Archive for September, 2010

DIY Home Decorating

September 29, 2010

“When Kip called them, they walked out of the kitchen and onto the terrace, whose border, with its low stone balustrade, was ringed with light.

“It looked to Caravaggio like a string of small electric candles found in dusty churches, and he thought the sapper had gone too far in removing them from a chapel, even for Hana’s birthday.  Hana walked slowly forward with her hands over her face.  There was no wind.  Her legs and thighs moved through the skirt of her frock as if it were thin water.  Her tennis shoes silent on the stone.

“‘I kept finding dead shells wherever I was digging,’ the sapper said.

“They still didn’t understand.  Caravaggio bent over the flutter of lights.  They were snail shells filled with oil.  He looked along the row of them; there must have been about forty.

“‘Forty-five,’ Kip said, ‘the years so far of this century.  Where I come from, we celebrate the age as well as ourselves.’

“Hana moved alongside them, her hands in her pockets now, the way Kip loved to see her walk.  So relaxed, as if she had put her arms away for the night, now in simple armless movement.

“Caravaggio was diverted by the startling presence of three bottles of red wine on the table.  He walked over and read the labels and shook his head, amazed.  He knew the sapper wouldn’t drink any of it.  All three had already been opened.  Kip must have picked his way through some etiquette book in the library.  Then he saw the corn and the meat and the potatoes.  Hana slid her arm into Kip’s and came with him to the table.

“They ate and drank, the unexpected thickness of the wine like meat on their tongues.  They were soon turning silly in their toasts to the sapper –– ‘the great forager’ –– and to the English patient.  They toasted each other, Kip joining in with his beaker of water.  This was when he began to talk about himself.  Caravaggio pressing him on, not always listening, sometimes standing up and walking around the table, pacing and pacing with pleasure at all this.  He wanted these two married, longed to force them verbally towards it, but they seemed to have their own strange rules about their relationship.  What was he doing in this role.  He sat down again.  Now and then he noticed the death of a light.  The snail shells held only so much oil.  Kip would rise and refill them with pink paraffin.

“‘We must keep them lit till midnight.'”

~Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Insomnia, Part Three

September 28, 2010

I’ve been staying up later and later into the night to read, into the wee-er, smaller hours, and since I’m down visiting my boyfriend in the nation’s capital and he needs to sleep so he can act like a normal person in the morning, I’m forced to use a little flashlight to get my fix, and the whole reading thing is supposed to help me sleep but it makes me feel so deliciously naughty, like a fairy tale little-me reading Roald Dahl fully aware I should be snoozing by then, but I can’t possibly shut the book now…

Word of the Day!

September 22, 2010

Irrumator –– Latin, noun –– a man who forces another man to perform oral sex on him

“It’s like a BRAIN FACTORY in here…”

September 20, 2010

Since the New York Times stole my friend HR (the artist formerly known as HA) and my idea about having a Moderate Traveler column, we’re thinking maybe we should offer to be the Luxury-addicted, Flashy, Wasteful travelers?!  Coming to a manmade-island-shaped-like-a-continent in Dubai near you…

Unintentional Hilarity

September 20, 2010

My friend BA and I found a copy of Valerie Solanas’ “SCUM Manifesto” (ManifestA, she should have said) on the street the other day and naturally grabbed it.  I read the whole thing in about an hour and seriously considered just re-typing the whole thing here because it’s pretty goddamn hysterical, but excerpts will have to suffice.  The introduction:

“Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation, and destroy the male sex.

“It is now technically possible to reproduce without the aid of males (or, for that matter, females) and to produce only females.  We must begin immediately to do so.  Retaining the male has not even the dubious purpose of reproduction.  The male is a biological accident: the Y (male) gene is an incomplete X (female) gene, that is, has an incomplete set of chromosomes.  In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage.  To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is  a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples.”

Tell us how you REALLY feel, Val!

She also includes some really awesome lists, including a list of “acceptable” and “the most obnoxious and harmful types of” males and strategic ways to overthrow the system.  Here is one of my favorite lists, which is ways in which females who “crave absorbing, emotionally satisfying, meaningful activity, but lacking the opportunity or ability for this… prefer to idle and waste away their time”:

“sleeping, shopping, bowling, shooting pool, playing cards and other games, breeding, reading, walking around, daydreaming, eating, playing with themselves, popping pills, going to the movies, getting analyzed, traveling, raising dogs and cats, lolling on the beach, swimming, watching TV, listening to music, decorating their houses, gardening, sewing, nightclubbing, dancing, visiting, “improving their minds” (taking courses), and absorbing “culture” (lectures, plays, concerts, “arty” movies.)

Sometimes I found myself agreeing with Solanas, which is weird for reasons I don’t think I need to delineate.  Here is one example of where I think she has a point:

“Looking inside yourself for salvation, contemplating your navel, is not, as the Drop-Out People would have you believe, the answer.  Happiness lies outside yourself, is achieved through interacting with others.  Self-forgetfulness should be one’s goal, not self-absorption.”

