April 29, 2007

Strange, but sincere, offer.

Does anyone want the CD "Plans" by Death Cab For Cutie? It's good, and I kind of have no use for it. Let me explain.

I recently became aware that I desperately needed to buy the album so that I'd have a copy of "I Will Follow You Into The Dark", which is SO SO SO PRETTY. I was on the verge of getting it through the iTunes Music Store, when I realized that I'd never actually acted like any kind of decent fan and bought anything from DCFC or their small nifty record label Barsuk Records. So I decided it was high time I did so, and spent slightly more than the iTunes price in order to a) cheer on the underdog b) receive an exciting package in the mail and c) also buy a shirt with some weird thing on it, in this case a neat rowboat.

But, of course, right now I don't have a stereo system except for my computer. It's the only CD-spinning device in my possession, and the first thing I did when I got the album was to copy it onto my hard drive. And hard drives crash and people lose 20 gigs of music and kick themselves for getting rid of their CDs, so it's not like I have any objection to keeping it. But it just seems sad that it's brand-new and really good and going to sit here not getting played ever at all, even once. So if you can give it a good home you should do so.

I kind of can't stop listening to "Where Soul Meets Body". It, too, is SO SO SO PRETTY.

Posted by dianna at 10:00 PM

Clever title dump.

I've accumulated a ridiculous number of unfinished and/or entirely unwritten posts here, so I've decided to clear them out by posting just the brilliant titles that I've come up with along with a single-sentence TV-Guide-style synopsis of the entry that would follow each. Get ready to switch topics at blistering speed!

And the chickens how they rattle chicken chains.

Girl buys vitamins, reflects on how people who are skeptical of her vegan diet become smug when they hear that she takes vitamin supplements, as though that provides grounds to dismiss the vegan diet as nutritionally insufficient, as though people who eat meat and don't take vitamins can be automatically assumed to be in a state of utmost nutritional completeness.

Talking about signing is like, well, signing about talking.

Plucky heroine discovers, after a lifetime of unsatisfying searching for the perfect second language, that ASL is really intuitive, expressive and laden with enormous potential to come in handy. (Bonus alternate synopsis: Woman seen on Berkeley streets gesturing wildly to herself; neighbors suspect she is schizophrenic, but little do they know!)

Concept art.

Dianna discusses her longstanding desire to cover approximately 75% of her body with tattoos sharing any of several cohesive themes and/or styles, such as All Text All The Time or Plants Until You're Sick Of Them; relatedly, idly silkscreens self with falling-leaves design and accidentally discovers calf sleeve she must absolutely must get next.

We are terribly grammar.

Girl has best of intentions to use this delightful phrase as a blog title to appease her housemate, but totally fails to come up with anything interesting enough to justify it.

Political sensibilities: now located in your pants.

Bay Area feminist discovers that her customary gender-non-compliant wardrobe is due only in part to her critical attitude toward prevailing gender norms and is in fact influenced strongly by the fact that she simply does not fit into gender-compliant clothing such as bras and women's jeans. (Bonus sentence: Girl detective wonders what the hell the self-conscious 13-year-olds with no actual boobs are doing with their chests these days, since even the "teen bras" section of the department store is full of terrifyingly D-cupped lace underwire monstrosities which cannot possibly be of this earth.)

Posted by dianna at 09:03 PM

April 28, 2007

Strangely vindicated.

Here is a timeline of last night. All times Pacific Daylight Totally Approximate.

