Kids in America

I just read some kids books from the turn of the 20th century and I learned all about what it took to be a hero in gold country.

Here are some instructions.

1) You must be a white male runaway and/or orphan, preferably around 15. (In fact, if you want to be in the book at all, you must be male.)

2) You have to be cool with befriending with all kinds of men, including gamblers, murderers, ranchers, cowboys, trappers and prospectors.

a)Except: Don’t befriend slaves.

i) As a matter of fact, you should probably be judgmental of plantation owners who treat their slaves too well by letting them take breaks once in a while.

b) Or Indians. No befriending of Indians.

3) Carry a gun. Kill lots of animals.

a) Especially a camel, if you come across it. Kill it, cut off the legs and head, and  then have a smoke.

b) If you happen upon a family of mountain lions, kill the mother and father  with a revolver aimed at the heart, then bash the cubs’ heads in against a rock.

4) Be fearless. Do not be afraid of that guy with a gun. Do not be afraid of the German that follows you hundreds of miles, like a ghost, trying to steal your gold.

a) Except if someone is robbing you at gunpoint and you don’t have a gun, just give them your shit. Don’t be stupid and get yourself killed. You’ll find them later and recover your monies.

b) Remember, fate is a cruel mistress. Anything can be taken from you at any time, whether you’re on the right side of the law or the wrong side of the law.

5) Eat bacon, johnny cakes and coffee for every meal. If you can’t find johnny cakes, substitute with cornbread or hard tack.

6) Remember: only villains kill horses.

For further reference:

Elam Storm, The Wolfer by Harry Castlemon

The Haunted Mine by Harry Castlemon

I would sound like an asshole if I called this a newsletter

Because it’s not really news, any of it. So just because I’m only averaging one blog post a quarter doesn’t mean I can call it a newsletter. And “quarterly blog” sounds stupid. So I’ll just go about business as usual and pretend that it’s acceptable to administer a blog that only has about 5 updates a year.

ANYHOW, here are some lists:

MUNI
-I took MUNI once last month. Nothing of note happened. More than I can say for the woman who got stabbed with a fork on the 22 a few weeks ago.

-This is a two item list. The second item is just to say that the first item is really the only thing to note about MUNI.

LITERARY
I have lots of things that you can read, if you are in the middle of something you don’t want to do and feel like procrastinating. Here they are, with the most recent first.

-Review of Barry Graham’s Nothing or Next to Nothing in the latest issue of American Book Review. Even if reviews aren’t your thing, you should still read the book. Also, error correction for said review: there is a reference to oatmeal in the review that SHOULD be a reference to Cream of Wheat. I was craving oatmeal a lot when I was pregnant, and this is duly reflected in my inaccurate citation.

-A poem up in the really wonderful and recently created Thrush Poetry Journal.

-A short short out in the Pachydermini e-chap series by Turtleneck Press.

-A story up at Strange Horizons, all speculative fiction culture.

-A poem up at NAP. About birds and attempted suicide – what else is there to write poetry about, really?

-An audio adaptation of A Simple, Rigid Structure (originally published by Barrelhouse) in My Audio Universe.

-A story up at HOUSEFIRE. Also about birds. I mean, let’s be honest. You know it an I know it: the only thing I ever write about is birds.

BABY (WITH A LITTLE BIT OF TMI)
-Roxy is really fucking cute. This is another example of something that is not news.

-We’ve been “crying it out” with her this week. Which means forcing her to nap in her crib, without rocking her and singing for 20 minutes first, and without having my hand on her for the entire duration of all of her naps, which had formerly been the case. It seems to be working (aside from the part where I listen to her crying, and then I start to cry because I feel like my heart is being scooped out by a very large mellon baller). She is taking just three long naps during the day, instead of a half hour nap every hour, and she’s in a much better mood. Sometimes, she goes to sleep when I put her down without any crying. Other times, like right now, I put my headphones on full blast to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah while her father (a saint) monitors her sobs.

-One thing Roxy doesn’t have a problem with is sleeping through the night. So much so, in fact, that (maybe TMI? alert) after going for 10 hours straight without a baby sucking on them, my boobs decided that there must be no more baby and therefore, no need to make any more milk. Luckily I have a doctor who has no qualms about prescribing medicine for just that problem,which is available in Canada, but not the U.S., since our healthcare and pharmaceuticals oversight kind of sucks.

OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE

-Baby turtle

-Baby rhinoceros

-I burst into tears when I found out Maurice Sendak died.

-And to bring it back around to happy, here is some hamster on gerbil action

My Favorite Things That Happened On MUNI Yesterday

6) Playing “Is that a pool of dried blood or dried soda on the seat next to me?” when I knew full well what the answer was.  Hint: the answer was not soda.

5) The lady that decided to sit on the (really, actually, quite large) pool of dried blood on the seat next to me, even after she had been warned about it.  Quote: “My jacket is dirty anyway.”

4) Accidentally stepping in vomit inside one of the cars on my way back from lunch.  MUNI, you are ADORABLE.

