Fourth Wall

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Two Things about Alice:

1) I'm sure that this has already been seen, since it has now been a User Friendly Link of the Day, but I was amused. The Two Things

The Two Things about World Conquest:
1. Divide and Conquer.
2. Never invade Russia in the winter.

The Two Things about Biology:
1. Evolution is the process through which genetic structures that are better equipped to reproduce viable copies will tend to proliferate.
2. Except for the Platypus.

2) Influenced by the upcoming weddings of my cousins, I have developed a sad, sad addiction to This may be due to the fact that as a child I set my barbies up as the evil attackers of my My Little Ponies and never walked around pretending to be a bride with a sheet on my head. But hey, they even have a section for the guys.

Not Valid for Travel To Or In Communist Controlled Portions of Berkeley

Facts And Figures: The Free State of California

Location The Free State of California extends from latitude 32 degrees 30' to 42 degrees N. It is bordered on the north and east by the United States, on the South by Mexico, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Note: This location is subject to change without notice. Consult your nearest seismograph station for up-to-the-minute details.

Land Area California has a land area of 158,693 square miles which is divided into three distinct regions; tho mountains, the desert, and the beach. If you see something green, look closer. See that little tag? It says, "Property of Walt Disney Studios."

Water Area There are 2,108 square miles of water, almost all of it in swimming pools.

Government California's form of government is called a thesocracy. Thesocracy is a Greek word meaning "government by film stars and gossip columnists."

Ecology Citizens of California are serious in their concern for the ecology. Many, in fact, refuse to use Naugahyde in their cars because they have been told the Nauga is an endangered species.

Seasons California has two seasons: dry and damp. You can quickly tell which season it is by looking at the trees. If they're not on fire it's the damp season.

Capital City Los Angeles is the largest and most important city in California, but it is not the capital. San Francisco is the most beautiful city in California, but it is not the capital either. San Diego is both large and beautiful and has a nice zoo. San Diego is not the capital. No, the capital of California is Sacramento. The reason is that gold was first discovered there, which naturally attracted all the politicians. They never left.

Plant and Animal Life California has both. The difference between the two is that the plants don't move. This is very useful to know when you are in a singles bar where there are normally as many plants as there are animals.

Famous California Scientist Hank Bloch of Caltech. Dr. Block developed the Special Theory of Relatives. The Special Theory states that relatives are invisible to the stationary observer. When the observer moves to California, however, relatives can be seen all the time, especially in the guest room.

National Joke How many Californians does it take to install a light bulb? Answer: Twenty-five. One to screw it in and twenty-four to hold up the solar panel that powers it.

National Motto "Build a better pet rock and people will beat a path to your door."

National Tree The Redwood.

National Tree Stump The Redwood burl. It is also the national coffee table.

Foreign Trade Though The Free State of California is a net exporter of artichokes, situation comedies, and politicians, it is still plagued by a balance-of-payments deficit. This is because we spend all our Cal-dollars in the U.S. border towns of Las Vegas and Reno. The odds are 7 to 5 against California ever getting even.

Natural Resources California is blessed with abundant supplies of oil, borax and pumice. In addition, it has 95% of the known world supply of cute, talking animals. The recent discovery of vast plastic deposits under Los Angeles should make California self-sufficient in credit cards by the late 1980's. -Passport: Free State of California 1979, JGM Productions

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Like Cats & Dogs

Andrew: [Gwynn & Genevieve] didn't give me no love. Fluffy's my man.

Mom, on Andrew: He's so cute! He's like a ghetto puppy.

The obligatory quotations out of the way, you really ought to go see Hero. Dad and I went last night, and while the fight scenes are over-the-top and not particularly spectacular, it is visually beautiful, full of bright color and the landscape of eastern China.

I'm having some trouble expressing my more academic thoughts about the movie. The historic period in which it is set is key in Chinese history and reads like... well, like Sophocles. The king portrayed is the first Chinese emperor, Shih Huang-Ti, The most entertaining way to read his story is in Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe II , pages 92-118, and he did, in fact, cause the death of his father, without knowing how they were related. The book also has a bibliography, which is more than you can say for most websites, but if you are impatient, you can start here and here. If you've admired photographs of Terra-Cotta warriors arrayed in the grave and ready for battle, they were probably Shih Huang-Ti's.

It raises some interesting philosophic questions, but I can't help thinking about the idealism of the movie in light of the current Chinese government.

