Here's something

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of what I'm about to describe but I hope that I can do it in a way that's horrifying enough to give you a mental picture you'll be unable to shake for weeks. We have a lot of snails in our neighborhood. They leave shiny tracks on the sidewalk and some of them are very small. Jack even found a misguided one in the food processor a few weeks ago. Jackson no longer delights in the crunch they make when you step on them, which I do by accident all the time. Snails have no business snailing around in the dark, and whatever instinct compels them to balance on the tip of a blade of grass before the sun is up is evolution just begging for fertilizer. Fortunately or unfortunately, Jack and I both have happened (separately!) upon a freshly crunched pile of snail guts on the sidewalk or a blacktop driveway, and this pile of snail goo had turned into a writhing orgy of snail . . . cannibalism? I Googled "snail cannibalism" and it seems unlikely that the one documented species of cannibal snail has Tardis'd thousands of miles from its island habitat and changed the color of both its shell and flesh, but still. I know what I've seen. Word gets out that a member of the tribe has met its reward and all the other snails grope their way toward the corpse to celebrate upon it in a big, slimy, sexy funeral frenzy.

Until I can capture another of these disturbing events on video, you can watch this somewhat SFW video, which comes closer to explaining snail sexuality than I dare to.

And as long as we're talking about the strange delights of the animal kingdom, I will tell you about my dream of a researcher studying a retarded monkey. (In my dream the researcher noted that the monkey was "retarded" in more of the way I learned to use the word in fourth-grade music class, where retard is given the French pronunciation and alerts ten-year-olds to quit playing so fast and there's no negative judgment attached. Maybe my dream-researcher was an elementary school musico-primatologist.) Either way, it was a nice little monkey, sitting on the ground in a jungle clearing, jabbing a stick into the dirt like any monkey would. All the other monkeys knew there was something different about this monkey but they didn't have a word for it so they were pretty much, "Eh, whatever." The researcher may or may not have fallen asleep at that point because it's pretty boring to dream about words. Subconsciously I guess I wish I could rescue the word retard from its sad current state of abuse (here's an interesting Mindy Kaling bit which addresses that toward the end) but it's probably too late to turn back. You can't really use the word "queer" much anymore either without asking for offense, though occasionally I try. For example, recently I overheard someone describe another person's name as a "startling moniker." "That's a queer turn of phrase," I said to a coworker, who, being bookish, took my meaning exactly.

I Went for a Walk

Last week I had to take my car in to get the passenger side door lock replaced. Owning a car that was built in the previous century means that as you round the corner into your second decade of ownership all sorts of interesting parts begin to fail. In February the coolant system needed resuscitation. In March the computer brain that causes all the dashboard alerts to light up all at once caused all the dashboard alerts to light up all at once. Then in April Jackson discovered that he could open the passenger side door even when it appeared to be locked. "How do I keep opening a locked door?" he shouted over the sound of the car alarm one day. "YOU'RE DOING WHAT?!" I inquired politely at the top of my lungs.

So one morning last week I left my car at Swedemasters at 8:15 a.m., which gave me 45 minutes until I had to be at the acupuncture office where I'm currently undergoing a series of treatments meant to restore the cyclical functions of my lady parts. (The transition between blithe fertility and never having to look another tampon in the eye comes at a price, ladies. Fortunately, Chinese herbs and tiny little needles strategically placed in my toes/knees/scalp may keep the aging process from killing me HA HA HA.) Anyway, between the garage where I'd left my car and the acupuncture office I had a 20-block city walk to enjoy, so I took some photos! For you!

There used to be so many great thrift stores on lower State but we're down to this "curated vintage" place now, I guess. And the Goodwill on Carrillo. I don't go thrifting anymore, anyway. Probably because somewhere along the line I decided I liked wearing clothes that actually fit, and didn't used to belong to a man who used too much fabric softener.


Wait, isn't punk dead? I gave away my Buzzcocks button in 1982 and thought, "Well! That's over then, time to listen to some Style Council." I'm pleased to think that in a post-ironic world, however, that a fresh Germs t-shirt can show a sort of bracing sincerity. (And: nice backbend, Iggy.) Maybe this is some sort of museum display to honor The Middle Ages of Vinyl.

Then I went into some sort of walking coma for five or six blocks, so you don't get to see any photographic evidence of the mall blocks (Wetzel's Pretzels, Juicy, Lucky, Betsey Johnson, Saks). I came to just in time to capture an underexposed Granada Theater marquee. When I first moved to Santa Barbara I worked at a bookstore just up the block from here. One morning I came into work with a cappuccino I'd bought from a little cafe that, along with the bookstore, also no longer exists. I walked in, set my coffee on the counter, put away my bag and jacket, and the next thing I knew the bookstore owner had knocked over my coffee with a file folder, glanced at the giant mess spreading all over everything, shrugged, and started looking up something on the computer. I was horrified that my coffee was about to destroy a significant number of mass-market paperbacks, and that the only thing to stop the mess from spreading was an invoice for the paperbacks, but I was also really pissed that my boss hadn't even apologized for leveling my breakfast. Years later I learned that she was on some fairly heavy antidepressants, and had been ever since her son had accidentally been killed on a Boy Scout camping trip. So, you know, in my mind I went back in time and forgave her for not offering to replace my $3.00 cappuccino.

I really like how they've positioned those two CLOSED signs, like the force of all caps will negate the fact that the door's actually wide open.

