Thursday, August 9th 2012
So it’s been a while…
posted @ 1:33 pm in [ ]
I’m trying to get back to a routine, or craft another one, in the wake of the below mentioned deaths, plus a few others.
I lost my dance teacher with whom I studied for over 10 years, and worked for for a significant portion of that time. I went to her funeral the weekend before Robot the Rock Opera, which I had choreographed, opened. I had planned to invite her. I wanted her to see the traces of her own fingerprints on my choreographies, something only she would really be able to see. Because I’ve been struggling with other grief, I’ve had a hard time keeping up on correspondence, and I hadn’t spoken to her in a while. I regret that. Mostly, though, I regret that she didn’t get to see what I’ve done with the careful training and genuine affection she gave me.
Last year, I choreographed a stage production of Cannibal! The Musical. It was a challenge, and a rite of passage from being a sort of “dance ronin” to taking my place as a company choreographer. The cast were all adults, and few had had any dance experience at all. It was incredibly rewarding to watch some of them start to look like real dancers, some surprise themselves with what they could do. I started Planet X Dance Corps after that experience, to help them keep up their newfound or reawakened skills, and to keep being part of that amazing experience. I’m about to start production again on Cannibal! this year, and Planet X Dance Corps performs a couple of dance numbers at Planet X’s monthly cabaret show, “Hell Toupee Cabaret.” I’m not sure if I’m any better a choreographer than I was at this time last year, but I’m certainly more confident and experienced, and already proud of the returning cast.
I wish I’d been able to handle my own life well enough to be in better touch with my dance teacher before she was gone — without knowing what she had helped me accomplish.
I also lost the professor from college I had who most inspired me to try to be a scholar. He had gone to Harvard Divinity School and wrote me a recommendation for it when I applied. His belief in me allowed me to suspend my own disbelief that I could do it. I did a couple of directed studies with him, too, which I found incredibly flattering, considering how popular he was and how large his classes tended to be. I hadn’t been in touch in years by the time I heard he was gone. I think he knew I had made it to graduation with my Ph.D., but I don’t know if he knew what a profound effect he had had on my educational trajectory.
Needless to say, I’m trying to be better about communicating.
I also still haven’t really gotten past the previous losses. It remains a struggle. But I think writing about some of it here will help. I’ll try to keep it entertaining.
Tuesday, May 31st 2011
More hazards of living at altitude: Exploding yogurt
posted @ 9:40 pm in [ ]
Here’s something funny about living at a high altitude: groceries packed at sea level expand here. For example, bags of chips are like pillows, full of air almost to the point of bursting. Every once in a while, on the drive up the mountain to 10,367 feet, a container will make a popping sound from the grocery bags in the back seat or the trunk and release all that pressure. Usually, stuff stays sealed.
Even though I’ve been living up here for a couple of years now, I often still open the yogurt toward my face, and the force of the unsealing causes, at best, a light sneeze of active cultures to the general area of my face, and at worst, a significant fraction of the yogurt blasts into my eye at roughly the speed of sound.
Why I never learn to turn the yogurt cup away from my face while I open it remains a mystery to me.
Friday, April 1st 2011
The best day of the year to work for a news organization
posted @ 12:22 pm in [ ]
OK, I find working for Oakland Local delightful pretty much all the time. People who haven’t worked for news organizations, though, may not know what a bunch of pranksters journalists are. This is the one day of the year where they don’t have to worry quite so much about being serious, and balanced, and paying attention to AP style, and structure. Today is that one special day of the year when journalistic integrity is suspended and journalists get to have some very silly fun. Today’s stories and daily image are just hysterical.
If you’re reading this on April 1, just check out the front page.
Otherwise, here are the stories. They are not to be missed, regardless of when you get around to reading this. You don’t have to live in Oakland to find them hilarious.
New interim city administrator offers free hugs for a week
Beloved club promoter says she’s ‘cured’ of homosexuality (Queer Oakland)
2012 BART budget: New service, reduced fees, more technology
Oakland to start ticketing, booting bikes
Words of Wisdom (Daily Image)
Thursday, March 17th 2011
This might be why that happens
posted @ 10:00 am in [ ]
I always assumed that housewives reputedly had flings with handymen because the housewives were lonely, tired and bored, and the handymen were convenient. And being men, were slu– I mean, somewhat opportunistic.
That is, I assumed so until today.
Now, granted, I have had very little experience with either housewifery or handymen. The only times I’ve had handymen in my home (and yes, they have all been men) were when I was renting and I had to. After a while, I stopped alerting landlords to problems and just fixed them myself, rather than waiting around for a couple of weeks for the privilege of something getting fixed by some random, often sub-competent, and sometimes smelly, stranger.
