Saturday, July 31, 2010


garbo was never a favorite of mine growing up because she was always on the periphery; I didn't see much of her, and her cold eyes and husky voice didn't really do it for me until I grew up to prefer that kind of thing. then suddenly it all made sense. she was choosy with her roles and therefore wasn't prolific, and the films just aren't in the public consciousness anymore...that is, unless you're dick cavett, who is probably talking or writing in his diary about her right this minute. what a stage name, too. garbo? i hate the sort of genericising that happened to surnames in the past. let her be gustafsson. garbo is a name fit for the lost marx brother.

i think most of my early exposure to her had been in jest, too. watching camille brought to mind all of the old cartoon caricatures of her. remember?

she is fascinating. i do envy people who don't - or can't - pretend. i guess won't is the word for her. the rejection of all of the superfluous bullshit of her profession and the world. by exterior accounts, she had everything every two-dimensional simpleton could ever want: beauty, career, and acclaim. unable to tolerate the glitzy cellophane life of the hollywood starlet, particularly the parts about being pawed, photographed, and speculated upon at all moments, she abandoned her career early in life. this came at a time when she was in control of her contract (rare) and in good credit with her public. the empty world of stranger-compliments and being celebrated for the least (spiritually, intellectually) valuable trait of all evidently did nothing for her, another rarity. her remark about having no interest in being the temptress is like a single, thoughtful island in a sea of misplaced, naive vanity. she said, in sum, why would she ever want to feel that her primary purpose and primary pleasure should be to dangle herself before men? what an unfulfilling, cheapening thing to do. the same thing that most women do every day of their lives without knowing why and perhaps without actually cognizing an end result.

"Life would be so wonderful if only we knew what to do with it." -GG
you said it, sister.

i find it very heartening when i see others appraise the lives that we are supposed to want, and then reject them. societal standards seem so real and confining the more we hear about them, but that's not correct. that's just herd mentality and oh lordy of all the herds i don't want to be running with, it's this one.

I enjoy that she was/is so prized for her beauty because I find her to be a bit awkward. i think people were attracted to much more than the symmetry of her face. she has that sort of mantis-stance that tall, thin women often do, which was exacerbated x1000 by those 1930s gowns. shoulders a little too far forward and the trunk of the body in a concave curve. this looks highly glamorous, however, when encased in gray or cream satin and garnished with a cigarette. best combined with those icy blonde features.

she and carole lombard are like opposite-sisters. carole inhabiting the warm and sunny sphere while greta stands arms-crossed in a cold, rainy, gray landscape. los angeles vs. stockholm.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

birthday shopping list

the little mermaid was a big deal when i was young, you know. a whole new world. white fluffy clouds vintage. lots of good there. taffeta isn't happening in the desert, though.

need this. i like the subtlety of a sterling "jewel". items of high witchery over at bloodmilk, or, as she says, supernatural jewels for surrealist darlings. yay

ok, no more shopping. i forgot; i'm amish now. i'm going to sew my own clothes (look like shit for a while), churn my own dairy-free butter or whatever, and move off the grid.


i wish i could "intern" with an amish family for a semester or two. i'd learn how to sew for real-for real, how to wear my hair the way a 27 year old spinster should (up), and work myself to exhaustion every day, falling into a black, thousand-pound dreamless sleep each night. going to bed with the dark, waking with the dawn. looking after animals. burning candles that don't smell like baked goods.

i could probably arrange an exchange situation in which some family's 18 year old gets to experience their year in modernity in my apartment while i go and live in their parents' house. i would probably have to get an entire coven of white witches and a xerox box full of sage in this place to clean it out afterwards, kind of like the time my grandmother's tenant (a stripper) moved out of her rental and we had to wash tangerine-colored smearings from the walls... :( my grandma all: "well what could possibly cause that?" and my mother and i, "GO WATCH LAWRENCE WELK PLEASE"

Monday, July 26, 2010

there does, beyond desert, befall the first of themes etcetera, etcetera

melora creager is so up my little alley, it's not even funny. or i'm up hers. everything she does is exactly what i want to talk about all the time. i would like to inhabit the creepy, dingy, fascinating snowglobe she has erected around herself out of our fledgling past.

in which she explains herself.

lying around contemplating late 19thcentch homecrafts could take up a lot of my time.

