Friday, December 30, 2005

El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido!

Today I was dressed to blend in with a Columbian insurgency group, or at least costumed impeccably to hit a jungle vine-hung pinata with a few Zapatistas...

I was wearing a pair of garden work-stained cotton pants from Guatemala with pull strings at the heels, an oversized gray thermal top embroidered with dust, cobwebs and bits of insulation, a rubberbanded headlamp and a faded blue bandana around my nose and mouth...

Though I WAS hoping to attract the attention of some cutting-edge Hollywood fashion designers, my only real objective today was to attack back-end-exited rat jewels from my mother's attic.
Obtaining the treasured jewels, though, proved more difficult than I had anticipated. I was immediately ambushed by an army of asbestos soldiers on the piped grassy knoll of rotten insulation. Then, the narrow supporting beams decided to realign themselves on an inside joke whim to watch the attic intruder run the dusty, labyrinthine gauntlet and get stuck hunched in the corner. And, to make matters worse, my nose was flooded with new flu mucous, threatening to explode into my stylish Subcomandante Marcos mask.

Sigh... I'm ready for bed...

Don't worry, though- I'll be bright-eyed in the morning, ready to flaunt next spring's line of dumpster-diving gowns.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Of algae and Turkey Basters

Every young philosophical mind, at some point, poses the ageless inquiry: Are we alone in the universe?

Well, I made up my mind at about age 9 that we are most certainly and positively NOT alone; that somewhere just past Mike's Meteor Meatball stand before you get to the international headquarters of the Excess Extra-terrestrial Excrement Dump, there is a quaint little pub filled with out-of-work algaes drowning their sorrows in pints of nitrogen, wondering out-loud in slurred algae dialect: "Is this all there IS?"

So, even though I know that this pub exists (afterall, there's a webpage about it!), I still found myself pondering the question throughout the holidays: Are we alone?

Are we the only family, I wondered, that finds it perfectly normal to wrap Christmas gifts in brown paper grocery bags with doodled pictures of homicidal snowmen on them?
Are we the only family that recites "The Night Before Christmas" with added, improvised verses about Prancer's extra-curricular trips to the gay reindeer bars?
Are we the only family that gets turkey baster in our stockings, just so we can "squirt things"?
Are we the only family that has tamales for Christmas dinner and contemplates putting guacamole and salsa on our lemon bars?

Well, anyway, it was a stellar Christmas at home this year!
Next year, I think I'll send an invitation out to the regulars at the little nitrogen pub by the Meteor Meatball Stand... I'm thinking we'll have a lot in common....

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Shoulda known...

I really should have known...

when I saw the particle-board hotel sign tied to the bars protecting an upper level window...

I should have known when I sensed the tangible desperation in the cat-callish compliments of the qeued men in front of the door entrance...

I should have known when I had to pass through three gated and locked doorways just to get up the only flight of stairs...

and when I saw the dangling open lightbulb and the cigarette-burned carpeting...

I should have known when I bargained the price down from $45 to three packs of cigarettes...

But, I REALLY should have known when the channel that first came (literally) onto the TV when I hit Power was High-quality, hard-core porn...

I should have known then that I was in a hotel a perspective "teacher" should NOT be staying in the night before her interview.

But, there I spent the evening..., attempting to plan a lesson, create materials and rest, while all the time being serenaded by pogo stick-style, bouncing beds in the three rooms upstairs and on each side.
Occasionally, the squeaking and bouncing would stop for a sacred 90 seconds of sheer peace and bliss, then the metal gates would open and close, a door would drag shut over musty carpet, and the cycle would begin again.

Yeah, well, I know: I shoulda known...

But I also shoulda known that, albeit philosophically speaking a dung beetle is no different than a garage door opener, they cannot be used interchangeably...

that a captive audience is not always grounds for a strip-tease or a hokey-pokey performance

and that just because the cat's away, doesn't mean he won't come back to find the mice a playin'...

And, even though I shoulda known..., well... the world's still spinning ( IS, right?), and I'm pretty pleased with the wobbling groove it's got going on!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

North to Something

There's just something about those over-night buses...
and, this indescript Something beckons me,
singing ever come-hitheringly...

So, I must follow.
For, if I don't, well..., we all know what Indescript Somethings are capable of...
So off I go towards San Fransisco for a few days...
Be back soon!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas Curse

I think Nostradamus forsaw the coming of this frightening day. And Bible Code-crackers around the globe are rejoicing at the fulfillment of this profound Prophesy.

Yes, this terrifying fortune has finally come to fruition..., and I fear the menacing atrocities have yet to ascend to full zenith!

Beware! The Day of Too Many Christmas Lights and Excessive Holiday Lawn Adornments is upon us!

No longer will a single strand of colored bulbs lining the roof suffice. No longer, can we rest content with a simple seasonal wreath hanging on the door. We must have more! There must be lighted bucks and mechanical does, balloon-bellied Santas and militias of gingerbread men!

I admit, that I, too, have fallen victim to the charm of this vicious prophesy, for not weeks ago, I blew a fuse helping to decorate a friend's house. We couldn't stop with just the white icicles. No, screamed the tempting serpent: You must do more! So, we added colored bulbs. But, still, our appetite for the Forbidden Christmas-light Fruit was not appeased. So we hung a red-eyed Santa in the window. But, he eerily begged for company. So, we hung a Snowman beside him (because we all know that Kris Kringle's eternal loneliness lies in his lack of snowball brethren..). But still, something was missing! Our two merry men were alone with their unfulfilled desires for goodies and booty. So, we gave them a giant lighted present and a red and green stocking and plugged it all in.

And, for one beautiful fleeting second, the angels sang and the lights evoked little boys with gleeful I'm-gonna-shoot-my-eye-out grins, and peace was felt by all in the neighborhood.
Until... the lights went dark and the fuse went black, and we knew, first-hand, that the Curse of the Day-of-too-many-Christmas-lights was upon us.

Now... don't get me wrong. I'm no practicing Scrooge or Grinch, but... I feel it necessary to say:

America, once again, you've gone too far!

If I had it my way, we'd all forget these blow-up candy canes and mechanical sleighs,

and just make-out under unlit branches of mistletoe...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Teaching Trials and tantalizing Topics

If you're hiring a butcher, you first want to see him hack a few bloody limbs.

If you're hiring a dog-catcher, you'll probably want to see his pup-bagging techniques prior to contracting his services.

And, if you're looking for a wing-walker, you'd probably want to see how he does thirty floors up in a glass elevator...

Well, the same goes for a teacher. So, next week I have to give a "sample lesson".

I'm actually really excited about this, as I love getting up and displaying my oddness and foolishness in front of other people. But, the hard part is picking an appropriate and engaging topic... (They suggested such topics as: The difference between similes and metaphors, Balancing Equations, and How a Bill becomes a Law.)

Personally, though, I think I can do better than that...
I was thinking more along the lines of:

*Evolution-Schmevolution: Study of Scientific Stupidity

*Odd or Even Numbers: Which are better?

*Popsicle Comparisons: Push-ups vs. Big Sticks

*Alternative Shoe-tying Techniques: When the rabbit goes UNDER the tree, AROUND the huckleberry bush and THROUGH the slinky

Well..., I just can't quite decide which one I'll choose, but...

I think I definitely have this interview nailed, baby!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Micky slipped me one and I missed

I was only gone for a minute.
90 seconds at most.

But, as any seasoned bar patron knows, you should never leave your drink unattended while powdering your nose or fingering the jukebox. That's just asking for trouble. You might as well leave your opened beverage with a post-it note that says:

"Dear broke, lonely, two-toothed trucker,
feel free to drink my martini or, better yet, slip something into my drink and take me out behind the dumpster.
Yours and Waiting"

In any case, I think some divine, inebriated hand recently spiked my bottled Elixir of Life with something. I suspect it was Natsukashii-morphinephedrinhydrobermide. But, I'm no chemist...

How does this drug affect the body?, you ask. Well, in my case, it has cut my days with a series of film-frame Natsukashii Moments.

(*a "Natsukashii Moment", for those with no knowledge of Japanese, is an Awww-that-brings-me-back Moment of Nostalgia)

Although these invasive Natsukashii Moments have not yet interfered with my precious REMs, they have taken over my otherwise ordinary waking, present-moment routine.

And, the most potent dose of Natsukashii Moment as of late came when a friend took me to a local, renowned Sushi place in the San Fernando Valley...

There's nothing that makes me exclaim "Awww... that brings me so pleasantly back!" quite like bantering in Japanese, being brought free food and sake, miming kanji on your palm and debating the differences between Asian and Western lovers with a sushi chef...

Awww, how I miss Japan!

and, how glad I am that I left my elixir unwatched while rubbing the jukebox's g-spot...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Truck-Stop TP: What we need to pee

How many plies of toilet paper do you use on an average just-filtering-the-liquid-through-your-body visit to the little girl's or boy's room? Do you use an equal length of wiping material regardless of the TP brand, thickness, fluffiness and density?

These are the kind of questions that peppered my brother's and my Thanksgiving holiday conversations.
You see, we had both returned to our mom's house for the "Thanks, here's a bullet" celebration of our colonial forefathers to find that our mother had switched from double-plied, cushioned loo rolls to, what we refer to as, economical Truck-Stop TP (TSTP). Upon being questioned about her motives, she replied that she had conducted a month-long study of her own personal hygeine habits and had come to the conclusion that she pulled an equal length of cleansing towel regardless of the nature and makeup of the toilet paper. Therefore, using TSTP saved her money and lasted longer.

Now, let's think about this... There is quite a broad spectrum of closet-room activities; each activity requiring a different length of TP to successfully and sanitarily complete. There's the ordinary, and most common Let's-get-these-glasses-of-water/juice/soda-through-the-system pee. In my case, this calls for about three or four plies. For a man, it often requires nothing more than a healthy shake. Then, there is the I'm-still-shaking-from-seventeen-cups-of-coffee relief. Logically, this should call for no extra plies, but the inaccuracy of a jittery wiping hand must also be considered... We also have the Is-that-8-or-9-cans-o'-Coors? pee. This one is tricky, as the results are scientifically unpredictable: a quarter of the TP roll could disappear, the entire thing could be used to redecorate the living room, or the TP could be forgotten altogether- you just never know. Then, of course, there are the nitty-gritty Get-that-meal-through-digestion bathroom activities... This topic, though, being so complex and extensive in subtleties won't be explored in this post... but, let's just say that plies necessary can range from four to two hundred seventy-nine. After that, women have their Special-time-of-the-month powder room exercises, which require additional TP usage, and virile men with imaginations or excellent reading material may wish to use a few extra plies during clean-up as well...

