Secret Pop

Oct 31, 2001

My schedule is a bitch goddess.

Too much time for fun. Or too little. Too much value placed on this "fun" business, to be sure.

I am in the habit of seeking out reassurances. Even when those reassurances only confirm truths I detest. Couldn't I find a greater peace by simply calling off the search altogether? By not seeking as a rule? I would still see things. Surely. I see things every day. And perhaps in not seeking things out, I would give myself greater room and greater opportunity to actual see what confronts me.

I have projects to get going on. What am I waiting for?

Oct 30, 2001

Today is a good day to die. Or to have a bowl of soup. Whichever.

I got rained on when I walked out to get lunch today. In Los Angeles. It caught me by surprise. I had to ask a kindly merchant to give me an extra plastic bag to put my baby blue suede jacket in so it wouldn't get spotty and drenched. This proves that I don't have arthritis. I had no idea it was going to rain. Despite the grey skies and meteorologist predictions.

A short while ago, there was a woman walking around on the roof of the 99¢ Store across the street. I wonder if she was looking for something. Or if she was an inept jumper -- the victim of poor planning and a limited understanding of the physical laws.

A cool, white serpent of a cloud is crawling across the Hollywood sign right now. In seconds, it will be completely covered. I'd take a picture, but I recognize and respect the limitations of the lomo camera I carry in my handbag. It's a shame.

I think I have grown accustomed to looking at things from the outside in. Stealing glimpses from half-obscured windows. Peeking in on things in secret. Enviously eyeing a world of which I am distinctly not a part. The things I see, the bits I pick up -- they offer me no contextual relevance. Seeing anything -- knowing anything in this fashion is akin to its own form of sabotage. It creates the illusion of being an outsider. Even when the door is open and I am being invited to come inside.

Oct 29, 2001

I'm officially psychic.

Pulling up behind an older Ford Festiva, post-factory colored a dull shade of turquoise and manned by an older woman, post-youth colored a dull shade of grey, I had a premonition that I would not be making this left any time soon. It's my chief complaint about negotiating the streets of Los Angeles: there are almost no left turn signals, so left-faring drivers are forced to wait until that precarious time between yellow and red to dart out into the intersection and on to the rest of their lives. But this morning, as I pulled up behind the aforementioned Ford Festiva, I knew that my progress into the future would not be so unfettered. At one point, during the stretch of green light, I tapped my horn to alert the driver to the fact that she could go. She didn't move. When the light turned to yellow, and the advancing cars were far enough away that she could easily have made the turn, she still didn't move. I tapped my horn again. She turned around and mouthed the words, "You're stupid." I was charmed. The next time the light changed to yellow, she advanced out into the intersection enough to block the crossflow of traffic but did not actually make her turn. When oncoming traffic voiced its displeasure, she began backing up towards my car, making eye contact with me, but foregoing the mouthing of insults this time around. I was beginning to feel a familiar sense of helpless amusement. The next time the light turned green, she pulled out into oncoming traffic and merged into the lane of drivers going straight, provoking a handful of horn honks as she went. As I made my turn -- effortlessly -- I saw her up ahead making a four- or five-pointed U-turn to come back down towards the intersection and make her turn after all. And all of this I knew before it came to pass. It's a wonder that law enforcement and government agencies aren't knocking at my door. My powers of clairvoyance are mighty.

Oct 26, 2001

Perils of city living give formerly enthusiastic city girl pause

One of my co-workers came in this morning saying that apparently there was "a lot of gunfire on Fairfax" as he was driving in. He felt something hit his car, and when he parked his car here at the office, he noticed a bullet hole. I'm listening to him speaking with the police dispatch right now. "At least a dozen shots...I didn't see the people doing the shooting...there was a guy who ran out and was limping..." He's lucky. A little shaken up. I was already feeling overly contemplative this morning. This doesn't help.

Oct 25, 2001

"I am no one."

