Monthly Archives: April 2010

the girls at dawn

I’ve been stressed out at work and found a lo-fi all-girl indie band composed of three attractive 20-year-olds and felt super creepy looking at their photos and marginally less creepy listening to their music on this blog before. [link]

And now:

http://www.myspace.com/thegirlsatdawn

SORRY EVERYBODY!! It looks this happens about once a summer. Check this space soon for my fan fiction about the stubbled art-handling half-drunk square-jawed t-shirted (!?) guys I imagine them dating/singing about.

Scrape the Morning off the Chassis

The internet’s a great place to keep a personal webdiary. I have a huge collection of tautologies and truisms and blandishments and banalities and unlocked toilet bowl cleaners and associative riff-clusters and kraut-rock anthologies and “pretentious marijuana nightmare reveries” (Proust), fake gold. And on the day you finally get the morning campfire lit without thinking about it, as naturally as you used to turn on the range’s flame for coffee, the mountainside—which since you arrived has been covered in smooth bird feathers, like wet leaves completely covering a stone—will finally give a dusty pop and a colossal wing will unfold and the mountain flaps away. Awesome. Big recent tendency to mutter “fuck you, I hate you” under my breath to all of Daddy’s (God’s) children. I don’t really hate every body, it’s just that I’ve got that old papas fritas disease. More papas (patates) more problems (patates). Are there even piss-wells outside New York City any more?

SHAMELESS SHAPESHIFTER: I’d like to rent a video.

[The television doesn’t respond. It’s turned off. It moved to New York a few years ago to make a go of things in the TK industry.]

[CHERYL cries into her Pleather flower chowder. Flounder-cod bricolaise. Papas & patates soup. Fuck you]

Letter to the New Yorker, 4/25/10

To the editor:

I read Dana Goodyear’s profile of the chefs behind the Los Angeles restaurant Animal (“Killer Food,” 4/26/10) with pleasure. A few responses came up in the wake of my enjoyment of the piece, however, and I’d like to share them with you, mostly as a form of procrastination as I messily scarf a container of Pad Thai over my keyboard (“iPad Thai”) here in the empty Sunday-afternoon office

Goodyear’s piece is filed in the magazine’s “Letter from California” section, and it serves its designation well. The reporting feels legitimately Angeleno. I recognize the L.A. Goodyear describes. Madonna’s Escalade, Canter’s deli, Benedikt Taschen. The “multicolored sleeve tattoo,” the pretty girls, the girlfriend become wife. I believed it all. I know you were worried about effectively capturing this atmosphere, and I’m telling you to stop worrying. You nailed it.


In the first scene, at the Farmer’s Market, Dotolo and Shook (what names, by the way! And good call letting them speak for themselves. A lesser writer, or perhaps a writer with fewer word-count constraints, would have allusively riffed on how “Dotolo” evokes “Dorito,” and how “Shook” invokes the early stages in the process of deep frying a foodstuff. But letting these linguistic associations reverberate in the reader’s ear without broadcasting them — like sudden phantom echoes improving the church-organ’s glissandos—was a meisterstroake) seem super stoned. I think it’s all but explicit. They’re “eating a couple of burritos” — does this mean two burritos? One each? Or more? In any  case, It’s a fine ambiguity–a whole burrito, in most contexts, is already a lot of food, so the readerly tension that they may have had more than one each keeps us “hungry for more.”

But were they high at the Farmer’s Market? Or is it the case, as Emily Dickinson noted, that “We never know how high we are”?  We have to wait until close to the end of the story, when they’re catering a party for Tom Munro and champagne, for Shook to ask his line cooks, who have just finished setting up: “Want to go on a long walk off a short pier?”

He grabbed a lighter and the three of them set out jauntily down the alley.

If their befuddled, munchied time in the Farmer’s Market parking lot wasn’t explicit enough, this is all the confirmation the reader needs to know that these chefs enjoy smoking marijuana. And this manner of presenting their highness allows Goodyear to elegantly telegraph the fact that her subjects smoke pot without needing to outright state as much.

However: My daughter works in catering. Is this really the message the New Yorker wants to send to my beautiful daughter? Bethany is fourteen years old and a three-time “Culver City Caterer of the Year.” Does my daughter need to be “stoned” in order to enjoy the taste of duck fat sliding down the back of her tongue?

And when

one woman, when Shook finally had a chance to explain [what head cheese was], spat it out on the table and said, “Oh my fucking God, I’ve been kosher for thirty-two years,”

and Shook’s response is self-righteous merriment, how am I supposed to feel when I realize with a slow shock that the woman depicted in this scene is unequivocally my ultraorthodox wife of thirty-two years, who began keeping kosher on the night of our wedding?

