Secret Pop

Feb 27, 2005

Permanent Pictures

The death montage is my favorite part of the Oscars. It's the only part that means anything to me. And it makes me feel sad and nostalgic and appreciative. And mortal. I turned the television on as the last three stars were being remembered. I'm sorry to have missed it. Surely nothing else of this program will be worth seeing.

I managed to wedge myself into a weird grey area today. I could have stayed in San Diego and gone to one of a handful of parties I was invited to. I could have gotten back up here and gone out to the movies with a friend. I could have gotten home in time to watch the show on my own. I could have just said to hell with it. I guess that last one is the one I sort of halfway did.

I'm not pleased with everything.

Feb 26, 2005

"People tell me I haven't changed at all, but I don't feel the same."
Duran Duran concert epiphanies. Blanks to be filled in later.
I will have more to say when there is time and tenacity. Beulah and I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures. We were in the very front. Pressed right up against the retaining wall. Strategically positioned at the feet of John Taylor, who gave us more pleasure than two girls with their clothes on could possibly have hoped for.
I had hoped to avoid having to tell the concert tale on account of being on a visit to the cocktail wasteland, but I'm not unsober. Just tired. We laughed a lot, though. We sang along and cheered and had quiet, naughty thoughts and then caught each other having them. And we came close to kicking some asses a few times. But no one was harmed, and Beulah and I are in love. With each other as much as with John Taylor.
I am also in love with Ima Robot.
Beulah and I are going to see Billy Idol in a few weeks. There were flyers for his show on windshields we passed. I yanked one and waved the photo of his face in front of Beulah. She snatched it from me and rubbed it on the crotch of her pants. And I laughed and laughed.
I wrote in November of 2003 about seeing Duran Duran for the first time with my sister Sarah. I wrote that it felt like it changed my life. I suppose it did. If only because things seemed so grim and unlovely for me at the time, and singing and cheering and wishing and remembering and catching the eye of the first guy who ever adorned my walls in poster form -- it all made so much of that go away. It took me out of everything. It took me back. And I remembered a time when things were not so hard and dreams did not seem so pointless, hopes so wasteful. I remembered being a young girl who believed she could marry John Taylor one day. If the circumstances were right. A young girl who could fashion a betrothal on the thrill of seeing a guy run bare-chested through the streets of Sri Lanka in a white suit.
The concert tonight was not a retelling of that same story. It was just other-worldly and wonderful. I had not been to the Sports Arena for a concert in a long time. Not since (I think) I went to see Weezer open for No Doubt (and didn't bother to stay for No Doubt, because I am a snob, and I am not impressed with Gwen Stefani, even though I am jealous of her recent dieting results) and nearly got moshed to death. And driving down there at night felt foreign. Like maybe I had never really lived in this town.
And I was tired from a long week of work and out-of-town guests and hard-to-place feelings about hard-to-reach people. So maybe I've just got my head in the clouds. And maybe they're just low-hanging fog-type clouds and not the fluffy cumulus variety that one thinks are meant when the idea of having one's head in clouds is suggested. But for the hours I was there, that stage held all that was fascinating to me in the world.
I'm no idiot or anything. We made fun of Simon's trademark way-affected stage moves and disapproved of Andy's hair. We noted that Roger looks like Kato Kaelin these days and that the sequined patch pockets on Simon's jacket were not the best idea ever. I've still got standards. But I also know the words to every song before the Thank You album and a few that came after that. I was a Duranie before I was a bra-wearer. Or very soon after anyway. And I would not feel at all slighted if John's interest in me was purely physical.
There is something dank and sad and dismal about the Sports Arena. No amount of luau-themed or Chinese food concessions can distract from the squalor of that place. The private club is less swanky than an older Carrow's. And there was a fragrance of garlic and mildew in the stairwell to arena seating. But I was amused to see the Filipino Staff Pros rocking out to Wild Boys and Rio, and I was glad they did not hassle us about being up and out of our seats. Some things bring people together even in the foulest of places.
Beulah and I shared a room in our house in Guam, and apparently she used to kiss that poster of John, too. You connect the dots.
And I bet you've had that feeling, too. You can't laugh all the time.

Feb 25, 2005

"Everything is flat and dreary. I couldn't care what's in the news."

I came home late to musicals on television. First My Fair Lady. Then on another channel West Side Story. And Maria began to sing in those pretty arpeggios, like delicate little glass bells, her voice. I know it wasn't Natalie Wood singing. But curiously, the same voice double sang for Natalie Wood as did for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady in the sopranoest of the songs. Marnie Someone, if I recall correctly.

Anyway, Maria sings to Tony out there on the fire escape. (The prologue to Tony singing Maria, his big solo.) And I admire the precision of her voice. And I remember admiring it when I first saw this movie on the television as a high school student living in Japan. We lived off-base in a neighborhood called Uraga. And there was no American television. Just this converter box you could buy that would sit atop your television set and play the English voice track to certain movies once a week or so. In mono. And we would watch whatever movie played just for the novelty of being able to understand what the actors were saying. Much like one might look through those colored cellophane cards at whatever poorly-narrated story was being presented in a given children's book in the promise of stunning 3-D.

Sometimes we watched movies that weren't that great. Or movies that were scary and that I wouldn't have ordinarily wanted to watch, as I do not usually care for scary movies mostly because they scare me and I feel nervous and fearful when I'm alone or trying to sleep after having watched one. But when I watched West Side Story, there was none of that inadvertency. I watched because I wanted to, and I never wanted it to end. It was so gloriously colorful and lovely to listen to and perfect and melodramatic. My only regret was that I couldn't hear it in full stereo surround sound. I had a chance to play in an orchestra for a production of the show back in 1998 or so, but I was playing in another show at the time. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, I think. And that was wonderful, too. A fun experience and a spate of happy memories. I was charged up with creative fire. I was performing in a sketch and improv comedy show at the time, and I spent all of my downtime in the orchestra pit writing ideas in my little notebook. Ideas for sketches. Ideas for characters. Ideas for names for the comedy group. Ideas for names for the show. Some of the things I wrote in this notebook (it had a Matisse painting on the cover and was library bound, with blank pages inside) still amuse me. Some of those days in the late summer were grey and surprisingly cold. The light in my bedroom when the blinds were closed seemed like nighttime, even when it was barely dusk. And when I used to open the windows -- because I was cleaning or because I wanted to remember the feeling of a breeze -- it used to smell lovely and odd in a way that I wonder if any other place in the world ever smells. Warm. A bit damp. Full of those various essences of chlorophyll and sweat and asphalt and soda pop. I lived on the third floor. But I never felt very far above anything.