In short... well... I've taken on a monster of an issue here and haven't even tackled the question... but,...

My gut, evidence-lacking stance on the controversial issue is that toilet paper should be soft enough to sooth while simultaneously being expendable enough to wipe the seat with.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Of dreams, monkeys and NASA

I really admire those people who are absolutely and entirely certain of what they want to do and be in life...

You know, like that kid who knew at age 12 that he wanted to be a pediatrician, specializing in rare elbow and ankle deformities...

or that girl in grammar school who said she wanted to be a horse, galloping across the countryside with her mane flapping in the breeze,

that driven twenty-something who said: "I will let nothing get in my way of becoming a data-entry slave for Mitsubishi",

or the guy I met in Guatemala who knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that his calling in life was to take ground water level samples and pass the results on to people who knew what to do with them...

I, on the other hand,
am not so decisive.
In fact, I tend to be passionately dedicated to a new career plan roughly every 23 minutes...:

2:34pm-- Quick, -c, grab your Nalgene bottle, hiking boots and nature-lovin' smile; you're gonna be an environmental educator, giving lectures about praying mantis ecosystems and symbiotic moss-bark relationships!

2:57pm-- Hurry, -c! Lose those khakis and sport your smock; it's time to make millions off of painting driftwood and beach pebble sculptures!

3:20pm-- Go on! That law degree awaits! Your career fighting first amendment violations and enforcing the ousting of stupid people from positions of power is just around the corner!

3:43pm-- You mean to say that I don't have the qualifications to be a free-lance astronaut?

4:06pm-- Since when is prodding discussions about the Nature of Existence with sarcastic jibes not a high-paying corporate position?

4:29pm-- What?! There's no salary available for traveling the world with a pet monkey, eating, sleeping and scribbling incoherent thoughts on napkins?!

Oh well... Some may say that I have a little narrowing-down to do... But, I can't wait to see the look on those people's faces when they read my autobiography written on globally-collected bar napkins about my life painting driftwood and sarcastically impaling philosophical discussions with my monkey on my environmentally-sustainable, ACLU-funded space station... So, there, ye doubters!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Krishna, toss me a dog!

It's always kind of special when someone throws something at or towards you... (unless, of course, it's a brick, a skillet, or a heavy water heater...).

No, but, REALLY, you have to admit that there IS some invasive sense of irrational soul-assessment and subconscious ego-transformation that accompanies the arch of an odd projectile aimed in your direction...

In my case today, it was a hotdog. Well... a hotdog wrapped in aluminum foil to be exact..., and a cascade of plastic-bead necklaces, tootsy rolls, chewing gum, and a fountain of flyers, fun and music...

Yes, I was attending the annual Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena: the lively and fun Rose-Bowl-Parade-parodying spectical of the year! The Spoof parade to beat all others!

Among my favorite marchers were:

(!)The Men of Leisure: Synchronized Nap Team (they periodically lied down in unison on the concrete and napped, and engaged in synchronized ass-scratching mid-march)

(!)The Howdy Krishna (wearing full Krishna garb, he cutely removed his cowboy hat and bowed "howdy" to everyone he passed)

(!)The Habachi Crew (they grilled and bazooka-tossed hot dogs and potatoes while dancing and wearing goofily magnificent costumes and charcoal bags on their heads)

(!)The Drop-the-ball-withGeorge Troupe (who featured a masked Dubya repeatedly dropping a beach ball, as individuals carrying signs bearing Bush failures tossed bouncy balls to the crowd)

(!)The friendly Chia People (who marched with the local chapter of the Green Party, claiming "Chia people make their own oxygen")


(!)The Body Piercers (who featured two guys swinging from their backs, held up by a few shoulder-blade skin piercings)

There were, of course, many other noteworthy political groups present (all situationally-biassed liberals, as well), in addition to the numerous red-hat chapters, cute dog acts, awesome marching bands and the "Invisible marching drill team"...

overall, I give it a thumb and fingers up, and request that more odd objects be thrown at me at the earliest and most promptly convenient time!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Womb with a view

It was a sunny Tuesday morning when they came for me.

The birds were chirping sweetly. The fire truck sirens were drowning them out, and the Taco Bell drive-through was crammed to capacity.
They put me under a blanket with a biography and told me not to come out until the captain had turned off the seatbelt sign. They assured me everything would be fine, and that I would be safe once we arrived at the CBD (Center for Blog De-tox).

The CBD was a charming and warm institution that hummed of family and informed vitality. Every room had been ingeniously designed with protruding, motherly arms that reached out to welcome and happy-hug the visitor.

The whole establishment was like a giant Womb...

Like an enormous, muscle-plumped Womb with a locker-room steroid secret and a perpetual drip of EHC (Excessive Human Caring)...

... (except without all those sticky, disgusting Wombly fluids circulating through and around it...)

Anyway,... the CBD hooked me up. I was provided with a brilliant buddy to womb-trot with and offered such daily seminars as:

*Dominoes, Debauch and the Decline of Dignity
*Anarchy, Alfalfa-harvesting and Afterlife
*Bucket Beers, Banter and Bread-neck Bars
*News, Nicotine and Caffeine: What the Indianapolis Star doesn't tell you
*Revolution, Resilience and Retribution: The Return of Roller Derby
*Horseshoes and Whore Issues: What they didn't teach your skanky sister in kindergarden

And, in the end, I graduated from the Blog De-tox Program! Yeah!!

But... here I am again... De-toxed and back for another fix...
I just can't seem to kick this one...

*Update: To fulfill prerequisites for the Roller Derby Seminar, check out my friend's Chicago roller derby league here. These sexy renegade chicas will beat you into proper learning shape, if I don't get to it first...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bugs- be right back

Man, I hate it when I get these....
These little cabin fever, travel mites.

But, I hear that only paper cuts, bluegrass dancing and plane tickets can put these little monsters back at bay...

So, I'm off tomorrow to visit a friend south of the Great Lakes and, possibly, do some exploring.

Expect forth-coming poetry soon from the travel mites!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

See Spot Speak

I guess we're all guilty of it sometimes...
guilty of being under-informed yet outstandingly curious;
guilty of asking asinine questions driven by parched knowledge...

For example, if someone informs me that they're a taxidermist specializing in rare Angolian, long-snouted amphibians, I might dumbly blunder an embarrassing question like: "So, tell me - I just have to know- can a lizard declare unbirthed eggs as dependents?"
... y'know... just to keep conversation rolling...

Or, if someone says they just returned from a language-study sojourn in southern France, I might retardedly hazard a dimwit joke like: "Vous lez vous coucher avec moi?",
thinking it's genuinly funny because it's the only French I know (well... that and "Il merde, sui'l vous plais"- but that's hardly a conversation-enhancer...)

But, anyway... the point is that I can fully understand and relate to wierd and off-track conversational responses to new information.

So, I always thoroughly enjoy the responses I get from people when I say I just got back from living in Japan.
Mostly, I get:
"Wow! Must be great eating sushi every day..."
"Is it true they have cell phones that can change your underwear for you?"
"Cool! What movies did they show on your flight?"

But, the most frequent response I get is:
"Oh really? Say something in Japanese! - I just want to hear how it sounds-"

When I get this one, I just never really know what to do... Usually, I get into position, bark "konnichiwa" and then roll over and play dead.
But, sometimes I get bored of this routine...
So, recently I've been trying out a new response:
First, I carefully compose myself, usher in a serious, Japanese head-tilt (complete with concerned eyebrows),
and then say:
"Du siehst wie ein Hund aus,"
and then bow deeply and ceremonially - (Japanese-style).

And, this one seems to be a universal crowd-pleaser. Not only does the audience enjoy hearing sounds of the Orient, but I get to giggle to myself, knowing that I just said "you look like a dog" in German to my conversational companion...

Hey, c'mon, you can't blame me for desiring a little personal entertainment!

Monday, October 03, 2005

"Bad Squirrel!"

There's something both wonderful and disturbing about the blurring of Identity I'm feeling now back in the states.
While living in Japan, I abhorred being boxed into the Gaijin (foreigner) Label; being identified as a blue-eyed wonder with questionable chopstick-maneuverability skills and a dislike for natto (fermented beans that look and smell like they are bathed in cum).
But, now, I actually kind of miss it.
I miss having a foreign foothold to call my own.
I miss having a crew of backbreaking reinforcers to beat on drums, strum strings in the street and spout infantile potty poetry into Piman's, pens and publications.
I miss having a valid I.D. to hold in my hand over a clever, semi-flippant joke.
Ok, so I admit it.
I miss being a baboon.

Maybe, it's because every local in the neighborhood I grew up in now mistakes me for a European tourist.
Maybe it's because at every anti-war rally I've attended, I get odd looks when I say that I didn't come with any "organization"... I don't know. But, I know I have to do something...

So, I've decided that, in order to give myself a box to fit into and a pretty flag to bear, I have to identify the flag I do NOT bear.
And, because the bees are no longer causing me angst, I think I'll pass the torch to the Squirrels. Yup... that's right:
The Squirrels.
These militant foes have been perpetuating evil and plotting pernicious plans in my mom's yard for years. In fact, just last week they dropped four, unripe, green oranges on my head while I was innocently reading!
My reliable sources have also informed me that these subversive rodent scoundrels have been stealing our walnuts, and engaging in repeated Squirrel rights atrocities.
Yup, that's right... AND, it's no secret that they have potentially fatal supplies of Walnuts of Mild Destruction hidden around the garage and mulberry tree...

It's time to take action! ... time to show these buck-toothed beasts of Badness what flag I carry!

Ok... I feel better now. Not only do I have to play the baboon in Japan, but I can wear the suit in my own country also! What a relief...

Now... back to the issue at hand... scrapping squirrel civil liberties...

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Wa of Burrito

I like to talk a lot about Living in the Moment and Being Here Now. In fact, some days, I find it a matter of utmost necessity to spout my philosophies about the Ephemeral Now to anyone and everyone who will listen. Ask my friends. They know. Hell, ask the kid at the local Mexican food joint. He knows.

Kid: Refried or black beans?
Me: What's the difference? There is no yesterday or tomorrow. A bean's a bean. A bean just IS.
Kid: Spicy or mild?
Me: How could we know Spicy were it not for Mild? Do not confuse Oneness with Opposition. Overlook not the yin and yang ingredients of the ever-changing burrito.
Kid: ...uh...OK. I'll have that for you in a minute...
Me: A minute? Listen, there is no minute, no past or future- only the Eternal Present.
Kid: Yeah, OK. Here's your Coke.

