Friday, September 30, 2005

people shouldn't read

I think this advice is so important I hope those of you who take it will not only adjust your future behavior but make this advice retroactive -- to, say, a minute ago, two minutes if you can.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

bird in the house

This bird is in the house. I just got home from work and the cat and dog were waiting at the door. I let them out so they could poke around the front yard and sidewalk. After a couple minutes of that I called them back. I closed the door and turned to hang up my overshirt. Above one of the front windows I was startled to see this bird. Bird escaped from the cat is my guess. It seems to be panting. I haven't yet tried to do anything about it / with it / to it. Bird seems to be looking around so it's not totally stunned. I reopened the door. It would be nice if the bird took advantage and flew out. I don't know whether it is injured. Nothing obvious. As in the picture I can only see one leg, but it seems reasonable to guess the other leg is tucked under the body, not missing entirely. At first I thought the gray leg-like squiggle extending away from the tail was an injured leg but now I think it's just cobweb -- we've got plenty of cobweb around here.

Sundy circles me yowing, climbs me but isn't satisfied with the stability of my shoulder (I can't hold his butt up when I'm typing) so he transfers himself to the couch where he now seems to be relaxing. Flash is parked at the open door watching the world go by. Bird is still where I found him on the trim above the window.

... As I was writing I heard Flash get up and scoot out the door; I turned my head to see if I could see her -- was she going out or coming in? -- I heard an unhappy dog interaction outside. So I rushed out and a man was pulling away his leashed terrier and Flash, her hair on end, came stepping back toward the house, looking both agitated and embarassed. "Sorry!" called the man. Yeah, well. Sorry about letting her run out and get in trouble. I scolded Flash and brought her in. I glanced at the bird. It had moved a few inches along the trim, disturbed by the noise and bustle. Thinking it deserved as free an escape route as I could give it I shooed Flash and Sundy to the back bedroom and closed the door. When I returned to the front room the bird was gone. I've left the front door open just in case, but a quick look around and I don't see it indoors. Well. Good. Happy ending?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I was

totally going to say something, something, you know, that I'd thought about, an issue, but soon's I started writing I looked at it and said I don't care what I think about this topic who else will ...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

"You're looking google-eyed at me." He's not saying that like he's insulted, which is good. I guess I'm wearing my thinking face. He's telling me he needs to learn how to look things up using our online catalog. We've been trying to figure out whether the library owns a couple different documentaries. Both are biographical and we do find VHS copies of documentaries on the two men (he's been hoping for DVD). I take the gentleman to the shelf and we see one of the videos. He still isn't sure it's the one he has in mind but, "I'll take it home and find out," he says.

There's a card file on the Info Desk. I'm glancing through it. The first card is "Abusive Patron". Hm. We seem to have access to the "AT&T Language Line" for when a non-English language speaker shows up. How helpful!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

How Berkeley Can You Be

The other big event of the weekend.

I volunteered to walk with the Berkeley Public Library contingent in the How Berkeley Can You Be Parade. (Kent agreed to come along. For our trouble we got tshirts featuring the library's winged book logo.)

We walked alongside the library's electric car and handed out stickers announcing the library's new Sunday hours. Since the budget cuts the library had closed Sundays. When the budget looked better the administration passed around a survey asking if people preferred return of evening hours or Sundays. Sundays won.

The talk of the parade is always the group of naked people. The brief naked people protests around the persecution of the Naked Guy, a UC student who wanted merely to walk around unclothed all the time (I think he was eventually expelled), were one of the inspirations for the parade. Naked people protests? How Berkeley can you be! ... I saw a small cluster of nudies; what's the fuss?

Walking ahead of the BPL group were three men wearing baskets on their heads and playing shakuhachi flutes.

Behind us was the Crucible with two vintage fire engines outfitted with gas pipes, out of one of which they'd blast a big ball of fire every half block. All the sidewalk spectators would jump and gasp. We marchers would feel the heat on the backs of our necks. Kent fumed about how careless they seemed about keeping a driver behind the steering wheel.

The parade culminated in the park where there were craft booths and advocacy booths. I recognized Josh Garey playing guitar onstage with the Gun and Doll Show. I'm on his email list but never get to any of his events.

It was fun. Maybe I'll do it again.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


I went to the Watershed reading today at Cal. It was set very prettily on a sloped lawn right by Strawberry Creek (a warning came from the stage to watch out for the honeybees whose hive was in a tree nearby). There were even patches of shade which weren't available in previous years when the reading took place at a park downtown. There were fewer people, however, as you had to know about it to find it.

I went partly because I wanted to buttonhole Bob Hass. I'd run into him on campus a couple weeks ago and he'd remembered me. So at that time I asked him if he would read for Poetry & Pizza, the series I help run in SF. He sounded positive, even suggested a charity to which the door funds could go, and offered to read with his wife, Brenda Hillman. Now, Bob being the famous poet that he is, I know he gets asked to do stuff all the time. Even though I wrote him an email the day after we talked I wouldn't have been surprised if he didn't remember P&P. When I cornered him near the stage today (right after he'd finished an interview with a woman who had a tape deck slung over one shoulder) he said he was just back from two weeks in Germany so had miles of emails piled up. Of course, I said.

So I sidled up to Brenda when she was signing books and laid out the notion. I'm giving 30 readings this year, she said, looking a little put out. She seemed least dubious about settling on a date in late spring or summer.

On the whole Watershed was a pleasant experience, the poetry decent, though I found myself editing the pieces as the poets would read. I do that a lot anyway.

Bob introduced the youngsters from California Poets in the Schools and after one girl read a line that impressed him, Bob enthused, "Like my wife might write."

Husband and biggest fan!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Has LoveSettlement become a photo blog? What's with the orgy of cat pics?