I performed for several years in a musical comedy theater group at Mesa College in San Diego, and one year I sang the part of Maria in a few numbers from West Side Story. I was one of the reliable sopranos in the group, and eventually I began to be cast in even the ingenue roles when they called for a high voice. I felt very proud and fortunate. And confidently disappointed in my certainty that I would never be cast to play the entire role in a real production of the show. I've never auditioned for such a show, but that's how I've managed to keep my record of clairvoyance intact. I never get cast as the ingenue. I can think of any number of reasons why, but no one enjoys hearing that list.

I never finished reading the biography of Leonard Bernstein I started reading either that year or the next. If I stumble onto it while I'm poking through boxes at some point, maybe I will. He is the recipient of a great lot of my admiration. And the score to West Side Story is at least as difficult to play instrumentally as it is to sing. I am a fan of difficult. I don't know why that is. But I really appreciate being made to try.

I have been avoiding nostalgia. I have been keeping my feet out of the reminiscence pool. I have been giving it a go. But harping on my history is one of those things I do. It's the grind that turns out some form of usable pulp. It's necessary or something. I like to tell stories about things. And I like it when the telling of those stories leads me to places I had not planned to go. Most of the time. But I don't necessarily love the sinking feeling that accompanies certain of my memories. That apartment. The way the light looked at that time of year. The choices I made in furniture placement. Everything is so temporary. And yet you live with it for such a goddamned long time.

I was living through the seconds. My composure was a mess. I was miles from tenderness. It was dark outside the day it was broken in pieces.

Feb 24, 2005

Like a bird without a song

I'm wasting a godawful amount of time. But I think fear is -- as always -- at the center of it. Fear and the nagging assurance that I am not going to ever amount to what I had hoped I might. I sometimes feel as if I string the years together with widely-spaced hooks and hang patiently on the tendrils that connect them until it's time to swing ahead. Will I look back on these years and only remember the Christmases and the Comic-Cons? Will I learn the lesson that nothing I have ever wanted has continued to be what I want for very long? Will I look in my closet and count the many articles of clothing I can't believe I bought and finally conclude that my whims can't be trusted?

There are whole spans of my interior life that have gone from me. There are weeks I have forgotten. Even when I see the words scribbled in my journals, I can't make them out. I can't remember what they meant or why I wrote them. I can't keep track. That's what seems to happen when the lists get too long. When you know too many people or learn too many numbers. When it takes you too long to get to the movies to see the films you should. Progress displaces everything. No moment is immovable. This is my chief hang-up with George Pal's The Time Machine. The idea that that machine could occupy that same space for tens of thousands of years. No space lasts for that long. Eventually, something comes to crowd it in. Crush it. Collapse it. Repurpose it. But you still go back to towns you once lived in and expect to see your old house intact.

My friend Geoffrey was visiting for a few days. We went to high school together in Japan, and we have kept in touch -- largely at a distance -- for the ensuing years. And, while the things that made us friends when we were awkward teenagers with no real stories to tell may not persist, fortunately the things we have shared since then do. I don't think all childhood friendships can bridge the chasm into the jaded afterlife of adulthood. But with Geoffrey and me, it's always like sitting on a bench with someone you adore and sharing one coat. You squeeze together so that you can each fit between the constructed shoulders, and you each hold one lapel in close. And somehow you manage to keep the cold out. And even the shivering is welcome. It always turns to laughter. Giddy, giggling laughter.

We spent some time with Beulah and Justin. Braved the spurts of torrent to eat at Hurry Curry and buy amusing food at Nijiya Market. We went to breakfast in places that were popular with firemen and cops. We went to see some comedy at M Bar. We did not see Jolie Holland or the Devotchkas, but we didn't miss them either. And we didn't have nearly enough time.

If I could live in a swimming pool, I might.

Free as a bird

I don't dip into my history as much as I used to. I don't really find surprises there. And I have outgrown much of the child's desire to keep rehearsing the same experiences over and over. What is new might end up being disappointing. But what is old and past is static. And though it might be pleasing, it can never be anything different. I'm not quoting Dead or Alive when I say I want surprises. Believe it.

Every now and then -- and sometimes for days at a time -- I live in the absence of gravity. Maybe it's all in my head. But when it happens, I feel like I am somersaulting through space in that slow, syrupy way that things do without the aid and friction of an atmosphere. My hair gets in my face, but I'm smiling.

Too young for some. Too old for others. Too Mary for my own good much of the time. I'm fine with it.

Feb 23, 2005

String him up by his rainbow suspenders. And also slit his throat, just in case.

I just caught some of Real Time with Bill Maher tonight and groaned aloud when I saw that Robin Williams was one of the guests. And rightfully so. He never shut up once. And he never really had much of anything to say. During the New Rules section of the show, he had a little bit of shuffle-off-to-buffalo to add to EVERY SINGLE LINE that was said. He interrupted everything Bill tried to say in his epilogue, even underscoring parts of it with humming and then with muttering in what sounded like German. He kept yakking right into the credits roll. And he has a look on his face that makes you wonder if he's secretly ashamed -- falling prey involuntarily to his own spastic neediness, plaintively and silently crying out in the manner that Linda Blair's stomach skin did in The Exorcist, "Help me. I don't mean to be this much of a human testicle. And also, I am balding."

