i won...

Blog Of The Day Awards Winner
...and I didn't even know I was in the running! Levi nominated me for a Blog of the day award, and I'm flattered. Flattered enough just to know people beyond my friends are actually reading my ramblings. So thanks Levi! I think I won for my Late Delivery post, which he said reminds him of Richard Brautigan, one of my favorite writers, who I don't think I could have survived college without. Levi has some pretty great ramblings himself, so be sure to go and give his blog some love. And because Richard Brautigan was a much better writer than me (but I'm honored to be compared to him) and just in case you haven't experienced his beautiful little poems, I'll post some below. I just looked for my Brautigan books and can't find a one, I fear they're in Jersey, hopefully not in a water damaged box in the basement. But thank god for the internets, I found this lovely site, where you can feast on Brautigan's delightful words until you're full. Here are some of my favorites:


For Marcia

Because you always have a clock
strapped to your body, it’s natural
that I should think of you as the
correct time:
with your long blonde hair at 8:03,
and your pulse-lightning breasts at
11:17, and your rose-meow smile at 5:30,
I know I’m right.


I don’t know what it is,
But I distrust myself
When I start to like a girl
A lot.

It makes me nervous.
I don’t say the right things
Or perhaps I start
To examine,
What I am saying.

If I say, “Do you think it’s going to rain?”
and she says, “I don’t know,”
I start thinking: Does she really like me?

In other words
I get a little creepy.

A friend of mine once said,
“It’s twenty times better to be friends
with someone
than it is to be in love with them.”

I think he’s right and besides,
its raining somewhere, programming flowers
and keeping snails happy.
That’s all taken care of.

if a girl likes me a lot
and starts getting real nervous
and suddenly begins asking me funny questions
and looks sad if I give the wrong answers
and she says things like,
“Do you think it’s going to rain?”
and I say, “It beats me,”
and she says, “Oh,”
and looks a little sad
at the clear blue California sky,
I think: Thank God, it’s you, baby, this time
Instead of me.


For Emmett

Death is a beautiful car parked only
to be stolen on a street lined with trees
whose branches are like the intestines
of an emerald.

You hotwire death, get in, and drive away
like a flag made from a thousand burning
funeral parlors.

You have stolen death because you’re bored.
There’s nothing good playing at the movies
in San Francisco.

You joyride around for a while listening
to the radio, and then abandon death, walk
away, and leave death for the police
to find.


1. Get enough food to eat,
And eat it.

2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
and sleep there.

3. Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
and listen to it.


to do.

If you're in San Francisco and need something to do today, go to the Open Studios in Hunters Point. I went yesterday with Chris (I'll post pictures soon) and it was fantastic. The studios are in the old naval base, which is highly contaminated but the old buildings pushed up against the Bay offer some of the most beautiful views of the city. There over 100 studios to visit, all conveniently clumped together. With so many different artists to view they run the gamut from really fucking good to not so much. But a lot of them have food and wine and the voyeuristic side of me really got into being welcomed into so many people’s personal spaces. Today's the last day of the 4 week fall open studios and you can also visit open studios in the Excelsior and Bay View. The nice thing about Hunters Point is you can park your car and walk to all of them. It's from 10-6pm today.


sick day.

I love this city, that's no secret. But nothing makes me love this city more than being out and about on a weekday. Oh how I long for the days of irregular schedules and part time work. I adore my job (and I'm not just saying that because some co-workers may be reading) I really like my job. But lately the office has been wearing on me. The 9-6, in a cube all day, in front of my computer for hours on end, it's starting to make me feel a little insane. I was sick today. But just being outside when my body knew it should have been downtown made me start to feel better. Granted, it was a gorgeous fucking day out, I guess we're finally getting the summer I thought we were going to get ripped out of. On my way to coffee Jennifer called and when I told her I was home sick and right near her house she suggested breakfast. Boogaloos, I haven't been there in months because I don't really like waiting for an hour on the corner of Valencia and 22nd, clogging up the street with all the other hung over hipsters. I'm not even mentioning my new breakfast spot for fear I'll have to write my name down and wait to eat there one day. After breakfast I sat in Ritual, another place I always avoid because of the crowds. But you know what, I like it there. They make great coffee and tea, they have good baked goods (even vegan ones), free wireless so you can bring your computer and not feel like an asshole, everyone else there has a laptop in front of them. It's enormous, and they have comfy couches and pretty decent art on the walls that changes often. There are also some very attractive people to watch there, or maybe they just seemed more attractive to me because I wanted what I was sure all of them had, good paying creative jobs that allowed them to not be in an office all day. And even on a Thursday at noon it was packed. "Don't these people have jobs, why are they all here now?" I complained to Jennifer, "You have a job and so do I and we're here." She had a point and really I was just jealous, I want to be able to stroll around Valencia Street at 11am on a weekday and be blissfully unaware that downtown exists. People were smiling at me and making small talk on the street and in the grocery store. People were laughing and winking. Maybe it had to do with the weather, or maybe people are just happier when they don't have to work in a big office with not enough windows. After stocking up on movies and food I made it back home and just when I thought I would never let another TV series into my life along came Weeds. I rented it because I knew I was going to be on the couch for a while, I thought it would be like Curb Your Enthusiasm or Arrested Development, the kind of show you can rent but not feel the need to mainline like the Sopranos or Six Feet Under. But fuck, I’m hooked; I’m already trying to figure out when I’ll have time to watch more episodes. This show will not control my life, I will not let it make me be a slave to the TV, I will not turn down offers to go out with friends because of it, I will not rent it on a week-end and sit in front of the TV watching six episodes in a row when it is sunny out. I swear. I also finally got a chance to buy The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr, I can't wait to start in on that. I hope it impresses me as much as seeing her did.


Marie Antionette and one-night stands.

