Thu Jul 3 15:37:47 EDT 2003
It seems again that I'm back on a working schedule ... just like last
summer, if I sleep in too late, I get regular nightmares. But this
summer, they start at 8 AM instead of 9. Sleeping past what I wanted
to both this morning and last (I love my flexible work hours), I had
the strangest dreams.
That's going to be a problem if I can't snap out of it on the
weekends. Work hard, play hard, seems to be the maxim of the summer,
perhaps longer -- as long as I can sustain it, if I have my way. Last
weekend, I-Ju decided that on her last at work, she wanted us all to
go contra-dancing with her. So nine of us or so -- six StreamSagers,
one SO, and two random friends, Chad and Russell -- trooped out to
Glen Echo, where thousands upon thousands of SWILlies (well, okay,
maybe only about a hundred -- and they certainly can't have all gone
to Swat!) were contradancing up a storm. I ended up following the two
new guys to Staccato, where a band someone knew the drummer of was
playing, and then on to Chief Ike's, a rotating group of the full
range of twentysomethings, and a token thirty- or two. Danced all
night, and I got to sleep, post-Trader-Joe's-popsicle, at dawn.
The next night, after Peter and Taeny (Tae-Eun) babbled in Korean over
bibim bap in Virginia, I was dragged out again -- work hard,
play hard. Sitting at an outside bar in Adams Morgan, we ran into a
Borrebach I wasn't expecting -- twin of Jack (music major of '02),
this brother (Nate) is in IT consulting in DC.
And again last night, soaking wet from the pouring rain but dried by
the Malian music tent on the Mall, Eat First Chinese restaurant off
7th, and a Scottish (Irish?) put in Woodley Park, talking about John
Travolta and genre crossover on the viola, Chad and Jenny et al. and I
had to convince ourselves not to continue on to a club, or else I
never would have gotten up.
It's amazing how easy it is to meet new people, and the amount of
things that are going on here. DC is growing on me fast. The only
thing I might regret is not having time to unpack those cardboard
boxes scattered around my apartment ...
Sun Jul 6 21:27:17 EDT 2003
I'm so bored I can see my reflections in my fingernails.
I polished them -- and, as is more regular with respect to my painted
appendages, my toenails -- red, in quasi-festivity for the 4th this
weekend. Felt much less festive when the monkey fascists checking
bags (!) at the entrances to the Mall confiscated our picnic's
chardonnay and pinot noir. Bastards! They didn't even drink it
themselves; said they'd pour it down the drain. Reminded me how much
I am capable of hating this country.
Eight of us ended up downtown, camped out eating fresh pesto and
peaches (damn; shoulda put the wine in our unchecked Nalgenes),
waiting for the half-hour show of explosions behind the Washington
monument. Cute, but nothing I've seen before or since tops Madison's
Rhythm & Booms. But you gotta go out, so we did, and with (mostly
unmitigated) pleasure, even despite the throngs of fireworks-goers
cramming the streets for a mile radius afterwards.
Polished my nails again when the first coat started chipping as a
result of quiche-making, dough-rolling, peach-cooking, and general
overinvolved lunching that newly-Starbucked barista Emilie and her
friend and I accomplished Saturday afternoon. Fresh zucchini and
scallions seasoning my newly-blackened wok; peaches with sugar,
vanilla, and cinnamon simmering in my new all-clad saucepan. How I
love cookware! I've been coveting a crêpe pan; thinking fondly of
crêpes au marron and oeuf et fromage on the streets of Paris this past April.
It's probably a good thing my current kitchen doesn't have enough
cupboard space, or I would quickly fill it with all-clad and Le
My nails rerouged, but bored as I waited all afternoon for the
deadbolt to be installed, I put a clear coat on. Now they're
reflective, long, red talons. Certainly no good for then viola, but I
need a reason to bring that out of its box ... need to start plumbing
the music network down here.
I want to go out, but it's a weeknight, and I don't want to eat
anything more or drink any more coffee or tea. I've been reading all
day. I need to find and join a gym -- software programming
!= conducive to callipygousness and general well-being -- but
in the meantime my nails are flaming red.
(Now I just need walls to match.)
