Archive for June, 2008

It Was All Yellow

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

yella_cows
Mood: Chillaxed
Drinking: Sweet Tea

At long last, a new cinépoem has arrived.

Shot last November in the central valley of California (Pachecho Pass, Gilroy, Dinuba, Reedley, etc.), “Yellow” is a departure from the norm, if there has indeed been any kind of norm with our cinépoems.

It’s a mellow little fellow with more of an outward-facing perspective than most of my work, which tends to be introspective and more emotional.

Michelle and I tried to do something a little different with the visual representation of this poem to match the different tone of voice. We hope you like it.

Go get Yellow
YouTube Yellow

-Lo, who is quite a fan of roadside fruit stands.

Bright Neon Love

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

slotMood: Satisfied
Drinking: Tea

Bright Neon Love

Vegas is a strange place to fall in love,
tempted on all sides by glittering casinos infused
with bottled oxygen, green greed, and artificial optimism

the neon sirens calling fools at all hours
with their melodious technicolor jangle,
burnished by the desperate heat of a desert
where nothing should thrive but sand.

and everywhere skulk girls
more beautiful than I
more supple than I
more willing than I

but somewhere in this bright light city
you are waiting,
not for girls
but for me.

And I just want to stroke your skin the way the fingers of silky men
caress their poker cards, I want to pin you to the roulette wheel < and spin you ‘til you’re dry, I want to pull the levers of your machine until you open your mouth and cry out silver, I want to light you up with a bright neon love that burns all the stars from the sky. Vegas is a strange place to fall in love again. But on the 27th floor with all the electricity at our feet, you don't even look for the twinkle of the faux Eiffel Tower, you don't see the fountains dance or the pirate ship blow, or watch as light from the pyramid shoots up into ozone. You just pull the curtain across the window and my dress to the floor. -Lo, who sometimes says “Viva Las Vegas.”

The Not-So-Friendly Skies

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

airlines_suck
Mood: Disgruntled
Drinking: Caffeine

An Open Letter to American Airlines

I used to love to fly. I’d arrive at the airport nearly giddy with anticipation. But it wasn’t just arrival at my final destination that was making me tingle — it was the whole process of traveling, from the minute I pulled my suitcase from the closet to the moment I returned it.

I loved arriving at the airport, checking my luggage, watching the planes roll in to the gates and out to the sky. I loved the little bags of peanuts, the repetitive “Thank you, have a good day Thank you, have a good day” mantra of the flight attendants as passengers disembarked. I loved the vertigo of takeoff and the gravitas of landing. I loved it all.

But you, American Airlines, you have ruined it for me.

After years of being a happy traveler, a docile passenger, you have turned me into a disgruntled, truculent, reluctant one.

And this isn’t just a rant about your baggage fees, although those piss me off, too. Why not just raise your fares? Why make already tired and stressed-out people whip open their wallets once again at the airport? Just let us pay your damn fees ahead of time when we buy our tickets.

But my real complaint should worry you a whole lot more, because it’s indicative of everything that is making airlines go bankrupt.

Because it has become painfully obvious that you just don’t give a shit anymore. You don’t care about your employees. You don’t care about your passengers. You don’t care about your planes or your schedules or your flight plans. And you have no problem communicating that arrogant ambivalence to your customers, thanks to your equally disgruntled employees.

I flew on two American Airlines flights within the last week. One from San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare, and one return flight along the same route. Both flights sucked beyond measure, and it was only complicated by the fact that I was flying with my sister and her 6-month-old baby. We were traveling back to where we grew up so her new son could meet his Great-Grandma, who is too old and ill to make the trek to California.

We arrived at the airport without incident and made it through security before any trouble really began. First our flight was delayed a half hour, then an hour, because of “wind” in Chicago.

Yes. Chicago, the windy city, has wind. How inconvenient!

When we finally got on the plane and pushed away from the gate, we thought our troubles were over. But no. It wasn’t until we were safely tucked in and locked up that we were told that we’d be sitting on the runway. For another hour.

So we finally arrived at our destination nearly 6 hours later, and we were happy to be there, so we put it out of our minds. It’s ok, we figured, our flight out was the unlucky one with all the delays, so surely our flight home will be a good one.

Silly, silly hope.

When we made it to our gate at O’Hare on June 11 for our return flight, we were happy to see that the flight was on time. But that was the last time we were happy for the next 8 hours.

