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bumbershoot to KILL
Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006 | link

Just a reminder, I'm going to be reading at the Bumbershoot (alongside the stirring Starlee Kine, Holiday Reinhorn, Tami Sagher, the Vis-A-Vis society, and some professional jumpropers ... the theme, of course, being "Hot For Teacher"). It's all happening this coming Saturday, September 2, at 4:30pm in the Bagley Wright Theater. That's Seattle!

You can still buy a day pass for $30, which is steep I know. But if you plan it right, you could also work in all kinds of additional entertainment, including a screening and dissection of episodes six through twelve of Trapped in the Closet, plus a Bitchfest (or Chuck Palahniuk/Charles Burns or, my god, Blondie), plus a whole lot of lady roller derby.

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

piggy on a cone
Monday, Aug. 28, 2006 | link

More animals news (I know!): Poor piggy has done something weird to her leg, it started as a small, mysterious scratch that she somehow contracted last week, and she's since chewed and worried it into a gross bald patch that's very "burn victim."

Meanwhile, she also

loves, and I have her foot bandaged up until we go in to the vet tomorrow morning.

The hilarious (and also of course sad) thing is that bandage somehow unhinges her brain and it completely immobilizes her, even though it's nothing but a paper towel torn in half and some tape and a dollop of antibiotic cream. But she can't walk, she can't jump. It reminds me of a cat I used to have who would fall over if you ever tied anything around her stomach. Or, for a more universal analogy, Ricky Bobby's brain-invented paralysis (no need to see the actual movie, you get pretty much all the Talladega you need in the previews...all except the "floating hands" part, which maybe may be worth the price of admission, oh and "Karen," that part's good). So now Piggy just stands there, playing Depressed Statue until we pick her up and put her on the bed or the couch. All very upsetting.

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

sign my podcast?
Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006 | link

My unexpected new librarian voice, which has suddenly emerged during all this read-touring, has been captured and placed into a pretty little thirteen-minute-and-twenty-seven-second cage called a "podcast," which is this week's feature at KQED's Writers' Block. My digitally recorded reading of Secret Langauge of Sleep is available both your download or streaming pleasures. Let me know how it sounds! Seeing as I'm too scared and full of voice self-hatred to actually listen to it myself!

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

as promised: a mailbox obsession
Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006 | link

One of my all-time favorite cewebrities, Rob Cockerham (and did I mention that he once made an appearance at one of my birthday parties? it's true: Cake Trough 2003), recently conducted an experiment (subsequently picked up by 20/20) in which he tore up a pre-approved credit card application, then reassembled it with scotch tape, filled it out, and penned in a change of contact address and phone number. The address he used was his parent's, and what do you think arrived at their house just a week later? A brand new credit card! In short, if you don't thoroughly and utterly destroy those applications, they're incredibly easy to resurrect. Not only that, but if you have a mailbox that's easy to get to, all a thief and/or junkie* has to do is pluck any credit-card-looking envelopes out of your mailbox, fill out the form (changing the address to some third-party location), and then start charging away. And since the bills wouldn't be coming to you, it would be months before you found out about it.

Marco's mailbox, which is now my mailbox, faces right out onto a busy street here in Oakland. It's one of those cheapo super-easy-access mailboxes, with the flip top and the scooped magazine prongs underneath. And it's so shallow that any regular-sized envelope is tall enough to keep the lid flipped open, thereby exposing and clearing advertising the luscious unclaimed mail waiting inside. And did I mention that there are lots of ruffians milling about in this neighborhood? We often come home to find an empty can or bottle of rot-gutter style libations tossed onto the ground in the little mailbox/trashcan culdesac, along with other surprises, including the occasion puddle of urine and, on very special occasions, human turdles (Happy Dump Day!).

So Rob's experiment left me feeling very queasy about my mail-fraud vulnerability. In fact, the morning after I read his thing, I woke up at 5am in a low-grade panic. I turned to Marco and hissed, "We have to get one of those locking mailboxes!" (he rolled over and hid), then I got up and starting making a bunch of irate calls: to the universal "Opt Out" number for all credit cards (888-5-OPTOUT/567-8688), to my credit card company (whom I told to please, please stop sending me those terrifying credit card checks in the mail). And then, once Marco had his coffee, I marched him on up to Home Depot, where we bought ourselves a very ugly and expensive mailbox with a locking mechanism. Of course I've since discovered that it's not entirely impossible to grope your way in through the top, especially if you have dinosaur arms like me (or, say, emaciated junkie arms!!!). But the mailbox at least appears formidable from the street, which comforts me some.

