Saturday, February 28, 2009

Holy mixed tenses batman!*

Dream House! I was talking with someone about dream houses, like on Cribs, and mine is a gypsy caravan. I suppose mansions are more popular, but I would need a *lot* of shetland ponies to cart it around, and you know what? My ponies are not really labor animals, they are just going to do their pony thing and hey! my caravan will follow them.
okay, imagine this ^ caravan shape but if Sergey Tyukanov designed it:Um, I will try to draw a picture and scan it in, as mossy flying boots are not really quite right.
Oh, wait, this is more like it. Same artist.

I will wear a peacoat when I take my caravan to freezing cold places but my little animals will be safe because of terraria.

such as these.
Also, this.
And in the terraria will be tiny animals, like threadsnakes, geckos, and very small frogs.**
And also these monkeys, although they can also be in the living space as long as they are not aggressive.
This is a kennel. I think the monkeys might like it, but it would not fit well in the caravan. Maybe it can go on top.

The caravan needs a lot of windows, clear so the sunlight comes in but stained glass instead of clear because that is more private.

I will have a lot of dinosaur stuff, like bronze skeletons and olden times sketches. The caravan needs a nice bathroom, because it is my imagination caravan and so it can be impractical. This is heat sensitive ultraglass. In real life I cannot have ultraglass because I would waste away sitting on the floor pressing my hands and face on it and spraying it with the showerhead and eventually I would die, all pruney, on the floor, the heatglass gradually turning black beneath me.
This is a cloud cover showerhead. It is meant to feel like showering in the rain. Um, the floor would have a corresponding forced air panel, which would feel like the mojave breeze.

Um. I really like daybeds. I think this bed is kind of not cool enough for my caravan but I do like the silhouette. Probably there will just be a built in wooden platform and I will put a little mattress on it. Actually my bed is the part of my life that already matches my dream house.

* I can barely differentiate between my life, my future life, and stuff I am just making up.
**also I will buy some of Thomas Doyle's bell jar art to mix in.


Well, I am not celebrating lent this year, but I think the fasting from the start of spring until the warm part of spring is just something circadian, because I am not feeling like eating anything. Yesterday I ate like it was a friday in lent; a handful of peanuts at breakfast so I could pay attention at my midterm, and then some milk at dinner time. And that is not too substantial, so I put a potato in the oven but after a while of waiting for it to cook I got bored and put it away for later. I went grocery shopping and bought pork loins and brought them home and I have to use them or freeze them.

Then today I had an apple at breakfast but then the hostel was going to buy the staff lunch because we had a crazy long staff meeting. And I was like, "no thanks, I won't be hungry until Sunday after mass." Ugh.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Unicycling Day 5

Now I can pedal for like 8 feet just like yesterday but instead of starting from pedaling with assistance I can start from standing.

Unicycling Day 4: oh, I am sore.

Tonight I went to juggling class with my unicycle (I cleared it with the coach first). I got several comments wheeling the unicycle from the bus stop to the gym and I felt like a poser. Because yes, I was just wheeling it, but I am sure everyone thought I could ride it. However, soon enough I will not be a fraud, for lo*, I think I have done something that can be called unicycling. I brought my unicycle to juggling, which was an awesome place to do it bc 2 of the members can unicycle (one amazingly, and one just pretty well) (even though I swear that is not what they said when I was asking about uni brands)and they gave me a lot of tips, such as the supports are there for side to side balance, so if you are not falling side to side, balance yourself by pedaling. Also, look ahead. And, pedal slowly instead of picking up speed as you get going. The other good tip was to pedal smoothly, which I thought I had been trying to do but when I tried consciously I got much better. Actually they inflated my tire a bit more too. As I said, it was a good place to learn.

And the gymnasium floor is wonderful. I fell over and over all splayed out but it wasn't scary to do because the floor is laminated wood and will not scrape me up.

So yeah, by holding onto some one's shoulder as I got the pedaling going, and then having them walk away, I can pedal for several feet. Well. It is hard to say how far I am going but if you judge by how far away I land from where the person stopped walking, it is quite far.** Also if you go by me doing about 3 rotations of the 24" wheel, that seems like it is 6 feet. It takes about 1 second.*** So, still not "real" unicycling but everyone said I was very good for a beginner.

And, wow, I like doing things alone because I can focus (I had to put on my ipod to keep from the jugglers talking to me continuously) but I managed to unicycle off and on for 2 hrs, vs. my usual 40 minutes.

