Sunday, October 31, 2010

so i shot my first wedding yesterday.
this business is TOUGH. a lot tougher than i thought.
for a first go, i'll take it.

congrats, erin and allen.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

glad i'm not at humboldt state anymore.

welcome to humboldt state

Monday, October 25, 2010

Picture 5

click on the image for bigger, if you want.

also, my manager was not receptive to my idea of building a large nativity scene out of mannequins (wearing the latest fall fashions, of course, with baby jesus in an $1200 crib and rubix-cube mobile) in a large empty spot in housewares. my coworkers were, though. we'll see what we can do.

also, none of the mannequins have heads, so even though their slender bodies look good in anything, at least our customers can say to themselves, "i may have some lumps and bumps and rolls, but do have a face, and that counts for something."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

so here's a little story.

the people in the apartment directly across the hall from us moved out last week, and a couple days ago, a master lock was put on the door, as is routine. so the assumption is that the apartment is locked and empty, until the next tenant.

yesterday, i opened the front door of our apartment to get the laundry and there was a woman standing in the doorway of the supposedly secure and vacant unit right across the way. she was thin, all vinegar and no oil, in a sweatshirt that hung to her knees and tattered jeans. the width of the hallway forces a state of immediate intimacy with anybody you encounter; she may as well have been standing in my living room, or on my feet. "can i use your phone?" she asked, a half-smoked cigarette badly in need of ashing dangling from her hand. "some guy just took my purse."

she was drunk. crying. really drunk. she wore an exceptionally heavy application of eyeliner that made her look juvenile instead of young. the bare apartment behind her yawned cavernously like a horrible mouth.

so i invited her in, gave her my phone, an ashtray, and put water on for tea. i always make tea when i feel awkward. (it was also an excuse to turn on the fan so the house didn't smell like cigarettes.)

"where am i?" she asked as she sat down. i told her where she was, and she asked me again.

the first person she called was my cousin, the first entry in my phone book, and then hung up on him. when somebody finally picked up, she spoke quietly and then gave the phone to me.

"hello?" i said. there was a long pause on the other end, until an equally drunk and significantly more recalcitrant sounding male voice spoke up.
"er, she's here."
there was a lengthy pause.
"where the fuck is that?"
i told him. another lengthy pause.
"how the fuck did she get there?"
"i dont know, but she's here now. can you come and get her?"
there was no response on the other end.
"are you there? hello? can you come and pick her up?"
"where is she?"
and on it went. it was like i was talking to a person in a deep sleep. he finally managed to come into a sort of consciousness and promised to pick her up.
the usual empty space and then, "fuck, i dont know. maybe half an hour."

which gave me half an hour with this strange drunk woman in my one bedroom apartment, with laundry to do and dinner to make before my girlfriend got home and everything else.

the girlfriend wanted chicken for dinner, and i've never really cooked chicken because during the time of life where i would have learned how to cook meat, i was vegetarian. so i asked the drunk lady if she knew how to cook chicken, 'cause i sure as hell didnt know what i was doing. she gave me a look. "yeah, of course i know how to cook chicken. i'll help you cook the chicken."

it is worth mentioning right now that our kitchen is too small to open the refrigerator door all the way.

she pushed her sleeves up to her elbows and i could see elaborate tattoos of vines (only the outlines, no color) winding all the way down her arms. she nearly spilled all the thawed juices on the clean dishes, and then proceeded to pour salt onto the meat like it was water. she kind of just took the salt shaker, held it upside down with her thin, floral arm, and let it run for a while.

"how about some pepper?" i said, to get her to cease the salting.

and we cooked the chicken.

i'm pretty sure that a good portion of what she told me was lies, and also that a good portion of it was true, if not strictly adhering to the truth. she was a design student, (lie) had split up with her husband (maybe not totally a lie), was hard up for money (probably true) and so finally gave in and slept with a guy who brought her to the empty apartment across the way and was going to pay her forty bucks. (who knows?)

she leaned against the kitchen wall, under a framed cross-stitch piece that reads, "if you go hungry here, it's your own fault."