* Friends will tell you that I suffer from a somewhat crippling fear of junkies. And it's true! I've always been leery of needle users, but not in any insane or unusual way, a general reluctance to get cozy with street addicts being I think fairly standard? However my fears took a turn for the irrational the night I stumbled upon the documentary Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street, and then stayed up until 4am watching with horrified fascination. The way that movie captured the junkie's disturbing and alien sense of priorities, with heroin reigning supreme above everything else -- food, loved ones, strangers, the innate sense of self preservation -- just completely unhinged me. The fact that all the action took place right in the middle of my neighborhood was particularly unsettling. Hey there's my favorite coffee place! That's my bank! Suddenly my eyes were forced open to the fact that all those kids hanging around looking "tired" were totally junkies! (I've since had similar quease-fest, sort of a paranoia refresher course, after accidentally getting sucked in to Intervention during a recent Jetblue television marathon.) Anyway, I know that these ideas of mine aren't all that politically correct, that addiction is a disease, etc. And I do have a great deal of intellectual sympathy for those who struggle with the white pony. And yet ... couldn't the same be said about zombies? It isn't exactly their fault that they got bit by an undead type, but now that they're pale and lurching and scabby and trying to kill me, it would be crazy not to run away from them, right? Or at the very least buy a very expensive locking mailbox?

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

rise and shine
Friday, Aug. 18, 2006 | link

Those of you who own a SidekickII know that its one fatal flaw (besides the lame rubber keyboard, which completely detaches one month after your service contract expires so you're forced to live with it like that, just flapping in the wind) is its "dying sound." When the battery really starts to go, the machine emits this startlingly tragic sound -- a cross between a cat in heat and "wilting Pacman" -- and it is so, so sad! It also plays three separate times, spaced a few minutes apart, before finally shutting down. So if you're, say, lying in bed at 6AM and it starts crying in the other room, you can try to ignore it, try to pretend you're not going to wake up, but by the third time it keens, that's it, you're awake. Here! Here's your charge chord! Happy? And then you plug it in and it spends the next hour contentedly nursing on the electricity. Look! It IS happy.

I am very happy that I remembered to buy coffee this week.

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

a random sampling
Thursday, Aug. 17, 2006 | link

Today is one of those days where you look down and notice that every single thing you're wearing is from the Gap, and suddenly your will to go on living slips by two whole notches. Yay TEAM!!!

- - - - - -

evany: holy how did alison get the boot??? i am seriously upset about this. [yeah, total bullshit, YEAH!]
jill: she made a terrible outfit because she had a bad luck day. but so did kayne and crazy guy. I'm bummed!
evany: yeah! but it seems like a) both crazy and kayne's outfits were WORSE, and b) they got off because of past accomplishments and yet, baby angel alison's past acomplishments didn't weigh in? I felt like they made the choice for Crazy thinking it would be better tv...
jill: exactly.
jill: she is better than crazydude.
jill: I'm mad.
evany: ...totally underestimating how tv-good really pretty hair can be!!!
jill: yes.
jill: people love unicorn riders.
evany: and girls with gumdrops for eyes.
jill:she's peter pan and tinkerbell and wendy all in one.

(And that's not all!)

- - - - - -

Are you going to Bumbershoot? Hey, I'm going to Bumbershoot! Do you have tickets to People Talking and Singing? Hey, I have tickets to People Talking and Singing! Let's BOTH WEAR SKIRTS!

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

choke collars, shh-ing, and other tails
Thursday, Aug. 17, 2006 | link

Moving in with Marco and his dog has meant that now, zap, I'm an instant dog owner. And since I've never had a dog before, not even when I was a kid, the sudden upgrade has left me feeling a little helpless. Like when I'm walking Piggy, and she meets a dog that she for some reason HATE-HATE-HATEs with the heat of a thousand hot lavas, and she hurls herself at the offending animal while unleashing a bowel-loosening crazy train of "ai, ai, ai" screams, apparently it's not enough to stutter "n-n-noo" and tug wanly at her leash. Clearly there is some sort of authority that needs to be exerted, some line drawn deeply into the sand, but the new-to-me blend of public dog embarrassment + futility just unhinges me.

So I joined Urbanhound, a resource site for city dog owners, currently concentrating on SF, Chicago, and NY -- my smart and pretty friend Laura writes for the site, which is why you should join the site, too, and get in on that be-Laura-ed newsletter! I also started watching Cesar Millan, aka The Dog Whisperer, he of the balls-out big-wheel Land Roller blades and the magic "ssshh!" capable of reining in/over all dogs. Marco, however, can not stand the sound Cesar's voice, so I've taken to Tivoing TDW and watching it during the day when Marco's not home, which has paved the way for some disturbingly long marathon Cesar sessions; if you threw a penny down into the crevasse that is my capacity for watching televised dog training, you would still be waiting for the sound of it hitting bottom. Still. Still. Stilllllll-lll-ll-l.

