like being slapped

Courtesy of Ursula Vernon of Digger.

You know what’s painful and awkward in the in-box? When you sweetly purchase a surprise Valentine for someone special right before they dump you, then the nice little Etsy shop you bought from sends you an adorable follow-up email the day after the holiday (which was difficult enough to get through without howling at the moon in the first place) which really nails home that, oh right, that happened, and also, ouch, because the recipient wasn’t even polite enough to let me know if anything arrived, let alone give me information enough for feedback or a review.

Hooray the future.

Related Reading: All My Exes Live in Texts: Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up.

we travel well together

The Sciences Sing a Lullabye
by Albert Goldbarth

Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.

Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.


I’ve spent almost an entire week out in White Rock, testing the waters at a new part-time job and trying to tidy a sense of order into the chaos we’ve created in the beige wasteland that is his townhouse. Colour, (both literal and metaphorical), arrived with me, (a red, cuddly throw blanket, an orange pair of denim pants, a smart red wool field blazer, striped sweaters for the trembling little dog), but also some mess, as my life and Robin’s are too different to effortlessly integrate. Left to me, I would transform this place into a sheik’s palace, all emerald green velvet pillows and hanging glass lanterns like teal gemstones, but instead I have been working to assimilate. I’ve been wearing bland clothing and brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush and learning to use an iPad casually, as if it’s perfectly natural to be holding such a tangible chunk of future in my hands.

So it continues. Today, for Valentine’s, we’re leaving for five days in Vegas. He booked it as a surprise trip, all I know for sure is that all of our evenings are booked, at least one night with Cirque and another with Penn & Teller.

sqrt(cos(x))*cos(500x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5

Two doctors, Billy Cohn and Bud Frazier, from the Texas Heart Institute successfully replaced a dying man’s heart with a device—proving that it is possible for your body to be kept alive without a heart, or a pulse.


I changed the word girl to boy (and there’s still more to come)

Tony's Valentine from the World's Smallest Postal Service

Valentine’s is creeping up, the candy coated holiday founded on Lupercalia, a Roman parade festival celebrating sex and werewolves. It basically involved sacrificing a goat, wrapping the wet and bloody skin around you, then energetically racing naked around the city and cackling madly while smacking women with whips for pregnancy luck.

Me, I just can’t be bothered to put that much effort in. Someone hands me a goat at the crack of dawn, there’s not going to be any leaping out of bed to kill it, no, nor running. At least, I wouldn’t be the one running. This is dawn we’re talking about. AKA bedtime. Also, seriously, what did that poor goat ever do?

So rather than running naked and bloody through the streets of Seattle, something I’m theoretically capable of if I weren’t so damned lazy, sure, I’ve decided to celebrate this Valentine’s by sending Tony treasures through the mail instead. How pale in comparison, I know, but wait! Don’t judge yet! These treasures might not involve flaying animals or whipping nubile young women, but they’re awesome.

The first present arrived last week, a new Crankbunny design made in collaboration with poster artist Brian Ewing called the Tell-Tale Heart Custom Valentine Card, a paper ribcage which opens up to reveal a personal secret message under a scarlet scratch away foil heart. My message read you have my heart. xox jh. It was a tricky choice, given that she has so many beautiful cards, but as I gave Secret Decoder and Dancing Robot cards last year, I wanted something new, something a little more to Tony’s specific tastes, so I decided the macabre ribcage would appeal more to his recovering goth-osity than anything else in her shop, especially as it comes in a smart black envelope. Ha.

The next present arrived just yesterday, a valentine by Lea Redmond from The World’s Smallest Postal Service! The letter is transcribed on a miniature desk in the tiniest of script, sealed with a miniscule wax seal with the sender’s intial pressed into it, packaged up with a magnifying glass in a glassine envelope, and finished off with a large wax seal. The finished letter is just about the size of an American quarter, almost a little bit smaller. Tony was absolutely delighted to open the regular sized envelope and discover such a strange tiny gift inside.

The miniscule envelope, not having anything to do with actual mailing practices, can be marked as anything you like, so I wrote out the smoochiest addresses I could think of, mailing it from Jhayne Holmes, Lover’s Court, Inamorata, L0V34, Valentia, and to Tony Jackson, #1 Beloved Blvd, suite: 2 serenade, Inamorato, H34R7, Valentia, something Tony got to read out to Michelle and her friend Kevin, who were over as he unwrapped it.

Inside, it read;

Tony opens his valentine from the World's Smallest Postal Service

Now comes the long blue cold
by Mary Oliver, (with one word changed)

Now comes the long blue cold
and what shall I say but that some
bird in the tree of my heart
is singing.

That same heart that only yesterday
was a room shut tight, without dreams.

Isn’t it wonderful—the cold wind and
spring in the heart inexplicable.
Darling boy. Picklock.


Here’s to closing in one one year together, to holding hands even when we’re sleeping. Here’s to finding love together and trust, truth, and beauty bombs. Here’s to you, my exquisite love, my Tony, my only. Happy Valentine’s. I love you, I love you, I love you.


as referenced in guitar player magazine (apparently)

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I’ve started to plan my trip down the coast for That Mike‘s gigs, calling people, asking who’s going to be where, and trying to figure out how to get around.

I really like the idea of spending time out of town on Valentine’s Day, though it means my friends in Seattle might mostly be “busy” elsewhere. Already I’m considering buying another pair of ridiculously skimpy panties to throw at him to celebrate. I’ve never had a pleasant Valentines. One of my better ones involved someone locking me out of the house in the rain. Last year Mike was in playing over in Australia for Valentines, and Stéphane had just died, so I instead of going out, I was effectively single, alone, and in mourning. The highlight of my day was when Ben Peek wrote me into an autobiographical story introduced by a large picture containing the word COCK.

So far things seem to be falling into place. Nick called last night to tell me his van survived the fire somehow unscathed and that he and Nicole want to come as a romantic trip of their own. (That word again.) If it all works out, we’ll drive down to Portland on Thursday morning, love life there for a day, groovy down that night with Mike, drive up to Seattle, groovy with Mike some more, then spend the rest of the weekend drifting happily around Seattle like vacationing techno-hippies, and get back in time for my work on Monday morning. Depending on money, we might even make it down to his Wednesday night gig in Bend, which I find a delightful idea not least because I like the idea of a town named Bend. Seriously. You liked a place so much you decided to settle there, and that’s what you come up with? Bend? I love you guys.