Archive for September, 2007

Return of the ulcer; productivity!

Apparently I have taken far too much Celebrex and my stomach/gastritis/ulcer problems are back. For the last 3 days I ‘ve been taking Prilosec and laying off the NSAIDs. I just ate lunch with some excitement thinking the pain was gone, but it hit me hard just now… so… I have to quickly shift onto some sort of very mild diet, and remember not to eat very small quantities even if I’m hungry…

Meanwhile, I’m filing papers, throwing away huge stacks of paper stuffed into grocery bags, and shovelling whatever’s left over into a heroic attempt upon the file cabinet. Past half-assed organizations, excavated, collect in the drawers, so I have about 5 different “bills” files and several “medical” from different years; all were in different drawers or stacks or shoved sideways into the zine bookshelf in the closet. I’m not weeding closely, so far. Just gathering like-meets-like.

My new top categories are “official” for all the official papers, in the top drawer.

Then 2 drawers of my own junk, which is as follows:

* ALTA, BlogHer, Gaming, Potlatch, SWSW, WisCon
* cards, addresses, letters
* flyers, stickers, postcards, brochures that are nifty
Grad school
* official papers, junk, my own papers, other people’s papers, teaching
Job info
* a scrapheap of hiring documents and old resumes
* a million different folders, to evolve into my own poems, drafts, other people’s poems, presses, contracts
* a bunch of research for my anthologies, biographical info on poets I like, xeroxed things, other projects
* my translations, drafts, stuff i want to translate, papers about translation
* my small press
* my old press with all its zines; some letters are here; manuscripts/xeroxable originals
* many boxes and tubs of old zines and letters are in the shed! ack! no room

(bottom drawer)
* unfiled (huge)
* Milo papers
* maps
* warranties and manuals for things going back 15 years

There is a foot-high stack of papers left to go! I’ve thrown *so much* away!

After that stack is filed away I could either
– go through the whole cabinet in a final pass to weed and consolidate
– go through the closet shelves of zines also to weed, and organize
– move the bookshelves around to put the bed on the other side of the room and make more room
– go through the 2 giant shelves of my project binders and figure out wtf is going on there

This is going to help my whole life to get this stuff under control, and let me know where all my projects are, and where to find things! I’ll dig up projects that are 80% done that I have forgotten all about! I’ll find whole completed manuscripts I’ve also forgotten, and talks from 2001 that are super awesome, and the drafts of essays that I might still like, and letters unanswered that will fill me with pleasant melancholy.

Head exploding, promiscuous trees

This started out with an intense allergy attack in the afternoon, chain sneezing, itchy eyes, crazy nose-blowing, and now I’m at the point where I have forgotten what it’s like to breathe through my nose. Despite allergy and cold meds, my head is pounding, full of snot, and I have to keep vaselining up my nostrils every minute or two, because my nose is painfully chapped. I had to stop even trying to work at around 3pm.


I am wondering if this is actually a cold, and the allergy part of it was just random. I feel feverish!

Rook and Moomin and I had dinner with Iz, Sophie, Eliz, and Manny. Iz explained many things about cars, trucks, combustion engines, and the history of cars; classic cars; new cars. I shared every car fact I could think of. I think she would really enjoy seeing Severin’s airplane and his workshop where he built it. The other kids told jokes, did tongue twisters, and talked about school elections. Manny showed me his fancy vintage Pentax camera lens that fits on his fancy digital camera. Sushi was okay, but it was hard to tell since I couldn’t BREATHE or taste anything.

Cuss cuss cuss… I hate being sick… or having allergies… or whatever it is. If I can’t drain this stuff out, I’ll end up with a sinus infection.

Retrospective on the trip

The beach was glorious, my heart leaped as the surfers caught wave after wave, the water was warm instead of the northern California foot-numbing shock. I bobbed in the waves and shouldered the loving undertow. Salt scrubbed me clean. Moomin and I built sandcastles. On the drive I wrote poetry in my lap. The sun shone in over the mountains and under the rainstorm. Rook got to see his oldest friend, who is getting a halfway decent chance with his movie showing in a nationwide film festival. And my mom wrote me nice email afterwards, as I look remarkably sane compared to my aunt, and she even said my remark about being a gay atheist (to a persistent Mormon) was hilarious.

