Friday, October 31, 2008

Stan Apps et Mathew Timmons at Agitprop in Northpartk, November 1

We hope you can join us this Saturday, November 1 at 7 pm for the next reading in the Agitprop reading series at Agitprop Gallery (2837 University Ave in North Park, entrance on Utah, a few blocks west of 30th Street), featuring STAN APPS and MATHEW TIMMONS. Wine and snacks will be served. Donations to the gallery are always appreciated.

Stan Apps is a poet and essayist living in Los Angeles. His books of poems include soft hands (Ugly Duckling Presse), Princess of the World in Love (Cy Press), Info Ration (Make Now Press) and God's Livestock Policy (Les Figues Press). A collection of essays is underway from Combo Books. Recent work has appeared in Joyland: a hub for short fiction (, Try Magazine, Abraham Lincoln, Ecopoetics, and the Icelandic webzine Tregawott. Stan ekes out a living as an adjunct college instructor, teaching the poor to write short persuasive essays.

Mathew Timmons co-edits/curates Insert Press (w/ Stan Apps), LA-Lit (w/ Stephanie Rioux) and Late Night Snack (w/ Harold Abramowitz). His collaboration with visual artist Marcus Civin, a particular vocabulary (P S Books), is forthcoming, and his work may be found in various journals, including: Sleepingfish, P-Queue, Holy Beep!, Flim Forum, The Physical Poets, NōD, PRECIPICe, Or, Moonlit, aslongasittakes, eohippus labs and The Encyclopedia Project. He teaches interdisciplinary arts and writing workshops for CalArts School of Critical Studies.

We hope to see you there and for all festivities afterwards!

Saturday, November 1
2837 University Ave in North Park. Entrance on Utah.

Happy Halloween

I enjoyed explaining to my students what a "bar wench" was. Mark and I will watch as many horror movies tonight as we can stand (which is a lot), and hope for trick or treaters.

Monday, October 27, 2008

99 Percent of Everything I Write Has a Typo

And usually an embarrassing one.

Where should I go for the winter holidays?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

I subscribe to Yoga Journal, Self, Lucky, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, and Cooks Illustrated.

I also subscribe to a bunch of poetry and literary magazines, but those are too many to list.

I recently an article in Self called "Keeping Up with the Yogis." Yes, I read and subscribe to Self. Anyway, the article was about snarkiness and snobbery in yoga communities. The article made me think about the anger or sadness many of us feel when we have an especially aggravating experience with other poets an artists. The world of art is supposed to, somehow, be better than the rest of the world. It isn't of course. I mean it is, but not because the people are nicer or more reasonable or funnier or even more intelligent.

It's the same with yoga communities. Yogis can be competitive and unkind, even though they're not supposed to be. I remember when I worked at the desk of the yoga studio, there was a man who would always tell me what time he'd gotten up to meditate. I didn't care, wasn't impressed (was he flirting with me? I don't know). I found it annoying when he said things like, "You know, it takes a lot of spiritual discipline to get up at 3:00." No doubt, but shut up about it, please.

There's also a kind of competition to see who can be the most calm and happy. My external hard drive crashed right after mercury went into retrograde (in the studio where I practice, we do talk about things like mercury in retrograde). A few days after my hard drive crashed, I went to my usual Wednesday night class. The teacher was talking about how to remain calm when everything around is not. I was able to proudly announce that my hard drive had crashed! Yes, my hard drive had crashed, but how calm I appeared while saying it! I could have said it while doing an open-floor handstand! How wonderful that the Universe was testing me in this way and giving me the chance to grow! Even if I believe that--and I'm not saying I don't or do--I despise the snarky language of yoga pop religion. You know, this kind of stuff:

I've been really fortunate, I think, with my teachers and studios. My first yoga teacher was Jeanne Gaudette, a neuro-muscular therapist and yoga teacher who had a small studio in Blue Hill, Maine (I think she now is a teacher at the Downeast School of Massage). I have no idea what kind of yoga Jeanne taught but I remember basic standing sequences that are still familiar to me, and a lot of restorative poses. I also remember that she did bodywork for both me and my mother at a very discounted rate. She was kind, funny, and unpretentious.

After college, I started practicing with Margaret Townsend. Again, I think I was amazingly lucky. Margaret is a dancer who teaches Ashtanga yoga, but her background is in Integral, Iyengar, Anusara, and Ashtanga--so I got the benefit of learning about how to connect breath and movement, learned the logic behind sequencing, and also learned a lot about alignment and anatomy. She's a kind but demanding teacher with a sense of humor. And unpretentious. I would never have started practicing yoga seriously if I hadn't been lucky enough to randomly go to one of her classes.

I did go to one studio in Washington, DC that was really weird. The owner of the studio wouldn't tell me the names of the teachers, and had no information about their certifications. He also grabbed my butt during an adjustment--the first and only time that anything like that has ever happened to me in a yoga class. I never went back. Good lord, what a creep!

