evany's extended cake mix
(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)
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Sunday, Apr. 23, 2006 | link
Um, today Good Morning America did a whole piece on The Secret Language of Sleep. They've posted an archived version of the segment, and it's a wacky yucktoberfest! (But it's slightly different than the wacky yuctoberfest that actually aired, I guess they shoot these things multiple times, who knew?) Wow? Wow.
Sometimes when I'm riding the bus, or just very drunk, an idea will occur to me, something amusing or meaty that I suspect I might want to think or write more about later, so I'll type a little reminder into my Sidekick. Sometimes I'll actually wind up doing something with it, while other times the reminder just sits there, slowly but surely losing its context. Over time the idea degrades into this alien thing, an unsettling baby deer of a non-sequitur that no longer smells at all like me. Days, weeks, months, or just a few hours after I type it, I'll find one of these notes, and it's like, Who the hell wrote THIS?
My current inexplicable favorites from the Remember Me Vaults: "tickle down theory" (!), "corporate zany" (?), "sex checklist, sandwich checklist, inside or out" (?!), "fit to be tired," and "bar's leaks for radiators." But very best of all? Just these three words: "A single feather." Like a poem! About the gentle art of forgetting.
I locked myself out of the house yesterday, and the second it dawned on me what I'd done, my stomach sank so hard and so fast, harder and faster than really the situation warranted (even considering that I had a nutty dog with me and also an empty stomach, and yet no wallet); it went right past the normal disappointment that comes from sudden, schedule-obliterating inconvenience, down, down to where childhood things live.
I was a latchkey girl, a slapdash latchkey girl who always switched bags and outfits at the very last minute, thereby always managing to leave my keys, wallet, and homework in the altogether wrong pockets (I kind of still do this, actually). The bus would drop me off after school, and I'd be walking along in relative happiness, but then the instant I saw my house, it would hit me. My body would go all deboned and defeated, and my bag would plop loosely to the ground, and I would just stand there, slumped and glaring up at my brain, fuming at it for letting me down AGAIN.
Usually when I got locked out it meant I had about two hours to kill until someone got home. Most of the time it wasn't really that bad: pretty much that's all you do anyway when you're that old, just slaughter and maim the endless stretch of time that trickles from the age of twelve to when you finally get your driver's licence. I seem to remember walking up to Handyman a lot, Handyman being the huge hardware store on the corner (now a Circuit City, sad), and burning up the hours by pressing all the buttons of their "theme music doorbell" display (which I'm pretty sure the employees loved). Whenever nature called, I'd go over to the model homes at a nearby condo complex and use their bathrooms, tiptoeing my way from room to dustless taupe room.
Those lock-out memories hold a nice, 110-film glow for me, like scenes from a meandering, slightly mournful retro-recent film featuring Chloe Sevigny, only sans all the awkward underaged sexing. But the times that being locked out really and truly stunk were when the phone started ringing. THE PHONE STARTED RINGING! Those were the days before answering machines, so people (i.e., other teen-aged friends with a vacuum of time to fill) would and could let the phone ring infinity times. Once, as I sat there out on the patio, I counted the rings: one hundred and two. Impossible! It was so spectacularly frustrating, I felt like my skin was melting from the inside, like my neck was sucking into my shoulders with the wanting to die of it. You know something, it just occurred to me...maybe that's why I now can not STAND the sound of instant messages gone unchecked? That totally is it. The kind of frantic I feel when I hear the chimes of AIM, it really is the sort of thing that can only comes from those very fertile soils of childhood experience! Huh.
Anyway yesterday it turns out that I had my cellphone with me, and in a stroke of fantastic luck, Marco was actually doing some work in the area, so he stopped by and let me in. All told, I was shut out for only about an hour, the end. Oh except that thinking of the twin peeves of the unchecked phone ringing and the chalkboard scratch of AIM SFX reminds me: Introducing Peevepile, the brain flower of friend Will (who, incidentally, just emailed to report that he is a Fireman's Carry)!
If you, like me, are feeling exceptionally winter heavy, what with all these rainy-day cake sessions adding up to like a whole extra inch of brown fat, then I think I have a solution. Ready?
All you, and I, have to do whenever cravings strike is feast our eyes on Numo (link via Paul, via Jocelyn, the curators of cute). If a burger tempts, just look at Numo. If waffle cones call, think of Numo, and when buttered toast nags? NUMO! Three cheers for Numo, the all-time world's Olympic best appetite suppressant ever! (Isn't Earth awesome?)
Today is the best day: My book, The Secret Language of Sleep, a Couple's Guide to the Thirty-Nine Positions is now officially available for purchase! It's at the McSweeney's (online) Store for a specially discounted, one-week-only price of $12 (it'll be $15 starting next week), and sure it's at Amazon, plus I heard it through the gossip-vine that Jim found it at Booksmith in San Francisco, and Inger found it at Green Apple, which means that it might just be in your local independent bookery, too. (!!!)