But, even though I like to preach about each and every moment being The One And Only Moment, that's not really true, is it?
Afterall, when I'm telling the telemarketer I'm not interested, I'm really just trying to hurry up and get through that moment so I can get to the next moment; a BETTER Moment.
And, it's easy to feel when those Real Moments come. There's a sense of everything in the universe simultaneously locking into place and jiggling out of that same place. You feel everything all at once, yet, at the same time, nothing. not even a burrito.

Anyway, I had one of those Moments yesterday.
I'd just finished raking and bagging Mulberry leaves, and I sat down with a beer in the yard to read.
Then it came.
The sky started to rain ashes.
My white t-shirt was soon covered in gray, smearable soot, and the hot air breathed the scent of fire and smoke...
And it was the spicy-mild, refried-black bean Present of my day.

And, just to make this cheesy post more cliche, here's the Robert Frost poem I arbitrarilly opened to as it snowed ashes:

Dust of Snow
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Ok, so fine. It wasn't snow. (It was ash.) And it wasn't from a hemlock tree. (It was from the neighboring brushfires.) And I didn't rue the day. (In fact, I rather liked the day.) But...
it WAS a cool moment...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Fear Factor times 1,984

There aren't many creepy crawly creatures that really scare me.
(...granted, I always feel a wee bit uneasy and spooked around idiotic moths and misdirected June bugs that repeatedly propel their bodies at lightbulbs and window panes...)
but... honestly, stealthy vampire bats and teething turantulas have nothing on me...

Big Brother could lock me in an unlit, uninformed Republican's closet filled with tatooed, nose ring-wearing NYC sewer rats, venemous Aussie snakes, and electric eel executioners,
and I STILL wouldn't concede that 2 plus 2 was five.

Big Brother: Admit it! 2 + 2 = 5!
Me: No, 2 + 2 = 4
Big Brother: -c, please step into this warehouse the size of Luxemburg inhabitted by 493 trillion black widows...
Me: OK. Bring it on. Zwei und zwei sind vier.

Big Brother: Please, -c, allow me to place you between a Grizzly and her cubs being ambushed by a ravenous pack of wild, kendo stick-wielding, flame-throwing wolves.
Me: Sure. No problem. Mind if I bring a drink?
BB: No drinks! What's two and two?
Me: Four.
BB: Shit...

BUT, ...if one teeny tiny, mostly-harmless baby bee does innocent air summersaults across the street from me..., I immediately begin to wonder if I have any terrorism-fearing neighbors with a bomb shelter for rent...
It's completely irrational, I know...

Big Brother: OK, -c, here's a small poached egg-sized bee hive to hang from your mother's roof awning. Now... what's 2 pints of Guinness plus 2 pints of Guinness?
Me: Uh... er... I dunno... 4 pints...?
BB: 4 pints... Are you sure? Afterall, 'tis the season to seek pollen...
Me: No! No.. wait! 121 pints. Yes. Wait-- no! ... a poached egg-sized hive...?... Five! Yes, definitely five pints of Guinness! Dos pints + dos pints = cinco pints.

Well, so..., I've got bees and a hive and no evacuation plan. A friend recommended gasoline. My mother suggested redirecting local ant pathways. Personally, I'm leaning towards total capitulation...
Afterall, any creature with a really sharp spike protruding from its ass must deserve a few days on our sunny porch...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Getting from A to B

Sometimes you find that you want to move yourself and your stuff from one place to another...

Like when you find yourself holding an addressed envelope and want to move yourself and your enclosed letter towards a stamp. Or when you're dripping wet, Eve-stance style in a hostel and want to move yourself and your towel towards your bits and bobs that cover your bare bits...
Or.. when you find yourself wanting to bring your greenbacks to the supermarket to buy canteloupe...

Well, whatever the circumstances, there are an infinite amount of ways of getting you and your stuff from here to there:

For one, you could simply walk.
Or... you could amble.
You could trot, or even skip
if you so fancy...
You could cross-country grass ski, hire a millipede carriage, ride a unicycle or a bachelor donkey, roll yourself across cheese wheels, or hyjack a child's red wagon...

Well, yesterday, I chose a Greyhound Bus for my mode of getting myself and my stuff from here to there...
And there were a few things that I found note-worthy about this means of transportation:

a) that it can often take 12 hours longer than rollerskating over a vending machine plant with blisters (...though I've never personally tried it, I think the Japanese probably have)

b) that, when single, female and stuck in a bus stop for 4 hours surrounded by drunks and bed-less tweekers, it doesn't hurt to practice your Spanish and make friends with the taxi drivers/body guards...


c) that the unique gaseous make-up of air inside a Greyhound Bus can baffle even the hardest-core Darwinist with its scientifically unprovable ability to transform neighboring male passengers' hands into 2am touchy-feely turantulas.

maybe that's just me...

In any case, I'm feeling like I want to move myself to bed and my bus baggage claim ticket to the trash trough.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Pesce outta Aqua

If I were an animal, I'd be a fish.
And, if I were a fish, I'd live in the water.

But, if I were a fish last Friday night, I woulda been flopping around, bread-crumbing myself in dust on a wash-board dirt road as cacti and blue-bellied lizards watched on and giggled.

Yes, I was a Fish outta Water, floundering in petty conversations about wedding cakes and bridesmaid gowns.
My gills wheezed as wheezing girls whined about travesties of universal significance.

("LIKE, OMG, I TOTALLY packed inappropriately for this trip! LIKE, I brought ALL of my glittery halter tops, 6 pairs of shoes, but, LIKE, no sweatshirts! Like, if I'da known it was colder than L.A. in the mountains, I TOTALLY woulda brought my new Kashmire sweater! Like, GOD, I am SO lame!")

I tried to propel myself with my fins towards a small puddle alongside a martini glass,
but my attempts were futile...

("Like, -c, who is YOUR all-time favorite wedding dress designer? I TOTALLY love **insert unheard-of, austentatious, French name**'s work! It's SO gorgeous!)

A fourth wedding magazine was opened,
and my mantra was silently repeated for the thirtieth time:

"Oh Poseiden, Great God of the Sea,
let death come swiftly,
Go on!- just chilly-pepper and souffle me!"

In all fairness, I had a great time. I mean, really, what better way for a beached fish to go out than in a jacuzzi with an eclectic group of T.V. show hosts and scantilly-clad models...?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Congested Colon

Did you know that one of the only places that Leprosy can grow, flourish and achieve the American Dream is inside a 9-chambered aardvark? (…Well, there, and in the footprints of mice..) Or that scientists believe that you can catch Tourrette Syndrome by showering barefoot on scummy linoleum, or by having the great misfortune of getting a killer throat-ache…? Or… that the Duodenom is like an immigration checkpoint between the suburbs of the liver and the ghettos of the stomach?
Or… that, if you have water draining from your ass, you can expect your urine to be a more full-bodied dark color?

Well, neither did my brother or I until last night when we got our first edumications in human physiology, anatomy, and disease.

And, to prove how ligit our learnings were, I can even site diagrams 14 and 15, a&d (the ones of the severed corpse with a hairy ass) and page 154 of Mechanisms of Microbial Disease (the paragraph with all the long words and little blobby, microscopic thing-a-majigs)

Well, for the record, I might have gotten a few of the particulars wrong.

BUT, the point is, that I am enjoying spending time with my brother and his medicine-studying girlfriend in beautiful Lake Tahoe.
AND, I'm thrilled as ever, that my favorite and only sibling shares my enthusiasm for the falsification, bullshit-ification and humorization of Information…


Monday, September 12, 2005

On the corner

So, we've all been called some names in our lives...
I've been accused of being a lesbian-lover, a cuff link-robber, a spell-casting witch, a bitch, a tree- humper, a misanthrope, an irrational idealist, a Space case, a braincell murderess, a goofy drunk, a Devil's Advocate, an obnoxious Why-Asker, a dirty Hippy, a cynic, a legless leader, a silly smiler, a sarcastic sap, a soybean fiend, a serial skinny-dipper, a penny-pincher, a rock-kicker, and a circumlocutive writer...
But, I have to say, that only the vast majority of those are true...

This past Friday evening, on the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura Blvd., I came to the disappointing realization that I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be,
a good, honest-to-god Hippy.

I can rack up years of barefoot ambling through forests, box up hundreds of notebooks filled with cheesy nature ramblings, stick flowers in my nostrils and pontificate for months about the evils of certain, unnamed political Administrations...
But, I'll just never make the cut.

Ok.... that was the unnecessarilly circuitous way of getting to the fact that I recently attended an Anti-War/Katrina fundraising Vigil.

I joined my mom and her buddies on the corner, waving a sign that read "Peace is Patriotic" in my right hand, and my left index and middle finger extended to the honking traffic.
After the band had sung a ballad for Cindy Sheehan, a banjo/harmonica improve session segueed into a group sing-a-long of "We Shall Overcome.."
And, it was then I realized, aside from three very uncomfortable highschool kids wearing Pink Floyd shirts, that I was the only one present who hadn't also waved a sign in protest during the Vietnam war.

...hmmm.., I wondered. Where are the students? Where IS everybody?

I guess I thought that because I was living outside of the country for the past four or five or six years, I was somehow exempt from duty.... and that I could count on those who WERE in the country to make some NOISE. I guess I thought I would come back to screams and cries, threatening network T.V. channel reporting, and causing nation-wide population Laughter Riots... (I'm serious-- you should see the enormous effects of a good, solid Laugh on the Loose!)

But, I'll stop now, before I ramble myself into a crevass of ether...

(***P.S. Just for the record: I am not a lesbian.
....unless women have recently started carrying that tasty chunk of timber we all know and love)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Just a few questions...

There was a time not long ago in the Land o' the Rising Sun, when answering inquiries was simple, even enjoyable.

Inquirer: You are not Japanese. Your country where from?
Me: America.
I: Oooh! Ahh! Disneyland. Las Vegas. And, do you like wasabi?
Me: Why yes, very much. It's the Emancipation Act my nasal passages fought many a battle for.
I:Ohh! (excited approval) And, er... What do you like color?
Me: I like the shade of a Bloody-Mary sunset reflecting off the turquoise center of a mountain lake whose shores have frozen over.
I: Yes, yes! (enthusiastic lack of understanding) And, what do you like favorite music?
Me: I like a rawhide drumbeat that goes SLAP-TAP-BOOM-CHAKA-LAKA-WOOP, a flute melody that goes SLUR-TIKI-TAKA-TRILL with a good Rock 'n Roll chorus.
I: Oh, I see!

sometime recently in this Land of the setting Pacific Sun, the questions got harder, and the answering more difficult...