The studio here in Carlsbad where I practice is, frankly, pretty great. Like all communities, it has it's moments (see above). People are, in general, friendly and unpretentious. They admit when they feel tired. The teachers are all diverse and well-qualified. Their bios are posted on the website. They answer questions, they don't make adjustments unless you want them, they're attentive and responsive. I hate having a hamstring injury (it's better, but still not completely), but I've really been grateful towards my studio these past few months. I'm benefiting from my teachers' knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology, and yoga. My hamstring is getting better, and I'm learning how to make sure that doesn't happen again. A doctor would have just told me to stop practicing.

And now I'm all energetic and optimistic. Sorry...

Friday, October 17, 2008

So much of my life is taken up with boring, tedious details. Explaining to the State of California why I don't owe them 2005 taxes. Noting student attendance and giving them daily grades for participation, attendance, and fluency; paying bills; making sure that I hang my keys up on the hook so that I can find them again; laundry and folding clothes and putting them away (I hate putting them away); filling out my time sheet, and other stuff that is so much more boring than what I remember now. I think about this often, how I really don't remember half of the things I do, probably more than half.

I know I could write poems about these things, perhaps, if I could remember them. When I worked at the Henry L. Stimson Center, I wrote poems with language from staff meetings and panel discussions, and started a rather long poem based on acronyms officially in use by the Department of Defense. Now, I don't feel like I have the strength or interest to poetically engage my everyday details. Instead, I want to get away from them.

Maybe it's time to start working on another one of my big long procedural Chinese translations. Or to make more doodles. There was a book at the Dupont Circle location of Secondstory Books in Washington, DC that I regret buying. It was a Chinese language reader based on the speeches of Mao. That would have been fun to work with. I'm a sucker for old language text books.


I made my first risotto of the fall yesterday. Strangely, I made it with spring vegetables. Asparagus, for example, which is still really good at the farmer's market. No fava or lima beans, alas.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ha ha, I laugh at you, O State of California Filing Enforcement Section MS F180 of the Franchise Tax Board!

I have located and printed a copy of my 2005 DC taxes, which I will send to the State of California Filing Enforcement Section MS F180 of the Franchise Tax Board. I payed DC $2025 in 2005. I will not pay California $988 plus a $225 penalty for late filing plus $230 in interest.

In other exciting news, there was a fire in Camp Pendleton again today. I could smell the smoke all afternoon and used my inhaler for the first time this year. The last time I used it was, well, last October, during the fires. The smoke clouds that form after fires are oddly beautiful the morning after. They look like a thick marine layer that's come from the desert instead of the ocean.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stall Dos

I am, in fact, applying to MFA programs this year. I once vowed I would never, ever, under any circumstances get an MFA. But vows are generally stupid, as I now know. Besides, I made that vow in a time and place where/when no one around really cared about MFAs. In DC, an MFA didn't prevent me from teaching at the Corcoran, because DC is a city, and cities have art communities that, while they include universities, are not defined and created by them. However, most of the USofA is suburban, not urban. With a new, interesting MFA program at UCSD, I might as well apply. Hey, if you don't have an MFA yet, why don't you apply, too...

I frequently say, "I want an MFA so I can get crappy adjunct work." However, as Mark has pointed out, I already get crappy adjunct work. But I want better crappy adjunct work. I have no delusions about getting a tenure-track creative writing job, but a local MFA might make me more attractive to area community colleges. Maybe I'm guilty of wanting change for change sake. A dangerous want, but oh well.

Tangent: I found my female Robin Hood-type doll. She has a Robin Hood hat and everything. I played Robin Hood in 6th grade. The play was in French, which seems ironic given the history of the Normans and Saxtons.


I have not made the hair appointment yet.

I want to make aged Gouda biscotti with walnuts. I have no aged Gouda, though. Next week.

If I only had to eat aperitivi for the rest of my life, that would be ok.

Writing continues. Attempts at writing something on Tina Darragh's Opposable Dumbs.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I put on a different kind of eye liner than I usually wear

It is green. Now my eyes are watering. I should stick to Clinique charcoal gray, or whatever color it is that I normally use.

I got a flu shot this morning, and then took my external hard drive to be fixed. Although neither was a pleasant task, they went well enough.

My trial-size perfume samples arrived. Six of them. I will find a good, long-lasting, citrus-based scent.

I have no content right now. My content is beach town. My students saw a dead seal on the beach that, according to them, looked like it had been the victim of a shark attack. It's windy, clear, and cool today, windy enough for white caps--my favorite kind of North County weather.

I think I've decided on a place to get my hair cut: Detour Salon in Encinitas. It will probably be a bit overly-trendy, but that's ok. I'm going to try and get an appointment with either Jessica or Jillian, because I like their hair.

Friday, October 10, 2008

They Hate Me

But I hate them so much more than they hate me. They cannot fathom the depth of my hate.

Also: California, fuck you. I do not owe you taxes for 2005. The reason I did not pay 2005 California state taxes is because I did not live or work in California in 2005.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

We got our ballots in the mail today.

I want to get my hair cut shorter into some kind of bob. But I don't want to look like Paris Hilton or Posh Spice, and I don't want to look like I work for CNN. I need something a little asymmetrical, a little inverted with the right amount of layers and razored ends, and maybe longish side bangs.

But it can't require blow drying to look good.