Meanwhile and elsewhere: my Sleep Advice Column has made its debut over at McSweeneys.net, and one of the hot topics I cover is the whole debate over the official number of positions, which really does seem to throw people: the New York Post claims there are thirty-eight poses, while V Magazine says there's just twenty-nine (the short piece they did on the book's not online, but I put some choice pulls on the press page). But, just to be clear: as it says in and on my Couple's Guide to the Thirty-Nine Positions, the true number of acknowledged poses is 39.
All in all, these are good and exciting times here at Camp Evany. If my heart were an emoticon (and it probably is), it would be one hundred smilies, font size 24!
This past week I've been working on (amongst a number of other things) putting together a miniature website for the Language of Sleep book. It's been a good six or eight years since I've even thought about designing a site, and my web know-how is definitely very "1998" (and not in the good "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" sense but the bad "These Are Special Times" sense...though lord knows I have a special hole in my heart for Celine Dion, much as I do for the <td> tag). So I decided that maybe it was time to finally step up to stylesheets? Ugh? After endless fiddling, and many failures, and much badgering of my more advanced web friends (Gene and Mike bearing the most painful brunt of it), I finally managed to cobble something together. It's a very small site, just five pages wide, which seems embarrassingly scant considering the effort. And it isn't going to win any design awards, and I'm sure if you viewed my source (careful! that's how web people get pregnant!), you'd be scandalized by the Frankenstein of code. But it loads on all my browsers on all my computers, including the Sidekick, and who knew how happy just that could make me?
Also I'd forgotten how much I liked the puttering -- selecting link colors, FTPing things over and over again, reloading pages, cleaning and shrinking things in Photoshop, viewing other people's source, and searching the web for how to do baby stuff like "put space between columns."
And then there's that particularly dynamite sensation of having a page keep breaking and breaking, and you just can't figure out what's wrong, and you're going nutso trying to find the problem, combing over this mess of nested tags and moving things around and retyping words, but nothing seems to work. Finally, finally, FINALLY you find it: oh, you typed a "-" instead of an "=" and that's all it took to make the whole world explode. There's almost nothing like it, that scratched-itch relief of locating and correcting something so small. Finding the exact right analogy for a complicated thought is almost as good, or getting yourself the exact right meal to meet a highly particular craving. Maybe doctors or dieticians feel it, when they finally come up with the right treatment for a thorny and chronic health problem? But key to the greatness of the sensation is the huge buildup of inscrutable frustration that comes before it. It's like...when I was a kid, in the summer, I used to wear my down jacket to the pool just to heighten the relief and glee of the moment when I finally jumped in the water. This is the glory of building a webpage!
What's the sniglet for when you're happily sipping coffee and clicking at the internet on a laptop in a Mission cafe and then you read about a man who was happily sipping coffee and clicking at the internet on a laptop in a Mission cafe, up until the point mean robbers snatched his laptop and stabbed him in the chest. Maybe there isn't a word yet for that particular feeling of paranoia born of evil + coincidence. Or there is, but I don't know it because I don't speak German.
Can you think of any reason why an otherwise reasonable looking man would ever be talking to an Automatic Teller Machine? Like leaning down to get his face right up to the card slot and saying, "Can I have my card back, please?" and "Hello? Hello?" Because while I'm pretty sure banks don't employ wee people to live inside their ATMs (because that would be depressing and cost ineffective), something about the calm sureness with which this man addressed the cold metal machine made me doubt everything.
Maybe he was secretly blind, and what I was seeing was just a new high-end verbal interface for the visually impaired? Or maybe it's a new form of customer support, a kind of radio-operated help mechanism that patches people throuh to an ATM technician with a binder script in Bali? Or! A mystical menace had taken over the ATM, like a 21st century version of the troll beneath the bridge? Or Candid Camera.
Update: Jill emailed me to report that on very rare occasions (one of which she herself was lucky enough to be a part of), a person's card gets eaten at the exact same moment a maintenance worker is doing his job "behind the curtain," and that person can actually be heard talking and shuffling by the frustrated banker out front. So that's almost surely the explanation for the Man Who Talked to the Slot, though in truth I was really gunning for the "crazy man with suspicions of goblin" option.
Adrienne's piece was so perfect, and the artist Tracey Snelling so quietly appealing, and the woman's art (little pitch-perfect houses which stand on their own but also photograph beautifully in the strange context of the real-sized world) so fantastically awesome and satisfying! Watching it was like a tidy little reminder that the world is filled with wee explosions of light and possibility. (Also there was a lot of champagne.) See what I mean?
Keith's opening was yet another huge yay. Marco and I were sadly there for only about ten minutes (last night being crazily jam-packed with television hosting and also bed-frame buying), but it was long enough to say hi, gobble some nuts, and also fall in love; Marco's favorite was the ordway, and mine was 400 moons (which is wormishly beautiful in and of itself, but also prompts the very personal association of my dreamy trip to Redding).