Feb 20, 2005

Ex Post Facto
So, I saw that commercial again. The one that prompted me to write this entry. And I've discovered that the actual list of items (that were actually scrolling up from the bottom, even though when I said that part, I thought I was making it up, because I nearly never look at the t.v. while I'm listening to it) was much funnier than the fake ones I made up.
Car Accidents All Serious Injuries Slip & Fall Whiplash Doctor Mistakes Hospital Mistakes Wrongful Death Cases Motorcycle Accidents Construction Accidents Back, Neck & Head Injuries Dangerous Drugs Nursing Home Neglect Birth Injuries Burns Brain Damage Defective Products Dog Bites
Well, okay. I came up with "Irony," and that was pretty good. But I thought "Brain Damage" and "Dog Bites" were also very amusing. Especially because of their proximity to each other. And when you go to the web site for, it turns out it isn't even a law office. It's an advertising service for lawyers who litigate personal injury cases, and the web site promises a dramatic increase in caseload on the basis of commercials like this one. One of the bullets on the home page, enumerating the things this company offers, is "Advertising Strategies to Reach Injury Victims." I think I appreciate the matter-of-fact way in which this service is just the Internet's answer to ambulance-chasing. Lawyers are dicks. Except for all the ones I know, who are actually decent and wonderful people.

Feb 19, 2005

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings

What the fuck is up with thunder and lightning? I'm fine with the rain. I'm fine with the wind. I'm fine with poor drainage and puddles too vast to leap over. But the thunder and lightning tonight? Fucking perilous. My windows rattle with every booming crash of it.

Feb 18, 2005

For the heart is an organ of fire.

Watching The English Patient makes me feel all forlorn and romantic. And it comes at the end of an agonizingly busy week of work that could only be trudged through despite my inclination to race.

When I'm working, the television is my only companion. The television and the dog, who persistently wants to be in my lap, even if that means climbing all over my keyboard. I watch program after program. Some as part of a routine. Like the four-hour Star Trek block on Spike TV every day from 11 to 3. Then whatever movie I can stand to have on in the background while I toil, in some cases even with my back to the screen. I gave a chance to Frankenstein Unbound, but I shouldn't have. It wasn't even amusingly cheeseball. Just cheeseball. Although mixing time travel with horror and great works of Western literature is appealing at least in concept. And I am a fan of John Hurt. And even of Roger Corman in this respect. But this movie did not move me. And I changed the channel an hour or so in, finding The English Patient early enough in its presentation that I had not yet missed the music cues that mean so much to me. The ones that remind me of quiet nights alone in a big house taking bubble baths by candlelight with this soundtrack playing in a room closeby. I was full of contemplation and poetry and hope and eager expectation back then. And, though I did not always measure it at the time, I was often met with disappointment. And disappointment is a staple color in my coloring book. More frequently called for than "Nude" or "Burnt Sienna" or "Sky Blue" or "Marigold." So much so that, after watching James Michener's Hawaii while working the night through earlier in the week, I was prompted to close a bit of correspondence with, "Mary, 'everything in these latitudes is a...disappointment'" -- a line uttered by Richard Harris, who was wearing too much eyeshadow (a common problem in his filmography) but was still dashing and earnest and brash and unforgiving and in love with Julie Andrews, like everyone always is.

K is for Katherine. That's my middle name.

I've watched -- or at least sat through -- a lot of movies in the past week while working as much as 21 hours a day. My brain is a bit custard-like at the moment, and I can't enumerate them all in a cogent list. But I know I saw a few that I had planned to get around to seeing eventually and plenty that I had no intention of ever seeing. I noticed that Har Mar Superstar is in Starsky & Hutch and that Chris Penn looks so fat and blustery and red-in-the-face in that movie that he worries me. I also noticed that I am not wrong when I say that I am tired of Ben Stiller. Especially when he manages to find an excuse to do a ridiculous dance routine in nearly every film he makes. He looks like he really works out for a movie, but then he also looks like he works very hard at looking simian. So, he's a guy who get things done is my point. But I still don't ever find him funny. And I wish that the performers I do find funny would stop putting him in their movies.

I caught a little bit of Alex and Emma, too, and that was a bad idea. I opted to switch over to Mom and Dad Save the World. Because it is a far better movie. No matter how many times I've seen it, and no matter how bad it actually is.

It might be because I grew up largely overseas with very little English-speaking television to watch and limited selection at the cinema, leading to my watching whatever we had on videotape over and over again. Maybe that's why I don't mind watching films I like repeatedly. Even when there's plenty of other things on that I've not yet seen. Even when I have a teetering stack of unopened DVDs that I could easily choose to begin viewing. The only reason I don't do that as often is that I don't give my full attention to the television when I'm working, so I actually prefer to have things on that I've seen before. So's I don't miss anything.

I don't even know why I'm talking about this. I'm done with my work for now and I'm ready for whatever weekend I can manage. Whatever I might have scraped out of the inside of my brain can wait. I like the nightlife, baby.

Swoon. I'll catch you.

Feb 17, 2005

Jealousy and Inspiration Come in the Same Jar

The King Ten performance I caught last night was absolutely top notch. And my performance in workshop just beforehand was the polar opposite. I want very much to be brilliant. And I fear that, if ever given the chance, I will be many, many shades less bright.

But that's the thing about watching other people do what you do or what you want to do. It's hard to sit still. It's hard not to empathically be in their shoes. It's hard not to want to jump in and join them. I feel this way at orchestra performances, too. And at karaoke bars. I was recounting recently how my grade school teachers would sometimes criticize me on my report cards for always having my hand up in the air when a question was asked, writing comments like, "Mary needs to learn to give others a chance." I wonder how much truth in that persists into adulthood. I have long since stopped raising my hand. But that hardly means I have taken my seat. I think I give plenty of people all the chances in the world. But it's an oversight.

"If you've been hurt by ANYTHING, call now."

