Friday, December 4, 2009

At the risk of reincarnating "Kids Say The Darndest Things," ...

... one more.

A conversation with one of my fifth graders yesterday evening:

A: "Isn't this early for you to be leaving work?"
me: "Yes.  But I'm going to the circus."
A: "To watch, or to perform?"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Modest Proposal

One of my fourth graders wanted to create her own writing prompt for a short story.  She was too embarrassed to say it out loud, claiming it was "too girly."  I asked her to type it.  Here's what she came up with:

"I just watched tinker bell and the lost treasure with my little brother and sister and im on a website from long ago called pixie hollow and I sort of have a lot to say about tinker bell stuff."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Unlikely Return

Y: search facebook
  **** *********
 X: there are three of her
  is she the hot one
11:19 PM Y: yeah
  i mean, she's the brunette
  the only one you can see
  we we're engaged
  and were on and off for years
  and she ti\ried to get back with me a while ago, but i wasn't interested
11:20 PM but i am, now
 X: I'd probably fall for her, too
11:21 PM Y: i'm so saddened
  that's the problem
 X: Is she taken now or something
 Y: she has this effect on me
 X: And that's why you want her, when she's unavailable?
 Y: she'd leave whoever she was with for me
  she isn't 'unavailable'
  she just is nuts
 X: Ah, personality issues
11:22 PM Y: and wants me now because she thinks i'm going to be successful
  and becasue i treat her so good and am reliable
11:23 PM X: How nuts is she
 Y: well, she's bi-polar
  and a liar
11:24 PM X: well at least things wouldn't be boring
  plus think how attractive she is
  she might even be a ten
11:25 PM Y: she is a ten
11:26 PM and i'm a what?
  she was attracted to me
  and i've dated models
 X: tens only like tens
  you must be a ten, too
 Y: but i also have dated girls with personalities nd intelligence
  and i love that
  because i learn with them
  but with ****, she learned from me
  and it wasn't blanaced
11:27 PM X: well if shes bipolar, thats like TWO personalities
 Y: well i am emile hirsch
 X: So maybe she could make up for her lack of IQ
  With a double dose of personality
 Y: no, she's a loser
  no education
  but she wants to be a winner
  her dad hates me
 X: I don't know, she's wearing a suit in her facebook photo
 Y: he is jealous of me
 X: Gotta be a winner to do that
  Oh rly
 Y: yeah, he actually is
11:28 PM it's a long story, that i won't bore you with
 X: Which qualities does he covet
 Y: but he is
  he is a moron
  and fat
  and always comments on how girls go for guys like their dad
 X: Why did you go and meet the girl's parents anyway
  Bad move
  So beta
 Y: but **** slept with me and became my girlfriend three days after we met
11:29 PM we spent the christmas break together
 X: I know the type
 Y: that was less than a month after we met
 X: So clingy
  Get a life
 Y: well, she invited me cause i left my girlfriend of 4-years for her
  and she left this guy for her
 X: O no, I meant her
 Y: we both did on the day we met each other
11:30 PM Y: like we both knew
 X: Love at first sight eh
 Y: i don't know
 Y: i used to think so
  but she made it hard
  i got her pregnant
  and that messed a lot of stuff up
 X: Damn son
 Y: she blamed me for it
  though she never wanted to use condoms until after the pregnancy
  then i got into [good school]
11:31 PM X: Her uterus shouldn't have been so receptive
 Y: and was going to go
  and couldn't, becasue i loved her
 X: I hear no one is allowed to love there
 Y: but when i stayed, she clearly lost respect for me
  so then, a year later, i got into [other good school]
 X: Also: so beta
 Y: and came up here, and she was here, and things struck up again
11:32 PM well, when we met up again, all my [other good school] friends said she was trash
  and that i had so many better options
  i was seeing a girl at the time
  a pretty, sweet girl
  but not exciting
  and that was lacking
  and that caused a sense of boredom
11:33 PM you see, i liked the girl i was seeing, but primarily because she was so innocent and hard to get
  once i did, things changed
 X: a challenge
 Y: and her roommates overheard me talking to **** and us telling each other "i love you"
  then that ended my relationship with the other girl, ******
11:34 PM but now **** is back, and i can't stop thinking of her
 X: I hate the whole hunter - pursued thing
 Y: well we all do
 X: I hate having to play games
 Y: but it's a fact for some of us
 X: But then when I'm easy
  I know guys get bored
11:35 PM Y: i never got bored of ****
 X: At least, that's what I've learned from When Harry Met Sally
 Y: when we were happy, it was insanely happy
  when we fought, she called the cops
  three times
 also, the reason i approached her was simply to see her better - i had no glasses on
  she started hitting on me, and read my fiction that had recently been published - four times she told me - and was so laudatory that i felt charmed
11:37 PM X: Did you blow a whistle at her
 Y: then everything splintered
  i also have this penchant for wanting to save people
  primarily because i feel fucked up
  but not when i'm with her
11:39 PM it's a relationship that's hell to be in, but worse to be out of
  now with all these positive things going on in my life, she wants back in
 X: do you have other options
 Y: she says, and it's true, that she wants to marry me because she knows i inspire her
11:40 PM she asked to move in with me
  i said yes
  but then i never picked her up
  i was going to, heading over and everything
  but i turned around
 X: i hope she wasn't waiting in the rain with her suitcases