I also don’t remember the last time I had fewer than three jobs. Maybe 14 years ago, during the first several days after I had moved to Denver, but hadn’t found a job yet. Although a lot of my work these days is online and from home, I am still more of a homewrecker than a homemaker.
Now, you already know that I live at an altitude where my sea-level-dwelling friends and family would werfel if they came here directly from the airport without overnighting somewhere in between. It snows a lot here, which is not that big a deal in theory, but the snow management and removal around here leaves something to be desired compared to other places I’ve lived with comparable amounts of snowfall. Indeed, this desire is the fertile fodder for many a wintertime rant, which Seth humors. He is from Arizona, and I think, just takes whatever snow removal he can get. Perhaps he has monsoon rants I have yet to hear.
We have a snow blower for the driveway, but early in the season, it required a replacement part, which we had to order, and Jeebus only knows if it ever came in. In the meantime, snow has been piling up here for months. Piling, drifting, melting, piling… The driveway has been impassible to vehicles, and not much more passable to pedestrians, except for Seth, who is part goat (don’t ask). Going between house and vehicle has been quite the ordeal. If only it were feasible to have a small team of sled dogs just for that 50 feet or so, or even a friendly walrus with a saddle. A walrus ride would have to leave one less disheveled than attempts to traverse on foot what I can only assume is a nascent glacier.
Anyway, we finally got a guy with some heavy equipment to come move some of that snow, ostensibly making the driveway a Way where one can Drive once again, rather than an expanse of snowy tundra that might inspire Jack London to write stories of desperate desolation and barest survival upon returning home from evening commutes. As I saw the guy begin to dig into the several-feet-deep impacted ice and snow mixture, I just felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude. It was a little bit like being rescued. In my case, it was sort of like being rescued at the end of a really uneventful version of The Shining, where Jack takes his medication and is just out of sorts and sleeps a lot, but rescued nonetheless.
Now, as someone who knows how to run heavy equipment but doesn’t happen to have any, I think the appropriate way to express that gratitude is to write the nice man a check, say thank you, and maybe offer him a hot beverage of some kind to go. But the power of rescuing is not to be underestimated. It’s a powerful aphrodisiac. Indeed, it’s what makes the most noble princesses put out to whomsoever shows up.
I could absolutely see how the combination of that being-rescued feeling and the equipment being mysterious, plus possibly a bit of lonely boredom, or craving for some strange, or whatever, could make the Guy Who Comes to Fix Stuff just irresistible. I’d say the snow removal guy was at least 15% more attractive because of the rescuing thing alone. And hey, if you didn’t know that replacing a garbage disposal was something an orangutan could do in about 20 minutes, that percentage could multiply quickly.
Me, I thanked the guy for coming and wrote him a check (and no, my phone number wasn’t on it). On the “FOR” line, though, I wrote “Epic snow removal.” Thanks for the rescue, mac.
Wednesday, March 16th 2011
What life? Oh yeah, this one!
posted @ 3:30 pm in [ ]
Yeah, I haven’t been posting a heluva lot. It mostly has to do with the below post. I lost my beloved father, my 18-year-old kitty, and a dear friend of the family in the space of a few weeks.
I’m OK — by which I mean I’m stable and functional, capable of normal social interaction, able to work, do the things that are expected of me, that sort of thing. I’m not a puddle. Getting back into a routine, though, has been somewhat challenging. My sleep schedule has been weird, and sometimes I experience these heavy waves of sadness. Sometimes I think of things I want to tell my dad, and then I remember that we’re never going to talk on the phone again. Or when I’m waking up, and there’s no soft little cat on my head, that makes me kinda sad, too. Jackie and Riff-Raff have been giving me lots of extra cuddles, though–Jackie especially.
So I’m still not really ready to write about those things, but I want to be sure to write SOMEthing, and try to get back into a routine, or into a new one. I think it’s a good idea to cut yourself some slack while you’re grieving, but at a certain point, it’s also a good plan to try to use the structure of your life and its routines to get to feeling like you’re back on track.
I think a lot of people go through a sort of reevaluation of where they’re going in life and what their plans are when a parent dies–especially when the death is particularly untimely. So I’m currently doing some lifemapping, too. I’ll let you know what I figure out.
