30 July 2012


Oh Chris Marker, you were marvelous.

29 July 2012

// N O W //


Now til October 10th is the best time to visit. I wish you would. After that the weather will probably become miserable and I'll think we should walk places so you can see the town but it's hard to look around you when you're shivering. 

But now, the evenings are lovely, they're made for laying in the grass and watching the moon travel across the sky. 

We can sit outside the Catholic church and listen to The Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City" as the bell chimes the hour. It's a magical experience because that bell is in perfect harmony with the keyboard in that song.

It's funny how I go long periods of time forgetting about the hours being tolled. I love those sounds, those atmospheric sounds. In Provo on some mornings around 7 or 8 o'clock I could hear a factory whistle. That's the kind of sound that has a story and I always meant to find out the story of that whistle but I never did. One morning I rode my bike to a park in order to begin sectioning off the city, figuring out what parts could hear it, narrow down where it could be coming from. I didn't hear the whistle that morning but I did surreptitiously record some white-haired men meeting for a morning of tennis.

There's something about having only the audio of things. A car honking in the background or the pounding of a goldsmith's hammer can be so evocative. Without the given visual your brain is wrapped up in imagining the world filled with sounds as personal and intimate as a voice. 


28 July 2012

I'm never sure where the line is between what belongs in my journal and what belongs under the public eye and there's no point in getting cynical about it.

It's just that you're not here in person and so we can't talk about things the way we normally would.

I've never been terribly interested in the Olympics but for some reason I feel emotionally invested this time. (Not that I'll be searching for a way to watch any of the events but I want to read about them and know the results.)

I don't know why. It could be because I know so many people who currently live in or are about to move to London. Though that wouldn't explain my complete lack of enthusiasm for those Salt Lake Olympics. Maybe it's my extreme consumption of BBC television. I'd never call myself an anglophile but they do seem to have better taste sometimes.

It kind of makes me feel old. I was camping last night with some kids from my congregation, they always make me feel old. It's not as though they're that much younger than me. It's just something that happens when you're an introvert and you spend time with people who like to be loud and play organized games at one in the morning.

This morning I went shopping and the dressing rooms were filled with loud (but thankfully good) pop music. Have we ever talked about how pop music makes me feel old? Especially that song, "Toniiiiiiiiiiiiiight we are young." It makes me wish I were in a large dark room with my eyes closed as I dance around under a rain of glitter. Or wearing a fur sweater, kind of like Robyn. (Yeah, that's what I envision myself doing as an "old" person.)

Liking the Olympics is just a very old thing to do.

26 July 2012

i have a crush on science

Robert Krulwich, NPR science correspondant and cohost of RadioLab podcast, pretty much always says everything I need to be said.

Like this. This is generally how I feel.

25 July 2012

hey leesh, don't forget this

you don't know that

Lists that make work go by faster:

The Electric Prunes Sold to the highest bidder
Small faces Rene
Les Fleur de lys Tick Tock

Lists that don't make work go by faster:

four hours typing data in a spreadsheet
40 minutes stapling papers
20 minutes filling mailboxes

Tonight as I was playing chauffeur to my mom I saw this boy––well, man, now––I had a crush on in junior high. Guys, I was in love. He was tall, tan, skinny, with large tortured looking eyes, was three years older, and had just gotten back from rehab or something. He sometimes had to leave study hall early to be tested for drugs which would always make him nervous for some reason.

My high school and Jr. High were in the same building and some classes, like study hall were filled with grades 7-12. This is how 16 year old him and 13 year old me came to be sitting at the same table together. He would listen to his portable cd player and one day I asked him what he was listening to. "You wouldn't like it," he said.

"You don't know that," I said.

And so it began, we'd scoot next to each other, he'd place his headphones on me because I was so nervous about being so close to him that I couldn't figure out how to do it on my own? And I'd listen to his music. You know, stuff like Mudvayne.

It never got further than that because one day the boy who sat across from us––who probably hated this situation (1) because he'd actually try to study and (2) I'm under the impression that he had a crush on me as he asked me to just about every school dance and I actually went with him a few times because I thought "what's the harm?" even though I didn't know how to keep a conversation going with him and it was always really awkward and I was just a real jerk––said something snide about Crush Boy's drug problems, and me, being as extremely nervous as I always was around him, tittered a bit. He turned his tortured eyes on me, took back his Mudvayne and headphones and never talked to me again. 

I've just been remember silly stories like this, from my past, this year at home. On the 31st it will be a year here. I'll never know what to make of this place.