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fat Pig at the Aurora

I. Overheard in Row C, pre-show:

Two middle-aged women, discussing a son's short story-writing class (The son is in elementary school).

A: "He's not flourishing.  He's finding the form restricting."

B: "Maybe he just needs to find another... modality."


II. Review, in uber-brief:

Photo by David Allen

As Tom and Helen, Jud Williford and Liliane Klein charm us as they charm one another.  If this sounds a little too cute, it is:   Though Tom's alternate likability and despicability render him the archetypal modern protagonist, a huge weakness of the script is that Helen's only flaw is that... she's fat.  Also, even at 100 minutes, the show runs a tad long.  The last scene, at the beach, while introduced with stunning theatrical spectacle, unnecessarily draws out already excruciating displays of vulnerability.  Who didn't already know that we're not supposed to judge others by their appearances, but that it's really hard not to?   With Alexandra Creighton and Peter Ruocco as the malicious foils.  

 The show runs through December 13th at the Aurora Theatre, in Berkeley.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hexagonal/Octagonal Corner Windows: A Missed Connection/A Love Story

A few Friday nights ago, across the street from my house, a skinny fella with spiky blond hair and a black t-shirt was scaling the ledge of a 2nd story apartment, inching toward the octagonal corner window.   The light was on, and one of the windows was ajar.  Once there, he rapped at the glass with his knuckles, waved inside, and gingerly lowered himself to open the window further, presumably to climb inside.  He couldn't get into a position to use his strength, though, and, after struggling to raise the ledge by himself for a few minutes (I was openly gawking at this point), he had to motion to the person inside for assistance.  No one came; illustrating his predicament with body language wasn't cutting it, so, to explain verbally, he bent over almost completely to put his mouth next to the opening.  Then he raised his head, gestured vigorously once more, and lo and behold, a female head popped up at the sill.  But she, too, seemed to be in an awkward position.  Her elbows were almost as high as her head, so it didn’t look like she was bringing additional strength to the endeavor.  Various distributions of force were attempted, but it was no use.  (The windows of my Victorian home are similarly difficult to budge, though I've never tried to open them wide enough for a person -- because, unfortunately, there hasn't been the need).  More verbal communication was needed, so the gentlemen inched backwards on the ledge to lower his head to the crevice.  An attempt to persuade, an argument.  The head inside shook vigorously, defiant.  Her companion, exasperated, motioned to dispense with the whole enterprise and depart.  As he was turning, the head, unwilling to lose him, got into a more comfortable position, exposing her bare breasts, and, just as I, mortified, was turning away, more below.  Encouraged, the lad turned back to assist his more participatory partner.  I walked the few doors down to my address, but, turning back as I unlocked the door and went inside, they were still struggling with it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Overheard, Two Male Students

"I don't know why, but I only talk to girls on AIM.  Do you ever talk to dudes?"

"Only in emergencies."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snippets from the next table in Cafe du Soleil

"Usually boys like something... Sports... or, gadgets?  Right?"

"Have you ever tried a regular Coke?"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

First World Questions

aka, Stuff White People Don't Like:

1. Should I stay on the couch or try to get better reception near the window?

2. If my significant other doesn't have the same taste as I, can we still be compatible?

3. Should I spend 5 minutes trying to find a decent torrent for this file or spend 99 cents on it but enjoy instant gratification?