Long ago I had a one-night stand with a short, muscular, blonde haired, blue-eyed surfer. At least I think he surfed. He did something that made his muscles prominent and thick. Some exercise on a regular basis that gave him a well defined six pack, the kind usually found in museums. Not really my type. I tend to gravitate towards the flabby stoners and drunks, the ones who don't make me feel bad that the last real work out I had was a drunken late night game of kickball. I had nothing in common with this surfer (we'll call him 'Surfer' not to protect his identity, but, because for the life of me, I really can't remember his name). I knew I would never see him again, and it was almost laughable when he wrote his number down before leaving in the morning, I guess it was more of a courtesy then anything else. The Surfer did, however win for muttering the best last words any one-night stand has ever said to me on their way out the door. Before leaving and throwing a pillow in my face, he looked at me and said, "Don't watch anymore shitty movies." Besides having some pretty decent sex, we also spent most of the night arguing about 'Lost in Translation', a movie we had both recently seen in the theater. He hated it, I adored it. I can honestly say that once we started in on these conversations I stopped entertaining any thoughts of seeing him again. In fact, this may have been the most Zen like one night stand I have ever had, I was totally aware of what it was, and so I was completely in the moment with it. I just knew I could never get involved with someone who so fiercely hated 'Lost in Translation’; in fact maybe it was his violent reaction to this movie that cemented it as one of my more recent favorites.
The Surfer's biggest complaint was that nothing happened in it,
"Life isn't like that you know."
"But it sort of is, maybe you just don't want to pay to watch it.”
"No, I really don't, that's my point."
I bring all this up because I've been hearing a lot of the same sort of complaints about Marie Antoinette, Coppola's latest film. I will come out right now and say that I absolutely adored this movie. I thought it was delicious; the music, the food, Versailles, the costumes, the fucking hairpieces, the shoes. It was absolute eye and ear candy. Sure, Jason Schwartzman was unbelievable and stiff, I could overlook this, after all, he muttered about ten lines through out the entire movie. Sure, some of the language felt a little silly, like when Marie Antoinette says the dressing ritual is "sooo ridiculous", but I see where Coppola was trying to go with that language. She wanted us to get that this hated Queen started off as a 14-year-old girl, not really ready to handle what she was being thrown into, and sort of home sick.
I don't know about you, but I don't usually go to the movies for a history lesson. I love dramas, but I have enough to draw from in my own life most days. I like smart, witty films that tell a good story and make me laugh, but I also read a lot of books. Sometimes I want to go to the movies and just fucking sink, forget about the e-mails I forgot to send at work, the cat litter I have to buy, or that one day we're all going to rot and die. And in terms of all that, Marie Antoinette was just perfect.
Sofia Coppola paints movies, sure she uses big wide brushes where lots of folks would prefer some fine lines, but she gives us grand, beautiful pictures. I didn't go to this movie for a detailed account of the history of France during Louis XVI's reign. I went because I knew there was an 80's sound track to a movie that was set in the 1700's, I knew Sofia Coppola would take risks in the telling of the story and I liked the hot pink font on the poster. I will say seeing it made me want to dust off my high school history books and remind myself of the details that weren't in the movie (which were a lot). And that's the thing that gets me with all these reviews saying it was self-indulgent, fluff that didn't tell the whole story of her life and what was going on in France at the time, do we ever rely on movies to teach us real, accurate histories? Unless they're documentaries we shouldn't. Shame on us in fact, if we do.
Perhaps I was drawn to this movie so much because it bore some resemblance to 'Lost in Translation', the isolation Bill Murray's character feels upon arriving in Japan is quite similar to the loneliness Marie Antoinette feels upon arriving in France. There are the same big, sweeping shots and long silences, in fact you hear more music then dialogue in the film. I'm quite certain the Surfer is sitting somewhere cursing Sofia Coppola and her boring movies. No doubt he would call this a chick flick. I'd be surprised if he ever even sees the movie. Thank god for one-night stands and good directors who know how to indulge our senses.


To the lady that rang my bell four times Sunday morning,

That wasn't a nice thing to do. Maybe noon on a Sunday isn't morning to you, but it is to me. I was on the toilet when you rang the bell. I had been up until 5am that morning. I was thinking how maybe I would go back to sleep after I was done peeing. When the bell rang I decided I would ignore it. I do that. I wasn't expecting anyone and I think most people I know would have the courtesy to call before just stopping by on a Sunday morning. But you rang the bell four times, one right after another- ding ding ding ding. I thought someone was in trouble, maybe me. So when I ran down the three flights of stairs, hung over and not really done peeing, and I saw you there, dressed for church and trying to hand me a pamphlet through the gate, I was angry. Sorry I slammed the door in your face. But you were not bloody and dying and that is the only reason I could think someone I don't know would ring my bell at noon on a Sunday. That wasn't very nice of me, but I hope you understand how you sort of ruined my morning. Oh and I heard that mean thing you said about me to my neighbor, that wasn't very Godly of you. Assuming you were there to spread the word of God, but I guess I'll never know. Please don't ever do that again.

Late Delivery.

I owe you a poem,
because it’s been two years and two months
and I barely wrote that summer.
So here, take this—it’s still damp from night swimming in the Sound,
its eyes are narrow and blood shot and all it wants is sleep
but your body is next to it in the car
and just the sight of you is like too much caffeine.
This poem has sand down its pants,
thick white stones and broken bits of shells.
This poem will drive home shirtless with the Postal Service playing quietly in the background.
This poem should have been written two years ago, I can feel
it sagging from not enough air.
But I’ll empty my lungs for it, sacrifice some oxygen,
bring that summer back to life.
The jellyfish, keg beer, and so many crosswords,
you always had to do them in pencil didn’t you?
This poem is covered in cobwebs and dust,
far away from the both of us now.


my old undies return.