And where to get it cut? I haven't gotten an actual, styled haircut since I lived in DC. Nope, it's been Supercuts all the way. Big decisions.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My Love Roderick Usher Part Trois

Thank you, Slate, for pointing out that my beloved Vincent Price has a cookbook. Just listen to him describe how to make Viennese Stuffed Eggs!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Yo quiero a garden

Heirloom beans!

And also, on the bus today was a kid wearing a black trench coat and bowler hat. And he was reading Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. He is the third person I've seen reading on the bus, ever. The other two are regular AM bus riders: an elderly woman who volunteers at the library and reads a lot of children's literature and a guy who reads a German-English dictionary every morning. I stared at the young man rather directly until he looked at me and gave me the finger. I smiled at him and said "right on." I don't know what possessed me to say "right on." I've already integrated "peace out," "rad," and "bogus" into my vocabulary, but today's "right on" was a first. I don't know how I feel about it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

More drafts of poems up at See it Everywhere.


My hamstring is not completely healed, and it is frustrating. I hate it. I hate being injured. I hate the stock market. I hate cars. I hate wall to wall carpet and press board. I hate how yogis say "please be mindful of..." instead of "please don't..." I hate the fact that my hard drive is broken and shouldn't be and how nothing is made to last. I hate the dust that sticks to the screens. I hate my sensitive skin. I hate professionalism and I hate a lack of professionalism. I hate it when Lester bites me. I hate poems about dead pigs that use overly familiar feminized language to describe the dead pigs. I hate asthma. I hate Bank of America. I hate the bus schedule in North County. I hate how my nails break. I hate grading. I hate how some people think that having a specific kind of degree makes you a poet. I hate the average failure rate of students in online classes. I hate working for schools that treat students like customers. I hate how my fingers swell up after I run. I hate how I have a sore right ankle which is somehow connected to my f-ed up left hamstring. I hate how having a sophisticated critique and understanding of power and hierarchies doesn't mean that one has an emotionally sophisticated understanding of how power and hierarchies affect one personally and directly. I hate how people talk about how mellow the lifestyle is here without specifically mentioning anything other than the beach, even if they don't live anywhere near the beach and instead live in Valley Center or Burnt Mountain. I hate how women I don't even know say things to me about my apparently inevitable future family. I hate how the sun causes cancer and salt water causes rashes. I hate the plastic on the beach. I hate the dead seals after red tide, I hate all the crap on the roads: glass, rocks, hoses, rakes, pieces of furniture, blown tires, dead animals, shoes. I hate it when people abuse the carpool lane. I hate the reverse elitism of community college employment practices. I hate it how people throw all sorts of crap into the lagoons like bottles, cans, and plastic bags. I hate dog shit on the side walk and I hate people who are overly paranoid about dog shit. I hate home security systems and also thieves. I hate the fact that my employers never tell us if they're going to serve food at staff meetings but then surprise us with mediocre pizza that we all eat even though we've already eaten lunch. I hate how scratched up my glasses are. I hate putting things away. I hate Sunday afternoons.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Lester

Lester has some very particular likes and dislikes. Dislikes include the sound of crinkling plastic or paper, the rapid opening and closing of doors, and loud sneezes or coughs. Likes include the sound of running water, dried chili peppers of any sort, lime juice, and chewing on dental floss.

Lester's been in a good mood recently. Mark and I have settled into our respective normal Fall schedules, so it's easy for Lester to predict our comings and goings. All three of us typically eat dinner together most evenings; he eats more or less whatever we eat. For the past few evenings, Lester has sung while eating dinner and throwing his food all over the cage--surely a sign of a good mood.

The other evening, I went to yoga, and Mark and Lester hung out at home. Mark put on Peter Brotzmann's Machine Gun album--a rapid, frenetic, and dissonant European avant garde jazz recording from, oh, I think the late 60s. We saw Peter Brotzmann in DC three or four years ago, I think it was at the Black Cat. Anyway, Machine Gun is an awesome album, but not lyrical or relaxing in any traditional sense of those words.

Lester sat all fat and relaxed on his favorite perch for the entire album. He didn't shriek or express any displeasure until Mark got up to go into the kitchen and prepare lunch for the next day. Lester despises lunch preparations, because they involve opening and closing cabinets and the crinkling of plastic.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

No one presses their audience appreciation button

during the second verse. They push it during the chorus. Or the guitar solo.

My point is that those CNN graphs are addictive, but not necessarily telling. Everyone goes for generalized, soaring rhetoric about American families sitting around the kitchen table, etc.

My lesson about the grammar of wish statements didn't go very well.

It's not like I chose that topic.

I finished Kora, now I'm reading Spring and All, both of which are good bus reading. My students haven't wanted to talk politics this week, so I'm getting a bit of respite. Not that teaching and talking about US politics during an election year is punishment, quite, but...

Today is laundry day.

I am looking forward to the first "cold" day so that I can wear my sweatshirt that says "expatriate" on it.

Next week, perhaps, we will return to posts with more "serious" "content." I'm working on something for LA Lit and looking forward to the Cal Arts conference at Redcat at the end of the month.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008