharoh I thought it might be wise to get some ice cream. So I went to Ben and Jerry's and ate it in my car while listening to Garrison Keillor. Prarie Home Companion comes through up here on NPR, which is great because I'm driving through farmland while listening to that stuff.
Also been on the phone quite a bit lately. Nissa, my grandmother, Mom, and Charles are all people I got to talk to in the past two days. That's nice too.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

And here's my second Chico poem. I think for me this one is a little richer of a poem than the first. The first has the advantage of being much more simple, but this new one is a little more levelled, a little deeper emotionally mined and has more active choices. Both of them are true stories.
This one came after a bad dream I had last night where I woke up angry at Nissa and obsessed for a long time before I could get back to sleep. For no good reason. These things happen when we're going along thinking we're over something. Or at least it happens to me. Some people try and make me think I'm crazy for having reactions like this, but they stink of death.
And I've been getting these videos of authors reading their works and being interviewed from the Chico Library. They're about the only videos they have worth borrowing. I've been trying to branch out and get one of an author I wouldn't normally get (like today I got Sharon Olds) and one of one I would (today I was watching Allen Ginsberg and he's the poet on video in this poem in case that makes any kind of difference.)
The only other bit of introduction I feel I should give is that the fish in the poem is the tiger fish from the salt water tank in the main house. It is not Toulouse. Don't worry.

Anxiety Poem

Help I wake knowing I'm still angry with her.
She said she wouldn't date while gone
But she lied!
I'm still angry
and still in frustrated love with her
at least this morning.
Walk post office
thinking of lines, past, mistakes, and always coming back to the lonliness.
Back home tiger fish has died.
I say a few words over the toilet
mainly asking comfort on those around the fish
who have lost.
In room watching library video of poet
who turns to the camera and says I should write
an anxiety poem.
Jump for journal.
Blank page turns to the camera and says
You're free from mother's anxiety
taught from her knee.
No need even remember ex-girlfriend.
She's a thousand miles away.
New town you're only what you seem project.
Alone man can read his anxiety poem
so loud that it scares stray cats
and the only person listening will get the joke.
By the end I'll laugh at whiney poet
who thinks he may have gone mad
but looks like a softie bookseller in a cardigan.
Like the Garrison Keillor of his family
writing fiction.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

It's Pat and Andi's last night here until Monday. They leave early in the morning. So we celebrated Lily and Moriah's birthday tonight since both of their birthdays happen while Pat and Andi are gone.
Don't worry about me. The nieces are going to Andi's mother's house while they're gone. So I'm in charge of myself and my business and Poster Nutbag and the house and that's about it. Much like my normal life anyway. There probably won't even be more nudity than usual because it's so durned cold. The hardest part is that I'm looking at five days of complete solitude. In fact, if I'm smart that's the last time I'll allow myself to draw attention to that fact.
I'ma find a nice place to have some chai after I mail my orders tomorrow. Then I'm going to Chico Natural Foods and load up on goodies.
So here's my first Chico poem.


I rise. New town.
Slowly venture noticing difference.
Like so many squirrels and blue jays
it seems to mean something
but I don't know what,
Or the place that gives free beef
if you buy a set of tires,
or the fact that I know no one.
I leave side house
and walk around all day.
This morning Poster is back.
Poster is stray
who lives under rickety shed.
I rush into main house to get turkey slices
and ten minute creep so Poster not afraid.
When I throw bits of meat
Poster runs under warped planks
and sneaks the meat always watching.
He's let me get closer today by a step or two.
When meat is gone
I go back into my dark quiet side house
and wait until lunch.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I walked for four hours this morning, just checking out downtown and getting my bearings. That thing I said about drivers around here not trying to run down pedestrians becomes less true the closer you get to the college. Go figure. I almost got run down by two consecutive drivers at one stop sign. Oh well.

My brother came out here this evening to make sure I'm doing okay. It's the first conversation we've really had since I've been here. I told him that everything is mainly okay. Some adjustment issues. The big one is that I'm alone way too much of the time and lonely sometimes because of that. And I miss my folks. But other than that things are okay.

And I had another encounter with the stray cat today. The cat let me get a little closer than last time, but still ran when I pushed to see where the line of comfort was. When I came back the cat had eaten all of the meat I'd left out. In my head I've been calling the cat Poster Nutbag.
The salt water fish are doing better today. I thought Nemo wouldn't make it through the night, but he's adjusted now. Strange. Everytime they talk about Nemo I get the picture in my head of the Captain Nemo I had when I read 20.000 Leagues and Mysterious Island. The guy I wanted to be when I grew up. I know they're talking about the Pixar film though.
What else? I don't know. I guess that's about all for this evening. I need to go to the store and get more berry juice. Oh, that's the other thing. Mom left a cooler for me to hide in my boiler room and keep things chilled in. So now my food technology out here is at least at the Victorian level. I'm keeping some awesome organic oranges in it and some berry juice. I was keeping Toulouse's bloodworms in there but it wasn't cold enough (much to my shock. Maybe I should have just left them outside) and they began to thaw, so I had to move them into the main house's freezer. Don't worry, I told them all what it was so there'll be no surprises.

