Wednesday, August 31, 2005

what she said

I saw Wong Kar-wai's Happy Together when it was in theatres. In a post on her blog Pam says she noticed something that I'm sure went right by me. In one scene two characters speak to each other in different Chinese dialects; Pam compares it to one person speaking correct Portuguese to another who holds up his side of the conversation in correct Italian. The languages are not so dissimilar that, have you an ear for this sort of thing, you can tune the ear to get the gist of what's being said.

Interestingly, different dialects of Chinese are written using the same character set. A Chinese character may be pronounced quite differently when spoken in different dialects. Chinese language movies are often subtitled with Chinese characters so all who are literate in Chinese (despite the differences in dialects) can read what is being said.

what he said

Seth has an essay in 10 points about the magnitude of the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina.

I'm reminded of one of Bush's favorite snarks, "I'm a leader. Leaders lead." Some leader.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Let's say

a bruise blossoms on your left bicep, an injury that surprises you as you don't remember having tripped on a root to fall on a stone, don't remember any rude idiot knocking you aside as he ran for a bus, don't remember a baseball out of nowhere thudding into muscle, but you find yourself fascinated, not with the possible origins of the damage, but with its beauty, though "beauty" seems the wrong word, and you gaze into the colors the bruise has produced, not just the old black and blue but reds of several shades and purples both deep and orchid, hints of green. When you touch it it hurts, yes, but you can't keep your fingers away. You prod this bruise and trace it; you vary the pressure, your fingers circling or sliding back and forth. "I would like to save it," you say to yourself. "I would like to keep a version of it on my desk."

Info Desk Blogging

Two people who want replacement library cards. The second came so fast on the heels of the first that I thought he must have heard my instructions but no.

Since the Information Desk faces the entrance I try to give everyone who looks my way a friendly face. One of the people who came up to me asked what it means when the book is in "Tech Services". I sighed. He said, "It means you sigh." So I laughed and said, "I sigh because it means the book is not available. It's either just been received and has to be processed or it's being mended." Sometimes I not only sigh I make funny faces, which people react to and I have to explain. Oh well. Let's not be scowly, at least.

Helen H, who retired last month (was it a whole month ago?), is standing at the head of the line at the Circulation Desk offering patrons help checking out using the new RFID self-check out machine. "Oh that's easy," said one as I passed the desk. "I could do that."

... aren't I sounding perky today? Here I thought I was all grumpy and everything. I've been teasing one of the librarians about slapping on the phony happy mask; maybe mine's got to feeling natural.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

new stuff

Bro David is posting the first issue of his comic book Misspent Youths. D says he's posting the comic because he doesn't have any left to sell. He's selling the subsequent issues. Misspent Youths was published back in the 90s. Waaay back in the 90s. But D is hatching new plans for the cast.

My guy Kent has started channeling George W. This would be horrifying if it weren't funny.

And here's Sundy taking a swing at the camera strap:

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Pooh. Looks like I won't be able to update my homestead site again. Today I tried to thread my way past the homestead demands we old freeloaders start with the monthly moola already; homestead has made it harder & harder to figure out the way through and now it looks like they've shut the portal altogether. Pay or forget it, huh?

Anybody out there still update a free homestead site? Are you blocked, too? If not, email me (link under contact in upper left) and give me some clues how to get in. I could log in all right but couldn't get to the editing program.

I suppose it doesn't matter that much if the LoveSettlement site never gets updated. It will gradually decay, the links to ezines breaking as the ezines die or change addresses, and those broken links will just have to sit there. But poems don't really get old. Fortunately at the top of the page I direct visitors to the blog. Still, I'd like a more static page. Any recommendations for free hosting?

Actually, what I was trying to do was update the Poetry & Pizza site. It's OK right now so far as it goes. September is like it says. But I was going to add the readings for October and November. Now what?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

banal thought of the day

"[M]ost contemporary poetry is boring. It is. But that's always been the case." -- Tony Robinson, poet

"Tony, I also agree most poetry these days is pretty boring, and agree, also, that that's always been the case. Let me tell you, Tony, there are days I don't even like poetry." -- Seth Abramson, poet

... from way down in the comments at Seth's blog ...

I read poetry every day, pretty much. Usually I get something out of it, something interesting. Even bad poetry goes somewhere prose won't and there are times I need to get away from prose, get to a poetry place.

That said, after reading page after page of poems that do nothing for me (and that's a friendly choice of words -- hello, Poetry magazine!), I will think never reading another poem is the better choice.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

It's 4:30 and I've just logged in to Blogger. It's been bih zee!

Phone ringing, people walking up, even forming a line. And now, a lull. Whew.

"Do you have a film book?"

"Film book?" (me thinking Leonard Maltin)

"No. Sorry. Phone book."


Sunday, August 21, 2005


Last Thursday I went to the 5th anniversary reading for Shampoo. It was held at a gallery in San Francisco's Embarcadero Center. I like the idea of a poetry reading in an art gallery. The art is somehow less distracting than rows of titles on shelves. Or the bang of cash register, whoosh of espresso machine in a cafe. There was an Afro-Cuban band throwing up a din that made conversation impossible except outdoors. After the reading the band returned and got into a cool groove that could've kept up for hours, far as I was concerned.

I met Kyle Kaufman, Sara Larsen, and Melissa R. Brenhan, three young poets I discovered via Kyle's blog and invited to read Nov 4 for Poetry & Pizza. Kyle handed me an invite to send work to el pobre mouse, a magazine he & a few others assemble and (according to the invite) "spray-paint."