4. Organic cafes don't serve diet coke?

Ghostwriting credits: A. Chung

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Legs and All

Where there tread staunch theatre-lubbers amidst a sea of skeptics, would-be thespians who buckle under the burden of proof, unable to cite a work that reveals theatre in all its eminent accessibility and vivacity—O, let there be Legs and All.  This romp in pantomime, now playing at the Climate Theatre as part of the Fringe Festival, revels in those magical devices which much contemporary theatre neglects: props that have their own stage life, movement and staging that defy expectations (and gravity), lighting that transports us, literally, to other worlds.  Performers Peter Musante and especially Summer Shapiro commit to their roles with urgency and athleticism, representing ordinary situations (a chase, a first date) with strikingly original choreography.  Save for an ill-conceived foray into dialogue, each moment is exquisite.  You will want to join in the fun onstage.

Legs and All continues through September 19th at the Climate Theater, 285 9th Street, San Francisco. Tickets ($10 - $12) are available at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Everyone's favorite kind of blog entry

Gotta give the people what they want.

Y: "Yo, what flick did you decide on last night?  Yuh, Yuh."

X: "Actually I watched Harvard Beats Yale 29-29.  You can read my thoughts on my blog."

Y: "God, that movie keeps coming up.  Now that I go to Yale, I don't mind.  Hey, let's start a blog - you, me, [P]/[Q] - about Philosophy, The Cinema, Literature, Music, and Theory."

Y: "Well, let's do it.  Let's write about how PENN is 4th in the US News Rankings and how PENN's English Department is tied with Harvard at 3rd.  We can also talk about the rumor that the Med School is going to be tied at 1st with Harvard in the new Rankings."

X: "And you haven't even mentioned Wharton"

Y: "Wharton is always Tops."

Y: "Fucking Yale Philosophy - I'm going to go to Penn once a week to continue studies with Paul Guyer, the world's undisputed top Kantian."

X: "On top of a world of perpetual peace, eh?  What a place 2 B"

Y: "Yeah, and when I was there, I hated it."


Y: "Come live here and we can talk"
X: "[Q] and I recently revolutionized our long-distance relationship with videoconferencing on Skype.  But when he refused to put a shirt on, we had to revert"


Y: "Hi"
X: "Speaking of [Q], we've been wondering how exactly you expect us to respond to a text that says, 'Hi'"
Y: "Come over and solve this problem"


(After a series of chats on the TELEPHONE)

Y: "The entire conversation we just shared hurt me"
X: "And here I was, about to chalk it up as an unqualified success"


Y: "[X]"
X: "I think [P] hates me"
Y: "He told me that he plans on seeing you.  By the way, the fucking kidney dude called and I dropped my phone - bad sign?  They can take my dead organs - I keep trying to OD"


Y: "Hey, babe."
X: "'Babe' yourself"


Y: "hi"
X: "I was the best wingwoman ever for [P] last night"
X: "He was surrounded by foreign girls"
X: "All because of me"
Y: "well, you can chase the truth like hell, but you'll touch its coat tails"
Y: "somethings I get scattered in the brain for a year"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Seen in and around the Bay

Alamo Square.  That is a gun you see getting left behind, as well as a shackle around the ankle.

The Marina.

Millbrae.  The yellow square in the mesh pocket of this high schooler's backpack is a Trojan condom.  Further research reveals he probably chose the "ribbed" variety.  

Saturday, August 29, 2009

From a middle-schooler's essay on the quote, "Don't judge a person until you walk a mile in his shoes."

"I also know something about don't judge a book by its cover, it is an expression about judging people before you know how they really are.  For example, you see a black person and you automatically hate them for being black!  And you be a jerk to him.  Then you notice that the person is all alone and take things from kind people and is always being bullied.  So you try to make friends with them and you like him and you learn he has no family and is actually cool and you regret being a jerk to him and give him a place to stay and eat."

The difference between New York and San Francisco

"Stand clear of the closing doors."


"The doors are closing.  Please stand clear of the doors."



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29, a.k.a. "Women were much more amenable to the direct approach"

A few points on NCAA football, prompted by the shoddily edited but nonetheless compelling documentary on The Game, 1968, C.E.:

1. Let us hope that the tarnished art of sportscasting eventually recovers from the age of John Madden

2. Yaleishness: e'er resistant to evolution

3. "I love throwing things.  I love the aesthetics of throwing something and watching it fly."

