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a brief synopsis of m. night shyamalan’s comeback movie

August 30, 2010

He teams up with Judd Apatow, for a prequel to The Sixth Sense called Just Five Senses So Far, which stars Shyamalan himself as Night, a 40-year-old man-child just discovering his sense of smell. After his partner (a role likely played by Shyamalan) dies in a freak accident, Night, goes on a journey into the terrifying underworld of the black-market sense trade where he has to use his newly discovered smelling ability to defeat a shit-ton of aliens. In the end, he must be crucified by a blind chef (played by Shyamalan) in order to save humanity from a really bad smell. It is only after he is killed and reborn as a beagle that Night realizes it wasn’t his nose that had kept him from smelling, but the fact that he had never been born at all.

ain’t my birthday, but i got my name on the cake. actually it is my birthday.

August 28, 2010

You shouldn’t listen to music while reading poetry or wear your sunglasses at the same time as you’re listening to music and walking down the street. Do only one of these things at a time to remain human. You shouldn’t think you hate poems. They have never done anything bad to you, except tried to give you joy and made you frustrated instead. It’s not fair to do poetry like that.

You should always forgive your friends for falling in love. Love never did anything bad to you except for everything bad, ever. You’ve tried to get visceral over climate change, but are still calling your friends at 11 to about the most inane things.

i come correct

August 19, 2010

People in the South tend to undervalue things, which is good to know before you go here. Either that, or they have no idea what the word creek means. It definitely does not mean a body of water so large you could float a barge down it, or not be able to walk across it without getting your sandal very wet or drowning.

Similarly, they do not know what a cottage is. If you hear a Southerner referring to something as “the main cottage” that thing is not a cottage. There is no such thing as a “main cottage” as the very definition of the word “cottage” precludes that structure from being the main of anything. A cottage is a place on a heath where a goatherd and a milk maid live together. A cottage is not a 3-bedroom 2 bath split level with an attached garage and vaulted ceilings. That is a house.

I don’t want to beat this point to death, but it has to be said that southerners do not know what a nettle is. Anyone who has grown up in the Pacific Northwest knows that a nettle is a pesky little plant that stings you if you touch it and leaves itchy little welts in its wake. So you can imagine my surprise when one day while cruising down a “creek” in a “skiff” called The Algonquin, I one of my shipmates started complaining about not being able to swim because the nettles were so bad.

Now, I had never heard of a nettle living under the water so I said rather plainly, “I’ve never heard of a nettle living underwater.” A good point I thought, but which was met with blank looks, and a somewhat sarcastic, “As opposed to what? Flying through the air?” Then everyone went back to what they had been talking about before. It was only hours later, after B pointed to a JELLYFISH and said, “Nettle.” Like a parent teaching a mentally challenged toddler, that I understood. In the south, a nettle that leaves itchy welts in its wake, is a jellyfish, not a plant that grows underwater.

What really confused me about this encounter wasn’t that there was one word with two different meanings, but how ready everyone was to dismiss the fact that I had said something as idiotic as, “I’ve never heard of a jellyfish living underwater.”

thou shalt always kill

July 12, 2010

People are afraid to do open-mic standup comedy, and it’s probably because it’s just about the most pretentious thing you could possibly do besides run for president or murder someone.

I’m going to get up on this barely elevated stage, and I am going to try to make you laugh. I’m not going to definitely make you laugh, because some things I’m going to say aren’t funny, and some of you can be stupid, but probably not in the same way that I can be stupid, and also some of you laugh mainly on the inside and should really stop coming to open-mics.

Last Wednesday I tried my hand at a comedy open mic. It was at a café/laundromat. Being that it was “Ladies Night,” in a laundromat, it was probably just about the safest place to do stand-up, and it was terrifying. My friend Laura, who has done it before, came with me, and I definitely would never have gotten on stage if she hadn’t been there. Before she arrived I was even thinking of how I wasn’t going to go up, but I would say, to all the people I had told, that I did. I wouldn’t get into too many details because that is the surest way to give away a lie. I would just say it went, “Fine,” and never mention it again. But then Laura did show up, and I started thinking about Eleanor Roosevelt, and how I should do one thing everyday that scares me although I don’t think she said one thing every day that makes you feel like you’re going to vomit.

