Secret Pop

Jul 31, 2002

"Shiny shiny. Bad times behind me."

Japanese vendors often give away complimentary Kleenex packets. I wonder about this. Is this really a bonus for me? Sure, they come in handy in a pinch, but isn't this sort of like getting Q-Tips for Christmas? Incidentally, I once had a girlfriend whose parents gave her Q-Tips for Christmas. I was extra nice to her that day.

I tried to take a short nap tonight. It was a fruitless effort.

And I still have the tiniest bit of a crush on Jordan Crane. He signed my copy of The Last Lonely Saturday last July with a little drawing of the main character thinking a flower for me. I was touched. I've been slightly swooning ever since.

I was tidying up my little office/breakfast nook yesterday, and I had to stack my various desk calendars on a bookshelf to make space. I had grouped them earlier this year when I began creating a miniature history of my miniature life in an Excel spreadsheet. I didn't open them and look nostalgically at the pages. But I nostalgically remembered having done so back in January. It was essentially savoring the memory of having had a memory. Which is an odd thing to note. And places me in seeming peril of having such experiences on into infinity. Fortunately and unfortunately, I have a terrifically good memory.

Shiny shiny sha na na na.

Jul 29, 2002


Hands in pockets
Posture poor
Teeth a bit crooked
Hair a bit tousled
Ears jutting
Nose upturned
Word bubble says, "Dang!"

It might sometimes be appropriate for me to identify with comic books. Sometimes might occur more often than one would suspect.

"This isn't quite how I remember it..."

Jul 25, 2002


I am in so much pain today that I've been considering how I might subtly add a cane to my "look." How can that be?

"What time is it, Miho?" "It's the Time of Love."

Smokey and Miho at Spaceland -- a nice surprise. Japanese girl sings Portuguese lyrics. Beck and Johnny Marr stand and watch. Close enough for me to have said hello. Also close enough for me be left aghast at how impossibly short they both are. Musical brilliance stunts one's growth. Clearly. Guys in Brazilian soccer jerseys talk too loud. Rude guy and his date cause me to forfeit my seat at the Ms. Pac-Man cocktail table. I'm tired from getting lost and suffering piercing back pain and not wanting to get back to reality and not thinking I should have had that last beer. I bought the CD. If I'd had more cash, I would have bought the shirt and the Slowrider CD, too. Live music is good for me. It also makes me want to be a rock star. All the bottled water you can drink!

Miho Hatori

200 Points

I had to laugh when Miho noted that a songwriter's work was "fucking kick ass." Her accent reminds me of ice cream cones at Dipper Dan's on the way to and from the train station in Yokosuka. I'm going to buy me a little Japanese schoolgirl outfit and prove to the world that I can't pull that look off.

Oh, and the guy who checked my I.D. complimented my hair. He described it as "ferocious." That's a new one.

Jul 24, 2002

Come what may.

It seems that even in my secretest and safest hideouts, sentiment manages to find me -- disarm me. At this moment, it's balanced, happily, with an appreciation of what is beautiful and meaningful. I wish to admire what has been created it. Honor it. Not revile it in jealousy and hope for it to be dismantled. Maybe I'm a grown-up at this second. Moments from now, I will be a child again.

I had things to say tonight. But my connection became testy and wouldn't let me. I think that's best.

Till my dying day, if you know what I mean.

Jul 23, 2002

Sit tight. I'm making something.

I loved tonight. It was beautiful and perfect and temperate. I am happy for hot tubs and the company of people I adore and the winding down period at the end of it all. I can even tolerate the inadvertent splashing. I had a nice big towel with me for after.

There was a moment today when I realized I was rapt with enthusiasm about the days ahead -- burdensome as my expectations of myself may be. I realized I was looking forward to striking out into the yonder of unnamed color. It's true, I always wear my seatbelt. And it's true, I am not happy when I have to stick my hand into the garbage disposer. But I feel the future and all its risky provocation bearing down on me. I want to give in to it. I want to give it a name. I want to give it hell.

Intractable fear. I defy it.

I'm working on something new. It's just an iteration of an idea I keep having. Maybe it will be something. If not, it will at least keep me busy for a while. I'm going to be good at something this year. I insist upon it. I keep trying things that make me chuckle. The sad, sorry chuckle of the inept. But I'll figure it out. I'll get it. I'll make mountains out of molehills and cookies out of cake. And no one will thank me for it, because that's not a recipe anyone wants.

