Posts tagged with "mishap" - Faerye Net 2008-06-13T23:45:26+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Highway 101 has it in for me. 2008-06-13T23:45:26+00:00 2008-06-13T23:50:52+00:00 <p>I picked up a nail in my tire tonight. It was by no means obvious, but I think it happened on a short jaunt on 101 from Mt. View, where I was gaming with friends new and old, to the Queequeg&#8217;s Qoffee Qasa where I toil. It was not until the sign of the mighty Pequod, its sails emblazoned with the coffee bean, was extinguished and the doors of Queequeg&#8217;s were locked behind its weary employees that I saw the flat tire.</p> <p>Previous <a href="">misadventures</a>, including several memorable hours stranded on the shoulder on a lofty freeway interchange (also tire-related), convinced me to pay the semi-yearly pittance for roadside assistance, and the truck appeared before my fellow Queequegger and I could budge the lugnuts. I took the long way home, via surface streets. But really, tires and 101 both have it in for me. And the two together? Oh lordy.</p> <p>Unlike some <a href="">fictional characters</a> who masquerade as real people among us, I think I will celebrate my tire mishap with a patch or a new tire, followed closely by a mango-strawberry smoothie at Queequeg&#8217;s. Not a new sports car. That&#8217;s just how I roll. Slowly, cautiously, and under 55 miles per hour on a compact spare.</p> Adventures at Readings: Lorrie Moore owes me a pen. 2008-02-16T13:00:52+00:00 2008-06-08T13:51:54+00:00 <p>Since I seem to be making a habit of <a href="" target="links">attending literary readings</a>, I thought I&#8217;d better come up with a snappy (or at least cheesy) title for posts about them.</p> <p>Some time ago, I happened to pick up a free bookmark covered with free reading dates at the <a href="" target="links">Stegner Fellowship</a> office on Stanford campus. Now, since I don&#8217;t have Powell&#8217;s down here to provide me with readings, and since Palo Alto is only a jillion miles away &#8211; which passes for convenient in my life at present &#8211; I popped all those babies right onto my calendar. The first so popped was that of <a href="" target="links">Lorrie</a> <a href="" target="links">Moore</a>.</p> <p>Duly, I chose respectable yet not-overwarm clothing and printed off three views of the Stanford campus map along with a set of <a href="" target="links">directions</a> carefully sanity-checked against same. I set off forty minutes earlier than the map site recommended, and felt sure that such a cushion of time would allow me to navigate the Stanford Maze.</p> <p>The Stanford Maze is an effect of Stanford&#8217;s size and wealth coupled with certain human factors. Not only is the campus huge and laid out with organic whimsy, as the growing wealth of the institution and the ambitions of its managers allowed, but it apparently maintains for itself the illusion of intimacy. I infer this from the fact that all the winding byways of the campus intersect at four-way stops. If you have never attempted to use an all-way stop in California, I do not recommend it&#8212;even if the ways stopping only contain one lane each, which is not always the case at Stanford. This utter inability to remember who has right-of-way is one human factor; another is confident undergrads striding about without looking at cars, often at night in dark clothing (in the day they wear bright cheerful colors, but a few like to wear dark colors at night just to keep the drivers on their toes.) Throw in many cyclists and the occasional activist against turn-signal use, and you still have only the slightest understanding of the Stanford Maze.</p> <p> The final effable ingredient is construction. Also an effect of the Stanford Wealth, this construction is everywhere and detour signs are, to put it generously, few. Thus it was that I squandered 25 of my 40 extra minutes driving back and forth in front of a construction fence which concealed not only the road I needed, but its curbcut, sign and existence. Finally realizing this, I moved on to trying to park and become a dangerous, dark-clothed pedestrian, which took the other 15 minutes, as I couldn&#8217;t find a single non-permit-requiring parking spot. At last I trusted to luck and parked in whatever an &#8220;EA permit&#8221; spot might be.</p><p> At this point I was some distance away from the auditorium, with only three minutes to find it lest I become an embarrassed latecomer mouthing &#8216;sorry&#8217; as I scoot my butt past those in more convenient seats (which would have been extra-mortifying when I found out that <a href="" target="links">Tobias</a> <a href="" target="links">Wolff</a> was doing the introduction. Tobias &#8220;Bullet in the Brain&#8221; freakin&#8217; Wolff.) Luckily, by dint of fast walking and ignoring the cryptic names of buildings on my map in favor of their cross-sectional shape, I managed to squeak in one minute before anyone said anything, if, in all probability, one minute after nominal showtime. I found myself in one of the larger readings I&#8217;ve ever attended, dreadfully thirsty, surrounded by people I didn&#8217;t know and arriving just in the nick of time. This is no way to acquire the secure air of the lone sophisticate, but luckily one of the four people I know at Stanford was there, so I did not have to sit alone and look clever.