10:30 pm. First band is deemed not that exciting.
11:00 pm. Dianna decides to go read at Cafe Milano and come back later to see the other bands.
11:15 pm. Cafe Milano is closed; Dianna returns home.
11:30 pm. Some dude tries to get into the party for free by entering Dianna's screen door. Dude tries desperately to deny being sketchy, and eventually leaves in embarrassment.
11:45 pm. Bass drum, being played by one of the bands, catches fire in the dining room as a result of flaking paint and high-intensity lamps. Bass drum extinguished, party continues.
11:46 pm. Fire alarm goes off.
11:46 pm and 10 seconds. Veteran co-opers distinguish themselves from the general crowd by transitioning instantly from "party party party" to "everybody out! now! no arguing, OUT!" Dianna grabs book and heads for exit.
11:50 pm. Everybody else catches up and realizes what the veteran co-opers already figured out: that we've vastly exceeded our rated capacity and half the fire escapes are blocked, thereby getting us in enormous shit if the fire department shows up.
11:52 pm. House members attempt to call fire department to explain that there is no longer a fire. Fire department demands to speak to a house manager. Sober manager appears difficult to locate.
11:55 pm. Maintenance manager, in response to social manager's hysterical insistence, shuts off fire alarm.
11:55 pm and 10 seconds. Some dipshit yells, "Hey, the party's back on, everybody come back in!" Dianna goes back downstairs to hide.
12:00 am. Dipshit is silenced; people are ungently herded out of the house once more.
12:04 am. Frantic work of veteran co-opers succeeds in removing stacks of couches from fire escape routes (and 300 people, including Dianna, from house once again).
12:05 am. Fire department arrives. Fire department is not happy.
12:06 am to 12:29 am. Fire department continues to be unhappy.
12:30 am. Fire department revokes house's permit to continue partying, promises to fine us between $2000 and $5000 for turning off fire alarm (see: 11:55 pm), and leaves. Nobody, including fire department, is now happy.
12:30 am and 10 seconds. Partygoers begin demanding refunds of their cover charge.
12:30 am and 11 seconds. Partygoers do not receive refunds because we overspent our social budget, didn't make up the deficit in cover charges before getting shut down, and have massive fire department fines to pay.
12:45 am. Veteran co-opers announce they are relocating party, with house members, few remaining friends of house members, and headlining band, down the block to Cloyne. Exeunt most.
12:50 am. House president of Cloyne turns up in Kingman kitchen, looking glum.
12:55 am. House president of Cloyne adds belatedly that there are plain-clothes police outside of his house, busting people carrying open containers of alcohol.
1:00 am. Dianna, seeing no further obstacles between herself and peaceful sleep for the night, decides she is temporarily amused rather than annoyed and goes to bed.

What's funny, besides, really, the entire mess, is that the house is actually slightly less trashed after this incendiary fiasco than it usually is after a normal party. Then again, I don't know how funny it'll be when I get a housebill for 1/50 of the fire department fine.

Posted by dianna at 01:41 PM

April 27, 2007

Veggies make you, frankly, mostly sad.

If you put together all, or at least three, of the things that I dearly love and try to make a party incorporating them, you'd probably come up with something approaching tonight's Rock And Roll Ice Cream Social. It's a yearly Kingman party with bands, the ubiquitous kegs, the not-so-ubiquitous root beer kegs, and, yes, ice cream. And it takes place in my house so I can't complain about it being far away or expensive. In order to make me happier about it you'd really have to work in cookies, which are damned difficult to incorporate into a large-scale party. I'm satisfied, anyway, and went so far as to tell several of my housemates that I would forgo my usual festive mood of sulky avoidance and actually be present having a good time.

There's just one thing.

They forgot the soy.

There was a dairy council ad on TV maybe ten years ago involving a fridge full of milk cartons that were absolutely all empty. I think it comes close to capturing my feelings on this matter -- there's something like eighteen gallons of ice cream in my freezer and I can't eat any of it. There's root beer, and I can't make floats. I can't actually even find my single personal pint of Soy Delicious boring vanilla, which is distressing in the context of the party but will also continue to be distressing tomorrow in the cold light of no party at all.

No point here, really. Just killing time before the bands start playing and I have to decide whether they're worth listening to without ice cream. Well, watching, anyway. Since my room is under one of the stages, unless I decide to strike out in search of a quiet coffee shop I'll be listening to them no matter what. Be interesting, guys.

Posted by dianna at 09:46 PM

April 25, 2007

I don't know about you, but MY mother was a Chinese trapeze artist.

Call for advice!

I'm in the market for a digital camera. What I'm thinking so far is that I want something that has a respectable amount of optical zoom and is willing to occasionally let me adjust a setting or two myself instead of always doing it all for me, because I'm pretentious and artsy and like taking strange pictures of normal things. I'm also thinking that I'm willing to spend a few hundred bucks on something nice that won't be instantly obsolete and/or broken, but would hesitate to go over, say, $400.

Take note: this is one of only a small handful of times in the history of Snoqualmie that I've actually asked for advice and expressed a desire to take people's suggestions to heart. More often, I'm beating off unwanted advisers with a stick. So take advantage of the opportunity! If you know things about cameras, be it about brands, features, retailers, or what they think about in their spare camera-y time, tell those things to me. Danke.

Posted by dianna at 10:49 PM

April 22, 2007


If you're in Kingman, you already know all about this. If you're not, get your clicking finger ready.

A couple of weeks ago one of my housemates decided, in response to some divine inspiration I know not of, to organize a zombie-rights march on campus. At noon. On a Friday. To Sproul Plaza. To lurch, groan and shriek in support of Ronald Reagan for President in 2008.

I had to go to work that day, but made a point to leave in time to see them come staggering down from Northside. In fact, I made it out of the library just as the mob, some 30 zombies strong, came down the hill from North Gate and poured across Memorial Glade in a lurching sea of fake blood and horrible gagging groans. Even the video I'm about to link to doesn't quite capture the beautiful surreality of that moment. It made my day and every time I've thought about it since it's made several hours all over again.