I came home last night to two great pieces of mail waiting for me. First off was a bulky package from Philly, I knew without looking it was from Cathy. Back in June, when I visited her and Aurura, I forgot my most comfortable pair of velour pants (my only pair, that I used to sleep in every night), my beaten in old white t-shirt and one of my favorite pairs of underwear. Cathy, if you're reading, I'm just hoping all those e-mails about the nasty things you were doing to my 'panties' (I hate that word) were a joke, you were kidding, right? I hope so, because I was so excited about having my comfy clothes back I stripped right there in the hall, and put them all on. Something, by the way I would do a lot more of if I didn't have roommates. Also included in the package were some great sketches for the story of mine she's illustrating and this little gem, which I'm calling 'night man', cause it looks like the night is eating up his head. I hope the scan picks up the three dimensional aspect. Cathy, you need to send me more packages, if you do, I promise next time I'm in Philly I'll let you keep all my undies. Also waiting for me was a fat envelope from Molly, I had no clue what it was stuffed with and I nearly peed my pants (but thank god I didn't because I was so excited to have them back in my life) when I found it was the essay Calvin Trillin had written about his wife in the New Yorker, which I had mentioned I wanted to find after hearing him talk about it at City Arts & Lectures last week. It's called Alice Off the Page and it was in the March 27th issue of the New Yorker if you're looking. It's just heart breaking and beautiful and I'm thrilled at the length of it, as I have a feeling I'm not going to want it to end. Go US Postal service. In the name of mail and since I really don't have a lot to offer here today you should click on over to Post Secret, which is on my page over there under links, it's one of my favorites.


office speak.

Yes, I'm blogging at work. But in case anyone from work is reading this- I won't take more than two minutes on here and anyway I only had about 28 minutes to shove a salad in my face for lunch today, so I'm already working over time here. Just came out of a meeting and I wanted to share the amount of times the following phrases were used:
'Let's take this offline' - 8
'What's the hook? (or the word 'hook' used in some way) - 5
'Circle back' - 3
'On board' - 2

Alma Mater.

As an act of mild rebellion I actually wrote in to my alumni newsletter from high school with an update on what I was doing these days. Julie made fun of me, but, I argued, isn't it nice to read something about someone from our class that doesn't involve marriage or kids or some grant to work on saving diseased children in some third world country? So I wrote in about what I was doing, and where I lived. My original entry said, "she is happily single with no children and a cat named Jack", but I wasn't brave enough and I recanted shortly after sending it to our class officer, "Just say after 7 years of working at a non-profit I'm now at______, and living in San Francisco." I included my e-mail address. Because I was secretly hoping someone would e-mail me. And they have. It's someone I wasn't really friends with in high school, she now lives on the west coast too and she's writing a novel. OK so maybe she just wrote me because she read that I work at a publishing company. But I'm sort of giddy. I love this shit. I won't tell her I don't work in editorial.


A bucket of chicken.

Tonight I had dinner with Shannon and Jen Joseph, the woman behind Manic D Press , one of my long time favorite book publishers in SF. When Shannon told me that Jen wanted to take me out to dinner to discuss publicity for Pet Noir, the book Shannon is publishing with Manic D, I was a little surprised. Sure, I work for a well-known publishing house, but Jen’s been doing this for 23 years. We tried going to Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack but there was a wait and judging from the sounds pouring out I’m sure we would have been yelling over hipsters talking about how fucked up they got at Pops this week-end through out the meal. I’ll reveal right now that I’ve admired Jen from afar for a while. Manic D was such a part of my formative years in San Francisco, the years when I would follow Sister Spit from venue to venue, jealously watching as those bad ass women belted out their unapologetic poetry to packed houses. I didn’t know what to expect when I moved to SF as a young, eager writer, but I couldn’t have been more pleased with who I discovered here, Justin Chin, Beth Lisick, Michelle Tea, so many of whom have been published by Jen through Manic D Press. Manic D was and remains so quintessentially San Francisco to me, fiercely independent and dedicated to publishing new voices. McSweeney's and City Lights may get all the press, but Manic D deserves it more, they take chances and don’t just publish friends of friends who already have name recognition. In a snark filled world (and I don’t deny I both take part and enjoy it) Manic D remains sincere and true. Jen mentioned how out of place this makes Manic D, how they fit more into another decade, but I disagree, the snark will cycle out but there will always be a place for good, honest writing. Anyway, Jen suggested Front Porch and I was so happy to be dining with these fine ladies I kept it to myself that I had dinner plans there the next night as well. I said that I had been before, the food was great and we should definitely go. Considering that every review I’ve read of Front Porch mentions a 45-minute wait, and that’s about how long we waited when I ate there with K & C, it was a surprise to walk right in and be able to pick our table. So if you want to go to Front Porch and not wait in line, try a Monday night around 7pm. About a half hour after we had been seated the place started to fill up and towards the end of the dinner, while we were comfortably chatting away, in our own little world, I looked up and the bar was just packed with people waiting for a table. Last time I was at Front Porch I had the fish and chips, which were some of the best I’ve ever had, fried to perfection but still moist and flaky on the inside. Jen suggested the bucket of chicken this time, which was fantastic and surprisingly not a bit greasy. They know how to fry food there. I’m a big fan of their sides, black-eyed peas, corn, and my favorite, this porridge/grits dish with chili oil. The place just feels good, I like the low tin ceilings and jugs of water they put on every table. I could have listened to Jen tell stories all night, the woman knows just about everyone in the literary scene in SF and it was great hearing some inside stories on some writers I’ve long admired. At one point Shannon turned to me and said “do you still have a crush on him now?” referring to a writer who I’ve sworn I’ll marry one day. Since I can’t remember what Jen said to keep to myself I won’t share any of it here. But I will tell you that if you go to Front Porch you shouldn’t skip dessert. When I was there with K and C we split a big piece of yellow cake with chocolate frosting, which we all agreed was Duncan Hines from top to bottom (this is a good thing). And last night the three of us split the dessert special, I can’t remember the name, I think it was brioche fried like French toast sandwiched with chocolate in the middle, topped with crème fraise and a cherry, swimming in some amazing sauce. Yum.


this is a poem.

