A Bar of Soap

This morning I unwrapped a new bar of soap to put in the shower. Like a 1950’s housewife,, apparently, because bar soap is falling out of favor (accounting for 30% of total soap sales and falling). But what can I say? Liquid soap in the shower doesn’t do it for me. I’m a bar soap woman.

I should note, I don’t want to see a bar of soap in a public restroom, even though it is perfectly safe (no one ever got sick from shared soap), it’s just gross to touch. Though maybe we could use handing the soap to the next person as a metaphor for building better communities.

Probably not.

Anyway, at home, especially in the shower,  I want the bar.

Let’s start with the hippie reason: Bar soap is better for the environment. Both the product and the packaging are less labor intensive to produce and because liquid soap is heavier, it takes more energy to ship. I practically want to load my bathroom cabinet with patchouli soap from the farmer’s market just based on this.

But also, I like the tactile feeling of a bar of soap in my hand, watching it wear away as I use it day after day, and finally, I like getting in touch with my inner cheapskate by fusing the sliver of old soap to the new bar. (I’m all like, “Look at me saving a fraction of penny!)

Bar soap also makes a satisfying thud when dropped, plays hard to get when you try to pick it up (fun!), and provides a real excuse for taking long showers in the time it takes to get a piece or two of hair off the wet bar. Okay, the last one’s icky, but I think “cleaning the soap” is just a funny concept to start my day.

Leftovers – Day Eight

Certainly a piece of my brain knows that I’m not supposed to eat leftovers from my refrigerator after the 3rd or 4th day, certainly not on the 5th or 6th, which I do all the time, and most assuredly not on the 8th day, which I’m alive to tell you, I’ve done.

It’s true the problems with leftovers is listeria, a bacteria that grows in food and strikes hard at pregnant women and their newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune system. For these groups it can be deadly.

It’s true also, that a human cannot smell listeria. This doesn’t stop me, or many people, from sniffing food to tell if it’s good (i.e. edible) or not.

Milk makes us think we can smell bacteria. What we are smelling in sour milk* is fermenting bacteria. A little fermentation isn’t generally harmful. I do this with my coffee creamer and there have been occasions when I’ll still be pouring out of an “old” container, but if someone comes over, I make them open a new one. I might not always be a food safety practitioner, but I’m a good hostess.

And, I know bad food hurts good people.

But I also hate throwing away food, perhaps over-rationalizing that my scoop of last week’s soup is going to put the landfill over the edge.

So, I sniff. I look for mold. And, for better or worse,  I eat.


*Another term for sour milk is “the milk has turned,” which suggests to me someone who took a gulp of sour milk and couldn’t finish speaking the full sentence “the milk has turned sour.” Because they were gagging.

Mini Microcinema

Last night I had my first visit to OTR’s Mini Microcinema and was immediately taken with the energy of being where people loved doing what they were doing: filmmakers showing and sharing films.

Microcinema exists to show experimental film/video/media, highlighting work made by artists and filmmakers outside of the mainstream. This is a very different experience than seeing a Hollywood movie. The space is a store front on Main Street where they optimistically set up about 30 folding chairs which more than accommodated 5 patrons, 3 workers and the director of the film. I imagine experimental film is a tough sell. I imagine this makes the folks running the cinema a little sad.

There was serve-yourself popcorn and a policy of BYOB which benefits the convenient mart next door. The workers clearly loved sharing the film with even a small crowd, and provided very interesting, informed questions for the director in the post-film discussion. I don’t know if Microcinema does discussions for every show, but it worked well with this program.

The film was actually scenes from an not-yet-completed film call Tuba Thieves, directed by Alison O’Daniel. The film was beautiful using long lingering shots and duel screens. She got the idea from a rash of tuba thefts from high schools in L.A. beginning in 2012. While following events surrounding the thefts, she came upon two other unrelated things that caught her attention. First, she found out about a deaf drummer who lives in a home with hearing parents. Second, she discovered L.A.’s Deaf Club, a club where deaf and hearing impaired people socialized, that, in the 1970’s, opened it’s doors to Punk Rock acts. O’Daniel used these three concepts to commission three pieces of music and from there she wrote her film.

