Monthly Archives: March 2004


The most creative people can find a use for anything:

What about a use for depression? Discussions with Michael this morning and Sharon and Nancy this afternoon… Are we the canaries in the mine? Did we sign up for this job somewhere along the way or was it thrust upon us? Drugs can kill the worst of the symptoms — like throwing a hammer at a blaring smoke alarm. But what do we do then? Get the hell out? Try to put out the flames? Warn others? Or learn to be happy in a burning building? Step into the Void, friends. This is the shape of our world.


Stop FCC 

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All Clues. No Solutions!

Where has Beth been for the last 10 days? Here are the clues, in no particular order:

Clue #1:

Eye Patch

Clue #2:






Clue #3:

Polar Bear in Bathtub

Clue #4a:


Clue #4b:


Clue #5:

Bagna Calda

Clue #6:

Somebody has a birthday on March 18.

Clue #7:

Three people from Maryland conveniently stopped in Oakland on their way back from Hawaii — in time to celebrate a birthday, take a trip to Coalinga, and drive their daughter to many eye appointments at Kaiser.

Clue #8:

Epithelial debridement = scraping away loose chunks of cornea with a spatula.

Clue #9:

Some people have way more serious problems than a damaged eye.


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a public service announcement…

Turn off your TV!

That’s right. April 19 – 25 is TV Turn Off Week. Not so hard for me, since I only watch American Idol half-heartedly and the occasional Saturday Night Live. The point is to free your brain from not only the constant barrage of advertising but also the simplistic and often dangerous world view espoused by the mainstream media. The idea is to have an idea, actually. To clear out your mind so that a little creativity can emerge. Get the soil ready. It’s Spring!

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spring cleaning…

Time for some changes. Like going back to the gym. I promised Michael I’d meet him at 24-Hour Fitness tonight after meditation. I haven’t been since the fall.

Another change: being on time to work every day. The result of another promise — this one to Jo Anne. A perfect record for 2 weeks now. Today starts the 3rd.

What else? I commented to Michael yesterday that, unlike the past, I have managed to make it to every event on my heavily booked calendar in the last few months. Where oh where did my flakiness go? Or the depression that in the past has ground me into my pillow when I had somewhere to be? I don’t think I’m less depressed, but somehow the world has been easier to face.

So anyway, here’s another change I need to make: A new domain name. is just not doing it for me these days. Perhaps because I just don’t feel all that weird anymore. What to replace it with? Something inclusive. Something that doesn’t have an opposite. I’m open to any and all suggestions!

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first son of a first son of a first son of a first son…

Red Egg

Ruby once told me that the Chinese have a saying: It is more profitable to raise geese than daughters. That proverb came to me today while celebrating the birth of Sandy’s son at her Red Egg and Ginger party. Not that the sentiment was expressed explicitly. But I heard it in the pride with which his relatives announced that Samuel is the first son of a first son of a first son of a first son and in the relish with which they called him “the royal baby.” Sandy was so beautiful and gracious and so exhausted. Later, on the phone with Red, I swear I could hear her eyes rolling as I told her about it. After all, she was the daughter who threw chairs at the kindergarten boys who tried to lift her skirt and see her underwear. And isn’t it funny that of the three siblings in her family, she’s the one who made good. As Red would say, “so funny I could just cry.”

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for the birds…

I am a VERY serious person. I walked 9 miles today until the soles of my feet were raw. That’s SERIOUS. I spent 99 cents on a bean and cheese burrito for lunch (and seriously, all it was filled with were refried beans and jack cheese). I contemplated the flowers as I walked to Lake Merrit and considered the honky tonk band at the farmer’s market. On a speckled bench, I followed my breath as children chased pigeons with pieces of bread and frozen desserts. I smiled and seconds later was acutely aware of the smile. The after-image of the smile that is burned into the brain after the actual smile is over. It’s like a label: Person who smiles at other humans. It lingers just long enough to be irritating until the next time. And on such a sunny, warm day, there are many next times. (I think I’m developing a little compassion for the excruciating self-consciousness of Dave Eggers, Steve.)

