Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Witnessed, walking near Telegraph:

Two gutter punks, one male, one female, sitting on the sidewalk and chattering to passersby. A girl dressed in a tiny green ruffled mini-skirt, and tiny green tube top, with matching green peripherals (shoes, etc.), walked by and gave them a cigarette. Immediately afterwards:

Male gutter punk: "That chick scares me."

Female gutter punk: "That's because you're @#$%ing gay!"

Male gutter punk: "No, it's because she's dressed up like @#$#!ing Peter Pan!"

Saturday, June 26, 2004

In many ways, working at a summer camp confronts me with my worst fears. I have hyper-active sheep dog instincts; much to my friends' dismay, I am incapable of travelling with a group of (sane, sensible, adult) people without constantly counting heads, herding people, and worrying about logistics, legality, emotional stability of everyone involved, morality, and myriad other things. This trait is even more pronounced when it comes to caring for children, who, as we all know, are willing to climb high walls, eat toxic flowers, wander into the path of oncoming trucks, maim each-other, develop hurt feelings, and break expensive computer equipment if you so much as take your eyes off of them. So, by the end of the summer, either I will calm down a bit (head counts every two minutes, say, instead of every thirty seconds), or I will have a heart attack.

I actually had a lot of fun with the overnight campers. They were all boys (11-17), and we had many deep and meaningful conversations about ninjas, monkeys, video games, ex-girlfriends (why do 14 year olds have girlfriends, let alone ex-girlfriends?), flatulence, and so forth. Also, they coordinated things so that ten computers in the lab were simultaneously playing badger badger badger. Which makes them all right, in my book.

Written on the bathroom wall of Cafe Strada:

Ronald Raygun
Rest in pieces

Yup, I'm in Berkeley.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Well, I'm off at my exciting summer occupation of teaching kids web design at a technology camp. My job often consists in saying things like:

"I don't really care if you mash all your food in a plastic tumbler. Perhaps you enjoy having your turkey dinner in smoothie form. Fine with me. But the cafeteria lady is looking at us funny. So stop."

"Please stop poking him. He already asked you to stop poking him."

"Don't walk in the street."

"The speed limit for rolling chairs in this computer lab is 3 miles an hour."

"No, you can't put that picture on your web page. We have a strict 'no graphic evisceration' policy at this camp."

Also, while taking the kids to the computer lab for an evening activity, I managed to set off the burglar alarm. Yay me! Now I'm typing this, watching my charges rot their brains with video games, and wondering idly whether the police are going to come.

On the other hand, my new room does have a view of three cities. And, umm, I'm almost half way through Anna Karenina.

I didn't get the job at google (though going in for the interview was fun...lava lamps galore in their offices). Doubtless, this means I am destined for despair and penury, possibly with potato vodka involved.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Two prayer requests (for those among you who are into the whole prayer thing):

First, for the students of Campion College. Campion College is (was, actually) a small Catholic college in San Francisco, started and funded by Fr. Fessio/Guadalupe Associates. A few days ago, the students and faculty were abruptly informed that funding had been cut, and the college would be closing. This leaves the students completely stranded, with no feasible means of attending any college whatever for the fall semester.

Also, Dr. Molly Gustin, a tutor at my alma mater, has been diagnosed with cancer. She is an amazing and brilliant woman (and has perfected intellectual eccentricity as an art form). Please pray that she will be able to continue teaching/torturing young minds for many years to come.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I used to draw everyone who I had a crush on. In days of yore, I would draw their superheroic personas as well (usually involving improbably muscle structure and long, alternatively colored hair...sometimes, I want to go back in time and slap myself upside the head). Anyways. My heart may be lacerated, but at least these, umm, unique creations were inspired thereby.

c'mon, everyone had a crush on Spock! Right? Err. Right?

T.M. was one of the few male adolescents in my homeschooling group. His life ambition was to take over a small country in South America and establish his very own banana republic. I think that's what we talked about, mostly.