Very Zen of her.

Final point: prostitutes who worked near her in her life post-Warhol-jail-mental hospitals-etc. testified that she “looked elegant and slender, and she always wore a silver lame dress when she worked the street.”  Maybe SHE should be my new style icon.

I wish I could have found a pic of her in silver lame, but this jacket is soooo this season.

Sunday Sunflowers

September 20, 2010

in Italy! Thanks, KH.

Consumer Anxiety

September 17, 2010

My craftiness having been honed as a result of being unemployed, I went yesterday to test a website for a software company (something like that) and was rewarded with a $35 gift card.  I use part of it to buy a few (bad) books I need for research but have ten dollars remaining.  I don’t want to let the money languish on the card lest I forget I have it, so the question remains: what to buy?

My on-going to read/buy list:

Books to Buy/Read/Read Again

Tatjana in Color

Lost in the Cosmos

McLean book

Lucia Joyce book (In the Wake?  Dancing in the Wake?)

Edna Saint Vincent Millay bio

The Lives of the Saints

A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears

fear and loathing in america: gonzo letters 2 by hunter s. thompson

can somebody shout amen?  (patsy sims)




Sophie’s world

Confederacy of Dunces

Anna Karenina

Silent Twins by Marjorie Wallace

Thy Neighbor’s Wife by Gay Talese

When Marina Abramovic Dies by James Wescott

Mein Kampf

I Jan Cremer by Jan Cremer

flying to america by donald barthelme

wind-up bird chronicles by haruki murakami

the lost weekend by charles jackson

rings of saturn by w.g. sebald

vincent van gogh’s letters to his brother

this warhol book i can’t remember the title of

les enfants terrible by jean cocteau

the naturalist

catch 22 by joseph heller (can you believe i have never read this?)

peeling the onion and

the tin drum both by gunter grass

look homeward, angel by thomas wolfe

books by ingmar bergman (he wrote a bunch!)

collected works of wallace stevens

strangeland by tracy emin

the immoralist

the long sonata of the dead by michael robinson

diane arbus’ biography

in the labyrinth by robbe-grillet

darkness visible by william styron

suite francaise by irene nemirovsky

the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime

margarita and the master bulgokov

autobiography of a face by lucy grealey and

truth and beauty (her biography)

Snippets of This Week’s Dreams

September 16, 2010

Some of these things may have happened in real life…

French fries and grilled cheeses, eschewing grilled cheese for caloric reasons?  (Which seems ridiculous… I mean, if dream me is going to eat the french fries, might as well eat the grilled cheese!  At least it has some redeeming nutritional value.)

Commercial with a song from Jesus Christ Superstar in it.  Someone asked, “Name this movie!”  I answered correctly.  (Real me has since added to Netflix queue.)

Ordering porn and running a marathon on an abandoned highway

Planning a trip down South, to Savannah, hopefully…

To Pack and Wear/Carry:

September 15, 2010


2 skirts

2 jerseys or leotards

1 pullover sweater

2 pair shoes



nightgown, robe, slippers



bag with:


toothbrush and paste

Basis soap

razor, deodorant

aspirin, prescriptions, Tampax

face cream, powder, baby oil


mohair throw


2 legal pads and pens


house key

This is a list which was taped inside my closet door in Hollywood during those years when I was reporting more or less steadily.  The list enabled me to pack, without thinking, for any piece I was likely to do.  Notice the deliberate anonymity of costume: in a skirt, a leotard, and stockings, I could pass on either side of the culture.  Notice the mohair throw for trunk-line flights (i.e., no blankets) and for the motel room in which the air conditioning could not be turned off.  Notice the bourbon for the same motel room.  Notice the typewriter for the airport, coming home: the idea was to turn in the Hertz car, check in, find an empty bench, and start typing the day’s notes.

“It should be clear that this was a list made by someone who prized control, yearned after momentum, someone determined to play her role as if she had the script, heard her cues, knew the narrative.  There is on this list one significant omission, one article I needed and never had: a watch.  I needed a watch not during the day, when I could turn on the car radio or ask someone, but at night, in the motel.  Quite often I would ask the desk for the time every half hour or so, until finally, embarrassed to ask again, I would call Los Angeles and ask my husband.  In other words I had skirts, jerseys, leotards, pullover sweater, shoes, stockings, bra, nightgown, robe, slippers, cigarettes, bourbon, shampoo, toothbrush and paste, Basis soap, razor, deodorant, aspirin, prescriptions, Tampax, face cream, powder, baby oil, ,mohair throw, typewriter, legal pads, pens, files and a house key, but I didn’t know what time it was.  This may be a parable, either of my life as a reporter during the period or of the period itself.”

~ Joan Didion, “The White Album”


September 13, 2010

Anyone else think Department of Children and Family Services ought to be alerted to Tavi Gevinson’s underage e-reference to J.T. Leroy?  I think that must fall under the “parental neglect” category somehow, non?