While I was waiting for Laura I had watched a fellow wannabe comic, who I had seen here before, actually laugh out loud as she was writing something down for her set. This was pretty intimidating, and I looked down at my typed notes, and didn’t find anything there particularly “funny haha.” It was mostly “funny…hmm” and sometimes just “hmm.”

I drank 2 beers and then sidled up to the organizer while pretending to be walking towards the bathroom. This was how I tricked myself into putting my name down. I said, “Do you know where the bathroom is. I would like to try my hand at standup comedy.”

I wish someone had told me about beer in 3rd grade when I was literally so scared of giving presentations that I would break out in hives.

Slowly, and then all at once, my turn at the mic came around. Everyone clapped heartily, and seemed genuinely enthused to have me up there. Like they had paid to come watch me tell jokes, or at the very least had invited me to do it for free.

I launched into my set. Beginning with basically the last few things I have covered on this blog. The hardest part was remembering who I was and what I was doing there over all the nerves. The trick to standup comedy besides the obvious funny bits is I think to be able to kind of freely associate like you do when you’re talking to your friends. I mean, you have to prepare, but you have to be able to be spontaneous too, and not so nervous that you forget how to think.

At one point I was heckled by a guy who MINUTES earlier had walked up to me while I was seated in the audience and said, “I work here, and I can get you a beer for free, but you have to tell me your name.” I don’t remember what his comment was, but I do remember that I didn’t understand it, and so my response was, “and that’s why you’re not up here.” Like with us. The real comedians. Writing this now, I realize I should have included that last part in my response, because then I would have been in on the joke instead of woefully outside of it. But like I said you forget yourself up there.

the end of the unemployment period

July 7, 2010

Today I started my new position at Wired magazine, which I am excited and happy about.  Now, I must look fondly back on my 2 month period of unemployment.  Although in reality it wasn’t what I thought it might have been.  Turns out it is difficult to write a book.

The very tricky thing about working and not working is that when you have a job you have money but no time and when you don’t have a job you have time but no money.  So the time when you could have gone somewhere you can’t, and the time when you couldn’t have gone somewhere you can.  This of course is not a good argument for why you couldn’t write a book during an unemployment period.  But the last two months were not generally a good argument for joblessness in any sense.

I spent what seemed like most of my time sitting in bed staring out my window.  I have this great room in the Lower Haight, and I could look out to Twin Peaks, and watch the weather change, which was comforting in the regular immutable sense.  I was reading a lot of Bukowski and kept wanting to take up drinking more seriously, perhaps in a graduate program or on the dusty road to Baja.

Sometimes, I would get excited and read O magazine, which I was also reading a lot of because basically the whole theme of this publication seems to be inspiration.  O said I should make a vision board so that my dreams would come true (because you need to be subconsciously reminded that you want to go to Africa so that when someone invites to pay for you to go to Africa you will do it, because you already know it’s your dream).

I ended up thinking a lot about making the board, but I don’t like clutter so I didn’t.  And now I’m at Wired so to hell with the vision board, and Bukowski for that matter.  I need my wits about me.

3/4 length black spandex capris

June 28, 2010

The other day I was in this kind of posh spa thing in Pac Heights, and I usually just drop in and announce loudly that I am a REVIEWER from Citysearch and I am here to REVIEW.  People typically could care less when I say something like this and kind of look at me and smile and then go back to their business, which is fine.  But at this place I had apparently made this announcement to the owner.   Of course I had no idea that she was the owner, because honestly she looked like she had just rolled out of bed at 6am to go to the gym but had missed and ended up at work at 1 in the afternoon: her hair was all mussed and in one of those high ponytails that looks like a fountain, and she was wearing a black warm-up suit with the vertical white stripes running all the way up the sides of both the pants and the jacket so you’re kind of not sure if it’s a jumpsuit or separates or what.

Why do women get so dressed up at night and literally not give a shit about what they look like during the day, when it’s LIGHT out.  Judging by our daytime outfits (black ¾ length spandex capris) we are always either going to or coming from the gym.  Do we do anything else?  Yes, but we don’t want you to know what it is, and when we are in our gym clothes we are invisible like Harry Potter!

