Thursday, September 29, 2005

More Flickr-ing

So apparently with the Flash badge, it will only show your most recent 25 uploaded pictures. If you use the HTML badge - which I have up now - they randomly cycle, but only as you refresh or revisit the page. And now they show up in a long vertical line instead of the cool little puzzle formation of the Flash badge. Choices, choices... and none of them quite right.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


It's back. Awesome.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


So I added a badge from Flickr that's supposed to cycle through all my photos uploaded to Flickr. So far, it seems to just show the same 12 over and over again though it has over 100 to choose from. We'll see how long this lasts.

Wow, do I wish I had posted this 5 minutes ago.

Jennifer Garner's on Leno tonight and not that any of us cares, but earlier in the interview, she was talking about the baby -- which she calls "the kid" -- and she said, "Sh--the kid..." and I thought, Hmm. Guess JenBen is having a girl.

Then, five minutes later, she very clearly said, "And she..." Then she covers her mouth like, "Oh, sh*t, I just let it out..."

I knew, Jen. I caught it the first time. I was just too busy messing around with Flickr to share it with the world.

Monday, September 26, 2005

enveloped by water and swishing

Is it weird that I find being inside the drive-in car wash at the gas station comforting?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Live TV

Wouldn't it be good if life were TiVo? You could pause the amazing moments, fast forward through the bad stuff, and hit rewind when you want to go back and do something over.

Except my TiVo doesn't really work. It never knows what channel it's on.

I guess that's a little more like real life.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Stocking up at Whole Foods

Last night I went to Whole Foods to get groceries. I took my time wandering the aisles because I had time to kill before meeting a friend of mine at Mi Cocina for a late dinner. I guess I was in my own world because I somehow didn’t notice that there were a million people at Whole Foods until I went to get in line.

When I first arrived at the check-out area, each of the three lines were four people deep. Not super long, but long enough that we had to turn our carts sideways to avoid blocking the aisles. It was then that I started noticing everyone in line – except me – had huge boxes of bottled water in their carts.

A woman got in line behind me. We both got bored waiting. We both went for the magazine rack and both reached for Dwell. So that opened a conversation. I noticed she didn’t have the massive box of water and asked her if we were missing something. She said everyone was stocking up for the hurricane and that, in fact, Whole Foods was sold out of peanut butter.

More people got in line. Almost all of them had boxes of water. One guy had like thirty individual bottles of Ozarka and six bottles of cranberry juice. I finally reached the conveyor belt. As I unloaded my cart, I held up my single bottle of water to my new friend behind me. “This is what I got for water.” We laughed.

I looked behind me. There were now twenty-four people in my line alone. Carts snaked backwards through the store waiting to buy groceries – and boxes of water.

I reached the check-out guy.

“Um, do you have any more of those boxes of water? I think I need one.”
“No,” he said, “you really don’t.”
“Yeah, but everyone else is getting them, so now I feel like I have to have one, too.”

The grocery bagger went and got me a box of water.

As I heaved six gallons of water + one single bottle of water, lettuce, and gluten-free breakfast bars into my trunk, I felt better.

Does anyone else feel like the world is coming to an end?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

a banner week

I’ve had a tremor in my left eye for almost a week now. Today the right eye joined in. As if the ground beneath me didn’t already feel as if it were going to give way at any moment, my body conspires to remind me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to buy this. Soon.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Side Effects of Celiac Disease:

I'm calling lots of 800 numbers. (See two posts below.)

And having frustrating mealtime conversations with waiters. At lunch today:

Me: Excuse me, can you tell me if any of your sauces have gluten?
Waiter: Bluten?
Me: Gluten.
Waiter: Like Oreos?
Jen: Oreos? What's he talking about, Oreos?
Emily: Oleo.
Waiter: Yes.
Me: No. Gluten.
Waiter: Bluten?
Me: Forget it. Bring me some edamame.

Side Effects of Birthdays or Good News, Bad News

I called to find out if Butterfingers have gluten. Because I'm craving one, okay?

They don't.

But I've officially moved into a new age group.

Does anyone else think it's weird

that the Coke consumer relations phone number and the Pepsi consumer relations phone number only differ by two digits?

Or am I the only one who notices/is suspicious of such things?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Kicking it at the bookstore.

I used to spend a lot of time at the bookstore, but I haven't been in a while. Partly because my attention span has been crazy-short for a while and I couldn't even get through the summary of a book on the back cover much less an actual book, and partly because I've just been doing other things and have forgotten about bookstores (sorry, bookstores).

One of my new goals for my new year is to take better care of myself across the board -- not just my physical and mental well-being, but my soul, as well. I'd like to say that's what took me to the bookstore but actually it was that I needed something else for my father for his birthday tomorrow. Still, as a byproduct, I was reminded of my love for books and the bookstore, and my soul felt a little happier.

I've been drawn to poetry lately which isn't really like me, but maybe that goes hand-in-hand with the short attention span. So tonight I bought a couple of books of poetry (Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology, which I once owned but lost, and a collection of Rumi whom I love but didn't own) and a novel, Sweet and Vicious by David Schickler whose Kissing in ManhattanI loved.