That's not supposed to mean anything in the vein of "you're nobody till somebody loves you" or anything. I have just noticed that this is a town where everyone looks everyone over as if to ask, "Should I know you?" You can't walk into a room without catching a bunch of people doing the inventory of celebrity faces in their heads as they measure your facial structure against the mental wireframe model they've made of everyone who should be remembered. It's a little disconcerting. I thought about getting a T-shirt made that says "I am no one" on it in some sort of bold lettering. But a co-worker assured me that wearing such a shirt would inevitably make me someone right quick. There's no winning.

I support the arts in Los Angeles.

I finally made good on my promise to myself and walked over to LACMA on my lunch break to extend my patronage. I'm in love with that place. And proud to support it. While I was filling out the forms, the teller asked if I'd ever been a member before, and I said I hadn't. The man behind me in line jovially cried, "Well, welcome! Good to have you!" It was all very comforting. I went to the museum store to pick up my complimentary deck of playing cards, but I'm saving my gander at the new Jasper Johns/Jeff Koons exhibit for tomorrow.

I came up to Los Angeles back in May for an interview at Universal Music Group, and I got into town early and went to kill some time at a McDonald's near the offices. When I walked in, a suspicious-looking fellow asked if I would like to support the arts in Los Angeles. I'm pretty sure he was panhandling. I told him I would catch him on my way out. But I ended up leaving through another more inconvenient door just to avoid him and his pitch. He saw me scurrying off to my car and yelled after me, "Hey, where are you going?" But I was home free. Now, I can put an end to all the guilt-ridden, sleepless nights. I DO support the arts in Los Angeles. And with a tax-deductible contribution, no less. Yay, me!

Los Angeles is for vampires

If I'm ever going to cut it in this town, I'm going to have to learn to place less value on sleep. I went to a very cool party at the House of Blues tonight. I had a great time, but I drank too much, and was both delighted and dismayed to be told that it was time to go, when the Foundation Room was closing at midnight. We migrated over to the Saddle Ranch Chop House and had some victuals there. And in both places, I felt attractive and exceptional.

Highlight of the evening? Dancing to Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" with Bob, who really knows how to make a lady feel like she's being led. It just proves my earlier theory that I never danced enough. I had the music in me on a number of occasions tonight. I'm glad I had the opportunity to let it out if only for a spell.

I gave out cards a lot this evening. Good-looking Dave from the E! Channel got one. And Sue from Paramount Pictures. I hope I'm on my way to making a slew of new friends. I'm certainly in the mood for it.

Oct 24, 2001

I'm a star by osmosis

I just looked out my office window and saw a caravan of police vehicles and a film crew with a car on a trailer cruising west on Wilshire Blvd. Whatever film or telelvision show that was for, I don't know. But it sort of feels as if I'm in it because I was there when it was being created. That felt like a flash of Hollywood. I'm going to go get some lunch and soak up the glamour before the reality of the ordinariness of Hollywood settles in.

The 99¢ Store proclaims itself "Halloween Headquarters" by way of an orange plastic banner. It's a winning day all around.

Los Angeles as seen by drunk folks downhill

Well, it just goes to show you. People from San Diego can come up to visit me and sweep me off my feet with their ability to have a wild time. I went and had dinner at Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian, snuck into the Skybar during a party for Better than Sex, went to the Saddle Ranch Inn? Chop House? Something? and watched people fall off the mechanical bull. There was some sort of Snoop Dogg event going on at the House of Blues. The entire evening just felt quintessentially L.A.

During a conversation about Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, I felt inexplicably drawn to kiss my sister on the mouth. But I didn't. I just told her about it and drew delight from making her uncomfortable.

There was a girl at the Saddle Ranch place who must have caught my sister disapproving of her outfit. She said she doesn't usually dress like this, but she's getting married next Friday. I said I knew there must be a bachelorette party in house because I had seen a number of penis-shaped name tags on the floor in the ladies' room. Staci. Jan! etc. Apparently, the bride-to-be was Staci herself. She was very nice and confessed to being a school teacher. I wished her the best and encouraged her to live it up. That was my good deed.

I'm a little bit tipsy and a little bit concerned about the amount of work I didn't do tonight. But I think I will sleep like a sweet Chinese cherub, sans the harp-strumming.

