Friday, September 30, 2011

Dream Paramour Bruce

Bruce was mentioned back in this post. He's done now. I posted the following to Craftster already, but figure that I might as well also share it with my general Imaginary Internet Audience as well. Just to show that yes, I do finish crafty/arty things.

This is only sort of a personal story.

Bruce came to me in a dream.

Bruce 12

It was one of those situations that seem perfectly normal while you're in the dream, but make you think twice about your inner psyche when you wake up in the morning. In this dream, a basilisk and I were, ah, having "intimate relations".

If you know anything about the mythical basilisk, you know that his look means death. (And if you know anything about the real life basilisk, you know that he walks on water, but that's a different story.) In my dream I wasn't concerned about a look of death or getting turned to stone at a glance. While we were locked in that deadly embrace, I was more concerned instead with keeping him distracted every time he tried to bite me. His bite was poison, and he was touchy ... though also easily distracted.

Bruce 13

There's a lot of symbolism involved in a dream about making love to a dangerous mythical lizard. I'm very much aware of that. I didn't take much thought to realize what and who this lizard dream represented. The image haunted me for weeks, and during that time I worked diligently on the sculpture I present to you now. He's as close to a spitting image of the lover in my head as I could get.

Bruce 16

This's probably the most complicated project I've worked on yet in my weekly ceramics class. Pinchpot-based head and body, tail created using coils, the body elevated with scrap clay while the legs stiffened enough to support the weight of the entire creation. After he was bisque fired, I dabbed him with black underglaze, washed it away, had him high-fired, and then wet brushed him with acrylic paint to get the mottled green look.

Bruce 10

The name, Bruce, is taken from the friend who maybe inspired the lizard. Or at least helped me figure him out. He's very special to me, just as this project is very special to me.

Bruce 14

But, of course, not so special that any constructive criticism wouldn't be appreciated. (Adoration would be fine, too ;) He is a reptile, after all.) Please let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Guess That's Why They Call It

When we (finally) got cable TV, back when I was 13 or 14, I watched a lot of VH-1. (Yeah, you would expect MTV, wouldn't you? But remember, I was also the kid who listened to Richard Marx and Elton John at a time when my generational peers were hot for New Kids on the Block. We can debate later who had the better taste.) The above, one of the videos on pretty regular rotation at the time, meaning that it more-or-less helped define the music video in my impressionable brain.

At any rate, that Patty Smyth song came on in the car as I was driving over the Santa Cruz Mountains this Sunday with my two youngest siblings. I was shocked, perhaps a tiny bit ashamed (lie), to find that I still knew all the lyrics and could belt it out with the best of them. I guess some things just don't leave you, do they?

By the way, I totally lay some of the blame on songs like this, and VH-1 in general, for my screwed-up vision of how love is supposed to be. Nah, phooey.

On another note: I've started a bucket list for the Bay Area (and West Coast in general, I guess, since Disneyland is on there). It's kind of nice to have a list of "goals" to accomplish, even if I know already I won't get around to all of them. I'll keep adding to the list as I remember things (or get reminded of them), and be crossing things off as I do them. If there's a relevant blog post, I'll probably link to it, too. Feel free to make suggestions as you see fit, and I may add them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On Punishment, and the City

Lesson: trying to punish someone you care about usually means you also end up punishing yourself. Lesson, taken note of. Lesson, learned? Probably not.

NYC 9-2011 Trip

I have one of those picture frames above my desk — the type that can hold nine photos, allowing for a mix of friends, family, and general happy memories. I specifically filled it with pictures that reminded me of good times, and put it someplace easy for me to look up and remember. Problem is, I forget, a lot, to do that looking up and remembering. Probably should do that before I think about punishing. Another lesson to be learned.

NYC 9-2011 Trip

I flew back into the Bay Area late Wednesday night. The best part about that night was crawling into my own bed. The worst part, that I had needed to leave New York to get there.

I did drink quite a bit, but not nearly as much as on previous trips: not once did I stay at a bar until last call. In fact, I did almost none of my usual NYC "must-dos" on this trip. There was no Cozy Soup 'n' Burger, there was no saunter through Washington Heights, there wasn't even a walk through Central Park. (Though I did hit up the Met, which is close.) I barely even got to do the one thing that has more or less defined my last three trips to the City — for a lot of reasons, I tried hard not to make this trip about that thing at all, which probably is part of the reason it turned out so right.

NYC 9-2011 Trip

So. I made it back to the Left Coast. It was a fantastic trip, where I even forgot a couple times that I was only visiting and the city wasn't home. Is that because New York is still where my heart is? Is it because I've visited so often in the last few years that I've re-familiarized myself with the city? Or is it merely because so many good friends live there now, that I feel like I have a place there amongst them?

NYC 9-2011 Trip

I'm still trying to get my head on straight back on routine. Already, it's a different week, and already San Francisco has entered a completely different season. I'm going to start compiling my bucket list. It's time to make a goal, because if I don't have something to go after, I'm going to keep thinking about what and who I don't have. Not a healthy way to live life. I probably haven't been living my life nearly as healthy as I should have been, the past two, three, five years.

NYC 9-2011 Trip

My bus buddy probably gave me the best piece of advice anyone could have, or has, given: it doesn't have to be forever.

That might just be enough to push me over the edge.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


It's like senioritis, but for adults with real jobs. And I have it.