this era is so flouncy and ridiculous at times, and too dreary at others. i don't like bustles or the soot-encrusted industrial boom. the angel in the house makes me want to kill myself and others. but, i love how 100% unabashedly morbid these people were. they didn't pump the brakes on this, ever. hair-weaving for wall art or jewelry. mourning jewelry everywhere. memorial photographs and art. bodies lying in state for a week in the front room. all of it. i love it! i think the first time i saw some memorial hair art was on tour of the governor's house in prescott. my skin crawled and i wanted to get away from it, but afterwards i couldn't stop thinking about it. that + gone with the wind + other period dramas + the rosson house + a house full of civil war memorabilia buried it deep.


i worked in picture framing for years when i was younger. came to find that people are still morbid as all hell. shadowboxing the belongings and hair of dead people - you bet. put that over the dining room table. but the happiest days were when someone brought in something "ancient" and wanted it preserved. one guy brought in the letter and handkerchief of one of his ancestors. the letter was composed on her deathbed somewhere in late victoria. i could not resist and took it home that night to transcribe. the text is on one of my old livejournals and i will look for it later. it was absurd! such an incredible specimen! the long-suffering, aged beyond her years mother addresses each of her trillion children and steadfastly faces her death. oh! i found it.

in fact i will paste the whole post as a full-scale historic document. me at 20. ha; depeche mode.


[31 Dec 2002|12:33am]
[music|depeche mode / blasphemous rumours]

I am still dying from tonsilitis and mulling over something I brought home from work today.

It took me 15 minutes to open this letter. Some moron had stuck the thing all together with (non-archival!) adhesive and nearly ruined it forever. It's from a shadowbox that I was pissed to have to work on until I found a few things of interest. Turns out the thing is a deathbed note, always interesting. Dated 1907:

"To my dear family;
As I can't rest, and now unless a change takes place soon, can't live, I will write you a few of my thoughts and wishes. Life is only momentary with me now, I am resigned. The lord's will be done, I know I am a child of god. I have no fear of death for if it is his wish to take me away, it is for some good purpose.
Don't go to any more expense than necessary to put me away. Save all for the living. I would like to have an Adventist preach my funeral. I don't care where you bury me, the lord will find me.
I commend you all to god, who is able to save. He will bless and lead you all in the right if you put your trust in him.
Mabel, Mack, Lloyd and Floyd, you are all young and I think you need a mother's care, but if it is the lord's will to take me away, he will provide a way for you. Give your hearts to Jesus while you are young, don't wait, for soon he is coming to gather up his jewels. Do watch and be ready. I want you all to meet me in the earth made new to part no more. My work is almost done, but there is a crown of righteousness laid up for me. Praise the lord for his goodness. My prayer is that you all will be good children.
Do the best you can, the older try to teach the younger, search the scripture and find what precious promises there are to the overcomer. Do not fret and worry about Mother but sing "Praise to the Lord" when I am gone.
Bidding you all fare-well 'til we meet to part no more. This is very near and dear to me.
God bless you all,
Your Mother.
Read tim 4 - 6:8 and eph 3 - 16:21"

Her handwriting is creepy and spidery and perfect.


oh my god so incredible. what a great writer she was. so homespun, yet the words are well-chosen and artful. i am hard-pressed to find my favorite passage in this. i wish i had taken some photos of it. mabel, mack, lloyd and floyd!!

it was the height of ~romance~ when my boyfriend around this time bought me some mourning necklaces made of jet, all worn and weak and some amateurly repaired with crumbling thread. i don't dare wear them, still. not only do i not need the ghost of eugenia eustacia maybelle merriwether haunting me, but i'm also unwilling to repair them to a wearable state. you know what they say on antiques roadshow.

that's the best one.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


thunder moon

dismissing old & negative influences.

no; all influences.


I'm sorry to use internet slang on you,

jane looking defiant

I tried to watch Bright Star yesterday. It's about that time John Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne and then died. It is, so awful. I had to turn it off. It's the kind of movie I'd make if my goal was to cultivate interest in the English Romantics among the 16 year old hipster crowd. While that is probably a noble cause, I am far too old and...old to suffer such bullshit.

Fanny: John, I decided that poetry is like pretty rad! Especially yours!
John: OMG you're probably like the first hot girl to read Endymion LOLOL

Only Kate Beaton is capable of summarizing the absurdity of this movie. I wish she would. I would email her about it, but a blog post and an email is just too much.