Last night after the long drive up I took a scalding bath & then drove up to the city to Zond-7. We stayed up far too late, but still woke up in time for him to catch his plane. Now I’m pining a bit, and exhausted. I’ve been writing a ton of poetry. My notebooks are happy. I’m walking well. I blogged at length over here about poety things, with less swearing than I would have here.

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From the rainy south, family insanity and a video

I am in L.A., or really, Blahington Beach, in a motel, having spent the day rather hideously at my cousin’s party. She’s super nice… and I like her husband. It was mellow and a good backyard party. also i love their house and all the stuff. my cousin is a genius of design and organization… the thing she designed for an entertainment center was amazing. it had secret drawer, and card catalogue style drawers, and was full of nifty cleverness and good planning. i was like DAMN you could sell the design for this.. and you have so clearly thought of everything to do with function and use and flow, expansion and so on. She would make a kick ass ui designer i bet.

also i love it that they have a rec room. it made me die of nostalgia for my great uncle W.’s basement rec room where I played “Pong” in like 1978. and i am sure Moomin will never forget the cool room with hot whe33ls cars all over the walls and the pool table…

But, my mom’s drunk-ass alcoholic sister, always a bit hard for me to be around, was hard to deal with. I hated seeing how my parents were uncomfortable at the idea of getting in their car when they were falling-over drunk, and yet could not fix the situation or get themselves out of it. I think if i had not been there they would have just gotten in the car. BAH… why they didnt rent a car! my aunt would have said OH YOU CANT and acted like if they did, she’d be insulted. anyway I am impatient feeling with peopel acting powerless and putting themselves in situations they dont like and then acting even more powerless. Everyone was nice and rallied round, my cousin’s husband’s family deliberately delayed my aunt’s husband in conversation and coffee and crackers for *hours* and got him to lie down and fall asleep. and my aunt passed out as well and there was a weirdly un-public group effort to sober her up and to continue delaying and to not let them keep drinking. (She got in my face a lot, and i was either mildly sarcastic, or peaceable, or smiled and left the room; i did not fight. she is a belligerent drunk.) I felt like my parents were weirdly scared i would go “well how about you wait to sober up as no one wants to get in the car with you drunk” Her husband is a sheriff or something too. Which makes it worse… as if he is depending on that to protect him if he gets caught… and should know better and that it endangers other people on the road. Instead, the dinosaurish attitude that he knows how to hold his alcohol. Arrrrgh. I did not fulfill expectations and call anyone out in a blunt way and make any sort of scene. But, I conspired in the general delay. i might have lectured my mom a little bit, “Well would you ‘let’ me and Moomin get in that car right now… well then YOU DONT EITHER… you ass.” I dealt well with my aunt’s endless hero-worshipping anecdotes about her dad, pretty well i think… I am always interested to hear family stories…

i did kick her ass for dissing my brother in law though. my mom jumped in too to defend his honor. wtf… whatever… so unnecessary…

It was all somewhat perturbing. I am glad Minnie and I break the family pattern and go boldly off to stay in hotels, with rental cars or our own cars, and do not let people bully us with guilt about anything.

i would not mind being closer to my cousin. She said she envied me and Minnie that we will deal with our parents together when we all get old. But she will have to deal with her mom alone. I said that surely we would be around for her. i am also glad that her brother J. is so decent of a person. my aunt is not his mom but he is still pretty nice to her.

i had fun playing bocce.

heard a new story about how my great-grandfather, my grandma’s dad, (who died before i knew him and who i have never heard a word about, and something was definitely wrong with something there) told my grandfather not to marry his daughter, because he had married a half italian half french girl and it did not work out. “You will never have a happy day the rest of your life.” my grandfather grew up speaking italian and english and my grandma french and then she learned english when she went to school. So according to my aunt, her dad told her he did not listen to this advice not to repeat this mistake. “and he had never had a happy day since”. i commented to my cousin that, i wonder that a grown person (our grandfather) should repeatedly complain about their unhappy marriage to their own child (my aunt), rather than do something to make their life better. It is not a good example. it is like the whole example of their bad marriage taught their children that life sucks and you are helpless to fight that suckiness. Therefore they all act helpless when they are in a situation where in reality, they could just open a door. Or rent a car, or leave a room, or say what they actually think. And they are all in the struggle to undo that damage. My mom has undone a lot of it I think. In her own way by leaving many unhappy relationships and maybe by being an alcoholic my aunt has too. It is not the best way to undo, right? But maybe I can think of it as her way out. I can think okay of her as long as she doesn’t kill my parents in a car wreck.

