beach weather!

It's finally happened.

Gone are the grey days of winter, when you had to wear three layers to go outside. Gone is the rain (for now, at least); the chill and the damp. Gone are the soggy umbrellas and the squooshy wet shoes.

It's finally here.

Warm breeze. 75 degrees. Brilliant, hot sun. Bay gleaming like fine-ground glass powder. Conversations outside. Traffic sounds mingling with streetcorner jazz. Girls in short-shorts and tank tops roaming the street in gaggles and packs. Endless blue sky above.

It, ladies and gentlemen, has finally, finally come.


Now. There are no beaches in the bay. No decent ones, at least. But I don't care if I have to drive all the way down to so-cal. I'll do it.

This weekend is one for lolling in the hot sand with the seawater drying on your skin. It's for tipping up your sunglasses to make eyes at the chick in the bikini, the one with the curves, passing your beach blanket. It's for tanning yourself so dark you end up scaring yourself with how white your grin is in the mirror.

It's one of THOSE weekends, that the rest of the world envies California for.

Sex on the beach.

(Or, fine, sex in the apartment, thinking of the beach.)

Heh! Woohoo! Summer!!

personality tests.

so, I went and did that one test Chuck did a while back. without further ado, here are the results:

Competitiveness - 66/100.

50 - 75: Driven. Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser.

heh heh. ain't that the truth? one of my teachers once asked us, "What do you call the guy who graduates 3rd in his class in med school? Doctor. What do you call the guy who graduates 817th? Doctor." it's a bit like that, only the other way around.

What do you call the guy who finishes 19th in a race? Loser. What do you call the guy who finishes 2nd? Loser.

well, runner-up, but who remembers runner-ups?

sidenote: ugh. just saw an ad at this site (which is, incidentally, some sort of christian site) for that book series, Left Behind? Apparently it's like this million-installment saga on the Second Coming and whatnot. *annoyed* i really hate it when books drag on for a million installments! not to mention i'm not a fan of religious fiction...if there's such a thing at all. it's sorta like christian rock. wtf? doesn't make sense.

Forgiveness - 10/60

0 - 20: Out for revenge. Though a thirst for justice can be admirable, your insistence on an 'eye for an eye' may be poisoning your relationships with others. Next time you have a chance to retaliate, let it pass.

Heh heh. expected. 'course, i don't think I was quite this bad as little as a year politics suck, dude!

Gossip - 11/30

11 - 20

Minimal gossip. Sure, you give in to the temptation of a juicy story every now and then, but you’re also a good listener when a friend needs a shoulder to cry on and you know when to keep your mouth shut. Sounds like you're a good friend and someone who’s fun to hang out with at parties.

Wow, I thought I'd score higher than that *chuckles* Gossip is kinda my weakness. I'm a regular clucking hen.

Narcissism - 55/100

41 - 80: Occasional narcissist. You occasionally think too highly of yourself; catch yourself whenever it seems like the world revolves around you.

This is a very forgiving test *smirk*

Vastu Type (whatever that is) - 15/30

8 - 16: Pitta. Your constitution shows the likelihood of a pitta (fire) dosha. According to "Vastu Living," someone with a pitta dosha should not sleep or work in the southeast quadrant, which is the realm of fire.

WTF? *LOL* cool. hmm. shiiiit. I sleep in the southeast quadrant of my room. I need to move my bed.

Cynicism - 8/30

0 - 10: Risk-free. Your Cynicism level is very low.

you know, there's a flaw with these tests. Some of the answer choices so obviously reflect one or the other that it's hard not to let your own self-perception influence the choice you make.

I'm sure that made sense, heh.

Spiritual Path - 139/200

71 - 140: Serene Sightseer. There's nothing you like better than a little moonlight meditation. You like to check out a lot of different faiths and aren't scared to ask questions. You'd most likely enjoy religions and spiritualities that stress individual practice.

Commitment - 73/100

38 - 74. Open to Love: You keep a healthy balance between giving yourself over to a relationship and maintaining a life of your own.

Huh. I'm WAYYY at the edge of open to love, and very close to commitment-phobic.

Okay, last one of the night.

Faith: Neo-Paganism

Oh my fucking God, I'm a NEO-PAGAN!? i keep mocking neo-pagans!