The only reason I feel so shocked is because I like Jane Campion an awful lot, and The Piano, you know. One of my favorites.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010



oh fuck

if you think that edgar allan was simply some sort of weaselly, sad, ne'erdowell, then you are mistaken. he was, in fact, a sex panther with two hobbies. you figure them out.

fanny osgood, onetime lover and (allegedly) bearer of their illicit baby girl, who died in infancy. fanny was crazy, dark, prone to spells, and the most eminent female writer in the country, for a time. she was also married. her husband thought the child was theirs.

she met poe for the first time in 1845. he greeted her with "...his proud and beautiful head erect, his dark eyes flashing with the elective light of of feeling and thought; a peculiar, an inimitable blending of sweetness and hauteur in his expression and manner."

SWEETNESS AND HAUTEUR! just the way i am described, no doubt. to be fair, i think she was already in love. or whatever sensation histrionic writerly ladies feel. fanny was not the only woman to write in her diary or to compose letters to other women about the compelling e.a.p. that year. in fact, there was a little cadre.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

the fucking weather. it was more of a comfort when phoenix received the judgement of "fucking...all right." now it's just fucking 11 o'clock and a hundred gdmfcs degrees out.

venerable family photos

farm dogs and cats of percival, ia. 1930s and 40s.

i like iowa because my grandma was from there. i believe it is the flattest place i have ever been. visiting some cousins there was like visiting the 1940s. we went to the house where my grandma and her 10 siblings were born, a lovely yet prim white victorian with gingerbread and hand-turned wood posts everywhere, and a widow's walk. there is nothing around it but fields and fields and fields.

my great-aunt was living there at the time. as in a time capsule, she had nothing in there but a radio (old), a telephone (one, mounted to the kitchen wall), and a 40 year-old tv. when we laughed, incredulous, she said, "...what? the man asked if i wanted a satellite dish. i said NO!!!" she fixed the simplest, homiest meal ever, which we ate at the 100 year old mahogany dining table. after dinner, we walked the dirt roads and my cousin and i found and contemplated the creek (the crik) from which we were admonished to stay away due to water moccasins. there is nothing more wrong than a water-dwelling snake.

and there is nothing more right than photographing a dog in a hat. points if it is a graduation cap, extra points if it's the graduation cap of the first woman in that family ever to finish high school.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Thursday, July 15, 2010

John Adams

Incredible series from HBO a couple of years ago. I didn't really give a shit about Paul Giamatti or Laura Linney prior to the show and now I am in love with them. I didn't really give a shit about John Adams, either. I have never paid any special attention to the American Revolutionary period, which was an unfortunate choice now that I've researched a very small amount and have read some of T.J.'s letters and all. He's our Nostradamus, predicting epic crises hundreds of years before they occurred, probably because it is - or at one time was - a matter of common sense that unchecked privilege and power tend to be rather corruptive agents, particularly in the banking and religious industries. Well, whatever. On to the tv.

We had a giant Gadsden flag in the garage growing up and I never knew what the hell it was supposed to mean.

I'm re-watching the series. Learning is fun, no? It's sort of a buzzkill, however, when everything I learn is INFURIATING! Like reading 210 year old letters and thinking, Yeah! This *is* fucked up! Or reading accounts of tribal councils from the 1850s in which the Feds told Natives that they were sent by god (The Great Spirit - they got wise to the colloquialisms) and god said to please accept this jar of buttons in exchange for the land stretching between the delta and the buttes. Well, whatever.

Oh, and the guy who plays George Washington in the show? Awesommme. I like to think that he is just like the real G.W.; larger than life, imposing, terrifying, yet harboring such quietsecretconcerns and regrets. It's all too fuckin awesome.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

FJT (& JM) say the West is the best

"In the settlement of America we have to observe how European life entered the continent, and how America modified and developed that life and reacted on Europe. Too exclusive attention has been paid by institutional students to the Germanic origins, too little to the American factors. The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin. It puts him in the log cabin of the Cherokee and Iroquois and runs an Indian palisade around him. Before long he has gone to planting Indian corn and plowing with a sharp stick, he shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion. In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails."

Frederick Jackson Turner, 1893.

He was ridiculed at the time for making studies of the American West and the psychology of frontiering (but he didn't call it that) his express pursuit as a young scholar. It became his life's endeavor.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I just found out my best friend is moving to San Francisco in 7 days. I'm going to be there a lot. I haven't actually processed this whole thing yet, so that is my comfort.

It's going to be like this.