Friday, February 11th 2011
Stuff I’m not ready to write about yet
posted @ 11:08 pm in [ ]
August 24, 1949 - January 25, 2011
Petra QRST Cat
May 2, 1992 - February 9, 2011
March 5(?), 1948(?) - February 10, 2011
In the meantime, I hope you are all taking your vitamins and looking both ways before crossing the street.
Sunday, January 23rd 2011
Snorting hot pepper for family togetherness
posted @ 2:06 pm in [ ]
Recently, at a family gathering, I mentioned that I can’t really take over-the-counter cold medicines because of another medication I take. The truth is that it makes me trip out. Maybe that would have been nice in college, but it’s a real drag when you’re trying to meet a deadline.
Anyway, my auntie recommended Sinus Buster, whose active ingredient is not some latent psychedelic, but capsaicin. It probably wouldn’t interact badly with medication, but it was essentially recommending the snorting of hot peppers. This is where the conflict began, because although my auntie has never steered me wrong in a product recommendation, snorting hot peppers seems like a terrible idea on a very fundamental level.
The following evening, I was presented with my very own bottle of hot pepper nasal spray and an exhortation to try it. I was again conflicted: pressure from my family versus what I suspected would be a very unpleasant experience. My younger cousins confirmed that I would, in fact, be insane for snorting hot peppers, and that it would indeed be the unpleasant experience I anticipated. My auntie, however, took a snort and didn’t even flinch. She looked rather pleased, in fact.
Finally, my curiosity got the better of me. I took the daintiest little spritz of the stuff… and promptly experienced what it would be like to set my brain on fire by jamming a propane torch through my sinus cavity.
“Oh, don’t inhale it your first time,” my auntie offered helpfully. In between flashes of all reason abandoning my mental inferno through any available exit point, I managed to wonder, “First time? Doesn’t that imply that I would actually do this again?”
Jeebus help me, I got talked into doing it on the other side, just to “even things up.” Like I said: reason had bailed. Hell if that time wasn’t as bad, though. Maybe it was possible to become a casual pepper snorter like my auntie, for whom it is apparently merely “warm and tingly” rather than “excruciating and foolhardy.” In any case, it would certainly be a boon to have a shot of pepper spray handy in case of assault, or just to spice up one’s entree.
I tried it again a few days later, in the hopes of building up a hardcore user’s tolerance like my auntie’s. I think I’m on my way.
Thursday, December 23rd 2010
posted @ 12:07 am in [ ]
Wednesday, December 1st 2010
A holiday tradition I hope doesn’t catch on: Getting mauled by cats
posted @ 9:29 pm in [ ]
I had a delightful Thanksgiving, except for the part where a friend’s cat showed me his Mike Tyson impression. You already know that I’m like Snow White in that animals freakin’ love me, and I’ve been known to pet domesticated and wild animals alike. So when I was at the home of friends for Thanksgiving, I was not surprised when their cat was nuzzling and licking my face, and giving me little cat smoochies.
However, I was quite surprised when he suddenly flipped out, becoming a furry rotating spheroid of death. In this way, he took out a tiny piece of my ear, giving me some sympathy for Evander Holyfield. So I had a Band-Aid (TM) along the upper curve of my ear for a few days, because anything brushing against that sensitive spot really hurt. Then, a couple of nights ago, my beloved Petra stepped on my head while I was sleeping, and got her claw caught in the same ear, less than an inch from the previous cat mauling. Ah, the pain and damage caused by two small housecats.
My left ear is finally healing up, though. Season’s Greetings!
Thursday, November 11th 2010
Veterans Day musing
posted @ 9:33 am in [ ]
Now, y’all know that my reading of the 14th Amendment suggests that keeping homosexuals from getting married, serving in the armed forces, and the like, is unconstitutional and illegal. It’s discriminating against a group of Americans, and that is precisely what the most important clause of the 14th Amendment is supposed to prevent. However, I’m concerned that the repealing of “don’t ask, don’t tell” has a serious downside.
For generations, the surest way to get out of the military has been to feign homosexuality. Even “Klinger” on MASH was ostensibly feigning gayness by cross-dressing (we’ll leave aside for the moment that most cross-dressers are actually straight). Indeed, I have friends who realized the military life was not for them, yet they were trapped with no way out for at least a few years. The appearance of homosexuality to the rescue! If “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed, what will these people do? Without the “out” of, er, being “out,” they may be forced to serve out their full sentences — I mean, tours — and probably even then some.
This is not to say that repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a bad idea. Just that, like many important changes whose times have come, it may have unintended consequences. Perhaps one solution is to go ahead and repeal it, and then making being in the military suck less. Happy Veterans Day!