Monday, April 30, 2007

Prudence was tired but wouldn't take her nap

Somehow, I managed to get on the 6:50 bus this morning. I'm not sure how I got up, got dressed etc, rode to Oceanside, got my coffee, and made it to the bus stop in time. The bus driver didn't recognize me (because I usually get the 7:05 bus) and yelled at me for having coffee, which I'm not supposed to have on the bus. I said, "the OTHER bus drivers are cool with it," and sat down.

I had only one student in the TOEFL class this afternoon, but that was just as well. I'm glad enough to be teaching this class, but teaching TOEFL is boring. About as boring as preparing to take the TOEFL, I'm sure. Someone stole her clothes out of the dryer this weekend, so I structured most of the speaking exercises around the topics of laundry, style, theft, and crime.

I worked on a few design projects this afternoon. I pretended I understand Bezier curves. I'm trying to make a logo and am totally out of ideas. I didn't actually have any ideas for this particular project in the first place. I want a huge huge flatbed scanner and some paint because right now I'm bored with manipulating letter-objects in Illustrator.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I can now find my way from Redcat to Little Tokyo and back. I could probably make it to Hollywood from there as well. Maybe to Eagle Rock.

I always have fun when I go to LA. Was especially glad to hear Caroline Caroline Bergvall and Dodie Bellamy read/speak.

I am drinking pinot noir, which is kind of a rare event for me.

I'll be compiling my notes this week and scanning my doodles, which are more texty than usual.

I had some good ramen in little Tokyo and also some good potato tacos.

Several people mentioned Jessica Benjamin and intersubjectivity, which made me happy.

I like the people that I know in LA.

WACK! is a large, amazing show--I couldn't really absorb it all in a few hours. I did sit down and watch all of the short films I could, including several Yoko Ono pieces that I probably should have seen already but hadn't.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

More cooking thoughts

The Roasted Peppers with Chickpeas and Goat Cheese was unexpectedly good. I thought it might be kind of bland and basic, but that was the one starter that everyone ate up.

I'm fond of Zaalouk, especially when accompanied by yogurt and olives, but its no good for people who don't like eggplant.

The Fish Cakes were also very good, but I don't think I used a firm enough fish--they didn't really hold together enough with red snapper. They'd probably work best with halibut or mahi mahi. Also, I poached them in a kind of spicy tomato sauce, which was one of the cookbook's suggestions. I think that this made me feel too much like I was eating meatballs, even though they tasted nothing like meatballs. Next time, I'll use a firmer fish and pan fry them.

The Roast Cod with Potatoes and Tomatoes tasted a lot like the bacalhau that Lija made for Mark and I when we visited her and John Havelda in Porto. But less salty, since I didn't use salted Cod. My potatoes also stuck to the bottom of the pan. Next time I will make this in my cast iron dutch oven.

The chicken was super good. I like how many Arab and middle eastern cuisines pair sweet and savory flavors. I like fruit with meat, and the combination of pears and caramelized shallots wasn't overly sweet.

The Couscous with spring vegetables was also good, though basic. I'm not sure I did a good job with the broth. I didn't have patience for the couscous when I made it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Recent cookings

For now, I'm focusing on Morocco, although eventually I'll try some recipes from Turkey & Lebanon.

Zaalouk (Mashed Eggplant & Tomato Salad)

Felfa Wal Hummas Wa Jban (Roasted peppers & Chickpeas with Goat Cheese)

Kefta Bil Hout (Fish Cakes)

Hout Bi Batata Wa Tamatem (Roast Cod with Potatoes & Tomatoes)

Djaj Bil Bouawid (Chicken with Caramelized Baby Onions & Pears)

Kesksou L'Hodra (Couscous with Spring Vegetables)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Also, Mark reported that three ravens chased a hawk out of the yard today.

I got up early because I was worried that the fledgling might still be on my bike and therefore I'd have to walk and take two buses to work instead of riding my bike. It had, in fact, slept on my bike all night. The bird watched me come out the door. When I closed the door, it ruffled it's feathers and flew alway--all the way across the yard to another building. By the time I came home, everyone had fledged.

Monday, April 23, 2007

One of the house finch chicks fledged about five minutes after I got home. S/he fluttered out of the next and landed on my bicycle rack, and has been there ever since. I didn't ride my bike to yoga because the chick was still sitting on the rack, and when I returned this evening from yoga, the chick was still there. It looks feathered, although there is a tuft of baby down on its head.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

But, honestly, I didn't think I could actually become blonder.

My hair is getting even blonder, and my eyebrows are turning blond. I've blogged about this before. It disturbs me. I never used to have blond eyebrows. Always blond hair and dark eyebrows and eyelashes. I like the color of my hair. Maybe now that my eyebrows are lighter, people will stop asking me if I dyed it and what shade it is.

In college, I went through a few years of dying it red, then brown, and it was also pink and blue. I just don't look punk even with punk hair. Then I bleached it and it was sort of a baby chic yellow. Then I bleached it again and it was white and half of it fell out. Then I stopped dying it and grew it out, and now it is the color that it is, seven years later.

A friend mentioned that in the town where she lives (according to her hair stylist) salons constantly have to restock two very specific shades of blond--one ash and one honey. The college girls' hair doesn't just look like it's the same color, it really is the same color.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

And also the cat in the tree is bothering the finches

And normally I like the cat, though he is needy and I think his owner is spacey and doesn't take care of him. The finches are feeding the baby finches who are nesting under our balcony awning, and I chased Finley the cat away several times, twice from our balcony and once from the tree. I was nervous enough last year when the baby finches fledged, and there wasn't even a frisky cat around. The Black Cat in the Green Grass is not a threat to the birds. He just purrs and smells flowers. Really.

