Friday, December 31, 2004


I've been reading a book by a woman who's had a chronic daily headache for 15 years and now almost each and every day I wake up with one of my own -- particularly on the two days when I interviewed her. Apparently this is akin to some type of Medical School Syndrome*, in which students display the symptoms of each and every malady they study. I cannot wait to read the book by the woman who's never experienced fear, rejection, depression or bad hair.

The hipster Iraqui war vet (apparently this is not an oxymoron... and he's most definitely not a moron, having used the verb "squire" correctly in a sentence; one suspects he may also know the difference between vertical and horizontal) and I enjoyed a lazy WB lunch earlier this week (two desserts!), during which he inquired about the glyphs written in ink on my hand -- they're reminders, not unlike Uncle Billy's strings only more specific -- one of which was a bicycle to prompt me to pick up the Cinelli from the shop. The final (I hope) tragedy of the bike crash is that I bent out of shape forever my rare, collectible, odd-size Campangolo front fork from the 1970's. Since I've no time/money for eBay they replaced it with a servicable silver generic thing. I also had a rack put on the back (an obscenity on a road bike, I know), so I am no longer tempted to ride around with paintings that get stuck in the front wheel. In any case the vet *offered to take me to get it* thus winning many points..... After a slow initial trip I've been riding the thing nonstop... such a treat....until it started to rain last night. Not a bad way to end the year. Knock wood NOW.


*Medical school syndrome: A form of acute hypochondriasis that affects most people in training to be a physician. For example, when studying Hodgkin disease, a medical student feels behind their ears or neck, feels little lymph nodes (that are entirely normal), and thinks they have Hodgkin disease. (from

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


From Linda Johnsen (via e-mail):

"As many of you have probably heard by now, the tsunami hit Ammachi's ashram in southern Kerala. The waves were only five feet high by then, but hit with such force they annihilated the villages along the coast, even knocking down concrete buildings. Incredibly, an hour before the wave hit, Amma sent out a message over the ashram PA system ordering the thousands of devotees gathered there for the holiday to evacuate at once to high-rise buildings further in-land, and had her brahmacharins run along the beach to chase villagers away from the water.

"While the devastation on the Kerala coast was incalculable, not one person in Amritapuri (there were over 10,000 people there at the time) was lost or even injured. It's unbelievable.

"Amma is now spearheading relief efforts in India. The government has managed to deliver rice to coastal communities in southwestern India, but the villagers have no pots to cook with, so the ashram is feeding the entire population in the area, even though their own grounds were badly damaged. The brahmacharins are also extremely busy performing funeral rites--offering some small comfort to bereaved families along the sea. Groups of Amma's followers throughout the Western world are banding together to help finance the rebuilding of villages.

"Several weeks ago my friend Janine, who'd been alarmed by rumors that Amma had been predicting a major disaster, asked the brahmacharini who stays with Amma in her room at night, if there was any truth in the gossip. The brahmacharini told her, 'Amma says that when she goes to sleep at night she sees a dark wave over the sun.' At the time Janine thought the brahmacharini must have mistranslated and really meant to say 'dark cloud over the sun,' but now she understands what Amma meant by a 'dark wave.' What a world, so full of both sorrow and grace!

"Wishing you all a tranquil holiday and a better New Year." -Linda Johnsen



Some scenes from Xmas ‘04...

From the 8-mos pregnant girl on Xmas Eve, when asked if she was going to breast feed:

“I don’t think so.”


”I don’t feel like it.”

Then she set down her O’Doul’s, put on her jacket, and went outside for a smoke.


That same night, after I told my brother and the rest of ‘em that I’d gone to Millennium Park on a blind date with an Iraqi war vet.

Dreyfus: “What?? An Iraqi war veteran? He’s probably crazy!”

Satya C: “Well duh -- what do you think makes him so attractive?”


From Tommy’s kids, shortly after we started watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Xmas night:

Mattie: “EEEEEEW! It’s black-and-white!”

Griffin (who earlier, with great authority, and as if revealing a closely-guarded secret, gravely explained what high-tops are): “Can we play video games when this Twilight Zone is over?”


Did anyone else hear the radio bit with Steve AND GARRY on Xmas Eve? That *was* Garry I heard egging Steve on... or was it one of those aural hallucinations I’ve been waiting so long to try? Whatever it was, ‘twas akin to running across an 8mm film of your long-divorced (and, for that matter, dead) parents, in happier times....

Monday, December 27, 2004


Apparently Kanyukumari (southernmost tip of India) and Kerala (on the left coast, where Lino Miele's workshop is being held) were hit as was Chennai on the right coast, which appears to have been hit harder.. But the Andaman Islands (a former British penal colony for Indian revolutionaries-cum-fancy resort in the middle of the Indian Ocean) took the brunt of it for India. Justin from the Kovalam crew reports they're all OK. My friend Devdutt, who's in Mumbai, says he's lost relatives. The Red Cross is taking donations (

News stories:

Sunday, December 26, 2004


From Today's NYT Mag, by Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City: Bombay [NOT Mumbai] Lost and Found..... a book I will purchase with a gift cert. received Xmas eve:

Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, c. 1949: Outback Outlaw

December 26, 2004

Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was a bandit in the forests of
South India with the world's most dangerous facial hair.
His popularity as a poacher and sandalwood smuggler rested
on the myth that he stole from the forest and gave to the
forest dwellers. Their support helped him evade an
extensive police manhunt for the better part of two
decades, and 20,000 people showed up for his funeral.

The local papers referred to him, in inimitable Indian
journalese, as the ''forest brigand'' Veerappan. His age,
when he was shot dead, was anywhere between 50 and 60. He
wore green army fatigues and his eyes were as bloodshot as
his life. He could reproduce a range of sounds of the
beasts and birds of the jungle -- 2,300 square miles of
wilderness between the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and
Kerala; a hilly wonderland of evergreen and deciduous
trees, medicinal plants and clear rivers, filled with
elephants, tigers and the occasional leopard. But during
his four-decade criminal career, he killed at least 120
forest officials, policemen and villagers who informed on
him; 200 elephants; and hundreds of thousands of sandalwood

Veerappan's whiskers, a sign of virility in India, struck
fear into the hearts of the hairless. His mustache lavishly
covered his mouth and jaws; it looked like a small furry
animal had died there. In 2000, he kidnapped a 71-year-old
film actor, Rajkumar, a demigod in South India. The hostage
and the kidnapper held lengthy discussions on religious
scripture. It had a therapeutic effect on the thespian.
''My time was all my own,'' Rajkumar later said. ''I prayed
to God, conversed with my inner self and marveled at
natural phenomena like day and night.'' The brigand would
twirl and flourish his whiskers and ask his captive his
opinion. ''He used to smear all sorts of oils and herbs on
it,'' the actor recalled. ''He used to comb it every day
and keep it very clean. He also used to take great pains to
dye it black.''

After 108 days -- a mythic number in Hinduism,
corresponding to the names of God -- Veerappan let the
actor go, supposedly after payment of a large ransom.
Rajkumar, unable to shave during his captivity, grew a
mustache and beard; during the same period, his three sons,
along with much of the Kannada film industry, vowed not to
shave until his release. Veerappan's whiskers spread on
vast numbers of cheeks. When photographs of his dead body
were published, many newspapers were initially suspicious
that it was the real brigand, because his face was adorned
with only a small mustache, barely a quarter of a foot

Veerappan was born into a poor Tamil family in the forest.
He began his career as an ivory poacher, shooting his first
elephant at 14. Then he turned to sandalwood, of whose
harvest the government had awarded itself a monopoly.
Veerappan outraged environmentalists but initially garnered
sympathy from tribes and villagers in the forests. At one
point, he led a group of landless laborers to take over
several hundred acres of government-reserved forest, clear
them of trees and use the land for cultivating crops.

He was adept at manipulating political struggles to his
advantage. The South Indian states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
were engaged in a bitter dispute over sharing the Cauvery
River, and when he was wanted in one state, he would hide
out in the other. He demanded that the Cauvery water
dispute be referred to the International Court of Justice.
Among the demands he made for Rajkumar's release was the
paying of a fair minimum wage to tea-estate workers. ''I am
fighting for the 60 million people of Tamil Nadu,'' he
claimed, and he formed links with Tamil secessionist

But for all his ideological bombast, his crimes could be
downright macabre: he would order his victims' limbs to be
severed and chop their bodies into small bits. He once
called a forest official to his hideout for a one-on-one
meeting, offering to surrender, and later returned him --
without his head. He disposed of two other forest officials
by boiling them alive in a vessel used to brew moonshine.

The Rajkumar kidnapping only increased the feeling that the
brigand was becoming a source of national embarrassment.
The hotel industry in the beautiful Nilgiri Hills had been
affected; people stopped visiting after he kidnapped a
group of tourists from a wildlife sanctuary there. As the
South Indian states strove to be seen as forward-thinking
hotbeds of technology and development -- Bangalore, India's
equivalent of Silicon Valley, is the capital of Karnataka
-- it seemed ridiculous that they couldn't catch a bandit
in their own backyard. He regularly offered to surrender,
but his terms went beyond an amnesty. One was that his life
should be made into a major motion picture.

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka formed special police task forces
to hunt him down, and the outcome, though delayed, was
preordained. His homicidal paranoia had progressively
alienated the villagers who sheltered him. An informer
betrayed him to the police, who shot him, along with three
of his gang members, on Oct. 18. He met his end while being
transported in what he thought was an ambulance for a
cataract operation. The exact circumstances of his death
were unclear; human rights groups claimed the police shot
him dead in an extrajudicial execution.

