Friday, October 31, 2008


Three good things have come out of Stanford. DR and NK are the first two. The third is Rachel Maddow. I guess she's new to MSNBC as of two months ago and already her show has eclipsed longstanding contenders in terms of ratings. I don't have a television or cable so I won't watch often, but it's nice to see a thoughtful, smart (she's a RHODES Scholar!!) gaywad doing her thing and doing it well in the mainstream media. Her interview yesterday with Obama was the first time I've paid attention to her. Hello! I'm single. Call me!! (917) GAY-4YOU!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

le weekend

I didn't notice it because I was wallowing in self-pity, but I spent my nights this week doing all sorts things. Band practice: Steph C.'s ex-boyfriend was at rehearsal and he cooked a tofu and broccoli dish for me and praised my guitar skills at Steph's expense: "You guys sound great as a three-piece band as long as you keep this one [pointing sideways to Steph] on the bass," etc. The ex-lovers were tense and me and the drummer Kim just smiled nervously at each other. Trivia night at Bucktown Bar: I limited my contribution to several correct answers (algebra is an Arabic word, duh) and several incorrect ones (DC, not AC, is the most common electric current) and had one of those dud personality nights where I couldn't be charming or witty and had to settle for smiling and polite instead.

Spent a lot of time during the workweek getting to know my co-clerks. Love them. One of my co-clerks and I had this conversation Friday night: Her: How much would I have to pay you to put "TTYL" or "OMGWTF" or ";)" in an opinion? Me: I would do V.v.V [crab] but not OMGWTF because at least you can just make it look like a typo. Her: No, it can't just be a typo-looking one. Me: How about LOL? Her: No, but ROTFLMAO works. How much? Me: Right now $5,000. Next September, $100.

I failed to convince my co-clerks to come to the corn maze with me, but I went anyway yesterday because it was the last weekend the corn mazes were in operation. Corn mazes are things that happen in the midwest and elsewhere there is corn. I rented a Zipcar and drove with my two friends in Chicago named Jason to Homer Glen, IL. Didn't know what to expect. Thought it might be dozens of acres of cornfield to run through like when Frodo and Samwise run into Merry and Pippin in Fellowship of the Ring, but it was not at all like that. The corn maze itself was small and was fenced gravel paths. Nothing to get lost in at all. But there was a mini-fairgrounds next to the maze, where Jasons and I saw things like (1) a pig race, three heats, we bet turkey legs on all three and I only won once; (2) a small plot of land overrun by black and white bunnies, (3) baby goats, (4) a straw tunnel, which is just hay stacked into an L-shaped 50-foot long tunnel, thrilling, (5) hundreds of pumpkins, I lay across a dozen of them rolled together to form a bed (6) a pneumatic punkin chucker in action, launching pumpkins 200 yards across the cornfields, (7) a hot dog stand, (8) and a "haunted barn" that was dark and disorienting but not scary at all.

The latter two left me with my second migraine in a month; the last was brought on by bratwurst, so I think it is time to leave phosphates-laden meat tubes aside. I've gotten migraines about once a month or two since 2003. Funny coincidence, SL gave me a stack of lovingly hand-photocopied Joan Didion essays when I saw her last week and I read the first one yesterday: Didion's observations on her problem with migraines. Mine are problematic but by this point I know what's coming. I get floaters and blind spots and I know that I will be throwing up and unable to move in half an hour. So I said to Jasons, I know what's coming, and one of the two of you needs to drive the Zipcar and we need to leave. Unforch. But we had exhausted the farm's activities anyway, and it was the right time to leave.

We filled the trunk with pumpkins, which rolled around and thudded against my back as I moaned in the backseat. I wrapped my scarf around my eyes and put my forehead against the cool pane of the window. I almost made it to Chicago but when we pulled onto the Dan Ryan, I said, Jasons, excuse me, but I'm going to barf into a plastic bag now. So I did. Undigested, unchewed chunks of hot dog into a warm plastic bag. The Jasons sat quietly in the front seat. Jason W. politely turned on the radio to drown out the sounds of me heaving and spitting into the bag, and Jason A. unrolled the window. Jason A. was very kind and dropped off the Zipcar for me even though it was only the first time we'd ever hung out (we were acquaintances in law school and I occasionally sat next to him in Art Law and made snide comments about AA) and I'd barfed in a bag and by all objective measures he should have turned tail and ran from the situation. I thought he was all around a very good guy. We talked about the End of Days on the way to Homer Glen. I said, "It has to happen sometime, you know." He said, "Well, I hope it's a weekday." A right funny thing to say.

After getting home, I threw up some more and had diarrhea immediately afterward. Always a good way to feel like an attractive human being. Then Jason A. came back from dropping the Zipcar off and I forced him to look through my kaleidescope glasses at my desk lamp, since it looks like there are nine lights when you look through it. Then I handed him his pumpkins and a diploid acorn and said thank you for being so nice to me. He left, and then I lay in bed.

My Bavarian man called after a while and we chatted for a long time. He sent me a card this week that said: "I'm a bit in sorrow because there was a newspaper article telling that Sarah Palin's fashion style is copied by many American women, and I've tried to imagine you with her design glasses from Kawasaki (MP-704) and a S-Palin coif, just a short time after your 28th birthday happened...Oh my God!! I can only say that I find you very pretty like you are now! And I enjoy our talking; I really feel attracted by you!" I find the combination of 90%-there English grammar and weirdness and vocabulary something to be attracted by also. I said, Let's have phone sex, and he laughed demurely and said he preferred real sex. I can't help it; I'm horny; it's weird.

But then I talked to BFFAEAE an hour tonight and learned that in addition to occasionally sampling Internet porn (remember: don't waste your time conducting embarrassingly worded Google searches, just go to YouPorn; it's free, it's consolidated, it's plentiful), BFFAEAE (1) gets aroused by New Yorker reviews of biographies of John Stuart Mill, and (2) used to practice the solitary vice to pictures in The Subjection of Women - so I don't feel so bad that I'm feeling more libidinous this week than I maybe ever have. BFFAEAE quoted The Office to me: "Michael Scott says, 'I once went 27 years without having sex, and then eight more years before having sex again.'"
We lowered our voices two registers and laughed deeply at that. BFFAEAE also told me about her amazing, amazing Halloween group costume ideas, which are so great I have to share them with everyone:
  1. Dogs dressed up as other things. Dogs dressed in graduation gowns. Dogs dressed as cats; as pigs. Dogs dressed as Sarah Palin. Dogs dressed like plumbers.
  2. This I just have to quote. "So Jabba the Hutt has a party. It's a costume party. And everyone from Star Wars is invited. So they all put a lot of effort into dressing up for the party. But when they get there, it turns out all of them have dressed like Sarah Palin!" So you have Hans Solo dressed as Sarah Palin; Leia as Sarah Palin, C3PO as Sarah Palin. BFFAEAE pondered how to be Leia as Palin since both characters are defined by their hair, until I made the brilliant suggestion of doing an updo and the ear muffs. It is true that I went to Harvard.
I didn't leave the house today. Literally. Not even to check the weather. But I am still sick from yesterday's migraine so I wouldn't have gotten very far anyway. It's supposed to snow tomorrow, and I am going to the Jerry Springer show in the evening!

Per Shivakamini's and CH's separate but similar observations, there is no gut anymore. There is no intuition. I really don't know what I'm feeling. Who cares? All of the emotions, and none of them. It's much easier to just write about the little weird things that capture my imagination, so that's I think what I will be writing about from now on. I think SL said something about that being the meaning of life?

front porch ladies

New song up. I wrote it in 2003 about the women's dorm across the street from my window during my last year of college.