Rook is at his friend the director’s house, watching horror movies that I would not like. Zond-7 has re-stabilized my reality through exchanging odd links with me on epistemology and the roman senate and buckminst3r fuller. I am greatly relieved!

Here is the video. It will help all that ails you! It is Polish bhangra with some ska and rap thrown in!

The realm of goodness: Maureen Owen

Meanwhile I’m reading the good books too, and the great. Maureen Owen’s Amelia Earheart! ZOMG! I would put it together with airplane and feminism poems that i know and have translated, in a big anthology. Here is some mad poet speak for the middle of the night for you all.

I get so mad at Maureen Owen.

The other day I was at hazelbroom’s house while she was giving Zond-7 a massage and in between sitting at the sunny kitchen table with city backyard noises outside and her partner’s paintings half finished through the doorway into the laundry room, I must have gone to pee about 6 times from all the coffee and chai and water and massage. And in the bathroom was one of my favorite poetry books, Living in the Open, and I thought about how many years it took me from high school onward… I read it in maybe 1986? 87? to get beyond writing under that shadow though often it was only a few lines or a feeling of stolidity and stompy earnestness and jangledy language-loving. I do still take many lines to heart, like “living open to love in the leafy flesh”. Who couldn’t like that! No matter if it and other great things are embedded in peanut butter and middle class hippie crystal garden mystique.

I only found Owen’s poetry last year and had the deafening realization that I was writing in Owen’s shadow and didn’t know it. And I don’t mind, really… While I minded horribly about not being able to get out from the echo of Piercy, which fascinated and yet often repulsed me — unnatural to all that is rambling & inchoate. It is like the moments of greatness that Judy Grahn gets to. I love them so. I love them fiercely! But then I’m like NO FUCK NO don’t take that wrong turn! Get outta proseville! Get your head out of your ass! The finality of my final lines were what people liked in their piercyishness and yet they were FALSE and I knew it. I know about 1993 I was working like mad to get out of that precious little box, but I got out.

Anyway, all hail the lovely lines of AE and the grandness, the rambling, her words float over the page and mind, the total unfalseness, fucking FREEDOM, and the deep engagement in imaginary spaces. Nothing namby pamby humdrum coffee table in THAT noise. No little wrapup hmmMMMmmm moment neatening that package with a tightass doubleknot of meaning nailed home to obviousoland. I wish I knew where she was.

I meant to say I get so mad at her for being so fucking awesome of a writer.

At best Wanda Coleman gets there but not the rambling – more with a laser-dense tapestry of confusion and noise. Diane Wakoski is awfully good but does not float free. I read her and go with it, and then want to pull out a bigass sword and cut her chains. I love poetry best that unanchors me, unanchors language. & most of all doesn’t do what i expect it to and must hover on the edge of sense and jump like bounding on other planets, like low gravity.

Maureen is the best when she’s at her best. I get high on that stuff.

Plus just hearing her on a recording going STAND UP! in a young-ish voice is another kind of high.

Poets that good fill me with hope and relief.

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The beauty of badness: A Dialogue on Women

I love complicated badness, and this book I just came across while cleaning out the piles of books in my office wins the prize for insanely complicated awfulness on every level.

It’s called Dialogue on Women. I know it’s crazy, but I long to read it and analyze it.

It’s a small, thin, paperback from 1967 — 40 years ago — and seems to be part of a series of books that try to present complicated ideas in non-specialized (yet pompous) language. It boasts that its format, newly invented and named the dialogue-focuser, will revolutionize thought! It presents disagreement! And you can write a letter to the editors, and suggest revisions! Man’s release from rote learning will soon come, resulting in giving him the freedom to think. Knowledge cannot be contained in hierarchical disciplinary structures!

( Of course, I love all these ideas. The problem I have is that they use all my favorite core concepts and then don’t actually present any diverging views or non-hierarchical thinking and especially they don’t seem to care what women think in their dialogue on women. So the whole book is hilariously bad.)