*yeah, it's a word or something. No, I can't define it. II can add it to my serenity list of hard words to tattoo on my body. "what does that word mean?" people will ask, and I will tell them, "I don't know!" however I have forgotten the other words. let's see- how about lo, carboniferous, and molecule? Although it is really bothering me that I don't know what molecules are so I will most likely look it up.
**relative to yesterday's distance of most of 1 rotation and then pitching forward to my death. (that is not a real unit of distance)
***Or, 4mph. Yeah, mathin' it up, tearin' it up. Right. Did I already explain about ridin' dirty? Because I did.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Papercraft: ice village, iceberg, sky castle

One thing I have always struggled with is finishing pieces. I tend to work on them until I can see definitively in my mind what the outcome is, and am pleased, because I have gained a skill and -could- produce the outcome at will for the rest of my life. But one thing artists should be able to do is show their work to other people, even people they are not psychically connected to. For that reason, I have bought a lot of fancy paper to make my papercraft scenes match the imaginings I superimpose on them.
This is an ice village.

This is a cloud castle. The paper is very hard to work with so I am not totally happy with how it came out. It's hard because at the seams there can't be any overlap because it would show.

This is my favorite one so far. It is an iceberg I made by tearing up old library catalog cards, and a golden monster ensnaring a ship. The ship isn't finished (I am still bad at completing things!) because the sail I made looked like it was sailing along happily, not being pulled under arctic water. It's hard because it is a brave little ship, not an old decrepit one, but the sail has to look battered. And be a centimeter tall. Ugh.

Anyway, I really like how nicely and cleanly these come together. I have plenty of paper to make lots more. I am planning a standalone rocket ship, a few space scenes, a meadow, more icebergs, and a forest.

Unicycling Day 3

Well, I went to the co op and they showed me how to hacksaw the seatpost. Very neat. I took off 2 1/2 inches and now I can reach the pedals properly. And if it turns out I am babying myself and it is supposed to be higher I can still raise it like 5" higher. Last night we had three boys at the hostel with their dad, and when they arrived at 10pm they immediately went out again on unicycles. They had little ones though. They have paid through tonight, so perhaps I will ask to try their unicycles. I will at least ask how they learned.

So, progress report: I am progressing quite slowly! I got the hang last time of pedaling along next to the fence holding on, but toward the end when I tried to pedal next to the fence without holding on I fell and hurt myself because there are so many things to fall into or onto. So this time I went to the parking structures where there are concrete stopping bricks beside the wooden support posts for the rain roof. I used the brick and post to get on the unicycle, the post to balance there for a bit, and then tried to unicycle away from the post. I can travel about 3 feet by unicycle. But it doesn't feel like real unicycling because I am falling the whole time even though it takes a few rotations before I actually fall -off-. I came inside before I was tired because I stopped improving and was discouraged.

I have found the very loveliest place to unicycle, but it is not accompanied by stopping bricks and posts. Less that 25 yards from the parking structure I was using there is a lovely cement walking path* that parallels the drop off hill, so there is a terrific view of really steep forest and the sky, and a good view of the town and water. It is soooo pretty, especially because the weather today is really nice. (But it got cloudy while I waited for my camera to charge)

you know what, I am going to go back out and take pictures and at least try until I am tired.

*the sign forbids lots of things on behalf of pedestrian safety, but luckily not unicycles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Unicycling Day 2

Today went well. I can get on with only one hand on the fence to steady myself, and I was letting go of the fence and then grabbing it when I started to fall. I still can't ride without the fence, however there must be lots of paved roads with a wall alongside, so I can imagine myself traveling happily along them. I find myself skipping forward to Chamillionaire's "ridin' dirty" on my ipod when I ride my bike sometimes. It's ironic because I am obeying all of the laws and police aren't targeting me. Today I noticed that I skip to the same song when I am on my unicycle... that's not even irony. That is so far beyond ironic. I made myself listen to Britney Spears' more appropriate song "circus" the rest of the session. Then, I fell into a planter and scraped my shin on the edging and went hobbling inside, because I am not really a gangster in real life. "because I am not really a gangster in real life" can be attached to everything I say. Now I am going to go to the bike co-op to get my seat post shortened.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Unicycling Day 1

Well, that was very good exercise. Climbing onto the unicycle in a standard mount is just not remotely possible. So what I do is 1. stand on a curb with one foot while climbing onto the seat and putting my other foot on the pedal (preferred method) or 2. grip the seat with the tops of my legs while i cling to/climb up a post or pole until the unicycle is under me, and then drop my feet onto the pedals. The second way is exhausting as I have to do it about every time i fall off (40 times an hour, or so.)

