Sunday, January 29, 2006

happy chinese new year

i happen to be the sign of the rat and...

Though the Western rat is reviled as little more than a bottom-dwelling disease carrier, this animal is viewed much differently in the East. The Eastern rat is revered for its quick wits and its ability to accrue and hold on to items of value; rats are considered a symbol of good luck and wealth in both China and Japan. Clever and quick-witted, the Rat of the Chinese Zodiac is utterly disarming to boot. Possessed of excellent taste, this Sign flaunts its style at every turn. Its natural charm and sharp, funny demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone. The Rat likes to know who is on its side and will treat its most loyal friends with an extra measure of protection and generosity.
Behind that sweet smile, though, Rats are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas. This Sign is motivated by its own interests, which often include money; greed can become a problem if the Rat isn't careful to keep its priorities straight. This Sign's natural powers of charm and persuasion can definitely come in handy! Although they are often hoarders, Rats can be very generous to those in their "pack," namely friends and family members who have proven their loyalty. Others might perceive them as quick-tempered and sharp-tongued, but never boorish. Verbal jousting is a great pleasure for the Rat, a Sign that everyone around will quickly learn either to love or to hate.
Rats enjoy being on the outside looking in, as the outside affords a view into the inner workings of a system or situation. The Rat's keen mind always seeks out new knowledge, to be stored away for future use. This ever-curious Sign also welcomes challenges as a way to stay sharp. If boredom sets in the Rat is no fun at all, but that isn't likely; this Sign knows how to keep itself entertained.
A valuable lesson for Rats is to learn to consider others above themselves, at least sometimes. If they can develop their sense of self and realize it leaves room for others in their life as well, Rats could find true happiness.

The most compatible match for a Rat is the Dragon or the Monkey.

what sign are you?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

babble and books (part 2?)

i think it best if after 35 or 40 you disregard any and all references to birthdays. it's not like when you're 6 or 7 and have all the kids from your class come to your party and you get stuff you actually WANT - not NEED - well, except from your family of course. though my parents tended toward the extravagent in gifts perhaps in an attempt to alleviate the burden of their own shortcomings as parents - who knows. on one birthday it took them over an hour (my friend jean told me later that night) to notice that i had actually LEFT my party. i was 12. when i was younger (and less aware) my parents sometimes took me and my sister to my father's favorite restaurant for special occasions. it's long gone, but i think it was in the east 70's somewhere. it was called Damon's. or sometimes he'd switch it up and take us to chinatown to a great place called Shangri-La. those were fun because my father had an audience and he could be really funny and charming when he was 'on'. years later i came to dread these occasions when i began to realize that not only was my dad hitting on the waitresses (and bar girls and hostesses - etc...) but on my friends as well. i also harbored a deep resentment for having been born in february because i never got to have a beach party and always wanted to. silly, i know, but a skiier i am NOT. i've never been a big fan of the cold...
so this week i've been needlessly reminded time and again that my birthday is right around the corner. i'm sure i'll get all these 'funny' you're SO old cards and people will joke about me losing my memory - 'it's the first thing to go you know - wink wink' but i expect mostly good-natured kidding around which usually i can handle no problem, but this year i'm MORE than (>) halfway through my fourth decade -by 1 year that is, and it's bugging the hell out of me. and don't think for one hot second that i'm not acutely aware of how ridiculous i sound. it's my blog and i'll whine if i want to, whine if i want to...
i guess what i desperately need to do is get the fuck out of my own head and put some mental miles between thoughts like...jesus, i am going to die alone and i still need to lose 10 pounds, dammit and please god, let no one get it into their stupid heads to throw me a surprise party because i KNOW i will NOT be gracious and good-natured about it. perhaps some cheese with that whine? ok. basta. enough.

well, i actually DO have a books list to post and then i'm going to return half the stuff i bought for this wedding that i wish was already over.

1) luis alberto urrea's Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border
2) jorge ramos's The Other Face of America
3) geoffrey canada's Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun
4) gerald nicosia's Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veteran's Movement
5) mary karr's The Liars' Club
6) caroline moorehead's Gellhorn: A Twentieth Century Life

Friday, January 20, 2006

and furthermore...

so, how come i had to wake up at 5AM to be at work at 6AM only to be sent home at 7:30?! AND i can't go back to sleep since i've already downed 17 quarts of coffee!
but i can (and will) share my books read list with you. oh, and a hilarious survey i got in the mail yesterday for an online singles thingie. too much fun this early, i say...

