Secret Pop

Aug 30, 2002

Last Day at the O.K. Corral

It's time to start over again. Maybe I can just tell myself that fear and nervous energy are excitement and anticipation. It beats the heck out of measuring the pros and cons.

P.S. It was never O.K.

Aug 27, 2002

Whistle while you work.

For the first time in a while, I stayed at work late enough to leave in the dark and cool of the night. Crossing the less busy street alone and entering the parking garage to find my car sitting solitary on the level was strange. As if I'd overslept and the world had ended.

Soon enough, with the help of daylight savings, it will be dark much more of the time. I remember it from year after year that has gone before. Years that have left their hash marks on me. I remember it for it's ability to cause me to remember. I love the smell of October as it becomes November. The smell of cold fireplace ashes in the dewy cool of morning is more meaningful to me than almost any other scent. It has meant so many things. Sometimes hope and new beginnings. Sometimes nostalgic loss. The first day I catch a great draught of that scent is a milestone. I'm glad I moved in the fall. It felt like homecoming.

Lately, it seems that I am changing. Growing maybe? And I am less afraid. I remember when things seemed to be happening in a scene on a postage stamp. Time passed. Life rushed past me like heavy rains in the gutter. And I stood there and watched. And noticed debris. It all went by. It all washed away. And the streets smelled sweet as they were drying. I was squinting. Unable to look directly at bright truths. But I feel my eyes adjusting.

Things change. Something happens. Perspectives stretch and distort. The cat is big, but the dog looks somehow smaller, even though he's standing right there. What was meaningful becomes dull and smooth-edged, like pieces of glass in ocean sand. No longer able to cut through anything or to draw blood. But suddenly more beautiful, especially when held up to the light. What was paramount fades into the background, and the pages turn, and the players change. There are so few things that will manage to matter forever.

I wish today felt more like a different day when I felt less like this.

Aug 26, 2002

Pick Me Up, and Take Me Away

I've postage enough for both of us, and I'm marked "First Class."

Aug 25, 2002



Ha Ha Ha

Finally. A really gangbusters performance to crow about. I needed that. Now, if only my little sister's dog would stop giving me the cold shoulder.

Aug 23, 2002

Try it. You'll like it.

This feels a bit more like the L.A. I was getting to know way back when. Leaving the house at half past midnight to go meet friends for drinks and who knows what. As tired as I ever am, I am never sorry for having lingered for a spell with people who are precious to me. Break out the Lowenbrau. Tonight is kind of special.

Aug 22, 2002

"An interrogation should be worded with great care."

It's never nice to take stock of all that has fallen away. But it makes more room for all that remains and all that has emerged. There seems to be a cosmic balance. Something that keeps an unkind word from resounding in the absence of an extraordinarily kind one. There is harmony in the mingling. The tiny boost that makes me believe anew that I can make it to the finish line without falling down. Or barfing on myself.

I got a bunch of new sheet music this week, including the fiddle solo from The Devil Went Down to Georgia, which is surprisingly simple looking. Mostly eighth notes. I gave it a whirl tonight. But I sensed my squareness all the while. My classical stance. My orchestral attitude -- all straight and rhomboid. Once you learn a posture, it's difficult to veer from it. That's a universal truth.

All this time, I could have walked to work and never did.

Aug 21, 2002

"The movie's supposedly sophisticated vulgarity is firmly rooted in the smug ring-a-ding-ding of the Kennedy era."

I experienced a strange case of something that you could associate with vertigo last night. All of a sudden, I just felt dizzy and off-balance. Like I was always about to tip over. It has lingered until now. All day, I have felt as if I've been falling. I haven't had many ideas about a remedy. Just time and torpor. I'm sure soon enough I'll be right as rain. That will leave me with no excuses.

The scolding angel in my head keeps saying the same thing over and over again. "Do something." Occasionally, the variant, "Do something, dammit," makes a showing. But mostly, it's the former.

Mid-century movie magic makes alcoholism look like such a hoot.

Aug 20, 2002

"Poor people need it, too."

Today, I was blue. Through and through. I even wore a blue sweater. I didn't know any better.

I'm looking forward to taking a great deep breath, preceding a big sigh of relief. In the absence of it, I am left to shallow exhalations that never quite get the job done. It feels good to fill your lungs. It feels good to be filled with something. Even if it's just air.

I always wanted to be the girl that was not like anyone else you had ever known. I don't know what causes someone to want that. I didn't grow up in an orphanage or anything. But I always wanted to be the image with the extra glowing halo in everyone's memory. The sore thumb. That Mary. She was something. There was never anyone else like her. She was different. Special. She was the pearl of great price. The last mint in the can. The unbruised banana. She was someone you would write songs about. You would recall her in slow motion. With sparkles. She would make your heart race. Or melt. She was a charmer, that one. She had small hands. They were good for holding.

