GalacticMu

Press your spaceface close to mine

I ♥ The Future

Posted by Sunday on Dec 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm

A text message I just received from an old friend in my hometown:

“Google pole dancing robots when you can.”

Let us, for a moment, disregard the fact that the pole dancing robots have been making the rounds on the internet lately (unfairly called “bonerkillers” at Gizmodo of all places!) or that imploring someone to “Google” something no longer inspires even a half-hearted twitter (or a Twitter for that matter).  Let us instead bask in a world where a tiny little piece of metal and plastic sends me a message of such delightful literary brevity from a friend hundreds of miles away with whom I used to sneak nips of Jamesons with while at work (oh give me a break, we were baristas, not bus drivers).

If you’re still interested, here’s a link to the abovementioned pole dancing robots.  Be warned: the video is overlong, of poor quality and plays some terrible music.  Still still interested?

The Whole P.K. Dick Thing Is Starting to Make Sense

Posted by Sunday on Dec 8, 2008 at 8:12 pm

I could spend time writing about the essence of Los Angeles, but luckily Geoff Manaugh already did it for me:

“The whole thing is ridiculous. It’s the most ridiculous city in the world – but everyone who lives there knows that. No one thinks that L.A. “works,” or that it’s well-designed, or that it’s perfectly functional, or even that it makes sense to have put it there in the first place; they just think it’s interesting. And they have fun there.
And the huge irony is that Southern California is where you can actually do what you want to do; you can just relax and be ridiculous. In L.A. you don’t have to be embarrassed by yourself.”

Not a single word of this essay is untrue.

From the delightfully, functionally futuristic bldgblog.

Totally Unrelated Genuine Conversation

Posted by Sunday on Dec 7, 2008 at 2:32 pm

me:  I made a potato soup, but I hate it.  I’m throwing it out.

Hal: You are?  That doesn’t seem like you.

me:  It doesn’t taste like anything and I’ve gone back and added so much crap to it, like vermouth and truffle salt and herbs.  It still doesn’t taste like anything.  Sometimes you have to know when to walk away.

Hal:  Like the Kenny Rogers song about cooking.

me:  Uh.

Hal:  “The Gambler.”

me:  Right, but, you’re trying to tell me that’s about cooking?

Hal:  Yes.

me:  So the lyric, “know when to fold ‘em” -

Hal:  Is about eggs, yes.

2 Posted in Daily Space

Oh, Forget It

Posted by Sunday on Dec 3, 2008 at 3:18 pm

It’s classic.  Trust me.

So, I have this story, right.  I never sold it.  There is a character in it who gets the nickname Thirteen.  As of today, I discover that the television show House has a character named Thirteen, and guess who has to replace every instance of the name “Thirteen” in their document now?  And the jokes and references and stories related to it?  That’s right, me.

There is a classic old piece of writing advice to “kill your darlings,”¹ an aptly poetic way of saying that nothing you can write will ever be sacred.  In fact, if there is something sacred, you’re probably way too emotionally involved to determine its quality.  To be safe, you should kill it.  So they say.  Like most writing advice I find it to be quackery and metaphorically shit on it as often as I am able.  I’d also like to point out that I’ve never successfully sold a novel, so here’s some salt.

Point being: I’m pretty used to this.  It fits in with my atheistic worldview.  It happens, just like I am named Sunday and YES, LIKE NICOLE KIDMAN’S DAMN BABY, BUT MY MOM ALREADY THOUGHT OF IT 30 YEARS AGO.  Whatever, I’ll deal with it the same way I deal with everything: by starting a gang.

¹Also deliciously pertinent to this subject: the phrase originally used (maybe) was “Murder your darlings,” as attributed to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, but also sort of simultaneously attributed to Faulkner who said “Kill your darlings” in a variety of phrases.  It is possible that one stole from the other, but more likely they both had the same idea and then whichever one thought of it first got credit last and felt like a loser.

SON OF A BITCH

Posted by Sunday on Nov 22, 2008 at 7:00 pm

I really only ask one thing from the space race, and that is that there be no goddamn spiders up there.  Is that so hard?

Asshole scientists populate space with spiders, via timesonline.co.uk (thanks, Aargh)

The Scent of a Geek

Posted by Sunday on Nov 19, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Fair warning: this is a bit of a lady-post.

It’s standard cocktail party factoid that smell triggers memory better than any other sense, but the intensity with which these memories are tripped is utterly fascinating to me.  For me I experience a potent and discordant sense of elsewhere when I wear a perfume – the smell of where I first wore it.  It is a disorienting feeling that loses it’s punch as the minutes tick by, like deja-vu but lingering and weirder.