I feel like my unicycle is too tall for me, because I can sit on my bike's seat and have my toes on the ground but I can't on the unicycle. I know a 24" unicycle is my size because in shoes I have a 30" inseam. I have put the seatpost all the way down but it has about a 10" stem on the seat which fits into the 5" stem above the wheel, which means I am still 10" above the part where the stem is attached to the wheel holding arms.* In lieu of making sense, here is a picture:
I found a nice area with a curb, flat ground, and a non abrasive fence and had a good time dragging myself along with my arms while twitching my feet shakily back and forth. Every few feet I would let go of the fence, pedal halfway then let my foot slip off the petal and the unicycle would fall away. Eventually I progressed to peddling for a bit while holding the wall with only one arm.

*I (for once) read the manual while I waited for inspiration about how to assemble the unicycle without tools, but the names of parts were insufficiently descriptive (they sound pretend.) so I did not learn what anything is called. There were words like "sprocket" (I GISed SPROCKET AND Fun Fact!, THERE WAS NO SPROCKET IN MY UNICYCLE KIT! I think it was the generic manual they must send out with unicycles with and without sprockets.) I assumed it would be shipped with an allen wrench but it was not. Luckily about ten minutes into looking at the manual my roommate came home and lent me his auto maintenance kit, and of course it didn't matter that I didn't know what the instructions meant because a unicycle has about 7 pieces that definitely only assemble in one way.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What doesn't kill you

makes you stronger. It's not a great consolation in moments of stress, but I was struck today by how, well, how strong I am. I coukldn't sleep, I had a hellacious bike commute in the icy rain, I had to deal with phone calls from a guest at the hospital needing a ride and insisting that we were the only option, handle several not very polite guests, tell a guest we don't do work exchange, and of course all of the tasks of running the hostel like laundry and receipts. It doesn't sound that dramatic without adjectives, does it? I climbed on my bike at 7:15 this morning- I had been ready to go for a while but it was just too dark. And within 10 seconds I was soaked. Just, all through my jeans and my hat and my hands, icy water making me numb. After about 3 minutes I couldn't keep my eyes open because of the rain and I decided that biking with an umbrella might be safer than biking with my eyes closed. And it was much, much more pleasant, esepecially as I had numbed properly and couldn't really feel anything in my face and extremities. And then of course my umbrella started whipping inside out and I had to put it away. I reflected that nothing in the world is worse than cold, and I was actually getting quite angry that I had to get out of bed. I tried to remind myself that I was getting out of my safe lovely bed to ride my bicycle with my healthy legs and eyes and work for time-and-a-half at my interesting job but positivity is no match for negativity at times. At the bottom of the hill the hostel is on I made the decision to be a few minutes late and look at the water to calm down. I had never seen it all murky brown and choppy, with hundreds of birds just swirling around low to the water. It was not very calming, but it helped. And then as soon as I got to work I put on a towel and put my jeans and sweater in the dryer. I actually fashioned a very convincing skirt out of a thin gray backpackign towel- improvisation is a major skill of mine. I was inundated with calls from the same man, a man who stayed last night, went into diabetic shock or something and needed to get picked up from the ER. He just kept repeating the same things, like that would make me have a car (and tire of life to the point where I would get in the car with a strange man with scary problems.) And when one of our volunteers went to bring him here I decided that needy or not, I do not like him and am not going to help him. Will I mail his letter? Will I call his friends? Will I keep the hostel open during the day for him? Will I tell his friend some message when they call? Apparently I am mailing his letter and one of the volunteers will keep the common area of the hostel open.

Note: I wrote this last week and thought I shouldn't post it bc I talk about work issues, but you know what, 2 people read my blog, my mom doesn't even, so I am sure it is fine.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I am the circus.

I think one of the best things about childhood is the newness of everything. Almost everything has a steep learning curve, but children for the most part have no conception of how unlikely swimming or learning a language or whatever is, because (I suppose) their whole lives are a stream of new, improbable things which prove attainable.

What I am trying to say is I have completely spent my fun budget and have to start budgeting again, and i don't know whether to budget for a unicycle or a slackline.

Yes Unicycle: I have never tried it and don't know anyone who has one, so it is a totally new skill. I can probably pull it out and take it around the immediate neighborhood quite easily compared to setting up a slackline. Also, if I get a touring one (oh, they are expensive) perhaps I can throw away my terrible bicycle that is so terrible that it goes down hills more slowly than other bikes. One time someone cut one of the brakes, but it still has one that works so I use it as-is. One time someone peeled off the cushion part of the seat, but there is still a plastic triangle so I use it as-is. It is such a terrible bicycle that I can't ride hands-free on it but I can on Dad's bike with suicide gears and meant for someone 6 inches taller. It is so bad that someone once stole the bike crate* but not the wheels or anything. Also, when I once left it unlocked in downtown Oakland it was not stolen when I got back 5 hours later. And when I got back from Christmas break having left it at the bus station I found that the lock's cable had been halfway cut, but not all the way. I still use that bike lock- I figure it has already proven it's effective.**.