On my didn't-even-know-they-were-out-but-now-must-purchase-as-soon-as-they-come-out-in-paperback list:

On Beauty, Zadie Smith
The Zahir, a Novel of Obsession, Paulo Coehlo
Lord Vishnu's Love Handles, Will Clarke

And I still want to read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Dan Chaon's You Remind Me of Me. I tried reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and never got through it... So maybe I'll finish that. Maybe.

Anyone read any of these?

On Zadie Smith: If you haven't read her Autograph Man, I recommend it highly. Even more highly than White Teeth.

I'm not anti-Barnes & Noble and Borders, but I'd love to find some cool indie book stores in Dallas like Book Soup in LA and, even better, Miami's Books and Books.

Either way, I'm making a pact with myself to spend more time at the bookstore. It's a good place to just be.

Monday, September 12, 2005

"Young. Old. Just Words." - George Burns

Today, I am 35.

I am 35.

I am 35.

I am working on saying that enough times until I come to terms with it. You can probably find me 364 days from now still repeating it.

Getting older is not that fun. Realizing you've continued to make the same mistakes over and over again and, seemingly, failed to learn from them is not that fun. Realizing you have a built-in fresh start every year is kind of, well, not fun exactly, but reassuring perhaps. So I'm reassured.

Getting an email from someone at work wishing you a happy birthday and asking if you're turning 25 is fun. Writing back and saying you're 35 and getting the response, "There is no way on God's Green Earth that you are 35" is hands-down awesome.

25. 35. Just numbers.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

without listening, hear what i say

Reading Sarah's poems this morning, I was reminded, for some reason, of a poem by Octavio Paz, a line of which floats into my head at the most random of moments, stays for some time, then disappears like the rain itself until a time when it comes again. Today is one of those times.

As One Listens to the Rain - Octavio Paz

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it's raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt's shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sexual Harassment Is Fun, Part II.

[I originally posted this as a response to Jen's comment, but I'm giving it its own space, and adding to. So there.]

In the news: A teacher in Italy is claiming she was fired from teaching religion because she dressed too sexy.

The whole thing is an extraordinarily delicate balance. Go too far in one direction and be labeled a bitch. Go the other way and you're a flirt, a "girl," someone not to be taken seriously.

One solution is to go form all-women companies. Over dinner one night, my girlfiriends and I formed a fake company. Our two favorite names for it: Stiletto and The Box. Yes. But then we open a new can of worms:

1) Cycles start to line up and that's not good for anyone (sorry, I know that's probably an anti-feminist comment, but it's true);
2) While women can be fiercely loyal to one another, we can also be just as fiercely competitive. And that gets ugly.
3) Male clients could be easy to get (hot girls & heels [Stiletto] = male clients), but hard to keep (for so many reasons, and you know them);
4) Female clients could be, simply, hard to get (see above re competitive). So. Where does that leave us?

I don't have the answer.

Perhaps if I could figure out what makes men go deaf to a female's voice when she's the only person in the room without a Y chromosome, I could begin to chip away at the sexual harassment problem. That phenomenon I don't begin to understand, no matter how many countless times I witness it. And "witness" is definitely the appropriate word, because when no one hears a word you say, you can talk all you want -- you're still relegated to observer.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


A couple of weeks ago, I got to see an old friend from LA on his way through town. It's not a particularly long story how I know him (though in some ways, I suppose, it is) but not one I feel like telling. Suffice it to say, he was there for me when I really needed a friend, as were a handful of other people (John D., if you're out there, hi). So we spent the first part of the evening with my getting caught up on people I used to know who he still knows.

I found out that this precious kid named Justin who, though only 20 when I met him, was something of a big brother to me, is doing well, and that made me immensely happy. He's someone you want to be well, and happy, and it sounds as though he is. John's getting married. Others hadn't fared quite as well, or had drifted away, and then I asked him about this teenage girl whose name I couldn't quite remember.

The conversation went something like this:
Me: What about that little girl?
Him: Which one?
Me: The one who looked like Natalie Portman. Who dyed her hair pink.
Him: Ohhh... right. I can't remember her name. She's dead.

We called John. He reminded us that her name was Genevieve. Actually, he had another nickname for her. I'll leave it out.

Genevieve, seventeen when I met her, was full of confidence and laughter at a time when she probably should have had neither. And I can't explain it, even to myself, but I felt some connection to Genevieve. Perhaps a desire to be more like her at a time when I was shaken and lost, searching and not finding. And that pink hair... just something about her struck me. She made an impact.

And a year later, after I'd left LA behind for South Florida, Genevieve, at 18, had overdosed and died.

The news made an impact.

All night, I kept saying, "I can't believe Genevieve is dead."

My friend apologized for the blunt delivery of the news. But she'd been dead four years in his world; only that moment in mine.

I don't know anything about Genevieve except what I've told you. I know nothing of her family, her background, her history -- any of her stories. I just have these little snapshots of her: at Swingers sitting at an outside table, looking so small; tossing that pink hair outside a house in Santa Monica; sitting on the ground in Hollywood with her blonde friend, waiting, picking at her nail polish. But always smiling.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sexual Harassment Is Fun.