3) Running into my neighbor and boarding the MUNI with her on the way to work.  Trying to assure her that folks not standing up on MUNI to give a pregnant lady a seat is just the normal course of events and nothing to worry about.  Watching her shout “Will someone please give this pregnant lady a seat” 3 times, give up, and resort to looking straight at each person sitting in the disabled section and repeating the question to them directly.  It took her seven tries.

2) Listening to the stories about her brother in a maximum security penitentiary in Houston for the next 20 minutes.

1) THIS DUDE ———————————————————->

 

 

What’s that?  You’re not quite sure what you’re looking at over there?  No problem… Let’s get a close-up


 

In case you’re still not quite sure, that’s Nicole Jordan‘s “To Desire a Wicked Duke,” apparently the concluding novel to the “Courtship Wars” – a six book series.  This man was so unabashed in his enjoyment of this romance novel that I didn’t even care my MUNI was delayed by 20 minutes!  THIS GUY JUST WENT AHEAD AND ROCKED OUT WITH HIS COCK OUT.  THIS GUY HAD BALLS.  THIS GUY IMPRESSED ME.  I TIP MY HAT TO YOU, SIR.

Call for Submissions: Re-write the Lyrics to “Roxanne” by The Police

We’re having a girl!  Yay!  And we’re naming her Roxanne!  Double yay!

Except we’re both kind of sort of worried that the immediate association for anyone over 25 who hears the name “Roxanne” will be that song by The Police.  And naturally so.  It’s pretty catchy.  Our first indication that it might be a problem was that within about 2 seconds of pitching the name out there as a possibility, one of us started singing it.  The most recent indication came when the ultrasound technician asked us if we had a name picked out – when we told her, her immediate response was “I love that song!”

Yeah, I love that song, too.  But it’s about a whore.  So I’ll feel like an awful mother if I sing it to my baby.

Daniel came up with a pretty good solution. He’s suggested a few times that we simply use the name “Roxanna” instead of “Roxanne.”  Which makes a lot of sense.  Except that for reasons unknown, I love the name “Roxanne” but kind of don’t like the name “Roxanna” even a little bit.  I am not going to bother trying to explain this, because I don’t understand it either.

The fact that he came up with a really reasonable suggestion and I vetoed it, though, makes me extremely nervous.  If my daughter grows up with some sort of complex about the name or if, god forbid, the song enjoys some sort of renaissance or remake during her junior high school years, no one will be able to convince me that I am not personally responsible for ruining her life forever.

The only other solution is to re-write the words into something totally appropriate to sing to a baby.  Something that isn’t prostitute related.  SO I NEED YOUR HELP.

Please re-write the lyrics to “Roxanne” for me.

I’ll do this contest-style.  I’ll keep submissions open until Octoberish/Novemberish.  I’ll send you nifty prizes, including:

  • A copy of my book when it comes out later this year, with a new work written on the back cover that lifts and remixes lines from the new lyrics you’ve written.
  • A portrait of you hanging out with Nyan Cat, Honey Badger, Maru, or other internet celebrity of your choice, drawn by yours truly.
  • Other really, really exciting things that I haven’t figured out yet.

And, of course, I’ll post the lyrics up here, because the worlds need them; I can’t be the only expectant mom out there who wants to name her daughter Roxanne and is being kept up at nights about this.  You’d be doing the world a service.  Really.  THIS IS A PUBLIC BENEFIT, AND YOU’RE A GOOD PERSON, RIGHT?

Be a superhero.  Help a sister out.

Being Pregnant is Weird

I have been tremendously inconsistent about updating my blog.  Because I am pregnant, I will blame this inconsistency on the fact that I suffered from fairly intense morning sickness for three months straight.  Anyone who cares to do the math on this excuse will quickly realize that my longest period of blog-slacking actually occurred after the morning sickness had ended.  But you know what?  No one argues with a pregnant lady.  That’s one of the nice things about being pregnant.

The other nice thing about being pregnant is maternity pants.  Maternity pants feel like a cross between PajamaJeans® and down from a Zeus-swan.

   





Those are the two nice things about being pregnant. That’s it.

The rest of being pregnant is pretty much what you’d expect: for example, right now, I am barefoot.  I spent the morning watching Maury Povich and sewing the holes in my hand-me-down maternity pants.  Later on today, I will probably bake a pie.

Mid-June Check-in

1) Very happy to have a new piece up at Wonderfort.

2) The donut craving has gotten out of hand.

3)  There are always books and magazines left in my apartment building’s lobby
for the taking.  Sometimes I’m lucky enough to find the current In Touch magazine.  Today I found this.  I decided not to take it, but I can’t help second guessing myself.  Maybe I made the wrong choice.

4) I’m participating in a new blog that will change your life.  You would have known it was going to change your life, even if I hadn’t told you, because it’s called The Magic Wonder Blog.  My first post was about Craigslist Casual Encounters (obviously).  The blog boasts equally riveting content from Lizzy Acker, Audrey Dilling and Marisa Crawford.  You should probably just go ahead and subscribe right now.  Life is short.

