10.29.2004

Ok fine. Call me a bandwagon jumper if you want. I call it focusing.

Here, Friday, for one time only, are all the cat pictures I can find on my hard drive.

Hi, Roxy!



Hello, little Saro!



Sweetie plays the piano!



Who's a cat?



Here's a better one of Vladimir and Oscar.



Africa, you're so beautiful!


Send me your cats by the end of the day and I'll add them in.

10.27.2004

Take Five!

This is the perfect morning for a little Dave Brubeck, don't ya think.

The day started out with Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" on the bus. So sweet.

Soon I'll have a few days off to sleep in, run, sip coffee in Central Park, and watch the leaves fall.

Anything can happen.

10.25.2004

It's Raining Coats!

I took advantage of the coat sale at Macy*s and replaced my long black wool coat (deceased) with another black number that has plenty of length as well as sass.

Last winter I got caught in a fashion emergency when I had a floor-length skirt and a coat that went only to the knee. Never again!

2 coats in one weekend? Pure decadence. That I paid under $250 combined is borderline illegal. Someone, arrest me!

10.22.2004

Inspector Fidget

Hurrah, my new trenchcoat has arrived. $25 on ebay!

10.19.2004

Easy Does It

If you'll permit me, I'm going to bitch a little, and then brag a little.

I hate doing these big workouts. I don't like having 18 pounds of dumbbell in each hand and having to lift, lift, lift and let it down slooow, and then lift lift lift once again. It is boring and makes me sweat through clothes. I seem to be in the shower all the time. I'm doing laundry all the time. I'm sore all the time. I'm frustrated all the time. I don't like being pushed, or criticized for taking too long of a rest. I don't like feeling as if I'm gonna upchuck when I do push-ups. I don't like being so tired all I can do is lie on the couch. I hate the fucking treadmill.

I like that my grey pencil skirt fits again. I like that I can do as many push-ups as a boy can. I like being on the couch with cats, Vogue, and blanky.

It's interesting that one pushes oneself to the point of being immobilized, and only then learns to sit still.

10.15.2004

Confessions of the Cheap and Easy

It felt fun and slightly wicked to moonlight with Plastic Beef last night. Quel decadence: three guitars, Beatles covers, long jams. If I could, I would rehearse every night with a different band: at least, if all bands were as nice as the ones I already know.

It's So Easy

It's so easy to fall in love,

It's so easy to fall in love

People tell me love's for fools,

So here I go breaking all of the rules



It seems so easy, (seems so easy, seems so easy)

Umm-hmm so doggone easy (doggone easy, doggone easy)

Umm-hmm, it seems so easy, (seems so easy, seems so easy, seems so easy)

Where you're concerned, my heart has learned



It's so easy to fall in love,

It's so easy to fall in love

INSTRUMENTAL BREAK


It's so easy to fall in love,

It's so easy to fall in love

Look into your heart and see

What your love book set apart for me



It seems so easy, (seems so easy, seems so easy)

Umm-hmm so doggone easy (doggone easy, doggone easy)

Umm-hmm, it seems so easy, (seems so easy, seems so easy, seems so easy)

Where you're concerned, that my heart has learned



It's so easy to fall in love,

It's so easy to fall in love

10.14.2004

It's Not Easy

Today my lunch was entirely green: Japanese boiled spinach units, and edamame.

I was eyeing the green tea ice cream, but refrained.

Can I keep this up for the rest of the day?

What might make a good green dinner?

10.13.2004

A Coat of Drab Color

For me, the most pleasant element of any crush is the element of surprise. A guy who uses your printer every other day stops in to pick up a few pages he printed on the subject of leopards, and suddenly you start blushing like mad. You meet ten people at a party, and there's one girl you can't stop staring at for her uneasy smile and single glittering chandelier earring.

There is an extra loveliness when the beloved had once been actively disliked, written off, or underestimated. When you see a person with new eyes, the world comes into focus around her. The room is lit differently; the curtains crease along the floor with a new grace. What once was a person's annoying snort is now a sure indicator of a lust for life.

I have a habit of falling in love a few times a week. If the beloved is a person, that's great, but very unusual. Most likely it's an animal, a color, a piece of clothing. Is it strange to be in love with a pattern of black flowers on white cloth? Is it unusual to swoon at the scent of fresh, crisp apples? Is it mad to snuffle a little as you savor the beauty of the cat purring on her back, her paws flexing and fanning in the air?

Surely I am mad. And the latest crush might be my crowning achievement. It's something I had rejected, reviled, and aligned with much of the evil in the world. I have a crush on trenchcoats.

I want a good winter trench. Bona fide girly spywear. Repelling rain and wind-wear. It needs to be fitted but not snug, with the belt cinched tight. It needs to be starch-stiff.

I had a trench once. It was huge, with a bulky wool lining. When I wore it, it was only for emergencies: I looked like a tank. Ultimately it was stolen from a coat room. I was secretly happy to freeze my ass on the sidewalk that night and catch a cab home without it.

And now the blandest, most drab emblem of the Western world is turning my head and turning my heart inside out.

I blame her.