Against Unicycle: What if I am terrible at it and I break my arms? I do not like getting hurt. And a touring unicycle, which is what I really want, is $600.

Slackline: Slacklines are really portable, and I could use it at the condo and at Willow House. Also, I am much closer to being able to slackline than to being able to ride a unicycle. And, it does not hurt much to fall off. And they are 1/3 as expensive as a beginner unicycle.

Against Slackline: There is a slackline club at school that I could go to if it wasn't raining and if I wasn't afraid of ripping out my navel ring***, so I don't need to own one in order to learn it. The set up would be time consuming.

*Just to be really clear, it was not a nice crate. It was a beat up black milk crate with one corner gone from where a side view mirror hit me one night.

**I think it would be unethical to leave it unlocked in case a child steals it and is killed when they assume the brakes brake.

***I am not sure why I care- I learned to eat with my mouth ages ago and I am not using my belly button for anything at all anymore. I am not even keeping it intact.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Melatonin is what makes you tired at the right time. It is circadian. And if your brain doesn't make any you can buy it in the grocery store for $8. It is like magic. But you can't use it all the time because you will get immune to it. You can use not looking at white lights before bed also. So I am using my lava lamp to get ready for bed.

I think it is the best thing I have ever, ever heard of. The first night I used it I noted as I fell asleep that I had forgotten what it felt like to be sleepy, since normally I will lay in bed or just do work until I feel exhausted, and my body starts to ache and rebel, but I am just not tired and eventually the sun comes up and I have to acknowledge that no, I am not going to get to bed that night.

I had also forgotten what it was like to be tired in the morning. I know, my parents who drove off without me in the morning because I was just not going to make it out of bed probably think that is strange, but for the last 6 months I have been checking the time every time I wake up at night, and when it gets to an appropriate awake time I would get up. Wow, it was hard to get up Mon and Tues morning this week.

Apparently this grogginess is from too much melatonin? The internet says that a .5 mg dose is the best, and any more and you will get desensitized, so I am trying to get a .5 mg dose out of the 3 mg tablets i have. (I did not think to research dosage before I bought them, so I picked the middle dose.)(These 100 tablets are going to last a very, very long time.) One thing is that I still wake up a lot, but when I do I feel tired and can fall right back to sleep.

Oh, the sleepiness is here!!!!!!!!!!
I want to throw it a parade, but I also want to go to sleep.
So, I will write about the weeeeeird dreams tommorow.

Friday, February 6, 2009



I own 32 navel rings, and I am not allowed to wear them for 4-6 months, because terrible things will happen! Terrible things like the piercing "rejecting" and migrating out of my skin. I bought these all on ebay for around $30*, and I opened the package and I think I screamed. I waited as long as humanly possible to try one on, which was 9 minutes. Guess where I have nerve endings. Hint: everywhere!!! So I am never changing it again, and need to think of something to do with all of these.

*one is the one they installed at the tattoo and piercing place, and one is from when I was 15 and going to get my navel ring before my parents backed out. This is my month of doing everything I have ever wanted to, if you couldn't tell.

Lava Lamp

I have wanted a lava lamp for my entire life, very acutely for the last 5 years. I can't explain why I never got one, not really. I asked for one at every christmas and birthday, and Mom would bid on them on ebay and so forth, and somehow I never actually got one. When I pointed this out about 3 years ago Mom made a point of calling all of the big retailers around and asking if they had lava lamps in stock. This culminated in us driving to San Lorenzo or some mall town and finding out that instead of lava lamps the shop had glitter lava night lights. And I liked my little glitter nightlight (it has gone missing in one of my moves, but I am sure it will turn up) but it was not a lava lamp. Also, at night I can't see because I put my contacts in their little case. I need big wax blobs, not twinkly glitter.

Anyway, I have been shopping for one on ebay for a few months... it is vital to choose the Exact Perfect Lamp, because I will have it until I die. I examined listings for maybe 700 lamps and it came down to pink with white wax, or orange with white wax. I agonized for days about which was better, and then I went with orange.

I think I am kind of addicted to my lamp. I usually can't sleep so I stared at it for maybe 3 hours last night before I got bored or tired enough to rest. And then in the morning I woke up when my first alarm went off, so that I could look at it before school. It was hard to convince myself to leave it to go to school. I am very dependent on it, I think. I really do not know why. I will just stare at it, like it's so fascinating to watch wax float. It is pretty much the perfect amount of activity and complexity for me. My other lamp has too little, and television has too much.

I can't believe I almost bought the pink.