Oh, and I got to the bottom of the Confietor mystery. Turns out that it's the deacon's prerogative, and this particular deacon never chooses to use it. So, no conspiracy, just bad choices.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Saturday Morning

An interesting, if slightly infuriating, article appeared in today's Chronicle about a man who discovered, after eight years, that he is in fact HIV-. Just another demonstration of why our medical system is in trouble- especially the programs that provide for veterans. It's not just here in California, either. My cousin, who is a nurse in Iowa, says that every bed is full in the hospital where she works, and that they need to keep people over night in the emergency room.

Gwynn caught a baby mouse last night, and for all my bragging of not being afraid of them, I did give quite a scream. Of course, I almost stepped on it, so I think it's forgiveable.

Dad's new TV arrives today, to replace the one that he bought almost sixteen years ago (by my rough estimate). He's been doing more research on this than he did for the car. Of course, as Mom pointed out, he spends more time with the TV than with the car.

I had a dream last night that I asked Patrick for Mrs. LaVictoire's salmon recipie, and he said that she wouldn't give it to me because she was so jealous of my Lemon Merengue Pie prowess. At least, I think it was a dream.

Dan, it turns out, is not coming to San Francisco. He needs time to pack and see people and relax before school starts. But I still get to go to New York-- in fact, I leave in about two weeks. It'll be five days, which is longer than any other trip I've taken there. I'm excited, and I do plan on seeing Katie while I'm there.

Rate My Kitten It's better than looking at dresses!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Kiss & Tell

In the course of conversation last night, Paul (Navy Boy) sent me here.

"It's really old," he said, "you'll like it."

I'm not sure I liked it. It made me distinctly uncomfortable, and much of what he says would be violently disagreed with by friends and/or exes (i.e.: Jared).

First, he defines marriage.

I might add that it also depends on what you mean by marriage, but we shall take for granted that you mean what the Lord meant, viz., an indissoluble sacramental partnership between a man and a woman who pledge themselves to help each other toward happiness on earth and in heaven, and to beget and rear children for the kingdom of God.

Very Catholic. Given that, he later says,
Love is a function of the free will, and it can last as long as the free will exercises itself according to the above definition. Therefore, to say "I am in love" should mean "I am willing to surrender my will, to sacrifice my desires, to place duty and fidelity above all else, in behalf of one person whom I have found suitable for a successful marriage.

Okay, well and good. I agree with what he says about surrender and sacrifice on behalf of the one we love, even if I don't always *feel* like love is a function of the free will. That love, of course, is properly defined as infatuation.

Then he is asked if kissing is a sin.

In answering it, we shall consider the moral angle first, and then add considerations of prudence and common sense. There are two different kinds of kissing that can be referred to in the question. The first is the ordinary kiss of greeting and farewell, the kiss that people are not ashamed to give in public or in the presence of others, the kind of kiss exchanged between a mother and son, brother and sister, relative and relative. It is a salutation, a symbol, a sign of love and respect for a person to whom one is bound by the more sacred ties of human relationship. Clearly this kind of kissing is not sinful, not sinful even between a boy and girl in love.

Usually when this much has been explained, young people answer rather scornfully: "Oh, we don't mean that kind of kissing." Or they will cry out with still greater scorn: "How can you expect us to kiss like a brother and sister if we are in love?" This is very revealing. It means that what such young people have in mind when they ask "Is kissing a sin?" is not the mere symbol or salutation of affection, but something inspired by and bound up in some way with passion. They are referring to close and protracted embraces; The kisses that gratify, in some way, the yearning for bodily union with another that can lawfully be fulfilled only in marriage. Sometimes they do not realize that this is the origin of their desire for protracted kissing experiences, but the fact remains that it is just that, and in many cases it leads them straight into the great sins that beforehand they would have said they abhorred. That is why such kissing, prolonged, passionate, exciting, is a sin in itself. It is a sin in so far as it springs from and leads to indulgence in sinful passion.

Well, that's no fun to give up. In fact, I have demonstrated myself profoundly bad at giving it up. One could even say that I have a desire to commit the aforementioned indulgence by kissing too much, too passionately... etc.

And so I send you back to his definition of love. "to say 'I am in love' should mean 'I am willing to surrender my will, to sacrifice my desires, to place duty and fidelity above all else, in behalf of one person whom I have found suitable for a successful marriage.'" (Emphasis mine.)