Inquirer: So, -c, where do you live?
Me: America... er.. um... here... ehm... there... well, everywhere I sleep, I guess... (uncomfortable he he)
I: Oh. And, what do you do?
Me: (Oh, good! An easy one!) I read, I walk, I write, I weed, I sing, I laugh, I draw, I observe, I think, I chill.... I live.
I: No, I mean, for Money...
Me: What do I do for money? lots of things.... er... I provide moral support for it, I listen to its philosophical ramblings and emotional ponderings... I offer it bites of my lasagna, I... (another uncomfortable he he)
I: Well... So what's next for you?
Me: Honestly, I'm a little torn right now. A-sexual seahorse breeding has always intrigued me. But then, there's Jello-bath Tai Chi, dry Oak leaf origami, sesami seed button-manufacturing, octopus ink tie-dying, fecal refuse management and, ever since I was little, I've wanted to import and export sausage jump ropes... But, really, I don't know. I kinda feel like the world is my oyster right now.
I: Uh, yeah. Well, it was nice getting to know you, -c.
Me: Yeah, you too! Gimme a call if you want in on the Jello-bath Tai Chi. I'm thinking of expanding into wrestling also.

Ask me an easy question, I'll feed you no lye. sorry... I mean, tell you no lie.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

In an attempt to postpone bush-wacking through labyrinths of reverse culture shock, I headed for the hills. Seven days in a tiny cabin in the San Gregornio mountains. No telephone, internet, T.V. or running water. Mission: rebuild a patio deck, maintain sanity, send thoughts and prayers to lives touched by Katrina.

Mickey Mouse Carpentry

As I surveyed the rotting cabin patio, confidence spilled out through my ears and oozed between my toe nails. I had images of myself, a muscle-toned carpenter, wielding the chainsaw with the grace of a capoeira master, my sun-kissed skin glistening with the sexy sweat of labor as I juggled hammer, nails and screwdriver
and big, bearded mountain men in overalls stopped to admire my superb craftsmanship.
Yes, my Ego grinned with modesty-lacking pride as I set to work...

One day later
my fearless carpenter had taken quite a beating. Two projectile boards had bitten chunks of flesh from my ankles, mosquitos had built hilly landscapes across my atrophied bi, tri and quadraceps, a handful of rusted nails had blatantly ignored orders to evacuate premises, the drill bit had acquired a Napolean complex, and all supporting beams had relinquished duties and passed out on the ground like Russian Vodka Competition finalists.

If Egos do in fact smile (which I'm fairly certain they do), mine had definitely stopped...
In this state, my Ego might have been a bargain in the Salvation Army's 29cent bin, but it certainly wouldn't have sold on Ebay alongside a prune baring the wrinkled image of La Virgen de Guadelupe...

So, I went for a change in approach. Instead of Ego, I employed humility. Instead of Old West-style pistol and hammer-twirling, I embraced Mickey Mouse Carpentry. Instead of a bandsaw to sculpt delicate cut-outs, I used a dull chisel and a handsaw with dentistry problems.

And, praise be to Entropy, the patio was built!

Who says a cabin can't rest on fragile piles of odd-shaped stones and slanted logs with twigs wedged between them anyway?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

California Screamin'

Wow, it's so nice to be back in beautiful California where the weather is idyllic, the language understandable and everything makes sense again. Ahh...
Oh, wait...

It's hellishly hot in the smoggy San Fernando Valley. Even the palm trees are trying to go underground in an attempt to become tubors and avoid the scalding sun.

The language understandable? So far, I've only heard a few people speaking English and, based on what I eaves dropped on, I'd much prefer to NOT understand the banal chatter.

Everything makes sense? This morning I went into a 7-11. Thought I'd get me a coffee and maybe a banana for breakfast. The place was packed with early-risers, filling 40 oz. cups with florescent slurpees and piling their cradled arms with family-sized Dorito bags and dozen packs of fake chocolate donuts. Did I miss something? Did Arnold Muscleman outlaw proper consumption proportions while I was gone? Was there some kind of genetic change in the population that would necessitate the institution of such absurd eating habits?
Will I be left in the wake of my state's progression if I do not adhere to this new diet of over-consumption?
If so, I think I'll take my chances...
I have a developing theory that someone high up is slipping some kind of brainwashing elixir into those MountainDew Splash Slurpees. Who's to say, I won't wake up tomorrow to find everyone around me waddling around like ducks, howling at the moon, plastering red, white and blue stripes across our forests and backing up their arguments with reality T.V. references...

I'll take a small, stale black coffee, thank you very much.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Getting tongue at the bus stop

You know those horrifyingly happy couples you sometimes see beside you on the subway, lovingly pecking at each other, sharing saliva like it were the last bit of oxygen in a drowning Pontiac, licking cheese-dripping sweet nothings into each others' ears and linguistically regressing into baby-talk..?
Well, there's a name for those in Japanese. They're called 'Baccapuru' which translates to 'stupid couple' and means loosely Inappropriate-Maker-Outer-in-Public couple.

I've spent most of my life staunchly advocating the eradication of such defilers of personal space, relying on my omnipotent interpretations of the Constitution to protect those of us citizens in no (or less-than-ideal) relationships from these disgusting Baccapurus.

How, then, can I justify having spent my last month in Japan, involved in such criminal indecency? What do I have to say for having made old Japanese women bump into walls because they couldn't scrape their eyeballs from the foreign sex-ed course at the stoplight? What tasks is Lucifer creating for me for having forced a family to move to the other side of the train to shelter the eyes of the innocent? What can I say to the Lonely who, upon seeing us, plunged deeper into loneliness?
I'm tempted to say "I'm sorry. I'll keep it behind closed doors from now on." But - no - I say
F*ck it!

*Warning: The following statement is not suitable for those accustomed to the jaded humour characteristic of Up the Creek without a Platypus:

Life is too short and love too precious to waste even a moment.

Ooohh. Just typing such a cliche sent shivers through me. Someone toss me a mop for the sappiness and then a rope. I've fallen and I can't get up!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Vampire Mosquito

You know that feeling when you're swimming vulnerable, unclothed in a dark lake?
The breath of the Unknown licks at your ankles and you fear that the horny trout beneath will head for the amusement park between your legs...?
The depth seems more incalculable than Pi and
fright's red-crotched step brother holds a machete in one hand and a samurai sword in the other...?

and yet...

You can't help but feel more exhilarated than a blood-logged mosquito, sipping beside a Mediterranean sunset...
and everything feels more alive, and beautiful and real...

Well, anyway, that's what I've been touching tongues with recently...

Every night camping and every stop along the hike have trapped me in this transient yet eternal Moment; A Moment fatter than a bloated blowfish, mis-cut and blowing its load... Fatter even than an award-winning pumpkin on defense during the final determining point of the Super Bowl...
Probably fatter even than Pooh Bear honey-hugged and stuck inside the doorway...


now it's time to leave Japan.

I'll be diving from one lake of gnarly, uncharted water into the next
in two days.

Just glad I learned the breast stroke as a child...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Vote Newton for Resurrection!

I've always really liked the saying:
"Where ever you go, there you are."

There's something very comforting about it. It makes me feel secure in my skin, and in my place on this big spinning planet.

Yup. It feels good to know that I came here to Japan, and - low-and-behold - I'm in Japan. And, as I sit here on the porch, I sit here on the porch. And, as I hold this pen, I hold this pen.
That's why I'm starting my new religion: Seventh Day Newtonian Physics Resurrectionism.
I desperately hope (and, therefore must blindly and faithfully believe) that Newton will be reborn to us and save us from the evils created by mankind's sinful quantum physicists. For, these monsters of Satan have polluted our reality and robbed us of our Security of Self.
My religion's core premise will be:
Don't trust anyone with a living dead cat in a box, a flashlight that spits out surfable waves AND partyable particles, a pet electron that simultaneously hangs out in multiple atomic shells, or who has an Uncertainty Principle on their bedside table.

We can't afford to fall victim to such heretics!
If we do, it might come to be that
I came to Japan, and find myself in Uzbekistan. And, as I sit here on the porch, I sit here on an antelope in heat. And as I hold this pen, I hold a four-foot tapeworm.
Rather disconcerting if you ask me...

"Where ever you go, there you might be... but, then again, maybe not."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Does the suit suit?

When I was a kid in the '80s, I used to wear florescent stretch pants (usually hideous shades of pink and lime green), topped with three layers of different-colored socks, bunched to perfection.
It was a truly frightening sight, I'm sure.
...In fact, if I saw someone dressed like that today, I might just alert the Amnesty International Branch of Aesthetic Rights to come and canvass and collect petition signatures against abominable fashion abuses...
Because, really, those things and colors just don't go together...

But... here are a few things I think DO suit each other well:

1) the salivation-inspiring scent of Japanese festival foods like tako-yaki (octopus balls), tori-karage (fried-up chicken), and grilled bad pick-up lines ("Where are you from? Let's enjoying together!")

2) Fireworks accompanied by irascible lightning

3) laughter, smiles, and sleep

4) a quick blog entry and bed


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Schlong Shrine

Have you ever been in a dimly-lit, dank room crammed with penis statues?

You know that "cooking rut" phenomenon...?
It's that inexplicable phenomenon that rears its slanted head every once in a while and grunts:
"Tarzan, you must cook and eat the same meal for a week!"
For me, it usually achieves its orgasmic zenith when I decide to buy a dozen eggs.
Once the purchase is made, it's all over..
I'm in for a marathon eight days of Spanish omelettes, sunny-side-up surprises, scrambled sarcasm and tabasco-spiked over-easiness...

I only mention this because it's somewhat reminiscent of the surreal, drugless trip phase that currently powders my hours.(I just can't excape fantastical experiences until I finish the whole dozen...)

My friends and I just went camping and hiking in parts of Gunma, Japan more invigorating and beautiful than the most memorable Himalayan sexual ascent.
And, on our way home, we stopped for what we thought would be a quick bite at an old-school Japanese noodle restaurant.
But then
my old friend, Magical Realism, took front stage...
Just behind the restaurant's bathroom was a

Penis Room!

I'm not kidding.

This room was a shrine filled with thousands of penis sculptures!

Most were wooden; carved sticks that smiled in all shapes and sizes. Some were ceramic and attached to characters birthed in Japanese folklore..Others were phallic stone-carvings worthy of adorning Zeus.
Or Goliath...

Anyway, traumatized and intrigued, we paid the sweet old grandfather for our soba noodles and left with a photocopy of Kama-Sutric positions and a container of nipple-shaped chocolates...

Man... Just when I thought Japan was getting boring...!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Surrealism in the Spa

I think I've caught something pretty severe.
Luckily, though,
I can't pass it on to anyone through naked spanking in the sack.

I've caught
a Reoccurring Theme in my life.
It's the I'm-constantly-being-abducted-and-dropped-into-surreal-worlds-
Edgar-Allen-Poe-for-either-ten-minutes-or-ten-years Theme.