During the latter years of the brigand's reign, the animals
and trees in Veerappan's terrain were, perversely, safer
than ever before. With 1,500 armed policemen as well as
Veerappan's gang roaming through the jungle, all other
poachers and tree fellers stayed out. A policeman in charge
of one of the task forces estimated that the percentage of
wildlife in the area had gone up 10 to 15 percent in the
previous decade. In the week after Veerappan's death,
scores of other poachers re-entered the jungles, and the
forest department hired men with drums to go around the
villages announcing a ban on outsiders coming into the

In death, Veerappan was successful in at least one of his
goals. Immediately after his demise, two filmmakers in
Bollywood rushed to finish films on the forest brigand. The
name of one was changed from ''Let's Get Veerappan'' to
''Let's Kill Veerappan.''

Suketu Mehta is the author of ''Maximum City: Bombay Lost
and Found.''

Friday, December 24, 2004


that caused this dreadful cold?

Methinks so.

Or perhaps it was the $25 parking.

Or the mad dash for Frangos at Fields.

But at least I saw the Bean. Finally.

And Jack really did serve in Iraq.

Apparently you have to shake your boots out because of scorpions and spiders.

Their camels have two humps. The one-hump ones are in Asia, where it's colder.

Many colorful, noisy birds.

But no giant cockroaches. Or elephants.

Oops. Forgot to ask about the gropers.....

And the snipers.

Next time.


Monday, December 20, 2004

"THE EGO WITH ITS GROSS BODAY AND GREAT, SWOLLEN, PUMPKIN HEAD.... like a man who will stand right in front of you at a horse race: you can only catch a glimpse of the race by peeping under his arms or between his legs."

--Christopher Isherwood, quoted in Sunday's NYT book section in a review of the exhaustive new biography Isherwood: A Life Revealed. For those scratching their heads, the Broadway show Cabaret (which the hex and I saw at the old Studio 54 on NYE 2002/3 featuring Molly Ringworm and Tom Bosley) is based on his Berlin Stories. More important, the vendantist and contemporary of EM (Passage to India) Forster and W. Somerset Maugham cowrote, with Swami Prabhavananda, 1953's How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali -- which was conveniently left out of the review. Haven't heard of it? Suffice to say that the clear, concise book is de rigeur if you have any interest whatsoever in understanding the philisophical underpinnings of asana (physical) practice.


-It seems wrong for a Chicago institution whose namesake is dead dead dead to start branching out. But since Margie's Candies is opening its #2 not far from my house, at 1800 W. Montrose -- which will allow us to avoid the Devil's Milwaukee/Armitage/Western Triangle to get our old-school ice cream fix -- I suppose we'll just have to embrace it.

-It turns out the physician does indeed have a beard. And an ex-wife (friendly terms) whom I know and like very much. Nonetheless he listened intently while I launched into the long, not-so-amusing story of various doctors' and quacks' attempts to cure my 11-month bout of prepatellar bursitis (swollen knee), and patiently sat through my interrogation about bill collection policies at Cook County Hospital (almost nonexistent). Mission accomplished, Madam.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


I actually squaked and then almost dropped the paper when I saw that this was the Backwards R's subhead for my story. Does the new male publisher want more male readers? (the old publisher, under whom I worked for eight productive years, was a woman). An informal poll taken at The Empty Shala (now there's a name for a yoga studio -- and an apt one, too) showed that zero percent of the women present used or liked that word. It's not even fit for animals, really. Appetizers in India*, yes. Humans, no. If only I'd clued the editors in on the giblets thing. "Nothing Livens Up a Poetry Reading Like a Shriveled Set of Giblets." Now *that's* a good read. Page 14. Go out and get it.....

.....What am I thinking? On Thurs I was on the phone with the divorced Jewish physician-who-may-have-a-beard (not to mention two daughters...hmmm.....) when the well-read guy-who-may-have-been-in-Iraq called. So today it's pastries with the former (just look for the beard), although I can't remember the appointed time, and Tues it's The Bean (ie "Cloudgate" at Millennium Park) with the latter . The giant silver sculpture closes Jan 4 for five months of seam-smoothing -- and I've not yet seen it due to my recent String of Crises. Poor Jack-from-Iraq**. He was, like, What do you want to do. I'm, like, Well, there's something I've been dying to do for a really long time (pause). It's probably inappropriate (pause). (At this point he is probably thinking "an@l!" or something along those lines). Nonetheless when I sprung my innocent idea on him he went along with it. (They always do at the beginning).

I actually have a crush on a real-life person but don't have a clue as to what to do about it. I suppose the famine will come *after* the holiday, when they stop putting out cookies and having parties, and take down all the lights and everything turns back to grey....One wishes this holiday cheer would last at least until they turn the clocks forward.

Yesterday I fit an intermediate practice (came up from Kapotasana twice! Touched my feet not once!) between two teaching gigs, followed by a lazy lunch with Munkin at a very noisy and infant-infested WB, during which one of the handsome lads at the adjacent table came over and said, "You forgot to bring your babies."

And I said, "No we didn't. They're in the car."


*"Tit bits"

**Maybe, since we haven't shot the Tom from Nam scene yet, Jack from Iraq could sit in. Nah. But just imagine if I could find a guy who was in KOREA... and his name rhymed with it. Now that'd be coup.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


The neck and back hurt so much yesterday (after Monday's intense chiro adjustment) that I felt physically ill (what else is new). Of course I attribute it to calling someone a Babbling Nincompoop in print. It's not me, it's me.

These things helped the pain radiate and then finally dissipate (at around 9PM):

Getting up at 6 to rewrite the Naked Poetry story for the Backwards R.

Standing poses

Subbing a Mysore class (one person sans wedding ring!)

Doing Judith Lasater's "Instant Maui" (a reclining restorative posture that utilizes many, many props) for 20 minutes when class ended early.

Meditteranean omelette (yeggs bad, yes, but apparently vegetarians who run around like a headless chicken need protein and it ain't bad when combined with fresh spinach, feta, tomatoes, oregano and verboten onions) and flapjacks at the Orignal Pancake House.

Traumeel (arnica cream) on the neck and shoulders.

Gallons of water.



More editing.

Checking the Backwards R's rewrite

Finally taking the generic equivalent of Aleve

Subbing an Ashtanga Basics Class at the Habitrail Club (that's exactly how it smells), and doing a lot of demonstrating

Swimming 1/4 mile

Steaming for 10 minutes.

Long hot shower, with tons of psi's of water pressure aimed at sore areas

Pockets for dinner (piping hot wheat bread and vegetables)

Watching the Amazing Race with friends, while wearing bandannas (the show's take on Senegal is a bit different than the rural, tribal one depicted in Moolaade -- which everyone must run out and see before it goes away. But it was highly entertaining to see that woman dismiss Dakar as being "ghetto" and watch the Richard Simmons guy almost slug his put-upon wife VICTORIA! -- nailing her backpack instead -- and observe the Dad break down at the slave trading place and later try to drink all the beer in East Berlin while his daughter begged and pleaded for him to drop the stein and go on with the race).

Watching last week's episode of Lost (more offspring freaking out over dad's drinking problem)

Triple chocolate cake (usually a migraine trigger, but not today).

Liking the Backwards R's Final ReRewrite (look for the story in Friday's paper -- very funny if I do say so myself). Please let them tout it on the cover.....oh wait. Forget I said that. Ego is bad. At least as bad as yeggs, if not worse.....


Monday, December 13, 2004


I went out on the bike four times today. I don't even know the exact windchill (5 above? 5 below?). Suffice to say I saw just one other cyclist the entire day.

The first time out was to do a private le$$on.

The second was to visit my friend LK and her daughter Sunny, who is exactly that, for chatting and saying hi! hi! hi! over and over again (somehow it never got boring) and sharing a fabulous lentil curry.

The third was to visit the chiro, who had a lot to do to put my back back together again (it hasn't been right since The Bike Crash and *really* started to throb after we picked up my furniture yesterday. Detoxing I guess). At the chiro I saw the man formerly known as The Vegetarian MBA with the Good Head of Hair. From now on he is to be called The Babbling Nincompoop. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But we need to bring back the word "nincompoop." I've been trying for years but have had no luck. And man, he can talk.... On the way home I picked up some lobster claw or Vulcan bicycling gloves, which are like mittens split down the middle -- and which supposedly keep the fingers warmer. Fifteen bucks off! I put them right on -- even took the tags off (not my style) -- and snotted them immediately. So I guess I won't be taking them back anytime soon.

The fourth trip was to teach at The University with the Happiest Students in the America. It's true -- they have no preconceived notions about what they are and are not capable of, and just try things -- and end up doing them. Very little mind-stuff. Today a woman who's been coming for a year surprised the hell out of me by standing up from backbend on her own (three weeks ago I negated some advice from another teacher -- one who has yet to stand up on her own -- who told her not to use her hands. HELLO? The way I learned -- from Sharath primarily, and many others -- is that you use both the hands and the feet and the breath and the bandhas. Or am I missing something here?). Then another one went into headstand for the first time, by herself -- like it was nothing. It's really nice to see.

And now it's bath-time. So I won't be frigid no more.

Ian Hunter: You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic
Alex Chilton: "Free Again"

Sunday, December 12, 2004


Saw Closer last night with The Serb; all that breaking up and getting back together... I wanted to knock their heads together and say, Move on already, Get over it. Each and every character was manipulative and odious, so in a way they all deserved each other. As in real life, water seeks its own level; sleaze goes with sleaze . But did we have to watch it? Also it was obvious from the stilted dialog that it was based on a play. T.S. was not impressed, either...but the chocolate and dinner afterwards were good. Turns out T.S. was 9 when Tito died; after that Yogaslavia had eight rotating presidents, one from each state (imagine if the US had 50!). Unlike the rest of the Eastern Bloc they were allowed to travel; people would drive six hours to Italy to shop. Who knew? T.S. started a rap radio show in Belgrade when he was in his early 20's (he's but 35) and moved to the US a couple of years later (his green card is for work, thankyouverymuch). His partner ended up on TV and is a huge celebrity.... T.S. didn't meet Chuck D. until a couple of years ago -- and was disappointed. He too loathes the suburbs and has never heard of Emo Philips (he works in Downer's Grove). Or Glen Campbell. Or Patsy Cline.