Fri Jul 11 17:04:51 EDT 2003
It would be nice to get up, go somewhere, ogle foreign newspapers and
chocolates, and buy a cup of coffee from the proprietor, with whom
you're on a first-name basis. Stroll back through sweltering heat,
around the two corners to the air-conditioned building. But I create
these coffee breaks, when not at Avril 50 and working for the LDC
and making my own biscotti,
then in the Delafield House, making curry for
lunch, and mochas (soy when we run out of 2%) in the afternoon
when the lines of (the uncaffeinated kind of) Java start to wave
before my face, recreating the somnolent state of last night when I
dreamed in objects, calling methods to interact with my world. Seth
has taken to making fun of what he calls an addiction; I don't know
how he can pull these kinds of workdays without a little legal
stimulant in the afternoon.
Maybe I need more exercise. No thanks to Peter, Abby just fixed up
Sasha's bike for me, so all I need is a lower pole for the seat so I
can actually pedal the thing (and to pay Sasha for it, of course).
And a place to put it in my building. But once accomplished (this
weekend?), I've been holding it up as the panacea to my sedentary
lifestyle woes. A little exercise, and all will be well ...
I intend to work out at the Mullan Center when I'm up at Swat
tomorrow. (Hitching a ride up, in that last-minute, small-world kind
of way, from a friend of Feng's, a rising junior Swattie, who's also
from Madison -- he recognized my cell phone area code.) Somehow, I
doubt that'll happen, with the party chez GR tonight, and the loading,
driving, and unloading of my second 14-foot U-Haul of the summer (this
time Joanne's), all before early afternoon. I have high hopes, but
we'll see how dehydrated I am when I wake up ... maybe all I'll need
will be a little water, and some coffee.
Wed Jul 16 23:16:00 EDT 2003
I somehow just managed to use three teacups, one teapot, a mug, a
teabag holder, and two spoons in the preparation and consumption of a
mug of chai and a pot of green. How do I do this? Must be some
natural talent for mess-making ... yesterday I ended up with bike
grease all over my pink pants and hands, and chocolate coating just
about every available surface in the Delafield House. Used every pan
I saw, and somehow a strainer, a destroyed plastic bag, and a sheet of
8.5 x 11 in the making of Joanne's birthday cake; did a fair amount of
bike hefting and noodling in the process of bringing my new bike
(thanks, Sasha!) to the True Value Hardware Bike Shop on P St NW
(where I was not repeatedly mocked, unlike at City Bikes!),
getting a new seat post sawed down to size, and then affixing a u-bolt
holder, and muscling the whole thing up to the rack in the entry-way.
Which I suppose will be a regular occurrence, now that I'm planning on
biking to work every day! Rode home this afternoon, and felt good
about it -- but south from Delafield is downhill, so I might not feel
so on top of my game on the morning leg for a few weeks!
But that's what this bike thing is about -- busting this geek ass of
mine into shape.
Home- and self-improvement goals continue along the lines of painting
my room orange like Mansir's (I need color!); getting a monitor so I
can actually use this DSL connection I'm now paying for; contemplating
signing up for pottery
classes so I can make my own teacups, teapots, mugs (so I can use
even more in the brewing of one cup), flowerpots, &c.; this
African dance class Joanne and I are going to check out in the NE
tomorrow ... and of course exploring DC bar by bar, restaurant by
restaurant, club by club, and Swattie by Swattie.
(Oh, and I need a futon frame now ... thanks to the recent
humidity, my floor, it turns out, is not 100% dry. Ew.)
In the meantime, I'm trying to keep my caffeine to a reasonable intake
-- two cups of black per day; an afternoon coffee/mocha; all the green
I want. That plus the liters of water I've been quaffing daily (to
counteract the Java?) ought to just about cancel out -- keep me both
awake, and hydrated enough to pedal my merry-but-probably-out-of-shape
way through my new city.
Tue Jul 22 10:52:57 EDT 2003
I like waking up, or seeming as if I have, in a house with warm wood
floors, taking a cold shower, and drying (orange towel; unmistakable)
in the growing morning heat. Of course, I (actually) woke up in my
own half-orange room (painting in progress), on and under yellow
sheets, so cold from the sleep-lovely 73F I'd kept my apartment at all
night that I wrapped up in my soft green bathrobe and fell back
The bike ride up the three hills to work, once sufficiently hydrated
and motivated, takes less work every day (which is not to say that I
don't still need to get off and walk halfway up the the 13th St. hill
before Euclid), and is a great way to pull myself out of my bathrobe
and sheets and into the summer morning. Not that the mornings outside
are inherently pleasant in DC or anything -- cars not always aware of
where they're going; exhaust; shifting into the right gear and then
not feeling guilty when I'm more than three speeds from the top ...