Here's the list:

1. Neo-Paganism (100%)

2. Unitarian Universalism (96%)

3. New Thought (88%)

4. Mahayana Buddhism (82%)

5. New Age (81%)

6. Hinduism (77%)

7. Liberal Quaker (77%)

8. Scientology (77%)

9. Reform Judaism (73%)

10. Sikhism (67%)

11. Theravada Buddhism (64%)

12. Liberal Protestant (58%)

13. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (57%)

14. Secular Humanism (57%)

15. Atheism and Agnosticism (55%)

16. Bahá'í (51%)

17. Jainism (51%)

18. Orthodox Judaism (51%)

19. Taoism (46%)

20. Islam (42%)

21. Conservative Protestant (28%)

22. Orthodox Quaker (24%)

23. Eastern Orthodox (18%)

24. Latter-day Saint (Mormon) (18%)

25. Roman Catholic (18%)

26. Seventh Day Adventist (12%)

27. Jehovah's Witness (6%)

And the descriptions for the top two:


Neo-Pagans are a community of faiths bringing ancient Pagan and magickal traditions to the modern age--including mostly Wicca but also Druidism, Asatru, Shamanism, neo-Native American, and more. Neo-Pagan is an umbrella term for various and diverse beliefs with many elements in common. Some Neo-Pagans find no incongruence practicing Neo-Paganism along with adherence to another faith, such as Christianity or Judaism.

• Belief in Deity

Some believe in a Supreme Being. Many believe in God and Goddess--a duality. Many believe there are countless spirit beings, gods and goddesses, in the cosmos and within all of nature--God is all and within all; all are one God. The Great Mother Earth, or Mother Nature, is highly worshipped. Divinity is immanent and may become manifest within anyone at any time through various methods.

• Incarnations

No human incarnations are worshipped in particular, as all of nature and the universe are considered embodiments of God and Goddess, or of gods and goddesses, worthy of respect, reverence, or worship.

• Origin of Universe and Life

Generally, there is no conflict between observations revealed through science and Neo-Pagan beliefs on origins of the physical universe and of man. Many believe in a supreme intelligence that created a duality of God/Goddess who then created a spirit world of gods and goddesses as well as all of the universe and nature.

• After Death

Many believe in reincarnation after some rest and recovery in the "Otherworld." There is generally no concept of hell as a place of punishment, but some believe wrongdoing can trap the soul in state of suffering after death. Some (Wicca) believe the soul joins their dead ancestors who watch over and protect their family. Some believe that life energy continues in some, if unknown, form. Some believe in various spiritual resting places. Many say we don't or can't know what happens after death.

• Why Evil?

"Evil" is imbalance. Most believe there is no evil but rather that people sometimes make mistakes. Wrongdoing results when we forget we are one with the universal spirit.

• Salvation

The concept of "salvation" is essentially irrelevant; rather the belief that people can attain spiritual balance and harmony with each other and nature. The path includes group ceremonies, dances, songs/chants, prayers, meditation, trance, altered states of consciousness, the metaphysical, magic, invoking or evoking deities or spirits, Tantric practices. Intercessors are commonly used: psychics, seers, shamans, tarot, Oui-Ja board. Ethical choices are influenced by a belief that one is rewarded or punished within this or after this lifetime for one's choices and an ethical code to do no harm.

• Undeserved Suffering

Most do not believe in Satan or any spirit being as the cause of suffering. Some believe in a karma-like principle, that choosing to live a life of wrongdoing and pain will naturally result in suffering in this or later lifetimes. Many view suffering as a result of spiritual imbalance in one's life or on the planet or in the universe. The focus is generally on healing suffering rather than answering definitively why it exists.

• Contemporary Issues

Abortion is not condemned, as there is no official doctrine; beliefs about abortion range the full spectrum. Views on divorce, homosexuality, and gender equality are generally very supportive of human differences, equality, and personal choice. Many believe that involvement in community action, especially regarding environmental concerns, is integral to the belief in human interdependence and worship of the Earth Mother.

Unitarian Universalism

• Belief in Deity

Very diverse beliefs--Unitarian/Universalists welcome all deity beliefs as well as nontheistic beliefs. Some congregations are formed for those who share a common belief, e.g. Christianity.