There's a law office whose television advertisement makes this call to action, and it amuses me. In my imaginary version, a list of possible injuries begins scrolling up from the bottom of the frame, the way they do it in commercials for getting a degree at home or for any number of horrible pop music compilations. Car Accident...Fall...Act of God...Relationship...Food Choice...Social Faux Pas...Irony...

I wonder how much money they could get me from the pain I suffer every time my mother and I have one of THOSE discussions.

Danger Danger

Just as I am confirming that I was right about John Paragon being in the "Prodigal Daughter" episode of Deep Space Nine, the "Frame of Mind" episode of The Next Generation comes on. I haven't seen this one in a long time. And it's one of the reasons I sickened at the sight of Riker for many years. Jonathan Frakes didn't win me over until First Contact. And even though I still think it's gross when there's some sort of innuendo in the dialogue that wants to make me picture him doing it, I don't hate him anymore. I just can't get over the idea that he was ever intended to be the formulaic surrogate for the Kirk archetype. As if. What actor has ever spent more onscreen time sucking it in? Well, other than Shatner, maybe. But he was way cuter.

I shouldn't be paying attention anyway. Nor should I be emailing friends. Or researching cast lists on But that's what happens when I have a mountain of work to do and shoes on with very poor traction. I slept for two hours. I'm tired. No scientist is likely going to want to write a paper about this fact. There are plenty of real mysteries to solve. Like the sudden popularity of vanilla.

Vanilla sure is chic these days. Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Vanilla Frosted Wheat Thins. Any number of candles and scented room sprays. I like the idea of vanilla more than I like the actual presence of it. I'm one of those people who doesn't really think that Diet Dr. Pepper needed to be improved. Nor do I think that Wheat Thins are meant to be a dessert. I don't mind that these product lines are burgeoning. I just don't want to wake up one day and find that products I already like have been phased out by their vanilla-enhanced counterparts. This is a favor the marketing world need not do me. But it always happens. Especially with my preferred brand of mascara. Which necessarily must change every year or two as the one I choose invariably gets discontinued. My eyelashes are not evolving at all. Who needs all this improvement.

It's almost amusing to me the bald ways I choose to procrastinate.

Full-On Morning

This makes two bleary nights in a row when I've stayed up working until well past seven a.m. This hour is so foreign to me, I'm tempted to stay up and experience it in some lifelike manner, but -- as I described it yesterday to a friend -- my head feels large and teetering and my teeth feel as if they have been biting each other all night. And I still have quite a bit of work to do, so I am cautiously hopeful that a few hours of shuteye will give me the juice to get to the end of this leg of the perpetual race to the end of my invoice. I am quite poor at the moment, so the mere utterance of the word "invoice" is like a beacon of hope on a bleak horizon. I wish the money that is owed me would arrive without my having to seek it out. It's such a graceless transaction. Even when I've earned it, I'm ashamed to hold out my hand. I know there are panhandlers with summer homes in Argentina and a Mercedes for each day of the week. But I have never been terribly enterprising, and I have no idea how one might address that on a résumé.

Feb 16, 2005

Beulah is right.

About many things. But most recently about the fact that there always seems to be some sort of James Bond marathon on. And I'm glad about that. I think a previous post of mine may have conveyed an erroneous sentiment of displeasure on my part, but I should correct that by saying that I adore the James Bond franchise, and I will watch any and all of it whenever any and/or all of it is on the air. I was just noting that the things that are wrong with the movies are part of their charm, but I may not have bounced back and announced that the things that are wrong with them are not numerous and are largely invisible to anyone who enjoys a good time at the cinema. I have to be careful not to become a complete stick-in-the-mud at the movies. I never cared, growing up, whether things were all that believable. I just liked not being stuck in a room in Guam, listening to the air-conditioning and watching dustmotes floating through beams of sunlight. Whatever was on was fine. I loved movies like Superfuzz, because that's what was at the theater on the Navy base. I was starving to suspend my disbelief. And I need to be reverent of that when I watch these films today. Maybe it's the ruination of so many of my beloved stories that makes me a cranky nitpicker. But not everyone is George Lucas or Brannon Braga. And not every movie is meant to look real.

I was watching Trekkies 2 tonight with my friend Steve, and I had to admit on a number of occasions that the philosophies of the documentary subjects were sometimes totally congruous with my own. One guy said something to the effect of, Even when the episodes are bad, you love to watch them. And I turned to Steve and said, "That's true, actually. Even when they're bad, I love them." That is true for me of Star Trek, and it's true of James Bond. Tonight, working as I have been in agony and in want of any excuse for distraction, I have cruised through Live and Let Die, Thunderball, and I'm now watching Dr. No. Again. And even at the end of Live and Let Die when Kananga flies out of the water and explodes when he hits that crossbeam, and the humanoid model they used for the explosion made both my sister and me wince at its corniness when we watched it on Betamax as junior high school students with nearly nothing else to do but compete in spelling bees and try and contract eating disorders -- even that scene is fine by me. In the same way that those scenes in Poltergeist with the dude in front of the mirror tearing his own face off are still fine by me. Not as scary as they once were. But fine. Roger Moore trots across a row of crocodiles and alligators like it's stepping stones in a koi pond. I'm in love with that. It's unfortunate that the movie was made in the year it was, as the fashion sense isn't nearly as swanky as I prefer, and it sure does have a lot of Black people in it, but I'm just saying that to be a jerk and to prove to myself that no one is actually reading this.

The "Chinese" girl from the office in Dr. No lives at Magenta Drive 23... That's a fine address, I have just decided.

My pal Robert is in Trekkies 2. I was watching...watching...watching...and then there he was. And then a little later. And then again in the credits. It's surprising and awesome when that happens. When you can say, "Hey, I know that guy!" Especially when he's in a documentary about the one subject that made what might have been a peninsula an isthmus, wherein he and I are the two land masses and the isthmus is a friendship. If you wield metaphor as clumsily and cheaply as I do, you'll find you're often explaining yourself outright, which is really just a waste of everyone's time.

And I have had work to do this whole time.