24 July 2012

something you should know

The girl with no name would like to suggest that plums look like night. Their deep purple skin is freckled with stars and a pale ghostly resin marks the Milkyway.

22 July 2012

just stalagging around

Sometimes I wish we had church in caves or meadows instead of regular buildings. For all the grandeur or familiarity of houses of worship I always feel a bit cut off from my God. I'm breathing air conditioned (or stiflingly not air conditioned) air. I'm listening to the stillness of four walls, not to the stillness of a breeze. I'm bathed in artificial light, not the light of the sky and heavens above.

In the LDS church we learn of our pioneer fore-bearers who met in groves to worship and I am jealous. Regardless of the heat, humidity, bugs, wind, or cold, I would desperately love to be outside––to at least catch a whiff of fresh air. Or just some sunshine please?

Instead there are curtains over frosted glass windows.

In man made buildings I cannot help but think of the trusty arm of flesh that designed and measured what surrounds me.

So sometimes I draw a picture of a cave. Think of the blues, greens, and greys of the rock––the calming, time worn, steady rock shot with veins of minerals. I look at my picture and imagine very hard that we're all in a cave, we've brought our own chairs, and we sit close together, and we feel safe and happy. And when it's time to ponder we look at the stalagmites reaching up and the stalactites reaching down and everything is OK.

Stalagmites are formed when minerals collecting in water that's condensed on the cave ceiling drip down to the ground. Drop by drop by drop by drop the minerals build until they've formed a stalagmite. When a stalactite and a stalagmite grow together, they're called a column.

O to be a column.

21 July 2012

I think about the taming of the shrew a lot these days

Today I went to the temple and did some temple stuff. Then I went to a bar.

Or more like a small restaurant and bar and I was just one person so I sat at the bar and ate sweet potato fries and read e e cummings (GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY WHAT AN ABSOLUTE GENIUS!!). I felt a bit silly and a bit happy but most of all I felt a bit fascinated. There were so many taps all with elaborate handles and strange names. How would you ever know what you wanted? Do you have to try them all? All those taps and the drains below and the slightly sour sick smell of the beer wafting my way.

Some afternoons I am reminded of my naivety. 

In some cases it's real confusion and muddle; in others it's a naivety I'm looking forward to putting aside; and still in more others, I will just always be a curious child wanting you to tell me everything.

And some nights I listen to this song over and over and over again.

19 July 2012

a musical review

Pince fell and fell and still she could see nothing definite about her surroundings or where this would end. She started thinking about stories she knew of falling. First there were her nightmares––the particularly vivid one where she'd been floating in an inner-tube on a tiny reservoir on a tiny mountain top. The top had been tiny, not the mountain. The current of the water kept drawing her near to the edge and she knew she would fall, there was no waterfall but she would fall, there it was the drop just inches away from her feet... 

There was the Regina Spektor song, "Hello, I'm Icarus, I'm falling, down down..." 

There was a painting by Brueghel that seemed to depict the daily life of medieval farmers plowing and merchants going out to sea but if you looked closely you would notice legs flailing up out of the water. It was supposed to be the fallen Icarus. Quotidian irrevocably carrying-on while fancy pants Greek kids who aren't satisfied melt their wax wings and die quietly, unnoticed. Pince began humming I can't get no satisfaction.

Someone had told her to galvanize her wax wings with metal, sun be damned. She had no wax wings now.

This was bound to happen, she thought, bound to happen as I can't seem to stop my curiosity. Curiosity always leads to a fall. The fall.

She had no wax wings now but did she need them? This was heaven, after all. What does one do to fly? She tried flapping her arms, no luck. In Peter Pan they tell you to just believe, which is what a different Peter was supposed to do if he wanted to walk on water. Just believe.

Just believe.

She was not flying.

But ten seconds later she landed. In an office chair, not a very ergonomic one, across a desk from a woman in a dress suit.

"This will do fine, you'll start after lunch," said the business woman.

"What will I start?"

"Being my secretary."

"Oh. OK....How long is lunch?"

18 July 2012

driving and striving

After spending an indefinite amount of time in Hades, one morning Pince woke up to the smell of cake and caramelized sugar. She lay there on her soft bed, keeping her eyes closed enjoying the sweetness and warmth. This was just like the smell of angelfood cake. Her mom had always made it in a bundt pan and when the cake would come out there would be the thin layer of cake left Pince would scrape off and eat. Angel food cake had that strange spongey texture, kind of like the bed she was sleeping on.