Monday, March 01, 2004

I guess I am going to have to go see The Passion of the Christ. Everyone is asking me about it and I know I should. I'll be totally honest. I don't really want to.
The first reason I don't want to is that I don't want to give my money to Mel Gibson. I think he makes bad films both as a director and an actor. I also don't like his politics, but that shouldn't have anything to do with my evaluation of him as an artist. Although it's kind of hard to separate the two from the man who brought us The Patriot and now Catholicism Wow!
Speaking of which, I feel a little twang of guilt because I've seen all the Jesus films and actually own most of them. I own Ben Hur, Last Temptation of Christ, Life of Brian, I thought I had a copy of Jesus of Nazareth, but I can't find it. Dogma is one of my most favorite films ever. I've seen Jesus of Montreal and The Greatest Story Ever Told. One of the reasons I don't want to see Passion is the gore. I just don't dig gory movies.
But like it or not there is sort of a spiritual obligation for me here. All of my friends know me as the guy who knows Christianity or, to some, their Christian friend. Most of my friends aren't Christians and a good deal of them feel uncomfortable calling me a Christian. The way I like to say it is, "Yeah, I'm a Christian, but I'm a Christian like Philip K Dick was a Chrisitian."
Meaning I'm in that idiom but I'm the kind of guy who likes question marks much more than exclaimation points. I think question marks are closer to reality as I've observed it than claiming to have concrete answers. This has always put me in the awkward position of being too Christian for the freak community and too much of a freak for the Christian community (which explains my dating history in a nut shell.) In other words, in as simple terms as I can put it, I'm about as liberal a Christian as one can get.
I'm rationalizing and rambling on here. My point is that I should probably see this film because people want to talk with me about it. Most of them are people who don't want to have to see the film themselves. Rob said that he heard that it was like watching a snuff film because you're just watching a guy get beat up and killed for hours. I guess I should see it so I can post a review.
Well, don't expect it this week. I'll probably go see it with my brother when he comes back from New York. It'll probably be two brothers having major problems with the film their watching for totally different reasons. That might make my review even more interesting. So while I don't want to have to sit through the darned thing just as I didn't want to have to go to traffic school, I'm thinking of what I'll gain from the experience. So stay tuned.
One of the things I didn't mention was that ever since I've been here there's been a giant salt water fish tank in the main house. It didn't have any fish in it because it was in the long process of becoming a salt water fish tank.
Today when I came back from the post office they had fish to put in the tank. Moriah tells me that hers is an angel tiger fish. Abi tells me hers is a grandma fish. Faith's is, like thousands across the nation, a clown fish named Nemo. They're all tiny in a giant tank but that means they're supposed to get big. They're also supposed to be baby fish but you know how that is.
They are very colorful and fun to look at. They are also my responsibility while Pat and Andi go to New York.

Today the storm came back or a new one took over. This one is not quite so violent, but much colder than the last one. It was in the low thirties at noon. So the down comforter is about to pay for its self.

That's about all. I wandered around in the rain. I had a celebratory dinner at the subway sandwich store and a cone at Ben and Jerry's to celebrate the first leg of this move officially ending. I ate alone.
And that was my day. I might let myself sleep a little more tomorrow and then I'll probably go exploring some more. I don't have any more orders to go out until Thursday and I'm not going to upload any stock until they all leave on Thursday.
I didn't sleep much last night. I guess I was worried about my mom driving in the storm, which has come back. Or maybe I was just down about her leaving because we had a lot of fun. It's strange how I often don't realize something is bothering me until I lay down to sleep. I used to catch these things when I meditated all the time. Maybe it's time to start practicing that again.

Anyway, on to the Oscars. This is the first time I haven't watched the Oscars in many years. Also the first time I haven't had a pool going in many years. In fact, I didn't even remember that there were Oscars this weekend until I woke up and saw the ghost of Tolkien at the foot of my bed waving his arms back and forth in front of a red curtain. This is part of what's good about not having a television.
So this year I got the results online, which takes up so much less of your time.
Here's my reaction. Shocklessness.
I'm happy ROTK won so much even though I still think it was the least great of the three films. I don't have a problem with Sean Penn winning Best Actor even though I'd like Johnny Depp to win an Oscar and I really really really would have loved it if Bill Murray had won. He deserved it although I haven't seen Mystic River which makes me a bad person I guess.
Keisha Castle-Hughes should have won Best Actress. No question. It's a foreign film so that was one mark against it. Insipid cronyism in the Oscars. But she deserved it. I'm insulted by how Hollywood has played this Monster film with this reaction of "Oh look! Chalize Theron is more than a babe!" Makes me sick. I'm supposed to clap like a seal for that kind of behavior? It puts us back in terms of equality about fifty years. Screw the critics. They are swine eating their own filth.

So I guess that's the one I had a strong reaction to.

I'm told Del Toro should have won best supporting over Tim Robbins. I love them both and failed to see every movie in the best supporting category for both genders.
I'm happy about best screenplay but would have been happier if American Splendor had won. I mean Peter Jackson really didn't need to get every Oscar he was up for, did he? American Splendor was one of my favorite films of last year. Along with Bubba-HoTep. It was a pretty good year for films last year. Which probably means we can look forward to a year of suck.
That's pretty much it. The rest of it are things like animated shorts which is probably where the really great stuff is but none of us will ever see it. That's how it goes.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Pat and Andi came home tonight. They brought Mexican dresses for my nieces. They got my mom a bear carved from some very dense wood that's like mahogany but not actually mahogany. They got me a clay mask of a young man with an old man mask about to close around his face and a skull mask about to close around the old man mask. Then we all ate pizza (mine with alfredo topping because of the allergies.)
Then we sat around and talked for two hours telling them what happened here and hearing about Mexico.
They just went to bed. We're all tired for different reasons (the nieces were a handful today because they knew their parents were coming back at some point.) Mom leaves before the sun rises. That's sad for me. I've always been very close with her. Her and my brother and my maternal grandfather were probably my closest family members. I wont see her until April when I go down for my birthday.
So this is like the first leg of this move ending tonight.
Sorry I'm not more entertaining tonight. Besides my hour long walk this afternoon I carried Lily for the better part of the evening so I'm about ready to roll over and snore.