Men are totally taken in by this too.  They’ll spend the whole night staring meaningfully into your eyes, take you home, and then the next morning will look at you in astonishment when you bounce out of bed already in your black 3/4 spandex capris, like, “How did you have time to be going to or coming from the gym already?” What they don’t know is that we wear those underneath our clothes AT ALL TIMES, because we just never know when it is going to be daytime and we are going to need to put them on.

all the other girls here are stars you are the northern lights

June 25, 2010

I made my 4th trip to the Fillmore last night, this time to see Josh Ritter.  Now I like Josh Ritter, and not least because he plays that kind of pretty, twangy, up-tempo then down tempo music that reminds me of Montana.  Like Patagonia or Antarctica, Montana is one of those inspiring places where the vistas outnumber the people, and things seem possible and like they might even definitely turn out in some simple but good way, and even if they don’t they would because you’d be the kind of person who likes ambiguity with your vistas.  Now, San Francisco itself is a city characterized by surprising views, like when your fully grounded walking up Fillmore and suddenly it drops off the side of the world at Bay and you’re staring down at the Marina and the water beyond and on and on and on, and you think to yourself, “Oh there it is.  Eternity.  It is the sea matched with the sun.”  Like literally you find yourself quoting Rimbaud right there, and for a minute you get the happiness shimmer in your chest, like the tilt-a-whirl or a whip-it in the park on a sunny afternoon.  It’s that Montana feeling again.  It’s an almost subconscious realization that what you think is true might be wrong, but the real truth might be good, if totally outside the parameters you were imagining.  It is very difficult to imagine anything truthfully, which is why you should never daydream about approaching vacations.

Josh Ritter gives good Montana feeling.  Especially, Josh Ritter at the Fillmore, a place already so magical, it can’t really be overstated: the huge lightless chandeliers, the framed show posters and concert photos covering the walls, the barrel of apples in the foyer.  And Josh Ritter knew all this, you could tell.  I don’t know if he’s played the Fillmore before, but the point is if he had you never knew it.  He never stopped smiling, so much so that I started to think it was some kind of nervous twitch, like this librarian I had once who always had what can only be described as a toothy grimace on her face.  But I don’t think that was the case last night.  I think he may have been smiling because he knew he was about to stun the crowd by calling Joan Baez onto the stage to sing with him, and then read Poe’s Annabelle Lee to a rapt audience.  Surprising vistas indeed.

you think you’re something else

June 17, 2010

It’s pretty freaking hard to please your parents these days.  It’s like going to college probably used to make these people happy, but now it’s such a foregone fact that you will go, that there’s even some backlash against these bloated behemoths of higher learning.  It’s like, you got into a bunch of pretty good schools, not Harvard but not Central Washington University either, and then your parents get mad at you for not even considering community college.  I mean wasn’t there a time when parents were proud that their kids got into a 4-year institution, but now they’re just like, “Well you could get all those credits at Shoreline CC.”  It seems like everyone is just setting us up to succeed especially with these messages like, “You can do anything you want,” “You look like Katy Perry,” “Your life will be special and filled with success, and I don’t see years of admin assistant roles in your future!”  Parents don’t even get excited anymore about their progeny getting a job, or a scholarship or a Nobel Prize, and will hardly even look up from their Facebook page as they mumble, “We always told you you were special.”

No one ever triumphed over encouragement.

let’s circle back on that

June 14, 2010

Lately, when I’m walking somewhere alone at night, and I get a little nervous, I’ve taken to walking really fast and glancing at my watch a lot.  Like for some reason I think that if a rapist looks at me and sees that I’m in a hurry and have a lot of things on my mind he won’t attack me, like, “Oh she’s busy.  She’s counting something on her fingers.  I’m not gonna bother her right now.  Maybe later when she’s got a sec.”

me, you, and the end of the world.

June 3, 2010

I was dreaming about the end of the world again.  Actually scary dreams, but when I woke up in the morning I was at a loss as to what could be so scary about hiding on top of a candy machine with Chloe, Liz, and some guy from high school who I haven’t seen in years.  Chloe thought we should let the guy hide with us, because he had helped put the air mattress on top, and I kind of agreed, but thought his presence would probably mean that “they” would find us.  Liz was adamant that he would not come up.  She was the kind of person, at least in my dreams, who probably survives the end of the world, while the rest of us are sitting there wondering if it’s rude not to let Brett Perkins sit on our air mattress.

There is such a big difference between that and this.