My girls helped me get my furniture back today -- it was left out in the vestible for us -- and on the drive home we glimpsed the vex pulled over on a side street, talking on the phone. I feel very tired indeed. And melancholy. And yet more like myself than I have in nearly a year.

And that's on a moon day -- with no yoga.

I hope I can stay awhile.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Naked poetry non-slam in a raw loft space on a frigid December night.

Sounds ghastly, doesn't it?

It was actually kind of fun.

Of course it started an hour late.

People walked in clothed. The first to disrobe was a bald man who slid into the elevator shaftlike room (yes I said "shaft") behind (!) me, telling his friends to "wait til you see my outfit." I expected skirt, heels and feather boa. But no. He came out white as milk with nothing on but leg and arm warmers and a black felt mohawk held in place with a blue scarf. Others followed, mostly men. It seemed to take the women longer to drop their duds -- or, like girlie bathroom culture, they would disappear in groups and reappear some time later, naked and giggling. One man with grey hair and a beard stayed in his seat and one-by-one took off his shoes, socks, pants, boxers and shirt. He kept on the glasses and tweed blazer. Maybe he too noticed how damn cold the hard (!) metal chairs were (I was wearing four layers of clothes througout, including a turtleneck, jacket, wool socks and winter boots, and sat with arms crossed over my chest). Everyone had to look around to see who else was naked.

By the time it started at 9, about one out of five was naked or partially so, and nearly everyone was white (except for like five people -- a black guy who kept on his shirt (buttoned to the neck) and proved old stereotypes, a really sweet Amerasian woman who came up to me and said, "You look like a reporter" (could it have been the big yellow notepad? Or was it the way I was trying to shrink -- ha, there was a lot of shrinkage going on...or else I've been a *really* lucky girl -- into the wall?), a Latino guy in a leather jacket or two and a tough Latina sex worker-poet (that seems to be the cool profession these days. So SoHo. So HBO). People really seemed to need accessorize their nudity, either with body paint, boas, neckties, socks, cool boots, hats or tutus. A lot of the men appeard to think that "topless with a sarong" was the dress code. Someone should have told them how to tie it. I tried to look at faces but when it came to the men I could not stop myself from checking out their giblets. Then I'd look down and notice things like nicely-shaped feet or a weird Jeebus tattoo on the calf.

The poetry was pretty good. One woman nursed her kid onstage while reciting a really funny piece about all the places she'd suckled the thing (the other kid hid behind her, clutching her pants -- which were on). There was very little pretension and a lot of laughing; everyone was advised to give each poet a "10" score and they complied, making jazz hands each and every time. Not very Marc Smith (thank Sita).

I saw people from my tenure at Chicago Diner 15 years ago and that I know through yoga and through bicycling and from the punk rock scene of the early 1980's (most of whom were clothed). I also saw a guy whom I last spoke to in Mysore, in January (clothed, but not in Muslimwear this time around). In that respect it reminded me of the "this is your life" aspect of the 40 in 04 party last summer -- only the people were more peripheral and it was sans Deceptos and frantic dancers.

At one point the hostess, who is lovely and wore a white tutu and long striped socks and red hearts painted on her breasts (and about whom I'm writing a profile) told everyone to do the church thing and shake hands with the person next to them. Everyone had very good handshakes! (bad handshake almost always=bad man). And I got to talk to the cute guy sitting near me (long clean NICE hair, glasses, tall, handsomely dressed). Scary, he knew my last name, had read my stuff in YC and noticed that my byline's virtually disappeared from the Backwards R. I immediately forgot his name and of course botched the followup question: So, you do yoga? One day I will get the balls to finish a conversation and ask for a number. Come to think of it I guess I could have gotten some there (ba-DUM-dum).....

At about 11 I took off. But not before noticing that more and more people were going to the makeshift bar in back and getting naked. Clothes were everywhere -- on racks, in piles on the floor. People were chatting it up big-time. The energy was good. Then I noticed that a couple of the guys were walking around nonchalantly, their cox sticking straight out, half or fully hard. They were holding coversations and sipping their white wine and applauding the poets like it was no big deal. Now *that* was weird. I mean, it was *really* cold in there. And what were they planning to do with those things, anyway...?

* "gusˇcˇija iznutrica" in Serbo-Croation

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Could it be? I may be mistaken, but it seems that the spell has been broken. I've relapsed before *but.*

I did my first full yoga practice since the bike crash today (primary plus intermediate thru Karandavasana ). That was after three straight hours of teaching and a brief vex chaser (to set up #4.).

The scar is looking less scary but the throbbing tooth awakened me this morning. This is not supposed to happen with the onlay in place. I wonder what they charge for root canals in India. Imagine trying to explain that one....

I pick up my furniture on Sunday. Then -- closure.

Or so I think.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


I taught yoga for the first time in the suburbs today, and noticed that each and every student's poo hand was weighted down with big diamond wedding / engagement ring combos. Later it was explained to me by one of the women that, "We don't live in the suburbs because we like it. We live here because we have kids." And all this time I thought it was to get away from "urban culture."

We also discussed certified vs. authorized vs. well-intentioned vs. poseur ashtanga yoga teachers, and who exactly is qualified to give out intermediate series poses.* (Later in the day I got an e-mail from a shala that just opened downtown. It's boasting a "certified" ashtanga teacher, but I didn't notice their name on the web site** -- only Pattabhi Jois and the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute can certify and authorize teachers -- and one suspects they haven't been going to Mysore regularly and flying through Advanced B, either. Perhaps in some circles "certified" means "took a week-long teacher training with X." Which is not to say that those people aren't "qualified"). Indeed, some of the most maladjusted, non-yogic people I've met are very far advanced in their physical practice (you can't help but wonder what they were like BEFORE yoga). And some very good teachers haven't ever been to Mysore. It seems to me that one way to become a good teacher is to study with a host of senior teachers and then choose one or two with whom you click... and cultivate a regular, steady practice while actually making the effort to incorporate the yamas and niyamas into daily life. And try to go to the source, and study with Pattabhi Jois. Or so I'd like to think. Students may do best by looking for someone who's been teaching for more than a couple of years and whose style / philosophy is earnest and rings true and seems right for them... and be wary of hubris and teachers who veer far from tradition and / or hand out poses like so much parade candy and end up injuring people. It also doesn't hurt to check out their practice; if they're breathing like a locomotive going uphill or futzing around the whole time, what does that say about their teaching (not to mention their own "moving meditation")? On the other hand, if they have a too-perfect practice that looks like a performance, it very well could be. If their student-teacher boundaries are blurred, that's another consideration. And it never hurts to ask why someone started teaching in the first place. A lot of it has to do with intention. And lineage. Editorial finished, Madam.

After teaching I went to Devon Ave. (Little India) which is usually dead on Tuesdays. I sat down for a thali meal at Mysore Woodlands, and when it arrived I took a whiff of and was immediately transported back to India itself, and I started to cry. Again. I guess last week's sobbing jag ain't over yet.

*Apparently I am, according to Manju Jois (with whom I have studied, and did a teacher training this year). Not that I have. Yet.

**One person in Chicago is authorized by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois -- Amy Beth Treciokas. Her studio is YogaNow,

Monday, December 06, 2004


I've been giving some thought to my 2005 resolutions, and this is what I've come up with so far:

-Expect nothing
-No more high school dropouts
-No more guys missing an organ (testicle, kidney, etc.)
-No more guys named D--
-No more guys who refer to themselves as "Me"
-No more guys who give me TV sets
-No more producers -- of anything
-No more show biz guys, period (I've said *that* before)
-No more manipulators
-More rock, less talk (ie; listen to actions, not words)
-Take it in the stomach (ie; pay attention to the gut)
-Expect nothing
-No more temper tantrums
-No more criticism (ask questions instead)
-No more obsessing obsessing obsessing obsessing obsessing obsessi
-No more trying to find that which is not there
-No more tears, for fears or otherwise

-No more flogging dead horses
-No more self-flagellation
-No more Flagyl for parasites
-No more flatulance in front of the class
-Expect nothing

Sunday, December 05, 2004


In the past year I:

-Lost Bindi's cat
-Was named one of Chicago's top singles (ha)
-Gained a boyfriend who wanted to get hitched
-Went to India, where I:
*Drove a scooter
*Stood up from backbend
*Lost my lunch (and dinner)
-Gained a new kitchen
-Lost my Reader calendar gig (2/3 of my income)
-Turned 40
-Lost the boyfriend
-Watched the bf hook up immediately with a mutual acquaintance
-Saw not one but two therapists
-Co-wrote a sit-com
-Acted as the lead in said sit-com
-Nearly lost the cat to a pecker problem
-Crashed my bike (five stitches, one broken tooth)
-Crashed the computer (data saved) and started backing up
-Lost a stepmother (who remarried)
-Saw not one but two finanical planners
-Learned that I have kind, honest, loyal, giving, amazing, loyal, irreplacable friends who "get me" .... and that strangers ain't that bad, either.

That said, I've been getting rid of stuff ever since I returned from India -- which seems like an eternity ago but was really just at the end of March -- and that includes old New Yorkers, most of which are wrinkled from being read in the bath (I read from back to front, in case you're wondering). I managed to toss out a riveting profile of the writer Alice Munro that I started reading at the chiro but never finished... but did get to Zadie (White Teeth) Smith's short story "Hanwell in Hell," in which the narrator says,

"For my part, I had lost my livelihood and my house; I spent the spring of that year bewildered and outraged, almost unable to comprehend that I now lived in a gruesome basement flat in which lichen seemd to grow upon every damp surface."