So, there we were...
three enormous, sweat-melting foreigners in the midst of grandfathers in yukatas at a village festival.
Out of ecological respect for the environment, we decided to dive into the free public bath house on the main square. You know... to prevent our bodies from releasing any more pungeant toxins into the clean, country air...

And that's when I realized I'd gotten the "Magically Unreal Experience Disease".

I bowed through the curtain with the kanji for 'woman' and passed through the gate into a psychadelic world worthy of an Asimov novel. Or a Tom Waitts song...
Before my eyes could adjust to the sulfur-scented haze, I was surrounded by a flock of nine Japanese women who cooed "little sister" at me and sang what I can only describe as a hip hop-cum-gospel Sirens' Song.
I undressed and floated over to the hotspring pool where women with multiple stomachs poured bowls of water over me.
Then, they led me into a cauldron of boiling water that no sentient being should ever enter
unless they plan on becoming stew...
or roasted foreigner on a stick
with lightly toasted rice balls on the side....

It was kind of like entering a Salvador Dali painting when you are expecting to go to the zoo and see panda bears and monkeys throwing feces...

But, anyway...
I've frequented Japanese public baths (onsens) for about three years now,
and this is the first time I have ever thought:
"Hey, maybe I'm not just some scraggly-haired girl from California... Maybe..just maybe... I'm the roast pig at the annual county fair..."

Rationality's minion strikes

Since am still in a state of skipping over transitionary bridges, I have no time to sit down, get drunk and stare at a computer screen and make a coherent post any more. So here's the M-16 Power Word Summary of what's been going on:

-got pulled over for going down a one-way street which (32 upstanding police officials later) was declared NOT actually a one-way street
-sat for seven hours against a wall in one of Tokyo's stations, making up life histories to fit every grandma wearing a Playboy shirt that passed before my eyes
-got lost in the hills and the cops took me to use the internet in a smoky, cacaphonous casino-style pachinko parlor (I mean, where else would you go to check email?)
-went camping and met a moderately deranged Irish expat whose leprechaun character has already inspired my next three novels
-hiked to a natural spring that was guarded by an S&M Buddha who held a paddle in his right hand and a whip made of lotus plants in his left
-got offered a job and actually started considering staying in Japan (that is, until Reality's horseman and Rationality's minion came and beat my brain back into shape)
-spent a week laughing with two of the most positive, witty and slightly off-center friend/artist/musician/writer(lunatics) in this half of the Milky Way galaxy
-passed out dreaming of the moment when I can check out all my buddies' blogs


Monday, August 01, 2005

Under the bridge

Maybe I have a deeply repressed Japanese law enforcement agent fetish crammed somewhere in the recesses of my little toes. Maybe I secretly fantasize about inefficient, logic-devoid hotties in uniforms who forgot to pick up the bag of critical-thinking skills on their birthday at the hospital...
'Cuz, really, why else would I have shared two lovely encounters in the past week with the Japanese federales?
The most recent one involved two foreign dimwits who got lost in the mountains, strolling through rice fields, under bridges, and zig-zagging their way across hillsides.

In order to puff up their chromatically-colored Idiocy peacock feathers, our two protagonists decided to embark on this Odyssey without the address or telephone number of their home.
So, this left them with no choice but to put their future in the hands of uniformed officers with little more intelligence than a dung beetle testing Tim Leary's chemical cookies.

Yup... so we toured what had to be about seventeen counties in Japan in a kind man's taxi and a cop car. And, no less than 7 hours later, we were home.

Good times, new psychological playgrounds and new fetishes off the bargain rack...
Good stuff...

Moral of the story: Don't leave new homes without a map and at least a sliver of functioning cranium.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Coming Spoon

Please forgive recent vacancy where posts should be. Currently finalizing a move, and homeless without internet. Please stick around, I'll be back soon!

Got a great story to tell about an interaction with Japanese police over what was not actually a traffic violation, but took no less than 15 cops, to "discuss" road signs in order to resolve. Coming soon!

Sooner than you can recite the invertabraes in alphabetical order, really!...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Japlish Extended

Cleaning my place and came upon another great Engrish t-shirt. It reads:

Laughter here!
We smile
It can live by peace as long as laughter always here!
It is looking at the horizon
which becomes far by two
persons the morning
sun also begins to illuminate
us today your smile
it is very wraps me gently.

Brilliant, I think! There's nowhere else in the world you can be wrapped in sunshine like that!

Friday, July 22, 2005

A breadbasket of bees

What do you call a group of bees?

I know it's not a “gaggle” or a “school”, and I'm fairly certain it's not a “herd”.

Maybe, it's just a “swarm”.

In any case, I'm in such a state of euphoria, exhaustion and ecstatic relief right now that if the most powerful and influential Leader of Semantics knocked on my door now, it would be a trying Sirens' Song test of will-power to not throw the Book of Mormon at his kneecap and a toothbrush at his left eyebrow.

A “swarm”(?) of tiny old Japanese women bees just showed up at my apartment with sponges and mops and soaps and hoses and funny little striped yellow gloves. They whipped through three years of worthless crap and grime in under three hours, like they were a “flock”(?) of humming birds, and my apartment was just their early morning pollen appetizer.

The Japanese really know how to get physical labor-leaning tasks done fast. And impeccably! But, throw anything that requires an amount of actual decision-making or a pinch of critical thinking in, and you'll be tit-deep in paperwork and meetings for the good part of a century! Just another one of Japan's beautiful contradictions.

After the buzzing “crew”(?) of bees zipped out, I sipped humid air in a room of red tape for an hour. Sign here. Fill out this form. Join the International “I love Japan” club. Write your contact information on seventeen different forms. Are you now, or have you ever been a member of Korea?

But, honestly, though… A big Cheers to the Bee Team! Had I asked my friends to help me clean, we would still be sitting around, joking and musing, and occasionally saying “Yup…that over there… it'll have to be taken out to the garbage...

Thanks Kato -san for having introduced me to th Bee Team!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Emotion Large on the rocks!

“Hurry up and write a Japanese Goodbye Speech!” screamed the crowd, as I frantically ran circles around them, sweating like a Japanese baseball team member, running miles in the unnatural heat, trying to get a “hole in one” in a million-holes goal.

(crying over an Asahi beer…)

“Surprise! Here's a beautiful Japanese yukata from all of the teachers! Put it on, and speak in your retarded Japanese to everyone, as we ooh and aaahh over what a foreigner looks like in our women's traditional wear!” The microphone was ceremonially passed in front of thousands of eyes.

(crying for every kid you know… without an Asahi beer…)

This evening:
Too many sincere compliments fell on “foreign” ears, too many truths were told from all sides. Too much. Too sad. Too happy. Too overwhelmed…

(crying over personalities and experiences…)

That's all.

Until next time when I can gain more control over my essential sarcasm over tears…..!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Joy of t-shirt smile

The t-shirt I'm currently wearing reads:

Laughter rushes into
munch world!
Always laughing
at everybody
is important everyone all surely
consider the
same thing happiness
is come by smilling."

Spot on! I couldn't have said it better in my language!


Have you ever gotten a good Sun spanking? I mean, like one of those spankings that leaves you red and pulsing with heat for days, wishing you had been able to convince your neighbors to go in on that aloe factory in the stairwell…?
If you have, you know the drill.
It starts out with a few mild, maternal taps administered by a fiery star hiding behind the crowds. Then, the innocuous taps turn into soothing massages, and then the massages into naked baths….
And, suddenly, you wake up to find that you have become

A giant, ripe tomato.

It's a bit like Kafka's Metomorphosis, except that instead of waking up to realize you are a giant cockroach, you fall out of bed and realize you resemble a tasty red fruit. (It's a good thing you're not in Greece, where you would be immediately directed to the salad bowl. Or, even worse, in America, where you would nap on processed bits of cow between ketchup-soaked bread buns.)

Fortunately, in this case though, I love being a tomato.

It means that we had a great day of sailing today.

Having Japan's #1 sailboat racer as a captain brings Super-Sized inspiration to any sun-spanked tomato! In fact, it begs all vine-hanging red spheres to jump off and learn to sail!

Cheers to all the veggies and fruits with knowledge of the ropes! This tomato is roasted…

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Of opossums and testicles

They're not the cutest animals.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that they're pretty ugly.
But, they are, nonetheless, amazing mammals that have partied here for over 75 million years.
Yes, they are opossums.
And, yes, they sport thumbs on their back feet.
And, yes, I've had personal interaction with them.
And, yes, they were family members living in the garage when I was a kid.
And, yes, I love them.

But they don't really compare to tanukis.
A tanuki is a Japanese, raccoon-dog creature who is just as aesthetically questionable as the opossum.
I often see them waddling across my path in the evenings and, more frequently, lying lifeless on the side of the road.

But they are most ubiquitously found in statue shape in front of ramen shops and izakayas.

And from them, always dangle two enormous testicles.
Legend has it that these big balls possess the tanuki's shape-shifting power and a number of other magical propensities.

I am inexplicably intrigued and head-over-heels in lush with traditional tales of the mythical tanuki in Japan. But, I have to wonder whether women played any role in carving out these legends…

“Say, Martha, where, in the body, do you think the central chi, or strength and power origin resides?”

“Why the testicles of course!”

...Somehow, I just can't see it...

I wonder why we in the west don't have legends of mythical opossums with enormous breasts….Big Opossum tits that spout Immortality milk and can take out the enemy with a single tit swipe…

Merverous Times

Though he might kill me, I have to post the email that an adult student and good friend just sent me. It's too sweet:

(sorry, the Japanese characters have morphed into random shapes)

“corinne goood morning!!
how is last night farewell party
so many times are party¡∫¡∫¡∫¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡it`s so tough!!
many people want to say ¡Ö°Ëµ°Ëè°ËÊ°Ëé¡Å~¡¡to you
your so big °ËÍ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡
today i will have a camp and tomorrow we will be
volunteer for kaike triathlon. it`s sounds nice.
i`m looking forwad to exiciting about it.
and i`am making a plan for inviting you come to my family
and spending nice merverous wonderful and bra bra bra
they so my family will be also happy¡¥
anyway today starts again. i wish you are going to have a
wonderful time today. and i hope that i also same to you¡¥”

I love this guy! I hope I can spend a merverous and bra bra bra time with his family! I wonder, though, if I am expected to bring extra bras….

Friday, July 15, 2005

Rock-a-By Baby

Some days, I think my Japanese is pretty decent. On these days, I glow with the radiance that only an all-knowing, omnipotent master of language can. I am an acclaimed acrobat, skating my way across a tightrope, juggling vocabulary, nuance and witticism like they were sexual yearnings and wowing my listening audience with my adroit local dialect and impeccable intonation.