• Incarnations

Very diverse beliefs, including belief in no incarnations, or that all are the embodiment of God. Some believe Christ is God's Son, or not Son but "Wayshower."

• Origin of Universe and Life

Diverse beliefs, but most believe in the Bible as symbolic and that natural processes account for origins.

• After Death

Diverse beliefs, but most believe that heaven and hell are not places but are symbolic. Some believe heaven and hell are states of consciousness either in life or continuing after death; some believe in reincarnation; some believe that afterlife is nonexistent or not known or not important, as actions in life are all that matter.

• Why Evil?

Most do not believe that humanity inherited original sin from Adam and Eve or that Satan actually exists. Most believe that God is good and made people inherently good but also with free will and an imperfect nature that leads some to immoral behavior. Diverse beliefs. Some believe wrong is committed when people distance themselves from God. Some believe in “karma,” that what goes around comes around. Some believe wrongdoing is a matter of human nature, psychology, sociology, etc.

• Salvation

Some believe in salvation through faith in God and Jesus Christ, along with doing good works and doing no harm to others. Many believe all will be saved, as God is good and forgiving. Some believe in reincarnation and the necessity to eliminate personal greed or to learn all of life’s lessons before achieving enlightenment or salvation. For some, the concepts of salvation or enlightenment are irrelevant or disbelieved.

• Undeserving Suffering

Diverse beliefs. Most Unitarians do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God’s plan, will, or design, even if we don’t immediately understand it. Some don’t believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering, and most take a humanistic approach to helping those in need.

• Contemporary Issues

The Unitarian Universalist Association’s stance is to protect the personal right to choose abortion. Other contemporary views include working for equality for homosexuals, gender equality, a secular approach to divorce and remarriage, working to end poverty, promoting peace and nonviolence, and environmental protection.

...hmm. I glanced at Unitarian whatever-ism, and it kinda fits. Really, though, I think belief is way too deeply personal to structure into any sort of organized religion.

But that's a topic for another day.

spring in the bay.

there's something about the Bay in the spring that's just magical. usually people associate spring with april, may; flowers bees sunshine and puppylove. if you lived in so-cal, you associated it with bigger crowds at the beach and the beginning of the hot days (not that it's ever COLD in san diego...). it's something different here, though.

for one thing, it starts in late january. i can't really draw the line between winter and spring very well, except i guess the spring (this year at least) is wetter and greener. winter's sort of a brittle time, lots of really fucking cold days with a crystalline blue sky above (see Blue for details), and a glaring white sun that doesn't seem to give any heat at all.

not that it's a bad time. there's something magical about winter in the bay, too. something about the crispness everything gets endowed with, like it was all flash-frozen and preserved. like everything's edged out for you by some cosmic exacto knife.

but then the spring comes and things go green. the hills, in particular. near the bay, the mountains that divide the coast from the central valley start getting carpeted in this sort of long wildgrass that, oddly enough, is gold in its maturity. it's not really DEAD - it comes back again. it's like grain. it turns colors. so summertime comes and all the hills are this glorious yellow-gold color (the fabled mountains of gold), but before that there's this very transient week or month or so when it's wet enough that the new grasses wake up and start pushing out. and then everything's green like you wouldn't believe under a heavy grey sky.

people associate green grass with blue skies. greenery, all sorts of it, is always cooler under a rainy sky.

i don't really know where i'm going with this. heh. thought i should write it down, though, because these days, every time i walk outside, i'm always thinking to myself, shit, gotta write this down, this experience, these sights.

so here they are, in no particular order other than that i remember them in:

the clouds rolling over the east bay hills, which are round and tree'd in ways so-cal hills never, ever are, and which are also green for that magical time of early-spring. the wispiness of those clouds, which become fog as they graze the tops of the mountains and pour down - or maybe mist. the way the trees show through them, the color of the sky.

the color of rain, the color of the sea, which turns silver, in the rain. the color of the afternoon. the pink and white cherry blossoms against the dark slender trunks and branches, which look so much like the limbs of a girl, especially when it rains and they're sleek and wet, that i don't wonder anymore why daphne turned into a tree.