1) joe rodríguez's Oddsplayer
2) daniel cano's Shifting Loyalties
3) ted conover's Coyotes
4) amarillo slim preston (!) w/ greg dinkin's Amarillo Slim in a World of Fat People: The Memoirs of the Greatest Gambler Who Ever Lived (woohoo)
5) richard p. feynman's 'Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman'
6) mark dow's American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons
7) magnus mills' Three To See The King (thanks Tiny Tyrant for the heads up on this great book -i liked it better than The Restraint of Beasts!)

a few words on the books this week - sometimes i think i should include a little summary or mini-review of the books i list, or at the very least mention the subject matter, but alas, i guess i'm either too lazy, or out of time. today, i have the time and as noted above, have injested enough caffeine to keep me typing awhile. Shifting Loyalties has got to be the finest fiction written on Vietnam i've ever read. Daniel Cano is a veteran of that war, so the 'stories' have the feel of truth to them. beautifully realized. amarillo slim's book (which my daughter's boyfriend gave me for christmas knowing i wouldn't have read it already!) was so funny and full of shit - and i don't mean that in a BAD way... the biggest deal for me was American Gulag. frustrating, upsetting, heart-breaking - this book killed me to read. it makes me wish i could wave a wand over all the bad people and make them disappear forever, so the good (and semi-good) people can get on with things.

now the survey. some questions - all are yes or no, by the way. cause you can get a real sense of the truth just by asking those kinds of questions, right?

1. do you ever wonder where quality single people go to meet one another?
2. are you frustrated by the games you have to play to meet someone special?
3. are you too busy and/or do not like the bar scene, but would really like to find that special person ?

the bold and italics are theirs, not mine. there were more questions for the men, but since that doesn't concern me, i didn't bother. i think we all get the picture anyway. from these and a few other deep, profound, meaningful inquiries, one should be able to figure out that yes, they're single and looking. wow.

ok, kids, time to go to the mall and meet mr right. oh, no, wait, i mean find a dress for the wedding next week.

have a good weekend.

5:40AM and 31 degrees

this was supposed to be my day off, but instead, i'm going to work at 6:00AM. AGAIN. this has been a sucky week. AND i still have to find a dress for Ali's wedding. fuck. have i ever mentioned how. much. i. hate. shopping.??
time to go. blech!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

i've come to an understanding:

some things aren't worth the trouble.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

back to the books (and some pictures)

1) tom hayden's Street Gangs: Gangs and the Future of Violence
2) alex garland's Coma
3) john laurence's The Cat from Hué
4) peter matthiessen's Sal Si Puedes: Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution
5) victor d. lavalle's Slapboxing with Jesus
6) scott bradfield's History of Luminous Motion
7) george mariscal's Aztlán and Viet Nam: Chicano and Chicana Experiences of the War

does anyone want to start a book club with these kinds of titles?

these were taken at christmas. and i will admit that a good picture of me is a blurry picture of me! thanks, christina

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

turn that frown upside down

this made an otherwise dismal day a little brighter.
man, people say the dumbest things.

(from overheard in ny)

Nanny #1: Who were you named after, Paulette?
Nanny #2: My father.
Nanny #1: Oh, what was his name?
Nanny #2: Ette.

there's more to say, but it's too close to the surface right now.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