Feb 15, 2005

My many wasted tickets

Eric Idle is performing again. I had tickets to see him in December of 2003, but I didn't go. One of many events I have bought tickets to and just plain ignored. Sometimes, I forget. Sometimes, I am apathetic. Sometimes, I am sad and don't want to leave the house. It's a gigantic waste of a lot of money, and if I tallied it all up, I would be so ashamed, I would have to set myself on fire.

I still like to go where I think I will find something amazing. That's what keeps me going anywhere at all. But that hardly excuses all the wasting I've done to date.

Latent Appreciation

I did not rave over the two Kills Bill. As with a few other Tarantino pieces, it took me a while to warm up. But Bill's line at the end of the second one, "No. You're not a bad person. You're a terrific person. You're my favorite person." That line gets me. There are times when absolution must really rule.

blunt head trauma: self-inflicted

Feb 14, 2005

the romances

Inamorata and wanderlust are both in my inbox as words of recent days.

Conversation Hearts

A number of people have taken time out of their days to wish me a happy "VD," and -- aside from the other more unpleasant condition that acronym typically connotes -- it makes me wonder if anyone can really so ardently wish for my happiness on a day whose name they are unable to type out in longhand.

Anyway, here's something red.

disco dancing, archery, rape, and table tennis

Friday night, Martín and I went to Good Luck Bar. Chinese New Year is one of those events that has a comet-like tail, trailing on for a week or two after the actual date. Maybe because it's on the lunar calendar and most Western folk can't get a bead on when it is until they see a Chinese restaurant with something festive out front, and by that time, it's crept right up and passed them. And honestly, what Chinese restaurant doesn't have something festive out front at any given time of the year? Unless it's one of those Chinese places that has lost touch with its kitschy roots and models its decor after the interior of any Doubletree Hotel.

Good Luck Bar was still celebrating, as were the rain-splattered folk in Los Feliz. We sat in that living room area for a while, but there was an obnoxious group in our corner whose numbers were growing and whose obnoxiousness was proportionately following suit. So we got a little table in the main bar area and drank a few drinks and told a few stories and laughed a lot. Like we do. The hems of my jeans were wet from walking through puddles and the little rivers that form on the pedestrian crossings. The water runs in diamonds, crossing back against itself with every little bump in the asphalt. It's pretty. But no matter how high my heels are, I can't seem to keep my pants -- or my toes -- dry.

We stopped by Fatburger on the way home, and the jukebox started playing Beat It, and we both agreed that the Thriller album alone absolves Michael Jackson of any wrongdoing. And frankly, it's the parents of those kids who have something to answer for, if you ask me. Even if nothing untoward had ever happened, sending their young children to go sleep over at a grown man's house unsupervised is hardly the essence of good parenting. Bears wouldn't do it. This is one in what may end up being a string of examples of why I think we should look to bears for life lessons. But I'm not sure yet.

Jessie and I had breakfast at Nick's on Saturday morning before going to Hollywood to sign up for our next workshop. We talked about starting a band. We make each other laugh, and we rock out in the car when we're driving. (We sing the loudest to Peter Cetera.) The MP3 CD I had playing has a few different versions of that song Tonight, You Belong to Me on it. A Lawrence Welk-y one came on, and I reminded Jessie that she had heard this song in The Jerk, and then she quoted something from The Jerk, and so I skipped ahead a hundred songs or so to the version with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters singing. I love pretty harmonies. And when Bernadette starts playing the cornet, it's my favorite part.

I do that. I collect songs. If there are a number of different cover versions of a song that is precious to me, I like to have them all. Or at least hear them all. These days, there are cover versions of songs that came out within the calendar year, so it's hard to keep up. But there are certain songs that I love to hear, no matter who is singing them. Try to Remember is one of them. And Alone Again Or. And of course the one I was just talking about. I think there are three different renditions of that song just on that one MP3 mix.

Anyway, I was sorry I had to rush, but I had to get to San Diego, and looming commitments take all the fun out of a Saturday.

I was invited to go to a Valentine's banquet at my parents' church. I had originally been asked to sing, but I had to be at UCSD by 8 p.m., and I haven't really entirely gotten my voice back since the cold I had around the holidays. I'm beginning to wonder if I will keep the scratchy break in my upper register for the rest of my days. It makes it difficult to sing ABBA songs. Which is something I do with great frequency. So Beulah and I ducked out of the dinner early and headed out in the rain, tiptoeing through slick grass and treacherous mud to get to the Price Center Ballroom to see Ira Glass, who was wonderful, as you would expect him to be.

There were sign language interpreters on stage with him, as a courtesy to a deaf person in the audience, who happened to be sitting directly in front of us. Sign language is really cool to watch, but I am sort of curious about the facial expressions and words that get mouthed by all the performers of this elaborate dance that I have ever seen. They really take expression to the next level. You can kind of understand it contextually strictly on the basis of the faces they make. Which are often comical.

To illustrate the value of empathy in a story, Ira Glass played a clip about a guy who mistook a midget for a little girl in a particularly embarrassing way. It is right up there in league with the "I Hear a Robot" story that Beulah tells (and that I retell to nearly everyone I meet). Ira Glass' clip included a crab walk. Beulah's story does not. But they are both gold on the universal stock market of saying the wrong thing.

I drove Beulah home, then I went back out into the rain to pick up Yen and meet John Meeks at Nunu's. As soon as we walked in the door, a cheerful girl admired my skirt and told me I was so cute that she had to have a hug. So I hugged her. And then Yen and I picked a bunch of songs on the jukebox but never got to hear them. That is my least favorite thing. Our table was crazy wet with the drippings of the myriad drinks that had been drunk (and spilled) there. And I was wearing very fancy shoes.