Inside the gallery door there was a table of scented shampoos for attendees to take home. At the table sniffing the bottles, I got to chatting with an East Coast transplant, Jasper, who just came West to go to UC Berkeley. In his own blog post about the reading Jasper says, "I didn't introduce myself to anyone." ...

The reading itself was OK. A long list of poets. Many of them with names that have long been familiar (& most I've seen/heard here & there) -- Kevin Killian, Leslie Scalapino, Bill Berkson, Kit Robinson, etc. Only one poet went on as though it were his own feature. If there's only one that's better than average. Most read 2 to 4 poems. (Actually I think Mr Stage Hog read only 3 poems. It's just that his third poem had 2 parts and went on for several pages.)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Let's say

you're half awake, the other half half asleep, the final quarter in a new state we can call by its name when its name is given us and before that, neglect. You're standing on the earth edge of Ocean Avenue, which surges, as the moon comes over, toward the tobacconist and haberdashery. A bolt of blue has ripped on the edge of one idea and is spilling another idea, a trapped and cold idea. You look up at it as toward a basketball hoop, the chains whispering about what passed through them. Maybe if you look a little deeper into the opening you will see the discarded wrapper all creation came neatly tied up in. Perhaps it retains the shape of what it held. The door of one building opens and lets out a wail. What wail is that?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Leaving the library, a black teenager in a blacker baggy tshirt. On the front a grainy white square in which is silhouetted a figure at a microphone, underneath the picture the word POET. On the back:

I would wear that shirt!

... Been having a busy hour so not much to read this time ...

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Haven't had a whole lotta energy lately and what energy for writing there's been has gone to a project. I'm not going to talk about it right now, but it's a great excuse, ain't it?, the project that's taking all my energy but about which I must keep mum. An excuse for all sorts of things! Not writing thank you letters, not sending postcards, not signing checks, not writing on my blogs. You, too, should have such a fine excuse and wield it as indiscriminately!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

And so Monday rolls round again.

Shambling. That's it! Hagrid from the Harry Potter movies. A tall husky young man in long black trenchcoat, big black boots, black hair down to the shoulders, beard under the chin, swaying as he walks. I couldn't quite make out his Tshirt (also black) but the design on it looked like that of a heavy metal band. A rectangle of white cloth was pinned to the back of his trenchcoat -- a political message? The human face featured on the cloth looked like the 5 dollar bill portrait of Lincoln and there were words stenciled beneath. Couldn't read the words. Maybe it's time I got glasses?

"Your travel guides. Which floor?" Young woman, speaking with an accent. She's showing me a printed paper with a series of questions ... seems it's a scavenger hunt. She just has to fill in the number of the floor in the space on the paper. For some reason this doesn't quite compute in my head. She doesn't actually care where the guides are, at least, not in order to use them? Um. No. Once I get this through my noggin I give her the floor number and she writes it on her paper, then she and her friends go out the door.

Do we have a book about selling a Ferrari? Her friend is reading it in Hebrew so she's not sure of the title. Thinks it's fiction. Could it be this book?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

around the house

Still have to do dishes.

But K replaced two faulty light switches and I replaced a burnt out bulb. So we have s'more light.

And I buried kitchen waste in the compost. While I was outside I dug up a few more vine stumps and snipped away at trailers.

Did laundry. Blues and a few dark greens. Jeans, underwear, socks, sheets.

Defrosted the freezer. The frost layers had built up so thick the freezer's upper shelf was close to unusable. We transferred what food there was into the vegetable crisper. I plugged in the big floor fan and K chopped away with a spatula and serving spoon. When I came in from the back yard the freezer was mostly cleared, which was nice to see.

Always things to do, ain't there.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Let's say

your life begins its left turn next door, where the acanthus slings her blanched blooms over a railing so wrought it's obvious it's fought two battles to get out of God's workshop, where the eaves cling in turns to the retiring roof and to their own trumped-up fortitude, where the paint on the walls is the wall's friend but not the friend you choose, and every light visible from within dances its lugubrious yellow in an unsteady hula hazed with hints and obfuscations, the left turn being the turn no one but your odd grandmother (and you insisted you don't take after her!) wants to take next, though of the available options it has the benefit of inevitability what with its slope being abrupt and down, very down, down in a tear the wheels off and you'll keep rolling toward the pit kind of way, the pit, the pit, so picturesque, that pit, and calling your childish and secret name.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Is it Monday? It must be Monday!

The first public RFID self-checkout station is in use. I didn't see it earlier because they've positioned it on the Circulation Desk itself in place of one of the GS staff stations. I'd expected the self-checkout to be where the old self-checkout terminals were, that is, opposite the Circ Desk. The volunteer who was helping out here at the Info Desk last hour says there are sometimes traffic jams around the new self-checkout. No surprise, I guess. Always some confusion over new things. But I'm glad a self-checkout is at last available.

The library will close two hours early tonight, at 6 o'clock. There's going to be a big RFID public presentation. The presentation won't be at Central but admin wanted staff to be able to attend so the library will close.

Hm. Blond straight hair roughly parted, hangs to just above shoulders. Big dark glasses. His shirt boldly striped. Wide belt with round belt buckle. Jeans. Very 70s, pre-feathering. Except, I don't think the jeans were flares.

... Minutes after I wrote about the self-checkout station it crashed. I think it's back up again.