no news, no books, just pondering

i think i fill my blog with news items and other people's poetry because i hate thinking, much less writing, about what's going on in my brain. the few times that i've posted personal things they weren't real 'this is how i'm feeling' stuff or i somehow deflected the real-ness with humor. which kind of negates the whole deal, right? anyhow, i did some serious thinking over the 3 days i had off for New Years and i've decided that side-stepping the internal confrontations one normally has with oneself isn't working for me any longer. my body (of all things) has betrayed my confidence by sending me more migraine headaches (5 in december alone) in one month than i've had in the past 5 years in addition to numerous pinched nerves. OK, dammit. i get it. finally. it's the body's way of saying listen bitch, pay attention to your head (and heart for that matter) and i'll let you live relatively pain free. so this is the internal debate i've been struggling with these last few days. or months or years depending on who you ask: how can i meet people with similar interests that are somewhat nearer my age than 27. and CAN i do that? because 27 is all i keep coming across. and while there are definite plusses to that, there are also some sizable detractions. i've gotten so used to my self-imposed isolation that i wouldn't even know where to start looking. being this out of touch is kind of scary at this point in my life. i've never really been good at making friends and i'll tell you why. the thing that i need (or want) out of a friendship first and foremost is intellectual stimulation. you've got to be able to carry on a conversation. so please, go ahead and challenge me to use more than a third of my brain. but the catch is i don't need to see or talk to you every day - in fact, that would probably drive me nuts. and you know, it's not a far drive... i'd like to be able to tell someone something serious about myself with out getting that stripped naked in a public forum feeling. my dilemma (or one of them anyway) is that there don't seem to be many - let's for arguments sake - say 35 to 45 year olds with interests remotely like mine. poetry, auto-racing, the music i listen to - none of those. separately, maybe. i just keep going round and round in my head with all this nonsense. mostly all i wanted to say was i'm tired of being an island but i'm not sure if i have the necessary materials to build a bridge to the main-land.

*end of self-indulgent rambling post #1*

Monday, January 2, 2006

i've got to get used to writing 2006...

so i borrowed this book from the library called Twentieth Century Latin American Poetry (which i need to re-check out because i'm surely not done reading it) and there are SO many great poets i've never heard of or have heard of but never read. so, i have taken it upon myself to share these poems with you that i think are just crazy good. even if poetry isn't your 'thing' read them anyway - you just MAY get something from them. i've posted the english versions because i'm a very poor (slow) typist and typing both versions would take me a bazillion years.

To Carlos Drummond de Andrade

There is no umbrella
against the poem
rising from the regions where everything is a surprise,
like a flower from a garden.
There is no umbrella
against the love
that chews up and spits out – like a mouth:
that grinds like a disaster.
There is no umbrella
against the tedium,
the tedium of four walls, four
seasons, four points of the compass.
There is no umbrella
against the world
the newspapers ruin each day
with this kind of paper, this ink.
There is no umbrella
against time:
river flowing under the house, its current
carrying off the days, one’s hair

-João Cabral de Melo Neto


Love: if I die don’t take me to the cemetery.
Dig my grave just at ground level, near the laughing
Divine disturbance of a birdhouse.
Or by a fountain’s haunting talk.

Just at ground level, my love. And almost above earth
Where the sun can heat the bones, and my eyes,
Extended, as if into stalks, rise to see again
The savage lamp of the setting sun.

Just at ground level, my love. So the passage
Will be even shorter. I sense
Already my flesh fighting, trying to return
To feel the atoms of a freshening wind.

I know my hands
May never stay still down there.
That like moles they will scrape the earth
In the middle of dark, compacted shadows.

Cover me with seeds. I want them to root
In the yellow chalk of my diminishing bones.
Up the gray staircase of living roots
I will rise to watch you. I’ll be the purple lilies.

-Juana de Ibarbourou

To Poetry

The taste of October on your shoulders.
Your hands give off a scent of April.
Like a hundred mirrors, I reflect
your body.
Night-time in the flutes of my voice.

Your footsteps were paths
of music. It danced
tangled up in leaves: the helix
of hours.
Naked liberation.

The measure of your height,
of the wave that raised
your weight of time, untouched.
My arm
softly circled it.

Among the aftergrowths
and your summery gaze
I sharpened the sickle that conjoined
the day
with the heavenly harvest.

From the blue depths the willowy wheat
falls to the brilliance of the sickle.
From the black depths a grain of gold
a pitchfork
with a cosmic shiver.

To plant in the breezy countryside –
to grow swellingly, a delicate flower:
the earth sweated, and the path
toward the red
sunset yields to grey.

He lifted his narrow stroke,
his hand above the wheat-field.
All the grains identical: One!
The free voice begins to sing.

The taste of October on your shoulders.
Your hands give off a scent of April.
A mirror of a hundred mirrors,
my body
will sleep darkly in your voice.

-Carlos Pellicer