I haven't posted anything besides Front Porch Ladies this week because I've been working on the music for my friend WD's song. He can sing (and how!) but can't play guitar. I can't sing but I can kind of play guitar and I have a drum machine. It's a lovely country pop song in 12/8 - nice not to be composing in 4/4 for a change. Hopefully technology will be kind to this interstate music production duo and he can add the vocals, and I'll post it soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

our town

Things. First of all, it's was a frigid rainy 40 degrees tonight. It's OCTOBER. Some forecasts called for snow flurries tomorrow. It's OCTOBER. I'm half drunk now after two Guinnesses, so the blogging will be a little slurry.

Second, I watched a production of Our Town tonight with a new friend. The friend is promising, and maybe she'll take me to a bar in Uptown where people read stories set to soundscapes. Sounds pretty great. I just met her. She said she spent three days in a coma once. Our Town is a wonderful, wonderful play. It is post-modern. There are few props. A stagemaster reads directions to you, so it's a combination of story-telling and dramatization. It reminds you to be proud of small Americans, even if it also reminds you that small America is built upon a bedrock of heterosexual unions. But you know what? You can claim small American values. I say small America instead of small-town America because the latter is conceptually irritating, even if I do think that hunter-gather societies probably had easier time convincing their homogeneous populations to buy into their middlingly satisfying value systems, because I'm drunk. But I don't mean small America pejoratively. Whatever, small town American values. The older and more professionalized (read: conservative) I get the more I feel entitled to embrace those values, diligence and friendliness and chattiness what have you, as my own. Shaw came home today and told a story about a chef she met. He's a chef for Chicago's bestest restaurant. He was seventeen and a junior in high school when he walked up to the proprietor and said, Give me a job, I want to be your understudy and your chef some day. Some would call that cojones, but I would call that white male entitlement. But as I get older and more conservative I want that entitlement for myself more and more. So I feel entitled to say, I am conservative in values, because I think people should work hard and be kind to one another and give kids love. It's about love, not heterosexual marriage!

WTF am I saying, I'm drunk. The play was one of the best productions I've seen, but I haven't really seen that many. There was that fringe festival one-woman act in SF in 1998 with that Japanese woman stripping naked over the course of 60 minutes and then howling. Wow OMG. And then there was Our Town. It was essentially propless until the final scene, when it was breathtaking! And it was three blocks away from my front door.

And then my new friend and I randomly walked to a bar. There are about five people in Chicago I would call my friends. And one of those people was in this bar! Obama-boy, my friend the DNC staffer who works in Obama HQ. He was there at this hipster/dive bar with the entire new media team from the Obama campaign. It was lovely to see a friendly face. One of the team members bought me a Guinness, and I felt obliged to allow my knee to touch his momentarily. Is this how it's done? I'm dating men from now on, btw, because I find the thought of putting my face in a strange muff repellent. Sarah Palin is right, it is a choice. I sat at a table with my DNC friend and we fossils in a roomful of bright 22 and 23 year-olds wondered why these young people weren't having more More Than Words. DNC friend says both campaigns got donations of roughly 45,000 condoms from some in-kind donor, but that the condoms have sat in HQ basically unused except for throwing at people. The problem was that the volunteers had no game. One was described by DNC friend as working in the tech room, which was "fifteen guys who work in one room and they all take their shoes off and the room smells." Which is a pretty much perfect image. I also met the Chris who started (with his college roommates) Facebook, who was exactly as charming as you'd think an incredibly wealthy and successful 24 year-old spokesperson of a social networking website would be - this is a compliment. He was very, very charming. He gave me a cigarette, and we shivered and shivered and shivered.

It's nice to be tipsy and feel happy about meeting people!

But I would also like to take this opportunity to supplement the K├╝bler-Ross model describing the five discrete stages of grief. They are not only denial, anger, bargaining, negotiation and acceptance. There is also animus. As in, I want to call That One That One and wish syphilis upon her. But at the same time I want to feel equanimous and fair and I say I wish That One only the best in the future. But then I say, provided that future occurs far, far away. Libya. Or North Korea. You know what's so great about Our Town? It's about life and death. Ebb and flow. Up and down. Then and now. We embody contradiction! So fare well, have a nice life, I love you, I loved you, have a miserable life, and get far the fuck away from me forever!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

the heart

The fervor has died down, and the news I heard on Sunday has not exactly been the release I was hoping it would be. Initially, I thought that SH had pulled a Palin, and that the evidence of her being nuts would make me feel less sad. See posts below. But this hasn't brought respite, and I still lie awake in bed for long, exhausted hours wondering how I got to be in a lonely windy city so far away from the people I love. C'est la vie, I know, le ups and le downs, so don't worry about me too much. But sometimes it's okay to indulge the downs. And why not share it with you?

So. These are the last communications I had with SH. I did a poor job of reading these at the time and didn't respond with the attention I ought to have, in the end. Read it; maybe it'll break your heart like it breaks mine.

Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 4:56 PM
From: Bananarchist
To: SH

hello my dear,
sorry i was a stupid mean bitch earlier. as you know, THAT'S DEBORAH. but deborah is no fair to you, and i don't like being that stupid mean bitch to you. i am back in the internet cave, where my big fat greek wedding has been replaced by a matthew mccoughanhahehayh feature i am unfamiliar with, but which is equally distracting. after we left off our crappy gchat i walked outside, where it started downpouring, then i got "hey hey CHING CHONG!!!!" by fucking teenagers, then i went into a cafe where i paid $5 for a hot chocolate that came out of a machine at the touch of a button, like i was in an ice skating rink, e.g., and then i ordered a chicken curry which was my first all brown meal eveer - it was two scoops of rice, plus golden curry with chicken morsels in it, topped off by a disgusting mound of french fries aka chips, and then i bit my lip so hard it started bleeding and there is a flap of skin on my lip. which is to say, after i reached an emotional nadir with our gchat, i then went out and brought my low to new lows.

i was erally distracted earlier and i am really distracted now. i guess what i really wanted to communicate to you was that i really, really miss you. i'm lonely generally, but specifically i'm lonely for you. i've been thinking lots about you on this trip, everywhere i go. i keep seeing things that i know i am not fully appreciating, and there are things i am experiencing that i think would be much better if appreciated by you. all of katie's wedding, for example, and all of ireland. today when drenched and freezing - i learned later from irish news that the wind was reaching gusts of 60mph and the weather is at a low of 9 degrees C, which is approx 48 degrees fahrenheit - i fell asleep desperately needing to pee on the bus ride back to galway, and i had this little half awake dream that we could lay in bed for the next week watching olympics, and that was all i wanted to do. so i was in a haste to write you and hope that that little dream could come true.

of course, i realize now that it was a totally selfish dream. as i sat down to gnaw through my all brown, vegetableless dinner (and also my lip, as it were), i started a journal entry that might have been the first reflectrive one i've written all vacation long. asi mentioned before, i've been mostly just writing down sensations, since this has been a sense-heavy, introspection-light trip. but today i felt so crush and tired and lonely and disappointed i had to force myself to eat and get warm and get my stupid brain to think about why i was being such a douchebag. this, of course, only happened after i sat in the hostel and watched two hours of olmpyics wrap-up...i felt so dizzy i could hardly stand...for breakfast and lunch i had only 10 choco digestive biscuits, bcause i had no cash and i had to save it fo the bus ride back to galway...anyway. anyway, the point is that i realized i did not fully respond to your email yesterday about your job anxieties. i realize this is the most productive and anxious time of year for you. exactly a year ago you were in mexico trying to do exactly what you are doing this year. you were frustrated last year in your writing goals by john and a hurricane, and it would be totally selfish of me to blow through town and disrupt your work for a second year in a row. your academic work, though you discount it when you are in the midst of it, is phenomenal, necessity, and nearly impossible. i know it takes the life of you. and i've seen you lecture enough times to know that what you have to say you should be saying ten times louder and to a thousand times more people. so i would not thnk to interrupt you when you are in this time. i'm really sorry to have been so insistent. i felt personally rejected when you didn't want to see me, but of course it is not about me. i hope you get lots of work done and i will find another way to occupy the next six days in this silly wet country and deal with my own loneliness, since that work, on my end, will make me both more appreciative of your time, when you give it to me, and better equipped to demand less from you and entertain my own damn self.

not really sure what i'm saying. i'm very, very tired and matthew mcohonhoho is at the climax, ahem, of this moving picture. just wanted to write to say that i love you, and i am still carrying many rocks that i will somehow deliver to you, i suppose by us post because i'm not moving these damn things to chicago with me.

anyway, i love love love you. i will see you not soon enough, but until with wings, my dear hippo!

Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 10:03 PM
To: Bananarchist
From: SH

hi my m,
thanks for your email -- i feel your loneliness and i feel the cold.
it's not that you haven't sufficiently expressed your understanding
about my work schedule, though i really really live off of what you
have to say about what you do get to see of my teaching and writing.
i went to my work last year as a way to boost my own self-esteem and
to reassure myself that i do have a purpose and that all of this
face-feeding and walking around sleeping and treadmilling is in
service to something bigger than just me, and also in order to fixate
on something other than you, and that's where i find myself again this
year. i want many things that seem impossible right now and farther
away than they have ever seemed, including a job where i get to love
strangers in a controlled classroom environment where i have all the
power, and a carefree life with you, with no regrets and no
bitterness. i'm worthless as an olympics informant and in nearly
every other way until i can find the confidence in myself -- or the
reality check -- that i need to figure out where i am in the process
of gaining both. i'm sorry to hurt you and to damage our connection
during this time, but i've never really ever been so totally
resourceless in these departments. i came home to atlanta, and i want
to stay here, because i feel exceedingly vulnerable. i guess i like
working in the restaurant b/c at least there i feel productive, but
i'm afraid that i'll never get out of here...i'm afraid that the
person i used to think i am is changing even as i embrace these new
things that i'm learning and feeling, like solidarity with the kinds
of undocumented subjects i want to write about. it seems
farcical...even the life we were headed towards together -- the kind
of life where one buys different kinds of pastel-colored toilet paper
to match the hue of each guest half-bath in your 4/3 house (that's 4
BR, 3 bath), like the glorious gravicki, or vickace -- the life, in
other words, that i thought i wanted seems like a dumbshow...and i was
the dummy who once thought she was smart enough to see through the
conformity and see the true happiness within. maybe there will never
be time when watching the olypmics in bed for a week will make us
happy. maybe all the anarchists out there are right. maybe we are
meant to be fitful, restive lovers who feed off the idea of each other
but can't dedicate ourselves to praxis. every handful of years, i
grow my hair've never known me during such a period, but
there have been three so far in my nearly 29 years, and this is the
fourth. it feels like recovery from something at first, and then it
feels like a lie. i'm in the interim, but i already can't remember
what i looked like with shorter hair. i drink myself to tipsy every
night and think ambivalent thoughts about've caught me at
such a moment. make sense of what i've said...this is all i can give
you now, my lover. you know, i'm back to thinking that you knew on
some level what you were doing the night of our going-away party --
sorry to distress you -- but now i don't blame you...i'm close to
forgiving you completely...i know that b/c now i'm suddenly grateful
for this distance and time apart, b/c i had no idea that this was
coming for me -- this self-doubt and hair-growth -- and i'm glad you
aren't around to have to see it. i want you to forget me if you can,
but remember me enough to find me later. i remember you -- the best
You, the You that you promised to be when i fell in love with you the
first night we met. i'll see you soon.


Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 5:57 PM
From: Bananarchist
To: SH

stepho, my love! i cann't write you much again because this is the
world's slowest computer and there is a line of angry frenchmen
awaiting tihs very internet terminal, and they are talking loudly, and
again i am distracted as all get out. i am here in clifden ireland on
the rugged west coast, or so the guidebooks say - i had to think long
and hard when i started my juournal entry htis evening where i was - i
forgot - connemara? clifden?? who knows? i just got on a bus and got
me away from the godforsaken hostel above galway's @party district"
where loud music blared untli late into the morning, it was like
crema, actually, except everyone going into the bars was pasty pasty
paste - oh where was i?

so i had a hard day. a long walk instead of a bike ride, a slog in the
rain. ruined my camera. got totally drenched. then sought dinner on
the tourist strip, was stared at, was not served, and was hurried
away. after dinner i killed time beofre the "town hall irish dance"
session that i was dreading going to all day, since i pictured
eight-year old girls being the lord of the dance kind of like the
plastic players in table soccer, linear movements on hinges, etc., -
so i killed time by going into a bookstore and browsing guidebooks. i
started off on connemarra west cost of ireland tour guides, but got
bored, then i intently read the rough guide USA and the rough guide
NYC. i teared up multiple times. i spent about half an hour reading
about nyc. while walking to the irish dance i decided at the last
minute to instead go to the movie theater and watch sex in the city,
wihc was the best 7 euro i've spent so far. i really miss you and i
miss home and i watched the movie with both in mind. i had a big
stpuid grin. i loved listening to all the irish girls - btw i have
finally found a country where veryone is as dowdy as me, cause the
weahter is such shit here that everyone wears frumpy sweaters and i
felt right at home with my four polypropylene and one big white fleece
hoody layer on. all the frenches have left so i guess my love for you,
xpressed via email, has outlasted all of their patience. foque you
francais, vive l'amour! anyway, i i really enjoyed listening to all
the irish girls coo at the labels and laugh at the american jokes.
there's a whole joke sequence on 347 vs 917 area codes that of course
NO ONE understood - i can't imagine anyone outside of nyc even in the
rest of america to understand, really -where i wanted to shout I HAVE
A 917 NUMBer BITCHES but i forgot my cell phone in the hostel so the
effect would not have been thesame. it was also very entertaining to
listen to these girls coo whenever louis vuitton or manolo blahnik was
mentioned. like, could you be any frurther from these things, molly
maguire of clifden with your mud-stained, heavy-soled shoes and your
knit wool sweater made from your pet sheep? i don't think so! not that
you or i, even when we were new yorkers, were anywhere nearer to those
mahnolo blahanainknis than molly maguire, but still, i felt so

oh shit, the place is closing! i need to go, the guy is closing
windows and turning off lights here. i didn't get t osay what i wanted
t osay - which is i love you, and i miss you! and i want to quote
big..."i know i screwed up - but i will always love you." it's true! i
cried when that came on the screen. forgive me, miranda! forgive me,
carrie! i will always, always, always love you. please come back to me
when you are ready to come back to me. i am crying! i miss you. let us
meet in the middle of the brooklyn bridge, or arkansas, since htat
will be the chicago-ATL halfway pt, and start over, okay??!

promise me you'll love me at the end of this!!!
i promise you i will love you!

Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 11:36 AM
From: Bananarchist
To: SH

i'd better write you now, in the afternoon, when there is still time
before the lounge closes and the testy frenchies staying in the hostel
monopolize the lone 1998-era computer, which starts up a glacial pace
and requires superhuman patience to work. today i weighed my hurt knee
in one hand and my time in ireland in the other and decided that i
would rather risk hurting my knee further to see some more of this
country rather than sit on my sorry ass in this cow town way on the
west coast, so i rented a crappy bike (a diamondback
vehicles, two or four wheels, motorized or pedal powered, are better
when made in america vs. here or japan) and did a 30mile ride around
the coast of one of these irish dingleberry peninsulas. it was
astounding, actually. like most of the last few days, this one started
with not terrible weather that turned, by midday, into torrential
rains and winds. still i got some quality (dry) time on two fasinating
beaches, one which appeared to have sand but upon closer inspection
revealed itself only to have crushed up bits of coral, and another
with bright grey sand that appeared white from a distance. i wish i
had brought my shorts or somethin else to swim in, but it was probably
too cold. i grabbed some treasures at the beaches to bring home to
you. i also stopped in a rock shop today for you...there were no local
rocks. the kindly polish shopgirl directed me to pick up some gravel
from the road in order to get local flavor. i've already done plenty
of that! you're getting gravel from doolin, kilfenora, and clifden.
but i found a nice "pendulum" for you , which i will ship to you when
i get back home. it came down to this particular kind of rock vs.
jasper. both bave healing powers and are meant to absorb negative
energies. both focus the imagination into action, and reduce
stress...wihch i thought woudl be particularly good for you, given how
hard you've been working. the jasper's provisions were marginally
closer to your needs but much uglier than the other rock, so i bought
you the other.

half of my day was spent biking in a downpour on a 13km stretch of
road called "bog road", which apparently is haunted (only at night,
though) which i didn't know about until i came back to the hostel. it
was gorgeous. for about an hour of biking, there were NO structures at
all in sight. about three cars passed me. it was just a rolling,
poorly-paved road running through marshland and bogs. occasionally i'd
pass sheep standing in the road - one stupid sheep keep bleating
loudly becuase it had been separately from its flock and was standing
in a bush in a positoin where it could see the others - i said,
"idiot, your friends are RIGHT THERE" but it was a baaaaaad listener -
but there were stretches in the road where i couldn't even see sheep.
just me and ireland, and nothing else. lovely. the bog road is
surrounded by what the map labeled "loughs" aka lochs or lakes, but
really they were just small pools of clear brown water stuffed with
reeds, and bog bodies, or whatever else is in these dead marshes. i've
been enjoying the animals on the road. yesterdayi ruined my camera by
pulling it out during a downpour to try to take photos of a pasture
that had two horses closely tailed by two foals, and two cows closely
tailed by two calves. one foal was a beautiful dark brown but
incredibly skittish. the mare came right up to the barbed wire but the
foal ran around in circles. i scratched the white cow's nose, and it
sniffed my hand. but my favorite was probably the two calves i saw
near the bog road playing...they were romping so that from a distance
i thought they were dogs, because i didn't know it was possible for
cattle to move like that. i also spent an hour waiting out a storm,
which ultimatley did not end but just got heavier, inside a pub where
i had a cheeseburger and watched four heats of the women's 3000m
steeplechase. in one heat, a kenyan woman collapse in the water pool
hurdle and three runners jumped ON TOP of her because they were all
moving so fast they didn't have time to avoid her. it was like a
pileup. i thikn the polish runner came spikes-first down on the
kenyan's back, OMG.

in this hostel i have befriended a 70-something british woman from
bristol named sue. i really like her. she has protruding upper teeth
like wallace (from w and grommit) and says charming british things and
she talks about trying to save energy in her house as one of the
friends of the earth and i tell her about texas justice aka shooting
robbers with a shotgun. i've chatted with her about four times now; it
helps to kill the loneliness and the long hours of nothing at all to
do. i have trouble reading because (1) i am reading lord jim, wihch
you warned would be a bad idea, and oyu were right, (2)there are no
quiet places in hostels to read books, and i have trouble writing my
ojurnal for the same reason, so after i get back from my day's
vigorous outdoor activity, all i do is wander around this tiny town in
flipflops peering into pubs and getting ignored by waitstaff. am i
being overlooked becuaseof my timidity as a solitary traveler or
because i am not as large as the dutch tourists (whol, i have read,
are the tallest in all of europe). i am 27 but i still dislike the
question "where are you REALLY from?", when asked by people who have
naught but phenotypical ties to the country they are traveling/living
in, as much as i did when i was 19 and ready to fight with everyone
who offended me.

so what i wanted to write you last night, before i ran out of and the city worked for me on so many levels. the first one
is what i wrote you about: its vistas of new york assuaged my
homesickness, and its screening in this 2000-person (and that's
considered very populous, around here) seaside irish town in a room
full of sighing, cooing, and sympathizing irish sea hags confirmed for
me america's supremacy in world culture and therefore my own
importance. there was anohter level though: it was a way of accessing
you from 4000 miles away. i remember what you had written to me about
htis movie earlier in the summer. i saw where the criticism could be
with this movie - i mean, it's pretty awful and awfully written, if
you take it only at face value - but that would be such an ungenerous
way to watch this movie! but i also saw what you saw, the resilience
and neediness of an aging sorority and the matter of fact way the
movie accepted and forgave imperfect relationships. i also really
liked the scene where the pretty one screams "NO!!!! NO!!!" at big
when he tries to talk to carrie, although half the audience sighed and
half hte audience laughed uproariously when her voice strained with
the shout. and then she teeters away in her black dress and high
heels, which is supposed to be funny, or undignified, but i still
thought there was a lot of dignity in her defense of carrie. oh, it
hurt to watch that!

the movie also worked for me because i thought all day about how you
didn't think there would come a time where we could be happy lying in
bed watching the olympics ... it really threw me, and depressed me.
even though i was perfectly dry when i read your email, i felt
drenched with cold irish rain afterward. but i thikn you're wrong, my
dear! the movie reminded me of that. we have spent plenty of weeks
doing exactly that - embedded, watching television, watching movies,
perfectly happy, and together. you watched SATC months ago, and i
watched it yesterday, but i saved a seat next to me and put my jacket
on the chair and my arm around it, and when i laughed i looked over at
you and you laughed back at me.

that's supposed to be sweet but perhaps there is something norman
batesish about it. oh well, i never was the writer i wanted to be. now
the frenches are back, and i turn over this terribly slow box to them,
so write me back, and i'll check my email in a few hours. i love you,
carrie bradshaw!

Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 10:11 PM
To: Bananarchist
From: SH

oh mandoo. thank you for your sweet email. your trip sounds amazing.
please be careful. i'm sorry i wasn't on earlier to write you.
today i drove my gps to their old house and helped them move some of
the things they wanted back to the new place. my gma got her cast off
earlier this week. they slowly plodded around the house in midtown,
where all 3 generations of us lived for the first few months that we
lived in ATL back in the early 80s, and packed a few random boxes and
bags. the house was practically untouched, like they had left it in a
hurry all those months ago. weird. then i went to was
catering this party -- 100 rice boxes for $500. i wanted to get some
work done this morning, but i couldn't b/c i had to go the gps. i'm
sorry i don' t have anything to say about your two loving emails. i
don't have to say anything, because you totally seem to understand. i
just need time. i love that movie. i'm glad you saw it. but
honestly, i just don't know HOW to recreate our life together, b. i'm
ashamed of what we've been through. i'm sorry to put it that way. i
need more time to get over it. i need my own life, my own prospects,
and more choices than just to go back to living with you. if fewer
people knew about it, if fewer people had been there, it would be
different for me now. i'm's only been 3 months, though.
maybe things will feel different after 6 months.