Here is video! Behold, and tell me, how fucking amazing is this shit? I suggest you wait for it to buffer a bit before watching, because the (beautifully edited) video is 13 minutes long and extremely worth it. The mob itself lasted over an hour -- I had to leave while it was still going on because my lunch break was over. They swarmed the lawn and mobbed random sunbathers. They blew through an on-campus cafe (aptly named after the Free Speech Movement) and held a rally on the crowded cafe patio. They staggered through Sproul Plaza in the thick of student government campaigning, mobbing a campaigner and two established campus proselytizers for good measure.

I'm in the video, sporting an "undead yes! unperson no!" patch and cheerfully (though, unfortunately, somewhat indistinctly) explaining my willingness to stand for them. What didn't make it into the video was the scene a moment later when the zombies caught up to me and mobbed me while I tremulously announced my support. It did not stop me from getting my brains eaten, as it turned out.

They mobbed a sociology class. Can I just say this? They mobbed a sociology class in session in Dwinelle Hall. They mobbed a sociology class in session in Dwinelle Hall which the organizer was supposed to be attending. Name me one thing that is more awesome to be watching right now than this. I dare you.

Posted by dianna at 10:17 PM

Leafing well enough alone.

I'd like it to be summer now, if that's not too much to ask. I thought I'd made it through the winter without getting horribly emo, but then it turned cold and rainy again and I couldn't marshal my defenses in time. I did spend last night out of the house socializing with actual people, but I made up for it by spending this afternoon lying glumly across my bed drawing falling leaves. It would probably be a really good idea for me to move to Phoenix instead of Portland. I'll consider it.

I went, okay, look, don't laugh. I went to the Death Cab For Cutie website last night and it started playing songs at me. I managed to ignore it for a while, but then it played one really beautiful song and by the time I came to my senses I'd already ordered the CD, a t-shirt, and a button with a picture of a bird I swear I have an excuse for the button I needed another dollar to get free shipping shutupshutup. I feel like I should pull on my big stompy boots, safety-pin some stuff to my pants, stick my hair into spikes, and sit around jeering at my sissy tattoos and flipping myself off when I walk by.

Actually, that sounds kind of fun. It sounds like more fun than the three appointments I now have for getting said tattoos finished, because those are on three successive Thursdays at the end of June. When Mike suggested making the second appointment a week after the first, I thought it sounded like one of the most unpleasant experiences I could imagine. When he proposed a third one the week after that all I could do was agree for the hilarious awfulness of it and hope like hell that he'd manage to finish in two sessions, because if he doesn't then there will be three solid weeks in which I will be covered in ointment and unable to take a proper shower. Word to the wise: avoid smelling me between June 21st and July 10th.

Posted by dianna at 04:25 PM

April 20, 2007

Gluing tinsel to your crown.

I just finished reading, at Lisa's insistence, Bridge to Terabithia. I think there was a reason for it that had something to do with the movie adaptation, but I've sort of forgotten what the deal was with that now.

That's probably the saddest fucking children's book I've ever read. If you took a big box of Kleenex and spent three hours reading and re-reading the scene in Little Women where Beth dies, it probably wouldn't be as sad as that book. It may have kind of made me cry, and that's even with having the entire plot spoiled by inadvertently reading a summary before I started the book itself. Jesus Christ that's a sad book.

That's all I've got, really. I'm going to go sniffle in bed now.

Posted by dianna at 11:22 PM

April 19, 2007

Quick question.

I have 24 hours from now to wrap up several months of ambivalence and let the Anthro department know if I'll be participating in graduation this year. It seems kind of silly at this point; I finished school five months ago. On the other hand, it's my college graduation and I feel I've very much earned it. On the other other hand, it's at 8:00 in the morning on a Friday and I'd have to miss work and incur unpleasant make-up hours for the privilege of getting up ass-early and sitting around yawning through speeches. On the other other other hand, there might be someone, somewhere in the world, who would want to attend it. On yet another of my apparently limitless supply of extraneous hands, that person is probably my parents and I'm not leaping out of my chair at the chance to have another funny-robe ceremony for their sake.

So the question is, is there anybody reading this who is dying to watch me walk across a stage in a square hat? Because I'm not doing one of those Kristen-style personal graduations; they may be more convenient but they are also more mortifying. It's the official thing or none at all, so speak up.

Posted by dianna at 04:35 PM

Great Dane.

I recall a few years ago having a conversation with my sister in which, out of nowhere, she suddenly emitted this amazing Danish word: hygge. I advise you to consider the pronunciation tips included in those search results, if for no other reason than that it's really enjoyable: try to say "oooo" and "eeee" simultaneously, and tip the final E up as though it's a question. Hygge? Oh, most definitely.