I am lucky enough to be part of an amazing writing community here in San Francisco. I want to dedicate an entire post to the people I have met and what they have to offer, but I'll do that another night. I'm writing this because I met with my writing group today, we meet once a month and have been doing so for three years. There are five of us, four here and one in LA, when she moved to LA she bought one of those Star Trek looking phones so we could call her and she could still be part of the group. We do a lot of feedback on stuff we're all working on, one of us is writing a memoir, another a novel. We also write. I don't have enough of an attention span right now to tell you how much these people inspire me and give me confidence to go on writing. But they do and I cherish all of them. I've been feeling weird about posting poetry on here. Mostly because it's poetry, and a lot of people don't like poetry. But this is my space and I'm posting another poem, I just wrote it today, it's rough. So if you don't like poetry just skip this post and I'll see you tomorrow. xo.

50 Ways to Leave Your Hometown

First close the door. Kiss everyone goodbye. Make something up.
Tell them you'll just be gone a year, for a job, a lover, a class.
Tell them you'll write often and call even more.
Get in your car.
Pull out of the driveway, slowly. Take in the scene,
deeply, longingly, remember the way the river looks beyond the house,
the three boats sailing there.
Engrave in your mind the picture of them standing there,
mother, step father, three brothers, small white dog.
Do not cry.
Do not show emotion and they won't either.
Keep your calm.
Pull out the mixed tape you made just for this occasion,
the one marked "leaving home".
Hit play.
Get change ready for the tolls, quarters nickels dimes.
Look ahead of you. Drive forward.
Do not hit reverse, rewind or pause.
go go go.
Your eyes ahead of you, your heart full and in both hands.
drive drive drive.
Maybe it will take you a day to get where you're going, maybe three. Maybe two weeks.
Perhaps you will fly. But the best way to leave home is to drive.
You need to see the roads your crossing, feel the space you're creating between you and them.
Sleep outside at least once. Wake up somewhere unknown with your lungs wet with dew and a full set of stars above you.
Breathe deeply.
Empty your mind.
Do not think of home.
Look forward.
Send postcards along the way, Ohio, Kentucky, Dallas, Las Vegas.
Tell them the weather is lovely and the car is doing just fine. Tell them you miss them and think of them often.
This will not be a lie, you do.
When you get there, fall in love.
Let your feet sink deep in the mud,
let your face fall forward, get dirty
make mistakes.
Fly home for holidays and bring gifts.
Tell your little brothers about the hills there, tell them about the skate boarders and bikers, about concrete
covered in graffiti. Tell them they would love it.
Create a place for them so that when they think of you (and they do) they can see you there, walking the steep hills,
chasing the bikers, admiring the purple pink red graffiti.
Bring them artifacts from this place-- snow globes (tell them snow doesn't happen there), Chinese lanterns,
good chocolate, weekly papers.
Go back.
Kiss them all goodbye.
Do not fight with your mother when she tells you it has been more than a year.
Tell her you think of her often (you do, this will not be a lie).
Fly away.
Kiss the San Francisco ground when you land.
Go to work.
Have sex.
Eat well.
Love your friends.
Call home.


Talking cardoons & treasures with Molly Meng.

I met Molly Meng two years ago. It was on one of those classic San Francisco days, I had just come back from three months in New York and was seriously considering packing up and heading back East. But how could I? Sitting in Dolores Park with a great friend, appreciating the view, soaking in the sun, along comes Molly, tall, friendly and packed with life. Molly had just moved to SF with her boyfriend (now husband), and we went up to their amazing apartment overlooking Dolores. That's when I was first introduced to Molly's wonderful creations, she had bins of intricately collaged cards, created with old letters and photos and found objects. Each piece was its own little world and I was blown away. Molly has her first solo show coming up on November 4th and has started selling her cards online at shoporangebutton.com (you can also buy them at Candy Store in the Mission). I never leave Molly's presence feeling uninspired, whether we're just sitting around talking or making things in her house. If you're in San Francisco, go to her show, not only will you see some beautiful art, I promise you'll leave inspired.

Hi Molly.

Hi T.

Hey, do you know what a Cardoon is?

A cardoon? Is that someone talking cartoons with a cold? Or is that the instrument played by my favorite author Noam Chomsky? Yeah, I know what it is; I just don't feel like telling anyone!

Fair enough. I just found out it was a vegetable a couple of days ago, a cross between an artichoke and celery, although it doesn't really look like the baby of those two. What's your favorite vegetable to cook with?
I really tend to keep veggies in their own majestic form--my latest favorite is squash. But I truly, truly love peppers: red, yellow, green, orange--love them!!! Cooked! Raw! They’re candy and veggie all in one!

While we're on the topic of favorites, what's your very favorite thing to do in SF, like if you had no obligations to anything and an unlimited amount of money, what's the first thing you would do in our lovely city?
Well, besides no obligations and unlimited money, it would also require a yet unheard of gastronomical add-on: a bigger stomach cavity. Because I would probably chose to eat, eat, and eat some more: Firefly, Pomelo, Zinc. The other thing I would do is take classes: there is every kind of DIY class offered in this city & I’d take almost all of 'em!

Guilty blog reading pleasure?
You had to bring that up, eh? No, no, I’ve never, ever, ever, swear on a republican! spent hours on perezhilton.com !!! I swear! But I really appreciate the neurotic ravings of nancyboy.com (owner of the fab shop Nancyboy, here in town) and the intelligence, and sometimes great dense-ness, of davidbyrne.com thanks to you & other friends, actually, I’ve found out a ton of other artist/crafter websites that I’d like to actually spend more time on. Including yours!

What's been inspiring you these days?

Musicians: big, dramatic musicians that put on incredible real, true, live SHOWS: David Bryne, Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens, The Arcade Fire and music that keeps coming across my desk: Regina Spektor, Death Cab for Cutie, David Dondero. And, anytime I watch the brilliance that is "me and you and everyone we know" --I think I’ve watched it four times over the last month. And dreams. My own dreams have really been going crizazzy and therefore memorable (you know, in the waking hours) in a good way. And, strangely, politics. The hell-in-a-hand basket world this administration is creating is shocking and disgusting to me on a daily basis. I feel like so many of my pieces are a reaction to what’s going on. Many pieces are beautiful relics of a bygone era, and then in others, it seems the life I’m revealing was just as nasty "then" as it is today. But the pieces are more about people, and contact, and relationships.... whereas, I feel like the world we're living in today is so distant and out of touch with itself (ourselves). I like to think "the good ole days" actually existed and I’m digging those good ole days up from their past; some stories are good and some aren't so pretty.