And her.
I live under a rock, but it still doesn't make sense to me why why why people are so nostalgic for the 80s.

I remember it as a sad time of really bad fashion (shoulder pads, neon accessories, high waisted pants) bad haircuts (even Emmylou had a bi-level) and marginal pop music (I can't get that damn Patti La Belle/Michael McDonald song outta my head since Saturday's SNL).

Much of the music seems more interesting in retrospect, but still.

Do people see the 80s as a more innocent time and really love it, or do they just find it campy?

Am I just having an allergic reaction to reminders of my gawky adolescence?

Please weigh in.

10.08.2004

Autumnal

This is always my favorite weekend of the year -- cool, with amber light.

The kindly creature from another dimension and I are heading north to wander around and perhaps pick apples.

Have a wonderful weekend!

10.06.2004

I was oddly touched that, this morning, I was presented with a cyalume light stick to keep in my purse in case of power outages or subway breakdowns . . . kind of like being given a special sword before you forge onward to slay a dragon.

10.04.2004

Learning how to box has precipitated crises that, appropriately enough, I never saw coming.

First I learned the art of wrapping my hands, how to hold the correct stance, and later, each punch in its perfect, rarefied form. I then learned to throw these punches in combination; and following that, pivoting, ducking, and pulling back. When I'm warming up, I'll call my own simple combinations and throw them, scooting back and forth across the room. Then Leila will call the punch and I'll hit her pads, the combinations gradually becoming more fast, intricate, and aggressive.

Saturday was a little different. I was told to do the more sophisticated combinations entirely on my own, in more rapid progression and without them being called.

This is a natural outgrowth of what I had been doing. Yet it's one thing to punch the air, scoot, punch and punch again, and quite another to come up with your own spontaneous ballet of punches and ducks and focus on an invisible opponent who has suddenly become more fearsome.

I started to feel self-conscious. I started forgetting moves: What was the name of that twisty one . . . . ? In the meantime, I was throwing simple punches badly. Like a cat who misses a leap and wipes out on the floor, I tried to slink into the next set and pretend it never happened. But couldn't conjure up what to do. Crouch? Pivot? I was being watched. I was punching at no one, dodging no one. This felt incredibly foolish.

"Go, go," Leila said.

Uh . . . 1, 2. Uh . . . slip, slip. Uh . . . 1. 2.

Hook.

Um, pivot.

"Don't think about it."

I never thought I would actively wish to be attacked, but I wished she would lunge at me and just tell me how to hit.

1, 2 . . . hook . . . ok, pivot.

"Faster."

1, 2, hook, pivot, 1, 2 . . . uh . . .

I can do this. I started welling up.

Pivot. Snif. 1, 2.

"Keep going. I know how you feel, just push through it."

Ain't that the way of life.

Leila finally took pity on me, raised her pads, and called a few. I rallied and went after her hard: THWAK THWAK THWAK. I was soaked in sweat and my nose was running.

What can I tell you. Sometimes it helps when you can see the enemy, and aren't just swinging punches in the air.

10.01.2004

A Word on the Reptilian Brain



. . . 'She was full of reptiles.' --Joseph Conrad (Lord Jim)

Evolution. 1. Collectively, those early parts of the human brain which developed during the reptilian adaptation to life on land. 2. Of particular interest are modules of the forebrain which evolved to enable reptilian body movements, mating rituals, and signature displays.

Usage I: Many common gestures, postures, and nonverbal routines (expressive, e.g., of dominance, submission, and territoriality) elaborated ca. 280 m.y.a. in modules of the reptilian brain. The latter itself evolved from modules and paleocircuits of the amphibian brain.

Usage II: In the house of the reptile, it makes a difference whether one crouches or stands tall. Flexing the limbs to look small and submissive, or extending them to push-up and seem dominant, is a reptilian ploy used by human beings today. Size displays as encoded, e.g., in boots, business suits, and hands-on-hips postures, have deep, neural roots in the reptilian forebrain, specifically, in rounded masses of grey matter called basal ganglia.

Literature: "Of these the vigilance I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist of midnight vapor, glide obscure, and pry in every bush and brake, where hap may find the serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds to hide me, and the dark intent I bring." --John Milton (Paradise Lost, Book IX; 1667)

Reptilian ritual. In Nonverbal World, the meaning of persistence (e.g., repeated attempts to dominate) and repetition (e.g., of aggressive head-nods or shakes of a fist) are found in underlying, reptilian-inspired rituals controlled by the habit-prone basal ganglia (a motor control area identified as the protoreptilian brain or R-complex by Paul D. MacLean [1990]).

Reptilian routine. According to MacLean (1990), our nonverbal ruts start in the R-complex, which accounts for many unquestioned, ritualistic, and recurring patterns in our daily master routine. Like a fence lizard's day--which starts with a cautious commute from its rock shelter, and ends with a bask in the sun--our workday unfolds in a series of repetitive, nonverbal acts. Countless office rituals (from morning's coffee huddle, e.g., to the sacred lunch break) are performed in a set manner throughout the working days of our lives.
Hey, hey, hey