Unfortunately, these days are few and far between and tend to coincide with days heavily lubricated with alcohol.

Most of the time, I am a pauper in the slums of Japanese language; tripping over every third word littering the rancid streets, eating vowels out of opened bean cans and slipping in every puddle of sentence continuity.
These days, I nurse my Japanese Language Ability like it were my very own little nipple-sucking baby. I read Dr. Seuss to it, play it Leo Kottke acoustic guitar songs, and wipe its butt with love-scented baby wipes.
Only it's not a baby.
It's more like a stem cell.
Well, kind of… except for the fact that no amount of researching and studying my Language Inability Stem Cell can ever save another Language Inability Baby in the future…Unless of course,
AW, screw it! I seem to have imagination-ed myself into a hole here…

So I guess I'll stop procrastinating and get back to writing farewell speeches in Japanese. Ggrrrrrr!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cleanliness next to Wobbliness

Before I came to Japan, I never could have fathomed that the hardest part about packing for a move could be sorting the garbage.

Where I live, there are 11 categories of trash into which we must separate everything we dispose of. And I swear to my creator and savior (the boisterous, tuxedo-wearing, mutant pear-eating platypus in the sky) that this is no exaggeration.

The main and most oft-utilized category is the “Burnable Trash”. (It's where you throw your daily waste, like tissues, left-over salad, uneaten fish heads, junk mail, onion skins, and ex-boyfriends' underwear.)
After that, there are 10 more categories like: non-burnable trash, plastics, Styrofoam, cans, glass, milk cartons, Japanese porn comic books, paper, toxic waste, etc.

The difficulty I've found is that NOTHING in my apartment fits into ANY of the categories. For example, I want to toss:

A box of bulletin board pushpins - but… the head of the pins belongs in the “hard plastics” trash bag, the impaling point in the “non-burnable metals”, the enclosing box in the “soft plastics” category and the label in the “burnable trash”

An old canvas wallet - but… the fabric goes in with the “burnables”, the zipper in the “metals”, the ID-covering plastic in “soft plastics” and the Velcro… well, I don't know where Velcro goes (except that I'm pretty sure it goes to heaven).

But, anyway… you get the point.

Basically, I need a full chemist's lab and a team to work my apartment's de-assembly line in order to take out the trash.

If only I had moved in to a paper apartment, had only paper appliances, and eaten only paper for the last three years…

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hermit asses and hiding kids

When I was about twelve, I wanted to be a hermit. I wanted to live in a hollowed-out evergreen, with a little Tolkien-esque wooden door that had to be knocked in a coded rhythm in order to open. I wanted to let my hair fly wild, my calloused feet to grow resilient, and to wear reeds and vines as attire and carry around a little bag of healing herbs. I wanted the stellars jays to be my alarm clock and the beetles to be my contracted house renovators. I wanted to hunt with a handmade obsidian spear, and plant crops by the stars.

If I were a man, I would have been that big, super-size-bearded psycho who exposes his sun-varnished butt to you as he runs mad-man marathon style into the woods, grunting and hooting.

But, I have since abandoned such innocent aspirations.

(This surrendering of my dream happened about the same time that I realized I knew myself too well and could no longer entertain myself with my own arguments. I suddenly realized that I would either have to relinquish my internal hermit, or become schizophrenic and acquire a fourth and fifth personality on top of my first three.)
I went for letting go of the independent, crazy woman within.

This childhood career goal rang the doorbells at the genkans of some of my memory synapses, because I have been thinking a lot recently about a specifically Japanese phenomenon known as
Hikikomori .
It is a strange social mental state under which Japanese kids hole up in their rooms, don't come out, don't go to school and don't socialize with their peers. Every junior high and highschool in Japan has a few of these cases, and it's very hush-hush. It was a few years at my school of employment before I learned that there were actually real live kids that belonged to all those empty desks. They were like these deleted lyrics in each class's aria.

There are lots of theories as to what causes this phenomenon in Japan; none of which I will discuss here.
(Quite frankly, because I prefer to paint the world with little, yellow daisies, pink glittery hearts, teddy bears, and powdered-sugar-covered pigtails rather than depress myself with the reality of it.)

But, maybe there is some silver lining to this sad and analysis-promoting phenomenon. I mean, just think what kind of chaos would ensue if all of these children decided to realize MY childhood dream...

There would be hundreds of butt-naked Japanese kids running maniacally through the shopping arcades of Tokyo, chasing stray cats with fishing spears, cooking subway rats over open fires and sacrificing sashimi to the Harvest deities!

Posts coming soon: Suicide in Japan, random murder of family members, sick and twisted baby-beatings, first-hand accounts of the Hiroshima bombing, and victim stats resulting from Japan's AIDS-talk Taboo.

(*update/edit: for those who don't know me, these last previews are, of course, sarcasm. That, or the prophesies of one of my other personalities who has yet to introduce herself to me...)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Happy B-day! Here's an Elephant!

Why is it that the most sincere and heart-felt goodbye presents have to come in the heaviest packages?

Friend: “So, -c, you're leaving Japan and have to pack up 3 years worth of stuff in two duffel bags and one carry-on, huh?”
Me: “Yup.”
Friend: “Well, since our friendship and time together have meant so much to me, I'd like to offer you a gift.”
Me: “Thanks, but just You being You has been indescribably more than enough! I'll take you back in everything I do.”
Friend: “Yes, but, please take this 40lb statue of Buddha, this ornate traditional vase, this year supply of Daisen soba noodles, 2 kilos of Tottori sand dune sand, this pottery set made by the finest artist in town, this vat of locally-made plum alcohol, this beautiful shogi set, this smiling ceramic Hello Kitty, and 70 packages of cherry-blossom tea.”
Me: “You are too kind. Thank you!”

I'm now waiting for someone to give me a fleet of flying donkeys (wearing super hero costumes, flippers and circus-style snorkels) to courier everything home.

Honestly, though, people are wonderful. And giving. All I, personally need, though, is a piece of the heart.

(yeah, it grills up nicely with garlic and soy sauce)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Suck it to me

OK, I admit it. I can be slightly obnoxious sometimes. For example, when engaged in ordinary, every day conversation with someone, I occasionally like to throw in a few obscure and completely unrelated words or a perplexing non sequitur that follows the preceeding comment like a chicken's neck does an ax. For example:

Friendly person: It's a beautiful day, isn't it?
Me: Yes! And a coffee filter filled with tortoise tongues and absinth should never ride a bicycle, don't you agree?

I could probably get diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (I certainly exhibit signs of abnormal brain function), but, the truth is I have complete control over this out-of-context uttering of random words and phrases. It's a deliberate tact I employ to get people creatively thinking and sculpting their responses. (Well, either that or to get them to drop out of the conversation abruptly and give me weird looks for the remainder of our time together.)

But, after last night's karaoke session with friends, I have to wonder about the health of some Japanese songwriters' serotonins and dopamines. I mean, really, what else besides Tourettes could explain someone writing a Japanese love song and arbitrarily tossing in meaning-confused English phrases? One of the songs sung last night was a poetic and melodic love song in Japanese that actually wasn't too bad on the ears. That is, until it bridged between verses with “Afro Rage!”, “Suck it to me” and “Woo ga shaka disco fever!”

But I am but a guest here in this land of the Rising Sun. What kind of a culturally insensitive prick am I to laugh at the Japanese tradition of spiking their songs with astoundingly ridiculous English phrases?

So, to redeem myself, I decided to do my part for Japan today by beginning to instill this cultural tradition of obscure English in the young and impressionable children. And I found the perfect opportunity for this act of altruism! I was teaching vegetable vocab today to a herd of energetic 11 year-olds by having them repeat after me and then rhythmically clap twice.

Broccoli! (clap clap)
Broccoli! (clap clap)
Eggplant! (clap clap)
Eggplant! (clap clap)
Woo ga shaka disco fever! (clap clap)
Woo ga shaka disco fever (clap clap)
Potato! (clap clap)
Potato! (clap clap)

So, don't come telling me I don't embrace and promote Japanese culture!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Rain Dance

How many head pounds per second does it take to orchestrate a proper post Dionysian beach party symphony?
Well, I'd count…, but I'm afraid the neural activity required would hurt too much.

The rain danced with us this weekend in the miniature-wave coveted cove.
Now, I don't know if you've ever seen a performance of the Rain dancing before, but I can tell you it's spectacular!
It (the Rain) moved with such fluidity and rhythmic grace that even the mosquitos in the audience started biting ankles to the beat. And a lost crab was so moved and jolted by the Rain's exquisite rendition of Salt n Pepa's “Shake your thang”, that he lost all equilibrium and soon found himself upside down, pinchers flailing above the sand. Horny hound dogs with horrendous pick-up lines froze in humility and became sleazy salt statues when the Rain danced its final words of the spell.

The Rain's tap dance was an ego essence-consuming piece that devoured me like a redwood does when you realize you're a part of the forest.

And, for the grand finale, the Rain came and did hip-hop improv break dancing inside my tent.

This soaking number, needless to say, was not followed by any “encore” shouts from the crowd.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Homeward bound with Koalas

To my delight (and that of all the local farmers) it rained cats and koalas today.
The fields felt alive, and the pavement smelt of hot cloud sweat…

I woke up without a bike or car, decided a pterodactyl wasn't the way to go home, and decided to ask a man in a construction truck at a nearby convenience store for a ride.

“Which way are you headed?” I asked in chopped, sliced and sautéed Japanese.

“That way,” he pointed in perfect Japanese.

“Oh, me too!” I said, chopping bits of sliced language and stirring them around with a half-eaten fork.
“Do you think I could get a r---?”

“Muri desu.” (It's not possible/not allowed) he said.

“Alright then, I get it,” I said with only two diced onions.

And off I went, showered in the pouring morning rain; my memory snapping slow aperture shots of yellow blossoms sneaking between rice fields and concrete.

And then, just as I was dripping wet, brinking on epiphany beside a dead strawberry garden,
The same construction truck I had seen before stopped beside me.

“Get in!” the driver said in impeccable farm Japanese. And the kid I'd met before lowered his head and smiled with eyebrows farther away than Neptune.

We chopped a few veggies together on the way home and parted.

“Damn, it's raining cats and koalas today, isn't it?”