So how can I love a human being if I don't love my God enough to surrender my will and sacrifice my desires?

Just some food for thought. I forsee violent disagreement in the comments area. Have fun.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Odds & Ends

When I was little, and my best friend, Rosie Newman, lived just a few blocks away on Delano Ave. (before they moved to Burlingame), we used to spend entire weekends together. We would meet up at one house after she went to Temple & "Saturday School," and spend the night. The next day, we'd take our bikes and trek over to the other house. We'd hide in her parents' walk-in-closet, comparing coin collections (back when it was a big deal to have found a Susan B. Anthony dollar,) and pretend we were sisters. We always hoped to fool people, despite my platinum-blonde mess of hair and her dark locks that could clearly not come from the same pair of parents.

Anyway, the point of this little memory fest is that, while I have no plans of investigating his parent's closets, Dan and I are repeating the pattern in a few weeks. We couldn't decide which city we wanted to be in more, so I leave for NYC on the 10th of September. We both fly back to San Francisco on the 15th, and he returns home on the 20th. I do hope to see Katie when I'm in New York- Patrick said that she wants to get to know me better. He translated that as a shopping trip.


I finally broke down and decided to find out what on earth Patrick's been talking about. I agree with Katie's sentiments, although I'm not as demonstrative as she is (and not nearly as demonstrative as Homestar Runner): it's more sad than funny. This is my reigning favorite.

I've also been catching up on my long-neglected online comics. I love Ozy & Millie. Go read Ozy & Mille right now. Any similarities between me & Millie are purely coincidental; I have never even been to Seattle, let alone inspired Mr. D.C. Simpson. That said, read this one.

Here's a Sluggy Freelance comic for those with Patrick's sense of humor.

You should also all go read Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia".

Thomasina: Septimus, what is carnal embrace?
Septimus: Carnal embrace is the practice of throwing one's arms around a side of beef.
Thomasina: I think you have not been candid with me, Septimus. A gazebo is not, after all, a meat larder.
Septimus: I never said my definition was complete.

And there's lots of good High School level (Junior High, if you're Patrick) math nerdiness, as well as enough latin and period references to keep fans of "The Invention of Love" amused. Oh, if I could some day write plays with the intelligence of Stoppard's...

I was walking to the bank when I heard the sirens, and when I neared the intersection of Ocean & Mission, I saw where they were going. A woman had been hit by a car that didn't stop for her as she crossed Ocean at Rose. As I walked away, my errands complete, they were putting her on a stretcher, and a Police Officer who was lighting flares asked if I had seen the accident. I told her no, and went on my way.

Crossing Alemany, a male meter maid (meter man?) slowed his little cart and said, "Hello." I gave him a tight-lipped, half-smile nod, expecting him to ask about the commotion. He turned the corner, saying, "you are gorgeous".


Saint Rose of Lima, pray for me.

That's all.

Oh, and pretend I have a better catch phrase.

How Does A Boy Ask For A Date?

At what age a boy dates depends very much on the boy himself. And again physical size bears no relation to emotional readiness. Anywhere from fourteen on a boy may be ready to leave the teasing group of boys and go on his first date. His family should be well prepared for the metamorphosis that will occur.
The first sign, of course, is cleanliness. He will suddenly begin bathing without reminders, lengthily combing his hair before setting out for school instead of merely running the comb—or more likely, his fingers—through it [stress mine-AH]. Suddenly his shoes will be shined to a glassy polish, and he will stop biting his fingernails. He will require two or three times his usual number of clean shirts, and he will take an unusual interest in ties, socks, and handkerchiefs, hitherto items of no interest at all. He will also begin to agitate about his inadequate allowance and start wondering out loud how he can augment it by a little manual labor. He constantly asks if anyone notices how deep his voice is getting. [This does not necessarily stop after three years in college.]
It is usually Mother who sees the signs first. She knows instinctively that her son is about to take his first steps away from her apron strings. Most of what she can do for him she has already done. Soon he will probably turn more and more to his father for counsel, or to some father substitiute.
Boys usually don’t need advice on how to ask a girl for a date. [You reading this, Drewski?] They bungle through somehow in the early years of dating, eventually acquiring a certain polished technique only experience can bring. Parents can help by showing that they expect their children to date whenever they are ready. They should never force the issue or make the choices for the children.
Boys usually begin by going to games and school dances stag. They yearn from the sidelines, while pretending a vast disinterest in the equally cohesive girls. After a certain amount of this mothers often suggest, “Joe, why don’t you take Mary to the game this afternoon?” This is usually met with a derisive snort, but soon, sure enough, Mary and Joe are eating popcorn together in the bleachers. As a result of the motherly approval he needed, Joe has probably blurted, “You want to go to the game tomorrow, Mary?” And Mary has said, “Sure.” From then on making dates is easy enough.

- Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette: A Guide to Gracious Living, 1952, Doubleday

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Quotes, quotes, quotes!

Long ago I promised Dan to make up a list of the best quotes. I've been procrastinating on it for a while, but here goes. Some are repeats... but worth repeating. In some semblance of chronological order.

Patrick: (to Fr. Yakitis) You could bi-locate!
Anne: Padre Pio did it!

Jared: Eye contact is *so* third base for me!

Jared: And a handshake is scoring...
Sukie: I certainly hope not, Jared, because when I met your parents this afternoon, I shook their hands!

Alison: Isn't a lemma a small, furry mammal?
Josh: I think it is half of a dilemma.

Miklos: You are pessimistic, Josh? Do not be pessimistic.
Josh: Well, there goes my personality.

Alice: I didn't know that puns were a violation of the Geneva convention...
Charlotte: I believe that's item one.

Charlotte: Quiet! I still have many silly points to make!

Alex: I'm not a dork... my parents think I'm cool.

Steph: And Home Plate is scoring.
Ivana: And then what?
Steph: That's it.
Ivana: That's it?
Alice: Well, I don't know what else you have in Macedonia...

Steph: You jousted a building? What did you ride?

Ivana: You attacked Harper Library? You bad man.
James: No, it totally came at me.

Tim H: This school is a chastity belt.

Kateri: It's the annual "Make Fun of Kateri Day," which happens every week.

Arthur: Yes, but in California, "hella" is a word.

Dan: Green Party members are like Democrats with balls... except for the female Green Party members... who are not like Democrats with balls...

Alex: I don't want to say it in the presence of God...
Patrick: (mishearing) I'm not listening.

Steph: No, I mean, kissing guy(s)... not multiple guys at the same time... .that would be efficient!

Dan: Quasi Eureka? Maybe Eureka? I think I've got it... possibly?

Jenny: Aragorn or Legolas?
Sukie: Aragorn. But really Pippin.

Alice: (On Dan's future wife: his job) Yeah, until you walk into your office one morning and step on a drinking glass...

Anne: What would you get as a Christmas present for a 21-year-old Mormon who does Cross Stitch?

Alice: Dan, you are much more datable than a cauliflower.

Alice: I could have sworn I left California...
Miklos: California is everywhere.

Dan: The world does not revolve around you, Alice. About nine inches to your left.

Dan: My ego is doing somersaults and landing on its arthritic little ego knees.

Dan: You are about as helpful as a corpse and far more loquacious.

Dan: The most dangerous thing in the hands of a woman is an Alanis Morissette CD.

Streeter: "So I want you to know that I sypathise with you, needing to come out here at 9:00 in the morning, in the cold, and do philosophy... but I can't promise that it won't kill you."

Jared: You can talk about kissing in the abstract.
Alice: In the abstract?!

Bilal: (In his notes on the surprise birthday party he was throwing for himself) Make sure to only invite attractive people... Make sure I don't find out.

Alice: Oh, I wish I were an Entwife.

Anne: Do you reject the glamour of dating and refuse to be mastered by THAT BOY?

Adam: How would you say 'et cetera' in Latin?

Gazes: You could call it "Problem Set Volume II," with less violence and greater critical acclaim.

Alice: You [and Jared] seem to be getting along.
Patrick: Yes, in Calvinball we made eachother put our pants back on.

Dan: I didn't throw it. I tossed it gently.

Dan: Yes, Alice, I would much rather make out with girls than kick evil supervillan ass.

Dan: 'Fishes'? What the hell is a 'fishes'?

Mom: No, really! I was sitting in my hotel room knitting, watching Eminem!

Patrick: I'd like to request the classic Mexican ballad, "Alex, why aren't you doing your homework?"

Miklos: I have an announcement to make... Rafal is a pussy.

Margaret: Alice, what will you do, five, six years down the line, when you recieve an invitation to my elopement?

Emily: It kinda sucks to be the Germans.
Okay, maybe it alot sucks to be the Germans.

Emily: (In reference to a Chocolate "Power Gel") Eat me, eat me, say that you'll eat me...