But the post-ride morning at Delafield, in Joanne's room, feels very
Perhaps for my next residence (which I should not be thinking about
yet, only beginning to paint this one!), I need a group house, bigger,
with real wood floors, a large kitchen, no AC, blue tiles ...
I've tuned into a random classical music station from North
Carolina, WCPE's ogg stream, and have
been switching between trying to identify Borodin's 2nd (which I must
have played in 10th grade) and the current cello concerto befuddling
me in a lovely confused alto-line memory (so familiar! I've played it,
too, though I have no idea when or where ... ah, Saint-Saëns Cello
Concerto No. 1), and a few tracks of Sylvain Chauveau, who I'm going to
see tonight, off his website. Off the same label as Múm and Sigur
Rós, and citing influences of Arvo Pärt and Phillip Glass, I'm
excited. I've been needing more new music of late -- remembering
driving around the highways of
backwoods Bavaria, listening to trance, watching spinning stars
from the passenger's seat ...
I fall into ruts with food. Usually they're good ruts, which is why I
keep them, but sometimes I need innovation. At Delafield, innovation
is often forced -- I'm happy eating a veggie burger with pesto, swiss,
and a ciabatta roll, until the pesto goes, and the swiss runs out, and
the rolls are gone. A 2-hour pilgrimage to the closest Einstein's on
Friday solved the last problem, but the rest has forced the
introduction of miso, and Saint André that hides in the back of the
fridge, that most have likely forgotten about, and Lebanese hummus
that Elsa brought from Arlington for a fabulous, if accidental,
What made me think of this is that Chris just came upstairs eating a
granola bar ... something I haven't had the space for in my habitual
round of breakfast (recently, the bagel-and-cream-cheese shtick; last
week, Mansir's proffered organic, whole-oat oatmeal with soy milk for
sugar and raisins); tea plus something sandwichy lunch; coffee and maybe something
else 'round 4. Yesterday the main deviation was the french cheese (so
reminiscent of cafés in downtown Paris, and
wine!), and in the hot pre-twilight with a New York Times on a
main-floor futon, a few spoonfuls of organic blueberry sorbet. Wow.
I think what I'm trying to accomplish is a similar vibe from last
summer. Maybe it's the AC, too cool in my apartment to keep things
from vibing; maybe it's the DC, new city and the realization that college is really over, and this summer
isn't punctuation but a new sentence or even paragraph ... even though
Philly last summer was new in terms of full-time living, I'd spent all
of college in or around that city. This one is still establishing a
Sat Jul 26 24:59:22 EDT 2003
Quiet Saturday night, as these weeks go -- Jean-Michel flanking my
philodendron and marigolds; pu-erh perhaps too black for the late hour
but providing the postprandial, blackberry-on-your-soft-palate
digestif I've been craving and finding these past two months: in the
blackberry black tea from Alana's sampler; in what must be Mansir's
organic blueberry sorbet; in this Chinese oil-dissolving liquid brew.
Marshmallow Room of late -- almost a glut of New Medium
Softpack has refreshened my ears for his original.
Gulping post-rock off a friend's newly-migrated server; buying what I
don't have. (And who says digital music hasn't increased sales?)
Godspeed; Yes; Genesis; the clips of Sylvain Chauveau -- who I have
yet to hear, as both Norm and I got the week wrong last Tuesday when
we went to see the French musician at the Warehouse, and ended up in
Jaleo over drinks, flan, and the most ceramically satisfying espresso
I've had yet in the District.
Oranger by the day, with today's Coat Two of Mandarin Song on my
bedroom walls completing the effective conveyance of an aesthetic
Nimmersatt, the energy of one who bikes to work and runs in the
afternoons; whose blood-tea-content, in beers, would not allow safe
operation of a teapot, let alone a vehicle; who just might go crazy in
this colorless, long-white-curtained living room. (Colorful,
the literal might contend -- but with both digits times all three hex
colors up at F, you can't see the teal (00CCFF) separated
from the orange (FF6600).) I woke up (too early!) at 8:30 to
the ululating tritone of the buzzer, the repairmen in to put an
aerator in the intestines of the recently backflowing
sink-and-dishwasher organism. The early awakening, in combination
with Jaime's party last night, provided me with an opportunity to test
the brightness threshold of the walls -- just as wasabi in soy sauce
is best right before it makes me cry, so must my room's color be only
barely tolerable when I wake up hung over.
Rothko goes on the walls just as soon as I find the mounting squares.
Orange and Yellow.
