Friday, October 31, 2008

58 percent fun, and falling fast.

What is happening? I used to be so FUN! And now it is HALLOWEEN, my fourth favorite holiday (which as holidays go is pretty damn good. It is preceded, by the way, by Groundhog's Day, the 4th of July, and Valentine's Day, respectively. Which will merit further discussion on another day). And I am just lying in bed, having spent the afternoon cleaning the kitchen, blog-browsing, and reading comic books. AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT of comic books (graphic novels, really). Four graphic novels. In one day. And it's not like they were short little smarmy ones, either. Those were investments, let me tell you.

Yesterday I took the day off. Had sushi with Joe and we went to the BIG book sale in Kenner. After robbing them of some amazing, amazing treasures (first edition of Audubon illustrations for 50 cents?) we sat on the boat ramp to Lake Pontchartrain. It was 72 degrees, the sun was shining, there were... birds. It reminded me of driving out to the lake in Walla Walla and feeling relatively content. But that was then and this time something was unsettling... or maybe just, as hopelessly cliche as it is, unfamiliar. Sidenote: how has NO ONE (including the desperately cultured Joe Stadolnik) heard the Hulkamaniac rap? It's a sick, sad world. Daria was right all along.

After two weeks of quitting, I'm smoking again. I don't understand the sudden lurch in funness. Despite my best efforts I've been inexplicably not-fun for days now. Glum, cat-happy, unproductive. A bit lost.

These mood swings are utterly baffling. I am not menopausal or premenstrual, so rule the hormones out. Maybe I'm just lonely.

My sister sent me a letter today that made me feel so sharply human that it made me cry in that way that we like to cry. And then I was like, "Screw this. They need teachers in Colorado Springs, right?"

Today at school some kids got in a "gang fight" and were stapling each others' skulls so the police officer sprayed us all with pepper spray or mace or something. IT WAS SO INCREDIBLY PAINFUL for the REST of the day. In high school when I got sprayed it wasn't this bad. Then we were on lockdown like prisoners until everyone got to leave at 3. We all started to go crazy, no matter how many B-movies teachers had on file for just such an occasion. I dressed like Madeline. Big hit. Even when the kids didn't recognize the character, they recognized that my coat was made out of bright blue felt and they thought that was neat.

That's a picture of Avery playing Connect Four. Which is all he did all day. But let me tell YOU: that kid is GOOD at Connect Four. He is also the funniest person in the universe, and he knows it. I wish I could just video tape him existing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

65 percent fun.

I'm taking the day off. I felt like I needed to because I was freaking the fuck out last night and crying like crazy and being really unattractive but now I feel incredibly, incredibly guilty about it. Maybe I should go to school right now. It's not too late, after all.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

72 percent fun!

Real talk: I have found the cure to EVERYTHING.

Go to dinner at a top Zagat rated Tunisian restaurant where the tablecloths are linen and the owner serves you himself and the food tastes like butter made by GOD HIMSELF. And then eat there for three hours and order dessert. And have good company. And then you'll feel better. Seriously: I was feeling defeated at my job, miserable in my personal life, deeply unfun, and actually a little physically ill. Now I feel like Atlas. Also I'm really full and I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Also I have a fairly seriously question:
I have this bumper sticker on my car (see below and to the right). I love it, but some of my students saw me driving and they made this face that kind of said, "That's really funny but we think that is kind of inappropriate and might get you fired." Should I take this off my car in favor of something less offensive such as "I love kittens and peace"? Because I also have that bumper sticker lying around...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

71 percent fun.

On the plus side: The pumpkin party was an enormous success. The weather was EXACTLY PERFECT -- 75 degrees, blue skies, but somehow still crisp. I made the apple cider from scratch for the first time and it was good (good not great, but what are you going to do for your first time?) and the cookie decorating portion of the party rivaled the cookie decorating parties of my mother's infamy when I was in the 4th grade. PLUS there was a parade that passed by our house (FUN!) and I'm totally losing weight (FUN!) and Leah brought her five-week old kitten named Sal (FUN FUN FUN!)

But on the minus side, I had a for-serious breakdown and a "what-is-it-all-for" moment which reminded me terribly of high school episodes. I thought I was so over the whiny my-life-is-an-underground-cesspool-of-doom phase, but apparently not. I don't think cesspool is a word. Doesn't it sound like a word?

Other words that are not real words but sound like they should be real words:

Words that are obviously fake:

Words that really sound like they should not be words but somehow made it into someone's vernacular at some point:

This is an interesting article about words which are not real words.

Excuse me while I crawl into my little hole to sulk my migraine away. Pathetic.

71 percent fun!

Yesterday I actually spent eight hours in line just to VOTE EARLY. It was kind of cool -- hundreds of people waiting in line a full week before election day just to do their civic duty, giving up their Saturdays, you know -- but on the other hand, I had to give up my Saturday. And I had plans, let me tell you. There were like ten festivals I wanted to go to. And I didn't get to go to them. I sat at City Hall. For 8 hours.

But I was fun as possible at City Hall:
  • When we all got shoved into the back room for "phase 3" of waiting I started a sing-along of T.I.'s "Whatever You Like." And people TOTALLY participated.
  • I met six people. One had spent several years in Tanzania volunteering, and one claimed to make the greatest sweet tea in all of Louisiana and said I could come over and have some.
  • I made a collage using chewed gum and various How-To-Run-From-Hurricanes packets and pamphlets
  • I bought three packs of Lifesavers from the vending machine and taught the little girl behind me how to play Lifesaver Solitaire. Then we ate them. And her dad thought that was gross and she wasn't allowed to hang out with me anymore. Which was too bad for him because we were stuck in line together for eight hours.
  • I read the entirety of Scott Pilgrim Volume II. This is my new favorite comic book. Thanks Nadim!
  • Beat ALL HIGH SCORES on cell phone Bejeweled!
Other weekend highlights:
  • Ran into Weezy (plus body guards) on Magazine. No big thang. HE COMPLIMENTED MY BELT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!! Whatever. Happens to everyone.
  • TV on the Radio
  • Saw Assassins at the little theatre in the French Quarter.
  • Aidan had his first beigniet. BFD.
  • Lasagna and gin and tonics at Leah's where we played Clue.
  • I finally watched Camp Rock. And then I puked all over myself.
TODAY is the PUMPKIN PARTY. My favorite day of the ENTIRE YEAR. Besides the day in the spring when it has been raining all week and all the flowers bloom and then FOR ONE DAY it is sunny and beautiful and I skip school. But pumpkin party day is definitely number two. My parents used to throw the best Halloween parties every year. Now a good pumpkin party co-thrower is my only prerequisite for marriage. Good partnership in crime is also favorable. Also good hair. And good-smelling deodorant. And a general liking of dogs, Star Wars, comic books, and the NBA. I guess I'm pickier than I thought.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

69 percent fun!

Besides being beaten up by a student, today was good.

I take it back. Today was not good. This evening was fantastic, though. ToDAY, I lost a lot of blood because I got in the middle of a fight; someone set the basement of the school on fire and the firetrucks had to come; and one of our students is wanted for murder. All in a day's work.

This evening, though, I went to the Ogden Museum After Hours (thanks, Andrew), and it was all I could have hoped for and more. The new exhibits were asphyxiating, particularly the work by Douglas Bourgeois (I wrote in my notebook, so as not to forget what stuck out to me: "women; birds; people in varying stages of despair, displacement, contemplation, isolated bliss. Brand names and '50s sensibility. Race, religion, modernity, pop culture.") My favorite was a piece called "Sanctuary" which featured a black man surrounded by Lucky Strikes, electrical outlets, and gorgeously intricate birds. The pieces were intimate and haunting; they are painstakingly crafted and cathartic to look at. I was standing in front of a portrait of a queenlike woman surrounded by birds' heads, moved almost to tears, when I realized that the other man standing in the gallery was THE ARTIST HIMSELF. So of course I talked to him for some time, recommending him all the Daniel Clowes books I could think of...

I colored at the kids' table and drank Abita Amber on an empty stomach. Then I think I hit on the security guard accidentally.

I know it's been said by everyone who's anyone, but TV on the Radio's new album is perfect, and I've also lately been wrapped up in M83's new one. Listening to these as loud as possible on the streetcar I closed my eyes and thought about the scene from the smoking roof at the Ogden: birds spilling out like paper confetti to a fan across a sky colored like a cocktail and an aging silo labeled "Cotton Mill."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

68 percent fun!

I went to the unutterably perfect mansion-turned-into-a-public-library public library today. Wandered for three hours, reading, sitting, listening.

Shoved into the back of a bookcase-ala-fireplace I found a compilation titled simply "1000 Beautiful Things," published in 1947 and full of the (somewhat boring) editor's favorite quotes, plays, poems, and short stories. And right in the middle, the most breathtaking, heartbreaking, faultless Carl Sandburg piece I've ever read. We all knew he had a soft side:

Under the harvest moon
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.
Under the summer roses,
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories
And asks you
Beautiful unanswerable questions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

67 percent fun!

I am happy and alone and the world feels full of potential. I have gotten into the habit of reading a book about every two days, and I have fallen hopelessly in love with reading again. I have favorite jazz spots now because I have been to so many. I have favorite restaurants, I have favorite bike routes.

And today I did the thing that was perhaps MOST long overdue of anything in the universe: I went to the public library.

The New Orleans Public Library (the main branch) is like a time capsule. I was hypnotized from the start, obviously, but will spare you most of the details (a tiny red book from 1903 called "The Marvellous Genius Works of Comedy of Our Time," toddlers chanting "Namasde" with an octogenarian yoga instructor in the children's wing, dozens of members of FEMA [three years after the fact] set up in the main room to talk to homeowners about options, etc. etc. etc.) I do, however, have to elaborate a little on the third floor. I fell head over heels for the third floor -- a veritable museum of Louisiana annals. There were ancient phonebooks, every newspaper available on microfilm, and best of all a secret exhibit called "Unknown New Orleanians" featuring early, early mugshots of beautiful men and women from the turn of the century, arrested for being "highly suspicious," mostly.

"Old" in the South is not what we think of as "old" in the Pacific Northwest. I used to be startled to find anything from before 1900 -- even when I was digging for it -- in libraries on the west coast. Here, documents date back until the 1700s, and sometimes even earlier. I just finished a book my mom sent me about the history of New Orleans and its music. Did you know that New Orleans was originally so detestable that the French monarchy couldn't get anyone to move here? So instead they had "forced emigration" and used New Orleans as a place to move prostitutes and crooks against their will. With a history like that, no wonder it has the highest murder rate of any city in the country (the murder count rose to 155 today -- a statistic that climbs daily; such terror in this tiny place).

I'm afraid I've been reading too much collegiate fiction to blog without an annoyingly pretentious tone. It's not my fault -- blame Zora Neale Hurston and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I went out to dinner alone. The waitress acted like she was sorry for me, giving me a free beer with my dinner and giving me affectionate-bordering-on-pitiful pet names like "baby" and "sweetheart." Doesn't she realize how much more fun it is to eat alone? Listening in to other peoples' conversations ("And then I boned her! She was so hot I thought she musta been a hooker once") and watching others move outside the window without ever having to try to be interesting or act interested. It's an indulgent gift from God. Well, the poor waitress didn't know any better.

At one point "Return of the Jedi" was playing on silent at the restaurant while "99 Luft Balloons" blared over it. Ecstasy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

64 percent fun!

Things I saw with some students on our hike today at the Barataria Swamps:

times 12.

I mean, there were about twelve of them. That we saw. Some were chillin' on logs, some were swimmin' around with fish, some were hangin' out like one foot away from our feet off the swamp trail. Students gave them creative names like "Swimmer" (for the swimming one), "Boredalot" (for the boring one on the log), and "Big One" (for the big one).

When I told Marianne we saw an armadillo she said, "Now how is that different from an alligator?" And I said, "Um... it's an armadillo."

Now, I know what you are saying to yourself. You are saying, "Sophie, that is nothing but a common egret. You could see dozens of those at Audubon Park every day." To this I would say, "HA, you birding n00b! That is NO COMMON EGRET!!! It's a WHITE MOTHERFUCKING IBIS."

Friday, October 17, 2008

57 percent fun!

The reason I am so fun tonight is because I went to a party and there was actually a flame thrower there. I person who throws flames. And she was throwing them all OVER the places. She was like a flame throwing, flame eating machine. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but if you look up "fun" in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure there's a photograph of a flame thrower.

Also the party was thrown for this guy who almost won on Jeopardy. And he was there and he talked us through his almost-win and I thought, WOW, I know a guy who was on JEOPARDY; HOW COOL ARE MY FRIENDS?

I finally updated I can't believe it's been a month already... where does the time go?

Finally, shout out to Weird Al Yankovic for releasing this song that is not particularly clever but is astoundingly relevant: (I could only find it on YouTube). I would still totally marry him.

Tomorrow the Jazz Park. And probably some kind of huge purchase, because Saturdays have been like that for me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

54 percent fun!

Wow guys, I am SO MUCH FUN I can't even STAND it.

It's later than I'd like it to be, but I have to wait for these cupcakes to finish baking, so I have exactly that long (probably like ten more minutes) to blog about my terribly exciting and fun life.

We have half-days at school for exam testing, which means all the kids are frantically coming up to the ARC room to get "help" (read: desperately try to cheat) on their tests. I shouldn't say that; it's only true of a few kids, and I actually find it oddly endearing in some ways. In other ways, I find it annoying because it's terribly difficult to provide accommodations for all our students at one time. We do our best.

I stayed way late after school helping prep for the GEE which is a total and complete nightmare, but was good for bonding with Jayda and Kristen and Chelsea and Ms. Holly. Then I rode my bike (with its ADORABLE new handlebars) home and dyed my hair and watched "The X-Files." If I'm going to weigh 9000 pounds I might as well have non-skanky hair, right?

So that was KIND OF fun. Then it seemed like I was probably just going to pass out and not do any fun stuff. But INSTEAD I bought pizza and beer and went to Joe's to watch the Sox game and DIDN'T get drunk (honestly!) and watched the Presidential Roast on NBC and OH MY GOD Barack Obama's speech was funnier, smarter, and quicker than anything I've seen on The Daily Show recently. I was utterly floored. Joe was guffawing with such force I thought he was going to lose a lung or something. It was... phenomenal. Really, really good. Exactly what I needed after those debates last night...

And THEN after THAT (because that really should have been enough, right?) I went to Bourbon Street and stuck to my jazz club word. I visited Fritzels. Fritzels is a German-themed jazz club, and when I say "German-themed" I mean that all the waitresses are vaguely foreign (some are definitely Asian, which is... not really all that close to Germany, but C'est La Vie) and there are lots of German posters on the wall and the club is called "Fritzels." Which sounds a lot like "pretzels." But that didn't really deter me.

I ordered something with Kahlua and milk in it (I've never had a cocktail like that before -- it was fine but not great and I'm sticking to whiskey from now on; I'm just not a sweet drinker), and I read my book amidst all the aging, white tourists who were there to get a sense of New Orleanian jazz flavor. And they got it: The band was classy and they played mostly Dixieland-type numbers. I was especially in love with the trombonist and the trumpet player (mostly because they used mutes a lot, and I think mutes on brass instruments are about the sexiest thing in the known universe), but the tuba player was also really spectacular. It was a straight-up, good band. And no cover! All the little old ladies with their Mardi Gras beads in the audience looked so HAPPY, too. And that was really moving to me for some reason. I sketched them in my notebook...

One of these days I'll put up some pictures, but for now I have to take out my cupcakes and call it a night. Call me one of these days, okay? Despite my funness I'm kind of lonely.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

50 percent fun.

I know, I know. We were making such gains. But I didn't go to a jazz club tonight in favor of watching the debates and thinking about how fat I am, and that was an unfun choice. They were the least fun debates of all tonight, even though Barack Obama was clearly the victor (ahhh-gain), because McCain directly attacked Obama's character and that made me feel icky. You know, like when a mean bully fat kid picks on the angelic teacher who calls him out on his mean-bully ways. McCain looks like an old, disgruntled oompa loompa. Un. Fun. Coulda skipped it.

All my friends are unhappy. The weather is beginning to turn. My job suddenly got really, really hard.

But that didn't stop me from finding a warblers' nest by the dumpster near Rabouin, or from getting my car towed finally, or from enjoying the crunching sound of emptying my Mac-trash. Small pleasures, always.

body issues.

Ohhhh GOD. I got those photos back, and while there are only 3 of me, I look like an enormous elephant-cow-behemoth. My arms are approximately 28 times the width of my face. I look like the Jet Puffed Marshmallow Man, only more pasty and with a shittier haircut.

No one will ever want to kiss me ever again. I am going to get so large I become bitter and I take over of Jabba the Hut (which would actually be cool because I'd get to chill in Star Wars Universe). I'm going to give up teaching because no 20-year-old boy is ever going to be responsive to a non-hot teacher. And that is what I am right now: A non-hot teacher.

Next time will someone TELL ME before I begin to look like I weigh 450,000 pounds?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

51 percent fun!

Well ladies and gentlemen (and those who choose not to identify with any gender), I have finally breached the 50 percent mark. I know it was slow going there for a while, but lately things have been on the upswing HARDCORE.

Today was a bad day at school. I missed a lot of the day because I had an emergency and I had to go to the doctor. This was annoying because (1) No one likes to go to the doctor under any circumstances (unless there's a really, really good Treasure Chest AND a really, really good fish tank, and this doctor had NEITHER), and (2) It took forevvvvvveeeer and I missed a seriously, seriously important meeting and got in big big trouble and felt really really shitty.

On the other hand, I took the opportunity of missing school to mail some big packages to my sister and to (finally) turn in my film to get developed and to listen to this NPR story about coupon-clipping. This story made me decide that my life is seriously, seriously missing a coupon drawer. The woman in this story saved like $8000 last year just by using coupons! I mean, she went to Walgreens and got $50 worth of groceries for $3.92! WOW! How am I not a coupon-clipper yet? It seems like such an obsessive adventurous thing to do. And I am both obsessive and adventurous. So anyway, I'm going to start cutting out coupons. BONUS: I LOVE cutting shit out.

But then during 5th period I had this great math activity for Casey, and he had been largely ignored for the whole day, so this was going to be great for both of us, and this teacher told me that he needed me to watch over his class for five minutes and then it took him AN HOUR AND A HALF. After an hour and a half of feeling like a useless, ineffective prison guard parading around the set of High School High, I went back into the ARC room and SCREAMED. And that felt okay.

Then I talked to Kate Rosenberg on the phone and remembered how many people in the world I really, deeply admire and love: about 14. And she's definitely one of them. So that was a nice surprise, since the last time we talked was over syrupy muffin things in Walla Walla the day before graduation.

The best part of my day, however, was when I picked my butt up and drove out to Frenchman Street and went to NOT ONE but TWO jazz clubs (see? I told you I would do this. It is solely because I promised you I would. Otherwise I might have just chilled in bed watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother. Again.). They were both great, and I strongly, strongly recommend going to jazz clubs on Tuesday nights all by yourself. A rundown:

  • The Spotted Cat is everyone's favorite club here. I meant to take Alex when he visited, but we were Gustaved out and never got to go. It's really tiny and there are wicker chairs set up near the stage and everything feels very hole-in-the-wall-in-a-really-good-way-ey. Tonight it was an erratic Louis Armstrong impersonator and his back-up band, and they played short little standards. I teared up for "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?" (quickly and quietly becoming my favorite song). The pianist's (very old) parents were in the audience, and they were totally into it. Outside, octogenarians lounged in lawn chairs and drank Bud Lite and gazed in.
  • Snug Harbor cost $15 to go in, but I paid it and stayed an hour and a half. It was an enormous jazz pianist and his bassist and drummer. They were deeply classy. Tuxedos; lots of swaying motions; gorgeous, full-bodied instruments. The songs were lush and long; from an elegiac meditation on the standard "Moonlighting" to several rambling-but-hypnotic originals by members of the trio. I felt sleepy and happy and I wrote long poems in my tiny notebook. Well worth it to feel hidden and safe and in some ways the most at home I've felt in months.
I am not sure what's on the docket for tomorrow. I might try Preservation Hall, because I figure a weeknight is the best time to try to beat those crowds, and I know I have to go there. I'm sure there are also clubs Uptown I can try. The LiveWire music calendar has listings for every place, and I LOOOOOVE that there are DOZENS of local jazz musicians playing every night. It's like New Orleans never got the memo that the jazz era passed. I love it.

So I'm blissful and ready for tomorrow. Hump Day. I've been reading so many good books lately, it feels like time is just disappearing...

On a non-jazz-related note (HA! NOTE!) I like this song by Matthew Shelton about women and kitties: Matthew Shelton - Women and Kitties

Monday, October 13, 2008

48 percent fun.

They should wrote pop songs about Mondays sucking. Oh wait. They do.

You know, I used to be a huge proponent of Mondays. You wake up all rested from the weekend, with a lot of rest and time to flatten your hair... it was the best of all days.

Then I moved to 18-hour-Mondays New Orleans and now I feel drained and empty, like on all Mondays. At least I cleaned the stove.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

49 percent fun!

This morning I felt the weight of Sunday like crazy. I don't think this has ever not happened. I wake up and it's late in the day already and I feel a little like going back to sleep and the imminence of the week hangs in the air. Puke.

But you know, I got myself out of bed and I finally went to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

No one at the museum was pleasant or kind, and the place was completely deserted. The admission was too high and the air conditioning was too high, too. But regardless, I think it was the best museum experience I have ever had.

The museum is amazing. It charts the history of this city in big oil portraits and photographs and tiny, tinny sculptures. The two absolute highlights:

1. A book called Missing New Orleans that the museum put out last year. It's like an old photo album that traces all the coolest things that ever happened in New Orleans. There are all kinds of artifacts featured inside, from whore houses (a photo of The Blue Book -- a directory of all the prostitutes in the city at the time) to amusement parks to pools the size of parking lots to jazz centers. Everything, even the pharmacies and streetcars -- seemed to have been built as lavishly and beautifully and opulently as possible. I looked through this book for two and a half hours, always looking for the reasons why the breathtaking beaches and carnivals and clubs had been shut down, but finding only dates ("The soda fountain closed its doors for good in 1983," etc.). And then, at the very end of the book, in crushing minimalism, there are pages and pages of pictures of the destruction of New Orleans during Katrina. And I'd seen those pictures before, of course. But something about spending so much time looking through pages documenting how unique and tremendously interesting this city was, and then looking at how it was all wiped away in one fell swoop... I know it sounds like an overstatement, but I understood the tragedy of it all in a way I hadn't before..

2. An exhibit by a photographer named Sally Mann. I won't go into it because the several times I've tried to describe this exhibit to friends today (it is called "What Remains," and features life-scale photographs alongside excerpts of poetry and prose) they kind of crinkled their noses, so I suppose you had to be there. But for the first time in my museum-going life, I found myself crying in the middle of the museum... completely fallen into the work, totally given up. Mann wrote on the last wall, "I look at death as a springboard for appreciating life," and I liked that. I hope to someday be so strong.

Then I was filled with this need to create; to do more with my small life. Museums generally make me feel like that; like there are endless possibilities and unopened doors all around me. I rode the train home and their was a carnival and music and the sky started to clear and I felt my whole afternoon open up with potential...

And then I went to Wal-Mart.

It wasn't even an innocent trip to Wal-Mart. It was, like, a three-hour, $200, massive Wal-Mart trip. It needed to happen, and I went in with a list, which is what you need to do when you need to go to Wal-Mart, but it still made me feel sick to my stomach.

At least I bought the screws I needed to fasten the basket to my bike and hang up my "curtains" (YES! I've installed CURTAINS! Check. By "curtains," I mean I put up the curtain rod and hung my rainbow wardrobe up over my windows. Now my room feels much more my own). I also have a bird feeder, and my cat has a lot more unnecessary cat things. He is so fucking spoiled.

I do have a lot of energy for the week. I am planning on going to a different jazz club every night this week. I realized I moved to New Orleans at least in part for the jazz music and I've only really appreciated it in passing, and in re-watching Ken Burns' documentary 10 or 12 times (which I could have done in Portland, thankyouverymuch). So with my newfound VOLVO, I'm going to go to a different club every night. Maybe not tomorrow night, because I have to work until 9. But definitely starting Tuesday.

That's a very, very big goal. But now that I've blogged about it I'll have to do it.

I went to the Hare Krishna free vegetarian dinner and found all the crazy activist twentysomethings in the whole city there. It was an easy group to assimilate with. I felt somewhat at home, and kind of like I was fooling myself. Who knows where I belong.

Mondays are the worst, obviously. But I DID buy a new Dinosaur coloring book for Avery and some cool full-color letter flashcards. So there is a good chance tomorrow could be something like successful.

48 percent fun!

You know, it wasn't like it was all that exceptional a day. The sky was bordering-on-cloudy all day, and there were a lot of tourists passing through my day, and Satchmo has been going crazy with his need to chirp at me CONSTANTLY. It wasn't exceptional save one exceptional thing:

I bought a car.

It's perfect. It's clean inside and leathery the way Daryl was and it smells like crayons like Daryl and it has A CD PLAYER (!!!), and really nice speakers and the cup holders aren't broken and it only has 70,000 miles on it so far and everything WORKS. And it's a Volvo. I feel like I've been sleeping with someone I never really loved; someone I was just doing mindlessly because I thought I was supposed to. And sure, he seemed okay, but my heart was never in it, and I felt dirty and wanted to take a long shower and cry the morning after. But now I feel like I've climbed back into bed with the person I truly belong with. Oh new Volvo! You give me the feeling of having perpetually warm and delicious cupcakes neverendingly available for my consumption! You make me feel right and safe, and it's not just because of your dual airbags or Best Safety Rating awards. It's deeper between you and me, Volvo. Our souls are kindred. Who knew a car could be so much a part of one's being?

The only name that is really clicking for me with this car is "Carol." I only know one Carol, and she is actually the best person I've ever met (genuinely good, kind, compassionate, you get the picture). She's Alex's mom, though, and I'm worried that naming my car after her might make it weird if I ever crashed. I mean... will I always be attaching this car to this woman? I don't know. I named my bike Kim, and I knew that a lot of that had to do with the fact that the bike reminds me a lot of my best friend Kim from Chicago. And I crashed the bike and I didn't feel like Kim in Chicago had some kind of VooDoo attachment to that collision. Still... I don't know. But look at that car. Doesn't that car just kind of look like a Carol? Well, I'm not writing it in ink just yet. We'll give it some time. The Volvo and I are just getting to know each other.

Man. Just seeing the word "Volvo" makes me gleeful... Am I a soccer mom already?

Other highlights of my day:
- Met Marianne's David. He's like a more cynical, vastly more male version of Marianne. They're really cute together, and entertaining. Their little arguments are fodder for some high-end playwright, I'm sure. It's all terribly intelligent and amusing. You know what I mean. They're the kind of people you like to watch talk to each other.
- Went to the French Quarter and ate Beignets and thought actively about how perfect this city is. Again. I fall more and more in love with New Orleans every day. I think I'm doomed to love whatever place I am in. This country is amazing to me. I find home everywhere I go, it seems.
- Wandered around the Marigny alone. Tried on dresses. Drank coffee.
- Discovered the greatest coffee shop in the city. It's called Zotz and I think it's a shotgun house converted by artists into a Portland-indie coffee space. THEY HAVE VEGAN THINGS THERE, AND THEY CALL THEM "VEGAN." This is startling because I have literally never heard another person in New Orleans utter or even understand the meaning of the word. It was like I was momentarily transported to the Pacific Northwest for like an hour and half.
- Went to the New Orleans Film Festival with Leah, Hannah, Hannah's parents, and a beautiful woman named Shaneka (sp?). We saw "In Search of a Midnight Kiss." It was about finding love on Craigslist. It was a total candy-emo dramedy type movie. Kind of like... "Garden State" meets "Coffee and Cigarettes" but with more montages and more kissing and kind of a little bit funnier at times and a little more honest at times. And at times it was a lot cheesier and there was even a part where the lead girl in the movie (not pretty enough, not likable enough) was telling the lead male in the movie (Conor Oberst much?) about PostSecret as if it was the obscure modern art project that was soooo cool and indie and underground. And that was kind of sickening. She was all like, "there's this artist who asked all these people to write their secrets on these postcards and blahbalhblahblahbl." And he was all like, "Oh my GOD! That's so COOL! How UNIQUE! I have NEVER HEARD OF THIS PROJECT!" And we moviegoers were all like, "Um, you mean PostSecret?" Anyway, it was a B-Movie. But it was still really fun. And I cried one time.
- Went to Steph Berger's birthday party and was reminded about all the people here who I know but never see. She played "All I Want for Christmas Is You." That ruled.
- Washington Square Park in the evening with David, Marianne, Joe. Was invited into The Clubhouse (under the palm tree in the park) by The Most Adorable Six-Year-Old There Has Ever Been, Seriously. That was lovely.
- Watched "Matilda" and ate pizza.

It was a pretty productive day. I got locked out of the house and realized tomorrow I'm going to need to do things like "make keys" and "process worklike documents." Oh well. I'm also going to sleep in, so all will not be lost.

Friday, October 10, 2008

today doesn't count.

Today was a total throwaway shitty day. I'm going to bed. I've always been successful with Saturdays so we'll have to see.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

45 percent fun!

Joe called after school and THANK GOD because I decided to walk to his house in the Marigny, which was like a three-mile walk down Bourbon Street. !!!!!!!!!. How did I not know that Bourbon Street is amazing and weird and wonderful? I mean, I get it, it's all a tourist hoax, but who CARES!? Everyone is drinking in the street and there is live music in LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE BUILDING you pass by, and a high school band was playing in the street, with all the girls dressed in gold jumpsuits dancing, and everyone was wearing costumes or face paint and all the tourists seemed SO HAPPY! I loved it. I know I'm not supposed to have loved it, but I totally loved it. I wanted to go into the sports bars and watch the Dodgers game. I REALLY wanted to sing Karaoke. I kind of wanted to take off all my clothes and get on stilts.

But instead we went to the Nighthawks restaurant in the Marigny and talked about Muppets. Did you think "Follow that Bird" was a truly disturbing movie? I didn't, but Joe did. Other films discussed and their premises:
1. We're Back (A good-hearted scientist grants the wishes of virtually all the children on earth by bringing back dinosaurs and turning them friendly and there is an evil circus man and they defeat him and it is awesome).
2. Muppets in Space (Gonzo wonders what he is exactly and channels some aliens but then he gets kidnapped and they have to rescue him but it is still awesome).
3. All the other Muppet Movies (usually Kermit is the hero).
4. Muppet Christmas Carol (It's the Christmas Carol, but it is with Muppets, and it is awesome).

We also talked about MythBusters. I think MythBusters is my absolute favorite show. Or How I Met Your Mother. And now I'm watching MythBusters forever on SurfTheChannel and I probably won't ever stop.

I did a lot of other fun things after school. One of the main things I did was that I did not cry. And it was a really, really hard day at school. It was one of those hit-your-head-against-the-wall kinds of days; the defeated kind; the kind of day where you desperately want to quit. And I even fell down a whole flight of stairs. Still: No tears.

Another main thing I did today was caught a gecko.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

41 percent fun.

Wow, today I was absolutely no fun. I finished a book, rode the streetcar to work, did some work-related work, worked more at home, thought a bit about work, talked about work, GChatted a little about work, and called my grandmother.

Pathetic. Tomorrow I'm going to get my disposable camera developed, pick up my prescription, and ride my bike to Audubon Park. I know, I know: I totaled my bike last week. But I fixed it today after school. By pushing the handlebars really hard with arms and body. Because I'm Thor.

I guess we all need lazy days. At least Marianne and I solved the Wednesday New York Times crossword in less than half an hour.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

45 percent fun!

I have been having so much fun I haven't had time to blog about it! That's the true mark of a fun-haver, isn't it?

Before I launch into an egocentric discussion of how much fun I am, can we just briefly talk about how much Obama fucking pwned in that debate? Because... it was a massacre. If you haven't been, you need to watch CNN for the rest of the debates, because they have this panel of undecided Ohio voters who have these little dials with which they constantly record how they're feeling during any given moment of debate. And they just kept voting "Obama is making me come 100%" the entire time. And sometimes it was okay if you didn't understand what the candidates were saying about Putin because the undecided voters were twisting their little knobs towards Obama like craaazy, and that's all that really mattered in that moment.

I went to Chicago, which was oddly... unsettling. I couldn't put my finger on why, exactly. Walking around Hyde Park by myself was a coffeeshop blend of nostalgic, empty, and wonderful (with maybe a smoky aftertaste).

Alex lives in the apartment I used to live in. I found the silverware with blue handles I bought for my Halloween costume that year (I went as a silverware drawer) and ended up leaving behind; I found the holes in the wall where I hung my DeviantArt-y neon-eclectic acrylic paintings; I found the full-length mirror no one ever bothered to hang up, but in front of which Kim and I took hundreds of vanity photos. All of this was bizarre to me, and I couldn't place what I was feeling. Most of the time I felt annoyingly close to tears, but I'm not sure it was in a bad way.

The nights were good, as they always are in Chicago. We (Nadim, Alex, Kim, plus two, and I) went to the Chicago Diner (where I characteristically dropped $100) and downed SPF-Drunk (lemonade and coconut rum) on Nadim's deck. There were no mosquitoes because in Chicago it is COLD (who knew?), and happy. All I can really say to describe this night is that 1) I learned more about those people during that one dinner than I have ever learned about a group of people during any dinner; and 2) I laughed in a way I had forgotten I knew how to laugh.

Alex took me to Millennium Park, which I had somehow avoided in my entire tenure living in Chicago. MILLENNIUM PARK IS BADASS AND AWESOME AND BADASS AGAIN. And we saw "Nighthawks" together. That was the painting that... well, that painting is the reason Alex and I exist as a pair in any capacity, you know? It's like that hinging factor of our relationship that was too spooky to ignore (it's the one collegiate-cliche poster which has always hung in both our respective bedrooms). Do all the people in the painting know each other? Or not?

Flashback to Thursday. I crashed my bike. You should not be surprised. It was one of those severe bike accidents, where the person is bleeding from his or her head. A man came out of the service station with a dirty napkin to help me clean the blood off my temples and then he said, "Do you want a beer?" And that is when I understood New Orleans.

I guess a San Francisco girl was shot here last week. An activist. It makes us all sad and scared because we can all picture ourselves on her bike. The Murder Blogs here are angry about it, saying we don't care about any of the other dozens of anonymous murders which happen every day to poor, black men. And maybe they're right.

Back in Chicago, Kim and I met a vaguely European 80-year-old man feeding pigeons who were willing to sit on his hands. He didn't speak English, but I said, "I love that you are feeding the birds," and he said, "I love YOU!" and then he showed me with motions how to fill my hands with greasy peanuts to get the pigeons to land on me. It reminded me of London, of course. Walking into Kim's apartment, by the way, was like walking into a part of my heart I have been intentionally ignoring because it's too far away, and too honest.

Today one of my students was arrested. I sat in the thunderstorm with his mom, who was sobbing, telling me he couldn't help it (He hit a cop. Twice.), and we had made so much progress, and she didn't want to lose him, and we had a behavior plan now and EVERYTHING. And I was speechless; I didn't know what to say. I just held her shoulders.

Avery is reading. Really reading. I think it is the proudest he has ever been of an academic achievement. And I don't blame him, because on the scope of great academic achievements in life, "reading" is basically at the top of the list.

I'm weirdly happy to be back in this little city which routinely destroys my vehicles. I like the sticky heat and that everybody at the grocery store wants to talk to you.

I have found a manic peace, as oxymoronic and pretentious as it is. Everything seems to be in steady, forward motion.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

40 percent fun!

I'm going to Chicago tonight where three of my top five favorite people are right now (Alex, Kim, Nadim). Thank GOD.

The piano is saving my life.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

39 percent fun!

It is time for me to go to bed (young lady). Tonight I went to see Okkervill River with Joe at The Republic and it was both refreshing and uncomfortable-nostalgic. It reminded me so much of going out late on school nights to see concerts in Chicago; calling Grant at least three times throughout the show so he could hear "I'll Be Yr Bird" or "That Time"; riding the El with all the midnight passengers and puke; walking home unnecessarily terrified of rapists and murderers. It was a time when being an adult was new and felt oddly illegal -- as if hanging out after dark was something I could get caught doing. I dressed up and even wore makeup, and I starved myself like three days of the week so I'd look hotter when I went out to dance and hero-worship the lead singers of Why? and Yo La Tengo (but mostly in general just Jenny Lewis).

Now it feels stale in some ways, and I kept thinking, "should I be drunk right now? Those people are drunk and they look like they're having a blast."

But then I remembered what it looks like to watch someone have the equivalent of a music orgasm on stage, and then open their eyes afterwards with a look of genuine surprise to see hundreds of people staring back at them. It's like reading a diary, almost. Private, intricate, human.

The men came to move the piano and I gave them pie (I made pie! One point.) and we talked pretentiously about Radiohead and Girltalk and Daft Punk and I couldn't remember the names of any of the truly great musicians in the world because I was intimidated because the moving men were French (and thus intimidating).

It was a hard day at school and I'm starting to get that swamped, overwhelmed, slow-yourself-down feeling... and that's okay I guess, as long as I don't lose it.

I was sad about Brutus. Lugo found the rat mom and the other three babies in her kitchen and she told me proudly about how she killed them all. This is why Lugo would survive in the wild and I would not. I got an e-mail today from someone who laments the deaths of snails, and I must say I relate. But life always continues, always.