the concrete wet with rain. the busses going past. the rain falling; the wind; the sun through the clouds. the clouds are different here in the bay; there's no real line between clouds and mist and fog. i think i mentioned this earlier, above. but they're all the same. it all depends on where you stand. the clouds are softer here, less defined, less...integrated?

the golden gate bridge stretched across the bay. the bay bridge. the city and its lights. berkeley's campanile. the sound of the traffic. the sound of the rain.

the thing about springtime in the bay is that it's not sunshine and birds. it's gray and wet, but at the same time it makes you feel SO good, so fresh and alive, but in a quiet way. it's gray and green and the shy/shocking vulnerable pink of a cherry blossom, and wet.

you want to take long walks - not even in forests or anything, but just on the streets, looking at the skyscrapers, or on university campuses, through the eucalyptus groves and the oak-lined oak-roofed paths, with the redwood and the pines nearby.

there's something holy about a forest in the rain. then again, maybe it's just the february rain of san francisco that's holy. rain is the heart of this season, and this season is beautiful. autumn in new england; springtime in the bay. it's the same sort of magic.

holy fuck!

so uh.

anyone who's reading this probably knows me well enough to know i CAN'T stand the damn celtic craze. or, for that matter, any sorta thing that takes some culture and makes it a fad to be indulged it. you know what i mean. where someone has like 1 drop of american indian blood and suddenly they're out worshipping the sun and moon and getting in touch with their "inner brave", blahblah.

okay, i'm digressing massively. point is: i can't STAND the celtic craze.


for the first fucking time?

i understand it. my GOD do i understand it.

there's this song - ailein duinn? sung by meav? and...holy shit.

first time i listened, i was shock. cuz it starts out all new agey celtic - you know, with the harp and the flute thang on top of this low pulseless bassline, and like...all mysterious otherworldly. you're (i was) expecting some stupid lyrics about like. druids and bards and shit. dismissing it already.

and then

it quiets.

and this girl's voice starts: and it's not english. it's GAELIC.

and you gotta understand i've never actually HEARD gaelic before. not sung in long sloping lines like this. it's just FLOORED me. i was like. wtf? what's this? gaeli--ohhh my god, this is pretty.

it's such a beautiful language. it's so flowing. i mean, in english, you have pretty discrete word-units in sound; one does flow into the next, but the vowels tend to be pretty short and there are a lot of sharp consonants.

not this, man.

gaelic is like...okay, maybe it's just this chick's voice? but it's clear and just flowing. not many sharp consonants. not many gutturals, either. a lot of "sh" "ch" "hh" sounds, too - these rounded vowels, all long, and just - all of it is so rounded and liquid.

oh my. god.

i'm in love. i'm not kidding. her voice is just incredible, singing this song. it's the way it lilts. it makes you think of oceans and birds. i don't know why, but just - like, green misty cliffsides near the ocean, sort of like in northern california, with seagulls swooping.

i'm ranting completely disjointedly. i can't put my thoughts together on this.

it's the way the lines of the song slope. the way they lilt - there's this one part that just sends shivers up my spine where her voice is just...buoyed, like a bird on the wind. you know what i mean. you've seen it, the way a gliding bird can kind of drop from one thermal to catch the next up?

that's how her voice is.

it just...soars up on an updraft, falls, and catches the next right up again.

same note held both times. but the difference in the surrounding notes - the first is major, the second minor - is so, so, so beautifully crafted that the tone is completely different the second time around.


oh , my , god.

i could WEEP. hahaha. okay, maybe not, but. it's aching.

meav is an incredible singer. you don't even notice all of it at first. it's just the absolute clarity of her tone. it's so sweet and...

you know, i've always heard people say so-and-so's voice is clear like a bell? this is the first time i understand. just. so beautifully delineated, without being rigid. and the way she curls her tongue around the sounds...'s fucking sexy, man. hahaha. oh man, i know, i know. everything goes back to sex for me. but you gotta wonder, if she can curl her tongue around a syllable like that--

okay no, i'm not gonna go there.

it's just the breathy-but-not-gaspy way she sings. she lets the words breathe, gives the gaelic breathiness its room, but still enunciates so. carefully. and doesn't cut them off. and. it's just. aaagh.

i can't say it enough! i'm just repeating myself like an idiot, but:

her voice. the song. it flows. it flows together.