And I sat there, and sit here still.... wondering where those koalas are.
And, still chopping brocolli and cucumbers for a superb Japanese salad...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Waterbed Fantasy

Everyone has fantasies.
It's true.
Even your mousy librarian in junior high (who used to wear odd apparel that clashed like elephant tusks with humus and couscous, who used to purr in ecstasy when she hammered a book card with her little stamp) had a fantasy of desire that plagued her every shelving day. And I'd be a prude if I didn't mention that it probably involved talking dirty poetry, a parking cone and a few vats of hibiscus juice and office supplies. But I trigress…

I, too, have an unrelenting fantasy. It's one that began chiseling itself into perfection when I was a ripe young teenager and first saw a waterbed in the house of the 16-year old anarchist boy I had a crush on.

But, you can stop reading now, because this particular waterbed fantasy, though involving a degree of moistness, is far from sexual and certainly involves the harming of no gerbils, curious snakes or even vacuums with low self esteems.
It goes something like this:
I approach the waterbed. I pull out a nail, or an ice pick or a vampire tooth or Goliath's sewing needle or a piece of a shattered German beer mug and go on a serial mattress-stabbing binge. Once I've poked a sufficient amount of holes, I toss something really heavy on the bed (a led-filled conch shell attached to a small-framed sumo wrestler), and sit back and bask in the beauty of my self-created fountain from which water flies in all directions, and transparent, liquid rainbows lick and slobber on all of the bedroom furniture. Ah, yes… a truly beautiful vision…

(Explanation: I was reminded of this silly childhood fantasy today, only because it's exactly what I'd like to do this evening. Only, I'd like to replace the waterbed with the clouds over this city in Japan.)
Let it rain!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Something wigged this way comes

Tripping a few dark nights ago over boxes packed only in my imagination; like floundering with a penguin on the edge of a close-to-collision iceberg, I was overcome by an intense need (not unlike a clingy friend) to sit swathed in blackness and humidity and listen to downloaded Ray Bradbury stories from my youth.

I'm not sure if it was the nostalgic scent of science fiction, or the malignant heat, but I've been feeling rather pensive ever since my evening spent with Ray.
And, honestly, I'm a little scared of this sudden melancholy. This, because, I usually am the kind of person who would do anything (including teach a raccoon in a clown wig to ice skate) just to maintain an empty cranium devoid of meaningful thoughts and, by all means, vacant of any musings of true universal significance.
But here I sit now, with a bit of newborn thunder threatening to make its way through the birth canal of the fat, soggy air, pondering the memory of a gift I got last year.

It wasn't the unripe Japanese radish my neighbor gave me, a smooth touristic recreation of the Obelisk or even a studded porcupine on speed. It was, in fact, the haphazard salad of words that a friend mused through the receiver. And the dressing-coated words floated through as modulated current flows politely greeting a distant origin - granules compressed and re-guided, amplified and alienated; their frequency transformed into something I once found on the seat of a train in New York. The words themselves were too simple for recollection, the meaning too deeply reminiscent of volcanic expansion. In fact, I can't even remember the words. But I remember the feeling engendered by what I heard…
And what I heard, what spilled out, through duplex coil on the night of a typhoon was nothing but static. Static so clear, I could taste salty remnants of the big bang and feel my skin cracking with a coating of brine shrimp and sun.

That's it. No more Bradbury for a while. Bring in the raccoon and four tiny ice skates! And, why not a tiny nocturnal mammal-sized hockey stick too?! I don't have time for this thinking thingy. It stings.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Leg Spa

Just as I was traversing the final slope into sleep last night, the phone rang. Slightly delirious in that Jorge Luis Borjes-bred middle ground between waking and sleeping, it seemed quite a strange and surreal phone call.
It was a friend of mine, slightly inebriated, just calling to say hi.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” I responded, as one does.

(This particular friend speaks excellent English, so I can speak with uninhibited fluency without having to slow my words down to snail-speak.)
We chatted about mundane things for a minute and then got to talking about our weekends. As one does.
And, this was when it turned all magical-realismy.

“So what did you do yesterday?” I asked.
“Oh, I went to a leg spa!”
“Mm. I see.”
“Yeah, they had many boiling legs, and I ate some.”

And the magical realism kicked in like the first wave of a good trip. Gabriel Garcia Marquez couldn't have painted a more vivid image in my head.

Suddenly I saw a luxurious spa/resort in the secluded Japanese countryside. It was beautiful, with heated, marble-bedded floors and high ceilings.
It was apparently quite a popular joint too,
because there were hundreds of vacationing families of legs there! Mama leg and baby leg soaked in the hot pools while grandpa leg sipped sake in the leg spa bar. And, for the first time, I felt what it must be like to be a leg on holiday!

The vision vanished like inhibitions on a Saturday night
And was replaced by the realization that my friend was just talking about a hot spring where you go to soak your feet and boil eggs.

What a rip-off!
Leg Spa my ass!

Friday, June 24, 2005

On Head Shrinking

Some hobbies are really easy. Like, watching T.V., bungee jumping, arbitrary rock collecting and staring at the wall.

Others require a bit more skill, like scuba diving, finger painting, jump roping and patchwork quilt making.

Then, you have the hobbies that require quite a lot of adroitness indeed. Like under-water origami, haiku writing in a headstand position, part-time Quantum Physics in the bath tub of Newton's 'Love Hotel', and doing your taxes
in the dark
with a zebra balanced on your head.

Yeah, those are pass-times that would certainly give you a deep respect for Sisyphus and his stubborn stone.

But, I have to say that the MOST difficult (as well as utterly heinous and time-consuming) hobby would have to be
Head shrinking.

I mean, let's think about this…
(Warning: this is not for the faint of dark humour)

First, you have to acquire a head. Preferably from one of your arch-foes.

Then, you have to slit open the head and carefully peel the dermal husk from it to be saved.

Then, you have to coordinate a meeting with the Spirit of the Anaconda in the river to arrange a sacrifice of skull and sticky brains. (this task can be particularly hard, as the spirit of the anaconda has quite a busy schedule)

Next, you have to get yourself some chinchipi plant juice (maybe it's just me, but I can't find it in any of the local supermarkets).

Then boil with water for a few hours.

After that, simply throw the head in and watch it shrink. (Parental Supervision Advised)

And finally, it's a mere matter of shaking the head filled with heated stones for about a week, sewing three bamboo pegs in its mouth and charcoal painting its face so the spirit can't come back and drop in, uninvited to dinner parties.

And, voila! You've shrunk a head!

Now, display it on a sharp fence pole.

And, there you have it. My Top Pick for Difficult-Hobbies-you-hope-your-child-will-never-try.

(Sidenote: When I have a child, I think I'll give him a stack of origami paper, some paints, a scuba get-up and ask him to contemplate balancing a zebra on his head in the Space-Time contiunum. Yeah, I know. Some people just shouldn't have kids.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Astonished in the Loo

I know this isn’t the first time I’ve written here about Toilet Paper.

And I know that my corroding Dignity would be obliviously arrogant if it didn’t expect a Bulk package of bitch-slaps for such a homicidal, brutal over-beating of such a banal topic...

But I just can’t help myself.

Afterall, toilet paper is such a universally-relatable theme.
Everyone uses it.
(...or, at least, knows of its use by someone else)

What I’m really spiral-doodling myself towards, though, is the astounding and marvelously progressive phenomenon of “Self-rejuvenating toilet paper rolls in Japanese public bathrooms”.

In L.A., I would rather carve off my toe nails with a butter knife and pour salt, Tequila and lime in their place than step into a public park bathroom without proper protection (something along the lines of a gas mask and a full de-contamination lab outside).
And, 9.9 times out of ten, there is no toilet paper aside from that soggy tissue under the syringe.

But, here in Japan, I have been repeatedly astonished by the cleanliness of outdoor, public bathrooms and, most importantly- unsuspectingly ambushed by the presence of teams of up-to-bat toilet paper rolls in the most unlikely of defecation/ urination forums.
I mean, where else in the world is there a government-offered, free line-up of toilet paper rolls that manages to maintain its position over weeks in a downtown public park?

Just yesterday I walked to the top of an overgrown hill whose trail was inhabited by ubiquitous Spring growth, plastic Pokemon toys, sake bottles, candy-wrappers, refrigerators, old tires, new bamboo shoots, dragon flies and empty bento boxes.
Guess what I found in the vine and bush-devoured pisser up there?
Yup: Three curious spiders, seven eager branches, a rain-wrecked comic book and

three pristine, untouched rolls of toilet paper.

...Nothing short of miraculous, I tell you...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Metaphorical Glamour

I’m rolling out the long, metaphorical Red Carpet today. I’m putting on my finest, metaphorical black, sequined dinner party gown and getting a metaphorical manicure. I’m slipping on the metaphorical crystal high-heels and draping myself with metaphorical glamour.
Why such metaphorical extravagance?
I’m welcoming a very good friend to the Blogosphere today. If you’ve ever wondered what Cookie Monster, Che Guevara, and Camaron have in common, you can check his blog out here .
With that done, I can now metaphorically remove my glamour.
It was a little too big on me anyway.

(*Update: I realize that, strictly speaking, none of these are really metaphors. But, unfortunately with loss of braincells comes depleted vocabulary and reduced motor skills (for example, I sometimes catch myself accidentally poking myself in the eye and exclaiming "Couch!!".)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Naked Dinner

Don't worry. This isn't an “I-had-a-dream-last-night-that-I-showed-up-to-dinner-with-my teeth-falling-out-and-then-started-falling-and-falling-only-to-realize-I-had-no-clothes-on” post.
Nor is it an inspired Ode to Burroughs,
or heroin for that matter.

It's about four empty, wooden, grieving bookcases.
These solitary shelves in mourning were home to an eclectic family of children, all geniuses at an early age, who harnessed Words like Cinderella's carriage did mice. That is to say, with a lot of magic and agility.
But just hours ago, ALL of their children went up for adoption, or were sold as sex slaves to under-privileged Vietnamese youth. (read: I'm cleaning out my apartment in preparation for a move)

Just imagine the Emptiness and Nakedness these lonely, wooden vaults of creativity must be feeling right now!
I mean, it's one thing when your kids take off to get laid and dabble in drugs at college, because you know you will see them again… (or at least, someone who looks like them.) But, when they dive into a bookcase at the bottom of the Dead Sea or decide to become hermits in the back of a silverware drawer, sustaining themselves on occasional splattered spaghetti sauce for the rest of eternity, the loss is indescribably organ-scarring.

So, I think I'm gonna take my vacant bookcases with me to dinner tonight. That way, we can wake up to find ourselves displaying our bodies white-assed a la Adam-n-Eve together over wine and pasta.

(The 30 other guests present at tonight's meal might find it bit odd when I enter with two bookcases under my arms and two more balanced on my head…
Oh well.
"My therapist told me to do it!")