Favorite thing you've ever made?

dang, that’s hard. I'm of the old school; I usually fall in love with all my "first drafts". My "favorite" made things usually don't have much to do with the actual piece, but with the story of the person/history behind them. So, when the piece is finished, I’ve so fallen in love with this character I’ve created in my head and by default, fall in love with the piece. I do love & will never sell the piece "Do Onto Others" that I made years ago, it was sorta part of a series of these pieces with old rulers I found...it hangs in our living room. I’ve since sold the other pieces in that series. And funny enough, one of my new favorite things is something I just finished today. It’ll be at the show in November. And you'd probably never guess what it is--it's fairly small and seemingly insignificant. Again, thou, I fell in love with the character behind it.

Speaking of your upcoming show, is there a central theme around it? Do you want to tell us anything about it or should we just come and see it?
Well, yes, I would be absolutely honored if everyone came to see it, too. But I’d be happy to tell you a bit about the central theme of it in the meantime (if I can articulate it!). The show is called "...unfinished proof" (which is also the phrase from an old stamp that used to be embossed on photos that weren't yet sealed by chemicals--literally, unfinished, and yet it was still a proof that was to be approved, in a short amount of time. For me, it's also proof that that person was...) it revolves around the idea that all the pieces are proof of these people's existence in the world--yet, as I mentioned before, these are actually characters, and the characters lives/work/pieces created by me; so, it's 'unfinished proof'. I create historical fiction with real ephemera, actual vintage photographs and books and millinery ...and on and on.... and there is a story behind each piece, which I would love to be able to tell to everyone. But I realize I won't get around to telling the 'history' of each piece to every person that comes to the show.

That's one of the things I love about your art, how it's based around old photos and letters you've found and the pieces you create build a life back up around these photos and artifcats. I know you often make up stories of these people as you work. Want to share any with us?
There is this one in particular that I’m really digging on--the pieces are about 18x24 and they're stories that this woman used to write out and then hang up on her walls. She did hundreds of these and all over her apartment, they were all pinned over each other, but each one told a complete story from her past. She would be sitting in her chair and something would occur to her and she would whip out this huge child's drawing pad and start writing. As she was writing, she would pull this box of photos closer to her and start digging through to find the photos to go with the story she was telling. She would write, first in pencil (she only used pencils at first, considering this a 'first draft' element of these stories--though, she never used an eraser) until she was finished, placing the photos through out the story. When she was finished, she would lean back in her chair, admiring the finished story, and would let out a little "there" under her breath. She would later go back over them with pen, to 'set' the story in ink, and then pin them up on her walls. They were just her life stories, but she could see the 'art' in them as well, and that’s why she liked to hang them on her walls. She was the only one left from her family. Her parents died when she was in college and she had two brothers, both of whom had since died--so, she felt like she was keeping up the family history this way.

With all these old photos and memorabilia of people, all these lives in boxes and in your studio space, do you ever feel haunted by them?
Normally, no. In fact, for all the years I’ve been collecting this stuff, I can only think of one time that I felt it was "haunting" me. Geeze, I’m still trying to get rid of the box of this person's stuff. I bought it at an estate sale, a big wooden box filled with this guy's life and the stuff he had collected, and it sat around our apartment for ages. Something was definitely funky, 'cause normally I’d jump right into the box...usually, I can barely get away from the house/the flea market/ wherever, before I start pulling out photos and letters and showing them to Ryan*, creating stories for them. But, this one, I don't know...it just sat. I kept moving it around from place to place in the studio and then it sat in the living room for a long time. Finally, I went through it, and almost instantly I felt the heavy. Now, I’ve done a lot of digging through people's stuff, in their homes, usually right after they've left this earth, and I know some people think that's creepy: plus, the stuff I bring home can seem crazy too, like stockings and false teeth and death certificates--seemingly heavy stuff, but I think it's beautiful (I feel like I’m preserving them, making them infamous, giving them their fifteen minutes, in a whole new light). And I’ve been to a flea market with another collector and when I bought an entire, spectacular photo album of a German family who sent their daughters to an all girl Nazi training camp in New Jersey, well, he thought it was wrong and told me he didn't collect sensationalist, evil things like that (lucky for me, as it turned out). He thought that focus was too heavy. But, this was a totally different kind of heavy. As I sorted thru this guy's stuff, and started reading the letters, and reading the backs of photographs I just knew I could never use any of this. I didn't even get all the way through the box. I packed it up, got rid of the wood box, and the stuff sits, sealed in cardboard box waiting for a new home. I should throw it away.
*(Luckily I married an amazing guy who loves the dig, too, and is totally, totally supportive of me and the fact that I bring a ton of other people's stuff into our house)

Anything else you want to tell us about (stuff we shouldn't die without reading first, music, idols, fun facts)?
Sufjan Stevens may be my new god. Saw him play last nite and I was blown away at his vision. You don't have to love his music (though it would be a bit of drag if you didn't fall in love with it.... I mean, for you, the listener, really) anyway! -- You don't have to love his music to see that he's a master of his vision. He had 45 people on stage with him-- strings, horns, a wurlitzer, among other fabulous instruments and a full Mozart choir. Gorge-gous! And, if you've got time, read some Kurt Vonnegut before you die. What a long overdue, unexpected surprise in my literary world. Go back to using your old camera: I just re-discovered my cannon AE1 after putting it down for a digital two years ago...and man, it's like the world has become richer. And, finally, send letters via the U.S. postal service--its not a promotion of the postal service (please, I know those lines SUCK!) but of sending and receiving mail: paper, pencil, stamps-- it's a juicy experience that we've let slip out of our hands...

"...unfinished proof..." opens November 4th at Gallery 405, 2111 Mission Street, Suite 405, 6pm-9pm.
You can also visit 8mm ideas for more info and in the future more art from 8mm, Molly's company.


Mary Karr.

