Monday, July 27, 2009

meanwhile, back on the ranch

if you just keep pressing the big button, some real excellent shit is gonna get caught.

Friday, July 24, 2009


in the throes of boredom, i've found myself fashioning earrings of a rather frightfully couture variety:

it is crafty and a bit embarrassing but nothing that a little bit of denial can't do away with.

and then, suddenly, while it is just me and my bad self minding our own business, this happens:

what the fuck is that? you might ask. and i would forgive you for asking it, for indeed it is a fair question. (denial is only going to get me so far on this one.)

this beadst right here is a letter direct from jesus to me, and in case you can't read it, i have provided a rough transcription:

sister emily,

thou shalt leave the house of thy parents immediately,
elst i shalt turn all of your dignity to fungus dung.
go practice piano or something.

p.s. i love you.

alright, jesus, alright. i'm outta here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

grandmother installation no3

i am discovering my catholic grandmother's distinct lack of romanticism/flair for irreverence when it came to family photo-documentary. exhibit a:

we go to have dinner at her place. she has burned the porkchops, tosses the baking dish to clatter despondently on the countertop like some small betrayal.

"well, shit." hands to hips. "i burned the porkchops."

i'm chopping cucumber and take a moment to look at the partially cremated pig chunks. fact. those suckers are burnt.

"not like you were going to eat them anyway, and now i won't either. but you like beer, right? that's a good thing. i'm proud of you." i haven't had a chance to get a word in edgewise; woman is spitfire. culinary mishaps can end in compliments. alright. just let these things flow.

my father walks into the kitchen, heineken sweating in his hand. i think about how i should have taken a picture in front of the original brewery in amsterdam. "i burned the porkchops," she tells him. he bends dramatically at the waist to study them like a scholar over ancient an ancient manuscript. (carbonchops.)

he stands, straightens his glasses, offers a correction. "no, mom, you transformed them. this is amazing. you're amazing."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

two posts in two days? that's almost vulgar.

no good reason except, man, i think family archival photos are the shit.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

ten thousand percent chutzpah

not sure if i am sick or jetlagged or how much of either combines to "both". my brain is like oatmeal when all we can stomach are leafy greens and tonic water.

(moreover, thanks to europe, i am down to one cup of coffee a day. maybe that's it. please hold your applause; shit like this aint gonna last more than four days into the fall semester.)

back stateside, my father sets his fork down with a soft ting. it is 8am at this table, 5pm in switzerland, 5pm my heart. he's in his rough brown robe. meagre chest hairs lean out to read the wall street journal with him, which fans out around a bowl of cereal like an open wing. he is eating the cereal with a fork. "i just realized i have lived in this house longer than the one i grew up in, and at the time, that felt like forever." a page of the newspaper is lightly delegated to its other side. "and i like that." fork into cereal bowl.

i am thinking about going back to bed. my coffee mug is red, just red, nothing else, and i like that.

and then -- suddenly -- the fern that has kept placidly to itself in the corner of the living room for the same length of time that my father has lived in this house has been eviscerated with a fantastic and enviable gusto, its bowels spread for our inspection along a long stretch of (new) carpet.

my parents recently bought a puppy -- golden retriever no. 8 in the sequence of dogs that have lived in this house. my family could measure time in dogs.

meet: rosie. or, colloquially, rosie-goddamn. she is a machine.

Friday, July 10, 2009

every night i dream of mountains

a fear of heights and a desire to go alpining aren't necessarily complimentary to one another, but one does one's best. i have pushed myself in many new directions these last six days, and i dont have time to try and write about it now. i will in the states, though, promise. for the moment, a picture of some of where i was hiking (read, kicking my own butt):

i am currently in zurich, and flying home at the end of two days. i dont think it will be that hard to leave europe --after all, after a month spent in one city and then another, it all becomes rather similar-- but man, that magical place in the swiss alps ...

lets just say that i have the world's best job waiting for me next summer.

part of me wants to get on a train and go back, through the tunnels and into the gondola and to 10,000 feet of no-air edge and snow and frozen lakes and meadows and whole herds of myteriously chiming cowbells swallowed and lost in the fog, swallowed in the folds of the mountain, and miss my flight home. either i go home or i go to gimmelwald.

or ... i go home ... and then i go to gimmelwald ...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

ladies and gentlemen, i am here to report that the swiss alps are indeed real.

this is not to say that i ever really doubted their existence necessarily, but the mythology, built out of postcards of charming pastoral scenes and the occasional wanderer who has returned and for whom a lack of approproate descriptive words renders them slack-jawed and gestulating violently with their hands as if they could pull the compositions of sheer magnitude out of thin air ...

which is sort of what i am doing now.

it is raining and at least 3/4ths of the residents in the hostel have planned to stay in. i didnt come all the way to the swiss alps to read in a nice little cabin.

off into the thunder and wet and majesty!

Monday, July 6, 2009

this is where i am:

and this is where i am going:

adam is going home early; he has been sick for most of the trip so far, and made the decision yesterday on the train back to germany that he's not going to spend buckets of money to be miserable. i didnt realize he was going to get off the train when he did, so it was an odd quick goodbye on the platform, feel better, have fun.

all over europe, the male pigeons are puffing up their neck feathers and dancing in circles. in the parks of amsterdam, along the high castle walls of tubingen. the latter, as i witnessed this morning, can prove to be a rather tricky place to try and mate. one bad choice of footing and -fwoop- the bird is dropping into space. babymaking failure.

i am debating the purchase of a pair of hiking boots. unfettered and footloose. all is well.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

apologies ahead of time for my shitty spelling; this computer thinks i am writing in very poor dutch

interesting amasta-facts:

-every year when amsterdam drains its canals, they pull up about 20,000 bikes
-pot isnt actually legal; tolerance is just very high.
-nevertheless, less than 10% of the dutch actually use it.
-but they like it because the tourists boost that industry to a worth of €4 million.
-it costs €150 for a lady of the night to rent out a red light booth for 8 hours. a customer pays €50 for 15 minutes with her in that booth.
-that is a potential gross of €1450 a night.
-there are panic buttons in every booth-- if something untoward happens, the lady can depress the button and watch as her assaialt is beat to a pulp by the ladies from the nearby booths.
-second to show up is a security service, just to make it official. last to show up are the police.
-the EU is trying to put a bookend on the red-light district. shut down by 2015.
-the EU is composed of prudes.

"homesick? how can you be homesick?"

you obviously dont know what it is like to be from california!
i am walking many miles every day. i am getting a tan. i eat a lot of muesli. and investing in local specialties -- french fries or raw herring between two slices of bread, dangling my feet over the canal. i like getting lost. i like not knowing what exactly i am eating, or where exactly i am sleeping tomorrow night.