5) Speaking of blog excitement, Hobart has launched a new and improved blog through tumblr.  I promise to post some mini-book reviews there shortly, starting off with Sarah Rose Etter’s phenomenal Tongue Party.  Anyway, remember what I said about life being short?  Get on that.

6) I updated my publications page to include a section that lists newest work.  I am probably the only person in the word who cares about this.

7) Did you know that Zork I, II and II are all available for free download?  Which means I need to wrap this up now so I can play Zork and eat donuts.  Friday night magic, right there.

I see London, I see France: A San Francisco Girl’s Guide to Touristing These Parts

You know what?  “Tourist” can be a verb if I say so.

LONDON
THINGS TO DO: London looks a lot like New York, except older and dirtier. If you like churches, you’re set. Also, all of the museums are free, so this should probably be taken advantage of since the city is fucking expensive. The Tate Museum was one of my favorite parts of the whole vacation, for reasons like “An Oak Tree” by Michael Craig-Martin:

The phone booths are also pretty fun to check out, since they seem to single-handedly support the London sex trade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, you can go just outside of London to Stonehenge, where you can look at very big rocks in a very windy location, or to Bath, where you can keep things classy by eating at a KFC housed inside of an otherwise perfectly preserved 17th century building.

GETTING AROUND: Compared to MUNI, the Underground might actually be a portal straight into heaven. The trains come roughly every 5 minutes and the worst smelling car we entered the entire time smelled faintly of zoo.


Also differing from MUNI is the London idea of a “transfer” station. Making a transfer does not simply mean that you’ll walk to the other side of the platform. What it actually means is that you will be walking through a labyrinthian system of underground tunnels, up and down a catastrophic number of stairs for anywhere from a 1/2 to two miles, all the while searching for a sign to indicate that you might still be heading in the right direction. For this reason, it is essential that you either pack light or travel with someone who doesn’t mind carrying all the suitcases the whole time. (Obviously, I chose the latter.)

THIS N’ THAT: Perhaps, on your first day in London, you’ll land at 9 am after travelling for 22 hours. Perhaps the hotel will be full and you won’t be able to access your room until 2 pm, so you’ll get onto Yelp looking for a breakfast place and walk 5 miles to the restaurant with 4 stars. Perhaps you’ll be so impressed by this breakfast place that you’ll think everything you’ve heard about London food is a load of B.S. and that dipping down to 3.5 stars on Trip Advisor or Yelp is a safe proposition. DO NOT BE FOOLED INTO THIS MODE OF THINKING. For reasons equally inexplicable to Baryon asymmetry, there is an unbridgeable gap between a 4 star rating and a 3.5 star rating in London, both in terms of food and lodging. If you dip down to a 3.5 star rating, you will end up at a shitty bed and breakfast in an attic room with a ceiling so low that you have to crouch down to move around, just outside of wi-fi range. Likewise, the food becomes so inedible that, instead of finishing your meal, you will opt for some potato chips from the hotel vending machine. The food really is just as bad as you’ve heard.

PARIS
THINGS TO DO: Again, if you’re into churches, you’re all set. Probably the best thing to do in Paris is to wander around, get lost, and take pictures of pretty things that you later realize are important monuments. Paris also has lots of “Sexy Girls,” which must be at the top of the list for English and American tourists, since all the signs outside the sex stores and strip clubs near the Moulin Rouge are written in English. If I would have had more time, I would have gone into the Museum of Sex; instead, I just took a picture of one of their (used-looking) contraptions through the window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you make it into the Museum of Sex, do drop me a line and tell me about it, won’t you?

Basically, you can’t go wrong. The whole place is so pretty and so exactly what you’d expect (right down to the red geraniums hanging out on all the window balconies) that at some point, you’ll begin to feel a little embarrassed for Paris, like it’s trying too hard.

If you only have time to do ONE touristy thing while you’re there, go to the catacombs, which are just as weird as they sound. You will also not be disappointed by a night-time cruise up the Seine, which only costs 8 euros. Finally, if you’re looking to get some party on, just stroll down to the banks of the river any night of the week. It’s like Dolores Park in the summertime, except it goes for miles and miles and it’s on a river and there are less hipsters and more tango dancing. Basically, it’s Dolores Park in a perfect, parallel universe.

GETTING AROUND: Even more reliable than the Underground – during the day, the trains come every 3 minutes. Closer in bouquet to MUNI, with bright notes of human feces and a heady background of stale urine and body odor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similar to the Underground in the M.C. Escher-like transfer set-up. The reason French people can eat whatever the fuck they want is because they spend half their lives climbing stairs.

THIS N’ THAT: Contrary to what you may have heard, people in Paris are extraordinarily polite and helpful, even outside of the super touristy areas. Allergies acting up? Don’t worry about it! The sweet pharmacist will sell you some Claritin over the counter, even though it’s prescription-only in France. On the downside, you may want to avoid putting a damper on your trip by visiting the Museum of Jewish History which, although professing to be a chronicle of Jewish life in France from 13th century through present day, quite inexplicably neglects to cover World War II.

I think that about covers everything. This was way more helpful than the Lonely Planet guide, wasn’t it?  You can thank me later.