Meanwhile, the cover of Dialogue on Women has a totally cheesy 60s mandala sort of thing made out of wavy lines and women’s heads. The back cover lists the 9 authors – how many of them do you think are women? Two! Without even cracking the spine of the book, we know what we’re in for.

Essay #1: Philip Harris. History of Christian and Western European philosophical thought. Women = inferior. Except Hobbes who is fairly decent (yay HObbes!) Women are all damaged and stuff by this societal brainwashing. Nowadays modern women are beginning to maybe sort of almost prove that marriage and a career can mix. Note all those domineering feminists in the workplace! The end.

What? Hahahaha.

Essay #2: A Dialogue. Transcript of a discussion between Janet Beers, Bob Gunn, Stephanie Oliver, and Gil Winter. Janet and Stephanie do not appear on the cover of the book or on its title page. An editorial notes says this transcript is the core of the dialogue-focuser! Zomg! Here is my rude summary.

Gil: Oh noes what about the menz? De Beauvoir suxxors.

Janet: Yes, we can’t talk about ourselves as women without first talking about men. “Can I really participate meaningfully or fully or most creatively without a man integral to my living?” (No.)

Bob: So your man is more important than work?

Janet: Yup. Want a blow job?

Stephanie: WTF Janet! I was 24 when I got here and was not worried that I wasn’t married. And that’s okay! I want to teach history!

Bob: You were so married, cocksucker.

Stephanie: Wasn’t. But now I am… my politics are fucked now. And I still don’t agree with Janet that women need men.

Janet: But the dialogue-focuser says that… sexuality.. asexuality… Life is dialectical!

Stephanie: *tries to get to a place where one can have dialectics without sucking cock*

Bob: “It’s the man who chooses what sort of job he will have and the woman follows after him.” Also, politics and stuff. Women just do what men say. Otto Rank blah blah blah. Women want to be wanted.

Janet: women don’t really know what they want because they just want husbands. They need men to be fulfilled.

Stephanie: Well, no. You can be married or whatever or not, and be well adjusted, and have a vocation. “It’s not a negation of her womanhood.”

Gil: Homosexuality suxxors!

Bob: Oh noes what about the mens!

Janet: Yes, what about masculinity!

(Jung. Blah blah. Empathy. City planning. The future. Culture. Science. Maybe our culture will become more feminine and then women will succeed. Will marriage endure past this century? (That was Janet!!) The pill. Fidelity. Licenses to have children. Technology! The end.)

Essay #3: David McClelland from HARVARD, “Wanted: A New Self-Image for Women”. Starts out okay. Early feminists thought X. But no! Even infant boys are more aggressive and assertive and rough and tough! Little boys report that they feel entirely self-confident! Ian fleming uses scientifically established facts when he has James Bond say that women are bad drivers! (I’m so not making this up. It’s on page 41. Harvard.) Spatial relations! Man the hunter! Virginia Woolf’s room of one’s own explained: women lack focus and thus, have this pathological need for privacy. Women need to fulfill their womanhood to be happy… Early feminists tried to be tough like men… today’s modern feminists try to be ultra feminine… they are all Wrong. But the femininists at least get to be feminine and thus happy. Here’s an assload of footnotes just to remind you I’m a sciiiiientist from Haaaarvard. The end.

4. Working for Death – Edward L. Flemming.
Oh noes what about the menz who die earlier than women?
Something Freudian and woman-blaming about men’s passive acceptance of his role. He is not healthily mature and independent. Women are overbearing mothers, and men cannot truly be free if they are Dependent. Thus, they die faster. Feminists are like mentally ill mothers, who smother and kill their men with too much emasculating bitchiness. Women have an essential need for psychic interdependence. “How different is the male.” Men must become more interdependent or die young. (What?)

5. Esther Milner – The Mother’s Role
Uses “she” and “human” as the default rather than “he” and “man”.
Analysis of middle class married women. Women under patriarchal systems, who don’t have status other than being a mother, raise their sons in ways that create “continuing reactive ambivalence and/or hostility towards girls and women in general”. Women who get to have lives and jobs and stuff, are all healthy. We put too much stress on motherhood as a role for cultural tranmission. The system is broken. The end.