And also also this: It is a good thing that people cannot be arrested for not breaking the law even if it seems they are likely to. This doesn't make me feel safe, more institutional safety wouldn't make me feel safe either. And then there's feeling safe and being safe. I think back to the students I've known personally or indirectly who did commit suicide or were violent. Often there were no particular warning signs in their creative work.

But Living, etc.

I've been a bad, bad blogger.

Yesterday in my ESOL class I tried to teach jokes. Normally, I wouldn't do a "unit" on jokes until the advanced intermediate level. My students are smart, but they're at a beginning intermediate level, and the jokes didn't quite work. I talked about puns, knock-knock and light bulb jokes. I told them why the chicken crossed the road. They looked at me. Finally, one of them said: "I see. The question is very strange, but the answer is very serious. It is funny."

Catherine Wagner read at CSUSM on Thursday, and we had fun hanging out with her and Ambrose this weekend. I'll post doodles etc later.

Next weekend: Feminaissance et WACK!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


noun: a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.

Or guns.

And nothing new or useful is going to come from this awful tragedy, either. The boring, gross, cliched argument that "guns don't kill people, people do" is already being made. Again.

A friend of mine was shot last January--he's ok because it hit him in the elbow, but he described it as a random, "I got a gun for Christmas" shooting.

Monday, April 16, 2007

C'est quoi ca?

I'm not sure I know where post-avant work begins and ends. Or, I suppose what I mean is that I don't know when the term "post-avant" begins and ends.

I've seen flarf referred to as "post-avant"

I've seen Rae Armatrout referred to as a "leading post-avant poet."

I've read that "post-avant" is an intra-generational term for Language Poetry but also now a style that "ambitious young MFA'ers study."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Various Ye Haws

I have new book making and binding supplies.

I will pick up the bike on Tuesday. It will have new brakes and and a new saddle! I will have a better helmet! Eee!

I'm going to be teaching a TOFEL preparation class this month.

I wrote another poem today but will not post it!

I met people yesterday that I will probably never speak to again.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Design Note

Avoid weird gutter jumps when working with images of people's faces.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Having working front and back breaks will improve my commute, no doubt.

Had drinks with a friend and her husband. Being social always feels good. Today was a beautiful SoCal day of the sort that visitors expect, and I was glad to be outside for most of it, even while driving down the 101 (listening to Pavement). I took the bike to REI to get it overhauled--new brakes, new saddle, a rack. The frame is a solid metal Gary Fisher original , and after the tune up, it's going to be even better.

Once I was over at REI I got coffee at somewhere in the Forum and did some editing. The music the upbeat yet soft jazz they pipe in everywhere is terrible.

I've been diligently reading through Krause's Design Basics Index, and it's been very helpful. I'm intuitively a pretty good designer, my clients think so, but this book is giving me the grammar of design. It explains the structures that design uses to talk about itself. It's very helpful.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Batter my heart, etc.

Ok, other than Rumi, Hafiz, and Khalil Gibran, can you think of any poets that are actually good and whose poems might appeal to yogis? Rilke, obviously. Who else? Does anyone have a favorite John Donne quote that, um, a SoCal yogi might wear on a, um, t-shirt?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Catching up on reading

Sandra Beasley's Small Kingdom (Tinyside #30, Big Game Books). Snuggly domesticity and animals, itemized objects and lots of sorting. Implications of hoarding and then cleaning out. Compare beloved to plants and other objects: "The way we must make all loves smaller before they can enter our kingdom."

Joanna Fuhrman's Clone School (Tinyside #28, Big Game Books): Like a cabinet of curiosities, or a carnival, or at the carnival. Titles evoke a contemporary Art Deco or Fin du Siecle aesthetic like "By the Skeletons of Hurdy-gurdy Monkeys and Other Journeys Toward Nanotechnology." Lots of interaction between animate and inanimate objects/beings--"The house made of birds of paradise fronds / kicked me out." Bodies are usually in pieces--a dancer's limb, a lover's tongue.

Friday, April 06, 2007

What if I am

the bourgeois boy Bernadette Mayer is tired of taking to the airport?

Naw. I don't like being taken or taken to the airport. Nor do I like to take others to the airport. Especially bourgeois boys who can only go back to ancestral comforts.

Juliana Spahr was just in town. I like hearing her read her work. The hypnotic, incantatory elements of it work well on the ear. My ear.

Monday, April 02, 2007

They are killing me

The community college applications are overwhelming and exhausting. The forms are long, excessive, and repetitive. I used another set of similar but different forms that I filled out for another community college job to fill out the forms for this job. I noticed two typos and also that my jobs were not listed in exact chronological order.

Both sets of forms want me to list every single relevant job since college. In my case, this means 17 jobs, and that doesn't include the jobs that aren't relevant to the position or temporary work or the jobs I did in between the relevant jobs. So, I have had 17 jobs relevant to this position since I graduated from GW in May 2000. That is a lot of jobs. I am so employable! So versatile! So adaptable! And yet they only give me 4 spaces, so I had to recreate their forms to accommodate my job history. This leads me to worry that perhaps I am not the kind of person they want to hire, even though of course I am a fabulous teacher and like community college students because they are diverse and interesting and have had experience in the world. And I am also office worthy. I can file! I can write grant proposals. I can bear staff meetings (sort of).

I have had many jobs. Do I really want any job this much? Answer: no. However, I will fill out the forms anyway, because I must be employed. And even though I am already employed, the only reason I am employed is because I am constantly seeking employment and applying for jobs.

If there were some other better option I wished to entertain, I would be entertaining it. I like my job life now, but it is important to remember that most job life sucks, even when you like it. I don't believe in running away, and anyway, anyone who's ever run away knows that running away is impossible. Most problems resurface eventually, despite geography.