Ellen told me the Halvah eases the crushing pain of existence. I think she may be right. I’ve been in the kind of mood lately where thoughts like “I’m an asshole” and “I am a bug splatted on the windshield of life” seem profound. So a short scene came to me on bart.

We walked into Mamounds. “You’ve been so glum lately,” she said, brushing a wisp of her long dark hair from her face. She smiled encouragingly and her hands fluttered gracefully.
The woman behind the counter stared at us impatiently. “Can I help you?” she asked.
“What do you have that eases the crushing pain of life?” I asked.
“Halvah for $1.50” she indicated the display case on the counter.
“Can I have a chocolate one and a turkish coffee?” I asked.
“For here or to go?”
I shrugged at Jessica.
“For here.” Jessica directed.
I got my truck smog checked and registered. It took a long dern time. And I figured out how to record audio on supercollider. The help file has a bug in it. and I wallowed in self loathing/pity for a while.
I talked to two of my neighbors about the temporary structure in the backyard. The Home Owners Association is meeting a week from today to decide if they will compell us to tear it down. Ellen was explaining to me this morning that if she loses the temporary structure, she’ll lose her Seattle gig and be forced to take minimum wage jobs and live in a studio apartment and have a budget to buy a few pieces of drawing paper periodically and dabble in art on weekends.
Please light a candle dedicated to your diety of choice that the association decides to let it stay. their issues are twofold: 1. It didn’t get pre-approval from the design review committee. (my defence: uh sorry. i wasn’t here when it was built.) 2. It may cause water penetration (my defence: it’s only going to stay up until may 2005. the possibility of structural damage in that time is remote. and i would of course be responcible for any repairs required as a result of it’s being there temporarily.)
One neighbor was supportive. the other was on the board. she indicated that people have to face consequences for their errors. So because the review comittee was skipped, there is no way in hell that she would allow it to stay. also, it’s important to keep art in perspective. it has it’s place in life, but that is secondary to property values.
we’re having an open house on saturday so people can see the temporary structure and get an idea of what things are about. of course, neither ellen nor i posses social skills in any significant degree. i fear it will be a disaster. i’m thinking of trying to pull in outside talent to pitch our case.
i don’t have the energy for this. i have important self-loathing to do.
any suggestions from anyone would be extremely welcome.

feedback requested

Christi’s brother built a green-housey kind of thing in the backyard of my Berkeley residence. Since then, several problems have emerged including lack of insulation, a leaky roof and most importantly, the ire of the Home Owners Association. Apparently, it had to be pre-approved by a Deisgn Review Comittee, a step I completely forgot about. We don’t own our backyard. It is an “exclusive use common area” under control of the neighborhood association. According to the CCNRs, they get to review any major changes to the backyard and even have the right to enter to pull weeds. The HOA is meeting on January 20th to deicde if they are going to require that the structure be torn down. Ed, my next door neighbor came over to look at it today and said that since it was obviously temporary, that they could probably be persuaded to let it stand. We told him about Ellen’s exploits as a composer and he seemed impressed and said he thought that it would prolly be ok and I should write a letter explaining things to the HOA. Any feedback on the firts draft would be appreciated. I don’t have much experience in the ways of small governing comittees.

Dear Members of the HOA,

This letter concerns the temporary structure in the backyard of Unit N. First, I would like to apologize for neglecting to get pre-approval from the Design Review Committee.

This structure is intended to be temporary. Ellen Fullman is occupying my unit while I am away for graduate school. I will graduate in May 2005 and dismantle the structure when I return. Ms. Fullman is an internationally known composer and the inventor of the Long String Instrument. When I offered her use of my unit, she said it was too short for her instrument and we came upon the idea of extending the instrument into the backyard.

Ms. Fullman has performed around the United States and Europe. In 2001, in San Francisco, she premiered a 45 minute piece that she wrote for her instrument and the Kronos Quartet. She was recently featured in the cover story of MusicWorks magazine. I feel that her work is both important and incredible. Having use of the temporary structure enables her to continue this work while she stays in Berkeley.

We are willing to be flexible and to take steps to mitigate possible water penetration issues. I hope that given the temporary nature of the structure and the value of Ms. Fullman’s work, that the board decides to temporarily allow the structure to remain.

Thank you very much,

I had a disagreement with some of my neighbors about dogs. Actually, about my dog. My thought is that our parking area makes an excellent dog run. Anyway, parking lots are wastes of space. After the revolution it will be a cool vegitable garden. My neighbor’s thoughts are that parking lots are for cars and happy dogs running around belong in the dog parks our city has so generously provided. Apparently I missed a nieghborhood association meeting on the topic. And I failed to read the minutes. And it’s high crimes and treason for the dog to stand in the planter because the plants are dying as a result. The plants die every winter and return in the spring, much like Christ’s yearly resurrection, but I refrained from pointing this out and instead regretted that Christi was forced to resign from the Association Board due to time conflicts. Anyway, afterwards, I was pondering life after the revolution, in happy communes and a dark thought fell upon me. “How am I going to get along in a squat/commune if I can’t even get along with my neighborhood association now?” I shared this with Mitch and he said it wasn’t my fault, my neighbors are all “consumerist-minded.” So now I feel better about it, if a bit elitist. Mitch is cool