Hey, that one wasn’t so bad, despite the Freudy bits.

6. Allan J. Moore. The Cosmo Girl: A Playboy INversion

Helen Gurley Brown. Manhunters. Selling the image of the sexbot chick to other chicks. How weird is that. Subculture of unmarried women. OMG, Zomg, our Cities Have So Many Unmarried Young Women. The cult of self-grooming is very anti the protestant ethic. It’s okay that these young women are sexual beings as long as they want to be married, really, eventually, and accept Jesus Christ. The End.


7. Sexual Equality and Human Freedom, George C. Owen.

Oh noes what about the menz!!! “It never seems to occur to anybody that men are as subject to imprisoning sexual stereotypes as women…” Feminism discriminates! Waaaaah!

Women and men who are parents should both work less at their jobs, and participate equally in child raising and domestic labor. Communal child rearing would really help.

“The addition of women to the labor-force will clearly destroy our current economic structure.” Doctors and nurses will become equal in status! Hierarchy destroyed! Screw petty conventions like marriage and opening doors for women and not swearing in front of ladies! It is women who perpetuate all the bad stereotypes of sexual inequality. The end.

8. Sexual Equality; Gene Hoffman

We should not try to pretend men and women are equal. I am human! Not woman! It’s all our fault. We accept the goals society sets for us. Self actualization will fix everything! Harmony in the home! The United Nations! Quakers! “The other group to which I refer is a highly personal one. I am very tenative about it, because it is all so incipient. I refer to a small group of young people I know who have experimented with LSD.”

(I hear that stuff makes you more human!)

“How exciting it would be to release our common genius to express our diversity, our variety, and ultimately, our long-awaited humanity!” The end.

Where are they now… I wonder! That dialogue-focuser idea really caught on… or did everyone just float off to San Francisco on a cloud of acid?

So next time you come across a dialogue like this in the trying-to-be-feminist blogosphere just recall 1967 and laugh… and go read some excellent books by Dale Spender to get the taste out of your mouth…

Hey you know what, let’s fix up that lame Wikipedia page for Dale Spender. It needs serious help!

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Intermittent partial attention

I feel dorky that I just invited Jo Spanglemonkey over to hang out, and it was sort of meant to be a work/study date, but I could barely pay attention as work people kept IM-ing and calling and emailing and I was trying to write stuff and actually-work at the same time. While occasionally popping into Reality consciousness and brightly remarking on things in a probably bizarre manner to my friend who I barely get to see anymore. WELL… at least I know she understands. I feel like a caricature of modern person who is very annoyingly always texting while in real life conversations or who has a permanent brain input/output jack implanted and talks to themself a lot, inappropriately laughing during serious conversations. I like the moments of being on 10 channels with other people who are also on 10 channels, but oh, the moments when we shut the computers and just look at each other in the face and are completely present as much as we can be from our odd little skulls.

Now Jo is gone for the day and I wish I had shut the computer for real and wrenched my brain into the Now to be with her. It’s a feeling I often have lately.

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Not minding so much being pushed

Most of the day I worked from the couch, not quite getting as much done as I thought I would, as usual. Rook and I went out to lunch, and had more of the perfect sunny fall day. I have been a bit afraid to go into town in my chair, because there is a hill, or a dip where the road goes under the train tracks and then a hill back up. It turned out to be not as steep of a hill as it was in my imagination or memory. I must be a lot stronger. Still, I let Rook push me almost all the way to downtown. It was easier, and I was tired, and it felt good to sit back and even close my eyes a little in the sun. The hard bit about going that far is not the distance itself, it’s the shifts of weight and the strain on my back because of all the uneven curbs. I have to adjust to deal with all the different slopes of driveways — the sidewalk isn’t even for most of the way.

Lunch was so nice… the platanos were perfectly fried and soft and caramelized, there were lots of black beans, the chips were fresh, and i had delicious horchata. We sat on the sidewalk and talked… Rook told me more details of his own trip to Beijing last year – he was there for maybe 2 days on the way to Manchuria. Our plan was then to wander around downtown, but we bought Moomin some vintage transformers in the tiny action-figure store across from Amelia’s, and then had to go. Oh but on the way back i persuaded him to idly drift into the store of evil cheap clothing; I got a boys’ long sleeve shirt with lightning bolts on it which is sort of silly and harry potterish; he bought ridiculous boxers with bats on them, and green polka dot ones. So maybe Squid will be regaled with extra glorious underwear next time she comes over and Rook answers the door.