FLOWS! like WATER. and SOARS. like a gliding BIRD.

i love this song. i mean, i absolutely love it. from the first line, it just sucks me in. and she has such...precise control over what notes she hits, and how. that's a rare thing in singers today. not many can modulate the tiny, tiny differences between notes. there's more than one way to hit a C#, or a Eb. it's not the hitting it. it's HOW, from which angle, whether you're just a liiiittle bit sharp or a liiiittle bit flat, and how long you dwell, how much breath you give it, how much body.

and the way she does it is just pitch-perfect.

i speak of singing like i knew how to sing. i don't. i'm just kinda deducting it from listening to her. that's how good she is.

i need to find CDs by her, man.


is it strange to love a girl who's been dead for a hundred years? maybe - probably - it's not even love. just some sorta fanciful attraction, a fantasy of a lyrical and poetic sort of love cooked up by the otherwise staid doctor-to-be in the creativity-stripped hospitals. maybe. but i do think i could love her. it's not anything i can explain, and everything about her poetry and her letters.

there's something so sheltered and imaginative about her. her letters are so polite. editors trashed her poetry as unconventional ...i'm losing my train of thought. it goes everywhere at once; there's so much i can say about this.

I know where Wells grow -
Droughtless Wells -

I think a little Well - like Mine -
Dearer to understand -

i saw this handwritten manuscript once. well, a copy, obviously. not terribly neat, but a fine hand. delicate. unbelievable - she'd created her own language. these curlicues and strange little signs, plus signs, it looked like. dots and slashes. walt whitman swaggers and boasts that he's something new, something previously untried and undone, freedom at its best! and then there's a girl in her attic who's rarely left her house, who knows the true meaning of freedom in a better, quieter, more personal way.

Of nearness to her sundered Things
The Soul has special times -
When Dimness - looks the Oddity -
Distinctness - easy seems -

she's just so polite. that's what gets me the most. she seems shy and quiet, so like a bird. self-deprecating in her letters to others. she referred to herself being a little ill, and i thought my heart would cave in from...tenderness? pity? a desire to shelter and protect?

i just can't believe the editors wrote her back telling her her poetry was crap. i can't think how must've made her feel, this girl locked away in her attic all her life, looking out at a world she didn't quite fit into, but understood better than most, writing about snakes and birds and death and waiting, and never quite about love. or am i wrong about that?

I shall forget the drop of Anguish
That scalds me now -

god! i just saw a page that lists facts supporting that she was a lesbian. jesus christ. what the hell is wrong with the world, that a woman who never really sought male company is immediately suspected a lesbian? the worst is how these people that write these things think of themselves as progressive and liberal, all the while furthering the old patriarchical supposition that a woman is made to breed with a man, and any woman who chooses another path is, of course, a lesbian. can't you people just leave her alone?

god, dammit!


Now I lay thee down to Sleep -
I pray the Lord thy Dust to keep -
And if thou live before thou wake -
I pray the Lord thy Soul to make -

there's something slanted about her poetry, and i don't mean unnatural, dirty, wrong, whatever. i just mean - slanted. you have to think curved to get at the meaning, or get close to the meaning, as the case may be. you have to skew your perceptions a bit, even if you don't want you. just reading it, a line, any line, makes you think a little slanted.

what a quaint woman she must've been! and so polite, heh. i just can't get over that. there's something so fragile about her, as though she kept herself and most her poems locked away lest a stray breeze blew them all apart. i think i could've liked her, really loved her. i like to think i could've brought her out of her shell, but then again, maybe that would've just realigned her perceptions with the status quo. and then all her poetry would be lost.

I saw no Way -
The Heavens were stitched -
I felt the Columns close -
The Earth reversed her Hemispheres -
I touched the Universe -

i can't believe i'm writing this at 3:30am...


It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.

It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain,—
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.

It reaches to the fence,
It wraps it, rail by rail,
Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil

On stump and stack and stem,—
The summer’s empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.

It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen,—
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.


And though thy sins be as scarlet,
They shall be white as snow;
Though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.

Isaiah 1:18


her name, in case it's not yet evident, is emily dickinson.