I like to think of myself as a passionate, resourceful, imaginative, and artistic news-hound and activist who cares deeply about human rights, peace, social justice, and what happens in the world but doesn't lecture or proselytize, shun pop culture, or resist things that are shiny and have fringe. Especially shiny fringe!
Overall, I'm a very happy person. I strongly value kindness, warmth, respect, ingenuity, openmindedness, civic engagement, critical thinking, and humor. I'm a politically progressive and cynical know-it-all smartass but I also try very hard to be a good citizen, a good neighbor, a good dancer, and a good friend.
I'm 34. I live in California, USA (after many years, many jobs, and many dates in New York City). And I'm happily, happily married to my best friend -- a wonderful, sensitive, creative, loving, compassionate, and inspiring man. Oh he is so, so funny. I feel so loved and lucky.
Sometimes I like to imagine that there will be one year of my life in which every day I will have a different job. Day One I would drive the Zamboni ice resurfacer. Day Two I would be the Managing Editor of The New York Times. Day Three I would bake pitas in Amman, Jordan. Day Four I would wash the exterior windows of the Empire State Building. This idea is, obviously, in progress.
If we ever have an opportunity to play Name That Tune together, you want me on your team. I'm just sayin'.
I spent a lot of my time in/at taquerias; sari shops; newsstands; garage sales; Thai, Japanese, and Mediterranean groceries; truck stops and diners; farmers' markets; thrift stores; sushi bars; old movie theaters with velvety red and probably uncomfortable seats; corrupt and decrepit public institutions (that one's for work); the YMCA; parades, fairs, and agricultural festivals; and now, I suppose, the post office.
I enjoy, in no particular order of enjoyment:
-- solving problems;
-- making crafts;
-- cooking and discovering spicy, mostly international food;
-- making up inane but catchy songs about everyday objects and occurrences;
-- learning about, traveling, and exploring the world (and my neighborhood);
-- meeting people who ask great questions, introduce me to new things, and draw pictures as a way of explaining things;
-- giving excellent, precise directions and instructions;
-- pulling off, or at least scheming, pranks and practical (and impractical) jokes;
-- listening to other people's conversations, and often joining in;
-- taking things apart and then putting them back together, but sometimes differently, and only sometimes on purpose;
-- supporting family-, locally-, and cooperatively-owned newspapers, restaurants, shops, and businesses;
-- rollerskating, in roller rinks;
-- finding interesting stuff, like other people's grocery lists, on the street or in the trash;
-- ordering a pizza; and
-- collecting pictures of animals wearing clothes -- especially monkeys in police uniforms driving around in a patrol car. Bonus points if they're pulling someone over or making an arrest!
I am quite fond of: talent shows; wigs; fireworks; Wurlitzers; tapirs; honey; environmental criminology; Storycorps; rope-swings; Sabado Gigante; absurdity; urban ethnography; political posters and paraphernalia of all sorts; ghost-riding the whip; argyle and striped socks; fresh air; anthropomorphized toilets; Tiger Balm; wind-up toys; flip books; zines and comic books; comic book stores; comic book store employees; maps; bento boxes; babies; nosy neighbors; crickets; crossword and jigsaw puzzles; Pinot Noir; Mexican Coca Cola; the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; kawaii -- especially Miffy, Decole, and Cram Cream; "outsider" art; ethnomusicology; pinball; Skee-Ball; organic and homemade soaps; The Nation magazine; poorly-made local TV commercials; obscure trade journals; operations research; creepy staring dolls with broken fluttery eyelids; feminism; Trapped in the Closet; Venn diagrams; Heath ceramics; public radio; public transportation; turtles who think they move fast; little kids who brag that they once stayed up until "midnight"; jukeboxes; papel picado; dangly earrings; the Sky Mall catalogue; handmade shrines, jewelry, magnets, cloth napkins, notecards, stuffies, and [non-Christmas] ornaments; vanilla egg creams; Labello-brand "Med" lip balm; and drawings, paintings, and photographs of robins.
And rubber chickens and chattering teeth are never not funny.
My husband; my mom, my dad, my brother, my nephews, and other assorted family members; Angela Davis; Mahatma Gandhi; Galway Kinnell; Margaret Cho; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Bella Abzug; Henny Youngman; Professor Irwin Corey, The World's Foremost Authority; Faith Ringgold; Margaret Sanger; Emma Goldman; Richard Scarry; Karl Marx; the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players; Pee Wee Herman; Molly Ivins; Ethel and Julius Rosenberg; Dick Bruna; Maira Kalman.
Honorable Mentions: people who clap when their plane lands; people who are not too shy to sing; people who know that starting The Wave is never a bad idea; the woman I saw at Coney Island (Brooklyn, New York) c. 2001 who held her swimsuit up with a leather belt, smoked in the ocean, and dried off with stolen Holiday Inn towels. Unforgettable.