As soon as I got an idea of its meaning, I formed the opinion that it more or less represented everything I love in the world. Hygge is comfortable. Hygge is relaxing. Hygge is friendly, and frequently involves food. Hygge is the sheer brilliance of a population that has managed to make a single, two-syllable word mean "drinking hot chocolate with your grandparents on the comfy couch, OR a game of Scrabble and a beer with two or three friends, OR watching a movie in bed with your cat, but actually none of these things in particular and just the essence of comfy niceness that is common to all of them". It may be the hardest-working word for relaxation in any human language.

I would not, in any way, be happy in Denmark. If California winters exhaust me, Scandinavian winters would destroy me. In my Googling I found it suggested that the inhospitable Danish landscape is responsible for the endemic national coziness which hygge describes -- but my settings are off and a cloudy, 50-degree Berkeley spring day is enough to activate my hygge-seeking radar. This morning, sleepy and sniffly in my chilly basement room, I glanced into my closet and realized that the day held no possibilities worth mentioning if I didn't immediately put on the soft, worn, sky-blue hoodie that I inadvertently inherited from my dad. Or maybe my mom; I forget. The important thing is that it's older than I am, worn to a softness unrivaled by anything on earth except my housemate's chinchillas, lovingly repaired in countless places, and a peculiar shade and shape that says, I am not stylishly retro, I am just old. I am not expensive -- I am from your parents' closet. Pull me over your head and mess up your hair, put your hands in my enormous pocket, pull my hood up and my sleeves over your fingers and be warm. I am hygge.

Weather.com says it is now 53 degrees in Berkeley and the morning's clouds are still here. Tell me what is hygge in your life today.

Posted by dianna at 11:38 AM

My head's like a kite.

I just got back from seeing the Shins in San Francisco. It was the first time in quite a while that I'd seen live music outside of my house's open-mic music and story night. It was splendid, of course, with the usual blend of why are there so many people standing so close to me stop chattering damn you they're trying to play music here ohmygod it's (insert name of song I'd been hoping to hear) I couldn't be happier will you shut up over there? Followed by a generous helping of oh wow that was awesome hang on I need to stand in a really long line for a t-shirt with a thing printed on it hey look I have a t-shirt with a thing printed on it! It sounds sarcastic, but there's something about the whole progression -- and it does need the whole progression, because if you just have the wonderful music without the million weird aggravations of being in a roomful of other people, then it's just listening to music in your bedroom by yourself and it's somehow lacking in intensity -- that makes me enormously happy. How was that for a hard-to-follow sentence?

But if you blog about concerts then you're a pretentious hipster, and lord knows I am not now nor have ever been a pretentious hipster. So I will simply say this and then go to bed already: at no show that I've ever been to have I seen a performer look as genuinely happy as James Mercer did when the entire audience sang the random falsetto silliness in "So Says I", perfectly and in unison, without any prompting whatsoever. In the unlikely event that I ever become a rock star, I plan to put shit like that in my songs just so that my adoring audiences can sing it and I can grin like a hyena about it. Do hyenas grin? They do now. Thank you and goodnight.

Posted by dianna at 01:08 AM

April 17, 2007

Art porn (sorry Gene)

I think I finally have the wherewithal to get my back tattoo finished, so I'm gathering up my reference pictures and getting ready to go and remind Mike Davis of what the hell it was that he was drawing on me. Since the outlines are done and what remains is the shading and color, I'm taking a slightly different tack and bringing in botanical drawings instead of photographs from life. I think that'll make it a lot easier to explain the level of detail and realism that I want. It probably would have been better to do that in the first place, actually, but it didn't occur to me until just recently.

I first tried to scour the internet for botanical illustrations. It wasn't actually that successful -- besides the tendency for false image results to swamp the useful ones, there was the problem of how to get a physical copy of a digital color image. There's no color printer in my house, but maybe I could go to the... library. Oh.

I work in a library. I work in a library on a campus full of other libraries. There are millions of books on this campus and I spend 8 hours a day in front of a library catalog terminal that tells me exactly what all of those books are. It took me two solid days of thinking about the problem to put these things together.

Several slightly more intelligent days later, I've amassed a small mountain of large, heavy, glossy books of full-color botanical drawings and watercolors. It turns out that the art section at the Berkeley Public Library and the botany section of the Biosciences library on campus are rich with precisely the kind of material I'm looking for (though with one important caveat which I'll get to in a moment). In the Main Stacks, I found a big, brightly colored book of botanical borders from medieval illuminated manuscripts... as well as a note saying that the library had accidentally purchased an extra copy of it, couldn't think of anything to do with it, and sent it to the library bookstore to be gotten rid of cheaply. I will never understand the thinking that goes on in this place.

