I am so organized.

I’ve been trying to remember the name of the singing, guitar-playing serenader who wandered from table to table at the California Clipper from around 8:30 till the show started on Saturdays. It occurred to me that I never actually throw anything away, just stuff it into my filing cabinet in no particular order, so I thought I’d poke around and see if I could find one of the flyers with his name on it.

The first file I opened looked like paydirt: right in front were two issues of HOLLER, the Chicago rockabilly zine. I stole one of Sammy’s juice boxes, put on The Jungle Book to distract him, and sat down to look through the mass of papers that I presumed to be from 2001-ish.

Here is what I found all in one single file:

  • The aforementioned two issues of HOLLER, from December 2001 and March 2002.
  • Comatose by Stephanie, which she gave me around Christmas 1997.
  • A birthday card from my mother, year unknown.
  • A print-out of some Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction (“Spike Lying Naked On A Chenille Rug, Part Five” by Valerie). 2001-ish.
  • A card from my father listing items in a care package, from February 1998.
  • This poem that I must have written in the summer of 1996:

    I don’t think Houston Street
    is all that sleazy
    Actually I like the Latino men
    who talk to me
    when I walk past them
    as if they know me
    It’s nice — I see them every day
    I buy my groceries from them
    They smile like they’d maybe like
    for me to meet their sons
    I don’t know — it’s funny
    It’s nice to have someone to talk to
    before I climb the 4 flights of stairs
    to my apartment

  • A letter from Nell from 1997 with a book called Decadence Nothing.
  • A hand-written, unfinished scene from a play (or possible screenplay) about someone named Jo and some punks asleep on her floor. No clues as to the date, but I’d guess early- to mid-90s.
  • A skit called “The Opposite Sex” that I did with Andrew Bostwick at Powell House, circa 1994.
  • The crew list from Ties To Rachel, on which my name is misspelled. Summer 1996.
  • The Hate Journal, by me, which I am afraid to open but believe to be a series of poems and stories about someone I was not very fond of. Probably fall 1997.
  • The playlist of a mix tape I made for Will a very long time ago.
  • A xeroxed sheet that I presume is from my Post-Colonial Text class (spring 1998), called “Chronology 1820-1860.”
  • A type-written story with no author listed. I think probably Nell, as one of the characters is named Merrick and she was in a wee bit of an Anne Rice phase back when we exchanged fiction all the time. Which was approximately 1995.
  • A tablet of very pretty lined paper with card scores for me and Yojo (probably Canasta or Rummy) written in red pen on the back. Circa 2000.
  • A tear sheet of the Ask mama Yoj column and Spiky & Cueball comic from the December 8, 1997 issue of the Antioch Record.

I am in awe of myself. Truly.

Music Memory

I wrote this for Stephanie and Alexa’s contest, and I liked it so much that I am reposting it.

The summer I turned 18 I spent the week of July 4th living in this little room in my friend Stefan’s apartment overlooking Tompkins Square Park while waiting for my summer sublet to be ready. I was literally in the building that Life Cafe is in, directly above it but several floors up. I would go downstairs and drink soy milk cappuccinos.

My best friend Lila would come over and we’d play Stefan’s David Bowie CDs. Stingy Lulu’s around the corner started carding so we’d just hang out and smoke cigarettes and listen to Bowie.

Every Bowie song on that album reminds me of that week, but the one that stops me in my tracks and absolutely blows me away every time is “Rebel, Rebel.” I can smell Lila when I hear it.

Lila’s not my best friend any more. We never had a falling out, just fell out of touch. I found out recently that she got married last month. I miss her so much.

Why I’m a Yankees fan

As as Angeleno, I fully and wholeheartedly root for the Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles. But I’ve been a Yankees fan since I was ten years old, and last night I found myself telling the story of how that came to be to a group of Mets fans.

In fifth grade, during my brief stint in public school, I was selected for the gifted & talented program. There were four elementary schools in my area, and the program was held Wednesday afternoons at the school in Zena (not to be confused with Xena, Warrior Princess, who was actually from the next town over) (not really). Kids from my school and the other two schools not in Zena bused over. This meant that once a week I had to ride the bus with Ben Fleisher and Jory Serota, who were both Mets fans.

All I heard about on those bus rides were the fucking Mets. And according to those boys, the Yankees sucked! Well, that was enough for me.

So I became a Yankees fan, and have remained loyal ever since. I mean, as loyal as you can be when you don’t actually follow baseball, you just like occasionally going to a game.

Confessions of a Yarn Snob

Here’s the thing: I think wool is the very best thing to knit with, followed by organic cotton.

I think acrylic has its place, and that place is my Aunties’ apartment, with all its little trinkets just so and the dollar they press into your hand when your parents aren’t looking. They were my father’s Aunties, really, my grandfather’s unmarried sisters. And they knitted and crocheted with the most revolting squeaky acrylics you can imagine, and it is just right that they did. Nothing else would have been right, really. But those Aunties are long gone now, even Auntie Ann who we all thought would live forever just to be mean.