I don’t know if you’ve ever traveled with a baby, but no one in this country makes it easy to do so. You’re met with dirty looks, loud sighs, and mumbled complaints of “Oh God, it will just be our luck that they sit next to us” everywhere you go. Doesn’t matter if your baby is incredibly well-behaved. Doesn’t matter how quiet he is. Doesn’t matter how much a young mother has prepared herself for the trip with all the necessary supplies and distractions needed to keep an infant happy. Americans, as a whole, are a loud and selfish people who don’t want their space invaded by small and needy children. And they have no qualms about making that as passive-aggressively clear as possible.

So having to deal with all that discrimination from fellow travelers, it doesn’t help when you get the same treatment from airline employees.

While we were waiting for our flight to board, I asked one of the gate attendants if my sister and her 6-month-old could board early. Not only was I told they could not, but I was given an eye roll to go with it.

When I protested that she had been allowed to board with group 1 in San Francisco, the woman wearing the AA uniform told me, “Well, we don’t do that in Chicago. There’s too many children. If we did that, the plane would be just full of children.”

Blink. Blink-blink.

What kind of sense does that make? The children are going to get on the plane anyway, why not make it easier for them and their parents? I for one would prefer to board the plane without a small toddler dragging a pink princess backpack slowly down the aisle. I’d be happy to have her already in her seat. But apparently there are too many children in Chicago, so they will have to wait until the grown-ups drag their backpacks down the aisle.

I swallowed that one, but then I was told that if my sister had a stroller she was gate-checking (which she did), that she needed to gate-check it immediately. Even though we weren’t boarding for another half-hour. Even though she had just gotten her baby to go to sleep. Even though HE WAS SLEEPING IN THE STROLLER. No. She had to lift him out of the stroller and hold him in her arms for the next 30 minutes while we waited for all the businessmen and first class passengers to file slowly in.

Fine. Whatever. We just wanted to go home. So we stood and waited and finally filed in to our seats at the very back of the plane. We stowed our bags, buckled in, and heaved a sigh of relief when the plane pushed back from the gate.

And then we saw ahead of us on the runway a long, long line of at least 30 planes of all sizes and carriers, just sitting there, waiting. My sister looked at me in disbelief. And then the pilot got on the intercom and said “Well, folks…”

Apparently because of “weather” in Kansas, we had to sit on the runway in that line for over an hour while planes were re-routed. And so our nightmare flight home began.

The entire flight, including the time we spent sitting on the runway, there were 2 flight attendants right behind us in the galley, gossiping. They talked and talked and talked, loudly, about neighbors and boyfriends and fellow employees while all around them babies tried to sleep, or woke up crying because they were so loud, while passengers futilely pressed flight attendant call buttons again and again.

At one point I looked down the plane and saw at least 5 call lights on, but no one answered them. And it wasn’t because the flight attendants were strapped in for take off… One of them walked right past all those lit lights at least twice and never once looked at the passengers who were requesting help.

After about half an hour, one of the flight attendants who was so busy with her tales of soap opera intrigue in the galley finally waddled out to see what all the fuss was about.

Since when do airline passengers rate such poor treatment? Since when do flight attendants get to ignore the people who provide them the reason for their entire job? Since when do airlines not give a shit about the people who keep them in business?

Do you realize that many of the people who fly on your planes are going to visit loved ones or going on a much-needed vacation? These people are usually limited in their vacation time, and when you are so swift to cancel or redirect or delay a flight, you are in effect stealing time from these people. Time they could have spent with family, with friends, with lovers. The very least you could do, then, is act like you actually CARE that you have just ruined people’s day, that you have just shortened their vacation, that you have just stressed them out, that you have just complicated their life. I realize, of course, that weather cannot be prevented and that sometimes things go wrong with planes and with schedules. But when these unavoidable things happen, could you at least work up a sincere apology? Why add insult to injury by being so arrogant, so callous, so annoyed? What’s so hard about acting like actual human beings?

I could go on and on about our awful flight home, about the flight attendant who slept, snoring, directly behind us in the last row that they wouldn’t let anyone sit in because “the oxygen masks are broken”, or the flight attendant whose wide posterior region bumped shoulders of passengers on both sides of the aisle every time she walked past, or the kid who was awakened by the unnecessarily chatty intercom and then screamed for an hour, or the way the pilot gave my sister’s baby a dirty look as we left the plane. But I’m tired of ranting. I’m tired of remembering it. And I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about it. After all, this isn’t the worst travel horror story you’ve heard, is it? So let’s end with an appeal to your business sense:

Do these slogans sound familiar to you?
“We know why you fly.”
“Doing what we do best.”
“Something special in the air.”
They should. Those are a few of American Airlines’ advertising slogans. And after hearing my story, don’t they all sound like complete bullshit?