</p> <p>Lorrie Moore read the first chapter of a novel she has almost completed (I have no idea if it&#8217;s the one she was working on in this <a href="" target="links"><em>Ploughshares</em> interview</a>, but it didn&#8217;t seem to be about hate.) It proved to have a self-deprecating narrator with a distinctive voice (Moore excels at voice) and a fund of odd observations about the world. She had us laughing out loud a great deal. As <a href="" target="links"><em>The Believer</em></a>&#8217;s article on her says, &#8220;Moore&#8217;s hallmark has become the inextricability of humor and pathos, which she explores with rare understanding.&#8221; I look forward to reading the rest of the novel. She has an idiosyncratic reading style; she places emphasis and pauses in very different places than I would expect. I wonder if this means that she &#8216;hears&#8217; those emphases and pauses when she&#8217;s writing, as well? I think it&#8217;s easy to assume that the way you yourself hear sentences is &#8216;normal&#8217;, but in all probability everyone is a little different. The individual ear is probably informed by the <a href="" target="links">literary sponge</a> effect.</p> <p>At any rate, I enjoyed the reading, and utilized my patented Lurking Skills to haunt the author afterwards so I could get my copy of <em>Like Life</eM> signed. I was only the second or so person to approach her in this vein, and she didn&#8217;t have a pen. Luckily, I have a messenger bag instead of a purse, so I whipped it open, noted with amazement that I had <span class="caps">TWO</span> of my preferred rollerballs as well as my fountain pen, and handed her one of the rollerballs. (Not only is the fountain pen all cherished and stuff, but it was loaded with aqua ink <span class="caps">AND I</span> have handed it to two faculty authors in my program only to discover they are left-handed and fountain pens are a hindrance more than a help.) Anyway, she foolishly said this was the type of pen she liked herself, whereupon, flushed with the competence of having 2 of them on me, I offered to abandon it to her. There was, after all, a line forming, books in hand. There is a certain wordy bashfulness common in writers, and in the depths of same we clashed, courtesy upon courtesy, until I told her my name and that she could owe me a pen and dashed away.</p> <p>It&#8217;s not much of a distinction, being owed a pen by a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, but that, and no ticket on your windshield, will get you home happy and warm. That ain&#8217;t bad for any adventure.</p> Jonah Day 2007-07-10T16:49:54+00:00 2008-06-08T11:50:58+00:00 <p><em>My understanding of the term &#8216;Jonah day&#8217; appears at the beginning of <a href=;type=0&#38;sectionid=0" target="links">this blogget.</a></em></p><p>After a short night of sleep, broken by recurrent nightmares of waking late and the persistent impression that my left eye had swollen shut, I woke to find that I had, in fact, managed to disable my alarm and I had, in fact, woken late. I stared at my phone for a few precious minutes, trying to make the numbers mean something else. Then, left eye not swollen shut, but definitely swollen (I&#8217;ve managed to get a mosquito bite on my eye socket), I ran to the shower, and wondered if, since I wasn&#8217;t sure of the existence of shampoo, water, feet or light, I would be safe to drive soon.</p> <p>Panicked hurry and a cup of yogurt fix all ills, and soon I was driving to work, encountering horrendous traffic, <span class="caps">NPR</span> reports cheerfully saying that every highway was backed up and no one knew why, and phone calls from my superiors asking me to pick up extra caramel at a neighbor store.</p> <p>By the time the work day was over, I was excited, truly excited, by the prospect of heading home and napping for hours. <em>bump bump bump</em>, whispered <a href="" target="links">the Poky Puppy</a>. <em><span class="caps">BUMPBUMPBUMPBUMP</span></em>, it reiterated as I neared the freeway onramp. It occured to me that in the vast miasmatic parking lot of the morning commute, I had taken the rightmost lane, not my usual second from the right. I know the potholes of the second lane quite well, but the first lane&#8230;it had gotten me at least once. Could anything have been jarred at those crawling speeds? Would I have noticed this rhythmic vibration at all on the abysmal pavement and genuinely ridged concrete?