In browsing through my exciting but tragically impermanent heap of beautiful pictures, I've realized something: there are too many damn paintings of flowers in the world. Apparently the rules of being a fruity sentimental botanical painter say that if it's got petals, it is beautiful and refined and should be studied in enormous detail, from every angle, by every person who picks up a pencil. (If I see another damn gladiolus I may suffer a nervous breakdown.) If it's got fruit, it may be vulgar and should be made the subject of only a few cursory sketches. If, god help us, there's any suggestion that it might be a vegetable -- even if it is actually a fruit -- it is vitally important that it not be drawn or painted at all. Leaves, in any case, are common and unlovely. Focus on the petals.

It didn't occur to me when I started working on this tattoo that there was anything odd about rendering tomatoes and blackberries in loving, colorful detail. It particularly didn't occur to me to think that leaves and stems might be strange parts to fixate on. To my mind they are the plant, and the flowers and fruit are attractive digressions. But in the dozens of books I've thumbed through in three libraries, I've found fewer than five pictures of blackberry vines (slightly more of the blossoms, which don't appear in my tattoo) and only one prosaic tomato plant. I'd have thought that in a body of work largely drawn by bored, respectable, upper-class Victorian married women, it would be the fleshy, conspicuous sex parts of the plants which the artists would shy from painting. Madam, in the name of decency, put a skirt over those stamens!

Posted by dianna at 10:27 AM

April 14, 2007


My house is in unimaginable chaos right now. Our semesterly Special Dinner is tonight, and everyone who can cook or wave a knife at a stack of carrots has been drafted into doing so. I don't know what the percentage of cooks in any given "normal" population might be, but in this den of hedonism, creativity and general sensory addiction it's pretty fucking high. There have been at least twenty people in and out of the kitchen since 11:00 this morning, each one intent on one outrageous dish or another. We have fancy dips and tiny sandwiches and coconut cream fruit tarts. We have truffles. We have delicately herbed new potatoes and pumpkin-seed lasagna. We have fucking roast leg of lamb. We have individual chocolate ganache cakes with shattered caramel accents. It's ridiculous and sumptuous and every bit of it is homemade by some college kid you'd never suspect of knowing how to do more than boil macaroni.

Because this is a co-op and we take our excess seriously, it's also a game and a costume ball. It's a semi-murder-mystery centered around the funeral of Marilyn Monroe, and we all (50 of us) have roles. There's the family, the fans, the press, the fairytale characters and circus performers and detectives and random political figures and even more random bystanders. The guest list includes Joe McCarthy, the blind psychic, Marilyn's alcoholic mother, the drug lord, Dr. Watson, the person who doesn't get that it's a funeral, Little Red Riding Hood, and the kid trying to make it big on YouTube by making videos of the event. And me -- I'm the obnoxious fan with encyclopedic knowledge of Marilyn's life which is entirely, 100%, despite my insistence, dead wrong.

More on that later. For now, the key things are that a) I have to figure out how to make a mourning hat, b) I still need to heap several pounds of sliced tropical fruit on top of my sickeningly gooey masterpiece, and c) I'm forbidden to consume anything except ginger tea between now and dinner because I already ate enough coconut custard to make me sick. And it's only two hours until dinner and my hair is a mess! Whatever will I do??

Today is awesome.

Posted by dianna at 06:10 PM

April 12, 2007


Because I can't comment on Katie's most recent post until the Cementhorizon comments engine comes back up, and time's a-wastin' while people could be doing more productive things*, I feel compelled to step in and inform the populace about another of the many therapeutic uses of cuteness. Observe.

This is also part of my ongoing study to determine whether there is, in fact, a webcomic link for every occasion. So far, my hypothesis still stands. In fact, research to date suggests rather strongly that at least 95% of human experience can be insightfully commented upon by reference to either Questionable Content or Penny Arcade. The other 5%, well... as my sainted mother used to say**, if it's not fuzzy, why bother talking about it?

*Whether I mean this to say that I'm posting to help people learn about the productive things they should be doing, or to prevent them from doing any productive things they might do in the absence of blog comments to read, I leave up to you to guess.

**I feel certain that I would remember if my mother had ever said anything quite this enigmatic.

Posted by dianna at 02:45 PM

April 11, 2007

Denticuli, denticulae

I'm on the metaphorical horns of a dilemna, and yes, they're a bit uncomfortable.

They key fact here is that I have some incredibly fucked-up dentition. This isn't news to me. I can't even remember how many fillings I got in high school. Before that, I had braces for five years to correct a dizzying array of overbites, misalignments and some kind of dropped palate thing. Before that, my baby teeth all had to be extracted because they refused to fall out when my adult teeth started coming in. I'm well familiar with the fact that no amount of conscientious brushing is going to give me a properly-functioning and maintenance-free set of choppers. Still, the present conundrum kind of takes the, if it's not too terrible to use this word while talking about dental health, cake.