In other news: I gave my one month's notice at my beloved apartment. It's true, Marco and I are taking the cohabitation plunge! I'm moving into his nice apartment in OAKLAND, which turns out is not actually in San Francisco? Eeeeee! Change is scary, and exciting, and wistful! And involves many, many boxes.
A couple great hunks of news: Adrienne's Tracey Snelling piece, her first for Spark, airs TONIGHT and we are of course having much pizza and champagne. Also scheduled for tonight (pre-Adrienne screening): the opening of Keith's BFA show, "bitmaps," at the CCA South Gallery in Oakland (through April 8th, check it!). Meanwhile Alanna's new book, The Unofficial Guide to Photoshop CS2, hit stores yesterday. And I can't believe I forgot to tell you about this, but Paul has officially made his big radio debut! I LINK YOU ALL, my petal treasure friends!!
Much like prom, the big theme for last week was "Bait and Switch." All week, I kept thinking I was going to be doing one thing but then suddenly I'd find myself doing something totally, crazily different. Like Sunday, Marco and I thought we going to see Sunny's band Knife and Fork play at Du Nord, but instead we found ourselves dancing to Thriller at Beauty Bar (which isn't usually my favorite spot in SF, but actually turned out to be fun, despite all the farts) along with Marco's surprise Japanese cousin Yuji -- who, after consuming his very first Jager shot (USA!), for some reason wound up walking home wearing one of Marco's shoes.
And then Monday, when Yuji discovered he'd read his plane ticket wrong and had to leave a day earlier than planned, I wound up semi-reluctantly (rain, cold) using his pre-purchased ticket to accompany Marco on a very long visit to Alcatraz, which was so weird and also disappointing (specifically, I kept trying to get Marco to pose for photos in a cell, with also his shirt off, but he kept smiling and nodding and yet leaving his shirt on???).
Then Tuesday, Kristin was all, do you want to go for a non-weekend discount-rate night at Dr. Wilkinson's Spa and Motel in Calistoga? And even though I am not the hugest fan of mud baths (ever since I made the mistake of musing, while lying in a mud bath maybe eleven years ago, "hey I bet some sorts of people get a sexual satifaction from shitting here"), I went anyway! But I sort of inexplidiotically forgot my bathing suit, so we spent our first hour in town looking for a place to buy a new one. When all we found were hideous, eighty-dollar suits, I wound up with a twelve-dollar XXL "disposable" suit from a slightly-more-upscale spa up the street. I must say, the suit made me look mildly nuts; if a showercap could be a swimsuit, this is what it would be. It was made out of a sort of paper tablecloth type of material, and its primary structural elements were tight elastic cinchings at the legs, waist, and around the armpits. Everywhere else the suit BALLOONed out, and alternately carried huge pockets of air (getting in the pool) or water (getting out).
There was a small pack of teenagers in the pool when we first went down (in addition to the mud bath and spa, there were three pools: warm, hot, and hotter), and for a slice of a second I felt bashful, like maybe they would think I was a goon for wearing this disposable paper tablecloth swimsuit? But then I realized that I'm now so old that they'd think I was a goon no matter what I was wearing. And there's something so delicious about that, the very particular "letting go" sensation that comes with arriving at an age that pretty much can't be awesome in the teen sense, and so is totally absolved of having to know what words like "two in the pink, one in the stink" or "myspace" mean. It's very freeing, this knowledge that nobody gives one fudgey chigger about what you know or say. It's a cozy feeling, but titillating too, like (I IMAGINE) peeing in an already pee-warm pool, or ... shitting in a mud bath.
Then on Saturday Marco and I were all set to go see Adam do a fundraising event for Encinal High School in Alameda, but unfortunately we didn't pay close enough attention to the fine print and wound up going directly to Encinal High (the recipient of the funds to be raised) when really the event was all the way across town at Kofman Auditorium. So we roll up at Encinal, and it looked grim: there were maybe six cars parked in the lot, which seemed like a bad sign considering the show was supposed to start just ten minutes hence. And yet, the school's marquee read "Mythbusters." But, ominously, it also read "Cats." Confused, we pulled up next to a man who was unloading off-brand concessions sodas from his car and asked him where the Mythbusters show was playing, and the guy visibly deflated, like, "there goes a third of tonight's Cats audience," but he nicely directed us to the correct venue. As we were pulling out of the sparcely attended parking lot, we saw an actual Cat -- with the makeup and the ears and the tail and the ruffian clothing -- getting out of her parents' minivan, and we both squealed, "Look! A Cats!" But anyway, we drove as fast as we could, but by the time we got to the right place (we did get lost once), Adam's show had already started, and there was zero parking to be found. After driving and driving and driving and still not finding a spot, one of said, "Should we just go see Cats?" And that's exactly what we did.