</p> <p>I chickened out of the freeway and drove to Ryan&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">palatial workplace</a>, where he frowned, nodded, and insisted on using his <a href="" target="links">new gadget</a> rather than the powers of the indoor intertron to find me the nearest mechanic. </p> <p>Paranoia thus seconded, I hastened to the small auto shop, where a very friendly man said the magical words, &#8220;tire separation&#8221;, thus bringing to the top of my mind buried memories and allowing me to realize why the sound and sensation gave me the feeling of a looming leeshore. My tire: <br /><center><a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" width="240" height="192" alt="separating tire" border="0" /></center></a> </p> <p>Right glad am I that I did not compete with these Californian speed demons in their pothole derby with that lurking! The mechanic put my spare on and inflated it, and confessed when pressed that he did have a friend at a nearby tire shop. He refused payment, though I shall have the last laugh when I bring him a frosty beverage one of these days.</p> <p>After the shortest tire store visit ever (and, of course, a not entirely tiny bill), I drove off homewards. I thought it was homewards. I was so proud, because I was navigating&#8230;here in the Silicon Valley!...entirely by <em>feel</em>. The arterial I sought hung ahead on its overpass like a particularly ugly necklace, and I was so pleased with myself. From my first mention of the car problem to Ryan to the moment I drove on four sound tires was less than two hours, and despite the sick yellow tension in the gathering thunderheads, life was falling back into order. I would get home, try to stop the mosquito bite from claiming my eye, and catch some shut-eye. I stared at the red light, an amazingly long red light, then looked around me in incredulous anger as a dump truck rolled softly into my car.</p> <p>What a day. And the storm hasn&#8217;t even started.</p> Why today (now yesterday) was awesome 2007-06-29T01:21:22+00:00 2008-06-08T11:52:25+00:00 <p>Reading went okay.<br /> No one but me noticed flaws in reading.<br /> First semester student said I looked like Kate Winslet giving reading.<br /> Wasn&#8217;t under the glass light fixture dome when it spontaneously dropped and shattered, covering entire floor of my dorm room with shards.</p> <p>Oh yes! A good day!</p> Glass Houses 2007-01-28T13:13:00+00:00 2008-06-08T12:16:12+00:00 <p>I have rationalized my love of catty sites such as <a href="">Go Fug Yourself</a> by claiming that I, the most non-celebrityish person in the world, never go farther than the mailbox with my hair unbrushed, and would never go to the video store in a wrinkled bedroom sheet and Uggs, to name just one celebrity fugsemble.</p> <p>However, my faith in my own grooming standards has been shaken. I not only failed to lint-roll the layer of tabby cat-hair accents from my black sweater before heading out today, but I just discovered that I have been in public for half an hour <em>with a blob of Malt-o-Meal hot cereal dried onto the tip of my nose</em>. Even Britney Spears would be appalled.</p> In which I discover Technorati 2006-10-07T21:51:42+00:00 2008-08-16T20:31:08+00:00 <p>Perhaps it&#8217;s bad form to rag on a site whilst embedding a bit of blasted html code for their spiders, but Technorati really toasts my cheese sandwich. I thought it might be worth poking them into realizing this blog, while neglected, is not <span class="caps">SIXTY</span>-<span class="caps">ONE</span> <span class="caps">DAYS</span> neglected, especially as someone <a href="" target="links">very cool</a>, whose <a href="" target="links">book you should buy</a>, told me she&#8217;d run across Faerye Net via Technorati before she ever met me.</p> <p>So, with an uncomfortable feeling of conformity, I tried to create a Technorati account. I filled in the fields, as one does, and pressed &#8216;submit&#8217; as one does. It spat me back to the account-creation page without any error messages, and I finally realized that that apparently meant I had made an account. I decided to try using the site from Windows, as perhaps my Macintosh was confusing their brains and causing them to spit me back to account creation as a way of welcoming me into the fold. But no, I found, spitting you back places is pretty much what Technorati wants to do; while using my Windows computer, the site logged me off if I looked at it funny, or if, more accurately, I tried to &#8216;claim&#8217; my blog, look at my account, or do anything besides look at the overbusy main page or the first help page. If I ever see their blasted account creation page again, I may defenestrate someone or something. This occurred in Internet Exploder as well as in Firefox. Oh, and did I mention that no matter how carefully I type my password, it spits me back to the account creation page 8 times out of 9? I suppose it&#8217;s possible that <a href="" target="links">my computer</a> is just not cool enough, but, sheesh. It&#8217;s been rebuilt so often it&#8217;s practically bionic. I guarantee it&#8217;s cool enough for you, old man.