We had a pumpkin carving contest at our work, with one pumpkin for each department. We were given no boundaries, and we could use any props that we wanted. So Charles, in my department, carved up a pumpkin and came up with this:
Have you ever eaten Fettuccine Alfredo while watching a tape worm removal on Youtube? It’s not a good combination, and I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to wait until I finished my dinner to click on the video. It was kinda like the time when I discovered the “Faces Of Death” videos, and then sat down to watch them while eating Kentucky Fried Chicken. Duhhh!!!!
But its all smoky out, and we have to stay inside, because going outside and breathing all that ash would be even …stupider. The sunrise and sunset here in L.A. are very beautiful though, and there is a gorgeous pink cast over everything. You can really see it in the light coming through the windows and bathing the floor. There’s a warehouse across the street from my work and the outside of it is corrugated metal, and it reflected weak pink sunshine all day. The moonrise is an incredible orange glow. The ashes whirl around in the air and settle onto the cars, and affect people’s lungs but isn’t thick enough at all to affect visibility. I was listening to KNX 1070 a.m. all day, which seemed to give the most up to date coverage, but it’s exhausting just to listen to, and makes me feel helpless. I have three friends that have been evacuated, but I think their houses are all safe. They’re just taking precautionary measures. Plus, how breathable would their air be, if it’s so bad all the way up here? Everybody is going to be coughing up ashes for weeks.
So it’s a stay inside, watch gross things on the internet kind of day. We should save our energy, too, because I think everybody is the affected areas is going to need some cheering up.
I went to the Gordon Matta-Clark show at MOCA on Saturday. He was a well-known artist in the late ’60s and ’70s, and died in 1978 at age 35. He’s most memorable for cutting a house in half:
I remember this image so clearly from my art classes. He was a very prolific artist, and since most of his projects were huge and not readily preserved, his work is memorialized in photos and chunks of buildings for the show. I don’t imagine it was an easy show to curate.
Matta-Clark helped found a restaurant in the 1970s in SoHo called “Food”, a self-proclaimed “perpetual dinner party” and run by artists. He had an item on his menu called “bones”, consisting of oxtail and frog legs, and the diner could have the bones strung into a necklace after the meal. His restaurant preceded Moosewood, a famous artist founded vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca. Matta-Clark was known for using food as part of his art. One of my favorite things in the exhibit was the excerpts from a note he wrote to his friend Lee Jaffe, in which he was trying to talk him into donating his body to a cannibalism project:
“…We will each achieve fulfillment by giving ourselves over to the tastes and delight of the banquet. Lee- just imagine what a a fabulous treat you would make. You would not only be well remembered, but superbly catered. Remember, there is no rush… I understand that this is an important decision. You will be the leader of an incredible eatable art movement -Plus! Think of what a great film it would make.
This guy’s funny.
There’s a reason we struggle. The reasons are out there in front of us like neon signs, when we look at people who don’t have to struggle through the basics in life and instead have them handed to them. Struggling builds character. More than that though, it keeps us connected with each other on a base level. We all have to work at building and keeping what we have, and without the struggle it would have so much less meaning, if any at all. My day to day life has been a bit of an ordeal lately, since I find myself in the company of a staggering amount of social naivety sometimes. I want to help, but you can’t actually reach into someone’s head and connect the neurons that haven’t found each other, and aren’t going to. Compassion? That’s a bit alien to me. I have compassion for animals, and maybe kids. With grown people, I have to reach for it. I have to literally talk myself through how lucky I am to have the friendships that I have, and remind myself that these are the proof that I was born with the equipment that it takes to build and hold onto real relationships with people. In fact I have a huge amount of this, and it takes work. Work and integrity. And the basic skills to know when to shut one’s God damned mouth. On top of that, I have this kick ass family. Not everybody has that. So if I have to stop and remind myself of this every time I have to summon up the patience to be in the proximity of the less equipped, while in the middle of licking my wounds, then I’d still say I got the better deal in life, by a landslide.
On Sunday I went to the House Of Blues for their gospel brunch. It was my friend Jenn’s birthday, and that’s her place of choice. We went there for her birthday 2 years ago, too. They have this great southern brunch where you can get so stuffed that you can’t even walk, and then while you’re recovering you can watch their gospel show. Last time we went, there was this little dude in all white singing, and he was getting so excited, and I got this image of him boogie-ing out into the audience and then boogie-ing on underneath the table, and then I pictured them having to stop the show and ask us to check under our tables for the gospel guy, saying, “He just gets over excited sometimes. He gets so filled up with the gospel, we can’t stop him. Can you check your bags too? He’s really little…”
Yesterday I got punched in the back by a five year old. It rocked my sense of reality, and led to a fitful night sleep full of dreams in which everyone’s age was all scrambled up. And you know what? In my lifetime, this is at least the tenth time this has happened to me. You’d think I would stop rolling with the five year olds, but they’re just so cute and funny (but strong).
I was at my friend’s house for her one year-old’s birthday party/ baptism celebration. She has a huge, wonderful traditional Mexican family, and the party went well into the night. All for a one-year old. There was a DJ, a Pinata, a bouncy castle, tons of food, three tables were fully loaded with presents, and her cul-de-sac was full of cars, double and triple parked all the way down the street. I was the only white person there, but that happens to me all the time. I don’t usually get roughed up for it. The one who punched me was one of eight million cousins of the baby. I think he was mad because I was trying to talk to him about punching people. He looked me very seriously in the face and then said, “you’re not my dad! My dad’s a firefighter!” He forgot the bond we’d forged when his angry brother was chasing him around the bouncy castle, and I finally reached out and he leapt into my arms and I held him high in the air so that only his legs could, and did, get punched. While he was perched victoriously on my shoulder, he cheered and gave his brother the finger, and then spit on him. His brother started to spit on both of us, and then my little five year old friend lost his shoulder privileges.
By early evening, he’d punched five adults and made both of his older brothers cry. I finally made a citizens arrest in the form of telling his mommy, and he got pulled out of the action for a long while. He’s a very entertaining kid, and never stops smiling or yelling funny things. I’m very curious to see how his life turns out. I still think he’s adorable.
In the absence of permission from his parents to post his photo, I’ll just post this pic of a cute little hamster holding a gun.
photo peeled off of Janae’s myspace, via her comments section.