Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Question and Answer Time

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Q: When does a casual acquaintance/annoyance cross over into stalker?

A: When he comes and finds you at your substitute instructor job that's only supposed to last a week.

Luckily you are in your car, just leaving the job to go home and eat breakfast. You can just speed away, engrossed in Ladytron and pretend that you didn't see him waving frantically from his bicycle. You then call Margo, screaming about it and she tells you to call the police (and laughs at you). Let's not mention the two phone calls and two text messages that follow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Not My Finest Hour

Monday, March 26, 2006

I have tasted freedom. I have lived a year of debauchery, general hooliganism, mayhem with just a touch of promiscuity.

I am faced with the possibility of a break from this, faced with someone whom I like a lot and apparently likes me a lot. Someone who wants to do nice things with me like go for long hikes with Jeeves, discuss the meaning of life and have great sex. What do I do?

I give my phone number to a Portuguese Stanford post-doc that I met at the Nuthouse. The Nuthouse.

It seemed like a fine idea at the time, after 3 Bloody Mary's, a Fat Tire and a Stella, a great way to assert my independance and, more importantly, my control over the situation. Now that he's texted me 4 times and called me 5 times, it doesn't seem as though it was such a great idea. Especially because the texts were overtly forward, ending with the words "Kiss.... Paolo".

As grossed out as I am I still feel like a total bitch not responding, but I don't know what to say.

1. "I'm sorry. I'm seeing someone who's taller and more attractive than you in just about every way. I only gave you my number because I'm trying to run away from my emotions."

2. "I'm sorry. I can't really stand the thought of you, so you see this makes it impossible for us to have a relationship.

3. "I've a VD, d'you?"

4. "I'm only 12."

5. "I'm actually 58"

I'd like to add, at this point, that he is calling me as I type, this makes it 6 calls.

6. "I'd like you to meet my parents. Why? So we can start planning the wedding, silly!"

Call number 7.

7. "I'm sorry. I confused my real number with the fake number I normally give out to strangers in bars. So this whole thing is really just a typographical error."

or, and this one's borrowed from a television show we all know and love,

8. "Dear Paolo, Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You."

I'm welcoming further suggestions. I still feel like a total bitch.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bloody Noses and Dirty Hippies Part The Second

Apparently, the dirty hippy with the gum disease is in love with me. I was informed of this today by his closest friend, simultaneously being warned not to "touch that". I think he meant figuratively as in pursuing a relationship, but I chose to take it literally and said,

"Don't worry. You couldn't pay me to touch him."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bloody Noses and Dirty Hippies

Here's a funny story kids.

Saturday night, in a farm-fresh stupor, I walked into a wall and gave myself a bloody nose. This is the first time a physical act has resulted in my getting a bloody nose. I got bloody noses all the time when I was little, but it was always a very random occurrence, my mother always attributed it to my being "over tired" (I came to understand later that this was her excuse for everything).

This bloody nose episode, I had gotten up from my couch in the living room where I had been watching a what is really the only thing appropriate to watch at 1 in the morning in a farm-fresh stupor, a horror film, circa 1979. I was also trying desperately to forget the drunken, dirty hippy with the worst case of gum disease I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing at close hand. He had followed me around claiming my accent was fake, asking me would I please stop faking it and could he have some of my whiskey. He then proceeded to inform me that my dog really loved him and that a dog's closest relative was a dolphin (if you look at the snout, it's obvious, apparently). Then he sat way too close to me on the couch and made remarks about my sexual history, mainly along the lines of "I know all about you." repeated over and over again. I finally got up and went home.
The horror movie that I was watching came to an end, I got up and stumbled towards what I though was the hall that leads to my bedroom, but was in fact the wall of the hall that leads to my bedroom.

The reason I'm writing about it now is because it is still on my mind, because it still hurts - It feels like when you jump into a pool and you forget to breathe out and all the water rushes up your nose and pounds into your sinuses.