A.S. committed vast amounts of Star Trek dialogue to memory, and claimed to be a ninja. We spent a few months having long phone conversations and holding hands at the water slides and suchlike (I was...16?). I think I drew the elf ears at his request. He is now gratifying his ninja fantasies as a member of the U.S. Marines in Iraq.

Swoon. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. So dreamy.

T.M. was a member of my dance class...he was 26 or so, I was 18. We went out for coffee and dinner a few times before I left for college. He seemed genuinely interested in understanding me. Weird.

Freshman year was full of folly. I liked M.W. because he seemed to be one of those nice, normal, responsible guys. As it turns out, I'm totally not their type.

J.C. and I dated for a year, my sophomore/junior year at college. Alas, our respective friends (and family) were completely incompatible, our views on religion diverged incredibly (I'm more of the "c'mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another" kind of Catholic, he was more the rad-trad "Everything that has happened since 1950 is EVIL! Tridentine Mass 4ever!" type), and at one point, during a tedious political argument, he threatened to replace my photograph on his wall with one of George W. Bush. It was never meant to be.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Songs To Wear Pants To!

As opposed to the heathen, pantless songs produced by post-industrial glockenspiel nu wave what have yous.

got rice, bitch?

I sometimes get the sneaking suspicion that I will never be a grownup. I never really feel confident, or comfortable, in my adult-type activities. Paying bills feels like playing 'house.' I find myself on the verge of giggling during job interviews. I hand my driver's license to the grocery store clerk and feel as if I'm getting away with something when they let me buy beer. Dress shoes hurt my feet. Phone and insurance companies confound me; my current thesis concerning them is that such institutions exist in order to relieve you of money, large sums thereof, mostly at random (having this happen to you is just part and parcel of the Grownup Game...sort of like drawing a penalty card in Monopoly). The purpose and modus operandi of the DMV is similarly inexplicable. Politics seems to me like a farce, and the people who have anything emotionally invested in either the Democratic or Republican party are equivalent, in my mind, to partisans of American Idol participants. My past and future reside in strings of numbers kept in computer systems of dubious security and nebulous location. I have just created an IRA account, but I do not even have the foggiest notion of how the stock market works.

Because I am a clever lass, I can survive in this world; I cannot synthesize or understand it. I wish that I did not have to. I had rather hoped that adulthood would consist of quests and adventures, perils surmounted and companions rescued, civilizations founded and monuments rebuilt. The actual, mundane activities which accompany adult existence in the 21st century are more reminiscent of a surreal maze created by evil magicians.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Oh yeah. Power Tool Drag Races. Saturday and Sunday in SF.

Adventures in Tech Support:

my mom: I think I reversed the polarity on my email account.
me: Hunh?!
my mom: You know, when you push the button and...?
me: No...no, I don't know...

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I would like a boyfriend for purely utilitarian purposes. No, no, not like that...I just need someone large and imposing to follow me around so I can use public transit to do late night things in San Francisco. Such as the 6th Annual Zeitgeist Film Festival. And the Laughing Squid 8.5 Year Anniversary Show.

Or maybe I just want to be large and imposing myself. Either way.

I'm friends with the President / I'm friends with the Pope / we're all making fortunes / selling daddy's dope

There is probably a name for this fallacy, but I am too lazy to look it up. But y'know what irritates me? When pundits (political or otherwise) try to refute an opposing view by pointing to a stupid person who holds that position and then saying "Ha! See! That person holds the position stupidly! Therefore the position is itself stupid!"

Obviously, this manner of refutation is invalid, since any opinion, no matter how true, will probably have a multitude of idiotic adherents. Tell me your most deeply cherished views, and I'll show you a stupid person who agrees with you...

Sunday, June 06, 2004

"What if truth were a woman? What then?" - Nietzche

Who is a punk rock philosopher?