The speed of things

Yesterday I went to the Wiki meetup & met a bunch of new people and talked a little bit with friends I already knew. I ended up at a long expensive dinnery thing but didn’t mind.. and had more beer than I meant (ordered 3 oz. tasting glass; got giant glass instead, and it was tasty). I ended up staying at zond-7’s and felt a bit guilty for not driving back to Rook and Moomin as I said I was going to… But I was so zonked. And then in the middle of the night had a classic OMG I SUCK anxiety moment which usually drives me to blog, but instead I merely babbled to Zond-7 who patted me and issued useful platitudes (as I explained would be useful) and he even more usefully pointed out that I was having a regular emotional reaction to being really tired and hurting, like “free floating anxiety” and was hunting for something to attach it to, some reason. That was so clearly true, and I think I’ve told him the same thing other nights but he says it better; and it worked to make me just sigh and wait and go to sleep. Sometimes when I’m that tired I am so sick of being in my own head.

This morning I felt awesome, my leg didn’t hurt too much, sucked down some coffee, thought about poetry and computery things and politics and feminism and life in my usual vague mix. I ended up incoherently babbling to Zond-7 about the wonders of Monique Wittig and feminist plots that involve double consciousness and going insane and multiple universes, unreliable narrators, the Inferno, how it was all about valencia street, and I was beginning to branch out into Inanna’s descent and Woman on the Edge of Time, etc. (Payback for the rather intense day-long lessons in the history of javascript.) But meanwhile was also absurdly happy to be driving, parking, walking, looking at buildings and the morning and people walking to places purposefully, holding hands, the automatic motions of locking my car, ordering juice at the sidewalk juice bar, and everything was full of sunlight. It all was very ordinary in the most beautiful way. But at the same time, that quality of things happening too fast, time going a bit too fast, when I want to savour it; a problem increasingly as I get older. He was eating bits off a giant hunk of bread from the valencia whole foods, and gave me a particular almost sly scruffy look as he told the story of ben franklin sleeping behind his printing press and eating a loaf of bread. I had read him a day or so aga a bit from Diane Wakoski about poets and integrity, that 100 dollars, a bit from Greed that I mean to write about on another blog. There we were in the car, looking at each other all oblique and telepathic, thinking about those things in the early morning light.

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The nicest sort of day, with massage and relaxing

Lounging in bed all morning with books and computers and coffee and cookies and a person excellent to gaze at. I read a little poetry and finished Dishwasher Pete’s book, which I highly recommend. Getting a fabulous hour and a half massage and then sitting in hazelbroom’s sunny flowery kitchen with iced chai and fast wireless… Bagels in a relaxing way… a fabulous art gallery on the way back to the car (and managing to park within half a block of hazelbroom’s house and the bagel place and the art gallery, and walking to everything). Then lounging the rest of the afternoon with a million screamy but basically peaceful kids in the yard, everyone coming over, everything very social: Rook, Moomin, Nukie, Hamster, Peanut, Hamster’s parents, Zond-7, Minnie, her baby, and my uncle and his wife, and Peanut’s parents dropping in and out as well. It was really nice. We ate stuff from the Hole and played some board games.

I’m still glowing from the massage. The difference between no massage and massage is hurting all over, vs. hurting just basically in one place and a bit down my leg.

I find that what I need for massage is deep tissue stuff with a lot of trigger point work and myofascial release. T.W. has pointed out the TFL and ITB (tensor fasciae latae and iliotibial band) is super nasty on my right leg. When people work on it it hurts like hell but helps the pain in my knees and my whole leg… The muscle around the front of my hip is also super messed up. I also go a bit crazy with pain at the point on my calf where that same muscle or fascia or whatever, ends, just below the knee on the outside.

So I need to do more swimming and strengthen my stomach muscles more, but I also really want more massage since it helps so much with pain. My leg all cramps and seizes up, all the way down to my smaller toes. uncramping the front of the hip muscle, whatever that one is called, helps me walk more normally, because i can bring my right leg further forward. Well, blah blah blah. More massages!