I’m a perfume whore, something that occurred after another strange event.  At age 17 I was hospitalized for my disease, a period during which I was crammed as full of antibiotics and corticosteroids as I could be without defying saturation physics. When I came out the other side of that adventure I had a supernatural sense of smell.   And strangely, not only did unpleasant smells give me as much pleasure as pleasant ones, but I didn’t seem capable of overloading my olfactory sense.  People around me warned me that I was wearing far too much perfume and I took to applying profound amounts at home, in private, and would shower it all off before I needed to be in public.

My greed for perfume soon waned in its intensity as my nose returned to its average-sensing self, but for one expensive and slightly (at the time) embarrassing point: I had gained a need for good perfume.  Fancy perfume.  I could smell the difference, even if not in such rich proportion as before.

This led to a series of flings.  I can’t be a monogamous perfume wearer.  There would be no signature “Sunday” bottle always on my dresser.  Was it day or night?  What season?  What is my emotional state?  I could construct massive flow-charts of how I decide what to wear but I don’t have a piece of paper big enough.

Also: the memory.  Here’s just a brief example.

  • Gucci “Rush”.  Smells like turning 21.  I can’t wear it anymore, it gives me an instant hang-over and makes me wonder who I made out with last night.  Triggers strong visual memory of being on a dance floor.
  • Givenchy “L’Interdit”.  Smells like a happy, intermediate time of my mid 20′s.  I wore it a lot one winter, so much so that several of my scarves now smell of it permanently.  Created for Audrey Hepburn, this is the fragrance I have worn most consistently for the last 5 years.  Also: a lot of people claim the new L’Interdit (which was reformulated in 2003) is worse than the old one, but those people are dumb.
  • CB I Hate Perfume “Violet Empire”.  Smells like Cincinnati and winter.  Despite having a lame name, CB I Hate Perfume makes interesting fragrances.  Violet-based perfumes can be really old-fashioned and sugary-sweet, but this one is dark, dank and strange.  Like me! Anyway, wearing this smells like moving across country and experiencing sub-zero temperature for the first time, “Violet Empire” actually smells like freezing to me.
  • No brand carnation.  Smells like New Zealand.   I bought this cheap, generic carnation perfume to take with me to New Zealand because I bravely limited myself to a single fragrance for my trip, and I wanted something I could lose and not fret over.  I wore it every day of my stay there, and wearing it now makes me literally dizzy at first while I try and remember where I am currently, physically standing.  To a lesser extent Carmex lip balm has the same effect since I used it regularly while there.
  • Bvlgari “Red Tea” (“Thé Rouge”).  Smells like adulthood. Hard to explain, but really strong.  I have two place-specific memories that hit me when I wear this (one standing in Seattle in the rain, another while in a store in Olympia) with a kind of bittersweet overtone.  Started wearing this around the time I decided to move away from Washington state.
  • No brand linden.  Smells like Italy.  I wore a linden solid-perfume while in Italy (it might have been L’Occitane, but I honestly can’t recall – so much for the memory association) and it still smells like old cafes, museums and gelaterias to me.  Happy, but not intoxicating.
  • Queen Helene “Mint Julep” deodorant.   Smells like childhood.   I don’t wear this but my dad did when I was little and when I see it in stores I like to take a big whiff.

Of course there are bad memories, too:

  • Some popular men’s cologne.  Smells like an ex-boyfriend.  I still occasionally get whiffs of this unknown but reasonably popular fragrance and it makes my skin crawl.
  • Archibald Sisters “Uppercut”.  Smells like fury.  Worn by a housemate that robbed us (and others) and then split town.  Archibald Sisters is a little boutique shop in Olympia, Washington, that mixes a few of their own scents of which “Uppercut” is one.  I guess it’s a take on some other popular men’s fragrance, because I smell something very similar every once and a while and I become instantly enraged, hateful and disgusted.  I have to calm down and tell myself that the douchebag isn’t in my general proximity.

Anyway, there you have it.  Smells.  Memories.  Discuss.

Situation Normal

Posted by Sunday on Nov 12, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I was writing a review of Samuel R. Delany’s Nova for Avi over at Scifi at Dark Roasted Blend when my brain got a little out from under me, if you know what I mean.  I’ve had some sad news this week (something that happened to a friend) that put me into a kind of anti-human funk – yes, more than usual – which has in turn started forming one of those emotional toruses I get, where everything I do is tainted by too much thinking.  Whatever, it doesn’t matter: I was thinking about how much of the novel is about class differences (or mega-gulfs, rather) and part of it is the segregation of those who have refused to be “cyborged.”  Called “Gypsies,” those that don’t want any mechanical upgrades are considered throw-backs, retards, and are systematically exterminated.

What occurred to me is that I am unsure if Delaney wanted the Gypsies to be sympathetic or not.