Either that or it feels like I snorted Tang.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Silly news people-Kirk Cameron isn't interesting!

I had a conversation tonight with Ryan about the inanity of news b-roll, which reminded me of my foray into the world of television yesterday.

I thought I might give it a shot and I ended up watching 15 minutes of some idiot on MSNBC "interviewing" former tv child star and current religious nutcase Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains, Left Behind) while presumptuous and sensationalist b-roll played. Think a combination of clips from such films as Ben Hur and David vs. Super Goliath in addition to shots in seedy dive bars to demonstrate the moral demise of Hollywood as the reason why The Passion of the Christ was so popular (nothing to do with the fact that our country is stocked with people who will pay for anything that gives them a free pass out of the guilt of social responsibility, including the belief that someone else will show up and absolve them of all their bad deeds providing that they hate gay people).
I think that in this case and probably lots of other cases, the b-roll was mainly to distract the audience from what was actually being said, due to the fact that what was being said was total crap.

Currently listening :
Growing Pains & Other Hit TV Themes
By Steve Dorff & Friends
Release date: By 25 October, 1990

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

blackface noodles and introspection

Karen and I had a great Saturday. We took Jeeves to Lake Lagunita and he ran around like a very happy maniac. Then we went to the flea market at my alma mater, Palo Alto High School (surprisingly enough, I didn't burst into flames or melt or anything like that upon entering the grounds).
Then we went and ate noodles at her favorite restaurant in Mountain View. (Yes. It was further south than Rengstorff, once again I didn't burst into flames or melt or anything like that). We watched Japanese television while we were eating our noodles, there was a pop music show on with all these weird bands on, fairly innocuous for the most part.

I did almost spit out my noodles at one of the acts though, as it was five Japanese men in honest-to-goodness blackface.

I mean it. Really. Blackface.


---------------------------------------------

I find myself, quite often, looking for imperfections in my friends.

You see, I generally have such admiration, compassion and loyalty to my friends that I have to find comfort in their foibles and flaws. Otherwise, I'm afraid that they'll see mine and perhaps not like me anymore. In short, I love them so much that they seem faultless, where as I feel continually faulted in comparison.
-----------------------------------------------
I recieved an email on Monday from someone who really enjoyed spending the day with me on Sunday.

I'm terrified because I can't imagine why - I am in the middle of discovering that I am an entirely interesting person without being a horse trainer, but I haven't gotten quite comfortable in my new skin yet.

Currently listening :
Here Come the Warm Jets
By Eno
Release date: By 01 June, 2004

Friday, March 9, 2007

Part four, Jessie + I try and find a post office.

The table was rectangular and wooden and the people sitting around it were smiling. Their white teeth contrasted brightly with the dark stone walls and the dim light.

As the little woman handed me a large plastic cup full of foggy yellow chicha, we moved to our seats. I sipped a little as I sat and Jessie muttered to me under her breath,

"How is it?"

"It's dis-gus-ting."

I replied, singing it softly between my polite smiling teeth. She replied, equally succinctly,

"Here's to wildly violent diarrhea..."

And then took her own sip. The man sitting directly across from Jessie and in front of a stone wall that was wallpapered with poster calenders started talking to us in Spanish. The poster calenders were bright and colorful and, despite the somewhat scantily clad women featured on most of them, made the dark small room seem quite cheerful.

_____ was very interested in us. He was very proudly Quechua and motioned to everyone around the table saying that they were all Quechua, and that Quechua is a much happier language than Spanish.

"When you say something in Quechua, you want to smile." Jessie translated for me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Part three, Jessie + I try and find a post office.

We discovered them by walking further back into the village, away from the main square. The streets were tiny and the buildings were made of the huge Inca stones that fitted together so firmly and tightly that you couldn't slip a knife between them.

Every once in a while, a house would have a pole that stuck out of it, with a red plastic bag wrapped around the end. We peeked into the first one we found and saw a group of people, men and women sitting around a table.