Sun, Aug 17, 2008 at 10:53 AM
From: Bananarchist
To: SH

hello my dear,
i feel it would be best if we didn't write about these matters
anymore. i found that after reading your last email i was spun again
into another depression. all these things i know are true - you don't
need to reiterate their truth to me. we'll talk about these things
when we need to talk about's premature now. for now, i'm
just happy to tell you about my day and i will be happy to hear about
your day. okay???

yesterday i did hardly anythin because i felt sick. i watched wall-e
then spent some QT in the evening with my journal, with the olympics,
with the two austrian girls who hvae been in the same hostels as me
for a week, and with the german man harry who was also attempting the
same bike route as me by bicycle. harry and i failed to convince the
austrian girls to come out last night - they were too vain to go to
the pubs with rainpants on - so it was just me and harry drinking
guinness and irish coffee in the pubs. it was nice to finally not be
totally alone here, even if my company is a stilted stereotypical
bavarian man. then today i decided to do a day trip to cleggan, a town
about 10 miles from here. i missed the morning bus so i decided to
walk there. halfway there i got bored of the slow pace and started
jogging...i jogged maybe 3 or 4 of those miles. the weather was not
terrible until the last 3 miles, when the skies opened, as they have
reliably done so every afternoon for the last week. my too-small shoes
and drenched socks pinched me, but blah. and then i had a chowder and
a guinness in a pub, a half hour conversation with an annoying
american woman named shannon aboutthe difference between americans and
irish (she said she could tell i was american because i had an "open,
inquisitive face"...i didn't take it as a compliment so much as
evidence of her patriotism, becuase i was clear from our chat that she
had felt oppressed by the irish all througouht her 17 years of
expatriatism...whatev i'm so tired and red in the face i can't evne
remember what we talked about). i couldn't get away from shannon
because i sat down at the bar next ot her and she chatted with me all
about american politics thorugout my chowder. i finished it, excused
myself, then tgot on a bus right back the hostel in clifden, which has
been home for four days, and was immediately cornered by the german
version of chatty cathy - garrulous gertrude? - who talked about her
badass 22 year-old self to me for 45 minutes as i gnawed carrot
sticks. le sigh. even though i am snarky in the retelling i am
nonetheless happy about the company, even when it is annoying, because
it's so lonely to travel alone. my night looks like an evening of
olympics wathcing, and maybe i'll crack page 100 of lord jim finally.
i really like the book, my dear, even though you hate conrad. but its
aphoristic, so i can't read more than three pages at a time. it's like
reading fortune cookies.

feh! i have been dreading going to dublin, which i will finally do
tomorrow only because i would be embarrassed to tell people i spent 10
days in ireland but failed to see dublin. i really don't want to run
into that crowd of partying hostel dwellers you find in an capital
city, though i am sure i will. blah blah blah. for some reason i can
barely stay awake right now. maybe dehydrated? sorry for this email of
utmost boringness.

i love you!!!!!!!!!

Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 12:34 PM
From: Bananarchist
To: SH

stepho, where have you gone to??? i love you.

Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 7:04 AM
From: Bananarchist
To: SH

where have you been? where did you go? did your phone capsize? did you leave me? what are you doing? i have called or texted you every day for the last ten days but you have not responded. where are you, stephanie? is everything okay? what are you doing?
please don't just leave me in the dark like this.

Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 1:57 AM
From: Bananarchist
To: SH


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

you didn't call last night

Seriously idiotically exhausted right now. Can't figure how to change the levels in my new song. Weird disco beat halfway through that I accidentally left in. I'll fix it tomorrow but if you want to have a listen today, here's my song about feeling fat and eating ice cream while waiting for someone to call.

And Stern, apologies again for extreme uncleverness tonight. Still working on snappy retort to your "Boners!" line.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

lynne cheney's poontang pie

Um. Now Bananarchist is the first hit for "Lynne Cheney's Poontang Pie." If you ever forget my URL, just remember that phrase.


Note. If you Google "vaginal lavage sack" [without quotes], Bananarchist is the first website to come up. If you Google "jessica simpson's legs" [with quotes], Bananarchist is the fourth website to come up.

Welcome, searchers! "Lynne Cheney's Poontang Pie" and "how to fellate a donkey"! [Just trying to drum up some extra hits, readers!]

Monday, October 20, 2008

our lives are our punishments

I'm coping. I'm really tired, but it's really late again, I've stayed up making music again, and that's the way it goes. RW says, "[Bananarchist], I'll let you in on a secret. Everyone is a bad worker." RW broke a heart tonight but in a humane, decent way. It had to be broken; year-long relationships with no futurity are pointless when you're 28. My bandmate Steph C. got her heart broken on Sunday too. She texted while I was on the El-bus-El nightmare from O'Hare to Division to say that her Harry, who was also mysteriously absent for a spell from her life, got back in touch with her to tell her he didn't love her any more and wanted her to get out of his life. CH is in love woes too, and the soonest she can find a good outcome is January 2010. SL survived a bomb threat in her relationship this weekend. RA is Googling Jennys to see whether they are live-in lovers or merely lesbian friends of her target in Phuket. What's happening?

RW speculated that the heartache that has become community property is the result of the Second Great Depression. "The economy definitely made me think about my future," she said. She suggested we go to the library and read history books to find out how people became tycoons after the Great Depression, so that we might walk in their footsteps. 

I told my parents. This was their reaction: "Of cause that is good chose for her, if she feels happy together with a man.  We hope someday you will find the Mr. Right for yourself.  No matter what we support you and wash you have happy life too." I drafted a petulant little response along the lines of, "That's the last time I ever try to tell you about my life; you never understand me; you're homophobes; I wish you would care that my feelings are hurt instead of just gleefully celebrating [That One]'s hasty return to squelching, bloody-cuticled heterosexuality," but my senses overtook my passion and it became the fifth or sixth email that I drafted but did not send that day. I drafted and redrafted versions of mean emails to [That One], slept on it, and settled on this:
Send back Love Marriage; it's important to me. My address is 123456 N. XYZ St, Chicago IL 60642.

Heard some news about you. Not impressed. Don't write back, just send the book. Best of luck.
CH complimented my good judgment and restraint - and that's saying something because many of my major decisions in the last few months were made upon her sound advice - but that was before she read the above email.  I don't think I will ever get my book back, but the email was more about getting my dignity back anyway. I waver between extreme vindictiveness (e.g., how to best deploy those afterhours photographs?*) and a desire to commit tortious behavior against [That One], but, as a friend writes, "you know what we used to say all the time about people we didn't like: 'her life is her punishment!' i used to think this was a very catty statement, but i no longer feel that way because of the deep truth of it!" I don't quote this in just a catty way (but catty for sure too; because yes, good riddance, lovers, may you enjoy each others' company on your way to the bottom). I mean this in a chickens-coming-home-to-roost way. I have treated my lovers so badly in the past that it is only an infinitesimal slice of karma for me to receive now what I have given before. Our lives are our punishments. I can't say any of this is too surprising. 

So, it just settles into anger, maybe a touch of despair. [That One]'s excommunicated best fag - he got the boot too, long ago - urges me to fight for what I love. Maybe it's just a test? Maybe you need to push back? Maybe she's merely confused, loves you after all, needs to be prodded back to her senses?  The conversation left me sniffling at Gmail.  He didn't seem to understand that [That One] just had her Sarah Palin moment. Up until August, John McCain seemed a bit off-the-wall but maybe viable as a moderate Republican, if you had to vote that way. But then he chose Sarah Palin.  He either (1) committed a crass act for political gain, or (2) truly believed in the viability of the nonsense-spouting contender from the Pacific Rim.  Either outcome would reveal the man to be insane.  And that's how it is now. If best fag is right and this is [That One]'s sick ploy to get me to work harder to be with her, or her way of freeing herself from me so that one day we can try again, then no matter how much I love [That One], and it pains me to remember that I do, I cannot return to the terrible judgment, irrational excess, and pride that would have to underlie that decision. If best fag is wrong and [That One] truly believes that her Pacific Rim contender is the next President of the United States of America, then [That One] is an erratic, unpredictable lunatic, and I cannot return to that lunacy. So that's it - it's over. 

This is clearly an angry blogpost. It may not be up for long. I know it makes me look ugly, but one can only cultivate one's easygoing blog image for so long before the truth pokes through. I have taken leave from my senses. Autumn is the season for faster walking. Autumn is the season for freedom. I continue to feel free, but free like Operation Iraqi Freedom; not quite there yet. I will find my solace at the end of this long train of conscious hours that stretches limitless to the vanishing point. 