A Schwinn Corvette! I was thrilled to find that someone's put the Schwinn catalog of my youth online. The tandems: such a mystery! Those college girls seemed so grown up. My first bike was a burgundy red Lil' Chik. My second bike was a blue girl's Stingray with a banana seat and a sissy bar. My third bike was a burgundy Collegiate. Then in 8th grade I broke out of the Schwinn tradition and bought a blue Nishiki road bike with $89 of my own saved-up money. I didn't buy anything again until I moved to Santa Barbara and didn't have the money for a car. I found a second-hand silver Sears men's three-speed for $50, but then I left it locked to a car port when I moved to L.A. Apparently I was in a hurry to get out of town.

Downey's. Jack and I went here once twelve years ago and had an delicious if somewhat fussy dinner to celebrate something, I no longer remember what. (Probably moving away from L.A.)

This fitness-themed storefront presents a graphic display of the difference between five pounds of muscle (left) and five pounds of fat (right). And so close to a restaurant! Man. That's nasty.

I still hope to avoid this place but I know there are worse things that could happen to you. The mother of one of Jackson's classmates died of cancer on Friday, for example. I'm not sure she was even 40 yet. So, yeah, hi, I have nothing to complain about, especially not the blisters I was getting on my heels at this point. Nothing. I'm breathing? Ambulatory? I get to see my kid grow up? We have enough to eat and three televisions? Yeah, I'm not going to let the fact that I'm disappointed with this weird hippie yogurt I bought on sale ruin my day.

I like thinking of a false beard as a "face wig."

Last year when I was applying for jobs I interviewed at a place I really, really wanted to work for, but they chose someone else, and I was actually sort of heartbroken about it. Six months later, when I was at the job I did manage to get, the first place called and asked if I wanted to interview again. Again, they gave the job to someone else. Then, last Friday, they called and said, Don't worry, we're not going to make you interview again, we're just flat-out offering you a job, do you want it? And I jumped up and down and laughed and my heart grew two sizes, and then I gave everyone back their Christmas trees and all the children in Whoville held hands and sang a humble song of thanks.

I had a dream last night that a Volcano Goddess came to me in the form of an otter and told me to stop leading such a frivolous life (and also that there was a ghost monster next to the building I worked in). I don't know what it means, but she was pretty furious when she said it so it seemed like a good idea to pay attention.

Sometimes you need to stop trying to make a thing happen when you want it to and just let it happen when it's ready to.

Don't worry, this posting once a week business is about to come to a neck-snapping halt

I had a dream that Matthew Broderick was a Beluga whale that I met at a pool party. The party was at some seaside resort, and to get him out of the pool and over to the bar one of his friends just dragged him by the tail along the sidewalk. "Matthew Broderick seems really fine with being dragged along the ground like that," I said somewhat skeptically to this so-called friend, a skinny girl with scruffy dyed-blond hair, who also appeared to be dating my high school theater teacher. "Matthew Broderick is pretty much just like you'd expect him to be," she said to me. "He's really funny and he's nice to everyone." And all the while Matthew Broderick is bumping along the ground with this sad-eyed whale expression, like, I have accepted my lot in life, to be a whale toiling without water. Exploited for my warmth and likability, which at least keeps these land creatures from abandoning me on some tragic Animal Planet set."

So, how's that experiment in chair-free living going? you may be asking. It's going pretty well, thanks! I've been sitting on the floor a lot. This is something you can do when you have a laptop. I've explored many variations of the classic padmasana or lotus posture, and most of them make my legs numb. But that's half the fun! Wobbling around the house, getting deep into those hip joints and really giving them what for! And the dogs love being able to shed directly onto me, rather than using the couch as a middle man. It's just another sacrifice I'm willing to make for my pets, and for yoga, and for the future-me, some perhaps misguided notion about avoiding hip replacement(s) when I'm 80, if I even make it that far. If half the world lives without chairs then by god so can I! I haven't quite worked out how to remove the seats from my car, but you can be sure I'll post pictures when I've managed to upholster the whole interior in zafutons.

As promised, here is a photo of the world's smallest snail* discovered on the sidewalk not ten feet from my door!!

*This claim has not been evaluated by the World Snail-Measuring Council and is for demonstration purposes only. Ask your doctor if Small Snails™ are right for you.

Lastly, I may have forgotten to mention that it's time for National Blog Posting Month again and I want you all to sign up and blog your brains out in November. I'm told it's a wonderful exercise in discipline. And if discipline isn't it's own reward (we're not Puritans, after all!), there are prizes.

Big hairy ones

I had this dream where I'm buying beer at a mom-and-pop corner store and as I'm putting my change in my wallet this old, queeny guy pulls a pair of big, hairy, rubber balls out of his pocket and plonks them down in front of the cashier.

The balls slowly ride down the little conveyor belt until they're in front of me, and I'm all, Wow! Those are some amazing balls!

I pick them up and they're heavy, and they're this realistic brownish-pink with long black hairs all over them, and I'm so obviously happy about them that the queeny guy shrugs and tells me I can keep them.

I can't wait to show them to Jack, and I walk home so happy with a pair of big, hairy balls in my pants pocket.

I run up our stairs and start telling Jack how I got them, but halfway through my story he turns half away to watch a Raiders game on TV.

I'm so furious at him for not listening that I stomp off to my office and slam the door.

Then I hear Jack leave the apartment, and a few minutes later I get an e-mail from him.

He knows that my computer is the only way to get through to me.

This dream reveals far too much about me, never mind the fact that it isn't nearly sexy enough for Internet consumption. Apparently I really wish I had a pair of balls? And can only get close to people through e-mail. Hoo-fucking-ray and welcome to the twenty-first century.

Also, I bought the Fluevogs. Not the other ones. These.