"That's the chicha that they're drinking." Jessie said.

Chicha is a fermented drink that I was already familiar with. As an undergrad at UCSB I worked with a grad student named Justin Jennings on a project to make Chicha. We made it out of the maguey plant, which is similar to agave, which is what you make tequila out of, assuming you are, of course in Tequila.

Jessie and I continued to wander the grid of Ollantaytambo. Happy, dirty stray dogs would run between the houses and beautiful, purple cheeked children played football in the streets. At some point we realized that we were not going to find the post office. Jessie turned to me and said, "Let's get a drink."

Hey Marianne + Jeremy,

Here's a postcard from a strange shop in Ollantaytambo. They sold honey and seeds and alpaca cloth but it was a benefit shop to encourage local people to keep doing what they've been doing for thousands of years. So it was a little more expensive than the other tourist shops, but I felt compelled to support them.

See you soon!

Alice

We had seen quite a few of these homes that served chicha, but we decided to go to the first one because it had lots of people in it.
It was a two or three steps down into the main room of the house, accessible from the street. An uneven wooden table was to one side, with chairs all around it. All the chairs were taken but one and a small crate. I sat on the crate and Jessie took the chair. A tiny Quechua woman said

"cincuenta centavos."

In response to Jessie's "¿cu├ínto para una taza?"


We only had one 5o cent piece between us, it was either that or a 100 sole bill which we reasoned she would not have the change for, so we got one cup.

We sat down with our new companions and introduced ourselves.

Cold skin

Yesterday I went for an amazing hike. I brought Ryan along to meet Margo + David + Meg and I ended up really enjoying myself a lot.

The air was cold but I was so warm from the exertion that it was prickly on my skin, the same feeling you have when you jump into an ice cold lake on a very hot day. I could feel just under my skins surface I was warm, blood was rushing through my body so naturally and normally but my skin itself was cold to the touch.

It was a purge of sorts and very refreshing to not feel cold all the way through my body.

Other than the trip to Peru, I really haven't felt as good as I felt yesterday in a long time. In Peru, I think it was being in different surroundings and seeing Jessie and being far, far away from here. It was a little worrying to think about coming back to here, but I took comfort in the plans that Jessie + Claudia + I were making.

So to go on that hike yesterday and wander around underneath the madrones and redwoods was a relief. It was also nice to have such a relaxing time with Ryan. He was great company.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Part two, Jessie + I try and find a post office.

Hey Ben,

I got this postcard because it reminded me of all the bones we saw in the catacombs of Lima - they had a "bone well", which some moron thought meant they threw dead bodies in their drinking water. Really it means that they have a giant pit, in which they put the bones.
Right now we are sitting and drinking coca leaf tea in a coca leaf shop. They gave us weird cookies that I think were also made out of coca leaf (they are kind of gross, unlike the tea - you'd really like the tea).
Anyway,

Hope you are well,

Alice

At the bottom of the rock slide, there were more ruins. We were shielded from the sun by the big hill we had just come down. The side of the hill was a sheer rock face with rectangular holes that had been cut away and then worn smooth. They made perfect seats for us, although one or two were less than ideal to get to. I curled up in one, Claudia took the next one, John the third and my brother scrambled, with his underwear sticking out of his trousers, along to the last one.
Jessie took our picture a few times and then handed snacks and water up to us.

What got us to come down was a white dog with big brown eyes that loved plantana chips. We played with him and fed him all our chips and then he accompanied us back to the village, running ahead and then waiting for us, looking back over his shoulder.

So it was at this point that we all split up. Jessie and I wandered off on our own, asking several people where the post office was. The thing about asking for directions in Latin America is that you aren't really given specific ones. Usually just an arm waved generally towards where they think you might want to go. We were waved in several different directions and never did find the post office.

We did however discover the chicha bars that we had read about in the guide book.