netflix hates insomniacs

3 a.m. is the cruellest time to throttle streaming video. they must know it, the sadists.

sitting watching the percentage load count up, ever so glacially, leaden seconds ticking on– 1%… 2%… 4%… 5%… 8%…

and then half the time it gets to 100% and hangs.

the truth is I resent being buffered ever, in any fashion. buffering, bah. it’s just more grueling in the small hours.

Civic leadership change in Chicago

We have a new mayor!

I was proud to get out and exercise my democratic right to vote today in a world where this privilege is far from universal. I’m deeply conscious in the face of developing events in the Middle East and North Africa of my enormous good fortune and range of ideological motion and free speech in the first world, in the West, as a member of a long-standing democratic union whose respects for life and liberty far outweigh its developmental challenges on the grand scale of things.

I’m hopeful for Rahm Emanuel’s ability to helm the leadership and infrastructural changes we need so badly in Chicago.

It’s (beyond) high time to embrace progressive transparency in a city that has long and infamously bumped along on slipshod representational ethics.

Let’s hear it for our new Mayor, Rahm Emanuel!

grey weather state of mind

opportunities for humility are daily, legion, and profound.

everything spins out in labyrinthine array as I seem to tread in place– wake, reach for spectacles and smarter-than-me phone, page through virtual emptiness, and declare, “poo and things made of poo.”

consider posting this line to my facebook status. reconsider.

decide instead to post it to my blog.

declare a regimen of less reflection, more writing, vomitous or otherwise outright. righting.

(in light of, I must inquire: what is it about water– bathwater, shower steam, dishtub– that unfixes the internal glues and gets things flowing at the very least paper- and PC-conducive moments? by the time I reach pen or keyboard, all the patterns that seemed so finely intricate and scintillant instants previous have fled, and I sit in the flood of white page, giddy winking cursor tweaking the last nerve. yet as I’ve declared it, so it must be.)

this morning in the raining grey of nominally neighborly hoods I attended a political breakfast in support of hydraulics and pistons in a machine I don’t begin to fathom. the alderman intoned, “it’s all, ultimately, about service.” so, shrug off the majority of maneuvering malarkey and let it wash away down the gutter.

besides which: redemption through action, yes? of course, mindful action, preferably. too often amidst the spin it’s tricky timing to pick and choose– the darting hand makes hasty grabs and hopes for sanguine (distinctly not: bloody or crushed) outcomes.

some days I’m quicker of reflex. other days I find I’ve barged in on conversations taking place beside me at the table that I realize only belatedly are private, or at least not altogether communal.

for lack of better modus operandi, I engineer a smile until tired facial muscles drag me home.


Just up from underground and off a fresh spate of dining entertainment, I’ve been cloudgathering about who I’d ask to dinner, given that fantasy scenario of “anyone alive or dead”– just, you know, in case.

The prime directive, naturally, would be managing the blend of personalities. Necessarily I’d need known folks in the mix, as the prospect of a tableful of strangers raises dread of utterly strained conversation. Probably I’m limited in this regard, “pure” discussion topics being only very slightly engrossing– for me the best sort of talk is at once bright and personal, courteous if spicy and occasionally riotous–a degree of engagement usually context-driven, based on shared experience or relatable reference points– problematic given a stagey scenario of wildly diverse personages. And yet the prospect still somehow appeals.

So how to achieve a lively alchemy? Likely by involving participants adept at both talk and listening, responsive to one another, inclined to engage generously and imaginatively with other folks alike or dissimilar, willing to dip into and out of the spotlight, inviting partners either graceful or awkward to step in and whirl away, no one dominating overmuch. Dynamic balance.

Impolitic as it would be to pick and choose friends publicly (of course you‘re on the guest list), I’ll restrict myself here to idiosyncratic selection of delightful strangers:

  • Neil Gaiman
  • Laurie Anderson
  • Wallace Stevens
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Edward Norton
  • Roald Dahl
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Katherine Hepburn
  • Jane Austen
  • Phillip Pullman
  • Joseph Cornell

Next up: the fictional characters cocktail party list.

dressup: amy rigg dress

I’ve done it all my life, and still do– costuming myself, playing a role. in grad school for a time I employed false spectacles to play the part of instructor. body as canvas, I am various and legion, giddy with vintage, posturing elaborate executions of character and mood, entertaining an imagined audience and most of all myself.

I prowl the thrift stores in search of treasures– amy rigg is a recent local discovery, whose delicately detailed pieces I covet. when I stumble across them among the $2 discards, I get a little thrill. the only sad bit is that she’s gone— I arrive on the scene only in time to scrape crumbs from this particular party.


once again I’m brokenheaded and can’t seem to do a thing with the troublesome appendage. It flops about in peevish and aggravating fashion despite efforts to stoke it with chocolate and yellow lamplight. Train whistles pierce through and through, grey window condensation soaks it drearily. It hangs and flutters in rags about the shoulders, desperate for a mission and altogether ineffectual and undecided.