K & I have taken another stab at learning the digital camera. We actually changed some settings! The kind of camera I've always wanted was the one where I could look through the lens then snap the shutter and the picture was what I saw. I don't want to read light levels or zoom or ... or anything. I just want to catch on paper what I'm looking at.

Sundy has been a fairly obliging model. For a cat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bolivian style

Regarding yesterday's post about the man in the brown bowler Geof Huth writes, "Not quite Bolivian style. But pretty close. Why? Because the men never wear bowlers, and never do the rich or middle class woman. Cholas, the Indians and of the lower class, wear bowlers. Somehow, they took on this accoutrement of upper class English gentlemen."

I've been reading about gender lately. In the dominant Europe-derived culture of the U.S. there are two recognized genders. There are, as well, two recognized sexes. As the two genders are Man and Woman and the two sexes are Male and Female and no Female can be a Man and no Male can be a Woman we are easily blinded to the cultural construction of gender. Why even refer to "gender" if a Man can never be anything but Male, a Woman Female? It's only in cultures (or species) where there is more than one gender that one can reflect on the distinction without difficulty. Observers from a gender-poor (two gendered) culture have a helluva time figuring out persons of a gender-rich (3 or more gendered) culture.

When Europeans came to the Americas they encountered male persons who seemed to be masquerading as women. The Europeans labeled these persons hermaphrodites, sodomites, or female impersonators. In other words they either thought these persons a physical amalgam of male & female, they thought these persons men who just liked to get fucked by men (so dressed as women to attract men), or they thought the men were disguising themselves as women so they could get some squaw (as though the natives were so stupid they couldn't pick up on such a ruse!). Or the Europeans used these words merely because they didn't have a word for a non-Man Male; having searched their box of words and come up empty they made do.

The native people of America were quite clear on male and female anatomy, but the spirit world was often at least as important as the physical body. Presumably those who rant on about the "soul" in European ideologies would agree with that. If your spirit way was a mixture of Man and Woman there was a place for you. In the Europe-derived (and simplified) culture of the U.S. we certainly recognize there are males who don't behave "like Men". Unfortunately the rigidity of our two-gender system requires the shoehorning of every person into one gender or the other. Each gender is not one size fits all but is the size to which one's person must (sometimes literally) be cut to fit.

The native cultures of the Americas have undergone a great deal of change since the arrival of the Europeans. Some of it was accidental -- the Europeans brought diseases that reduced the native population by as much as 90%. Nobody realized they were waging biological war. And what happens to a people upon whom has been inflicted such grave injury?

But some of it was a war of cultures and the war against native cultures (decimated though they are after centuries of abuse) continues today. It's little wonder that many natives are more-Euro-than-thou, especially when it comes to denouncing those who do not fit the reigning gender ideology.

Geof writes to emphasize the gender of the Bolivian bowler. (Not to mention its class & culture.) It's a woman's hat. If a well-dressed English gentleman strolls down a street in Potosi does everybody think he's being femme?

Gay or British?

the fixing

Ah! So that's the reason I never get any email from readers of LoveSettlement. I had a typo in my mailto link. It is now fixed (thx GH!). For all of you who have had carefully wrought responses bounced back because I was so lame as to have a typo in my mailto, well, try again:

Monday, September 12, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

A man at the check-out desk has his long dark hair (with streaks of gray) pulled back into a pony tail. On top of his head: a brown bowler. Bolivian style?

Mother and two children come to the desk. Boy is holding (fingers cupping the object gently by the edge) a DVD. Seems they returned the box then discovered the DVD was still in the player. I called up to the Children's Room to see if the empty box was waiting up there on their snags shelf. Indeed! An empty box is waiting so I send them upstairs.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

cafe life

It's a pleasant day in Berkeley. I started out with shorts, it's sunny!, but the cool in the moving air talked me into long pants, which are, nevetheless, not of the heavier sort.

When Kent packed up to go to the gym I fetched a short stack of books and went over to the French Hotel cafe where I ordered a mocha and cookie and sat and read and wrote in my diary. It's a nice hangout if they haven't chosen a bad radio station. Today it was Spanish-language music, thankfully polka-free.

I do like the cafe life. Day after day? No. But once or twice a week? Maybe I could stand that.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Except for Schwarzenegger and Bush -- Democracy works!

Monkeys scream overhead

All right. I'm going to 'fess. The Project I've been working on is getting a promotion at work.

I had the first interview today. It's a ranking interview. A qualifcations board is going to rank all the candidates into Unqualified, Barely Qualified, Sufficiently Qualified, Pretty Decently Qualified, Right On, and Better Qualified Than Anybody on the Board (otherwise known as Overqualified).

I applied for an earlier opening in this job category and got Sufficiently Qualified (or maybe Barely Qualified, I don't remember).

So long as you're among the Qualifieds you can be hired by them that wants to hire you. So what's the signif of the whole sorting thing? Uh. Eh?

The grade hound that I am wants to see me get Right On. But the realist knows grades don't matter in the world, really, except to make people jealous, which rarely boosts your chances with them.

There are a handful of positions that have been newly created. Lots of people are going for them. Many have worked at the library for years and years. Which would be at least one years longer than me. My chances?

Wish me luck!

Oh. Yeah. The post's title comes from something I said in the interview. I was asked about finding information in the library and I said the cataloging system is like a map to the information jungle. You're walking along, can only see a little way ahead and the path branches in this direction and that direction. Monkeys scream overhead.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Reading with horror much of the coverage of the Katrina hurricane, from Bush's visit temporarily shutting down relief efforts (all helicopters were grounded) to people who were rescued from floodwaters dying at waystations because there wasn't food or water or relief from the heat.

Bush murdered these people.