She’s been working on the project for a couple of years, showing segments at art installations. O’Daniel, who is hearing impaired, uses captioning, ambient sound, music, and silence to call attention to sound and to explore how and what we hear.

Dancing to the Music

Last night I caught a couple of bands at MOTR (the end of Little Junior, Mona, and July Talk). Super fun set of music.

MOTR is a tiny place for live music with a tiny stage (many bands I’ve seen there relegate their base player or keyboards to the floor by stage – which I imagine has really hacked off some musicians over the years.)

The crowd is thicker as you get closer to the stage, of course,  but we worked our way about 4 “rows” back for Mona. What was in front of us was three super exuberant, tequila chugging, bounty-dancing young women (in their twenties) and a couple of their guy friends.

I’m short (5 feet and 1/2 inch) and I have spent many, many shows of this nature staring into the back of dude’s plaid shirt, catching glimpses of the stage when the guy shifted position. And occasionally I get what I got last night. As the ladies bopped up and down and shook from side to side, I kept getting whapped in the face with hair. Long, luckily clean smelling hair.

There is a way to “dance” in the tight quarters of people pressed up close to a music stage, but these ladies didn’t have it. But they were having a blast, and that’s why I go to see live music. I don’t want people to act the way I act, I want them to feel their evening and enjoy. And, a few songs into the July Talk set, they actually pulled me in front of them, and asked the next tall guy by the stage to let me stand in front of him. So yeah, a few uncomfortable hair smacks, but a me and this group of girls had a great night.


The Man Who Wouldn’t Shop

Working at the cash register at my TJ Maxx shift Monday, I saw an older man walk in, moving quickly and purposely toward the men’s department. Seconds later, his wife came in, trying to keep up.

He already had a pack of t-shirts in his hand by the time she caught up to him, but she had to check to make sure had had the right size. I could tell he did not. She got him the correct pack and he turned to head toward me at the register.

“What about socks” she asked. He clearly was done shopping, or, as I think he heard her question, “What if I chain you to this display and we never leave.” Oh, such torture he had to endure to walk 10 feet to the sock display, mumbling all the way, “I don’t need socks.”

But his wife was quick/well-practiced. She already had two packs of black socks in her hands and held them up to him for inspection. As if. As if he had time to look at the socks after already having had to look at the t-shirts.

He looked (barely) and said “Fine. Let’s go!” and said it forceful enough that I looked right at him (instead of pretending to tidy up while spying). He looked right back at me and said, “I can’t help it. I’m a guy. I hate shopping.”

I should note that he was not naked. But, it seemed to me, his job was to put clothes on. His wife’s job was to make them available.

Since there was no one in line I let them squeeze around a display to get to my register as quickly as possible. I was concerned the man was going to blow a gasket.

As soon as the transaction was finished (and it took a good 30 seconds longer than I planned because his wife had a gift certificate – Geez lady, your man is going to die right here at register 5!), I looked up at the man and said, “You. You get out. I’m kicking you out. You are no longer welcome here.”

He looked right at me and said, “Thank you!”

No Way

Kaze’s bar has a great happy hour and it’s quiet on Tuesdays. Quiet enough for me to read my Kindle, and maybe eavesdrop on the bartenders.

Tonight, the two bartenders, over the discussion of song lyrics, recognized they had an age difference. The younger one, upon getting the age out of the older one was “blown away.” “No way, dude.” Yeah, the old one kept saying. He showed his license and seemed pleased the young one didn’t guess him for all of 29. The old one was 29.

30 years old is about the time a portion of the population is beginning to find you old. It’s unnerving. This 29 year old still thinks aging is a lark. Shit’s about to get real, my young friend.