Dan: I'd be hitting you with a pillow if you weren't across the continental United States.

Patrick: So if the Mounties have the sexiest uniform... and Russian is the sexiest language... then if the Russians took Canada... (Alice chimes in) they'd be unstoppable!

Alice: Three out of four boys at that table wanted to date me and the fourth would have if he hadn't been so attached to his LSAT prep book!

Alice: I listened to this song (Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn") a lot in February. I called it the Eulalia song.
Patrick: Eulalia?
Alice: A martyr. Was torn with fishhooks.
Patrick: You are such a child of the '90s Catholic Nerd!

Navy Boy: Remember: never attribute to malice what can be attributed to male stupidity.

Did I forget any? Let me know.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Just Call Me Imelda...

My closet inventory reveals that I own 24 pairs of shoes and four pairs of slippers.

It may be 25 shoes, depending on if I remembered to count the pair I bought yesterday.

This calls to mind the drunken, jilted lover of Dennis Johnson's "Soul of a Whore:" "The woman claims to be the proud owner of forty-six shoes."

Sunday, August 08, 2004

For She's a Jolly Good Fellow

When I arrived in the main hall of her home yesterday, she was wearing a crown and holding court before a circle of the residents. They were teasing one of the women, saying, "you know you should curtsey before the Queen," and I walked to the center of the circle, (looking, according to her, "very cute,") and curtseyed in my best ballet-school manners before giving her a kiss and saying, "Hello, Grandma!"

I got applause. Apparently I looked particularly cute.

This crown thing is new for the Heritage. It just goes to show that she is very well liked, and that they know her personality very well. Quite a few women showed up from the other part of the Center (the apartment-style living for people who need less assistance) which was quite a compliment. We had German Chocolate Cake, prepared by the kitchen for her birthday, and Coffee, and people came by to greet her, and one of the nurses played the piano and the women sang. They like to sing.

I met a young woman named Jenny, who is from the St. Vincent de Paul's young adult's service group, who has become good friends with my Grandma and makes her bracelets and who showed up for the party.

We retired, after the residents were taken to their dinner, to a bar/bistro where Grandma got to have a martini (I had a Shirley Temple) and I read her her birthday cards. Then we got in our cars and went to a very elegant Basque restaurant on Battery St, where Mom read her poem/biography, and Uncle John and I read my script, and we ate a great deal. Dinner ended with present opening and my mother's Angel Food Cake. Grandma loved all the jewelry people gave her and was quite surprised by the second cake.

A lovely 90th birthday for a well-loved lady.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Last Weekend

We seem to be in a sort of stare-down, Patrick and I, as to who is going to post first about last weekend. Because he prefers to write opinions, rather than personal stuff (and I am the opposite,) and a good relationship is about giving in, and because I have nothing else to do while waiting for dinner, I'm going to go first.

Last Friday, I got home from work, and was just settling down (as Genevieve wove herself between my ankles), when the phone rang. I was quite surprised to hear Patrick on the other end of the line. After remarking that I was expecting his call on Sunday, I rambled on for a good while on topics of no real consequence, until finally curiosity got the better of me.

Alice: So why won't you be able to call on Sunday?
Patrick: Well... I'm going to be there on Sunday.
Alice: WHAT?
Patrick: Spontaneous roadtrip.
(some time, and conversation, passes)
Alice: So when are you arriving?
Patrick: Oh, around 10:00 tonight.
Alice: I'm going to sit down.

So I had Patrick to myself all the way through late Sunday afternoon. We had dim sum, went to the beach, and went to the St. Francis Soda Fountain for milkshakes (unfortunately, despite my requests, it looks like the Root Beer Milkshake has been permanently retired).
Mass on Sunday, followed by burritos from El Toro Taqueria, and an indoor picnic (because the weather was so gloomy.) Patrick got to meet Fr. Vitto, my favorite priest at St. Cecelia's.

It was a lovely, lovely, weekend, and a wonderful surprise.

Patrick was apologizing to my mother for the short notice. She had a pretty good response.

Mom: Oh, that's ok, this way we don't need to listen to her complain about how she's not in San Luis Obispo.

Oh, dear me. I do love that boy.


So here's last night's late-night quandry for you:

What did they call toilet-training infants before the invention of toilets?

Garderobe training?

And how did they go about doing it?


I don't really know why you people allow my brain to be left to its own devices.