Meanwhile, I found the time to record a pop song. The thirty seconds between 1:24 and 1:54 maybe the catchiest pop I've ever written. The rest is just so so. The balance between vocals and guitars is all fucked up unless you use headphones to listen to it. In fact, don't listen to it unless you use headphones because otherwise it's embarrassingly bad. It's about NK in 1996, and [That One] in 2005. 

* Don't worry, [That One],. Even though you made a carnival of my heart, I would never. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008


My weekend, starting Thursday. DC and NYC. AF, five new forearm tattoos, working on his game in a Brazilian bar far from Dupont Circle. Oversleeping by two hours a four hour meeting; getting a business school education in the remaining two hours. A six hour bus ride to the Manhattan Bridge filled with insane people: "You are SO SELFISH! You never CARE about the customer! I will never take the CHINA BUS again! How can you live with YOURSELF!?" for two of the six hours. CM and the Mermaid Inn before her girls' weekend out trip to - West Virginia? - talking about Marco in the Italian Foreign Service, Singapore, love. She gave me a pink scarf and hugged me. CH and SL trading measures in a karaoke duet; SL, bearing gifts, forgetting to sing into the microphone, reading nonfiction books with funny titles and underlining in all the heartbreaking places; falling asleep shivering on an aerobed wearing my shorts, jeans, two shirts, and a windbreaker and crawling into CH's bed in thready light in the morning to talk about waiting, ugliness of certain mixed facial compositions, love. A chilly picnic in the park filled with beautiful people, and two dogs; sweet ETK fresh from her own heartache, JJ with Bedford-Stuyvesant talking about job security and scaling the Great Wall, SGD running after Lola chasing squirrels after TO left for a jog and took his dog-disciplining talent with him, KC and SF wandering the length of the park (KC: "We're by the people wearing capes and hitting each other with rubber swords; where are you?") before finding the yellow tree, CY and DY and AY celebrating AY's birthday and job triumph and DY's introduction to New York, RK on beater bike with NI rolling up on Jerry Bruner's tiny folding bike and talking about the Bradley effect, TF getting a haircut in preparation for his upcoming appearance on Anderson Cooper's show (!), SK helping us relive 1L year with entertaining descriptions of Professors KW and AM, DR warning she was fat but being actually just as svelte and charming as always, with RS, quiet and tall and smiling, OZ welcomed in by phone from Menlo Park, LF riding up in a bike with modified bar ends talking about being a modern dancer moonlighting as a grad student and the shit font in her last apartment, maniacal AT literally running away from a conversation toward the scent of chocolate ("Is that chocolate you're offering??"), IB bringing a bottle of wine, calling me up afterward and apologizing for blurting out "I'm conservative. Or, at least, compared to all of you" at the end of the day. KC and I made fun of IB's brown pants and brown shoes but it was done with the spirit of love; together we've known him for thirty years. Saturday was warm in the slanted sunlight but freezing in the shade; we got up to move away from the shadow of the turned oak tree every half hour or so toward the end. Parting ways after the sun set. Walked through Prospect Park high on love taking pictures of red leaves and collecting a few to send off to Bavaria. 

Stern in her exquisitely decorated apartment on the southeast corner of the park. She said, "Wait, you need to meet my friend." For a moment I thought BA might be waiting in the bedroom, but then I saw this:

Stern, I love you. This is a BDSMy leather deliveryboy hat on a glass head on a pillow stuffed into a t-shirt with a reproduction of a portrait of Sarah Palin naked holding a shotgun, on top of a gold belt and empty black jeans. I almost screamed. We took turns pretending to make out with our new friend, took photos with pubic hair showing, then drank IB's wine while arranging her six diamond-shaped mirrored coasters into Stars of David tangrams. Stern poured out the wine into a water bottle which we snuck to our seats in the very back row of the Walter Kerr theater to watch Chekov's "The Seagull," where we peered down upon Peter Sarsgaard and Kristen Scott Thomas from directly overhead, a thousand feet away, drinking wine. We missed JH's show in Williamsburg but were treated to kids dancing on the subway shouting "Obama for yo' mama! Obama for yo' mama!" which Stern pointed out, not to the kids, ought to have been "Yo' mama for Obama!" We found RK on Driggs, sought shelter in a Mexican restaurant, and drank more wine and practiced obscene handshakes until it was time to leave, Stern for the L to the Q, RK and I for the G. I almost cried thinking about not seeing Stern for another few months, but disguised the sadness by thrusting my pelvis toward her when we hugged. Then RK and I stayed up until five talking about not hurting people's feelings, the definitions of "analog" and "digital" (RK speculated that "analog" meant the absence of...log?), an old acquaintance who has taken a high dive off the deep end, love. We'll have a family together at 37 (biological, I insist, we'll cut out a hole in a sheet) if neither of us succeed in the last. At noon we hurried out, met NI, bought pupusas and tacos and terrier-shaped cupcakes at the Brooklyn Flea, ran into some urban planners, and ate our purchases back in NI's exquisitely decorated studio. (NI has a three-foot tall sculpture that is an italicized Helvetica question mark propped in the corner, and ceramic mugs that have snouts printed on their bottoms so when you drink your face looks like a pig's.) We'd gathered to play a favorite game from the days we lived together - Unsafe At Any Speed Scrabble - but didn't, because NI had news for me. The news left me feeling punched in the stomach. I put on all my clothes and a scarf and gloves because after feeling punched I felt cold. Then I felt the feeling that Barack must feel when he hears McCain call him names and he just shakes his head gently and laughs. The news concerns a person who will no longer concern me. I wash my hands, I shake my head gently, I laugh.  Here is the closure a weak person was too discourteous to deliver. Life is funny, we said. C'est la vie. Holy OMFG shit, we said. Incest, I said. NI feels free and I am so happy for her. I'm going to be free, too, and you can be happy for me. RK brooded in a director's chair about, as always, how to be a good person in a tricky situation. He pretty much always does a good job. Broken Social Scene, I learned, played quietly from the laptop, and three cigarettes were smoked. I said the same things again and again and was not ready to leave when I had to go forth and catch the G. But I was not unhappy; I was relieved.

And that is the funny ending of the funny story, folks. It's a good story. It starts with love and ends with love, and then it starts again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I watched the debate tonight and am too tired to do anything besides pack my bags and try to get some sleep. I'm heading to DC tomorrow for a meeting and NYC Friday through Sunday for fun, so let me know if you'll be in either of those two places at the same time as I will be. So no more new music from me until at least Monday, which is probably a good thing, since I have turned into enough of a zombie/troll with this eight-track already. So fucking tired. A friend's friends hosted the debate viewing tonight in their high-rise corner apartment in the South Loop. Forty-five minutes into it I looked out the window and realized I could see into the windows of the other high-rises in the neighborhood. The buildings were dark but all around us living rooms were glowing from the same blue screen with the same silhouetted head. I could see maybe two, three dozen apartments tuned into the debate. Those of us in that living room stood up from the sofas in awe and turned our attentions away from Barack and John for just a second to look. It was a beautiful moment. It's what I like about presidential election season - everyone cares, everyone reads the blogs, everyone follows the same news. I guess we get out of elections what other countries get out of soccer. Now I am tired, and I must go to bed.

the solitary vice

Some light reading from the Seventh Circuit:

In Baskerville, we held that the plaintiff could not establish an objectively
severe environment even though, over a seven-month period, the plaintiff's
supervisor had: called her a “pretty girl”; grunted “um um um” when the
plaintiff wore a leather skirt to the office; told the plaintiff that her
presence made the office “hot”; suggested that all “pretty girls,” a category
that presumably included the plaintiff, “run around naked”; told the plaintiff
that he left the company Christmas party early because he “didn't want to lose
control” at the sight of “so many pretty girls”; and suggested to the plaintiff
that the solitary vice was his chief consolation in his wife's
. Id. at 430. After reviewing the record in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, we observed that the plaintiff's supervisor was “not
a man of refinement,” but we concluded that no reasonable jury could find the
environment plaintiff endured to be objectively offensive and *753 therefore held that the defendant was entitled to summary judgment. Id. at 431.

