Monday, October 23, 2006

fiction drives me

“…in everybody’s life there’s a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a point where you can’t go forward any more. And when we reach that point all we can do is quietly accept the fact. That’s how we survive.” ~kafka on the shore, haruki murakami

in yakutat for the week, making matches, making magic.

subscribed to writer magazine. maybe i'll get that short story published. or maybe i'll just end up with a bunch of rejection letters and be blackballed from literary circles because i sent my manuscript with a funny note that says, "I know where you live, haha."*

my new reading goal is to read something from each nobel laureate for literature. working on "penguin island" by anatole france and "narcissus and goldmund" by herman hesse. by working on, i mean they've been haphazardly flung somewhere in my room, and i'll find them 2 months later covered in mold and hair.

*Arrested Development Season 3. Let's get this awesome show renewed people!

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Friday, October 20, 2006

these words are important to us

i saw a contemporary art exhibit at the guggenheim some years ago and saw a piece by a brazilian artist called, "these words are important to me". i loved the concept - words as art - and wanted to do a similar project on my future bedroom door in the future house i'd someday have built.

since my roommates and i were brainstorming on house decorations, i brought up the idea, and caro had paint samples and acrylic crayons. these are what we came up with over dinner the other night. oddly enough, none of the genitalia or sex-related words are mine. although i did make "poop".

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

another bullshit night in suck city

besides being the title of a memoir, it's also a really apt way to describe winter nightlife in juneau.

to ameliorate the weekend doldrums, george and i bought tickets to seattle 3 weeks from now for a 10.5 hour gambling spree. flying in midnight saturday and leaving sunday morning. it'll be a non-stop, no sleep casino bonanza. that's how we roll.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

an apology

"i'm sorry." it fell at her feet with a dull thud, like a brick thrown through a window by an already disappearing messenger.

she thought about someone who'd recently told her he admired his father for being the same dependable person both in his public life as in his private one, and she wondered, who among us have such unapologetic identities? to wear the same face with strangers as the one confronted with in the space of solitude? is this even a trait for noble pursuit? or did she question its worth from filtering everything through eyes that have always been secretive and guarded?

"i'm sorry." she inspected this branch of thorns masquerading as if from an olive tree. who among us are so undisguised and open?

that night, she dreamed about spending the holidays with his family. she usually dreaded this time of year, would be wrapped in a fire blanket of melancholy. in the dream, he was angry with her and left her alone all christmas eve to have fun with a friend. and on christmas day, the family tried to console her and entice her to join them at dinner. his sister stroked her hair. but he didn't come, not even to say i'm sorry, because he wouldn't have meant it. and even though she'd woken up crying and angry, underneath it all, she missed him, even though he'd hurt her. because she realized she'd been glad just to have seen him, if only in a dream.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

anger is stronger than fear

but indifference trumps them all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

the illmatic illuminates

i'd been listening to npr talk about this stuff with north korea, but then i found a much more insightful and direct source of information: Kim Jong Il (matic)'s blog. we already knew - or, you would if you read web sites run by north korea - that the dear leader wakes up early every day for intensive memory training, pilots jet fighters, pens operas, produces movies, and accomplished a feat unmatched in the annals of professional golf by shooting 11 holes-in-one on the first round he ever played. so in the midst of such incredible hobbies, why not also maintain a livejournal? everyone's jumping on the PIMP (post-9/11 information & media phase). that was a shout-out to my friend george.

anyway, it turns out kim regularly IM's with bush, kerry, cheney, hu jintao, and saddam. my favorite im names are: BreakTheseCheneysofLove, Hu's-on-first, and WeaponsofAssDestruction. see, i used red, white, and blue to prove i'm a patriot... act... please don't arrest me democratic government...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I'm so money

i've mentioned this weird phenomenon before, but extended residence in juneau lends itself to tunnel vision. it's not even as if it's a rural community like yakutat with a population of 600 on a good season. but juneau has basically 3 areas: downtown/douglas, the valley, and out the road. only about 10% of the population live in downtown/douglas. i live, work, socialize and drink all in downtown, and the average area i probably cover in a day encompasses 5 blocks. that's it. it's easy to forget there's a world existing outside of that, with flashy entertainment and millions of people and just as many distractions. well duh, val, welcome to the strip.

not that i was freaking out - that came later, when we got to dinner at margaritaville: a jimmy buffet-themed restaurant replete with costumed men on stilts creating animal balloon hats, cocktail waitresses doubling as mermaids who spontaneously dive into a pool of tequila then contort on hooks hanging from the ceiling, and the requisite constant whistling, clapping, and hollering that must occur in any garrishly designed fun-nery. but these people didn't just invite you to have fun. they wanted to shove it in your face and then take a picture so you'd never, ever forget it.