A few years ago I reread Brave New World for maybe the third or fourth time, and the first time since I had been a teenager.  It was a revelation totally unlike my first reading, because I found myself questioning what was so wrong with being genetically matched to a labor caste.  Everyone is chemically altered to be happy doing whatever it is they were meant to do, be it chef or coal miner or movie star.   As a teen I was focused on the the dissolution of free will, of eugenics and mass indoctrination.  As an adult I wished desperately there were some pill that made me happy to go to work every day, to make scads of money for someone else while I remained trapped in an economic morass, unable to labor on subjects that actually pleased me.

And then yesterday, rereading parts of Nova, a similar realization: the Gypsies are people I would despise.  This increasingly congested world is creating the opposite of a social environment: rather than being surrounded by potential friends, I find I am surrounded by people I have nothing in common with.  It’s a mathematical eventuality.  I turn to my computer, for example, so that I may easily identify and contact the kind of person I would like to be social with.  I’ve transferred a good deal of my creativity over to the ethereal “net,” where I share photographs with friends and strangers, where I can find artistic mentors I’d never be able to find in meatspace.  I imagine, then, a Gypsie who disapproves of what I do.    And I think, “What an ignorant douchebag.

It always comes back to me calling someone a douchebag, doesn’t it?

Snapshot: October, 2008

Posted by Sunday on Oct 30, 2008 at 8:30 pm

I’m headed into my second month of Los Angeles living (I’m subtracting a month I was in Washington visiting family), and indeed, the blessed return to the West-most Coast of these United States.  For posterity, and because my Photoshop is still borked and I can’t seem to conceive of a post that doesn’t require photography,  here is a 2-month review of The City of Angels.

PROS

  • Food.  Oh my god, food.  I had sadly and honestly forgotten what it felt like to be able to find just about any cuisine you wanted, and to have to choose between a dozen places once you’d decided on which cuisine.  Taco trucks, sushi, proper Jewish delis, Ethiopian, Korean, decent espresso, you name it.
  • Weather.  Everyone always mentions the weather, and they are always right.  I was initially put off because its nearly November now and we’re still having 90° days (it was nearly 100° early last week), but from what I understand October can be the hottest month of the year here.  Apparently I have a “chilly” winter to look forward to.  I’m guessing they didn’t just move here from somewhere that occasionally got sub-zero, like I just did.
  • Art.  I’m frustrated because we haven’t had much opportunity to do, well, anything.  But there are always advertisements for art shows that have me scrambling for my datebook.  Right now a Vanity Fair portrait retrospective has me determined to museum-hop.
  • Grocery stores actually have stuff.  If you don’t cook much, you can skip this part, but if you do: look, there were both Jonagolds and Macintosh apples at the local Ralphs today, in addition to all the usual suspects.  Do you know how long its been since I had a neighborhood grocery store that stocked more than Red Delicious and Granny Smiths?  Or a selection of bread flours?  Or the fact that there’s a Trader Joe’s literally two blocks from my apartment?  Full of angry, pushy hipsters, yes but… I’ll save that for the next section.
  • Dogs!  Everyone has dogs! Honestly, every time I take a walk I pass at least half a dozen people out walking their dogs.  This last weekend we had a rental dog and – aside from the fact that he’s a visually striking animal – everyone would let their dogs stop and say hi. Surprisingly, they are all pretty quiet.  I’ve never had to listen to a dog barking all fucking goddamn long day like I did at my last place.  Maybe people are just less tolerant here.  (As this was written a neighbor’s dog has gone batshit insane barking for the last 10 minutes.  Of course.)
  • Walking distance.  I’m within walking distance of everything I need on a normal basis: grocery, drug store, post office, gas station, bakery, cafe, movie theater, bank, Sur la Table (what?), 24-hour donut shop, etc. etc. etc.  This goes for all cities, (condense a million people into a few dozen square miles and shazam – walking distance to everything!) but it is still always nice.
  • Possibilities.  This is the most vague and most important aspect of the last few months.  Los Angeles feels – and unique to any place I’ve ever been – like there are options, for anything.  Anything at all.  It’s hard to explain, but I don’t feel naive thinking I could get a screenplay sold.  A friend of a friend is actually an actor, or works at a studio.  And I use the entertainment industry merely as an example – want to design action figures?  Video games?  Youth literature?  The city is seething with productive, discretely artistic people and while the cliche of coming to Los Angeles to “make it big” is still a cliche, the realistic desire to be merely successful in an interesting career isn’t.  I haven’t felt this energized in years.