I am a yarn snob. My favorite yarn ever is probably a tie between Blue Sky Cotton and Noro Cash Iroha (a wool, cashmere, and silk blend). I horde sock yarn, mostly Joni‘s Whatnot Sock.

Today I bought two balls of yarn to make Sammy a little pair of pants that I saw and fell in love with on Ravelry. I used the yarn that’s called for in the pattern with no hesitation, because (here’s the confession) I have used it several times and I LOVE IT. Lion Brand Cotton-Ease is my secret half-acrylic lover on the side. Andrea and I designed a project that uses it! I have substituted it for other, technically superior yarns! I am a fiend for the stuff.

And now you know.

It doesn’t hurt that it only costs $4 a ball. But I really love it, cost aside.

Since it is still March and I am stubborn, here is a list of projects I have started even though I am still not even halfway done with my sister-in-law’s stole (her birthday was yesterday so it is now officially a Christmas gift):

  • A Better Bucket Hat–so far I’ve only swatched
  • Green Gable– about 1/3 through, considering bust shaping
  • Monkey Socks–still cannot get gauge, looking for 2.5 mm needles
  • Kanoko Pants–cast on, despite promising myself I would not

Sigh. I need to actually finish something, but I keep starting new projects instead.

Dreams

When I was about 15 I heard a song on the radio. It knocked me flat on my back. It spoke to me the way music can only speak to you when you are a teenager. It was the most incredible song I’d ever heard. And the DJ did not announce the song title or artist.

I had a panic attack.

My mother called the radio station and found out what the song was. Being a teenager can be really rough, and the smallest gestures can mean the very most. My mom, being human, did not always do what I needed her to do — I have to tell you, she was deficient in the mind reading department. But that one tiny little thing, which sounds so insignificant when I write it out, was possibly the nicest thing she’s ever done for me.

I haven’t thought of that in nearly fifteen years. Tonight I’m watching My So-Called Life for the first time in nearly as long. When Patty comes in to give Angela the condom talk, she’s listening to The Cranberries. And it all came rushing back. And I thought, you know, the internet should know how awesome my mom is.

On thinking it over, I’m pretty sure it was Matthew.

In one of my many comments on this post I confessed to having spent about five minutes of my life watching the video for Nelson’s “After the Rain.” Five minutes on top of any time I may have spent watching it c. 1990. Five minutes yesterday. The choice of this particular video had less to do with the fact that it is currently pouring in LA and more to do with the fact that I STILL occasionally find myself humming this song. It has been eighteen years. My god.

After watching the video I became incredibly nostalgic and googled my two best friends from fifth grade (which was pre-Nelson BUT one of them remained my BFF for a few years and we watched those videos together) but I didn’t find either of them. Maybe because their names were Sara and Sarah. I even resorted to MySpace but the search function there does not allow you to narrow your search by year of birth. How fucking stupid is that? So anyway, if Sara Atkinson or Sarah Thomas reads this and you went to elementary school with me, I was thinking of you. And I sat through a Nelson video on purpose. As an adult. Don’t you want to get back in touch with me? I am so awesome.

Speaking of that video. Does anyone find it a little hard to swallow that the misunderstood teenage boy has a poster of two hot blondes — male blondes — in his bedroom and his trailer trash father is upset that he doesn’t have a job? Are we supposed to read into it that this is about homophobia, or am I just over-thinking it?

So anyway. If someone could tell me which one had the bangs, I’d be grateful. I can’t bring myself to look it up, as that might lead to watching another video.

Why I Quit The SCA

You didn’t know I was in the SCA, did you? Well, technically I wasn’t. My mom was, and I went to events with her for a couple of years. But I was really into it for a while.

I started going when I was 13.

(I intended to include a picture of me at age 13 so you could see how I was adorable and also looked a lot older than I was. But I couldn’t find one, so stay tuned and I’ll get my mom or my sister to dig one up.)

The 17–18–30–year–old guys thought I was hot. I thought they were hot too, not to mention fun, so that was OK. Until they found out how old I was, and then they didn’t want to hang out anymore. Assholes.

Thinking guys want to be your friend and then realizing, when they find out they’re four–five–twenty years older than you, that they just wanted to fuck you? Having this go on for three years or so? Dude, it’s a total turn-off. And I know a lot of women say all men are like that, but in my experience it was just SCA guys.

So I quit.

My first time

Not everyone’s mother documents their first time. I am lucky.

As I am still reeling from NPR’s ridiculous assertation (which may not be a word) that China’s one child law is directly responsible for the rash of internet gaming addicts (no discussion! No evidence! Just a leap!), today I’ll be sharing those pictures.

These were taken on September 15, 1994. I was 16 years old.

Here is a before shot:
Annika

I’d shaved my head with #2 clippers two months earlier.

Phase one:
Annika

No, I don’t have any idea what I’m wearing. Clearly something I don’t mind spilling bleach on.

Phase one, complete:
Annika

And styled:
Annika

It is a safe assumption that this picture was taken while I was bouncing around the house singing, “Cause I’m a blonde, yeah yeah yeah!”

Phase two:
Annika

That one is scary. Moving along…

The finished look:
Annika

And that, friends, is the first time I dyed my hair with Manic Panic. (What were you expecting?)