4. RichRod and les Wolvs of 2009 may have to pull a comparable miracle to endear them to their notoriously skeptical fans.  Until then, Michigandism remains the faith of the blindly pious and the quietly masochistic.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Glorious Return of X and Y

The anonymous text message saga continues.

Y: "Do you like pills?"
X: "I prefer my medication in liquid form, bubblegum flavor"
Y: "So you're saying you do like me."


Y: "Hi"
X: "My toe is swimming in a pool of blood"
Y: "Tell her that's weird"


Y: "I listened to a voice mail you left me awhile ago just to hear your voice.  I'm not joking, I like you."


Y: "Do you like me?  Circle one: yes or no."


Y: "Hey"
X: "So did you hear about our close personal friend [Q]'s new girlfriend"
Y: "I heard about his date.  [X], comeover"


Y: "Yo!  What's up!"
X: "Prices"
Y: "That joke appeared on the left of my screen."
X: "A damn shame; I prefer punchlines with right-alignment"
Y: "I love you so much - let's run away and be mature together."
Y: "Well?"
X: "I only run on promises of puerility"
Y: "[X].  I like you so damed much."


Y: "Hi"
X: "Good morning, Beezelbub"
Y: "Yea, it's early for you.  I can't wait until we get married so we can shut up certain Tweets."


X: "This morning
I woke up with this feeling
I didn't know how to deal with
And so I just decided to myself
I'd hide it to myself
And never talk about it
And did not go and shout it
When you walked into the room"

Y: "My brother finds comfort in calculators
He assigns every number a name
He believes they add up to certainties
And is upset with the fractions that remain"


Y: "Hi"

X: "Pythagoras's Theorem
It came to him in serum
An intravenous user
A right angle chooser"

Y: "Look-up Sacer and Oiler - A lot of people call me an ugly nigga but I'm graffiti handsome"

X: "You always condescend to bring us back to your boxy-shaped apartment
You show us that we're poorer than you are and you're an undiscovered star"

Y: "I heard you moved - you shoulda moved here."

X: "You can take the cross-town bus if it's rainin or it's cold"


Y: "Hey, babe"
X: "I suppose at some point I should mention that no one has ever called me 'babe,' that woefully impious term, and gotten away with it"
Y: "Oh.  Yeah, baby?"


Y: "Hi, [X]"
Y: "I wish I could fly to California so I wouldn't wake up so late"
X: "You could fly three hours west every four days and always catch the worm"
Y: "Do you not want to date me?"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Additional Proposed Apps


Database o’ Wisdom ‘n Eloquence: Is there a pithy quote or song lyric I can use to express this thought instead of suffering the crippling anxiety of authorship?


Hypocrisy Balancer: Is the number of times I’ve made a self-deprecating comment about owning an iPhone equal to the number of times I’ve used it to check my email?


Bank Account Monitor With Silent Alarm: Screen flashes red when amount dips to $99.99 and below, with optional purple alarm for $9.99 and below (second feature is yours for only $.99)


Locator of public-ish restrooms.  Sort by: proximity, cleanishness, length of line/# of stalls, amount of money necessary to use facilities guilt-free, average rate of success sneaking in


Habit Iteration Calculator: How many times did I wash my hands/check whether the door is locked/think obscene thoughts about the opposite sex – and, more importantly, is that number a multiple of five?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

On Funny Persons

Had to see Funny People after reading David Denby's review, and now have to question his unqualified praise.  Sandler's performance, to be sure, measures up (though, for me, the review robbed him of his menace) -- but the movie focuses too much on his character's bland ex-girlfriend and his eager beaver lackey (miscast as Seth Rogen--who not only "looks weird skinny" but sounds weird as "the nice guy").  Jason Schwartzman, too, disappoints -- dare I suggest it, a script problem?

Yet, even with the boring cinematography, Apatow is to be commended for finally making a film with an interesting female character--"Daisy," played by Aubrey Plaza: 
And I don't say "interesting" just because she's a brunette who wears glasses and red polka dots.  "Interesting" female characters are just... in a fundamental yet ineffable way, on par with their male counterparts.

For something called Funny People, this film is mostly about funny men.  Yet, in a world in which the humor of women is often belittled as "charming" or "cute," 

... this, I lament to say, is a step forward.