I love this photo. Her expression is awesome because it was the first time we tried ecstasyyyyyyyyy

Friday, July 9, 2010


I totally buy Robert Pela's theory that property owners in Phoenix are burning historic buildings to get rid of them. This isn't the first place I've read about it. Many are protected by historical registers and are otherwise ineligible for demolition.  Read nyah.  Prepare to want to flip tables and scream.  If that's not how you react to stuff like this, then you're doin it wrong.

before fire.

after fire. view from behind.

I've always wanted to see the inside of this place.  I've skulked past it for years, but there never seemed to be a decent opportunity to scale the giant fence and go inside. 

Update: too fucking frustrating. This article on why the property is singular and should be saved was written weeks before the house burned. Does it not seem that if a landmark is significant enough to be added to a historical register, that it shouldn't be available for sale to just anyone? Or at least, not to some dick developer who's just going to raze it and turn it into another CVS?  Nobody in Phoenix cares about anythinggggggg fuckkkkkkk

Monday, July 5, 2010

song is like rad

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I'll be productive tomorrow. I have done nothing today but watch the L Word. Disappointing turn of events for Alice and Dana, tell you what.

So ever since I grudgingly replied to my father's facebook friend request (it just felt weird), I have been eagerly perusing all of HIS friends' profiles. People so tightly involved with my childhood, none of whom I have seen in years. I was so happy that friending my dad allowed me to see the photos of his gentle giant bff, Big Don.

Big Don is about 6'7 and at his largest weighed about 400 lbs. It wasn't fat, though. He was simply a wall of man. He frightened people everywhere he went with his bald head, chest-length black beard, biker attire and, of course, general stature. This is made all the more enjoyable by the fact that he is the most polite and charming man on the planet.

For years, we spent most Saturday nights at his place. The kitchen table was picnic style, a massive slab of rough-hewn wood which was always strewn with food, bike magazines, antique guns and whatever other ephemera he was playing with at the time. I would sit at the table, 6, 7, 8 years old while my dad and the other guys drank and talked. Sometimes they would lower their voices or break into code while I sat there trying to stack cards or bullets into pyramids. Don's kids were either much older or much younger than I was, so there was no one to play with.

His garage usually contained more of the same, plus bikes, antique maps, animal skins, and, once, a bucket containing 4 deer legs, salted where they had been severed. Horror. He had purchased an old Wurlitzer from a flea market at St. Francis where it had been used by the nuns. It was dusty and grimy and I taught myself to play easy songs on it during the long summer nights. One night I learned Dixie, and played it jauntily once I had figured out the keys. Don perked up and said, "Yer playin' my favorite song!" I love him.

All culled from the FB:

Big Don in the 70s.

My parents in the 70s.

Early 90s. This is the Big Don of my memories.

My godfather in Vietnam. Unfuckinbelievable. When I learned what godparents were supposed to signify, I prayed nothing would ever happen to my parents.

Chas and one of Don's kids. I had a crush on him. He rode an Indian, smoked Kools, dressed like a greaser, rolled his packs in his sleeve, and slept with high school girls.

Chas again. I hear he's rather lewd and misogynistic, but he treated me with such courtly sweetness that I simply can't imagine it. Although, come to think of it, I do seem to recall his regular reminder to "call me when you're 18." I suppose I would have been about 8 at the time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

65% illumination

Incantations to bring the monsoon. It's going to need some help.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

now you know that it can't be

Remember "Said Sadly," that duet between James Iha and Nina Gordon that appeared on the Bullet with Butterfly Wings b-side in '94 or whatever?

The summer I bought that b-side, there was an epic late night monsoon storm that caused a multi-hour power outage. I sat alone in my bedroom burning candles and listening to music, dripping red wax droplets onto cd cases. Not a particularly flashy memory, but sometimes I think of that night and moment, and I don't know why.

When I went through the mandatory young girl phase of putting shit on school folders, it was photos of James Iha from music magazines circa 1995. Things could've been worse. Although people did think I was gay and really into the other girl from Smashing Pumpkins.

Speaking of '90s nostalger, I discovered this blog and tumblr today:

"fuck yeah," as the tumblrs say. I love the discourse. The DEBATE about whether nostalgia lists are a valid form of art or social memory was particularly entertaining for me. I want to go back.

Remember '84?

I don't either.

This photo discovered for the first time today on my godfather's facebook. Like a memory never known, but reclaimed. This internet social networking fad sure is getting weird for me.