Pince dug her elbow into the bed. It felt...crumby, spongey, slightly sticky.

She opened her eyes. She was surrounded by cake. This could hardly be true, how did she end up in a cake? She may be dead already, but she thought she would've noticed the heat of being baked in an oven.

It was slightly awkward to stand up, as the cake-ground had all give and barely any push-back––worse than a trampoline. After some inspection, Pince was certain that she was in a room made of cake. Or rather, a box made of cake. There were no doors.

Pince laughed. How odd to be inside a box made of angelfood cake! She grabbed a handful  and took a bite. Yes, this was definitely angelfood cake. She took another bite and started jumping up and down, singing, "RELUCTANTLY CROUCHED AT THE STARTING LINE, ENGINES PUMPING AND THUMPING IN TIME, THE GREEN LIGHT FLASHES, THE FLAGS GO UP, CHURNING AND BURNING THEY YEARN FOR THE CUP....HE'S GOING FOR DISTANCE, HE'S GOING FOR SPEED, SHE'S ALL ALONE, IN HER TIME OF––"*

The floor broke beneath her.


Now she was falling through the air, through nothing, she couldn't see anything distinct, no clouds, no other walls, just light colors fading in and out, pink, blue, purple, green. Sometimes there was a flicker of light like the late afternoon sun shining through leaves. She tried to see where this would end, to see what was beneath her but there was just more nothing.

Nothing and she was still falling. This meant gravity and gravity means there must be something. Something she couldn't see. More things she couldn't see. This was always the way.

Pince began singing again, a new song.

Once I said unto another,
“In thine eye there is a mote;
If thou art a friend, a brother,
Hold, and let me pull it out.”
But I could not see it fairly,
For my sight was very dim.
When I came to search more clearly,
In mine eye there was a beam.
If I love my brother dearer,
And his mote I would erase,
Then the light should shine the clearer,
For the eye’s a tender place.
Others I have oft reproved
For an object like a mote;
Now I wish this beam removed;
Oh, that tears would wash it out!
Charity and love are healing;
These will give the clearest sight;
When I saw my brother’s failing,
I was not exactly right.
Now I’ll take no further trouble;
Jesus’ love is all my theme;
Little motes are but a bubble
When I think upon the beam.**

And she kept falling.

*Cake The Distance
**Eliza R. Snow Truth reflects upon our senses

12 July 2012

crossing guard

In another galaxy, across a perpendicular one, to a galaxy parallel to the one in which you'd find the universe and the planet upon which Pince Nez lived before she died and wandered around heaven for eons upon eons; you would find another girl who was 25 with freckles and large glasses. And this other girl had no name. And she worked at a university as a quasi-secretary for the facilities services office. And she spent her days measuring bathrooms and drawing their floor plans on a computer and taking pictures of construction projects and answering phones even though none of the people actually wanted to talk to her, they wanted to talk to someone who actually knew what was going on. She only knew how to talk in a smiley, calming voice and tell them she would have someone get back to them as quickly as possible.

The nameless girl had been hired for the summer but had unintentionally become indispensable and would have a job until she died.

This is not a repeat of Pince Nez––whom we may return to at some later date as we left her stuck in Hades. While the nameless girl sometimes sees spiders around her office, this narrative does not depend upon one of them killing her.

Her fondest ambition was to save up money to move to a certain coastal city that's famous for it's smelly teen spirit, and to live and work there until she went to grad school. Somewhere. Don't ask her where, it's a weird question. 

OK, perfectly natural, maybe, but all the nameless girl could come up with were unnatural answers.

The nameless girl had a secret. Even though she'd never believed in Santa Claus, she just possibly, probably might believe in Doctor Who.

06 July 2012

∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆ part 8 ∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆

sometimes it looks like the Man in the Moon is screaming.

Pince was never good at resisting curiosity and so, well aware of what might be ahead, she pushed through the door. The first few steps took them through flame which surprised her.

"Am I in Hell now?"

"No, this is Hades and while in your time the name was frequently interchangeable with Hell, they are not the same. Now in the boat and penny to your lips."

Pince hesitated, "Will he let me leave once I've crossed the river?"


Abel didn't sound convincing. 

"Have you been here before?" she asked.

"No, but Hades and I have been penpals for quite some time."