I had a Chinese New Year-observant dim sum lunch with my family on Sunday before driving back home to Los Angeles. My mother gave us red bags. I did a tiny bit of laundry. I smoked a cigarette in the hope that it might keep me from falling asleep during my drive. But that wasn't the best plan. I was very tired. I am on the road a lot. I may die on it one day. Just by way of statistics. I may also die on horseback, but this is much less likely. As I am allergic to (and a little bit afraid of) horses and haven't been on the back of one since a very early stage of girlhood. I'm no prophet, though. For all I know, I will die in a gum factory. I remember seeing a film about one on Sesame Street many years ago. And it looked fascinating and peril-ridden. I can think of a handful of ways I might meet my doom if ever I was to wander into one.


I can't quite put my finger on anything at the moment. Poor aim. Poor depth perception. Blurred vision. Flagging stamina. The days were long. The secrets were easier to tell than to keep. The rain was thin but misty. The sort of rain that falls...up. Hairspray was useless to me. The moon is a sliver. Like a fingernail clipping. The skies are dark. My shoes are wet. But I haven't been wearing them.

I bought some extra time. And that is currency well spent.

I smile more often than I need to.

Feb 10, 2005

Here's where I would be invincible.

Beulah maintains that I could trump everyone on Fear Factor in the contests involving having to eat gross things. On account of because I don't think most of them as gross. I mean, I'm not into the bugs or the rotten cheese, but any of the challenges involving organs are upsetting to me, because I would actually like to eat those things out of both curiosity and hunger. My mom was telling me about an episode she was recently watching where the contestants were opening fortune cookies that told them which "gross" part of the pig they would have to eat. And apparently, nearly no one could do it. And my mom was naming the things that they couldn't eat. Heart. Tongue. Snout. And I was like, "Yum...yum...acceptable." My mom and I both agree that it would be better if they would let us have some salt or soy sauce, but there's no way we would be stymied by that buffet.

I wonder if that's what my mom was watching before we went out to dinner tonight for our private little Chinese New Year celebration. I was doing my hair in the bathroom and I heard her laughing raucously and saying the following to my dog: "Audrey, it's so funny, isn't it? He can't do it!" Followed by more laughter. She's pretty cute and awesome, my mom. And when we went to her favorite Chinese restaurant, we ordered -- among other things -- the pig knuckles. They were on the special holiday menu. Of course. I don't care that people wonder about me in this respect. Although, I have a feeling that it wouldn't be hard to make me feel incredibly ashamed with very little effort. It never is.

Oh, yeah

Tonight, King Ten's harold was pretty fucking first rate. A James Bond theme found its way into the mix, and when Andrew (who seems to know every music cue from the entire series, I am impressed to note) played that swirling descending scale from You Only Live Twice, I was swooning a little bit. I went up to him between shows and told him that I secretly pretended he was playing it for me, but of course he hadn't even known I was there, so there's that. I just remember showing him around LACMA last spring and sitting on a bench talking about film music and citing the many triumphs of John Barry and nearly exclaiming "You Only Live Twice!" at the same time. I used to have a mix tape of my favorite film music, and that bit was well represented. The fact that I used to have a mix tape of my favorite film music is a stopping point for plenty of people. I don't blame them. Actually, I had two. One upbeat, one down. I still quiz myself about theme music in movie trailers. If you ever watch a movie with me and the previews contain that cue from The American President or maybe something from The Cider House Rules, you'll probably be annoyed, because I will tell you how much I love those scores, and -- if you're most people -- you will be about as alienated as you would be if I invited you to play Dungeons & Dragons in my basement. I never actually played Dungeons & Dragons, nor did I ever have a basement, but there isn't nearly as large a cultural stigma applied to film music enthusiasts, so I am forced to make use of a go to geek signifier. But the fact that I have more Varèse Sarabande titles in my CD collection than I have albums by U2, REM, and all members of The Police combined is about the same to most people as my keeping my hundred-sided die on a chain around my neck just in case an impromptu game breaks out.

I'm just writing in defiance of sleep at this point. But it's better than waking up rested and wishing I'd written something.

Insomniac Transference

I think I have made my dog as much of a night owl as me. I guess that happens. She goes to bed when I do. We take walks in the middle of the night. As a rule. I have a friend staying over tonight, so I tried to take Audrey to bed earlier than usual and even tried to get some sleep myself beginning at around three a.m., but she was so unruly. Fussing for hours. I finally relented and took her for a groggy stroll a little after five, and that did the trick. She's ready for sleep, and I am irritable as all get out and stuffing down the desire for something salty the way you might shove the trash down further into the can to make more room for your refuse.

I am not feeling restful or rested. I am not feeling forgiving. I have been edgy and antsy and unsettled all day, and I am not in sight of relief. When I am nervous, my fingertips go to my collarbone, poking and pinching at the bones and skin near my throat. It's a habit I've only just noticed. I've had many of them over the years. Persistent buttoning and unbuttoning of whatever buttoned shirt I was wearing. Lip biting. Wrinkling of the nose. Scratching at things with dull fingers. Folding and unfolding of the arms. I don't know what to do with myself much of the time. I live in a skin that doesn't always fit. I am almost always and nearly never hungry. I am not typically satisfied.

Is any of this Audrey's fault really?

I have no idea what I could have been. But I often daydream that it would have been more than this.

"Ordinary lasers are only good for pointing."

I was driving to Burbank last night to meet a friend at The Blue Room. We were supposed to meet at Good Luck Bar, but I never get my way these days. Somewhere en route, I saw an older fellow crossing the street with a dog on a leash. The man was wearing a coat and hat that made him look exactly like Paddington Bear, only as a full-grown man. I wondered if he was homeless. And I further wondered if homeless people who have dogs have to work that much harder to look after their canine pals. Truth be told, I also wondered if he might speak with a sweet British accent and have a note tacked to his coat with travel instructions on it. But mostly I thought about the homeless topic. The other night at Canter's, a minimally-toothed homeless woman asked me if I would buy her some soup. I decided to be generous and asked her what kind she wanted. She wanted Vegetable Beef. It cost me nearly five dollars and was -- I'm assuming -- great. But when they handed it to her over the deli counter, she took it, turned, and left without so much as a nod of thanks. I passed her the other night again, and I decided that if she asks me for a handout again, I'll treat it like those diabetes sneakers that you buy at Marshall's and other similar stores. You know the little paper cutouts that you write your name on so they can stick it up on the store window with Scotch tape and show everyone how generous you are. When they're doing their fundraising drive, they ask you when you check out if you'd like to donate a dollar to diabetes research. And the only smooth way to avoid having to give is to lie and say that you already did. I'm not saying I don't support diabetes research. I just don't like being pressured into giving to good causes when I'm trying to spend my money selfishly on me. So if that homeless chick hits me up again, I'll just tell her I already gave. I'm curious how that might go over.