This all convinces me of one thing: L.A. is for sharing with other people. L.A. is for showing to visiting friends. It's never better here than when it's wowing someone not from here. Does that make sense? I'm not sure if it does.

I wish we hadn't had such a decadent meal, and I wish I hadn't had quite so much sangria. But I feel sexy tonight. And just this side of carefree. It's nice. Bob said some incredibly generous and encouraging things to me tonight at dinner. When I am most in the throes of self-doubt, when I am most perilously concerned about what will become of me from one day to the next, there always manages to be a voice of goodwill and tender friendship to alert me to the fact that there are things in me worthy of love and admiration. It's nice to be reminded of that.

Oct 23, 2001

"We're parking at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and Jon Lovitz is heeeeere..."

I've lived in this town for almost a month, and I have seen neither hide nor hair of a celebrity or reasonable facsimile. Not even any marginally famous hangers-on. My sister comes to town for a day, and she's off to say hello to Jon Lovitz. What gives?

Oct 22, 2001

Never thwart the kindness of strangers

On Saturday, I went to the Tavern with my sister and her fiancé and some of his friends to watch one of the playoff games. When I walked into the place, a burly, older fellow at the door beckoned me in and then proceeded to insist on paying for my first beer. That was nice. And I didn't have to sit on his lap or anything. So everyone was happy.

Today, I went back to this sushi place in Larchmont for the second time, and one of the sushi chefs apparently remembered me from my first visit. That was sort of flattering. He isn't even the chef who waited on me that time. But later, Angela and I watched him break a plate on top of a plate of ahi carpaccio, leaving chips of ceramic all over the fish. He then flicked away the ceramic pieces and moved the fish to another plate. That was weird to watch all out in the open and everything. No one complained of lacerations to the esophagus, but we didn't stay long after that, so who can tell?

I'm certain it's shallow of me to take notice every time someone shows me a kindness because I'm wearing low-riding pants or because my hair looks nice, but I can't help it. It's times like those that it feels really great to be a girl. If I'm being oppressed, so be it. I like feeling pretty.

Oct 18, 2001

The postal worker wore gloves

I live within a few blocks of a post office. That's great. That will alleviate an insignificant amount of inconvenience in my life. I went there today to mail a package, and one of the three postal workers at the windows was wearing big blue rubber gloves. I guess that startled me in a way. In a meeting at work this afternoon, one of my co-workers joked about the coffee creamer being anthrax. And my mom loves to tell this joke about how she has recently appointed my father official letter opener in our home. She was telling Martìn that joke and apparently kept mispronouncing anthrax "Amtrak." Martìn thought that was cute. I hate that the world seems to be in disarray. I don't really factor it into my thinking regularly, but when you see a guy at the post office wearing big blue rubber gloves, it gives you pause.

I have to drive back down to San Diego tonight. I'm not really looking forward to it, but I have no reason to dread it. The worst is behind me. From this vantage point, everything ahead looks almost disconcertingly pleasant. Seemingly endless expanses of sunny fields of non-allergenic flowers and whatnot. I don't barrel forward into this future of mine. I think if I am to use the appropriate terminology, it would be correct to say that I traipse.

Everything is new today.

Thus ends my first week in my new apartment. I have to go back home to San Diego to tie up loose ends, finally and for good. A sigh of relief will likely be breathed in there somewhere.

I didn't have any restaurant adventures last night, although some had been planned. Just dealing with the cable modem installation and eating leftover Chinese. There's still plenty to do and nowehere near enough daylight hours to do it, but I'm not discouraged. I have no reason to be. In my friendly enthusiasm, I waved through the window of my back door at a neighbor the night before last. I'll bet I looked like a dork, but I'm glad I did it. He waved back. Perhaps out of pity. I'll soon be known as the nice retarded girl who lives downstairs.

So, my errands have taken me through Culver City and all along Venice Blvd, and I actually feel stressed out about how many restaurants and shops I feel I have to frequent in fairly short order. It's cool being in a new place, but the responsibilities are ominous. I can't let a month go by without going to that funky looking record shop on Pico or that awesome green Thai restaurant on Venice. How could I live with myself.