See, I still have most of my wisdom teeth. One of the lower ones came out a decade ago in the last flurry of baby-teeth removing, and the other is just, well, chilling. There probably isn't room for it, but it's not clamoring for attention. The top two, on the other hand, are metaphorically hanging around the back of the bar and roughing up other customers. I give them a stern talking-to and they just flip me the bird and go back to knocking over passersby for their wallets. They've already shoved the next teeth over into right angles to where they should be, and now they're starting to come in themselves in the same unworkable position. Today the right-hand one is leaning on my jaw and breathing whiskey breath into its face while the jaw tries to finish its drink and leave. It's annoying, is what I'm saying, and it hurts.

Here's the thing. No, here are several things. The damn things have been fucked up for ten years. The last time my parents took me to a dentist, when I was in high school, the dentist said that either the wisdom teeth should come out or the next molar up should come out and leave room for the wisdom teeth. With full respect for the importance of the issue, a course of action was promptly followed which involved: doing nothing.

Flash forward ten years -- Dianna is 25 going on 26, the teeth are still there and still fucked up, and she has spent fully five years extricating herself from financial involvement with her parents. She has a job, she has her own health insurance. She pays her own everything; this recently meant being flat broke for a while but is working out better now. She has done some financial math and concluded that by the end of the summer she'll have enough money to a) move, b) take her time looking for a job that won't make her crazy, OR c) pay for having her wisdom teeth taken out provided she can find a dentist who'll treat her without insurance. Because, see, while the library will offer her all kinds of arcane insurances -- legal, life, death, dismemberment, and attack by 30-foot spiders -- it will have nothing whatsoever to do with giving her dental insurance. It's horrified by the very idea, frankly, and wishes she wouldn't keep bringing up such vulgar subjects. (Stick to the 30-foot spiders.)

The crux of the problem is this: I have expensive dental issues that came up while my parents were supposed to be seeing to and paying for my dental health. They didn't see to or pay for this, and it now badly needs seeing to and paying for. There's a fairly persuasive argument that says that they should therefore pay for it now. On the other hand, it's been something like five years since I've asked my parents to pay for anything of mine except plane tickets for family emergencies and visits they've requested. I don't like the idea of asking them to shell out a couple of thousand bucks to fix up my teeth. I don't like the idea of the dependence it will re-introduce into my family interactions, the encouragement it will give my parents to think of their youngest child as not yet adult, or the inevitable resulting argument over why I don't have dental insurance and why don't I just let them buy me some.

Thoughts, suggestions? Votes on whose responsibility this is and who should pay for it, which are not necessarily the same thing? Ideas about the usefulness of purchasing individual dental insurance given the relatively high cost of any plan that covers complicated anesthetized extractions? (Katie only: in-depth analyses of the parent-child relationship in this family as it relates to the matter at hand?) Pros and cons of planning to get all of the damn things removed and replaced with gold teef?

Posted by dianna at 11:37 AM

April 10, 2007

The beet generation.

At work I have a small group of employees from which I routinely draft people to help me with various things. These things often involve specific instructions, so I usually make little cards explaining what exactly my henchmen are supposed to be doing this time around. Upon realizing that the jobs generally aren't that exciting, I started doodling little excited stars and hearts and things on the cards to make them more pleasing.

Over the last couple of months the stars and hearts have evolved into, for some reason, tiny but elaborate drawings of vegetables. Pumpkins, eggplant (which I don't like to eat but do like to draw), carrots, mushrooms, strawberries, chili peppers. Today's card, for instance, contained two beets and a bonus rutabaga to fill up extra space. On one particularly boring late night I took an undecorated book-truck and plastered it with big, colorful drawings of tomatoes and corn and carrots. "Eat your veggies!" it declared brightly. Circulation stole it within 24 hours and in another two days it had disappeared entirely, probably stolen and jealously guarded by another library unit.

Today I walked past the department whiteboard and found it completely blank, so I sketched a quick beet (with a speech bubble saying, "I am a beet") and exhorted others to use the space to draw vegetables. When I came back someone had added a self-identifying parsnip, and a second someone with more good intentions than spelling skills had drawn a small dot saying, "I am a pee." A third, helpful, person had corrected them by drawing a puddle saying, "You are a pea. I am pee."

I had to have the last word on the subject, so I drew a towering skyscraper surrounded by a daring, lacelike steel frame. Next to it I placed a tiny stick figure announcing that it had made that building. The conversation thus currently reads:

I am a pee.
You are a pea. I am pee.
I.M. Pei.

Posted by dianna at 04:19 PM

April 08, 2007

Blog, blag, bl'egg.

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon here at Cementhorizon and get all chirpy at you about what a fantastic Easter weekend I'm having. If there isn't already a neatly combined word for blogging while bragging, there needs to be one. Blagging? Brogging? Me, I prefer to blag.