And then it starts to sound like I'm writing my eulogy. No wonder I'm blue.

Aug 16, 2002

Wanting What You've Got

I've been steeped in a flood of memories for a spell. I've been trying to dig in and find the root of it -- perhaps to snuff it out. I'm not sure. I feel my fingers searching, grasping. Life is strange. The way it just spills out. The way it just happens. It makes a girl wonder if she should get a manicure.

I take meaning from things and feel cheated when others miss it or when the meaning they take is different. As personal a thing as insight may be, I wish it could be shared effortlessly. I wish it could just be painted across someone's consciousness like a great swath of understanding. Something mutual. Something reachable.

As much as I wince when the sentiment hits, I wonder if I could like a version of me that was free of it. Sometimes I remember things that don't matter. But mostly I remember the things that matter more than anything. And the very thought of them is nearly too much to bear.

Today began grey and gloomy. Something I haven't seen in a while. I am anxious. Filled with anticipation and maybe fear about what is to come. Sometimes it feels as if my future is coming for me like a piano from the sky.

Aug 12, 2002

I just drank a grape soda, and, boy, are my arms tired.

I managed to make every wrong driving decision I possibly could tonight. I'm beginning to worry that martinis are making me stupid and clumsy. Although history -- followed by the vodka lobby -- may say that I was clumsy to begin with.

I also just realized that I'm old enough to remember when soda cans had those sharp, tear-drop-shaped tops that you had to actually pull off. Either that, or the stock they sold on the military base was very, very old. That's entirely possible. I think I was in junior high school before I realized that sodas were supposed to be fizzy.*

Dogs can smell crazy.

*This is an exaggeration.

Aug 11, 2002

Warning: This movie will try to restore your faith in god.

Okay. So, I went to see the new M. Night Shyamalan flick. And more than anything, I was impressed by the number of people seated around me -- in V.I.P., pay-more-for-your-seat, you'd-think-people-would-be-quiet territory, no less -- who couldn't stop talking. Truly. And these weren't just talkers. These were belligerent chatterboxes who made mimicking huffing noises and elevated their volume and word count when they realized they were disturbing the people around them.

The movie would have you believe that there are two types of people, classified by their faith or lack thereof. I would submit to you that there ARE two types of people, but they are separated by their convictions on the topic of keeping quiet while the reel is spinning. I think in the near future, the ritzy cinemas will actually begin creating seating with individual sound systems, much like the little eggs you sit in at the Haunted Mansion or the newly renovated Space Mountain, able to pipe in your own personal portion of electric guitars and ominous announcements. If that system had been in place tonight, then I wouldn't have learned that the woman seated behind me and to the right has an ex-husband who doesn't believe in coincidences. You see, when that topic came up in the film, she really felt it was necessary to tell her date that this was the case. And I guess I can see how that would be. How could she resist? Her date was the reliable voice of the line, "Uh oh," every time a suspense-filled moment occurred. And they were both burdened with the task of voicing all of the facts that the film was revealing as they occurred. Like my own personal Greek chorus, telling me the thoughts that were already in my head.

At one point during the film's climax, two couples to my right had a near-scuffle as one guy wanted the other guy and his girlfriend to put a lid on it. And the talking guy yelled loudly, "Don't you tell me to shut the fuck up." During the credits, these two men exchanged menacing words. And the chatty girlfriend rolled her eyes and laughed, the way the girlfriends of these guys are required to do, it would seem. They always do it. I've been keeping track. But the vehement talkers were really just all talk. The guy said menacing things and flung back depressingly unwitty retorts like, "Get a life," as he and his gal made their way to the aisle to leave. No punches were exchanged. Nor apologies, to be sure.

And I realized, from the comments of those around me, that the two classes of people are also separated by which side their favor falls on in situations such as these. As loud and confrontational as the objecting non-talking guy was, I supported him fully and would have expressed my spirit of camaraderie, if I thought it would have mattered. I'm always on that person's side. Maybe because I often am that person. Apologetically and quietly requesting that people keep their voices down, only to be met with rolling of the eyes or sneers or laughter and the word, "Whatever." Some people will undoubtedly find someone like me to be a curious brand of zealot, but I'm okay with that. I try not to get frustrated with people. I'm patently non-confrontational. I really like to have a good time. But there are times when I feel the need to just dump my popcorn on someone. I don't know if it's a crime, so I don't do it. But I sure am tempted.