That term "bewildered and outraged" really resonates. Well it did prior to today's epiphany about the friends, anyway. Apparently it takes a series of setbacks + unpleasant news (the vex spent thanksgiving at velma's parents' house.... after driving around the yoga studio the previous night, looking for me) + a migraine + numerous acts of giving (receiving, actually) before one realizes how lucky one really is. I have really been blessed when it comes to friends.

(Also today the headache was so bad that I left my messenger bag strapped to my bike when I went up to teach yoga. It was a rewarding class all around -- lots of people, good energy, plenty of tapas -- until I went to ring my Tibetan bell to awaken them from savasana and couldn't find my bag. I dashed downstairs to the parking meter as soon as I could... and the bag was just as I left it, bungeed to the bike. I nearly fell over with relief. Later at the Yoga Chicago holiday party I was seated across from 89 year old yoga teacher Becky Love, who's been teaching for 45 years, and kirtan wallah Debi Buzil, who has equally wonderful energy. Things are looking up, I think).

Saturday, December 04, 2004


Despite a very awkward phone conversation (not unlike yelling into an antique wall phone after Mabel connects the call) I met The Serb at Bittersweet, sobbing during the entire drive from the Fancy Healthy Club (it's been one of *those* days. Again). He looked better than his photo, which wasn't bad, and dressed like the hot hipster that he is and ate like a European (his knife and fork skills were like those of a surgeon) as we consumed herb tea and exquisite apple tarts topped with caramel drizzle shit. He listened intently to everything I said, was charming and funny and well-read and *really* bright and politically astute and laughed at my jokes and impersonations of the Finnish and showed great interest in my new scar and has a graduate degree and only one marriage behind him (no kids) and it seems there's no one in the world at the moment who actively hates him (including his mother, his ex-wife....and the Croats). I mentioned that my brother and I are "different" - that he likes guns and is a Republican. Serb: "So they are arming themselves now?" Yes, I'd like to see this one again.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Is this too direct? I think the last part is very Catty in the Hatty....


It helps if you have a creative side and indulge it. I tend to do best with men who don’t fit into a particular mold or stereotype (i.e. you have a good job *and* you make art, or you are a *reliable* musician, or you work for social causes *and* own your home, or you’re a lawyer whose most radical moment goes beyond hitting Sunbird every winter or being the first try the latest Melman restaurant). Knowledge of pop culture a plus (not a must).


Squares looking for the "Something Wild" experience
Men whose children hate them
Men whose ex-wives hate them
Men who hate their ex-wives
Men who hate their parents
Men who hate

Thursday, December 02, 2004

What I did not do today, but thought about doing Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Why does it irk so much that the stepmotha got remarried?*

I have to say, I could get used to using a PC. For one thing it's compatible with this web site, which means I can do cool stuff that the puritannical Mac of mine just won't allow. I suspect it's even photo ready--....

The Mac will apparently be resurrected on Friday. Good Friday.

*Maybe because it renders meaningless the fact that several lives were ruined or interrupted or derailed or corrupted forever (much like over 6,000 of my iMac files) because of her union with my father. Yeah, that could have something to do with it... And now it's a given that my brother and I will never see the weak single dollars my father left each of us in the will he made three days before he died.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

ThanksTaking included:

A stop at the Middle Eastern Bakery for some delicacies -- a sort of "thank-you-for-letting-us-bomb-your-cities-and-take-your-oil" gesture

A sloooooooooow drive to my friend’s place in the Middle of Nowhere, during which we came up with some new names for cars: (Dodge Retard, Ford Citronella, etc.)

The watching of 30 % of Cleopatra while consuming far too many salty blue corn chips (the better to look like Elizabeth Taylor)

The stirring of and sweating into the veggie gravy

Watching the friend’s saucy sister arrive with not one but two male companions – one a gregarious eye surgeon, the other a laconic, medicated Cure fan with the requisite silver rings and dyed-black hair

Observing the friend’s husband’s friend plopping himself at the head of the table and proceeding to take a cell phone call during the meal -- and shouting as though he were talking into a cup on a string

Visiting the brother, where our body fat percentage was calculated (bro won, I lost) shots of Buttery Nipple were consumed (they did six; I had but one) and the pregnant girl smoked some 40 cigarettes.

Learning I had unknowingly transported someone elses doobage all over the tri-county area. And yet somehow avoided getting pulled over by The Man.

Please o please let this mean my luck is turning. Please....


For those of you who've been clamoring to know more about the EcoYoga mat -- Is there a problem with the web site??? IT'S ALL THERE. Suffice to say the jute is embedded in the mat and you'll never find a better one. It comes in black, purple, natural (tan), and flourescent pink and costs just $39 (three weak dollars cheaper than at for-profit Jivamukti) at Cali-based Green Yoga Association, Now there's even a 2mm travel one as well but like most good records it's only available as an import (

Sunday, November 28, 2004

two steps for-or-ward, six steps back. six steps back.

Mercury went into retrograde on Friday and that was the day I lost my watch at the Fancy Health Club (nope I didn't buy anything that day). That was after class. Before class I wacked myself -- hard -- in the chin, and saw red. On Saturday my computer crashed, and all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't help Norton put it back together again.

I'm writing this from Add's house since the iMac is still out of commission. It's at the Computer Man's house. On the phone he said he'd have it up and running first thing Mon morn -- just what I wanted to hear. Later he changed his tune (duh, he's a guy) and said there's a 50-50 chance he can recover what's on the hard drive. And Bad Lady doesn't back up, does she....

Now the yoga....On Thursday I practiced through Navasana (with full closing, in order to heal the sore nerve in my tooth and hopefully avoid a you-know-what -- you should have seen the look on the dentist's face when I asked if standing on my head would help heal the thing). In the middle of it the doorbell rang and as usual I thought, "What the hell," but answered it anyway. It was the mail carrier (on Thanksgiving!) and she had a package containing the EcoMat from Scotland, which I've been dying to try. It's desgined by some Edinburgh yoga teachers and is all natural, PVC-free and made of rubber and jute. I put it down and used it and it was non-slip (because of the jute) and was as dense and firm as The Black Mat and weighed the same as a regular sticky mat (ie it's superlight). It didn't slide around the floor, either. I've used it every day since and am ready to commit. Now, if only I could extend that attitude to other areas of my life.....

To learn more about the best yoga mat ever, go to You can order it stateside via

Friday, November 26, 2004


So far I've done it -- despite the myriad news stories heralding this Black Friday as the biggest since 9/11 and gushing over the spike in online sales and touting the many mall-area traffic jams, I've not purchased a single thing today. So far. More from the AdBusters web site (

"For 24 hours, millions of people around the world do not participate -- in the doomsday economy, the marketing mind-games, and the frantic consumer-binge that's become our culture. We pause. We make a small choice not to shop. We shrink our footprint and gain some calm. Together we say to Exxon, Nike, Coke and the rest: enough is enough. And we help build this movement to rethink our unsustainable course."

I buy nothing at least once a week and it's a very good feeling indeed -- like giving your finger to The Man without getting caught. If you haven't tried it yet you should....

Some ideas for alternative activies from Buy Nothing UK (


1. Celebrate Buy Nothing Day!
2. Take up culture jamming.
3. Decorate your window box or front garden instead
of a Christmas Tree.
4. Make some noise or be quiet.
5. Hold a FREE concert.
6. Volunteer - contact your volunteer bureau for details.
7. Turn your mobile off and chill out.
8. Go to the top of a tall building and look at the view.
9. Play football (with the girls).
10. Walk to work - take a map and find a new route every day.
11. Collect signatures for a campaign.
12. Sing in the shower.
13. Paint your fridge or washing machine in a bright colour.
14. Collect wild food: windfalls, blackberries, mushrooms.
15. Gossip.
16. Have a bath in candlelight.
17. Look at the Encyclopedia Britannica website.
18. Learn to count to 10 in every language.
19. Grow your own beansprouts.
20. Play the guitar / piano / harmonica.
21. Make dressing up clothes out of your old clothes.
22. Henna your hair.
23. Collect scrap: toilet rolls, fabric offcuts, paper, plastic,
and take it to an adventure playground.
24. Arrange flowers.
25. Find out the names of all the plants in your local park.
26. Go out in the evening and look for bats.
27. Write a letter to your MP.
28. Take up jogging.
29. Finally take the toaster apart and try to mend it.
30. Have a picnic.
31. Take the things you bought last weekend back to the shops.
32. Plant some daffodil bulbs in waste ground and then watch them come up in the spring.
33. Brew your own wine or beer.
34. Become a Samaritan.
35. Make your own postcards and put them in the
racks at your nearest museum or art gallery.
36. Write a letter to a friend in rhyming verse.
37. Think about sex and sexuality.
38. Join a cycling club.
39. Take up culture jamming.
40. Sit on the top deck of a bus and make up stories
about the people you see.
41. Collect jokes and tell them.
42. Cut a friend's hair, or plait it.
43. Think of a script outline for a film, then borrow
a camcorder and make it yourself.
44. Decorate a birthday cake.
45. Make your own furniture out of milkcrates, shopping trolleys.
46. Meditate/pray.
47. Create a dance routine with friends and then do it at the bus stop.
48. Sit in the sun/walk in the rain.
49. Borrow a dog and take it for a walk.
50. Learn a poem.
51. Write a song.
52. Visit a friend.
53. Tell a joke.
54. Clean the kitchen.
55. Learn French.
56. Smile.
57. Tell someone you love them.
58. Practise tai chi in public (e.g. in front of
Starbucks in order to spread the 'non-capitalistic' vibe...)
59. Exhibit all your unwanted goods and invite people
to come and swap their useless things with yours.
60. Help an old lady with the general household
repair or tidy up her garden for her.
61. Water your plants.
62. Go to the park and find someone who you don't
really like at first sight.
63. Talk to the person and try to find something nice about her/him.
64. Take a picture of yourself with that person.
65. Wash all your unwanted clothes, iron them,
and take them to your local charity shop.
66. Go and get a library ticket if you haven't already got one.
67. Borrow a book from the library - take an overdue one back.
68. Read the/a book.
69. Feed the birds - tie a bag of peanuts under a tree.
70. Tell a story to the loved ones (e.g. friends, family etc).
71. Listen to the radio.
72. Clean your windows (but be careful).
73. Say 'thank you' to your local binman/street sweeper.
74. Make a nice tape for a friend from your existing
CD collection.
75. Prepare special buy nothing day hamburgers
out of nothing. Hand them out to the public for free
and tell them that the burger is completely free of BSE.
76. Bring your empty glass bottles to the recycle bin.
77. Make, not buy, a birthday card and a
present for your partner or friend.
78. Write to your nan.
79. Polish every single shoe you can find in the house.
80. Make someone tickle you.
81. Rearrange your space.
82. Breathe more than your fair share of the air.
83. Pleasure yourself.
84. Ask your friends to perform a piece of
theatre for your amusement.
85. Assume you are wrong.
86. Make yourself happy.
87. Stop smoking.
88. Learn a magic trick.
89. Stay in bed.
90. Stay in bed with a friend.
91. Knit yerself a big woolly hat and matching scarf
to keep out those nasty winter chills, brrrrr.
92. Write poetry on used/reusable paper.
93. Make things like picture frames, jewelry boxes
out of ice lolly sticks etc.
94. Paint BND info onto shopping bags and carry
lots of them around empty.
95. Grow something.
96. Barter something.
97. Build (and fly!) a kite made of bin bags and
other odds and sods.
98. Tidy up your beedroom!
99. Evaluate the last 10 things that you bought
and evaluate their effectiveness (cost, enjoyment, etc).
100. Discuss your last 10 purchases with a family
member or friend - did they really bring you any happiness?
101. Celebrate Buy Nothing Day!

