Saturday, September 27, 2008

Vikings always match

Many people believe economics and gender politics were to blame for the extraordinarily low birth rate in Sweden during the late '70s. But sometimes I wonder if there might have been other reasons:

Props to Margo for the link. Keep scrolling just gets better and better.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Greetings, neglected legions. Busy times in Beckyland! Some disjointed updates for you:

On a recent mission to watch the Indianapolis Moto GP race, I tromped out to this Williamsburg bar that usually shows the races on a big screen on Mondays. (Better late than never.) Well, as often happens, one thing led to another, and before long I was invited to Florida (or Long Island) with a blinged-out local retiree who said he was scared of motorcycles but that if he ever got one, it would be 100 percent chrome. He looked like an older version of James Caan - white polo shirt, gold chain, pinkie rings, thick and tidy wads of cash. He told me about the '57 Chevy he used to drive up and down the street we were on (Driggs); the car had seven layers of black paint on it. "Bulletproof," he said. His friend had a red one, same deal but nine layers.

He asked me if I wanted boys or girls; at his age, he said, he was probably past that point anyway, "but I would be willing to try with you." At some point during the evening I told him how old I was. "I usually go for younger women," he said. "You don't mind if I look around, do you?"

They called the race, due to hurricane, but not before Rossi had made his way to the front. "That's your guy, right?" said James Caan. "You sure got some power."

On Saturday night I went out for drinks with my pal and colleague Leif Pettersen (go read his blog, Killing Batteries), who turns out to be allergic to me. He was a good sport, though, and helped me avoid doing any real work until almost four in the morning.

As for my other adventures this week, let's just say losing two of my four ponytail hair-tie thingies was the least depressing but most representative consequence. The world is small and mean, and the city is so big. It's all left me in a weirdly unsettled, trancelike state, the perfect mood for reading Joan Didion, which is lucky because The White Album was one of the week's reading assignments. The pace of school is picking up, and I'm a shockingly slow reader. (I savor.) My list of boyfriends has expanded to include George Orwell and Edmund Wilson, for anyone still keeping track.

For Friday's class I get to write 50 to 200 words about why I'm special and the rules don't apply to me. I sort of think it goes without saying, but whatever.

Found this today at the very end of Harper's magazine; I like what the semicolon does to it:

"In space, the earth's shrieking could be heard; Mars's soil, said chemists, will support asparagus."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Scenery for the Curious

Here's the view from my temporary hut in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY, USA, where I'll be staying until this last semester of school winds up in December.

Here's the living room/book cave -- and right behind that fan in the window, there's a GIGANTIC spider hanging out on the other side of the screen (but for how long???).

And here's a pic (bad, but I like it anyway) from a couple of weekends back, when Brenda came to visit and we went to the farmers market that happens every Saturday right outside my door.

Monday, September 01, 2008

tourist time

This week, while waiting for my living situation to sort itself out, I played New York City tourist. Fun game! My first night here I just walked around the neighborhood, people-watching. The sunset killed, but I had no camera. Next day I went to the Whitney to see the exhibit on R Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the buckyball (among other things) and all-around cool cat. The display included tons of his drawings and plans, all of which have hilarious annotations scrawled all over them. He was a funny guy. Here's a sketch comparing his "4D" house to the "tailor-made archaic contraption" most folks live in:

He also invented a three-wheeled car (the Dymaxion car) that could parallel-park in two square inches, held eleven people and got around 35 miles to the gallon while hitting speeds of up to 120mph. And this was in 1933.

Recently my grandpa sent me photos of the army hut he and Granny lived in when my dad was a tiny munchkin. It was basically a particleboard cube, so small they could barely all fit inside at once, but housing was scarce at the time and they took what they could get. Meanwhile, Bucky was marketing self-contained home kits that cost hardly anything, went up in a day, and could be transported anywhere cheaply. Orders poured in, but the things never got made. What gives? And what about his floating cloud cities? or the gigantic pyramid community outside of Manhattan, or the geodesic dome over Manhattan?

None of the really cool stuff ever gets invented. We are lame.

Anyway. I also went to Film Forum one day and spent the whole afternoon watching French crime films: Un Flic and The Sicilian Clan, both starring my boyfriend Alain Delon. Pretty great.

Yesterday I hung out at MOMA, which I'm starting to love almost as much as Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The big exhibit now is Kirchner and the Berlin streets - I love his angular prostitutes, all sleek and vivid. I bet they'd be fun to hang out with. They look cool:

Also spent some time in what I call the Freaky Germans room, with Otto Dix, Max Beckmann and George Grosz - the Grosz they had up is SO super yucky, it's a portrait of an old man and the skin on his head is too thin and shiny, you can see veins and blech, it's just gross. Great, but gross. Like the old hacking dude in Prizzi's Honor - extreme nightmares. I love Otto Dix but he's scary; his self-portrait at MOMA is plastic-zombie creepy. Photos of him in real life make him look pretty rad, but the painted version gives you chills, man. Christian Bale in saranwrap.

Mostly though I just walked around and looked at the city. It's huge! I walked past the UN by accident, so now I know where to find a police officer if I should ever need one. Jeez. Later on the doorman at a fancy apartment building tried to get me to buy his Honda Interceptor (red), but it looked awfully shiny and new. I doubt I could afford it, much less ride such a thing. (I miss my little Hawk, though. She is chilling in Zach's garage. And the racebike is chilling in pieces in Jack's garage...more on that later, no doubt.)

I'm dragging my rucksack to the apartment today - the place is in Fort Greene, actually bordering Fort Greene Park. It comes with a nameless fish I'm allowed to kill if things go badly. Updates and photos once I get settled in.