A punk rock philosopher does not consider philosophy to be the job of professional philosophers. Philosophy, the pursuit of wisdom, is the right and proper activity of all men, and ought to be reclaimed as such. A punk rock philosopher does not need a degree in punk rock philosophy. Many social/political/economic structures and systems have a vested interest in preventing you from living life as the philosopher should; a punk rock philosopher may need to side-step or subvert these systems. A punk rock philosopher is angered by bullshit, doublespeak, and obfuscation. A punk rock philosopher is loud about things worth getting loud about. A punk rock philosopher is never certain, and never smug. A punk rock philosopher treats previous bodies of thought as edifices to be questioned, explored, and possibly rejected. A punk rock philosopher seeks to expand and build upon the work of previous philosophers, and render their thoughts vibrant and dynamic. A punk rock philosopher seeks truth and beauty in all things, and does not need a government grant or public approval in order to do so.

What are a few tenets used by the punk rock philosopher?

  • You must Do It Yourself.

  • Truth is not yours until you have fought for it.

  • The materials you need are free.

  • Stagnation of thought is the death of philosophy.

  • Life is too short to be boring.

Obviously, this treatment of philosophers/philosophizing/punk rock is over-simplified, and thus potentially false, especially when taken to the logical extreme. Read this as the wise man would. Nyah.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Listening to: The Magnetic Fields, Come Back from San Francisco
You need me like the wind needs the trees / to blow in / like the moon needs poetry / you need me

I would like to build a hovercraft. These devices are harmless and present no health risk; also, they are capable of lifting several adults. Could someone please donate a shopvac to this noble cause? Or perhaps the (optional) lawn chair?

Speaking of geek-type occupations: I have an interview with Google next week. I kid you not. I could not be more excited. I am positively becoming un-housetrained with the excitement of it all. Google. Is. The. Internet. Also, their offices are littered with bouncy balls! How much closer to heaven could a corporation possibly approach?!

On the other hand, I've been offered a job teaching Physics, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus at the high school level down in San Diego. I could take the job, and then build my hoovercraft using school funds, on the pretext that it will edumacate my eager young physicists...

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

"What is your target job title?"

Thus asks a resume warehousing site of gargantuan proportions and dubious efficacy.

Well, right now I am a Shoulder to Cry On, who occasionally doubles as a Haver of Nervous Breakdowns and Drunken Tantrums. I am a Reckless Worrier. Heh. Get it? Reckless WORRIER...eh...moving on then. I can be an Analyst and Critic more easily than a Creator or Artist, but I have a soft spot for Idealists and Dreamers. I am a Teacher. My Students enrich my life and break my heart. I am a Writer. I am a Catholic, and a Potential Saint (which makes me an Actual Sinner). I am a Lover of Wisdom, and a Hater of Politics. I am a Dancer. I am a Seeker of Beauty. I am an Aimless Wanderer. Some works of art make me wish I was an Artist, but nothing I create ever seems to encapsulate the amalgamum of concepts and emotions I was trying to convey. So I'm an Art Groupie instead. I am an Armchair Scientist. I am a Researcher of Memes, a vaguely knowledgable Computer Geek, and a peripheral member of the Technorati. I am an Observer of Humanity. I am a Loner. I am a Friend, a Sister, a Daughter. I am a Babysitter, a Chef, and a Maid.

I want to be an Illuminator of the Universe. I want to be a Collector of Marvelous Souls. I want to be a Gardener, a Poet, and a practicioner of Aikido. I want to be an Illustrator of Comic Books. I want to be a Librarian of Obscure Tomes, a Caretaker of Vast Zoological Grounds, and the Curator of Multitudinous Steam Powered Widgets. I want to be the World's Foremost Expert on Raising Tree Frogs, and the Lead Guitarist in a Shitty Punk Band. I want to be an Ocean of Tranquility, a Zen Potato, and an Unlikely Hero. I want to be a Saint, a Solver of Problems, and a Wifely Mother type.

I think I'll put down "Administrative Assistant."