Except, here I am kind of lying. Because I’m not writing this as it happens. Not even the same day. I realize that the entry is dated Saturday, March 13. Do you always believe what you read? Maybe I was actually less self-conscious yesterday than I remember. Maybe, since I’m writing this way after the fact, all that I can recall are those moments I was stuck in my head, and the parts of the day when I was fully present are gone now. Of course they are. This is the present moment now. Sitting at the keyboard, barefoot, furry blue snake wrapped around my neck and Michael tap tapping his own keys across the room.

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sexy beast…

Kill me now; I’m ready. Got the stitches removed from my finger. Got my hair colored and trimmed. Got a full belly (capellini pomodoro w/ roasted chicken at Firewood and chocolate fudge cake from Just Desserts) and got my friends (Mark, Red, Tomi, and Michael). I can go to Hell and be happy. As long as the real devil is as scary sexy as Jeff Galfer was tonight in A.C.T.’s adaptation of Bulgakhov’s “The Master and Margarita”. Wow.

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while we were partying…

…at BPM’s annual Irish Coffee Party, the California Supreme Court ordered an immediate halt to same-sex weddings in San Francisco. Reminds me of December, 1999 when Willie Brown kicked Tom Ammiano’s written-in butt while we were partying at the Black Cat during Aunt Ann’s annual Christmas party. What is this about? Hey, Universe! There are more direct ways of punishing me for drinking. I mean, aren’t the nausea, hangover, and depression enough? Do you have to hold me responsible for the lives of innocent San Franciscans too?

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the shape of the journey…

Why is it so hard to sit on BART and just be? Why this compulsion for something to read, to wrap our minds around, to distract? Magazine and newspaper racks line the wall of the BART station, just in case you come unprepared. Is it because without something to read, we might accidentally look at someone else? And worse, they might see us looking at them? People are always telling me to stop staring. And yet, besides the exhibitionists, doesn’t everyone secretly crave to be seen?

Well, alright, enough of that. If I’m going to read, I might as well give some thought to WHAT it is I’m reading. All this talk about how great reading is, how reading expands your mind. The literacy zealots would have you believe that books are inherently sacred. They are not. Books are like food. There’s fast food (And God help you if you try to blame McDonald’s for your own lack of self-control!) and health food and everything else in between. There’s eating for basic nutrition, for escape, for pleasure, for social reasons… just as there is reading for basic information, for escape, pleasure, knowledge, self-improvement… Shouldn’t what we feed our minds be at least as important as what we feed our bodies?

I think I’d rather sit and stare at other passengers than organize my trip around some collection of printed words whose sole purpose is to distract me, or worse, sell me something. I’d rather have a little human contact here and there than increase my alienation by keeping my head in a book.

Here’s a thought: maybe one way to have both (human connection and also distraction) is to read things that other people have given me. Last week, I read Sea Glass, by Anita Shreve, which Marla lent to me months ago. If I’d bought the book myself, I’d have been disappointed by it. But since it’s one of her favorite books, I guess reading it connected me a bit more to Marla. The Alchemist, which I read on Monday, not only connected me to Sonia, but also Madonna. (Not that I care.) And Girl-Child, read tonight, gave me scary insight into Tomi. She didn’t just give me the book; she wrote it!

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not with a bang but a wimper…

Apologies in advance to T.S. Eliot, but listen carefully when the American Idol kids sing. Deep within those high notes squeezed so earnestly out the tops of their heads, aren’t they are only crying:

We are the hollow ones

We are the stuffed ones

Yearning together

Heads filled with air, Alas!

Our tight voices, when

We sing together

Are hysterical and meaningless

As wind through a tunnel

Or smoke alarms sounding

In an empty house.

Shape without form, shade without colour,

Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who will cross

With direct eyes, to AI’s fourth season

Remember us – if at all – not as hot

Brilliant stars , but only

As the hollow ones

The stuffed ones.


And not so deeply hidden within the regular events of this day…

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

Why doesn’t my new cell phone work?

Between the conception

And the creation

Between the emotion

And the response

Falls the Shadow

Gotta empty the Spam folder.

Between the desire

And the spasm

Between the potency

And the existence

Between the essence

And the descent

Falls the Shadow

Just one more hand of Free Cell.

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but with a whimper.

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