I think I'm realizing that I don't have much to say. With everything going on, I'm ashamed that I haven't done more or documented more. But I suppose there's time. I've only lived in this apartment for four days, after all.

Oct 17, 2001

The view from the cat-bird seat

There's some crazy guy in front of the 99¢ Store. I can see him from my office window. He's swinging an invisible golf club at everyone who walks by. From up here, his arms look unusually short. I don't know much about golf, but for a guy with abnormally short arms, he's got a pretty terrific swing. Fore!

Oct 13, 2001

Truth is where you find it.

The moving maelstrom has forced me to stumble on all sorts of little tidbits of memories, forgotten wisdom, cherished moments, disdainful ones, too. I found a legal pad with the following scribbled at the bottom in my handwriting:

Anything that has overtaken me is the result of my own folly. I refuse to deceive myself, and I don't like self-pity.

I don't know what I was writing about, but I know what I meant.

Oct 8, 2001

There's no place like a home you've never lived in.

I got the apartment! I'm so relieved and excited and dying to spend every penny I have buying new furniture. I'll have to reign in that impulse, though. If only to fool my mother into believing she raised a practical and sensible girl. She didn't. But she needn't ever know.

I have lots of reasons to celebrate today. I think I will do just that.

Oct 7, 2001

The Symphonic Sounds of Packing Tape and Paper Cuts

So, this is what it's like to move a mountain with a teaspoon. I have been packing all weekend, and I feel as if I haven't even made a dent. But that's a hideous lie. I have been packing all weekend, but I have been taking very liberal breaks to go off and distract myself from the task at hand. It's my own damn fault.

I want to be bathing and sleeping and luxuriating betwixt my cool, soft sheets.

Things I would never publish for fear my mom or dad might read them

I found some sex appeal in the shower yesterday. I looked down at my body, smooth and covered in beads of water, and I saw something I wanted a picture of. So I grabbed my camera and brought into the shower with me and took a few shots of the way my belly turns into the curve of my hip, and I'm interested to see how they will turn out. Issues of lenses fogging up forced me to stand under ice cold water and leave the door open to a blast of conditioned air, but maybe that will make the pictures more dear to me. I suffered a little to get them.

Of course, maybe I'll be thoroughly dismayed at how I look and vow never to be in another photo again. What fun it is to acknowledge the unpredictability of the world around me.

Well, that wasn't so naughty. I suppose it would be all right if my mom or dad stumbled onto this page and read that their daughter was snapping questionable photos of herself while showering. I'm a little more concerned now about the employees at the 1-hour photo place. I hope they've been taught to be respectful of other people's "art."

Golly, it's gotten cold.

A new pair of jeans

I can't believe how thirsty I am. I am similarly disbelieving of how incongruous my level of alertness and my level of energy are. I'm wide awake and tuckered out. I wish my biorhythms would just get it together.

I feel as if a lot happened today, and yet there isn't much in the way of events to report. Maybe I'm just feeling things a bit differently all of a sudden. I'm looking at everything through a different lens, and I'm seeing so many details that once escaped my observation. I think I may have forgotten that things have edges. The focus has been so soft of late.

I might have resorted to quoting something from my little Zen book, but my dad packed it. That leaves little room for my usual apathy.

But I certainly can't close without offering some words ripped off from someone else's intellectual accomplishment:

"To find your missing creativity, release a little of your attachment to the worst injury ever done to you. Grieve the deadness that you are letting go, and that you have so long regarded as a trophy wound. Then celebrate the opening of a door through which your childlike nature can come back to you, laughing, asking the simplest questions, clearing your vision." -- Miller, 1994

And Plautus said, "Factum est illud, fieri infectum non potest." Done is done, it cannot be made undone. Now, I don't speak Latin, but that's some simple, durable wisdom. Rock solid. If I had a beard, I'd be stroking it thoughtfully. Fortunately, I do not have a beard -- nor have I the propensity to grow one. Me Chinese. Me relatively unplagued by unsightly body hair.