Here's what's happening in other cities:

Victoria’s Dirty Secret
In New York activists will be dressed up as Angels with Chain Saws to protest the deforestation of the Boreal Forest for the production of glossy catalogues. It's a spoof of Victoria's Secret's recent ad campaign: ‘Angels Across America’.

Jammer Radios
Imagine rush hour commuters bombarded with BND anti-ads. In L.A. Culture Jammers are reclaiming radio with low-power FM transmitters.

BND Japan
Become a Zenta: put on a Santa costume and meditate in front of HANKYU department store, Kyoto, 2pm - 6pm.
Trade coffee fairly: one cup costs 100g of rice, 5 sheets of seaweed or 200g of flour.Enjoy a free meal and some conversation at one of Japan's "biggest and most colorful homeless communities" in Kamagasaki.

Throw a temper tantrum in a shopping mall.
Visit a fast food chain in a chicken or cow costume with a banner proclaiming things like "You're not having my chicken wings."
Stage a classic conga to finish off the festivities.

AND. . .
* Reverend Billy in New York with Greene Dragon Look out for the 9 Theses Against Corporate Rule posted on CEO Headquarters in Times Square, and listen up for radio interviews preaching the good word of anti-consumerism.
* Radio Spots on community stations in Whitehorse Yukon, Chicago, San Diego and Redway California.
* Also in New York, Freegans are doing a dumpster diving tour.
* Seattle is cycling with Critical Mass.
* "Nothing" billboards in Auckland New Zealand.
* Fake barcodes in Manchester England, with "Economic Zone" mocking NAFTA Free Trade Zones.
* Take a break from shopping in Oxford England. and relax in the "Fun is FREE Zone " with music, entertainment, juggling, face-painting and arts and crafts.
* Street theatre performances: "Dresses of Mass Seduction" in Melbourne Australia. Oil barrel sculpture in Raleigh North Carolina. "Death By Latte" in Montreal.
* Improv. actors in Madrid Spain are poking fun at the 'Culture of Consumerism' and holding a concert and storytelling sessions.
* Shopping vultures in Flagstaff Arizona. Creative minds in Austin are coming up with jams like. . . a shopping cart grand prix.
* Dallas does Boycott Bush.
* Philadelphia: Black Spot, Black Friday.
* Food court potluck in Victoria, BC.
* Memes in Sacramento shopping bags. . . BND slogans slipped into pockets of new clothing and bags.
* Massive street party in Halifax, NS. Radical cheerleaders in Denver. Money drop in Salt Lake City.
* Public Forums on the "Culture of Consumerism, and Reclaiming Public Space" are being held in Anchorage Alaska. Across campuses Internationally University Students are having a clothing swap, free-market stores, fair trade coffee, book swaps and spreading the word about the Barefoot Economics Manifesto and World Peace Week events.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


The Man is again trading in his favorite commodity -- fear -- saying terorrists plan to attack 'Merican targets in India -- particularly Mumbai and Delhi. Not Mysore of course, since to them South India (thankfully) doesn't exist. The US has closed down its Mumbai consulate, asking US citizens to maintain a "high level of vigilance" and take appropriate steps to increase their security. According to the Indian news agency, "residential areas, business offices, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas could be targeted." Yet the Indian stock market didn't react at all. Perhaps they noted the qualifiers: Terrorists "may" be planning attacks that "could" target US interests some time "in the near future." Sounds like the Kasmiris again....And the US gov covering its arse again (only not in the word "juicy").

Note the difference between UK and Chinese coverage:

From Bloomberg UK:

U.S. Says Terrorists May Be Planning Attacks in India (Update2)

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. said terrorists may be planning attacks in the ``near future'' in the Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi and asked its citizens to increase security. Indian government bonds fell on the news.

Some U.S. diplomatic offices in Mumbai, India's commercial capital, are closed today as a precaution, it said. The statement made no reference to any shutdown in the capital New Delhi.

``Terrorists may be planning attacks on U.S. interests in India in the near future,'' according to a statement posted on the Web site of the Mumbai consulate of the U.S. embassy. ``Although not specific, the information suggests that an attack could be aimed at U.S. interests.''

The U.S., which has been waging a war against terrorism since the attacks of September 2001, is the target of terror networks such as al-Qaeda, whose leader Osama bin Laden has threatened a ``bleed-until-bankruptcy plan.''

The 7.38 percent bond maturing in 2015 fell 0.35, or 35 paise per 100-rupee face amount, to 101.85 at 10:57 a.m. in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield rose five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 7.13 percent, the highest since Nov. 17.

``This is an initial reaction -- purely sentiment-driven,'' said M.S. Gopikrishnan, chief bond trader at IDBI Capital Markets Ltd. in Mumbai.

Indian stocks didn't react to the alert. The 30-share benchmark Sensex Index of the Mumbai stock exchange rose 0.6 percent to 6000.22 at 11:03 a.m. local time. Mumbai is home to the top two stock exchanges, the central bank and headquarters of some of the country's biggest companies, including Reliance Industries Ltd.

Likely Targets

Places such as residential areas, schools, hotels, clubs and restaurants where U.S. citizens congregate may be targeted, the consulate said.

The alert may have arisen from intelligence reports gathered from U.S. operations in Iraq, said Ashok K. Mehta, director of research group Security and Political Risk Analysis in New Delhi.

``The intelligence agencies would have gathered information that the terrorist organization linked with al-Qaeda and other manifestations would target U.S. interest or U.S. properties outside U.S.,'' Mehta said in a phone interview. ``This is nothing new. I don't see this being related with the Pakistani prime minister's visit.''

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is visiting India for the first time today as part of efforts by the two countries to improve ties. His talks with Indian officials may include the dispute over Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two and claimed by both.

India has been seeking to quell separatist movements in states such as Jammu & Kashmir. Control of Kashmir is central to the dispute between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars with each other, two over the territory.

No Disruption

Indian units of companies such as U.S.-based Eli Lilly & Co. said there hasn't been any disruption of visits from overseas.

``We have had visitors till last week,'' said Rajiv Gulati, managing director of the Indian unit, in a phone interview. ``I can't say what will be the impact in the future, but there has been no impact in the past. We are expecting visitors again in a couple of weeks' time.''

Client visits are set to take place as scheduled as of now.

``At least 20 customers are visiting us in the next two weeks, many of them are Americans -- we haven't received intimations of any cancellations,'' said Shivanand Kanavi, a spokesman for Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., India's biggest software company, in a phone interview in Mumbai.

Navtej Sarna, India's foreign office spokesman, didn't return a call seeking comment.

From Xinhuanet:

NEW DELHI, Nov. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Closing down the Consulate in Mumbai in west India, US Embassy here sent out Tuesday a warning that terrorists may be planning attacks on American interests in India, particularly in Mumbai and New Delhi.

    "In the light of these security concerns, the Consular section and the Information Resource Center at the American Center in Mumbai will remain closed Tuesday, the Press Trust of India quotedUS Embassy here as saying in an advisory to American citizens.

    The Consular sections at US Embassy here and the Consulates General in Chennai in south India and Calcutta in east India, however, remained open, it said.

    "Based on information received by the US government, terroristsmay be planning attacks on US interests in India in the near future," it said.

    The information suggests that an attack could be aimed at US interests in the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, it said.

    It warned that facilities associated with the United States or locations where US citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas, business offices, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas could be targeted.

    The Embassy asked US citizens to maintain a "high level of vigilance" and take appropriate steps to increase their security.