</p> <p>So now I&#8217;m back on the Mac, which seems to be able to take part in at least the first steps of &#8216;blog claiming.&#8217; Though now I feel I&#8217;m demeaning myself by jumping through their hoops. So here, Technorati, here&#8217;s your pound of flesh: <a href="" rel="me">Technorati Profile</a>. Rasserframmit.</p> <p>P.S. That sound you hear is my teeth grinding as they log me off another sixteen times and change their mind about whether I&#8217;ve claimed a blog or not. They can&#8217;t decide! It&#8217;s so complicated being a website! Oh noes!</p> In which I prove my clumsiness AGAIN 2006-03-31T17:37:37+00:00 2008-06-08T14:27:52+00:00 <p>Today I disassembled, and with the help of Miss Thursday, moved, a big unwieldy heavy awful desk. I sustained an injury. Did I sustain this injury in taking the thing into bits? In hoisting it to carrying height? In taking it downstairs? In shoving it into a vehicle? In getting it out again and wedging it awkwardly through a door just slightly too small? No, my injury was not so sustained (tho&#8217; if it turns out that I&#8217;ve damaged Miss Thursday by squishing her between a desk and a huge monitor, it did happen during the furniture-moving and I apologize.)</p> <p>I twisted my ankle pretty badly &mdash; worse than I&#8217;ve ever done it before, at least &mdash; <em>by going downstairs too energetically</em>. <span class="caps">I AM THE QUEEN OF THE KLUTZES</span>! <span class="caps">ALL LESSER KLUTZES WILL BOW BEFORE ME</span>!</p> Anil's Curse 2006-03-17T18:16:16+00:00 2008-06-08T14:29:11+00:00 <p>A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of <em>Anil&#8217;s Ghost</em> by Michael Ondaatje, recorded on tapes. The reader was Alan Cummings, and he was perfect; I loved listening to the story, time-jumping and lyrical, as it trickled out of my boombox in his quiet, precise voice. By the second-to-last cassette, however, that voice had acquired an unnatural sing-song quality. Loud, soft, loud, soft, in a pattern my father says is caused by demagnetization of just one side of the cassette. I struggled through that tape, rewinding to catch every word. The last tape, however, was hopeless.</p> <p>Today, I went to the library to get the book on paper, and finish that last sixth of the work. What should I find, however? They have several audio copies of it! In looking for the CD copy, I found tapes. I paid my overdue fines, checked out my treasure, and rushed out to my car. I listened to almost half of the second-to-last tape over again, getting my bearings in the stream of words. I put in the last tape.</p> <p>&#8220;<font size=1>She</font><font size=2> left</font><font size=3> him</font> <font size=4>eventually, in </font><font size=5>the </font><font size=6>Una Palma</font><font size=4> Motel</b></font><font size=3> room in</font><font size=2> Bottega</font><font size=3> Springs. </font><font size=4>Left</font><font size=6> nothing</font><font size=4> of</b> herself</font><font size=3> for him</font><font size=2> to hold</font><font size=1> onto.</font></p> <p><strong>sob</strong></p> Ordeal of the Phoenix 2003-07-02T15:05:26+00:00 2008-05-25T19:52:32+00:00 <p>Matt and I are slow starters, I guess&#8212;I went to buy our community property copy of <em>Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix</em> only yesterday. I guess the mad-rush-read-it-all-in-one-night thing (like <a href="" target="links">Millie</a> did) is less of an issue if you aren&#8217;t planning on downing it all at one sitting. Last book, Matt and I bought separate copies and read by ourselves, and we found that A) it&#8217;s hard to discuss things if you read at different speeds, and B) it&#8217;s over too fast. So this time, we plan to read it aloud to each other, taking turns. As we have a long road trip ahead of us, it seemed like about time to pick it up. We had resisted the urge to preorder the book off <a href="" target="links">amazon</a> because we wanted to support <a href="" target="links">our local bookstore</a>.</p> <p>As I have previously lamented, I work in Portland, whilst my hearth is in Hillsboro. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I take the car. I drive home down Burnside, which is a big scary street with about three places along its whole length where you can cross it or turn left onto it, and a good many places where you can&#8217;t turn either way <span class="caps">OFF</span> of it either. It is a mess of narrow lanes, pedestrians under the influence, and traffic signs. It is a river of anguished souls, trapped and buffeted by the vicious flow of time. It is also one of the streets that borders Powell&#8217;s City of Books.