Oh. I saw Zoolander tonight. I'm not inclined to review it or anything, but I've been seeing a lot of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson on the talk circuit, and I just continue to be impressed by them and people like them. I want to create something as brilliant as Rushmore. I want to write a screenplay with Drake Sather. I want to appear humble and charmingly at-ease on Letterman. I want to have the confidence to carry an idea through to fruition. Tomorrow, I will apply that desire in some fashion. Given my current state, it may only be in something as inconsequential as planning a meal. Baby steps.

Oct 4, 2001

Unmentioned but not unworthy of mention

This has been one of the busiest and most interesting weeks in my life, and yet I haven't set aside a spare moment to document a bit of it. It's a shame. Even with a memory like mine -- a memory that sometimes prompts folks to wonder if I'm some sort of genetically-engineered freak created in a laboratory deep in the bowels of the Ozark Mountains -- I will inevitably forget the little bits and pieces of this time. And that's a shame.

I just started a new job. And I am moving to Los Angeles. I'm in a sort of residence limbo at the moment, but I will be moved eventually and will begin a life in a new city. It's the first time I've ever picked up and moved off on my own. With the exception of college, and that doesn't really count. I will have no preordained social system on which to fall back. I'm really on my own this time. It's scary.

I'm in love with the stretch of Los Angeles that I see on a daily basis. I rue the obligation of getting to the office, wanting instead to be able to pull my car over and take pictures of charming old buildings and kitschy mid-century advertising. I drove past something I have so far been unable to identify (the number of huge hangar-like warehouse structures and RVs makes me think it's a studio of some sort), and there were two Japanese girls taking pictures of each other in front of a fountain, and the sun was shining, and the sky was clear, and I so wanted to hop out of my car and be doing the very same thing. It's nice to be moved to want such things. I have become so accustomed to passing my drive time on the phone. For the first time in a long time, I actually want to drive through town quietly, just taking stock of things.

Today, I was jaywalking from the parking structure to my office building, and a few cars were kind enough to not mow me down. A very cheerful guy with a shock of dreads atop his head congratulated me on having stopped traffic today. "You look great!" he said. It made my guilt-ridden 10 A.M. stroll into the office far less stressful. And then I was relieved to find that I was still the first one in in my department. Little mercies.

Last night, I ate at the Apple Pan ("Quality Forever"). I was disappointed to find that it was really just a burger joint that has apple pie for dessert, as opposed to a purveyor of ridiculously-sized apple dishes. Giant apple pancakes. Apple pan dowdy. Apple brown betty. That sort of thing. But I'm glad I know that now, and I'm glad I found it out by actually parking it on one of the highly sought-after stools at the counter and ordering from the brief menu. If you're wanting recommendations, I had a hickory burger and fries, and they served my Coke in a little white plastic cone cup perched in a red plastic base. The fries were yummy.

There's a bakery in Beverlywood that I drive past in the morning that proclaims it's "Famous for Quality." I always find this sort of marketing amusing. There's also a store with a giant lightbulb in front and a Chinese and kabob restaurant that smelled impossibly delicious when I stood outside taking pictures of the sign. Granted, I fully intended to make fun of the vision of this restaurant, but I'm now on a quest to eat there and find out what on earth could possibly smell so good. And there's the enormous toothpaste tube, squirting out the word "Katz" (of "Katz Dentistry") in thick white cursive letters. It sometimes makes me wish there was even more traffic to slow down my drive. People who actually live in L.A. and have to drive any distance at all to work hate me for saying things like that. I imagine one day soon the wonder might not be so pronounced, but I'm savoring every bit of it right now and am not anxious for it to dissipate. I don't want to have lived in this city for three years and find that I've never been to the places people travel great distances to visit. I'm going to exploit my new zip code in grand fashion. Even if that means buying my groceries at a non-union market. I'm dubious about the possibility of any notable experiences taking place in a Ralph's.

Today, if all goes as planned, I think I will go spend my lunch break at the La Brea Tarpits, breathing in sickly fumes and writing in my journal. It would be fine if one or both components of my activity imparted a transcendant high.