1. I neglected to mention yesterday that I found a nine-hour roller disco playlist to listen to while you imagine yourself roller skating like young Patrick Swayze. Enjoy!
2. I am HERE for this: Books Where the Dog Dies, Rewritten So the Dog Doesn’t Die
3. Everybody hang in there. Send a few letters suggesting that maybe we wait to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice, oh, say, maybe as long as the Republicans made Obama wait to confirm Merrick Garland. Just a thought.
Back on New Years Eve I posted that video of “JB style” skating and joked that maybe I should learn how to do that in 2018. Since it warmed up, skating has been at the back of my mind, hand-in-hand with my disco fever.
There was a glorious moment back in about 1979 when roller disco was popular enough to merit making B movies about it. I force the topic to come up in conversation just so I can share facts like, “Did you know Patrick Swayze made his film debut in Skatetown, USA as Ace Johnson, the leader of a skate gang? You can watch the whole movie on YouTube RIGHT NOW!”
Of course, there’s also Xanadu and Roller Boogie and my buddy dug up a whole other genre from about 10 years later of post-apocalyptic roller blading movies. (No, really.) Clearly I have been doing my skate research by watching all these films.
Can I even skate? Well, I could back in 1988 and I loved it. I skated down on the cement basement floor in the winter. I skated around the neighborhood in the summer. Going to the roller rink was magical. That same roller rink is still open and putting on disco nights on Saturdays.
So why haven’t I gone? Well, firstly I’m a little afraid that one whiff of the rink from my youth will force me to write a multi-volume novel about my past; and secondly, I’m afraid I will be like this:
(Props to my same friend for finding something that so perfectly matches my brain.)
But this is the summer of being brave, so maybe I’ll work up the nerve soon. I can always practice in my basement first.
I picked up Eve Babitz’s first book on a whim–someone on Instagram was talking about her and her Wikipedia entry was just eye-popping, so I thought, “Let’s see about Eve.” I’m only about a third of the way through Eve’s Hollywood but so far it’s a delight. She loves L.A. the way Raymond Chandler loves it–passionately and ironically–and it shows:
But when the sky was its occasional non-smoggy, dry, clean, cloudless self, Hollywood High made sense, and even teachers would gaze quietly out at the shining palm tree tops blowing in the breeze. And when summer came and we went to the beach after a dismal morning of summer school, the palm trees high above the sea on the Palisades would look black against an aggressive sky which drained away all color of anything that was forced to silhouette against it […] We were hot, the sea was one long wave to be ridden in, our skins were dark, and time even stopped now and then and let things shimmer since time, too, is affected by beauty and will stop sometimes for a moment.
She also reminds me of M.F.K. Fisher, in the sense of someone uncannily insightful:
Gary [asked] me if I were going to the dance that night.
“No,” I said, my eyes narrowing. So it turned out that power was the quality of knowing what you liked. An odd thing for power to be.
There’s gossip about famous people and descriptions of taquitos and memories of being not-quite-popular enough in high school, and, like I said, it’s a delight. Highly recommend Eve for your summer reading.
If last week’s top suffered from the right fabric but the wrong fit, I think this week’s project roundup is the opposite.
Searching for an easy summer top that isn’t a t-shirt, I went off piste and thought I’d try a Lou Box Top. I was smart in that I didn’t use any irreplaceable fabric, but dumb in that I used cotton lawn in my stash (from JoAnn last year) and I think it’s just a little too stiff for how boxy this is.
Construction wise, I did my now-usual forward shoulder adjustment and sway back adjustment. I also left out the back neck opening because 1.) I hate a button loop (it never looks good) and 2.) it’s not necessary to get it on over my head.
This is definitely wearable and it only took about two hours to make, but I’m still looking for the Platonic ideal of a summer top–this one’s just a shadow on the cave wall.
by Amit Majmudar
You’ve come of age in the age of migrations.
The board tilts, and the bodies roll west.
Fanaticism’s come back into fashion,
come back with a vengeance.
In this new country, there’s no gravitas,
no grace. The ancient Chevys migrate
west and plunge like maddened buffalo
into a canyon. Where the oil-slick geese go,
no one knows—maybe the Holland Tunnel
because they take it for the monstrous turbine
promised them in prophecy. I brought you
to this world, and I do not regret it.
The sky’s still blue, for now. I want to show you
an island where the trees are older than redwoods
ever since Prospero turned them
into books. You’ll meet him when you’re ready.
For now, though, study this list of endangered
species: it’s incomplete, of course, since all
species are in some danger nowadays.
This is the country I bequeath to you,
the country I bequeath you to. You’ve come
of age, and you’re inheriting the whole house,
busted pipes and splintered deck and all.
This is your people, this, the mythic West
your grandparents wished to reach, and reached.
The oceans surge, but the boat is up on blocks.
There’s no America to sail to anymore.
I haven’t been as political on here this year because constant outrage wears you down–a tactic I think the ruling party counts on. (And I’ve been worried about my mom, which takes energy away from worrying about the dystopian nightmare happening daily.) (She’s doing fine. I just worry like it’s my job.)
But separating children from their parents, using them as a bargaining chip to pass legislation, using them to make sure you are still making headlines, having no plan to reunite them with their parents, is SO WRONG I can’t even put it into words.
I know Carl Sagan and Doc, my two inspirations, would try to make someone who believes that this practice is OK see a different point of view and convince them with kindness why they’re mistaken.
But you know what? People who think it’s acceptable to forcibly remove children from their families don’t deserve the time of day, in my opinion. They don’t deserve to think their own children are somehow more virtuous. The people who started doing this, the people who enforce it, the people complicit in it, deserve less than the time of day; they deserve something out of Dante’s Inferno.
[Alternate titles: “When You Gamble And Lose,” “After This Long You’d Think I’d Know Better,” and “Internet, Look At Me Point To My Chest.”]
This is the Grainline Studio Willow Tank I put on my 2018 Make Nine List to fill the hole of “easy summer tops that aren’t boring t-shirts or overly-revealing tanks.” It looked perfect on paper, clean-lined and high-necked, and because I’ve had such success with Grainline patterns in the past I broke right into the good fabric (some heavy linen I indigo dyed last year).
You know what’s coming….
In this case, it’s bust darts that are nearly two inches too low for my actual bust, leading to gaping armholes and overall bad fit.
“WTF, Grainline?” I muttered, more than once. How have I made several perfectly fitting Archer shirts, Linden sweatshirts, and a Tamarack jacket from the same company and had no issues? Turns out, none of those had bust darts. Before I broke into the good fabric, I did look for reviews online that mentioned any red flags–but everything I saw raved about the pattern so I thought I was ok. It wasn’t until it was done that I found this review from IndieSew, who mentions casually that she raised the darts by 1 3/8″ and, “This is a normal adjustment for me on all Grainline patterns.” SIGH.
Like performing Mozart, sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to get right.