Rogers v. City of Chicago, 320 F.3d 748, 752-53 (7th Cir. 2003) (emphasis added). First of all, apparently someone at your office has to slap you in the face with a penis in order for your workplace environment to be objectively offense! Second, note the excellent use of euphemism in the above passage. Took me a couple passes to understand that one.

chicago! chicago!

I think I should just quit my job. I mean, it's 4 a.m., and I've been making music for eight hours. I looked up graduate programs in music production today instead of working. What does that tell me about my interests? I've never done this before!

Anyway, I'm particularly proud of this new song, because I wrote it in about twenty minutes. And I figured out a play to make my guitar sound like a washboard. Since OZ chastised me for singing a song about New York while living in Chicago, I wrote a song about Chicago. It's my countryest song yet!

Have a listen. FYI, I ran out of room on the original MySpace page, so I had to start another one. The addresses are:
Just in case.

Monday, October 13, 2008

no more

I am starting to feel like a little bit of a troll, eagerly running away from the daylight to hunch over my music tools in my room. I haven't slept much at all in the last few days. I have barely eaten. I went to work today for three hours!

It's been a long time since I've been so pleased with a new toy, but I am reaching my physical as well as musical limitations. One, I can't sing in tune. Two, I need to buy a good keyboard and maybe learn to play the trumpet to have the proper arrangement for my big band song about David Blane. Three, I need to supplement my percussion instrument collection - an egg shaker and a tambourine are not enough!

Four, I need some more genres to imitate. I did an Americana song and a punk song tonight. They suck. Have a listen!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

saint john the divine

Spent another beautiful Chicago summer day holed inside my dark room playing with my eight-track. Results on my MySpace page. It's a song about a view I had a long time ago but, finally, did not regret losing.

rea carey

It's been a music-filled day for me. Though it was 77 degrees today in Chicago, I stayed indoors until 3 p.m. recording the song referenced in the last post. Then I went to the Chicago Country Music Festival - three stages, dozens of performers, a short bike ride away, and totally free! - and saw one amazing band, one frattish New Country pop star, and one so-so honky tonkish performer. The first, Justin Townes Earle, not only has a very cool Americana sound (think O Brother Where Art Thou) but also performs very tightly with just three guys, the lead singer strumming ragtime and country blues patterns, and the mandolin/harmonica player and the fiddler both doing perfect backup vocals. Earle also had a natural charisma that Luke Bryan, the Nashville pop star, didn't have. He said things like, "Daaaaaay-am, I got sweat in ma eye!" and "This here fiddler is from that dirty little finger we call Florida" and stooped into his microphone and retreated to the back of the stage hanging over his guitar like a limp marionette when the fingerpicking got especially intense. They covered Woodie Guthrie in three-part harmony. Earle is going to be in NYC for three shows around October 23, so do yourself a favor and go see him play.

Luke Bryan was fine and well-rehearsed, but lacked the life and rough edges that made Earle's band so interesting. Bryan was a young pretty Nashville star who wore tight black jeans over his shapely gams - my God that man has large thighs - and turned his back to the audience while dancing in order to delight the ladies with the view of his biscuits. He threw picks in the crowd, giggled erratically at his own jokes, and shouted things like, "Where my hillbillies at! Where my rednecks at!" so I was already disinclined to like him. With those last comments, a cheer went up in the crowd. Though some African-American women raised their hands too, I felt like that moment (and the one a few seconds later, when Bryan raised the queen-sized American flag at stage left in triumph) was the closest I'll come to a McCain rally. (Well, other than watching Triumph of the Will.) He had a couple catchy tunes about having farm muscles and being a country man and boys of farms holding girls in their arms.

The last group I barely saw because there was a man wearing a black pajamas suit (the pants were cut down into short shorts) with large white skulls printed all over them dancing on tiptoes with a beer in his hand and another one balanced on top of his head. I wasn't sure if anyone else was seeing this, but then the singer of the band said, "Whoa, looka that!"

I biked happily home after that with many tunes in my head, and decided to apply myself to the 8-track again. So I recorded another song. This one is older; I wrote it in 2005 about my boss at the time, the now executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Rea Carey. It's just too bad her name happens to rhyme with "gay marry" and she works for an LGBT advocacy organization. The song is not really any kind of country, but at least it didn't turn into a ska song, which it threatened to become halfway through the recording.

Here's the song. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

i got better things to do than this

I bought a toy this week, and recorded a song I recently wrote. It's up on my MySpace page. I'm sort of stupidly proud of figuring out my 8-track, so have a listen and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

new age

Doesn't "our sister circuits" sound like a name a women's a capella group from Taos, New Mexico, would give itself?

Come see Our Sister Circuits: A Journey of Discovery, Friday night at 8 p.m. Setting the works of Maya Angelou to song. Light macrobiotic refreshments served.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

cool hand at the tiller

Here's what I learned from watching the debate tonight:
  1. America is pronounced "A-merk-ah." It's like you are trying to pronounce what one uses to cover one's bald genitalia after shaving off one's crabs, except stuttering.
  2. Americans are the best Americans! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A., my friends!
  3. Vladimir Putin has three eyes.
  4. Sarah Palin can see his three eyes from her house.
  5. John McCain says he is that "cool hand at the tiller." Thank you. As if you have not already revived enough medievalisms, you trollop.
It was sort of a waste of time but I love following the carnival so I couldn't stop myself from watching. November 4 really can't come around soon enough.