Except that it isn't.

Some time ago, when I read Naomi Wolf's article in New York Magazine about being sexually harassed by Harold Bloom, I began to think about the prevalence of sexual harassment -- and the degree to which it goes ignored, unreported, brushed off. I don't know too many women who can't -- off the top of their heads -- recount at least one incident of sexual harassment, and yet how many of us do anything about it?

- I remember, as an undergrad, a freshman seminar professor who took too much interest in my love life. He was later fired for having an affair with a student.

- One of my first bosses in LA used to make regular eye-stops at my chest (we're not talking glances here; full-blown staring). I would make mental lists of shirts not to wear to work. I finally crossed anything resembling v-necks off the list completely because he just couldn't keep his eyes off. He wasn't shy about it, and I don't even have that much to look at.

- Another LA boss would call me into his office then, as I would wait to see what he needed, he'd look me up and down and assess. Once he actually asked me to turn around. When I refused, he said, "I just think you've lost weight. Turn around and let me look." I still refused. He called the other boss in. "Don't you think Pam's lost weight? Look at her." The other boss said, "You're such an asshole," and walked out. I liked that boss.

- My own agent would send me on "meetings" that were actually set-ups.

- A professor who literally looked under a conference table at my legs to comment on my skirt (I don't wear skirts all that often; not that that excuses it) then got me to take him home and showed me his bedroom.

- A teacher in Russia who I thought I was friends with who "rescued" me from an overzealous guy on the last night of the seminar only to shove his tongue down my throat at my room door. Then, later, when I expressed, um, discomfort at his actions, wrote me an email that began, "Oh, come now, P..." He went on to say that we were in a "magic time space" (wtf?) and that his wife and one-year-old daughter didn't exist in that place in time. (I still hate it when people say, "Oh, come now...") I told my boyfriend at the time. He was angry with me. As if I'd asked for Will to do that. As if I wasn't the one who felt betrayed and victimized by someone I trusted. I understand it was only his tongue in my mouth. I know there is much worse. It doesn't make it better.

- The doctor I posted about before who tried to bring muscle relaxers to my house at 11:30 at night, after telling me way too much about his personal life.

I know these aren't "that bad." But they're cumulative. And they all made me uncomfortable, to varying degrees. So what's the answer? Laugh it off? Report someone and "risk" being impolite? Because, God knows, as women, especially in the South, we're trained to be "polite" at any cost. What is it we're afraid of? Being called melodramatic? Overreacting? Hypersensitive? Not being believed? Or being laughed off as we ourselves try to laugh it off.

A writers' assistant on a TV show in LA sued for sexual harassment right around the time I left Hollywood. I don't know if she won or not. What I do know is she never worked again.

I was once tricked into going on a date with a guy who later became an agent at the same agency where I was represented. At the end of the night, desperate to get home and away from the uncomfortable situation, I drove him home and tried to take my leave. He wouldn't get out of the car. I found myself wedged against my own door as he groped and grabbed. He finally got out and I left, crying, feeling like driving into the wall of the 10 on my way home. Why? I hadn't done anything wrong. And yet I felt like I had. When he called a few days later to ask me out (?!), he couldn't understand why I wouldn't want to go. When he became an agent at my agency and I made it clear that I didn't want to have any contact with him, everyone -- yes -- laughed it off. When I saw him a year later at a bar and told him he was my least favorite person in the bar (yeah, I'd had a few), he made me sit at a table with him and tell him why. He was baffled. He thought we'd had a good date that night. He had never understood why I didn't want to go out with him again.

Was I that unclear? Or was he that clueless? Do we, as women, play a part in our own sexual harassment, or is that very line of thinking buying into the same thought pattern that prevents us from saying anything?

Is there some division between standing up for yourself and being a bitch? Is there an answer, or is it something we have to deal with simply for being female?

Do we have to stay quiet for as many years as Naomi Wolf did before we finally feel like it's okay to speak out?

We can call it harmless. But if it makes us uncomfortable in any way -- especially in a place where we shouldn't have to feel uncomfortable -- is there anything, truly, harmless about that?

Gluten-Free = Yuck.

So this new little "disease" I've been diagnosed with (why I put disease in quotation marks, I have no idea. It's a real disease. I hate when people use quotation marks incorrectly.) means I can never eat anything containing gluten again. What contains gluten, you might ask? Oh, everything good. Anything with wheat, barley, oats, or rye is on the forbidden list, so that means cookies, pizza, beer, biscuits... I was supposed to go out for biscuits a couple of weeks ago but it didn't work out and somehow I never got biscuits before I got the final diagnosis. So that sucks. Gluten is also used as a thickener in soups, barbecue sauce, other random condiments... so you never really know.

Well, right now I'm having some gluten-free fake Oreos. They suck. They're really, really, really bad.

This is awesome.

Shooting at Rescue Workers?

Seriously? What's wrong with people? Pablo said it best.

Anyone read Michael Moore's open letter to Bush? Thoughts?

If you haven't donated already: Red Cross