"he told me i had pretty eyes, and i fell for it. i can't believe i fell for it. i've never done something like that before. and then he said he had to go get the money and he'd be right back but he just left. i cant believe he just left like that. i met a whore, once. i told her i was hard up for money and she told me i was cute, and that i could do it, but i was like, no. i'm too nice to do that. i'm the nicest person you'll ever meet. i'll let you do anything."
"so you couldnt stand up for yourself?"
"no. you have to be strong to do that. mean. and tell me about that! tell me about that! now my husband's coming to pick me up and i have to tell him why i'm here. i dont know what i'm going to do."

so that vital gem of a man i'd conversed with over the phone was her husband. instead of replying to this, i offered to make her a sandwich. she said, "no, but thanks. thanks for letting me in and letting me use your phone. and everything."

she was really sweet, and i did feel bad for her, whatever she was actually going through.

five minutes until husband's arrival and i told her she should get out to the corner so she's there when he gets there. she put down the tea (only sipped at) and reached for my purse.

"that's my purse," i told her.
"oh, sorry," she mumbled, and then tried to pick up my backpack instead.

"that's also mine," i said, still trying to sound friendly, and not like you-put-my-shit-down-right-the-fuck-now, lady. she put it down, obviously really disoriented.

"where's my bag?"
"you said some guy took it."
"where did i put it down?"
"you didn't have a bag when you came in. maybe it's in the other apartment?"
she dashed right over to check. it wasn't there. however, there was a bag outside the apartment complex, and she snatched it up.

"is that your bag?" i asked.
"mm-hm." she said.

i'm not so sure it was. i'm pretty sure it was just a bag that somebody had left there. she probably would have been more excited about finding her own bag.

but who knows.


two days ago i was riding my bike to campus, passing under a bridge. from the other side of the road, a man in an electric wheelchair was yelling at me. "hey! can you help me?" he cried. "i'm stuck!"

i waited for traffic to pass and crossed the road to see what was up. his foot had fallen out of the stirrup and was dragging under the chair. he had very limited use of his upper body, and so couldn't fix it himself. the road had a lot of cars and few pedestrians and i wondered how long he'd had to sit there and yell at traffic, like a crazy person, unable to wave his arms effectively. i picked his foot up, tied it back in, and told him the velcro that was supposed to have secured it was pretty worn out.

"i know," he said.

the interesting part about this, i think, was my initial reaction to being yelled at by a man under a bridge. get the fuck away! don't listen to whatever this guy's screaming at you! regardless of what was actually going on.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

'you moved all the way to ohio to work at macy's,' he observes sagely, after realizing i'm not from around here. there follows the usual comments about the mysterious beast, winter, versus that mythical land, california. he's the only gay man of that generation i've ever met who has survived appalacia. we're in the lunch room that's decorated with large red stars and way too many placards that read, 'you matter,' and 'you make macy's stronger', as if the saturation of the ego will balance out the fact that all of us know we're moving clothes, pawns in a massive corporate spidergame and that it doesnt fucking matter.

'i'm moving clothes,' chuckles one of my co-workers earlier in the week. 'i'm not saving the world, but it's bought me a house and a car.'

trucks are stacked with tipping towers of boxes, which need to be unstacked, unwrapped and categorized. some sweaters need to be hung, others folded. certain coats need security tags placed three or four inches up from the bottom, along the seam, on the left side. at first i worked really hard; now i'm working on the delicate art of looking exceptionally busy when, in fact, i'm not doing very much at all. as far as meaningless jobs go, it's a good job.

on wednesday the merchandizing people were two minutes to open and about to start bludgeoning each other with their handheld scanners for being understaffed, overworked, and unprepared for the seven elderly female customers who would come in during the next two hours. i was tagging four hundred dollar purple calvin klein coats, like omens of a monster whose breath we'll start feeling in about a month. i have no responsibility and am therefore invisible. it's awesome.

on tuesday i saved the world by ignoring corporate's prescribed layout for 'holiday toys: girls' and putting the 'i can be!' barbie in a prominent position. on wednesday i saved the world by encouraging a co-worker to cut the cardboard so it could fit in the recycling bin, instead of throwing it away. on friday i saved the world by riding my bike to work in the rain instead of asking my girlfriend if i could borrow the truck. i'm a fucking hero.

the funny part about it is that i'm actually pretty cool with the state of affairs right now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


from the chicago art institute. in chicago. last june.

all my current work is stuck in microfilm! i cannot get out!

Monday, October 11, 2010

forest on fire

wa wa wa.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


oh, wait. this is why o.