August 16, 2008
I be the Champion, my friends,
of the 2008 Hard Drive Data Retrieval Olympics
STAGED BY POWERBOOK GUY
in Suite 1090 of the historic Flood Building at 870 Market Street. They recovered a great big part of my past, which I am always reluctant to part with, and for this they deserve the highest accolades, or at least a caffè latte from Peet’s, like the one I drank while awaiting the reforging of the grail onto my new hard drive, a latte proffered to me by a self-proclaimed Communist, and as I reached for it I asked, “It’s not going to rub off on me, is it?” And then, a la Seinfeld, “Not that there’s anything WRONG with that!”
As a matter of fact, I’m dating a communist. I do believe that’s enough to make me a commie sympathizer, yes? Sue me.
OK SO I DIDN’T QUALIFY
to enter the “Zip Code Olympics” sponsored by Don Blue and Star 101.3 because, though I do have a toilet and a blow dryer, I do not have a garbage disposal, a doorbell that rings, an egg in the refrigerator, or an animal that will vocalize on command—so I could not represent 94103, much to my chagrin, as I look to making a mark in my new neighborhood.
BUT THEY’LL HEAR FROM ME SOMEDAY!
even if only by my screaming out the window, HEY GUYS, I AM THE CHAMPION! The record-breaker, at more than a month’s retrieval time, of “Tier 2″ hard drive data recovery operations in PowerBook Guy history. I think the former record was around three weeks. I be proud. I be the champion. I even raised my arms in a triumphant thrill-of-victory “Yes!” The only other thing I can self-proclaim to be champion of is “the rails,” for as I noted in “You’re Not the Only One I Love,” “Champion of the Rails, Olympia-Lacey [Washington] bills itself, meaning I know not what. But I claim the right to bill myself as such, as well.” I ride them often enough, after all.
I AM SO LOVIN’ YOU ON YELP,
I told PowerBook Guy himself, Daniel, an amiable and easygoing guy to whom I’d yelped “Help!” when first he answered the door. I had gone to the Apple Genius Bar because my OS X Leopard Time Machine back-up program was failing due to a mysterious error it would neither identify nor tell me what to do about. I was told by Genius Zach that my hard drive was about to crash and I’d better hurry and drag and drop everything onto my external hard drive and hie to PowerBook Guy to get myself fixed up. But before I did, I got The Blue Screen of Death, they used to call it on PCs. This was a different designer Mac shade of blue but dead dead dying death it was. Strange, because I have always considered the prolonged blue of dusk one experiences on westward flights, to be the color of death.
ANYway, today I left my laptop with the Guys to restore the recovered files, and thought I’d go down the street to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at SFMOMA. Go I did, but see I did not. And unless you’re tall, with razor-sharp vision, and not subject to claustrophobia, you won’t do very well either, unless you have hours to backtrack to those pieces earlier monopolized by the mass of congregants taking the audio tours, that happen to be free before another group approaches.
Of course, this was a Friday afternoon, the 4:00 showing. What was I thinking? If you’re good at darting, weaving, insinuating, and perhaps being rude, you may make a go of it. I actually thought I’d be better off going around the world one by one to the various venues the paintings are usually housed in.
Suffering lover. Broken angel. Poetess and priestess of paint. A true original. That’s why I’d encourage you, ladies, to stay away from “The Kahlo Look” on sale at the Museum shops and sported by some in attendance. Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy, and you are no Frida Kahlo. You’re who you are, just be happy with that. Homage or not, dressing like Frida won’t make you look like anything but someone dressing like an icon who’s been dead for 54 years. There are quite a few articles, like Mark Vallen’s blog charging that “ ‘Fridamania’ has refashioned the radical artist into a series of harmless and exotic clichés.” So dears, don’t be one of those clichés; the greatest homage is to be influenced by her to create wonderful worlds of your own. After all, as I noted in “It Can’t Be Helped,” “Be yourself and you will always be in fashion.”
I’D HAD A SNOOTFUL
of frustration with the exhibit before I took off for Peet’s at Third and Mission to write about the experience, but as I entered the store I remembered, PowerBook Guy has my laptop! Luckily, I had allowed myself the indulgence, at the Museum shop, of a few carefully selected items, amongst the many tempting titles, including a clever, amusing and infuriating soft volume by Keri Smith entitled Wreck This Journal, To Create is to Destroy, an I’m-Going-To-Tell-You-How-To-Do-It-Yourself book of ways to wreck the journal, with page-by-page instructions like “Compost this page. Watch it deteriorate.”“Draw with glue.” “Infuse this page with a smell of your choosing.”
Well, of course, I wasn’t going to do any damn thing she suggested. I was going to ignore or rebel against anything she suggested. Oh, of course, I get it. It’s full of weird and wonderful suggestions for those who are intimidated by white space, with perhaps surprises and revelations and epiphanies in store. Perhaps you didn’t know, you can do ANYthing! But also perhaps, Smith suggests at the end, “it is not as alluring because you are being told to do it.” Of course the Instructions include “2. Follow the instructions on every page.” And “4. Instructions are open to interpretation.” And “5. Experiment.” On the “Materials” list the first item is “ideas.”
of the instructions is to ignore them altogether, to consider the journal “nothing but annotated or decorated paper.” On the page reading “Add your own page numbers, starting here,” I write, “This is page no. ‘puke.’ ” The next page is “page no. ‘flush.’ ” “This coffee,” I added, “by the way, tastes like a hard pretzel without the salt.”
Of course I cannot deny myself the possibility of those things I might discover by following the instructions. I’ll have to see as I progress through the book. Anyway, the damn thing is provocative, and that is indeed the point. Check out www.kerismith.com. Charming. “You too can be an explorer of the world.”
PUKING AND FLUSHING
were on my mind because of my recent bout with either food poisoning or whatever stomach virus is going around, just as struck me in New York at Christmas—hours of undulating cramps and screaming torment altogether cured by a single cup of buttermilk, rendering me able, a mere two hours later, to sit through Prokofiev’s four-hour “War and Peace” at the Met. Remember to try buttermilk if it happens to you, because Pepto Bismol was good for nothing but being pink. Pinko like me. I don’t know what anyone’s chances are of having buttermilk on hand, but you’d at least better have at hand someone to go get it for you because when this thing strikes babe you ain’t goin’ nowhere no way no how.
Even with my history of crapulous sleep habits, I have never known such tossing and turning. I tried every position in the Kama Sutra and there was no way to be at ease. My ribs are still sore, when I laugh, from retching. I missed a Danger and Despair noir feature over it, as well as a date with the Communist.
who is an artist, asked me the other day why I’d never shown him the prints and drawings I’ve made. I didn’t recall showing or not showing them to him, but I explained, I probably didn’t think of it because I don’t think of myself as an “artist,” that is, I am simply not compelled to create visual art like I am writing, nor do I have the imagination for it. I’m a proficient enough drafter, but I’m not interested in skill but in vision, and don’t feel I convey one of my own. It’s more my language to create pictures with words—but every now and then I indulge, for a change of pace and side of brain from words.
But I say, if you feel like you can’t do it, do it anyway. And if you like, print this column out and wreck it.
A Word to the Wise
And to think there are those who see me as the next Poet Laureate of San Francisco! (Thanks, guys. Perhaps, in the fullness of time.)
copyright Alexandra Jones 2008