Last night, after the Weezer concert and in the melee of exodus that occurred in the parking lot, a girl rear-ended me. And when I got out of my car to exchange information, she looked irritated and said, "Well, is there a scratch?" And I said, "I can't tell. Your bumper is still touching mine." I asked her to get out of the car, and she said, "Well, I'm not going anywhere." As if I should just wait and trust that she would look for me when we all made it out to the open road. Maybe it was because she had her homegirls in the car with her and wanted to appear lioness-like. Maybe they all really thought I was being a jerk and were quietly rooting her on in her obstinance. But I thought to myself that a simple, "Oops. I'm really sorry," would have made the world a better place right at that moment. Instead, the world lived out the night unimproved. And when I got home, adding insult to injury, there were two gross, unknown band bumper stickers on the bumper of my car. I peeled them off carefully and lamented the fact that there is no justice in the world and nearly as much decency. And Weezer only did one two-song encore, ending with an extended barrage of intensely painful noise. And I'm not just talking like an old person. I promise.

People don't smile much in this picture. But that's no reason why you shouldn't. Have a great day, American moviegoing audience! -- you've earned it.


I don't think it came across in my original writing of this entry, but I did actually have a pretty definitive opinion about the movie. I would later come to a place where, when told that a movie was terrible, I would respond, "Worse than Signs?" If that gives you any idea.

Aug 8, 2002


I hadn't intended to still be up. And there was no reward to be found in it.

Aug 7, 2002


Fresh fruit is a gamble. I bought a plum today. It looked perfect, but it offended me with it's sourness. That is why artificial plum flavoring is so much better. A reliable interpretation of what the food industry thinks I believe a plum should taste like. It's almost flattering that they care to fool me. And who doesn't prefer artificial grape or artificial orange to the real thing? The only exception is artificial lemon flavoring, which tastes like air freshener and -- by association -- the bathroom.

I'm no purist. I'm ready to be fooled. I want to be. I want to believe that everything tastes good. And that's what makes me try the sundry new-and-for-a-limited-time-only gross sandwiches at fast food restaurants. I'm rooting for it to be good. Even though history tells me that it won't be.

P.S. I still ate the plum. It wasn't free. My mom would be proud.

The Girl

Aug 6, 2002


The comic book is the only remaining medium that can be truly honest. But not those stupid superhero ones. They're not honest at all.


A walk to the kitchen for a glass of water can be an assault. You catch an unexpected draught of the scent of a melon candle and all of a sudden it's December when the candles were all burning and you were having people over to your new apartment for the first time and it was raining out and there really wasn't time for dinner before the show. Even back then, it was a fool thing to do to get your hopes up. Your hopes had no business being in the upward position.

Aug 5, 2002

Early in the morning is tourism to me.

I stayed up too late monkeying with pictures and doing the things one does when responsibilities are in the process of being shirked. But a sense of convicted urgency got me up and running while it was cool out, and the day had a few extra hours on its front end. That didn't spare me its traditionally unbearable length. What would have been the fun in that?

My mother came to stay while I was away this weekend. I have many reasons for saying that she is Ferengi. But today, I discovered that she washed my Ziploc bags. In my mother's world, nothing is disposable. Foil. Plastic wrap. Paper plates. All reusable. They'll let you know when they're ready to go. They'll disintegrate or warp or begin to leave corrosive residue on your scaloppine. They'll fall apart when they're good and fed up with protecting your lunch from that refrigerator smell. But until they do, in my mother's world, they're new. There's no longer a need to wonder why those pricey rainier cherries I just bought now taste of salami.

I'm plum tuckered. And I'm glad. But the chances of my investigating the restorative powers of sleep are slim. I've got TiVo to catch up on.

Technical Secret: The Moon Sextile The Sun

Social relationships, friendships and supportive alliances are strengthened. Your energy and confidence are high and you can accomplish much in a harmonious, flowing manner right now.

Technical Secret: Venus Sextile Neptune

You are receptive to beauty at this time and want to be surrounded with harmony, beauty, and kindness. Also, you feel tender and gentle toward others, and you want to please or to be of service to them in some way. Some selfless generosity or an effort on behalf of someone in need will make you feel very happy now.

Technical Secret: Venus Conjuct Pluto

Deep emotions, both positive and negative, are stirred up within you, and you become more intense and demanding of the people you are closest to. Fears, insecurities, jealousies, and hidden resentments may surface, as well as a very strong need to be loved and to love. There is a compelling, urgent quality to the feelings you experience now, and you may develop a powerful attraction to someone who fascinates and mystifies you. This is a good time to reveal your deepest feelings, fears, needs, and yearnings to the ones you love.

Do I believe in any of this? I like the parts that say I'm extra cool. I roll my eyes at the parts that sound all naturey and organic. I discard the parts that portend my failure. If I play my cards right, the stars will tell me exactly what I want to hear.

Aug 3, 2002