Many of my friends who are clerking seem to hate their jobs. I don't hate my job, even though I find it frustrating that I while away so much time reading politics blogs and making Tyvek wallets out of Priority Mail envelopes - Shh!! The squandering of judicial resources! - instead of working. There are things about my job I really like. Since I am in the mood to make lists:
  1. I like my co-clerks. They are awesome people. One clerk is a married, observant Muslim Gujarati who occasionally walks to work. She is no-nonsense about her preferences like CPong or AO, so I like her a lot. The other clerk is harder to pin down in terms of identifiers. She is soft-spoken at work and has a vast store of knowledge about the federal judiciary and issues I can't even comprehend the contours of, like antitrust, justiciability, and ERISA, but she also has the temperament to go out on Thursday nights for a trivia league at a neighborhood bar. They're both modest, very intelligent, and generous.
  2. I like the other people who work for my judge. There are only two. One is the courtroom deputy, who is exceedingly nice and never thinks you're stupid when you ask her what a minute order is for the twentieth time and says things to me like, "Girl, you have got to call GSA to get that fan to stop blowing on your face!" I like it when people call me "girl" and it doesn't sound weird. The other is the stenographer, whom I don't know as well, but who works her three-fingers-at-a-time magic while sitting with a shawl over her shoulders and another shawl over her lap.
  3. I like my judge. Today, while I was hunched over a particularly engaging Tyvek project, my judge came into the room and said, "[Bananarchist], you have to come into my office." I jumped. I gulped. I went into his office. He was wearing his robes because there was a trial today. Then he pointed out the window and said, "Isn't that the weirdest sign you've ever seen?" He was pointing at a big sign that read DePAUL UNIVERSITY. It was printed about halfway up the side of a twenty-story building, except the text was rotated counterclockwise. "Now why would they put a sign there, halfway up a building, and why would they write it sideways?" I speculated something about the view between buildings. Then I spent half an hour Googling "readability of rotated text" and sent the judge a link to a psych study that found that rotated text was more legible than marquee text.He came out and said, "Well, now that's very interesting, about the readability of marquee text." And I beamed, and inwardly resolved to finish that summary judgment motion I have been parked on for four days. That's why I like the man: he is intellectually curious and patient and generous with compliments for lazy fuckers like me.
  4. I like what I get to wear in chambers. So after blowing a wad of cash at human rights violating clothing stores just before starting my job, out of a continuing life fear of schlub, it only took me four weeks on the job to go right back to my old fashion habits. The last time I had to care about my appearance was when I worked for a firm. You may recall that my way of coping with it then was to wear all-black clothes - or really, just one pair of black pants and one black shirt. This is my fashion scheme now. I bike commute to work, so it's jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, windbreaker, and fingerless gloves. I wear the same black knee-high hose, which the Internets tell me is called - AHAHAHAHA - "knee hose," every single day - I wash these socks on Fridays. Once at work, I beeline to the chambers bathroom and strip off all of my clothes and flex in front of the mirror until the sweat starts to dry. Then I wipe my face with a piece of toilet tissue, leaving damp crepe dangling all over my face. Then I step into one of the three dark pairs of pants I leave at the office, stuffed in a file cabinet, and put on one of three dark shirts I leave at the office, also stuffed in the file. My Payless shoes I keep under my desk but almost never wear, since I never have to leave my desk and who sees my feet? I then walk back to my desk and stuff my sweaty t-shirt into the file cabinet, where it dries slowly all day. As I have noted before, I sit directly under the AC vent, which is dialed to 68 degrees every day even when it is freezing cold outside. RC's scarf was not keeping me warm enough, so this weekend I went to REI and bought an expensive Marmot windbreaker, which works both for biking and sitting in the office. I put on the windbreaker, and I pull the hood over my head, and I cinch it up like I'm in a rainstorm. And then I fold RC's scarf into quarters and lay it over my lap. Then I put my fingerless gloves back on, and I drink hot tea all day and read blogs. When messengers come to deliver courtesy copies, I try to pull the fingerless gloves and the hood off but usually fail to do so in time. This set-up may sound like an exaggeration, but I invite you to visit me one day in chambers and see me in my regalia. I think I feel more productive when dressed like a hiker/Mimi from La Boheme, so it's nice.
  5. I eat all day long. For some reason, maybe because my body burns through calories trying to keep my body temperature up in that chilly office, I need to eat every hour on the hour or I go crazy. I had four meals yesterday! SL and I exchange the day's menus at 5pm or so each day. Hers: nibble of fruit, nibble of salad. Mine: oatmeal, sausage, tater tots, bananas, biscuits and gravy for breakfast, half half and half and half tea at 9 a.m., peanut M&Ms and PB&J for second breakfast, Jimmy John's 8" veggie sub for early lunch, pea soup filled with hot dog coins for late lunch, then a snack of grapes, pretzels, cashews, tomatoes, and then a Clif bar before going home. Three quarts of water. Whoppers, if I can find them. Then at home, dinner, M&Ms, and more indeterminate snacking. I don't think I'm getting fat.
  6. I have a somewhat flexible schedule. Well, not really. But I don't have to be at work at 7:30 a.m. like I feared I might. I work pretty late, but I can also get in pretty late.
But not that late. Now it is time for bedtime. Sorry for the self-absorption, but I'm really not!

Monday, October 06, 2008

the loneliness diaspora

I am delighted to note tonight that 75% of my blog pals have posted recent updates to their blogs. And to note, too, that we are all isolated and lonely and terrified in our own ways, and have each sought to fill the sudden voids in our post-community lives with art: modern dance lessons, cross-stitching and hunts for Eudora Welty's house, museum tours, cat quilts, book clubs, schematics for Jacob's ladders, panoramic photography, Burmese slapstick performances, a boy to watch movies and have sex with, LSAT study, comparing flatware sets, daydreaming in Los Angeles, South Africans named Andrew, and IP litigation. I am not the only one looking for something, I think. The market only reflects the national mood.

jacob's ladder

This Saturday, I continued my weekend bike tours of Chicago series. The latest leg of the tour swung through the nonexistent Maxwell Street Market (now moved, for the second time, to a street not named Maxwell), the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, the Garfield Sanctuary in Garfield Park. There were little beautiful things all around me, most of which I appreciated and forgot. The things I did not forget are: Juan Carlos Macias, a local artist who paints cramped domestic scenes of people with abnormally large heads on canvases embedded with glass beads; Los Patricios, or Saint Patrick's Battalion, a group of Irish- and other-Americans who defected from the U.S. during the Mexican-American war in order to - what? Support fellow Catholics? Betray a country that hated them?; the banana flower, or banana heart, which is an armadillo-sized bulb that grows at the base of the banana infructescence;the century plant, an agave that looks more or less like any other agave except that at about twenty or so years it sends up a single twenty-five foot "flower" (it looks like a cypress, folks) which expends so much of the plant's resources it dies after flowering; Stern telling me late at night ("I'm drrrrunk") about "Man On A Wire," which seemed similar to the century plant, except that the guy didn't actually die after achieving his beautiful life purpose; Jens Jenssen, the Frederick Law Olmstead of the Garfield Sanctuary, telling the waterfall maker to undo and remake his waterfall in the Fern Room three times, before finally forcing him to sit down and listen to Mendelssohn's "Spring Song" to understand what a waterfall on the Illinois prairie would sound like; you'll remember it from the days you spent practicing and crying in front of your family's upright piano when you were seven years old;

a roomful of astounding succulents and a palm tree room with three-foot diameter leaves that make you feel small as a wriggler cutting through the humus for the first time ever; and a Jacob's ladder toy that I was too cheap to spend $4 on in the museum gift shop. I decided to make one myself, and spent a few minutes scribbling notes on a postcard and drew a schematic which I have replicated below:

If you follow directions, you too can build a Jacob's ladder. I was apparently the most interesting exhibit in the entire museum because a bald little child kept shouting, "Mommy, look! A Chinese person!" as I sighed Al Gore sighs and focused instead on a colorful Day of the Dead display.

Lila's name, I learned yesterday, is not "Lila" at all, but "Shaw." It was as if I told you my name was not what I've told it you it was, but was actually Bingo. And I said to you, please call me Bingo. It would be hard for you to do. So I have a hard time calling her by her true and proper name. I did learn all about the different parts of Texas from her, and napped from 8-11pm and watched "3:10 to Yuma" until 3:10 a.m., and I am convinced that my soul lies in the desert.

Misspelling. In the dessert.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I think I know why Gotham (the font I fawned over below) feels so much like home to me. If I'm not totally mistaken, the NYU Law website uses Interstate, another font designed by Tobias Frere-Jones.

Meanwhile, the judge is out of town for the rest of the week, my Oct. 1 deadline has come and gone, my first opinion has been published, and I am blogging at work. Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. I think I will sit at a bar tonight and watch first the Cubs and then the Red Sox lose their respective ballgames.

I am in the market for books to read, now that I'm almost done with The Known World. Two of my favorite books are My Antonia and The Great Gatsby, and I want to read more like them: the titular iconic American subject observed with just a twist of wist by a sensitive, less spectacular first-person narrator. Recommendations?

Also, big, big thanks for all the wonderful people who have sent me things in recent weeks. Without my prompting, two friends sent me scarves! I keep RC's at work. It's black. Each morning I wind its 10' around my head until I look like the end of a hockey stick

and my judge comes in and says, "You really need to call the General Services Administration and get that vent to stop blowing AC on your face." SB's I use for riding to work - I woke up this morning and it had suddenly become fall. It's 49 degrees already! Thank you both, and thank you all. My moving boxes indeed came, the day after I put up that forlorn blogpost about losing all my possessions and dog and girlfriend. One down, two to go.