I love to read -- especially newspapers; political magazines; and books related to justice, crime, violence, tragedy, family dysfunction, or disaster.
Some of my favorite books: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz), Random Family (Adrian Nicole LeBlanc), The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (Jimmy Breslin), Manchild in a Promised Land (Claude Brown), The Book of Daniel (E.L. Doctorow), I May Not Get There with You (Michael Eric Dyson), The People's History of the United States (Howard Zinn), Changing Lenses (Howard Zehr), CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia (George Saunders), Name All the Animals (Alison Smith), Unequal Childhoods (Annette Lareau), Fun Home (Alison Bechdel), The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell), Persepolis (Marjane Sartrapi), The Chelsea Whistle (Michelle Tea), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde), Frog and Toad Are Friends (Arnold Lobel).
Foodwise, I consider myself "vegetarian with privileges" -- that is, I cook and eat mostly plant-based foods, for planetary and political and health and feel-good reasons, but I will happily devour nearly anything that is barbecued, considered a local delicacy, originally from the sea, offered by gracious hosts, directly from a farm, or sold by a street vendor. Also, I employ a strict "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding the ingredients in gummy candy.
My favorite flavors are mint, grapefruit, pomegranate, honey, lime, watermelon, sage, lemon, garlic, clove, fig, and root beer/sarsaparilla. But not all mixed up-like.
1960s-70s American soul; bhangra; Afropop; dub; reggae; regeton; disco; poppy punk; electronica; mariachi; klezmer; calypso; "experimental" music; black gospel; and loud Cuban/Latin jazz performed by groups with at least 11 members -- usually three of whom appear to be just standing around.
Some of my specific favorites include Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Commodores-era Lionel Richie, Sly and the Family Stone, Celia Cruz, Cesaria Evora, People Like Us, Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar, Samba Ngo, Kishore Kumar, Allan Sherman, Sergio Mendes, DJ Rekha, Shirley Ellis, Mahalia Jackson, Caetano Veloso, Carmen Miranda, the Polyphonic Spree, Destroyer, They Might Be Giants, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield, Lionel Belasco, Hugh Masekela, Donna Summer, the Mamas and the Papas, and most Peruvian street musicians.
Beading, book-making, painting, paper mache (especially cartoneria), collage, decoupage, (limited) knitting, basket-making, shrinery, mask-making, screenprinting, decorating and displaying food, and all sorts of projects with found/recycled materials.
The Big Lebowski, Elling, In the Mood for Love, Amores Perros, Citizen Ruth, You Can Count on Me, Dog Day Afternoon, Hable Con Ella, Mala Educación, Do the Right Thing, But I'm A Cheerleader, The Castle, Together, The Dinner Game, Lilya 4-Ever, Om Shanti Om, Torremolinos 73, Mysterious Skin, Zelig, Annie Hall, Broadcast News, Raising Arizona, Fargo, Tin Men, Ghostbusters, Happiness, Welcome to the Dollhouse, about 2/3 of Paris Je T'aime, the Police Academy movies.
I also love Bollywood films, old campy musicals, film noir classics, documentaries, the Marx Brothers, and B-grade-and-below science fiction. I'll go to a film festival for just about anything.
And you always get your money's worth with Delroy Lindo.
For many years, my dad and I have competed in a Boring Dreams Contest. You may be interested to know that I have held the Most Boring Dreamer title since 1999 when, one night, I dreamt that I ran out of aluminum foil.
I am a card-carrying member of the NAACP, the ACLU, and the International Federation of Competitive Eating. I am also one of two founding members of The Marmots.
I would love to learn more about topiary gardening, biodiesel fuel, fractals, sewing, the Cuban Revolution (make that any revolution), the Dunning-Kruger Effect, and sous vide cooking.
Currently, I am especially fascinated with terrariums, the Rotato, Dennis Kucinich, the Puppy Mover Monorail, the possibility of traveling to Argentina, strawberry-mint muffins, and crappy zoos.
I want to spend every Wednesday night of my life at Amateur Night at the Apollo. I want to spend every Thursday night of my life at Porky's Pizza Palace in San Leandro with the Oakland All-Star Banjo Band. I don't want to spend every Thursday morning of my life on a transcontinental flight, alas.
I am a total sucker for a good story, and I will ask to hear it again and again. I especially love stories involving Sticking It To The Man, wacky mix-ups, misguided theories, bad dates, bad judgment, weird jobs, bizarre inventions, interesting subcultures, any sort of "farce," and misadventures with The Law. I would love to hear your stories -- all kinds.
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