The last two or three days, I've been busy — oh, have I ever been busy — and that's a really good thing, because if I didn't have actual real work being shoved into my face every two minutes (or, at least, someone coming up to me to ask a question), I don't know how I would keep my mind actually tethered into my body. Instead of Wikipedia reading and extra-long coffee breaks, the vacationitis manifests itself currently by ignoring the perfectly good leftovers brought for lunch and insisting I take myself out to eat every day. I'll have to stick the poor curry I have in the work fridge right now into the freezer, so it will still be good when I get home.

Woe is me.

My flight to New York leaves tomorrow night, and since I plan on heading to the airport direct from work, I'm trying to force myself to tidy things up around the apartment, finish up with packing, and scouring all surfaces to rid them of every scrap of food that Unwanted Roommate Jim might try to survive on in my absence.

It's only going slightly successfully. At least the kitchen is clean.

What it really boils down to is how much I really want to come home to a clean apartment. I'm pretty darned sure that when I walk in the door next week, at about midnight, I will be ecstatic to find nothing to trip me up on the path from front door to bed.

Unfortunately, I have to get my mind on board with this concept, and my mind is currently 3,000 miles away. Give or take. Window shopping for apartments.

So it's a little problematic.

And I suppose writing on here isn't helping matters, either.

Tomorrow's going to be a long day. Time to go at least finish that packing, so I don't do something foolish like forget my Penny Press puzzle books. See (err, you know what I mean) you all when I get back to town next week.

If I come back.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guilty Is Pleasure

The other night I was thinking of a conversation I had a few weeks ago, with someone who was at the moment a total stranger.

The conversation had started with a small group of people, each of whom gradually left until it was just him and myself, and — as probably happens often when this sort of social situation comes up — the topic wandered into relationships and our sex lives. And from there my admission that I tend to overthink situations too much and look too far into the potential (negative) future, and I end up regretting a lot of the chances I missed in my life.

So. The other night on the drive home, thinking of that conversation, my mind drifted into what really defines regret. I think I know what I define as regret: it's sorrow for hurting my own happiness. Guilt, which I suddenly realized is very much like regret, is that sorrow for hurting the happiness or opinions or lives of others.

We feel guilty for not calling our grandparents more often, but don't regret it until the day we find out we'll never be able to speak with them again. We feel guilty for declining an invitation to a crazy friend's party, but we don't regret the preservation of our own sanity.

Is there a language that doesn't distinguish the two? Can you feel guilty towards yourself? (I don't think the guilt of, say, breaking a diet counts, because the guilt is towards the nutritionist or creator of the diet plan - it's a sorrow at having failed that entity, even if you don't directly know him/her/it. It's also the sorrow at having failed or garnered the disapproval of the family and friends around you for staying unhealthy.) Can you regret hurting others, even if it's towards your own happiness? Do I even make sense here?

I have tried to live a life free of regrets — I think, in fact, that was an admonition of my mother, back when I was in high school. Perhaps she meant I should err on the side of safety and comfort: don't do something dangerous just because it looks fun, because you would regret possibly losing a limb. Don't slut yourself out because you'll regret it if you end up with a horrible disease/a pregnancy/a guy who won't stop stalking you. But I've found that I've regretted more not taking the action than avoiding it. I think a lot of times it is my conservative approach to life that had lead me to looking back more often, with sadness that isn't nostalgia.

I regret not figuring out what I want from life sooner. I regret leaving New York and not making it back yet.

I regret not being together enough in college to have a chance at the guy I had a crush on. I regret not working harder to be in better shape back then. I regret not following through with some encounters.

That's not to say I've never regretted taking an action. For instance, I do regret taking the nonprofit job right out of college. I regret sleeping with two of the men I've been with. I regret (on and off) my choice of person to fall in love with.

But those regrets are tinged with the sadness of not having gone down another path, jumped on another opportunity. So maybe they are, still, regrets over the action not taken, rather than the one that was.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Morton Saltesque

I want a torrential rain. The kind that explodes out of an oppressively hot humid day, that soaks you within five minutes, and then is gone in 30. I want to walk in that rain, be cloaked in it, breathe it in.

Really, that's the big thing I want out of this upcoming trip to New York. I'm going for a friend's birthday, and I'm giving my weekend to her (gladly: it'll be fun and great and hopefully cathartic), but I want a piece of the rest of the trip just for me.

I want my rain.

Tonight my date and I were sitting in Hecho at the bar, and suddenly found a giant entire tuna carcass (the wet bartender thought it was mackerel, but I think he was mistaken) in the hands of the sushi chef in front of us. The evening had already been a little surreal, what with the pairing of tequila with sashimi, and an uni-squid combination of which my mouth wasn't sure what to make. I was already two margaritas and a bellyful of raw fish in when the chef raised his knife and started (skillfully) hacking at the gills and slicing away at the scales. It was fascinating and strange and probably a little disturbing to anyone who isn't a kitchen science geek like myself. I can see now why most sushi restaurants keep this part of the process hidden in the back kitchen. But I'm glad this one didn't.

The food and drink here was pretty good, pretty expensive. If you want to go, I would recommend it, but if you're squeamish I would say you should avoid sitting at the sushi bar. Just saying. You never know when the next fish show will happen.

And now, Jeff Buckley, covering the Smiths: