March 31, 2004
Charles Dickens Explains It All, Part 2: Enron

"Speculation is a round game; the players see little or nothing of their cards at first starting; gains may be great--and so may losses. The run of luck went against Mr Nickleby. A mania prevailed, a bubble burst, four stock-brokers took villa residences at Florence, four hundred nobodies were ruined, and among them Mr Nickleby."

- still from Nicholas Nickleby, still 1838

March 29, 2004
After Two Days of Looking at Apartments

This is just to say
I will not be moving
the plums
that are in
my icebox downtown
to an icebox on Capitol Hill

Itís just too inconvenient
and I think my apartment
will feel more spacious
after Iíve cleaned it
and put three hundred old issues
of The New Yorker
in the recycling bin

March 26, 2004
Charles Dickens Explains It All, Part 1: Payday Loans

"In like manner, did young Ralph Nickleby avoid all those minute and intricate calculations of odd days, which nobody who as ever worked sums in simple-interest can fail to have found most embarrassing, by establishing the one general rule that all sums of principal and interest should be paid on pocket-money day, that is to say, on Saturday; and that whether a loan were contracted on the Monday or on the Friday, the amount of interest should be in both cases the same. Indeed, he argued, and with great show of reason, that it ought to be rather more for one day than for five, inasmuch as the borrower might in the former case be very fairly presumed to be in great extremity, otherwise he would not borrow at all with such odds against him."

- from Nicholas Nickleby, 1838

March 25, 2004
The Rebel

Thereís a small pack of businessmen out on the street, gray suits huddled under black umbrella mushrooms (or are those mushroom umbrellas?).

Except one - the umbrella is a bright pink and green and yellow and blue Impressionist (I really should go get contacts) blur. On closer inspection it's printed with blown roses on a blue background.

(I love March.)

March 24, 2004
More Dialogue from the Past, Because Itís Late and Iím Lazy

At the spa with K.

K: Did you notice the guy at the reception desk?

ME: Uh huh. Heís not really my type, though.

K: But heís a type.

ME: Oh yes, heís definitely somebodyís type.

March 22, 2004
How Not to Interview

The release of Spartan reminds me of a phone interview I had once upon a time with a guy who wanted me to direct his play:

ME: So which playwrights do you like?

HIM: Oh, I really like David Mamay.

ME: You mean David Mamet?

HIM: No, I think itís Mamay.

ME: Whatís your favorite play of his?

HIM: Oleanna.

ME: Uh huh.

Dude, at least pick Glengarry Glen Ross.

March 19, 2004
Complaint Department

Excuse me, but where is the basking? There's no basking here - no basking in the sun, no basking in glory, no basking in a glow of any kind.

I was told there would be basking, dammit.

March 18, 2004

Via E, via skippy dot net, the Kerry campaign blog and the Bush campaign blog, side by side. Pretty damn slick.

March 17, 2004
At the Federal Building

- Excuse me, maíam, do you have a knife in your purse?
- Oh, yeah...but itís just a little one.

Itís actually a two-inch folding pen knife, which I acquired when it came inside a Christmas cracker, of all things. I just dropped it into my bag back then, and I must have taken it on five airplanes by now - I forgot I even had it, and no one at the TSA ever reminded me. But apparently I will not be taking it into the cute little post office in the Federal Building in downtown Seattle, no sirree.

March 15, 2004
Playing to Lose

On Saturday KR hosted another of her fabulous Junk Poker Nights. The theory of Junk Poker is simple - you bring a big pile of junk, ante up, and play to lose. In practice, thereís always some odd little thing in the pot that you want to take home, even at the risk of winning more garbage. The key is to win early, and then spend the rest of the night breaking up pairs and preventing flushes and straights until somebody else is stuck with all your rejected winnings.

I arrived with around two dozen items, among them:

  • A bundle of forty-eight pairs of chopsticks collected from various restaurants over a five year period
  • A four-foot tall artificial Christmas tree with built-in twinkle lights
  • One of those poofy plasticky bath sponge things (which Iíve never actually purchased but which seem to breed like Tribbles)
  • A small and nearly empty tube of Bensonís Bottom Paint
  • A box of crayons which was full and still only contained four crayons (some vendor at a convention in Orlando mistakenly thought this would be a good promotional item)
  • A can of Aquanet full except for however much Aquanet it takes to create one Ginger-like bouffant
  • At various points in the evening I had in my possession:

  • A leopard print purse with a heavy-gauge chain replacing its broken handle
  • A coincidentally matching leopard print umbrella, thoroughly damaged
  • A not-quite-dead potted plant
  • A video tape of Filthy Talking Cocksuckers 6, which is as pornographic and low budget as it sounds (FTC 6 is a perennial favorite - T "won" it at a previous Junk Poker Night, and brought it back this year)
  • Many, many, many ceramic, knitted, and/or aluminum objects
  • In the end I left with:

  • A bottle of Booneís Farm (2001 - I hear itís a good year)
  • A cocktail serverís apron from one of the diviest dives in Seattle
  • A TV antenna slightly less broken than the one I already own (score!)
  • A plastic checkbook cover featuring Garfield and friends
  • A monthís worth of birth control pills
  • A handmade black purse
  • A small can of Grasa de Mula (yes, Mule Grease, and, uh, itís not for greasing your mule. Apparently itís good for "Reumatismos, Luxaciones, Torceduras, Fracturas, Golpes, Recalcos, Tos, Calambres, Bronquitis, etc." I was not able to establish whether a mixture of Donkey Grease and Horse Grease would be equally effective)
  • A back issue of Bitch magazine
  • And it all fit in one bag: Junk Poker victory.

    March 08, 2004
    Jane, Girl Detective

    Iím supposed to meet S at the Wildrose, and when I canít find her after a circuit I start checking the empty seats, since I just talked to her on the phone and I know sheís on the premises. I spot a chair with a denim jacket hanging on it, and on the back of the jacket I see this image. I've never seen it on S before, but I have a hunch so I ask the woman across from the empty chair if S was sitting there recently.

    S has a damn fine jacket.

    March 05, 2004

    Granted I have the music turned up a little high, but it still seems strange that I canít tell if that sound is a regular siren, a hand-cranked air raid siren, a baying hound, or if itís just how ringing in my ears manifests itself these days.

    March 04, 2004
    Hack Hack

    Cough. Sniffle.

    March 01, 2004
    On the Road to Nowhere

    It's obvious that the masseuse is angling for a more generous tip when the first thing she says to me is, "I just have to ask Ė your form says youíre 32, but you made that up, right? You look 22."

    Oh, honey, please. I don't look 22, and I don't look like a sucker.

    I look 28.6, unless my prematurely gray roots have grown out, in which case I look 37.2.