after the most overstimulated dinner i've ever had, i went with some coworkers to gamble at the venetian. we all had different desires - roullette, slots, pai gao. i headed for the poker room to find me a game of texas hold 'em.

i have played poker a number of times but never in vegas although my friends and i used to drive there when i lived in los angeles. i love the game, and i play with friends sometimes; i even tried it online recently. but poker in vegas for me is like sitting at the adults table on thanksgiving. oh you might have told fart jokes with your pals at the kiddy table and thrown some mashed potatoes around and that's all fun and good, but after awhile you look at the grownups and you want to be there. you want to graduate. you want to arrive.

so there i am, vegas poker novice, intimidated as all get-out. hardened players are staring at me, sizing me up, i am the only female, and i am the only one under 30. for the first 10 rounds my hands were visibly shaking; i broke every damn table etiquette rule. i got yelled at for picking up my cards to look at them, i didn't know how to bet or raise properly on a limit game, i forgot to tip the dealer after my first (lucky) win. but i was resolved to show myself i could do it. i could hang with the big boys.

in less than an hour, i tripled my money. my coworkers were telling me to walk away. but gambling can't be just about the money; it would mean too much. you'd get too conservative and you can't win if you don't play, or you'd get emotional and start making poor decisions left and right. you might as well not play at all or start throwing your chips at people like confetti. i just like card games, so i said no, i'm having a blast, i'll play a couple more.

*game show error buzzer noise here*

on my first hand back, i almost halved my stack. this dude and i got in a raising war, and i could feel my pride chemicals blocking my smart cells from folding. i had a two pair damnit: queens and 7s. but he also had two pair - with fucking kings. that loss got my goat so badly i almost went to an atm to withdraw $100 just so i could raise him more next time. see what i mean about playing with your emotions?? if it weren't for my coworker coming to get me 15 minutes later, i'd be at that table still.

(end of story: i left with double my startup and the giddy feeling that i held my own with poker regulars. back to my rainy bubble, i.e. home, tomorrow night.)

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

you're so money

vegas baby, vegas. the hotel is downtown, but it still rocks. i, unfortunately, do not. it's a little past 7pm, and i'm in my room ready to crash while other, much more fun conference-goers are dancing at pirahna nightclub or ogling strippers at...well, the strip. i thought i might go for a night dip at the pool outside, but i'm so tired i'm afraid i would just slink to the bottom in unguarded exhaustion and drown.

emily (coworker): there are so many wedding chapels here! isn't that wild??
me: i'm gonna ply you with nighttime sudafed and marry you later.
emily: hahahaha. wait, what?
me: nothing, nothing.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

downright amazed

Fall is shaping up to be a whirlwind of trips. Last week, it was Yakutat; now I'm in Seattle before heading off to Las Vegas on Tuesday. Yakutat Part 2 is on the agenda before the end of the month, home for Thanksgiving, and Europe for the winter holidays. If the leaves won't change colors for me in Juneau, I guess I'll change cities.

This Seattle four day respite from work obligations is filled with luxuries. I'm soaking up the sun in all its glory - undiminished by cloud cover, unsaturated by rain. I can almost feel my skin thanking me for the Vitamin E.

Another thing I needed to stock up on was a trip to a good museum. Sure Juneau has two, and the State Museum's not so bad, but the City Museum makes me want to throw crackers at people. I'm a nerd, and I love museums, so I have certain standards. Namely, that they shouldn't have racist introductory videos.

This weekend, I checked out Bodies: The Exhibit, comprising over 200 cadavers and explaining the complex layers and systems of the incredible human body. Some was a reprise of freshman biology, and the bones bit was not as interesting as my Human Osteology course in college, but the room with the human fetuses was creepy so this exhibit got the Valtrex Seal of Approval. Congratulations Bodies: the Exhibit! You're herpes free. You may think this picture is from the exhibit, but you'd be wrong. It's Seamus after we played BomberMan, and I'll tell you right now that he is not a teamplayer. That's me in the background grooving with a Guiness post-slaughter.

Today we saw "Deep Sea 3D" on IMAX and the traveling Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit, which unfortunately was NOT 3D. Every movie should be done on 3D; it blows my mind. And Seattle IMAX goers are high-falootin' with their sturdy plastic 3D glasses and not just the flimsy cardboard kind that bends funny after being used a thousand times and makes your eyes cross-eyed after 10 minutes.

I did not actually take this picture of a dead sea scroll because the pieces we saw were encased in protective glass and special Japanese paper, and they were only (dimly) lit periodically because they couldn't be exposed to a lot of light. We saw scraps from Genesis, part of the Ten Commandments, Isaiah, Ezekiel, the Book of War, and Psalms - the oldest found so far. Material history always fills me with a sense of humble awe. And now I'm all about archaeology again instead of law. Sorry human rights field. I'm a dirt digger at heart.