I have no idea how I have never heard of Mary Karr before. The name of her first memoir, 'The Liar's Club' sounded vaguely familiar to me, but that's all. On Monday Rana asked me if I wanted to go to City Arts & Lectures, after deciding against it, a day later someone in my office offered two free tickets. I take this to mean the universe was just as puzzled as I was that I had never read Mary Karr. Karr and Calvin Trillin were the guests and the topic was memoir. I've read Trillin's articles and know he's smart and interesting, but hearing him talk about his wife Alice made me want to go and find the original New Yorker where the piece that he's now turned into a book first appeared. It was an interesting combination, those two on stage, she's loud, and gritty, spitting thoughts out as soon as they come to her, while Trillin is much more punctuated, and slower with his thoughts. Part of me wanted to just hear her, but both Rana and I agreed it was a nice contrast to see them up there together and they're old friends, so it was pretty cute watching them relate to one another. And to be totally shallow, since I just watched Project Runway (is Jeffrey not going to be able to show his stuff??) she looked totally amazing on stage. The woman came out there with this short black dress and these amazing vertically striped pink and black tights on. She's a tall, thin woman and even if she didn't open her mouth (which I'm guessing is near impossible for her) you could tell just by looking at her she's full of fire. I haven't read a thing of hers, but here's a passage from 'The Liar's Club', can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the book:

All the kids looked up. It was never Mother who called us. Mother rarely even came out in the front yard since Mr. Sharp had told her she was going to hell for drinking beer and breast-feeding me on the porch. 'You could see evil in the crotch of a tree, you old fart,' she was supposed to have said in reply. Since then, it was Daddy who hauled the garbage out front and did any calling home for supper. At the sound of her voice, the kids all started a little the way a herd of antelope on one of those African documentaries will lift their heads from the water hole at the first scent of a lion.

I started running, vaulting the muddy ditches that ran in front of the identical houses. I'd just leapt over one of the squat towers of mud that crawdads left when I saw my grandmother's red Ford wagon parked in front of our house. Our car always arrived from even the shortest trip strewn with candy wrappers and soda bottles and a coffee can sloshing with pee. But when I peeked into the Ford's window, it looked like the old woman had driven clear across the state of Texas with nothing more than a box of pink tissues. Mother was holding the screen door open and shading her eyes as I climbed up onto the concrete porch. Her cheekbones winged out, and her eyes were the flawed green of cracked marbles. She told me that Grandma had cancer and had come to stay with us for a while, but that I shouldn't let on I knew.


The last date with the ex-con.

This time we are meeting at a coffee shop in the Richmond district. The second most likely place I won’t run into someone I know is the Richmond. Seeing as I never really leave the Mission and when I do it’s usually to go downtown for work, I have no idea how long it will take me to get there, I just know it’s far and I feel like I’m in another state by the time the bus lets me off. The weather is different, there are uniform, tidy looking houses, no garbage on the street, no shotguns going off, it’s kind of nice. I guess he thought I was lost because he is walking towards me and tells me he thought he should look for me 'just in case'. It’s still daylight out. I can see his face very well. I can see all of the things I didn’t notice in the dark, drunken haze of Vesuvio’s. But most important, I can see the crazy in his eye. We sit and he drinks espresso while I sip on a beer. Our conversation is strained, he wanted to sit next to me at the table, but even when I’m in a relationship I’m against that. First of all it hurts my neck, second it’s just sort of stupid. If I want to be that close to you chances are I’m in a relationship with you, and if I’m in a relationship with you I probably don’t need to be that close to you all the time, like when we’re drinking coffee at a café. He looks kind of hurt when I ask him to sit across from instead of up against me. He tries holding my hand across the table; he tries playing with my fingers and tells me that my chipping nail polish is really cute. He’s making me feel uncomfortable. I am not attracted to him. I wish I hadn’t kissed him, something happened and he thinks I am really excited to be in his company, I am not. Throughout the date he asks what I am doing the next night and the night after that and next Thursday, I remind him that he is going out of town and say that I just need to be mellow the next few nights, or six. He looks hurt again. I keep seeing busses go by and I wonder how the fuck I am going to get home. I start thinking how long it will take. It looks cold outside; I want to be home, or on my way there. I mention something about taking the bus and leaving soon and he says no problem, he can drive me. I’m sort of a car slut. Even if I dislike you and can’t stand your company, if you offer me a ride somewhere I will take it. It’s been two years since I’ve had a car in this city and although I pride myself on being car-less now, I’ll take as many fucking rides as I can. He also offers to buy me another beer, weakness number two. I drink this one faster, hoping it will help the conversation a little, it doesn’t. I learn that his last relationship was with his mom’s boyfriend’s daughter, “So you were dating you’re step sister?” I ask, hoping he is both offended by the question and realizes how wrong it is. “Well, they’re not married yet.” Yet. He also tells me that his sister, I mean ex-girlfriend’s Dad thought he was Jesus. He explained how he was insane, and hallucinated God speaking to him and part of the reason he started dating his ex was to protect her from her dad, his mom’s boyfriend. I tell him I want to go home. We walk a couple of blocks towards his car, turn, walk down a street and then he stops, looks around and gets this really weird expression on his face. “What?” I ask, a little scared, it’s dark now, and I’m on foreign ground.
“My car isn't here.”
“Do you think it got towed?”
“No, I think I parked somewhere else.”
The first thing I think is that he is fucking with me, we’re walking all these weird side streets and he is hoping that I get disoriented and lost and that’s when he’ll kill me. But the boy is just a fucking stoner. We circle an eight block radius for about thirty minutes, I’ve seen about twenty busses go by in this time and I think about just running onto the next one and not even saying good-bye. “Maybe I should just jump on a bus.” I suggest. He starts hitting his head with his palm and moaning about how stupid he is and how he can’t believe it and how he’ll feel so bad if I take a bus. He says he feels like we’ll find his car soon. We walk down the main street and at every corner he tells me to wait, and then he runs down each street looking for his car. Sweat is just pouring off his forehead at this point, and he looks really confused. After about ten minutes of this he finds his car. We are not talking at this point. I am cold and annoyed and really fucking pissed I came all the way out to the Richmond for this. His car is old, kind of beat up, lots of dead plants and hippy shit on the dashboard, but what really stands out is the giant crater on the hood, “What happened here?” I ask, motioning to the dent, it looked like a boulder had fallen on his car.
“Oh that’s from when I hit that girl.”
Before I even have time to react he is pointing to a spot on the trunk, an equally large dent, “And this is where her body flew over the car and hit my trunk.”
I am not making this up. My first question is if she is still alive and he explains how it was a young high school girl who ran across the street without looking. His voice is a little too detached, a little too casual when he tells me, “Oh yeah, she lived, her hips are fucked up for good now, though.”
Now, if you hit a person leaving two huge dents on your car, and you are on a second date with someone you don’t know, but kind of like and want to see again, wouldn’t you just say you were in a real bad accident? I would. Well, I would probably get the dents out of my car so I wasn’t reminded of the time I almost killed someone every time I drove. But that’s just me. For some reason, with this knowledge, with the crazy in his eye and the dents in his car, for some reason, I still get in the car. I told you I’m a slut for free rides home. He is a bad driver and I am grateful when I start to see familiar landscape. He tells me how he really wants to see me soon and how much fun he had and I turn my face when he tries to kiss me goodbye. The next day he calls and tells me the screen on his phone is bashed in and he can’t read my texts if I’ve been sending them, he sounds really worried and assures me that he is right next to his phone and will answer it as soon as I call. I know it’s bad karma, I hate games and rude people and despite how mean I may seem in the re-telling of this date, I really do think it’s important to be nice to everyone. But I ignore his calls and e-mails. I think that eventually they will stop, and they do. And my fingers are crossed that I will never look over and see him at a stop sign while I am crossing the street.