It was apparently too crowded at The Blue Room. We ended up at Razzberries. I haven't been there since May of last year when Tom took me there for a drink sometime around my birthday. I got a lot of mileage out of that birthday. I hope that will be repeated this year. If only because I'm very, very greedy.

Getting there was no small feat. I had directions printed out that required me to take the Alameda exit off the 5. But the Alameda exit was inaccessible. And when I exited at Olive and then got back on the 5 South, I found that the Alameda exit was blocked there, too. It was only through happenstance and a certain amount of canny navigation that I ended up on San Fernando from the 134 and didn't doubt myself so early that I turned around before getting to my destination. I almost did. I almost pulled over and turned around, when I realized I was sitting at a light on the other side of which was a big neon sign that said "The Blue Room." But I have plenty of traveling tales in which I wondered if I'd gone too far or in the wrong compass direction and gave up and turned around just before I should have. I have far too many such stories.

I would like to go on a serious road trip. I am speaking quite literally.

Feb 9, 2005

Year of the Cock

So, it's Chinese New Year today. I wish I was being asked to drive out east and eat some ridiculous banquet with my Chinese relatives, but I'm not being asked to, and I have a workshop tonight, so that's that. A few years ago, my friend Julie and I went to the Twin Dragon on Chinese New Year and ate some shrimp and wrote our resolutions down on little pieces of paper. We were going to do the same tonight, but she's traveling. It's hard to create a tradition when everyone in the world is so busy. Me included. I wish I had a fancy Chinese dress on and pictures of it. But I'm underinspired. Gong xi fa cai, anyway. And if you don't already know what that means, my mom breaks it down like this: "Gong xi means I wish you happiness, and fa cai means a lot of money." Word. Oh, and I don't know about the romanization of those words. I always thought it was gong xi fa tsai, but I don't really care that much. Spell it how you want.

Adam wrote to me a while back and mentioned having seen a promo for ImaginAsian TV. I meant to write about it then. And in the past week I saw the promo myself. And I meant to write about it then. But I did not. So now I am. I am not excited about ImaginAsian TV. I like Asian things. And I like being Asian. But I have to say that most Asian programming is lame and low-quality. And I also know that the broad Asian brush most people paint with includes all sorts of things that I don't even consider to be Asian. So my imperious bigotry gets in the way. Clearly, ImaginAsian TV is not being marketed to me. I think, quite obviously, it's being marketed to that yellow fever-having segment of the white male population. I don't just mean guys who think Asian girls are pretty. I mean those guys who learn to speak Japanese and Chinese and can perform the tea ceremony and refer to their girlfriends' parents by using the reverent, native language names that family members should use, never knowing how much those parents think they're total jerk-offs for doing it. I've known a lot of these guys over the years. And I have always fantasized about throwing rocks at them.

Yesterday, I was getting ready to go out, and St. Elmo's Fire was on the television. I haven't seen it for a few years. The first time I saw it, I was in high school in Japan, and I remember all my friends finding someone in the film to relate to. And all the dudes quoting lines from the movie with self-congratulatory intonation. That's something I hated about high school. I really don't miss how ready everyone was to adopt some new vocabulary every time a movie was released. And I'd like to think I didn't do that. But then I did date the guys who did that, so I'm no innocent. Oh! The word innocent just reminded me of a message I got on Friendster yesterday. It was an invitation to a friendship and contained these enchanting verses:

Hope u r fine as I m here now. while surfing I
find you and as I like u, I could not prevent
myself to propose you for long term friendship. I
would really love a sober friendship.

About me ; I am 36 never married catholic male
from India working in Indias largest food product
company. As far as education qualification is
concerned, I am bachelor of arts, bachelor of
laws, diploma in secretaryship plus some
certificate courses. I am a loving, caring,
innocent and god fearing person and believe in
honesty to each other.

I found this hilarious and endearing. Anyway, I was benignly surprised to discover that St. Elmo's Fire is such a false film. Who talks like that? Who has friends like that? Who believes Andrew McCarthy isn't gay? I mean, very few films from that era and genre really hold up for me, so it's no great eye-opening revelation. But it's always sort of something for me to be epiphanized about something I used to think was cool and realize that it was totally the opposite. Even the music. What in the world made me ever love it? Shame on me.

And speaking of movies that I have negative things to say about, I think The Matrix Reloaded would have been better if they had just left it as Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. I wonder what it is about the future that makes us enjoy drum circles.

Persistence of Crush

It's like the Dali painting. Only it's about something else entirely. And it brings to mind tingling and uncertainty and happy aftermath and important moments. There's the crush that gets you to work on time or to school early or to the county jail during "exercise hour." You know the crush I mean. The inspirer. The motivator. The no-need-for-sleep-maker. The reason you keep gum on you at all times. The reason you use perfume and Visine. The reason you buy new pants. It doesn't even have to be about a guy. Or a girl. It can be about a job interview. Or an audition. Or a concert you have tickets to. It's just something to look forward to. And I like having that going on whenever I can manage to.

To be honest, I wrote the phrase "persistence of crush" in my notebook, but I don't remember why or what I was going to say about it. But I can springboard, can't I?