Yesterday, as Michele and Kristen have both gone out of their way to explain, a small crowd of us lay around in the sun in Pleasant Hill Park and ate picnicky foods and drank mimosas out of a cooler. We played terrible baseball and worse badminton and frankly inexcusable egg-tossing and then, our limited energy spent, lay back in the grass watching other people with greater commitments to athletic activity. As afternoon turned into evening the hardiest of us stayed to get whipped in a card game named after my cat, and then dispersed to our respective homes feeling filled to the gills with sugar and sunshine and lazy Saturdayation. I, for one, spent a couple of hours playing with tattoo designs and then curled up in bed with a P.G. Wodehouse book.

I awoke this morning in the kind of generally beautiful mood appropriate to the transition from sleep to cooking, and spent my usual gratifying Sunday morning making oatmeal and pancakes and breakfast stir-fry for my unfailingly appreciative housemates. So benevolent was I feeling that I didn't even complain about cleaning up my cooking mess to leave the kitchen nice for the dinner cooks, and that, given the amount of mess I can make during two hours of cooking, is quite some benevolence.

Most importantly, on my way to work this afternoon, I walked past a generic flower bed on campus and saw, growing nonchalantly among the weeds, a single pale pinkish orchid. Pale pinkish orchids do not generally grow in weedy flower beds in Berkeley, so I backtracked to look again. There it still was, weird little mouthparts sticking out all over the place. A look around showed everyone else in sight going about their business with perfect normalcy... so I stuck out my tongue at the orchid. It returned the gesture regally, and I huffed and hitched up my imaginary skirts and swept off to work trying to hide my unladylike snickering.

On my way home today I'm dropping off my tattoo doodlings with Dan at Industrial Strength. I believe in choosing the artist to fit the work being done, and if one has a vegetarian artist and a leafy green heart that says SOY it's almost a heavenly mandate to combine them. Besides, it's co-op night at Industrial Strength on Friday, and I can't resist the urge to give them good feedback for playing nicely with one of their most enthusiastic and creative customer bases.

So what I'm saying is that this weekend isn't exactly getting any worse here.

Posted by dianna at 02:30 PM

April 06, 2007

Im in ur base, killin ur m00ds.

When I got back to work this afternoon post-dance-mob, I was so giddy and energetic that I decided I didn't need my afternoon cup of tea. Adding tea to exuberant silliness, I reasoned, would only have made me bounce off the walls all afternoon and not get any work done. It was probably true, but as it was, 3:00 found me exhausted, miserable, and yes, not getting any work done. Somehow I couldn't even summon the brain cells to identify the lack of tea as the problem until 5:00 when I was leaving. I just sat at my desk for two hours picking up piles of work, starting them, putting them down and starting other piles of work, and occasionally dragging myself out of my chair to run an errand somewhere else in the library. My internal monologue all afternoon was long periods of silence interrupted by "god I'm so tired" and "this sucks".

It's deeply alarming to me that something as minor as a cup of tea can fuck with my moods this much. It's not like I'm in cocaine withdrawal here; I've just skipped an afternoon beverage that most of the country's adult population thinks of as mild and relaxing, but suddenly I'm unable to function in the manner to which I'm accustomed. All I can really think is that I'm glad I called off my drug experimentation when I did, because I apparently came factory-ready for dependency. My to-do list already makes me want to crawl back into bed with the covers over my head, even when it's just paperwork and laundry; I don't need to wake up one morning and find "quit meth" on it.

Um. Here's a parakeet in a bowl of noodles.

Posted by dianna at 06:12 PM

Dance magic dance.

I just spent half an hour dancing wildly and gleefully in the middle of Sproul Plaza to music that nobody but me could hear. Everyone walking by was either looking around trying to figure out what the hell was going on, or trying to see around me to watch the poetry slam going on on the Sproul Hall steps, and I am here to tell you that neither effort was successful. The whole experience was fucking beautiful.

I expect you will not be surprised when I tell you that it was a co-op publicity stunt. This is balls-to-the-wall recruiting season both for the university and for the co-ops -- high schoolers in flocks touring the campus, open dinners at all the houses for curious freshmen to emerge from their dorms and gawk, that kind of thing. My housemate Jordan, who works for the co-op central office in some kind of publicity-related capacity, perceived quite accurately that the best way to give people an appropriate picture of the co-ops would be to do something utterly ridiculous. So he drummed up a respectable handful of Kingmanites and others to show up on Sproul Plaza at noon today, put on our headphones, and dance incomprehensibly while handing out fliers for house tours and open dinners.

We danced. My god, did we ever dance. I'm not sure I've ever had so much fun in my life, and yes, I had my clothes on. It's strange, because I'm not known for being willing to dance in public. Put me in a club full of people dancing, or even my house during a party, and I'll shuffle awkwardly for a few minutes and then leave at the earliest opportunity. But if I'm the only one hearing the music, then I'm the only one who knows how to dance to it. It's not like everyone else is going to be doing the same dance in the same rhythm except me -- everyone dancing to that song, being 100% composed of me, is going to be flailing and wiggling and leaping around and singing out of key in the same semi-retarded way.