CONS

 

  • Parking.  Oh my god, parking.  It wasn’t until after we’d signed the lease that I read our neighborhood, which is called “Miracle Mile,” is not-really-jokingly called that because “It’s a miracle if you can find parking within a mile.”   Suddenly, everything we do is weighed against the trauma of having to find parking; do we really need to go to Target?  No?  Do we really want to go to that restaurant?  No? And not just because we can’t find parking when we come back home, also because we probably won’t be able to find parking at our destination.  It’s one thing to bitch about traffic (yes, it’s horrible), but for me, parking is the difference between a pleasant errand and deciding to stay home to work on unpacking.  The super-downer is that this will not change.  This is our neighborhood, and there is no getting around it – it is I that must change.  Next place we live, we aren’t signing any leases until we’ve got dedicated parking spots for both cars.
  • Prices.  We’re paying too much for our apartment, it’s true, but since we were running out of time and our apartment is pretty cool, I don’t regret it.  Yet.  But the local grocery store is also slightly overpriced, possibly because of our proximity to Hollywood – I don’t even fantasize about shopping at the Whole Foods down the road, that place is so retardedly, humorously, scandalously overpriced.  Utilities seem high to me, but they always do (wait, I have to pay to use my stove???) Now that gas is dropping again (under $3!  holy jesus!) the pressure is slackening a little, but the burn of moving across country is still smouldering, particularly since we need to invest in some furniture.  Yes, this is a first world “problem” and yes, this is partly due to the current economy, but I don’t recommend anyone move across country unless you bail on most of your stuff (we didn’t and regret it) and have a friend who can help at the other end.
  • People can be mean.  It’s not super common to have a chatty, friendly encounter with a stranger, which I don’t really mind.  In Cincinnati, every goddamn person was like, “Hi, stranger!  What’s your life story?” As an introvert, this was hell.  Here, people are pretty into letting you not even speaking when paying for groceries.  I’ve had some super-friendly random encounters, as well as some super-unfriendly ones (dear girl who intentionally pushed me in Trader Joe’s: no really, fuck you – you’re a cunt and you’re going to get prematurely wrinkly).  Instead of a medium middle ground, Los Angeles is a exercise in extremes – even inside Canter’s Deli, where the waiter might be a peach and the woman working the bakery counter is trying to kill you with her mind.  As a contrast, people in Seattle are frosty bitches, so L.A. is still one up on The Emerald City.  Also, we live next to a huge neighborhood/mini-town of orthodox Jews who don’t make eye-contact with me or answer my friendly greetings (they do when I’m with a man).  I don’t know if its because I’m a woman or have tattoos, but either way it makes me feel sad sometimes.
  • Cockroaches.  Yep.
  • Crazy people.  I kind of like crazy people, but this is the first city I’ve been in where I’ve been really freaked out by someone.  Here it was an old woman wearing expensive, garish clothing and lots of real jewelry who had a gaping, red, angry hole where one of her eyes used to be.  It’s a metaphor for Los Angeles: fifteen pounds of gold hanging on a zombie-movie specter.  At first it seemed like a funny story, but two seconds later, as she wetly gasped for air while lifting grocery bags, I had a deep and real chill.  There has to be an explanation, I thought: maybe her doctor highly recommended her bloody socket get plenty of air?  I don’t know, man, and that’s the point: everyone is reduced to a freaked-out 7-year-old when that happens.  Literally 10 minutes after a dude on a bicycle rode be me and made kissing sounds at me while looking at my boobs.  Still fragile from the socket-lady, I couldn’t process the harmlessness of it and instead felt self-conscious and weak.  It’s embarrassing to admit.
  • Our apartment is cool, but the sound quality is POOR.  I can hear the guy upstairs pick his nose, the floors are so thin, and I hear the girl down the hall talk on her phone – when I’m standing in my own living-room.  Not a murmur, an actual “Hey, Scott!  Yeah, Friday would be awesome!” conversation.  Luckily we live in a building of adults who all go to bed at a reasonable hour, but that doesn’t mean I want to clearly hear the neighbor watching Jeopardy.  I think the last brick-encased apartment spoiled me.
5 Posted in Daily Space

Our own Leesa Leva has a painting in the Domy Books “Monster Show 3″, a fairly elite line-up of some seriously fantastic artists. I’d insert an image in this post but I BROKE MY PHOTOSHOP and now I am pacing, dead-eyed, unable to shower even.

If you’re in Texas, head to Houston immediately. Or, on Halloween, when the show actually opens.

8 Posted in Daily Space, Visual

I Vote Empress Xelaxtron

Posted by Sunday on Oct 27, 2008 at 4:10 pm

We don’t really discuss politics much here, mostly because we’re all busy squirreling away canned goods and machetes for the coming apocalypse. For the record though, Halcyon would have voted Edwards, Leesa spills a cup of blood to her Obama shrine every sundown and I will probably forget to vote. That doesn’t stop this from making me shoot iced tea out my nose.