birthdays and sailors.

You know when you have those moments when you look around and can't believe how lucky you are? It always happens to me when I'm with my friends. That was no exception tonight, it was Koda's birthday and what a great group of people it was. Chip did a good job of keeping Koda out of the kitchen and cooked up some delicious pizzas and sweet potato fries.

I'm still full.

I made koda an apron that I think came out pretty well.

It looked great on chip. My favorite parts of the day, Cory's beet salad, which included gold and sugar beets, apple cider vinegar, argula, goat (or some creamy cheese), and pine nuts.

It was gone almost as soon as he put it out. Koda and Cory both went to CCA and are equally as amazing in the kitchen.
Also great were Machado and Heidi's beer gut competition,
champagne toasts,
and talking about the sailors in town. Damn blue angels, scared the shit out of our cats all week-end long. I never did make it to Golden Gate for the bluegrass festival, but I heard it was great, I'll go next year for sure. Happy birthday koko!


Why I don't brush my teeth at work.

Today, right before I was leaving work I went to the bathroom to change from my black work pants to jeans. I went into the stall and heard a series of gurgling and spitting noises from the sink area. To no surprise, a co-worker was brushing her teeth in the sink. You know, everyone here brushes their teeth at work. I don't get it. Do all people that work in offices do this? Is this something I missed out on by working at a non-profit for years? It's not just at the end of the day that you may walk into the bathroom at work and find someone brushing their teeth, shit happens through out the day, morning, noon, late afternoon. I don't really want to see my co-workers brushing their teeth, I don't want to know the sounds they make while they do it, how long they brush, if they clamp their teeth together or brush with a wide-open mouth. That's stuff not even lovers have known about me. I don't know, maybe I'm the odd one here. But you know, they do make really great gum these days; the kind that makes your breath smell good and your mouth feel fresh. I mean, not everyone at work can have halitosis right? There's an exception to the rule, you got chronic bad breath that only medicated toothpaste can cure, brush away. But if you're just worried about talking in a meeting, suck on a mint, use one of those acid like little strips you put on your tongue, altoids, extra strength toxic gum. Anything. I'm used to smelling poop and pee in the bathroom, nasty spit-up toothpaste smell in the sink just ain't right.


Date #1 with the ex-con.