Remember when McDonald's Happy Meals would come in little cartons that you could assemble into buildings that were part of a "collect them all" town? I don't remember ever having a whole town. I just remember having a train depot and a sheriff's station, both smelling strongly of french fries and cheeseburgers.

We also had those Dixie riddle cups when I was a child. I am adamant in telling you that I never learned a thing from those stupid cups.

Jul 16, 2002

"You're nobody 'til everybody in this town thinks you're a bastard."

The Japanese have mastered the weird and the wonderful when it comes to candy. I love this new Lotte Yukiringo Fuwawa candy. It's apple-flavored and described on its package as "Fluffy-light-delicious." Do I love the candy more? Or the adorable misuse of hyphens? I can't say.

I love it when folks are down with the Japanese. It's not there to make fun of it or to make a weird face. It's there to be admired and worshipped and treasured. And it's better than anything that comes from Hershey's or M&M/Mars. It's delicious and innovative and rife with grammatical errors. The Japanese confectionery is a thing of mystical wonder. I worship at its shrine. And I will pay any price -- ANY PRICE -- for a Zaggy bar.

Everything I just said goes for Japanese stationery, too. Except for the part about the Zaggy bar. That wouldn't make sense.

"Fallen leaves in the night. Who can say where they´re blowing?"

I worried that I hadn't done enough, but it turned out I had.

It's possible that the warming trend is a product of the blasted electronics ghetto I've got running in my cluttered little office. Or maybe some global villain has deployed a sinister weather machine. Either way. I don't like feeling sticky.

I've got a lot to do before I die.

More and more often, I see less and less that I like. In me. In others. In the world. I want to write a poem, but I can't find a way to rhyme my disappointment.

My dad was right about the way a cold beer tastes on a hot day.

I went to an Asian market to get the canned clams I like. They only had canned squid. I knew it wouldn't be what I wanted, but I bought it anyway. I couldn't leave emptyhanded. That is the story of my life.

For me, a trip to the ice cream shoppe is like a harbinger of peace. Raise the white flags. But replace the flags with vanilla ice cream. And all will be well again.

I went to Cost Plus and received very poor service. So I dragged my new furniture purchases out to my car on my own, despite their offers to assist me -- scowling all the way. "Too little too late," I thought to myself. I sure showed them.

Jul 13, 2002

It's necessary to always carry paper and a pen.

I created a new cocktail. Pear nectar and vanilla vodka. And that was just the beginning.

It's hot and sticky here tonight. I can't say I'm fond of it. "Sultry" is a nice word and all. But I think I'd be happier living in a nice big refrigeration unit.

Today was strange and empty. I was anxious to be out of it altogether. In contrast, tonight was a sprawling mess of new acquaintances, storytelling, laughing, and climbing in and out of the backseat of a two-door vehicle. I challenged myself to keep doing it without moving the seat forward. Like a game of limbo. I was the only one playing.

I met a dog named Lucky, and I found that she insisted on having her tummy rubbed. I relented.

And there was a woman who, when asked, declared that things were really great in her life right now. And I was glad to hear someone say that.

Jul 12, 2002


A doubledecker bus loaded up with Austin Powers lookalikes just drove past, honking and waving at the crowd. I guess, in Los Angeles, that constitutes a parade.

Jul 11, 2002

July she will fly and give no warning to her flight.

Tonight, I took stock of how things once foreign are now familiar. And how close I am to crossing my one year mark here. How odd that is. I can't see ahead a year. I can't fathom how a year will get by me. Or how I will get through it. And yet here it is. A year. Passed. Lived. Endured. Survived. Overcome. Catalogued. And a year before that. And one before that.

My life sits within a slightly different housing today. The lines and curves are altered. The sun comes in from a different compass direction. I have a breakfast nook. And of course, it's not just the place I live. It's the sort of cloud I live it under. Or the umbrella. Or ray of sunshine. It's the shell of me. Ever guarded. Ever eager. Ever earnest.