One of Cesar's big not-so-secret secrets is that simply walking the dog on a regular basis curbs many behavioral issues. Not just around the block, though...long, tiring walks, forty minutes minimum per day. This leaves the dog too tired to go crazy, and also it reinforces the status of Owner as Alpha Dog. Which makes sense. I can do that! So that's one thing: Piggy and I have been going for long, sweaty walks every day. One, sometimes two hours (the fact that I keep getting fantastically lost helps prolong things even more). And it seems to be doing good things for her nerves; at least she appears to have taken it down a few notches from her constant state of RED ALERT. (Evany: "I don't know, maybe the Pig is depressed? She's just lying there." Marco: "No, I think we've just never actually seen her tired out before.") Plus I suspect the walking might also be good for me and my ever-thickening layer of breakfast-brown fat, the result of weeks and weeks and also years of fried road foods, yeah.

So the walking is AWESOME cardio, and I've browned up a nice farmer's tan. I've also been Cesar "shhhh"ing all over the place. It's super satisfying and empowering, the "admonishment shhh," and once you start using it, it's hard to stop. I even caught myself shhh-ing at a girl who got between me and a really cute firework-splattered kimono top at For(N)ever Twenty-One (Not Ever Again). Though, thankfully, I'm almost sure my shhh-ziness got lost in the mind-scattering blast of neo new wave reheated Sparks that they pump around the clock at that store. (I am very old.)

Unfortunately Piggy is a huge leash-tugger, and all the walking was causing my leash-holding hand to blister in unpleasant ways. So I went to the pet store and, per the recommendation of one of the employees (whose voice Marco also couldn't stand ... Marco may be going crazy? More damning evidence: in the past month, his one surfboard has somehow given immaculate birth to three additional surf boards, all four of which are all stacked out on the landing?), I bought a choke chain.

The first time I tried the choke chain on Piggy, using that corrective "pop" (a fast tug and release), she gave a small, little yelp, and I almost threw up. And then I started to cry. Which was when I finally learned that I don't really like inflicting pain on innocent animals. Especially animals that I, apparently, am now deeply in love with. PIGGY!

So the scene is this: I'm walking the streets of Oakland, weeping, with a little brown dog at my side, and of course I am also wearing a really weird outfit, with my rolling black orthopedic Masai barefoot technology shoes, drier-tightened sweats, and belly-revealing Neckfire tee, plus orange rain hat. It is, at first glance, the picture of a woman having a very particular strain of breakdown. But then, what? Piggy stops with the pulling! After that one yelp, she settles right in to walking calmly at my side. As in, choke chains really work! But still, all the not-pulling in the world wasn't worth all the queasy I was feeling. So I raced over to the internet for some guidance, and I immediately found a million militant anti-choke chain sites. And then I found all these people who instead recommend the "pinch collar," that scary, medieval ring of prongs? I guess the prongs mimic the gentle, guiding nip of a mother dog, versus violently puncturing the dog's neck like I've always suspected. Nonetheless, they still make me feel a little woozy, plus they seem like a big, flowery invitation for exhausting Berkeley types to come a-tsking.

So I took Piggy down to a (different) pet store, and we spent an hour trying out a bunch of different collars. I didn't test the Gentle Leader, which is a huge favorite among many dog owners if my informal polling is any indication, because Marco has already tried it with her, and reportedly it makes her scrape her head along the sidewalk. But I did try out the pinch collar as well as a few different sizes of choke chains, but Piggy responded best to a "European" leash, which is basically the same choke-loop setup but made out of soft, nylon-wrapped rope.

The new leash seems to be working okay, but Piggy still pulls against it when she gets super excited -- squirrels, cats, dogs that reminder her of squirrels and cats -- and then I feel queasy all over again. Anyway. (I just fell asleep typing this, it's all so very boring and boring and boring...I guess my all-consuming obsessions are just as snorable as everyone else's? And no I'm not getting any writing done these days, thank you.) ANYWAY! Caroleen.com has apparently had success with the Sense-ible harness, so I think I'm going totrythatnexttheend.

In other news (not really), Piggy has a new habit of lunging at Marbles the Cat whenever she, the Cat, tries to sharpen her claws on the furniture. Apparently, with all our clapping and yelling at Marbles to stop her from destroying the living room, we've accidentally trained Piggy to become a furniture narc! Which pleases and amazes Marco and me to no end, but leaves Marbles feeling very, very wary.

Up next: my obsession with the MAILBOX!

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

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