Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The moon is outrageously, ridiculously, deliciously bright tonite. She is shining so bright that I don't need artificial light in my house, am sitting here in the 'dark' with my laptop the only unnatural illumination inside, even the streetlamps outside pale in comparison to the pregnant moon hanging like a black-backed sun in the sky.

I just wrote a piece that I may or may not share on this blog at some point, a short freewrite about what I really want in my life. The moon (and a nice strong rum and coke from Cafe Van Kleef's, courtesy of M.) is my inspiration tonite. She is filling me with crazy ideas. Did you know the word 'lunatic' comes from the Latin word for 'moon' (luna). Of course you did. That's why you are probably outside right now as I write this, howling at the moon like a coyote, and making your sad, repressed neighbors tsk-tsk to themselves, hanging out their windows, silently wishing that they could be howling at that brilliant white disk in the sky, just like you.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Perfect Saturday

Feel like this is my idea of a perfect Saturday, sitting here blogging after a relatively full afternoon of organizing and cleaning the various piles of clutter in my home (mainly my home office and books, am going to tackle the junk on my dresser in the bedroom next). I'm not feeling my best--that time of the month, y'know? Sorry to those of you for whom that's TMI (too much information)--and putzing around the house clearing old junk and recycling random papers I'm not sure why I keep is somehow therapeutic for me, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Sometimes, at times like this, though, I feel like my life--and the lives of many of you reading this blog, as well as the lives of many of those living around us--must be a fraud, a sham, a strange and utter illusion. Because beyond the transparent borders of our relatively neat, precious and well-organized lives, full of busyness and activity, work and play and family and social activities, lies a world of war. No, I'm no exaggerating, there is a world at war around us, and it is too easy, most of the time, to ignore this world.

But I'm not going to sit here and quote statistics to you about how many US soldiers have been killed in Iraq or my friends and family members who have loved ones there. I'm not going to talk how ridiculously racist and inhumane it is to only talk about the lives of these soldiers as if they are the only ones that mattered, or pontificate about how unjust this war is. All I want to do is acknowledge it, and bring some attention to my own lack of awareness of war. And not just the war in Iraq, but the wars being waged in our own neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, our own country. While I count myself blessed to not be an active perpetrator or recipient of the violence that rages around me--and know that I have helped construct my life in a way that I don't deal with many of these wars, and that can be a very good thing--I still want to acknowledge the suffering and rage and bitterness that exists because of it.

So there, I've done it. And hopefully gotten you to do it too.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Feeling Better, Books on the Side

Wasn't feeling well today--icky, blue, fatigued, out of it. I slept a bit, chilled at home, did a little work, took it easy. Now I can't sleep so I've been catching up on my online social networking (yes, I've been bitten by the bug). A cool thing that they just started on Goodreads is a widget you can post on your blog or web site or myspace page showing what books you've read or are reading or want to read. You can check mine out by scrolling down--see the little box in the righthand column? Go ahead, click it. You know you want to.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wishing I'd Been Drunk in Paris

Had a drink with my good friend A. tonite at Cafe Van Kleef in downtown Oakland, probably my favorite after-work bar. Near the front door there is a small, chalkboard sign that 'advertises' a short menu of Provencale dishes: salade nicoise, poulet, a couple other items. I say 'advertise' because the only food you can get at Van Kleef's is spicy popcorn and maybe a hot dog if you're lucky.

But still, the place does remind me of Paris: the slightly grungy, quirky, charming collection of random art--sculptures, paintings, found objects, glass embedded in the counter outside, a random brass trumpet, a ladder near the back wall that doesn't seem to go anywhere or serve any purpose besides as a trellis for other random artworks; the slightly bohemian, smoky, dark ambiance; the French tricolore flag (or is it Belgian? isn't Van Kleef a Belgian or German name?) hanging limply, like an old rag, in the entryway. The foreign music they frequently play, from Buena Vista Social Club to 'C'est Si Bon'.

The drinks are strong and moderately priced here: $8 for a good, stiff but sweet Sidecar, which is what A. and I had. I always get tipsy just from one drink. And you can smoke outside, which is nice. Another touch of l'experience parisienne.

Funny, I realized today as I sat talking to A. and getting tipsy off my Sidecar, that H. and I didn't get drunk at all in Paris. We had a couple glasses of wine with our meals, yes, but we didn't go, as our friend V. adamantly suggested, to a bar au vin for an eminently French experience. Oh, well. There's always next time.

I've been craving being in Paris lately, and tonite, for an hour or so, I got to feel like I was there, even if it was a Canadian cigarette and not a Gauloise that I puffed on, and even if people were speaking English et pas francais. It's all good. For a little bit, I got a taste of Paris, right here in Oakland.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Soup in the Air

What the hell is the Bay Area turning into? LA? Did you see that smog-soup that's passed for air yesterday? And it's back today! My theory is that people were so excited about the Bay Bridge being open again that they headed to cross it in droves. I mean, come on, the sun is frickin' ORANGE!!