The second orange addition to my domicile makes omelets, neutrally
spelling themselves with the French diminutive and also with a
six-letter roundness. My long-awaited Le Creuset flame omelet(te) pan
arrived, playing host to my first ever eponymous attempt on Wednesday
evening. Fritz guided me through the basics, as I only have Julia
Child's Volume 2 (though the first has inspired me to attempt
brioches!). Used tonight for a pilau out of the Vegetarian
Epicure, the cast iron is seasoning beautifully.
Got my hands back on The Goldbug Variations, in my fiction
appetite's voracious but random trajectory. Abandoned a year (or
two?) ago out of lack of interest, I can't now think how the prose
alone didn't wrap me up last time. Such a command of English! -- even
though a recent "detritus" and "absconded" from my lips produced
audible ignorance and appreciation from their respective audiences,
I feel often as if my vocabulary stalled in late high school or early
college; I am not as fluent in my mother tongue as I would like to be.
So I do this book justice, and read it slowly. I pulled it out (well,
more like, laboriously extracted it) drunk and tired last night,
switching from the red to the green line at Gallery Place, and
realized through the gin and shiraz that I wasn't sober enough to
perceive Powers' lexical labyrinths with due respect.
Empty mug; empty head. To the orange room and yellow sheets.
Wed Jul 30 10:00:45 EDT 2003
I've never, in all my years of wonder, stopped to consider how brioche
or electronic music are made. The former, I've been learning since
Sunday -- dissolving yeast and sugar as Joanne called with an extra
ticket to see a band whose mandolinist was a friend of Abby's, and who
was crashing chez Delafield that night. I left the starter
metastasizing while Blue Merle
played its hour-long set, somewhere between folk and bluegrass and
rock but most neatly analogous to Dave Matthews, and then pulled out
the earplugs (like Chad, I now carry a pair) when the "blandest band
in America" (--Rolling Stone) headliner Train came on, and then
escaping soon after. Finished the dough that night, kneading twelve
tablespoons of butter into three eggs and flour, and leaving the
delicious mass of sticky dough to rise.
I considered kneading and setting out for the deuxième pointage
before I left Monday morning, but rolled out of bed too sleepy and too
late to justify it. The dough rose the entire day while I ate lunch
with the bassist teaching himself guitar ("I avoid the
[tuned-in-thirds] B string at all costs"), cooked two shitloads of
food with Sibley for the masses, and stuck around until almost 10.
All of them great guys; remembered my name. The fiddler's eyes
doubled on hearing I played viola -- "do you have it here?" I
promised to bring it in the morning.
Home, I turned the brioche dough out for its second rising, and --
inspired -- chopped off four fingernails on my left hand and two on my
right, and picked up my old Bach. My roommate was amazed; I was
appalled -- but so it goes when you don't play for three months. And
the notes and sound felt good.
Yesterday I bussed in with the red behemoth, not trusting the
instrument to my biking abilities. Patrick immediately gravitated to
the C string, feeling for only the second time the resonances of one
more fifth of bass, and praising the Lee ('97 Chicago; best deal I
ever got). A pleasure to see his immediate adaptation to my big
fiddle. Between that and Evelyne's conversation over wonderful
experimental cookies which Elsa and I made and coffee that
afternoon, the easy knowledge of the Suites and the French-accented
swoon over Brahms, I am re-inspired to pick my single-piece-backed
baby up again, and let the scales ring until the Bach can.
And not twelve hours after the Blue Merleians had hugged me goodbye, I
was in the tiny Warehouse
space watching a tall unspeaking
French man saw at his guitar with a violin bow; switch from
electric to a detached board with knobs, steering with his pedals and
making full and brilliant use of the delay Norm was explaining to me.
I sat fascinated for the 55-minute-long unstopping flow of sound,
feeling at times Górecki and at times Sigur Rós, and amazed at how the
sound was being produced. Though I've heard so much of it, I've never
wondered how it's done ... almost no sounds came realtime -- a strum
over four strings would be followed by knob-frobbing, and seconds
later a chord would emanate over the delays he'd pedaled down. I was
Went home kicking myself for not telling him how wonderful it was, and
shaped the twice-risen dough into brioches. This morning, still
dreaming of a continuous flow of music and wrapped warm in my
bathrobe, I watched the double-headed pastry bake into hot buttery
pastry. Ate two on the spot, breaking them open and watching the
fluffy dough steam; wished for café au lait bowls and Claire's
all this ©nori heikkinen, July 2003