With this little assurance, she quietly sat next to him on the boat and watched wide-eyed as other people boarded the small ferry. They looked tired or resigned and as Charon began collecting their fares some of them looked as if they barely noticed this wasn't their regular commute to work. When Charon reached Pince and Abel she looked down at his feet. Beneath his Greco-Roman robes he was wearing penny loafers. She gently kissed her penny before she handed it over, Charon bowed his head then walked to the back of the ferry and began to pushed them across with his pole.

The ride was quiet, nobody spoke, there was just the gentle lap of the water against the wooden boards of the ferry. In less than a minute they were at the other side and then she was following Abel across a meadow where they would stop frequently as Abel pointed out the different kinds of flowers and grasses, over the river Lethe, through the woods, and there was the raised dias where they found Hades.

Hades seemed like a normal guy, he offered them pumpernickel toast, and introduced them to Eurydice. He took them on a tour, to the three other rivers, two pools, showed them some particularly amazing stalactites, and then they went back to the meadow for a picnic. Here they discussed music, and to Pince's amazement Hades had vinyl records of early Egyptian music and an extensive collection of Elvis Costello. Because of Pince's enthusiasm, after lunch, Hades showed them his listening room.  The four walls were lined with shelves of records that stretched up for miles and out of sight. Pince stared up wondering how far away the ceiling was.

"You can try to climb but you won't make it to the surface," said Hades coming up behind her. "Here, look, I have The Kinks album you were talking about."

They spent the afternoon thumbing through the shelves, playing B-sides, whole albums, EPs, favorite songs, dancing to particularly catchy tunes. A set of white albums tucked away on a bottom shelf caught Pince's eye. "Who do these belong to?"


Pince looked up and saw that Hades was looking uncomfortable and Eurydice was concentrating very hard on the far distant ceiling.

"We don't listen to those ones, really," said Hades, "just ignore them."

Later, when the others were busy talking, Pince walked over the the white albums and peaked at what the cover said.


03 July 2012

part vii?

"And for a time this girl shall not watcheth Dr. Who but instead shall imagineth things from her own brain and impose them on imaginations of others."

(I always save my spare parts, Mr. Mihuta!)

"Abel, why am I here?"

"Question after question after question..."

"Really, why did you bring me here?"

"It was supposed to happen."

"What kind of a––"

"Now we need to go to the bottom of the ocean."

"Do I have to go foot first again?"

"Question after question after question..."


He smiled, took her hand, and then they were off. He wasn't going any slower this time, so while Pince wasn't being dragged by her foot, she still had little ability to look around her and get more than a split second glance of a school of fish. The speed helped once they were in deeper waters where there were sharks. Once a great white shark spotted them and had opened its mouth to invite them in but they had swooshed by before it was able to chomp its jaw.

"I wonder if I daydreamed about the movie Jaws (1975) so much I turned heaven into attack shark paradise?" thought Pince. "No, if it was my interest in movies that made this heaven Carl Theodore Dreyer and Johannes would live next door to me. Or maybe Ari Folman...or Chris Marker? Why don't I live in a neighborhood of people who worked at NPR or PBS? Where's Mr. Mihuta?!" For the billionth time she tried whistling the theme song to The Art Maker. She only managed lots of bubbles which caused Abel to look over his shoulder and raise his eyebrows. It didn't matter, she'd never been able to get the tune right.

Abel slowed to a stop. Pince couldn't see where they were, the water around them had been steadily growing darker as they got deeper and at this point there was little difference between having her eyes closed or open. Abel placed his hands over her eyes. "You have eyelashes, they tickle."

"Don't you?"

"No, I don't need them underwater."

After a moment he removed his hands and she could see. It was like camping out in the wilderness and having a few lanterns, she could see for several feet around her but the darkness still engulfed them making her feel tiny. They were floating just above the ocean floor where little worms were creeping around. She crouched down by them and watched them inch and nose about.

"Do you know what they're looking for?" Pince asked Abel. 

He sighed and pointed to their left, "We're going over here."

Swimming forward she saw a deep and long canyon materialize underneath her. "Is this the Mariana Trench?" she asked.

"That's in an Earth ocean."

"So where are we?"

"Heaven." He took her hand again and swam down to the bottom of the canyon this time bringing them both to stand on the floor. They walked along the canyon whose peaks disappeared into blackness. Strange neon lichens covered the rocks and the fronds of little red plants swayed around in the gentle current. 

After a while Abel stopped and pointed at the rock face. A door was cut into it which Pince regarded for a long time before turning to Abel, "Where does this door lead?"

"Open it to find out. Oh wait, and take these two pennies."

"Pennies? Oh jeez."