Which is precisely what I just did, minus the singing out of key (I didn't want to actually disrupt the poetry slam people). I put on my enormous dorky headphones and listened to the Clash and Duran Duran and Franz Ferdinand and Elvis Costello and shook my booty and flailed my arms and jumped around and tripped over my own feet and got sweaty and exhausted and deliriously happy. And my ratio of time spent being that happy person uninhibitedly enjoying herself to time spent wishing I were that person has just gotten a little bit better. Thank you, Jordan.

Posted by dianna at 02:06 PM

April 04, 2007

They buy me all these icees.

This fact will change your life: Alanis Morissette has made a video for her cover of the Black-Eyed Peas song "My Humps".

No, really. It's past April 1st and I am not pulling your leg. It's the most phenomenally surreal thing I've seen in months. I haven't worked up the skills to imbed the YouTube video here for you, but you can click through to here and watch it.

If you're fortunate enough not to be familiar with the original song or video, I suggest watching it also. The contrast inspires. The new song is wonderful because it's hilarious -- until you've heard Alanis plaintively wailing "my huuuuumps, my huuuuumps" with mournful piano accompaniment I'm not sure you've really lived -- but the video makes me legitimately happy. It's not in every music video that you see the guys shaking their booties decoratively and taking the back seat on the motorcyle while the girl sings on center stage. It's sure as hell not in the original "My Humps" video, which is one of the most unnecessarily objectifying T&A-fests I've seen outside of actual porn.

This all came to my attention via the fine ladies at Feministe. Their post on the subject doesn't say much, but I do recommend glancing through the comment thread for it. At some point it devolved into people posting links to YouTube videos of the worst songs they could think of, and my god, they're really terrible. I couldn't resist watching them. I predict that you can't either.

Posted by dianna at 07:55 PM

April 03, 2007

That mythical creature known as being in the moment.

I met my alternate-universe counterpart today. Let me explain.

I took an early and slightly elongated lunch break today in order to bus down to my ridiculously far-flung bank and deposit the paycheck which university payroll had finally dispensed to me. Having done so, I walked out of the bank and found myself standing at Ashby and Adeline slightly before noon on a beautiful, sunny Berkeley spring day. At this point I evaluated my options as follows.

  1. Get immediately back on the bus and rush to return to my artificially-lit desk without any lunch worth speaking of.
  2. Wander down the street in the sunshine to spend my newly-acquired money on delicious food, then rush back to my desk.

I chose the latter, walked half a block down Adeline, and found Ital Calabash just opening for the day. I walked in past the confusing sign advertising chicken and fish sandwiches and asked the singing, dreadlocked Rasta guy setting out chairs if, you know, some of their menu might be vegan. He suddenly sprouted the hugest happy grin I've ever seen and told me eeeeeverything was, and would I consider the jerk chicken burger with avocado and sprouts? Would I fucking ever.

It's worth noting that one doesn't hurry soul food. I waited around for a while in the restaurant, which is really just an excitingly-decorated shack full of earsplitting reggae music, before emerging into the sunlight again with my food. But the smells were worth hanging around for, the music actually grew on me, and the friendly Rasta dude sang to himself and chatted with me while he fired up the stove and made my burger and fried plantains.

At one point he called out to me over his shoulder, "If you find better plantains somewhere, you let me know." I told him that it sounded like the kind of challenge I wouldn't mind too terribly. He explained that he was on a bit of an ego trip about his plantains -- no, he corrected himself, he didn't really want to say an ego trip, that wasn't right. I grinned and assured him that as far as I was concerned that was exactly right.

And it was right. I just missed the F bus back to campus and had twenty minutes to sit on a bench in the sun considering how right it was, and it was pretty fucking right. My burger turned out to be slathered in strangely colorful sauces, squooshing avocado out the sides and emanating an intriguing variety of spicy smells. I took a bite and my tongue wasn't so much on fire as wide awake and highly interested. That's a trick few foods can manage with my coddled, picky taste buds. The plantains were a gooey bundle of sweet and perfectly tangy fried amazingness. When I finished licking plantainy goodness off of my fingers it was all I could do not to run back and order another batch.

What I'm saying here is that you should run, not walk, to this place and eat something. Anything. Whatever the dude with the dreadlocks tells you to eat, just eat it. Order whatever he feels like making and pay whatever it costs. It will be worth it. It will be a small paper-wrapped package of blissful happy moments for you to experience, and I don't care how hippy that sounds. Just fucking do it. And bring me with you.

Posted by dianna at 04:18 PM