</p> <p>I decided to be brave and go to buy the Harry Potter book, even though it would require parking (curbside parking at a premium, Powell&#8217;s lot and structure both made for Morris Minis and the mini-men who love them). On my way up Burnside, though, it occured to me that I had no moolah, and parking meters don&#8217;t take Starbucks cards (or produce caramel floofy drinks, more&#8217;s the pity). I checked my pockets, I searched all the pockets and corners of my messenger-bag, I fumbled in the interstices of the car. This was all while driving down the river of souls, mind. I do dangerous things like this with my eyes fixed on the road and biting my tongue. That way, it&#8217;s funny, not stupid. I came up with four pennies. I leaned over and opened the glove compartment. A ziploc bag peeked from under the maps! I tugged, and discovered a ziploc bag with a tea candle. &#8220;In case there&#8217;s a power outage <span class="caps">IN THE CAR</span>?&#8221; I hollered, and slung it back in with the sailboat bathtoy and Corolla owner&#8217;s manual. Finally, I found a pocket of my purse with four pennies and a precious, shining (alright, sooty) nickel in it. I could park for 3 minutes legally.</p> <p>So I turned off Burnside and started my frantic street-car-dodging, oh-is-this-a-4-way-stopping, one-waying, dead-ending circuit through the Pearl/Brewery district in search of parking. Finally, I found a curb spot right next to one of Powell&#8217;s main entrances. I parallel parked with much ado (parallel parking is a big deal in my family, and a rare thing in the suburbs). I hastily gathered in my discman-to-cassette converter and cord, and tucked it furtively into the armrest. I realized suddenly that I&#8217;d brought the office iBook home with me, and it was sitting in the footwell of the passenger seat glistening and whispering to all passers-by. (Since <a href="" target="links">my car was burgled for makeup and aftershave</a>, I&#8217;ve gotten kind of paranoid.) Since lugging it bagless through Powell&#8217;s seemed psycho, I covered it with my leather jacket (this is kind of like covering a chocolate chip cookie with peanut butter to keep the kids from eating it) and ran up to put my sooty nickel in the meter. The meter was broken. After doing my (very well-practiced) indecision dance (is it illegal to park at a broken meter? Will I be caught? Do I care? Will hitting the meter help?) I dashed into the store.</p> <p>I felt like Colin in <em>The Secret Garden</em>&#8212;I expected there to be golden trumpets. But Powell&#8217;s looked just the same as usual. I was expecting at very least a life-sized Harry on a broomstick hanging from the ceiling. Chastened, I went on, trying to remember where the children&#8217;s books are, since they&#8217;ve moved them since I qualified. Board books, picture books, little table for little people to look at books. Collectible Children&#8217;s Books&#8230;Chapter Books. <em>H.P. and the Chamber of Secrets</em> caught my eye, and I dashed up to&#8230;the rows of empty shelves. <em>Philosopher&#8217;s Stone</em>, <em>Chamber of Secrets</em>, <em>Prisoner of Azkaban</em>, <em>Goblet of Fire</em>, <em>Shelf of Dustmotes</em>. I made feeble protesting whimpers at the other Harry Potter books, who did not care. I trudged over to information and said, &#8220;Excuse me. I don&#8217;t suppose you have any more Harry Potter 5s, in a double-super-secret place, or maybe in a very obvious place, so that I can look silly but have my book?&#8221; (yes, that is an exact quote. I was feeling prolix.)</p> <p>The woman looked sympathetic. &#8220;But&#8230;this is <span class="caps">POWELL</span>&#8217;S!&#8221; I spluttered, remembering the ramparts and pinnacles of overstock H.P. 4s I had seen last time around. I remembered the comfortable decadence of knowing they had <em>more Harry Potter books than God</em>. &#8220;You can&#8217;t be <span class="caps">OUT</span>!&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;Ran out at 11:30 this morning,&#8221; she said, &#8220;Sorry&#8230;but there&#8217;s an order in.&#8221;</p> <p><em>But&#8230;.</em>I wanted to say, <em>I parallel parked! I foiled imaginary car thieves! I broke the broken meter law!</em> I settled for spluttering instead. Poor woman.</p> <p> I shuffled back to my car, assured myself that my electronics and lipsticks were not financing someone&#8217;s crack habit, and drove off into the dark torrent of smog and despair, calling Matt on the cel phone to whine.</p> <p>So I bought H.P. 5 at the Tanasbourne Barnes &#38; Noble &#8211; so much for supporting your local bookstore, I&#8217;d rather give money to sweet ol&#8217; Amazon, thanks! &#8211; where they did have a great big display right inside the door (but still no golden trumpets), and as a reward for knuckling under to corporate soulless bookstores, I got it for 40% off. Of course, I still had to spend 15 minutes trying to get the <em>best copy</em>.