    All the staff members who reported for duty at US Consulate andAmerican Center in Mumbai were asked to go home, the Consulate said. Enditem

Monday, November 22, 2004


The stitches came out today (appropriately, they came out on Halsted, ground zero of Boystown), but the chin is still swollen and presidential. I actually had a dream last night about Abe LIncoln, who was my boyfriend, and was taken aback to see him in color (he looks better in color). Also a very bad dream about the vex, who's endowed with a similar chinny-chin-chin.... I told the front desk people about eight times that my appointment was a followup to an ER visit, in the hopes that they'd put the magic code on the form they send to the insurance co. But now there's another hole in my tooth (the pain kept me up Saturday night), so it's back to the dentist this afternoon. Please Durga let the price be included in the $800 total..... Must try to get them to use the ER code, too. But first to the chiro for help with the sore sternum. Kirby's appointment is tomorrow. People before pets, I say. He's been scratching his neck like crazy, so I am convinced he picked up fleas during his hospital stay. They want a urine sample, to see if the crystals have been cleared out of his pecker. A urine sample from a cat. How is that possible?

I rode the mountain bike on my errands -- first time on a bike since the accident -- and it wasn't all that frightening. While waiting for test results (neg) I checked out the headgear at Sportmart. Only the kids' BMX hemets have chin guards. And they look *really* stupid, what with the blue flames and all.

I finally did some yoga this morning -- 5A, 5B, the standing poses, Urdvha Danurasana x 3 and sitting. Which improved my mood for exactly five minutes.

Someone else's blog mentions Surya Namaskar C. Huh? Or do I recall Tim Miller introducing such a thing here in the 90's at Moksha-before-there-was-a-Moksha. I can't remember if it includes splits or handstands or what.

Has anyone seen the sun of late? Or is this just some curs-ed Chicago thing?

Sunday, November 21, 2004


Four classes today. Seventy-five of whom sported the word "JUICY" in white letters across her arse, obligatory black string thong hovering above. Her de rigeur Sensi flipflops were scattered a few feet away.....

(I don't know who told them to do it, but they *all* wear these sandals -- and soon we will be, too:

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Two days ago I learned that ashtanga teacher Gwendoline Hunt died. This is sad news indeed, as she was one of those rare people who inspire but are also approachable. I remember having coconuts with her and my girls and the Crazy Kiwi Man on Kovalam beach last year. Of course she and the latter had friends in common (Gwendoline was from New Zealand). She was tiny and in her 70's and her adjustments were ingenious, particularly Triangmukhekapadapascimattanasana, in which she would lay her whole body over yours and stretch her arms to their full length in order to get your sitting bones down and grab your front foot. I touched my feet in Kapotasana with her last year; on the inhale she had you move your head in, on the exhale the hands would follow. She was a model for a lot of us -- a septuagenarian practicing ashtanga and traveling the world teaching it to others -- all without some adoring husband / driver in tow, or some (grand)kids back at home. Just by being, she showed us you could do it on your own -- and do it well and with that pure inner joy that eludes most of us. She will be sadly missed.

A memorial page for Gwendoline is here:

Thursday, November 18, 2004


I visited my Rescuers yesterday. Instead of my suitcase and cat, I came armed with flowers and a family-size box of pastries from Angel Food (1636 W. Montrose). 'Twas strange indeed to see the interior of their house for what seemed like the first time, as it was so nightmarish before. The kids are cute, the mom is lovely and the house is still immaculate. I also picked up my bike, which has no spoke damage. The dad's theory is that my front brake was loose and somehow brought me to a dead stop (he actually *fixed* my brakes... are these people real??). It all happened so fast -- one minute I was turning a corner, the next there was an explosion of pain and I was spitting out a tooth -- that I really have no idea. But he and his wife saw the whole thing and said it was so quick ("like a bird had dropped out of the sky") that they looked at each other and said, "Did you see that?" Nonetheless there *is* a kind of cool spoke mark on the frame of the painting that I'd been carrying, and which I thought had lodged in the spokes and caused the accident. I prefer their theory (ie; it's not my fault for being reckless). But I do like that painting. And that family. Turns out they go to church with my friend Laura Ingalls Wilder, and asked her about me on Sunday. Ravenswood is a small world indeed. And will be immortalized forever in "Valerie Loves Me," which we (well I was stretched out on the couch) edited some more yesterday. The irony -- among other things Blaine was working on the scene featuring me (with my formerly perfect chin) riding my blue Schwinn around Ravenswood, sans helmet.

Funny how the aches and pains from the crash show up much, much later: there's something nasty going on in my left knee and hamstring, which feels nearly pulled, as well as that weird chest thing, which doesn't seem to be improving. It *really* didn't like teaching three hours straight this morning. It wasn't the only one. I got to the club only to realize my thermos o' chai -- or do you say raison d'être -- was missing from my bag. Throughout class all I could think about was my $30 thermos and its precious contents rolling across the parking lot, only to be footballed by some youthful ne'ers-do-well.

During the first class's savasana I pulled on my socks and planned a mad dash to the lot. But opening the door revealed the smiling face of the bubbly group fitness coordinator, who asked if I had a few minutes. I said of course (so much for getting in touch with my Inner Bitch). She wanted to know if I was going to India this winter, since I had mentioned as much on the 2005 schedule request form. I pointed to my ugly-ass Abe Lincoln chin and told her about my crash and Kirby's weenie problem and said, "I don't think so." ARGH! So now I'm committed to five months -- five months! twenty-odd Thursdays! -- of waking up at 4:50AM and teaching those two back-to-back classes. It's not the teaching I mind, it's the getting up. And being locked in. And needing the money. And committing to putting off India. And being tired (which makes me morose and short-tempered) all day Thursday and Friday. I had to take two naps and talk for over two hours on the phone today to recover. At least I found the thermos in my car. I also located my insurance card; apparently the ER deductable is $150. Vishnu only knows what kind of trouble they'll give me, or what my primary care physician will charge me for removing the stitches on Monday.....maybe I can talk her into throwing in a certain blood test I feel obliged to take. Anything to avoid the fresh hell of the free clinic....

I did finally pitch that idea to the NYT food section. And a music CC to the Reader. The latter bit. If I hear from the former I'll fall off my (non-aeron) chair.

Still haven't gotten on a bike or practiced yoga since the accident. Maybe Saturday.

Maybe not.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


At the moment I seem to be capable of exactly one thing -- sleeping. Well, eating too. But I just awakened from a two-hour nap and will probably go back down again soon. Either this is the toll that a trauma takes on the body, or I am fighting off that supernasty two-week cold everyone is passing around. Whatever the case I have zero energy and managed to reactivate my sore breastbone while giving someone a baddhakonasana adjustment this morning. Is it possible that the crash dislodged a rib? Who knows.....

Yesterday I was so fatigued I did not visit my rescuers to pick up my bike and begged off editing Valerie Loves Me with Blaine and Addington (in which Blaine edits while Add and I look on / come up with new schtick). I also bailed on some dinner plans (interestingly, my ride there was glad for the reprieve, as he was laid up in bed, too!). At some point the doorbell buzzed and I thought, Go away. And then I thought, Hmmm, the election season is over and the Jehovah's Witnesses were here on Monday. So I answered. It was FLOWERS. A HUGE BUNCH -- for me. From The Hex. I had forgotten that people made such gestures. Again I was floored.

So I put them in water and set myself up on the couch to watch the 1983 Amitabh Bachchan Bollywood vehicle, "Sharaabi," and dozed off but once (Bindi's Hum Kisise Kum Haneen DVD would not play).

And now I'm debating going out for bike retreival /editing, and trying to figure out whether or not I should try to teach tonight's ashtanga one class.... Since I teach two in a row tomorrow morning at 6 and 7:30. Time will tell. On the one hand, I'm glad I don't have any pressing deadlines. On the other, I'm worried about finances.

Which reminds me. Some weeks ago I was telling everyone, "Yeah, I don't know if I'm going to India this winter or not. I'm looking for a sign." Don't ever say this. Or you will get a series of signs, and they will all point in the same direction (ie stay home and work your ass off):

Vet bill $1,000
CK dental bill $800
CK ER bill unknown
Tik to India $1470 to $1675
2 mos w/SKPJ $1,000+

......Unless there's some other interpretation that's eluding me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


As the tooth became less painful, the rest of the body picked up the action and now it aches like crazy. A couple of spots -- both shoulders, some ribs, and the breastbone -- really hurt like hell. The chin is sore of course, especially when I smile (which seems to be often). Also I accidentally whacked it with the pillow last night and saw red. But that did not stop me from teaching two classes today (I also took two naps). I lacked the throne but like Bikram Himself I talked people through their practices (well I did a bit of adjusting this evening). But no demonstrating. Anytime my head goes below my heart it throbs like a bad Viennese discotheque. Maybe there will be an asana practice later this week. And I am EXHAUSTED, like, ALL THE TIME. A good excuse to watch one of the Bollywood fillums Bindi loaned me before leaving for Mumbai, but I have yet to pop one in. I must do it. And soon.

I cleared up the insurance thing this morning. If they're telling the truth, there's a 31-day grace period and I'm covered. We'll see about that. One thing that's certain is that they will not cover the broken molar.

I feel dirty, since I haven't been able to brush my teeth or wash my face properly (I don't want to accidentally hit the molar, and the washcloth thing just doesn't do it for me). I haven't shampooed my hair for fear of getting the wound wet. So I tried to clean up before a trip to the dentist but no matter what they always look at me like I'm a pariah anyway. They revealed that for about $800 I could get something called an onlay (sounds like a Beck EP) that would fill in the missing chunk of tooth *and* the filling that's there. I've been so desensitized to cost because of the cat-thing that I didn't even flinch when they showed me the figure. Instead I thought, What a bargain -- it's under $1,000! And they've worked on me before and did a stellar job so of course I said yes. They drilled and and then put on a "temporary" while I listened to Steve Dahl (to whom I hope to teach yoga one day). Again it was nice to sit back and do nothing. Later when the novacaine wore off the mouth/tooth throbbed like crazy. Must remember to take something before bed.

Oh yeah, Certain Cats are again having trouble urinating, despite my protestations that it's my turn to be the invalid. To be invalid. Invalidated. I've not dated in three weeks....

I wonder whose vet bill will be higher.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


This is way out of character, as I *always* pay my bills early.