We’ve made plans to meet at Vesuvio's. For some reason almost all of the dates I go on that month involve North Beach in some way. North Beach is by far the best place in the city to go on a blind date. I don’t know anyone that I might run into in North Beach, it’s one of the most city-like parts of the city, big, anonymous and pervy. Vesuvio’s happened twice in a matter of two weeks. The bar staff there must think I am either cheating on someone or a casually dressed prostitute. This guy, we’ll call him the ex-con, is late. I’m neurotically early, it annoys even me sometimes. I can’t help it, I want to be there on time and in the case of a blind date I would rather be the one already there, looking out the window casually, half my drink already gone. So I’m there first and I’ve chosen to sit in the window upstairs at Vesuvio’s. I can see the sidewalk; I see the ex-con as he approaches the bar. At first sighting, I think, “OK, not so bad.” I know he won’t come upstairs, or maybe I don’t know that but I’m so fucking neurotic that I need to make sure he knows I’m upstairs. I peer over the balcony. He is looking around the bar, kind of sweaty and nervous looking. To his credit it was a really hot day and I would have been sweating a lot more had I not been sitting at the bar for a half hour already. I go downstairs and tap his shoulder, he smiles and nods and it feels good to get this sort of approval, I know right away that he is pleased with how I look, and even though I will later find out that he is an ex-con that almost killed someone, it still feels good when you know someone thinks your hot. And it's tricky with these internet dates, you never can tell how attractive someone really is from a photo. You figure there’s a 25% ugly factor in either direction, and you cross your fingers it swings in the right way, in the “oh, he’s no where near as ugly as I thought he would be” instead of “shit, I did not notice that bend in his nose in the photos he posted online”. That’s only one of the many risks involved in online dating and one of the reasons I just couldn’t hack it anymore, but right now I'm telling you about my first date with the ex-con. Back to the date. He’s a little thicker around the middle then I could tell from his photos, but I don't mind having something extra to hold onto. He’s pretty bald, but in that I shaved my head and this is intentional way. He’s got a really big beard and it kind of grosses me out. He’s wearing a button down shirt, plaid I think, which I later find out is the nicest article of clothing he owns. And, the very worst thing about him, judging solely from appearances here, he’s wearing shorts. Big khaki shorts and Tevas. I hate shorts. I hate shorts so much you have no idea how happy I am that I am a girl, which allows me to wear skirts in hot weather (yes I know men can wear skirts too, but didn’t we all realize how fucking stupid that was once we graduated from college?) I am a girl who lives in a city that never really gets hot; therefore I never ever again have to even entertain the idea of wearing shorts. I hate shorts. But, kind as I am, I’m totally willing to look past the shorts thing, after all he’s sitting and I can pretend he has a decent pair of jeans on under the table. I should have walked away after I asked how his day was, his answer should have been enough. He kind of laughs and then says, “Oh, I got fired today.” When I ask why, he says he stopped going to work about a week ago because he just didn’t really feel like it. He does tech stuff and says he was able to do a lot of his work remotely. But he failed to call his boss and tell him he would be working from home. Oops. Now if we were watching this date on a video and ex-con was in the room, this is where I would pause the tape and tell him that it's not considered lying if you don't disclose all information, I mean just pretend like you're trying to impress the girl here, save the "i got fired story" for at least date two. Ok, play. We’re talking about traveling or something and he says something, stops and then lets out, “Well, full disclosure here, I’m still on probation.” You know, my brother’s spent a good part of his life in and out of jail, and I guess I wasn’t really phased by this. I ask and he says he was in jail for about a year, minor charges, making something with weed in his storage space. That’s not fucked up, what’s fucked up is that I’m kind of more attracted to him after I hear this. I know, I need therapy, but until then I don’t really even want to think about what that says about me. That if you are an ex-con you have more of a chance of getting in my pants. So very wrong on so many levels, I know. The rest of the date is fine. We talk pretty animatedly and since it’s my first date in a while since the break-up, I feel pretty good about things, I also get pretty drunk. It’s dark, I start to find him more attractive then I later realize he actually is. He wants to leave the bar and go somewhere else, but I realize how drunk I am and he walks me to BART. He gets a little cuddly on the walk and tells me how much he likes me and how he really wants to see me again and when we get to BART he asks if he can kiss me and I let him and it’s fine. I mean really, half of going on these weird internet dates is for your own self-esteem. Everyone wants to feel attractive to someone, and if you’re newly single or if you live in San Francisco and you’re always single, well then chances are you’ll be able to find someone on the internet that finds you attractive. This was date one with ex-con. I should have stopped there, but I’m no good at walking away from things I know I should walk away from.


family history.

i had a bit of a family history lesson on my way to work today. my father recounting his days of drugs and alcohol. it's in our blood. my great great grandparents made bootleg whiskey for the Kennedy's, before prohibition they owned Murphy's pubs all over New York. we may not have been politicians and aristocrats, but we've always helped people get drunk. dad says my great grandfather would come home from work, pull out a shot glass and a bottle of whiskey, sit at the table and drink three shots before he addressed anyone. i'm left with this picture of him in my head; coming home late, pay day, he had a heart attack getting the mail in the lobby, fell backwards, stiff, his hand still holding the key, ready to get the days mail.


music and movies.

This is a Monday blog. Sorry, nothing too exciting to share or report. I saw a great show on Friday, a band called Grizzly Bear who played at the Independent. I hadn't heard them much before, but Jennifer thought I would like them, so her, Heidi and I all went together. I'm so glad I did, it was an amazing show. They sound good on headphones, but seeing them perform is just amazing and I stand by that drugs or no drugs. The crowd was surprisingly not annoying, seeing as these guys are from Brooklyn, I was sure it would be packed with a bunch of annoying hipsters. But just a lot of mellow, pot smoking people that seemed to be enjoying the music. Grizzly Bear is four guys and they have a sort of beach boys/beatles/indie rock/psychedelic sound, really pretty, lots of harmonizing. The best part was that you could tell they were just into playing their music. Again, because of the whole Brooklyn thing, I thought they would for sure have a little bit more of a swagger, you know that "I live in the center of the hippest place on earth and I play music" thing that so many bands have these days. Nope. Not at all, just a bunch of guys really happy to be in SF and really excited about their music. You can stream a bunch of their songs on their website. Here's a video of them playing in a bathroom in paris (sounds pretentious, but i promise it's not).

The rest of the week-end was full of movies, making things and more movies. On Saturday Jennifer and I, a wee bit tired from the night before, had a movie marathon. We watched, Prime- which is one of the worst movies I've seen in a really long time, and not even in that so bad it's kind of good way. Your not missing a thing if you never see this film and the only redeeming thing about the entire movie is Meryl Streep, and even her character seems unrealistic and forced. I've been on a Woody Allen kick lately so we watched Broadway Danny Rose, which was good, but not as good as I remembered it. Although that chase where they get caught in the storage room with all of the Macy's Day parade floats is pretty great. And a movie you should all see as soon as you can, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, which is about Daniel Johnston's life and music career. I had never heard of him before at all, but just about everyone has covered his songs. Sunday brought cloudy weather which made me really happy. I stayed home, made stuff and later watched more movies with my roommates, The Heart is Deceitful Above all Things, I don't really care who JT Leroy is or isn't, I loved reading his/her book. As is often the case, the movie was just awful, so don't even bother. Read the book instead. And then, to end the week-end we watched Metal- A Headbangers Journey, which is just great. I had already seen this once before and it made me realize my love of hair bands in the 80's does not make me a headbanger. But if you like metal on any level, be it Motley Crue or Iron Maiden, this movie is worth watching. Oh and while we're talking movies, one of the best movies I've rented lately was Friends with Money, which has a cast of some amazing females and is written by Nicole Holofcener, who also wrote and directed Walking and Talking, which was one of my favorites in the late 90's. That's all. If you're in SF this weather is pretty perfect for movie watching. Although right now I'm walled in a cube and can't see outside. It could be 80 degrees and sunny and I wouldn't know.