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kidnappers and Blinking Lights

First they blindfolded me with a gortex, pink bandana.
Then they gagged me with a genetically-engineered hamburger bun the size of a pro-women's basketball.
Then, they fettered and chained me with string cheese and lots of old shoelaces tied together.
Then they threw me in the back of a car speeding up a mountain road.
Then they took me out of the car, removed my blindfold and we stood in silence on a bridge, watching dying stars in the river.

Ok… so I made some of this up.
They weren't really astronomy-high kidnappers. They were my adult students. And they didn't really gag me with a hamburger bun, or even really blindfold me.
But, they did throw me in a car navigating a mountain road at high speeds. And then we did stand in silent darkness watching fireflies along the river.
There was one truly breath-taking moment for me when my friend was looking, bowed in reverence, at the tiny, pulsating life force in the palm of his hand, and everything seemed to simultaneously come together and fall apart.
And then
They released the string cheese bindings around my chest, and my breath came back to me.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ghandi had no Catnip

“We all want to be in touch with the Divine. We all want to dissolve the Ego. That's why orgasms are so popular.”
-Tom Robbins

A New Recipe for achieving Enlightenment:

1) Put your Ego in a zip-lock bag with lots of holes in it. Then throw it on your neighbor's roof.
2) Close your eyes and contemplate an enormous, empty denim jacket sleeve.
3) Balance three plates in your right hand, a baby shower, box of catnip and some dried octopus in your left, and a hybrid pick-up truck filled with children and desert sand on your head.
4) Go pick up the zip-lock bag from your neighbor's roof.
5) Relax and order yourself a high-quality orgasm on the rocks.

Hot Potato Grandma

Today, I gave my 13-year-old students dictionaries and told them to write a journal entry of some kind. The results gave me confidence that they will soon be ready to dominate the House of Blog. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

“My grandmother had a cancer last week. I was shocked. She was passed on to the other side.”
(I have to wonder who was involved in passing grammy to the other side. Also, I just had a great Sports Festival activity idea: Why not try a “Grandma-passing relay”? Wholesome fun for the whole family!)

“I rode a jet coaster and eated many popcorns with brother. It was exciting. The weather was cold and dad. But I had a good time there.”
(How about this for a Menu item:
Popcorns with Brother - Lightly-buttered brother on crunchy bed of popcorns
And how about this for a weather forecast:
60% chance of rain today. Don't forget your umbrella, just in case you find that the weather is dad. (I once knew a guy who learned that the weather was his cousin Billy twice removed. He was definitely glad he'd brought his umbrella that day!)

“I played yakuza yesterday ate school. I was very fun.”
(I DID sense there were some heavy mob vibes yesterday over school lunch when the puny, geeky kid was forced to give his apricot pudding to the cool, big kid…)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Abduction or Fantasy?

I felt like I was a puppet in one of those Japanese anime movies where the main character steps onto a bus, or into an abandoned building or through a gate and is spirited away into a world of ghosts, imaginary creatures and magic.
In my case, it was a building, though hardly abandoned. The living dead circled: some staring at this alien, human intruder and others lying on their backs, floating across the floor on squeaky wheels. The air felt centuries old and, I swear, I saw some of the mops scrubbing the floors without a handler.

Yes, it was my annual check-up at the small-town hospital.
First, they filled a syringe the size of a large, straightened plantain with my blood. (“Hey!You thieving, living-Dead cunts,” I wanted to scream. “stop! There's a really good reason that red stuff is in my arm and not in your alchemist's plantain!”)
Then they attached diodes and wires to my legs and arms and little octopus tentacles to the flesh covering my major organs. (“Wait a minute… this isn't a check-up offered free to Junior High School employees… It's the result of Neptune's new legislation to up the 2005 status quo for abductions!”)
Then an old woman (who I'm fairly certain had a bulging, third eyeball on her left breast) took my hand and placed it on a joystick. I played an exceptionally boring video game for two minutes, and the woman then cooed at me like an eerie dove at midnight (“Per-r-r-r-rfect eye site”, the Third Eye added in ghetto dove dialect).

“Now, pee in a cup, and we'll lock you in a small torture box to check your hearing.”

And that was that.

(For the record, I'm healthy as vegetable juice with good hearing, perfect eye site, regular heart beat, and diabetes-free. Just an abnormally high blood-alcohol level and an engorged, psychological understanding of the Living Dead.)

Winner of a Blowfish!

Why is it that when something is offered to us for free, whether we want it or not, we usually take it?
I was in a convenience store last week, making a meager purchase of pineapple tea and salt-doused soy beans, when I was forced to stick my hand into the mouth of a box and pull out a card.
“Wow!” exclaimed the acne-freckled boy behind the counter upon examining my card, “You are so lucky!”
I had won a free Instant Cup-O-Noodle! Whoopie! It was some new, experimental potato-cream flavored ramen (mixed with some other flavor represented in the form of an indecipherable, obviously Plutonian kanji). I took it.
It could have been a peppered Que-tip with dipping slug slime, or a glow-in-the-dark bristle-less toothbrush with soccer balls and blowfish dangling from it,
and I probably would have taken it.
Just to be polite.

And then I go and point fingers at blowfish-esque corporations for excessive production of non-biodegradable waste, when what I really should be doing is signing up with the local Hypocrites Anonymous Therapy Group.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Of Beavers and Things Tiny

This afternoon, I was sitting in the tiny park across the street from my tiny apartment, oscillating on the tiny swing, a tiny canned coffee beside me with tiny sand barnacles clinging to it. I was only a tiny way in to my book, and the tiny pigeon steps were initiating a tiny percussion performance beside the only-moderately tiny sandbox.

I was just reading the sentence: “He would've reached out and stroked her beaver, I'm fucking sure of it, except that only Barry would have noticed,” when a tiny old Japanese grandma, whose tiny vertebrae aligned themselves at a 90% angle to her tiny legs, started talking to my not-so-tiny, white shoulder.

Even if I could have understood her Japanese (which imitated, in a tiny way, the language spoken by a rice field at dusk), I just couldn't concentrate. I was completely overcome by the polar opposite of tiny embarrassment.

I mean, who did I think I was?! Sitting there, reading about beavers being caressed (and subconsciously fantasizing about my own beaver gnawing on a tree trunk) in the presence of such a kind, wise elder (albeit slightly impaired in the realms of articulation and height)?

But I couldn't let grandma read the last sentence from my book through my eyes, so I bowed my head and told her I would love to visit her family for dinner.

(Oh, man! I think I misplaced my sarcasm today!! If you come across it, please return it to me immediately. You can spot it by its tiny, glittery beads on its tiny, pink toe nails.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Criminal Clock on the loose!

Suspect: average male, short, square, with blue-tinted plastic body

Profile: demented serial dream-killing Alarm Clock

Transport: he rides a polka-dotted pendulum that swings back and forth between 'The Land of Perpetual Beeping' and 'The Land of Anal Second Hand Movement'

Description: schizophrenic alarm clock. A cheap, non-descript criminal who distinguishes himself only by the glow-in-the-dark stickers tattooed on his hour and second hands. Armed with serious agression.

Please, if you see this clock or hear his piercing, soprano beeping scream, serially dream-killing through your neighborhood, don't panic. Just notify your local authorities immediately!

Enforcement teams are assembled around the globe, ready to detain this monster!

Cheek muscle work-out

I went sailing on Sunday and damn, if I didn't catch myself smiling like a maniac! The maniacal sailing smile is just one kind of smile, though.
Smiles come in all shapes and sizes with varying degrees of sincerity.
Here are some of my favorites:

1) The “Say Cheese Smile”
(It's the smile we've all honed over years of snapshots and fingering through photo albums. It's the smile we can count on to always look moderately decent, whether we're in front of the Eiffel Tower, or sleeping on a worm-carrying Tequila bottle in downtown Mexico City, or offering cigarettes to the monkeys at the San Diego Zoo, making vulgar poses beside Ms. Mona Lisa, or acting out 'Frankly, my dear, I just don't give a damn' in a bar in Casablanca. It's the reliable pointed-lens-inspired smile.)

2) The “Nervous Smile”
(It's the I'm-a little-uncomfortable-and-don't-really-know-what-to-say-so-here's-a-nice little-lip-crescent-to-fill-the-awkwardness Smile. This one is especially popular in Japan.)

3) The “I'm a self-recognized idiot Smile”
(This is one of my favorites and by far my most frequently used smile. It's the one we use when we realize we just said something really stupid, absurd, gullible, inappropriate or completely out-of-context. For example: “Oh! You went to the dairy museum yesterday? How nice. I sang karaoke with a cannibal.”)

4) The I-Know-what-you're-talking-about-but-really-have-no-clue Smile
(It's the smile we use when we didn't understand a word of what was just said but we really wish we did, because it sounded exceptionally intriguing. And it included a wet, sexy surfer!)

5) The sincere humour-inspired Smile
(It's the sincere face muscle response to hearing something that we find genuinly funny. In my demented case, it might be inspired by an exclamation like: “The sky is vomiting felines and pregnant precipitation again!” or “I just realized I'd forgotten to realize. Again.”)

6) The True Smile
(This one is entirely individualistic. It might be salty, ocean wind-inspired, or rice-field chorus frog-song conjured. It could be anything really. Like the image of electrons in Adidas sweat suits irradically jumping from lotus to lotus as they cycle through their iPod playlists. Or, it could come when an old friend is sewing a patch on their bathrobe and looking for their passport. Or when you can finally see those stars that had been drinking Heinekins behind a murky sky for so long..)

Well, there are at least 2842 more Smiles to address, but (as you may have noticed from my recent lull in posts), I'm really busy right now.

But, I'll find time to test-drive a few more smiles today!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Constipated Larvae craps Fireflies

I was never much of a pyromaniac as kid. I never set fire to a toothbrush, a beetle, a shed or even my grandma's pants.

But, I have to say that I became a bona fide fire-groupie tonight as I swam down the local mountain among a school of bamboo-torch-toting locals.

It was the annual mountain festival, celebrating Mt. Daisen's rebirth in a new season.

Looking up at the hundreds of flame-carrying bodies descending in the dark mist, I was mauled by paralyzing beauty (and, apparently, cheap clichés as well!).

I wish I could describe the brilliance of this trail of fire through the trees that made me want to stick a hand (preferably someone else's) down my pants and stenographize.

This is as close as I can get, though:

Just imagine a caterpillar.
Now imagine the caterpillar's smoothly winding path along a recently rain-pecked forest floor.
Now, imagine the forest blind-folded in drizzle.
Now imagine the caterpillar again.
The caterpillar is steadily shitting out 200 families of fireflies per meter as he travels.

Yup. That just about explains it.
Now, where's my lighter? My toothbrush is begging for a barbeque.