There are people in my life today who were not in it a year ago. And I marvel that I could have gotten on without them. I wonder who will be on that list a year from now. And I have no way to anticipate it. To think about life in a year's time boggles my mind. I have grown accustomed to change. Prepared for it if only for the sake of wanting to steel myself against its assault. I can't imagine it will be anything like it is today. With the exception of the fact that 7-11 will probably again be offering free commemorative Slurpees. Or so I'm told. A year from now, who knows. Who knows.

A fortune cookie told my mom she was an altruist who would soon be engaged in humanitarian efforts. She was the first to point out how untrue a thing that was. Don't trust fortune cookies. They're just trying to get back at you for breaking them in half and often not even for the sake of eating.

I had toyed with the idea of going to Disneyland recently. I wish I had gone. It has been slightly more than a year since the last time I went. It was so humid that day. A thick, heavy heat that leaves your face slick and your hair lank. But it was fun and well-planned and never tedious or trying. And it started to rain at the very end. I had to run through the weighty droplets to get to the car. It was something to laugh about. And to feel exhilarated by. I want to feel exhilarated again. Not only for the sake of specifically recreating what I once felt. But just to feel it again. Just to call up that sensation and remember it all over again. I'm wondering if I will be able to find that sense of fun and thrill and laughter in anything absent of a jewel heist that takes place in a gumball factory.

I don't know what to write. That's why I ramble. I sit here and wait for the words to come. I place my fingers on the keyboard, in much the same way I once placed my fingers on the keys of our piano and hoped that Mozartian magic would spring from my fingertips. That I would compose a brilliant tune just by moving my fingers around for a while. But we all know what tune that makes. How to create. A challenge. How does it take place. In my case, I think sometimes I really do just put on a blindfold and hold my arms out and flail around for a while and then see if anything came of it. This strategy was not devised by my inner scientist.

So, I seek to create. But I shy away from structure. I want to make something real and meaningful but I worry that I waste my time. I fear the truth of inadequacy. And I fight it at the same time. I put some furniture together yesterday, for instance.

Sometimes, I end my sincere thoughts with absurd little ironies. I think it is either a sign of great empathy for the reader or a sign of tremendous cowardice.

Do not eat the Freshness Sachet Oxygen Absorber. It's just there to keep the beef jerky dry.

Jul 7, 2002

The use of feminine wiles on vulnerable door staff

Jo and Megan and I got in to see Neil Finn without too much struggle. The show was sold out, which is why I had bought tickets to see him in San Diego earlier in the week. Just in case. But a little eyelash-batting and pretty-pleasing got us our red wristbands. It was a good thing, too, because they weren't playing the audio feed in the Foundation Room, and I was not charmed by the stylings of the DJ. So, we got in, we sang along, we danced. And it was a noticeably different show than the one Jo and I had just seen in San Diego on Tuesday night. We were still treated to Johnny Marr and Lisa Germano. The other guitarist was still a guy from Diamond Bar named Sean something-or-other. But the playlist was different in many places, and that made it even more worthwhile. I did not say anything to Margaret Cho when I was inches away from her in the Foundation Room. Jo was disappointed in me. But I'm okay with it. I'm often too fearful of looking like a boob.

The guy who let us in got a kiss on the cheek for his pains. Ask my lips, and they will tell you he was sporting a clean, close shave.

Jul 5, 2002

Pretty little poem

The grass is never greener than when it is actually brown -- when it is only a memory of a green that once was and that memory sings of a color that never could have existed, being somehow too true, too deep. Is that something a cynic would say? Yes. Perhaps. A cynic with corrected gamma and the ability to remove the rosy tint from the grandeur of recollection.

Was it ever as good as it seemed to have been when regarded in my forgiving memory? Was it ever so good?

I can wave it all away -- a puff of smoke, a powdery intrusion, a layer of dust. I can cause it to drift off and reassemble elsewhere. I can make more of anything than can possibly actually be. Breaking all laws of physics. I can make more of less. I can make more than there will be. I can make a fool of myself with great speed and skill. I can make myself a champ with nearly the same efficiency. I can skip lunch and go to the cosmetics counter and fetch a new outlook. And I'm clever enough to realize that it's just a little paint and glitter, not an actual renovation.

I laughed so much, it went directly into yawning. I stretched it to the thinning ends. I jumped, and the room didn't quake when I came back down. I always dreamed I could be light as a feather. I always dreamed.

I would have settled for fireworks in my brain.