No wonder you’re going bankrupt.

-Lo, who thinks if this is what airlines do best, we should all start taking the train.

In the Leaving

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

zurichstation
Mood: Exhausted
Drinking: Water

I’m in the mood today for this lovely thing:

it is in the leaving
by Nicole Blackman
(from Blood Sugar)

it is in the leaving that the agony begins
— hope and skin stretched too far

time enough for words
borrowed and weighty

eyes that glisten in the knowing of what comes
always comes
after

airports
train stations
bus stops
take us apart

but we keep knitting together
strangely inevitably
even we don’t question it anymore

it is not in the reuniting that we are together

no kind of kiss binds us
each greeting
each meeting
is new is full of searching
of notsureifitwillbethesame

it is not in the continuing

not in the birthdays anniversaries new years
(although they’re very grand)
nor in the letters calls poems

the miss you’s are careless because they are common

it is not in the waiting

the day-counting
the trip-planning
the bag-packing
no kind of agony that shreds days makes us together
(calendars are cruel)

it is in the leaving

in the last look
last touch
last kiss
one more
will i ever see you again
rip
that makes me sure
that makes him sure
that this is a great love

it is in the leaving

Lo, taking her leave.

Not Carried Away

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

satc
Mood: Industrious
Drinking: Tea Time

What I am about to say will make me one of the, oh, 5 people in the world who can’t stand Sex and the City, who is not rushing out to a theater this weekend or raising a Cosmopolitan to my lips whilst teetering about on 4-inch stilettos.

(And in my little group of 5, I’m not counting the uptight religious folk who don’t like it on principle simple because it has “sex” in the title.)

Yes, I have actually watched the show. I figure it’s best to know what you’re talking about before you choose to call it reprehensible. So a few years ago, when the final season had just aired and everyone was in a tizzy because, oh god, what would they do without their SATC, I decided to see what the fuss was about.

I admit that I went into my Netflix marathon with low expectations. I had seen bits and pieces of the show before (it has been unavoidable), and I took an immediate and deep-seated dislike to Carrie. Admittedly, I can’t stand any of the girls. But Carrie is the worst for me. She makes me want to stab out eyes with sporks.

As if you didn’t know, Sarah Jessica Parker’s frizzy-haired fashionista is supposedly a writer on the show. It pains me that people who love the show, oh you many millions, think that Carrie’s brand of “writing” is suppposed to be good. The horror!

Any time she would flip open her laptop and flick on a cigarette, I felt rage begin to well up from the tips of my toes. And then the “writing” voiceover would begin:
“I couldn’t help but wonder, when it comes to being carefree single girls, have we missed the boat?”
or
“Later in the day I began to wonder, are we simply romantically challenged, or are we sluts?”
or
“I wonder, in a world where leaving each other seems to be getting more and more frequent, what are the breakup rules?”

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

If SATC were created today, Carrie wouldn’t have a column in a newspaper (side note: how does she afford her ridiculous wardrobe on a salary from a newspaper, especially when she doesn’t even seem to work full-time???) — she would have a blog, and she would happily clatter away on her little keyboard, spewing all her random musings and boy-obsessed wonderings to the great unknown blogosphere. Kind of like I am doing right now.

Anyway, for those many and rabid SATC devotees and defenders, nothing I say will sway their love for Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. But nothing they can say will change my utter contempt for this show.

I know it’s supposedly a great tale about the friendship of women and how it triumphs over all of life’s ills. And that’s nice and all, but it’s hard for me to see through all of the horrible writing and ridiculous scenarios and find such a diamond at the center of all the crap.

Perhaps it’s because I prefer boots to Blahniks, or maybe it’s because I was never a serial dater, or possibly it’s because I don’t give a shit about fashion, but whatever it is, the silly, self-obsessed, insecure, waspy girls of SATC will just never do it for me.

And if that makes me one of only 5 people on earth who feel that way, well, I’m just fine with it.

But if you are one of the many SATC lovers in my life (Michael, I’m looking at you), I’m not gonna love you any less because of your taste in television. Just please don’t expect me to go to the theater with you when you go to “get Carried away” for the third time in a row.

-Lo, with a kiss-kiss here and a hug-squeal there.