(I don’t feel like doing anything today. Literally nothing. Not working, not not working, not smoking, not not smoking, not eating, not not eating, not community service — remember what Obama said after he was elected? We all need to offer ourselves to the community. If you’ve got hands, you can squeeze a stress ball, and that’s sometimes enough to change someone’s life forever –)

I read another of Goodyear’s Letters from Los Angeles — her profile of the brilliant LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold — another hip hedonist, another man who puts the “meatlover” back into the phrase “meatlovers’ pizza” (and in turn stevedores the words meatloafers and leftovers into that one [COPYEDITOR PLEASE STET PLURAL POSSESSIVE ON “MEATLOVERS'”])– on about half an hour of sleep, still drunk, in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. I’d need to go back in order to confirm that it’s pure fucking catnip from beginning to end, but that’s my memory of the piece. I chuckled uncontrollably into my 7 a.m. cheese sandwich when, on

the day he decided to find the city’s best espresso, [Gold] travelled with David Kendrick, who was then the drummer for Devo. After twenty-seven shots, Gold—sweating, trembling, and talking too loud—met up with [his wife] Ochoa and some friends for dinner. He started to panic and begged the group not to get dessert. When Ochoa ordered tiramisu, he burst into tears, ran out of the restaurant, and took the bus home.

I dipped my white iPod earbuds into my airport OJ so I could smear them across the pages of Dana Goodyear’s profile of Jonathan Gold when I read this. Then I passed the earbuds through my entire digestive tract, like R. Crumb’s ascetic brother Maxon does with those long, awful strips of tape in his Tenderloin apartment in Terry Zwigoff’s perfect 1994 documentary.

But isn’t there a sense that, for all its jaunty pleasures, Goodyear’s Animal piece is just a slim salty slice cleaved off of the real cut, her now six-month-old Gold profile? I imagine I’m wrong when I imagine Jonathan Gold giving Dana Goodyear Dorito and Shake’s email addresses, or even just telling her they’d make for a good story. L.A. is big. So is Mario Batali. It’s not magic that Goodyear happens to be in the restaurant when Batali, several other chefs, Mike Mills (I listened to Reckoning last night twice through, incidentally. Wotta gem), et al come in to Animal for the story’s  conclusion. She knows the ID of everyone in Batali’s nine-person party, down to their “magician.” So she must have come in with them. She wasn’t just sitting alone at a table before an untouched bowl of curried duck hearts waiting for New Yorker–worthy guests to walk in. I’d like to know: Was it awkward for Goodyear to get up from this crowded table and follow the waiter back to the kitchen with their order?

With respect and admiration,

Sasha H DeGwiid
San Francisco, Calif.

Wednesday & Saturday

I know at least three couples who live on Linda. One of the couples isn’t romantic. They’re just roommates.

This is an absurd statement, negated by a billion bands, and just one: Sly and the Family Stone. (As if I needed to add: Shuggie Otis? I’d even argue that Suicide has soul. Not to mention… a billion rappers??) Still, I like this bumper sticker. Apart from the ®.

N.B.: I wish more typefaces provided an italicized version of the ® symbol.

Month

—I drove by you this weekend. You were standing alone in the Castro coughing and wheezing, bent over an exploded Sunday New York Times.

I was having an attack of some kind, not asthma

[A month later]

—Is it true that you’re blind?

—No, I’m sighted, but my vision is impaired, it’s ailing, it’s flagging

—Do they call it flagging because it’s in trouble so it uses little flags to flag down a passing motorist for help?

—No

[A month earlier]

—The name of tonight’s performance is Gay Semaphore

[A month earlier]

—That video game’s called Doom, right?

—Yeah, but doom also just means like a terrible cloud of misfortune

—Like a real cloud?

Like a real cloud, but not really a real one. It’s a “metaphor”. “Figurative language.”

—Can I not work at my job anymore?

—No, you have to keep working

—ok, I am lucky to have a job

—yes, you are, and lucky to have this one. So swallow the swallowcocks or whatever it is you’re not in the mood to eat, and get on with it.

It must be hard to be a Michelin Guide inspector, you can’t complain to anyone about how sucky it is to eat the world’s finest foods

—yeah, you are basically a michelin guide inspector, nice “Analogy”

—anal-ogy

—I have met two separate people who wrote for Beavis and Butt-Head in the past month

—huh. heh

—how many writers did that show have? That show was super seminal and brilliant.

—All right, If anyone asks, I’ll tell them you admired Beavis and Butt-Head. I’ve still never seen Office Space

Or Zoolander

[A month or something?]

—You know how depression is a disease? That’d be funny if it were contagious

—It is contagious. My daughter caught depression from her babysitter, Daniel [sighs huge]

—Daniel made Bethany depressed?

—Yeah. There’s a lawsuit.

[A month eats a big dinner, watches TV for an hour then trundles off to bed, where it reads for forty minutes and falls asleep. Six hours later it wakes up sweaty and full of dread]

Terrible mote.

MOM: I haven’t had any coffee in three days

DAD: Me neither

MOM: I know — because we are the same person!!

DAD: I wish a person would  come over and touch my face

MOM: A woman?

DAD: Anyone. A cartoon ostrich. Sure, a woman.

MOM: I’ll come over and touch your face

DAD: It’d be better if it was someone I didn’t know. A stranger walks into the office, asks someone a question, I can’t hear what they said, they point in my general direction, the female stranger walks up to my desk, I am still typing, super busy gotta finish this thought hang on I’ll be with you in one moment, and before I can finish they crouch down and press a thumb gently into my cheek!

MOM: Is this erotica

DAD: No. it’s “critical thinking”. They then kiss my cheek, and I smile.

MOM: You’re slow and boring and sad without your coffee!