Late last night I dug out the insurance papers to see if the ER was covered and opened the most recent envelope, which arrived Thursday or Friday....
and learned that payment was due October 27. I checked the checkbook -- the premium had not been sent. Apparently the statement for Nov/Dec never came -- because if it had I would have paid it, and early too -- and my coverage has lapsed.

Big panic.

Of course they're not there on the weekend.

Maybe there's a grace period.

Does anyone know the average cost of an emergency room visit?

Will try to fix it first thing Monday.


Never title a post "Please Kill Me" because two days later you will fly over your handlebars and hit the pavement so hard with your chin and jaw and right side of your body that you dare not move for some time and must go to the emergency room. At the same time you are certain that a painting you are carrying home got caught in the front spokes, causing the accident. And all you can think of is, I hope the painting is OK.

You will hear someone say, "Are you OK?" And "Can you move?" And they will cover you with a thick towel because you are in shock. You notice something in your mouth and spit it out. It's a chunk of tooth. You look at it against the black of your glove. It's big. You notice blood on the glove, and feel the wetness on your chin. You spit out another piece of tooth, smaller. The nice lady says she will hold onto the big one for you and puts it in her own hand. They will try to help you get up a couple of times but the aperture starts to close and the nausea comes and your legs buckle and you must go into child's pose. And they will say, take some deep breaths. And can we call someone for you. It is then that you realize there is no one to call. And, do you want to go to the emergency room. And where do you live and we will take you home if you want. And we put your bike and bags in our car. And two men, one on each elbow will help you stand up. You don't see their faces. You think you are going to faint and / or vomit but do not. You show them the wound on your chin and they say it doesn't look like you need stitches. They give you a towel to dab it, and help you to the car and warn that it's a big step up. Your neck hurts and your head is at a weird angle and your vision isn't quite right and you can't think quite right either. They tell you you can take your helmet off. You start to faint again and put your head down. They want to know whom to call. If there's a friend, a neighbor, anyone. They take you to your house. Upon arrival you lift up your head and look at your building and the whole scene starts to get lighter and lighter until it's almost white and then the aperture starts to close again and you must put your head down. You cannot even think about the three flights of stairs, let alone whom to call.

I think I'm about to lose consciousness, you say. Maybe I should get looked at. Don't worry, they say, we will take you to the emergency room, and discuss whether to go to Weiss or Ravenswood or Swedish Covenant. And you think about your shitty insurance, and say you're not sure which one will accept you. And they say it will work at any emergency room, and head west. And the nice lady in back places a call to Addington, who's not home. What's your name? She asks, and you tell her. You give her some more numbers to dial and she asks who she's calling and you say Blaine. "Blaine X?" she asks. Yes, you say. Do you know Blaine X? Yes, I just called him myself. He's not at home, either.... And it turns out they are neighbors.

Around this point you start to feel a little less like you're about to lose it. And notice there are seven other people in the car, including three totally silent kids in back. Someone introduces all of them; the the husband, the wife, the husband's parents, the three boys. You start to feel better and it's agreed that they will bring you to their house. On the way there is still the question of whom to call. Your mind scrolls and scrolls but your parents are dead and the vexx is history and eveyrone has kids/ families/is busy or lives too far away. Holly? No. Deb? No. Marty? No. Dreyfus? No. They put your bike in their garage and carry your bags in for you (such a relief) and put your tooth fragment into a Ziplock with milk. And set you up on the couch and bring a glass of water and something to clean the wound. You wipe off some of the blood and show the gash to them and they say, in unison, "You need stitches." At some point, you're not sure when, you get your cell and call Add's moble and he picks up. He is in the middle of something but will call Enelle, who is in the neighborhood. The nice people do some research via 911 and decide to take you to Illinois Masonic and give you some ice wrapped in a red dish towel and fill up your water bottle. Enelle calls to say she can meet you at the ER. Singleton to the rescue. As you're leaving you learn that the nice lady's sister is someone you know, through yoga.

The nice man drives and talks to you on the way. He carries your bags into the hospital. A metal detector. They let you in despite your shitty insurance. He waits with you but there is not a huge wait. They want to know what happened and where, and if your teeth meet correctly. They are much nicer than the emergency vet and the place smells better, too. Eventually Enelle comes and the nice man leaves, saying you can get the bike when you want. You get his name and number as you are still *out of it* and can't remember any of their names.

In no time your name is called and you're placed on a bed and told to put on a gown. An intern does everything, very young. Not quite young enough to be your daughter, BUT. She looks at the blood on your hand and the bruises on your elbow and chest, makes inquires. She and the "real" doctor, who's about two years older than her, are all very interested in whether your jaw is closing correctly. No one can see the chipped molar in back so you don't know whether the root is involved or not. Enelle holds your hand as the intern jabs in more and more and more and more and more pricks of novacaine or whatever. You feel a lot of dripping from the shots. At the same time it is nice to lie on your back, having your hand held while you stare at the dirty spot on the light fixture. It is a relief to do nothing. And the pain is dwindling with more shots. She tells you each time she's finished a stitch. After the stitches go in you feel much better. Especially after the doctor laughs at your joke about no hair growing on that part of your chin when you get older. Then it's time to go. They don't give you a bill, which is scary. Enelle drives you home and puts up the blinds that were soaking in the tub. While drinking tea with Enelle the nice lady who rescued you calls and asks if you're OK. You are floored. People are good.

But now you want to pack a suitcase and move in with them.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Yesterday I spoke to the nice vet, who said Certain Cats were doing better and could come home that very afternoon, after a bath... But that they were monitoring his urine output and I'd have to, too. When I queried him about whether Kirby was urinating "like normal" the answer was vague; they weren't sure if he was completely unblocked. Later, when I picked him up (treatment plus antibiotics and special catfood somehow cost *less* than the estimate), the attendant said and he had held his pee all day and was urinating when she opened the cage. He stopped midstream, so she pressed on his bladder and helped him finish.. but she didn't know whether that meant he was normal or not. She said that he jumped into the cat carrier (that's a new one). When I got him home I let him out at the base of the stairs and he flew up to the top. When I got to the top I saw him on his hind legs, stretched to his full height and working the doorknob to my apartment with his front paws. The genius still smelled like pee though.

After getting inside he disappeared for awhile, then sniffed around to see that everything was where he'd left it. That was followed by a lot of grooming and lap-purring.

There are little wet spots in the litterbox and today he threw up a hairball (which I have yet to clean up), so I know things are back to normal.

OK, you can kill me now.. I'm 40 and writing posts ABOUT MY CAT.... Unless I fall on my sword first.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


A call to the "good" vet yesterday revealed that scurvy Kirby's catheter had gotten kinked again, which meant he was blocked. The doctor removed the thing -- and the awful Elizabethan collar -- and tried to flush him out. Twice. Apparently it's not working very well. The vet and I are hoping he will somehow start urinating on his own (in a litterbox). I asked her, What If -- as in, worst case scenario. And she said three of the scariest words ever; Surgical Penis Removal. This made me feel sick, and not just because of the cost.

Later I visited Mr. Q. (Scurvy's full name is Kirby Q-Tie). He growled at the candy striper who brought him in, but not at me. Fortunately he was wrapped in a towel (he still smells of urine) and we sat down and had a nice half-hour visit. He even purred at one point and showed interest in his toy mouse and did his cute involuntary mouth-clicks when I flashed a mirror and said, "CD's!? CD's!?" If I visit him again I'll dose him with catnip right before I leave, so he'll enjoy at least a few minutes of oblivion. But I'm hoping to spring him today (this is starting to remind me of Bindi's stint at Mysore's Apollo Hospital earlier this year; see

Monday, November 08, 2004


I just awakened from a two-hour nap and feel somewhat better as it has been one stressful weekend. Week. Month. Season. Year. The nap was good but among the dreams about graduating from college again and the dorm room door falling off and wearing a salwaar kameez and holding hands and dancing in Mysore with new Indian friends and standing with some Denis Leary-looking guy at the top of an unspeakably beautiful zen valley, I had a dream in which the Vexx and I got back together. I asked him why we broke up and he started to write something down and stopped. Then he pulled out two antique guns and started waving them at me. Apparently he thought we would have ended up killing each other (not that far from the truth if you ask me). Then he disappeared into the sunset.

It is weird waking up without that feral beast at the foot of the bed. I guess I am hooked on scurvy Kirby after all. Yesterday at the mean 24 hour vet hospital he pulled out his catheter (that's my boy) and growled at them so much they had to put a warning sign on the cage. All that while wearing a humiliating Elizabethan collar! Apparently he did indeed have crystals in his urethra and it probably would have gotten completely blocked and he could have died. Or so they told me (they're like going to an auto mechanic you don't know; you know they're ripping you off but don't know enough to prove it). So they had to re-sedate him and re-catheterize him (additional $100), and when I visited last night he growled at me, too. He had food and gunk stuck to his whiskers and was housed next to a dog! And they were feeding him a fish-based wet food -- which is one of the possible causes of the problem!! It reminded me of this time last year when I lost Bindi's kitty (ie when he broke out of my house) and visited every shelter in the city several times. Very depressing. Two other cats there had the same problem.... DO NOT EVER FEED LICORICE TO YOUR CAT! Funny how the total cost when I picked him up this AM was at the high high end of the estimate. Funny how when the "good" (ie regular) vet examined him today he did not growl at all. Poor thing, in the collar with the catheter and smelling of pee. Funny how the mean vet said he'd probably come home today. The "nice" vet said he has to stay, with cathether and collar, until Wednesday. All for the low, low price of around $500.

Total vet bill: somewhere around $1100 (or so they say).
Plane ticket to India: $1250
Laptop computer on which to write one's first book: $1500
Aeon chair: $700
Mammogram: $450.
Income lost from losing R gig to sub: $8,800
Having an irritable feline companion who bites and wakes one up at all hours: Priceless....

Ironically we already had an appt. today to see the vet at 4. So I told her to throw in the shots and feces exam while she was at it. He won't notice. And with all the other charges I probably won't, either.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


After much debate I took Scurvy to the mean 24 hour vet and learned that his urinary tract is partially blocked (probably from the magnesium-laden Panda liquorice he likes) and they will have to insert a catheter (ouch!) and keep him overnight, to the tune of $450 to $600 -- the price of the mammogram I need but cannot afford. The price of the urine-proof Herman Miller Aeron desk chair I have wanted forever but cannot have. The price of a month with Pattabhi Jois.

Doing the right thing sucks.

So last night after the Ramaswamy workshop (his unusual vinyasa sequences, learned straight from Krisnamacharya -- with whom he spent more time than Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar combined -- straightened out my very sore back) I came home and noticed that Kirby (cat) was listless and leaving little puddles wherever he went. I sniffed them and they didn't smell like much of anything (little did I know). I figured they were drool, because he has rodent ulcers (sores around his mouth) due to allergies; when he has these his name becomes "Scurvy." We have a scurvy appt. for the vet on Monday. But the puddles kept appearing and he was licking his pink flower so finally I picked him up and turned him upside down and inspected back there and liquid started squirting out!. Apparently it was urine, only not as gross and ammonia-laced as usual. But it kept dribbling out. So I called Bo the non-vet ( for advice. She immediately diagnosed a bladder infection. We hung up as she searched for cat-antibiotics and I did online research. Apparently this is common in male cats of a certain age and can be triggered by stress and / or eating fish-based cat food, both of which are all the rage here. The dribble means he's not blocked and probably won't die over the weekend. The only antibiotics Bo could find were for respiratory and dental problems. A call to the mean 24-hour vet revealed nothing other than "you should bring him now" and that the base price was $75. Having never gone there without waiting hours to drop $300 or more, I decided to call his North Shore counterpart. They were more forthcoming but also thought I should bring him in. Base price $85, plus bloodwork and urinalysis, etc. The web sites say these things sometimes clear on their own. Bo found a solution in her homeopathic cat remedy book; 500 mg of vitamin C three times a day is supposed to fix the PH. So I went out to Osco at 11:55 PM for vitamin C tabs and a baby eyedropper, came home and crushed the stuff, added water and dosed the poor thing. If you ever need to make a cat froth at the mouth for a video shoot or something, force-feed it vitamin C. So I kept watching him and mopping up the puddles and sniffing them and gave him some wet food (which he ate) and some water (which he "drank," dousing his paw and putting it to his mouth). I figured he wasn't going to get dehydrated and die and went to bed, planning to awaken at 7 and take him to the mean 24 hour vet before my long day which is:

Noon: teach ashtanga 1
2PM: Ramaswamy workshop
4PM: Teach ashtanga 1 downtown
6:30: Sunday night at Blair's

Scurvy made it through the night and this morning seemed more chipper, even attempting to play door-Pong with me. There weren't as many leaks so of course I thought he was blocked. But then I sat at the desk and noticed that god-awful cat-pee smell coming from somewhere. Much sniffing (it's allergy season so the sniffer is a little off) revealed he'd been sitting in my chair and leaking (god knows which web sites he was visiting). And I thought, PU. And then, Finally, an excuse to get a new chair! Only then did my thoughts turned to the cat's well-being. I gave him some more wet food, which he ate, and some more vitamin C, which made him froth some more (very menacing look when combined with the rodent ulcers). After acting miffed for some time he rubbed against my legs and started acting like his old self again. So is he blocked or is he better? I can't tell if the bladder is distended or if he's just fat from eating and drinking (much putting of the paw into the humidifier reservoir and bringing it up to the ulcer-covered mouth to drink today). I am hoping to hold out til tomorrow for our own vet, who is just as expensive but not as mean. Oh, now he is sitting on the leopard-print pillow. Must get him off before he pollutes that too. Not many odors are worse than the old cat-pee smell.

....At Osco the man in front of he had that same smell. And wheezed so loudly I could not hear myself think about which type of gum I wanted to buy. And he had one of those microphone things on a string that you put up to your throat to talk. "Haaaaaave a GOOOOOOD-nite," he sang to the clerk before limping off to his cab. Did not see what he bought. The young blonde man (tall and good-looking in that obvious way) behind me had 80-proof breath and bought two tall boys and 24 AA batteries ($3.99). Osco is a real horrorshow just before closing on a Saturday night.

...And all night I had bad dreams (the previous night I was trying and failing to save both humans and fowl from the pheasant hunters). This time I was trying to save Scurvy from my stepmother, who somehow caught me instead and cut off my ponytail.

OK, will turn the cat upside down and check the geyser again.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Last night I had a dream in which my friend Devdutt and I arrived early at the airport for a Bangalore-Mumbai-Frankfurt flight. In Frankfurt I was to meet my aunt and uncle (in reality she lives in Florida and he's expired). We were too early to get a boarding pass or check luggage so we sat around and waited. And then decided to get a Coffee Day or something on the other side of the airport. And left our luggage behind. After cafffeinating we returned to find that our luggage was gone, gone, gone. On the one hand I was relieved; why was I toting around a two giant black suitcases filled with dhotis and colorful plastic bags and a seven-year-old laptop anyway? And I could always find another favorite pair of jeans. But I had only Rs 500 to my name and all my contact info was in the lost bags, so many dream-hours were wasted at Devdutt's girlfriend's house in Berlin (?), where they glared while I tried repeatedly to call my sister-in-law (to cancel my credit cards and get my aunt's contact info) but only ended up getting my nephew's band's voicemail -- which he never, ever checks (and which in reality does not exist). I kept wanting her to offer to loan me some clothes but she would not. Oh, and they had a perfect relationship (Dev is an ex) which made things even worse.

Somehow this has something to do with the election.

At least Jon Stewart starts an hour early tonight.

Sunday, October 31, 2004


The big shoot for Valerie Loves Me went off with nary a hitch (and at least one bitch) Friday and Saturday, despite some unforseen circumstances. With one exception (LK)., each and every extra we thought we'd secured did not show up on either day. So we improvised. The characters we thought would be hard to cast for the Black Man Group scene -- on the street, at the last minute, for $20 and a free t-shirt -- were not. And the employees at both shops where the owners had given us permission to shoot knew nothing about it. So in a way it was like India; we learned to expect the unexpected.

Thursday night I negotiated through people in a frenzy to complete their Halloween costumes (they were spending far more energy on that choice than the upcoming election) and tried my darndest to track down some falsies, since my character (the lead) is supposed to grab potential male investors' attention from the get-go.... and apparently that's one way to do it (I'm an ass man myself). The people in Store #1 with the Motion Lotion and catsuits were perplexed when I asked for falsies. "Huh?" It was like I was in Mysore again, as I had to find several different ways of saying it before they understood. "Fake boobs?" finally got 'em. "You know, someone just came in here asking for those! We only have nipples," said the Girl with the Thousand Piercings, who showed me some pink, stick-on pencil eraserlike nipples with big areolas like the ones Samantha bought on Sex and the City. "That's OK. I already have those."

The kids at the nearby place with the lingerie and vibrators seemed equally confuse-ed when I requested falsies. Apparently the term went out in the 1940's. Or I'm just OLD. When they finally understood what I wanted, the jaundiced Crispin Glover-looking kid with lank dreads and Bush/Cheney button lounging behind the counter went into a long, detailed explanation of implants (I think his twin takes tickets at the Music Box). His female cohort suggested I try Beatnix.

After dinner at Mia Francesca with the Hex, where I did not have dessert and limited myself to just two pieces of bread and even scraped off some of the butter (for Art's Sake, as the yoga shoot was the next day and I wanted the belly to be minimal), he accompanied me to Beatnix, which is in Boystown and not unlike Ricky's in the Chelsea just before Halloween. Only with fatter, dumber, not as stylishly dressed people. It was buzzing with pale, thin youngsters clenching bondage suits and vintage wedding dresses. And me, asking for falsies. "OH!" said Mr. Flamboyant in the purple striped stockings, who was overseeing the trannie lingerie room. "Do you want whole breasts?" No, I have some, I said, and pointed. I want to enhance them, and made the big bazooms gesture. OOHH!!!! YOU MEAN TITTIES!" He led me at a fast clip to "the wig room" where he screamed, "BRING THIS WOMAN SOME TITTIES!" A troll-like woman with a crew cut grabbed her own DD set, proffered them to my chin, and cackled, "You want some-a mine?" No, thanks. I was then shown two types; big fancy silicone stick-ons in a huge box ($20) and crappy foam ones (with nipples) in a baggie with a twist-tie for $10. I went for the latter and stood in line for HOURS to pay cash for them. When I finally got to the front, I pointed to the set behind the register and said, "Those falsies are for me" and that at least got a laugh (the guys taking the money were "older").

While we waited for Friday's shoot at the yoga studio to start, I showed the other women my new set, which turned my B- into a solid C. That led to an animated discussion of what happens to boobs after the children have have sucked the life out of them. Apparently some deflate, while others just sag. One woman was actually saving for an enhancement. Once again I was glad to be the exception.

And on Saturday, when I put 'em in for restaurant scene, the two male crew members and my co-star all treated me with even more attention/deference than usual. Even the Hex said something to the effect that "If only you'd had those when we were dating ---..." which reminded me again to thank Durga for all past breakups, including the most recent. Later that night I wore the entire Valierie outfit, including falsies, big makeup and big hair, grey roots covered, to Bindi's going away party -- where not a single soul noticed my new look.... But I did thwack the them with my middle fingers to show Bindi that if someone in India were to grope or Eve Tease the things, they'd be sorely disappointed (if they even noticed). Or at least I wouldn't notice. So I might keep 'em around for awhile.