Feb 8, 2005

Good enough for good night

I went to an open house at the Sony Design Center in Santa Monica tonight. It was a bit steamy in there. With fancy free sushi being served and fancy free drinks and sake and coffee and hobnobbing. I caught myself envying the corporate workspace for half a moment. I don't miss having to go into an office every day, but I do miss being able to go to work in a place that seems creative and energetic and collaborative and inspiring. I must find my inspiration where I can. And that is often not as easy a task as one might think. Even with ready access to the Internet.

It's been years since I've had an office or a cubicle where paychecks would come find me. Years now that I've been working mostly on my sofa, mostly in the middle of the night, and mostly without any human contact whatever. I appreciate my independence. But sometimes I miss going to lunch. And putting my handbag in a drawer and getting a cup of coffee and starting my day. I am proud of being self-sufficient. I am glad I survived the series of blitzes that were run on my professional life. But reminiscing reminds me of all the twists and turns my career has made and makes me wonder, customarily, what might have been. It's a fantasy world, there in my brain. A weird place where nothing is pinned down with any permanence. Corkboard and staples and thumbtacks and pushpins. Temporary. I am writing my masterpiece on post-it notes.

Among the post-its that would have been written on this past weekend, I went to LACMA with Beulah and Justin on Saturday, and we took pictures with both our cameras and visited our favorite pieces. And then we went to Melrose and shopped with verve. I have a new favorite store there, the name of which I can't quite remember but whose storefront I would surely recognize. We ate dinner at I Love Sushi. Which was great. I'm not always excited to try new sushi places. It's so easy to be disappointed. But I enjoyed it very much, and I can picture us visiting it again and again when Beulah and Justin come to town. Beulah wasn't feeling very well, but I'm glad we got to enjoy more than the inside of my living room during her visit. She is my favorite.

That evening, I went to Farrah's birthday party at All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock. Attendees were asked to come in pirate attire. I complied. A strange, enthusiastic fellow at the bar started talking to me like a pirate and asked what vessel I was on. I had just gotten there and didn't want to come across as an ungenerous jerk, so I didn't roll my eyes and walk away. I made something up about not being able to read. Or about being kidnapped. My birthday is not until May, but I'm already wondering if it will be possible to celebrate it more excellently than I did last year. It's a dangerous thing when you've had the best time ever. You can't NOT try to top it. But the spectre of failure is unpleasant and looming. I did not attach any great value to my birthday last year. I just wrote an evite and sent it around to people, and I was surprised and delighted that so many people showed up and that I had such a thrilling night. But this year, I will have that memory, and I will hope for even more, and there is every chance that I will not get it. I like to do spectacular things. And I like to know that they are spectacular as they are transpiring. I do not always get my way.

I took Beulah and Justin to the Griddle Cafe on Sunday morning, where we were seated in the "VIP room" and where we ate fabulously well and were joined a bit later by Tina and Mig. Then we got victuals at Trader Joe's and went back to my place to watch what little of the Super Bowl was left with Jessie and Stacey. It was an impromptu choice, as I had no intention of watching the game this year. And in truth, I really didn't. I spent the bulk of the time preparing food and fussing over things and drinking a lot of beer and thinking about the exclamation of "Go, Eagles!" from The Hudsucker Proxy. My dad's from Philadelphia, but I'd bet he didn't watch the game. It's only the Super Bowl of boxing that interests him. And my mom likes to watch pairs figure skating and ice dancing. I think we got settled just in time to see the half-time business. I heard Paul McCartney singing his popular repertoire from the sink in the kitchen. I understand it was a good game. Stacey and Justin both care enough to have told me so. And I trust them. In years past, I have managed to watch nearly none of this Super Bowl business. I have always found other (better) things to do. I don't mind a Super Bowl party. A party is a party. But to just watch the game is not appealing to me at all. Watching sporting events just feels like waiting to me. Waiting for calls to be made. Waiting for the clock to run out. Waiting for the commercial breaks so you can talk without disturbing people who actually care what the referee is saying. I'm really just sitting there waiting for it to be over from the moment it begins. And that does not speak highly of my attachment to the experience.

I stopped by Von's on the way back from Santa Monica, and I bought some soda. I was offered assistance by a guy in line who, after I declined his help, explained to his friend that Diet Dr. Pepper is heavy. I was offered help out to my car by three different employees, too. I wonder if I look terribly anemic today or something. I can carry my own groceries. Really. I won't buy it if I can't lift it.

And I had a nice little chat with Tom, whose birthday it was today (2/7) but who did not get to celebrate it in the way that I would have insisted. I like the month of February, but I'm almost afraid to admit it. I don't care about Valentine's Day. And I have quite a few friends whose birthdays must be acknowledged. And it's colder than I'd like sometimes. And it's riddled with inconvenient government holidays. But it's a pretty time of year, and I have done plenty of nice things in Februaries past. Once, I went to Tokyo Disneyland on a rainy day in February. I was cold and miserable and physically uncomfortable the entire day. But I remember it fondly and can remember it as if it happened only moments ago. That may not be because it was February, but it was February, and that's the part I remember.

Happy birthday, February babies. I will be enjoying my Dove milk chocolate hearts long into March. And if anyone gives me Red Hots, you can have them. I hate those things.

Feb 7, 2005

Ten things I've dreamed about you
You were home You were here You were dead You were angry You saved me You avoided gunfire by crawling on your belly You handed me a fish You had money in your pocket You looked happy You gave up
The bridge of her
I can taste your kisses in my mouth Your cigarettes on my toothbrush I can feel your hands keeping to themselves
Nocturne Gaze fixed on where you would bruise me I would have loved you I would have waited Two eternities I would have sat in your shadow I would have stood in your glow I would have lived in your goodbye I dreamed of being lonely long before I ever was I was in a play with ****, but I wasn't supposed to be on stage, and then all of a sudden, I was a wench in the play and adlibbing and not knowing what to do, but they seemed to like me.
So I was reading The Silmarillion, and -- as with the various pantheons of the ancients -- all of the deified beings seem to have spouses. Even the unpleasantish ones. What if there were gods who were single and anxious about it? Gods who felt lonely and jealous of their other "couple friends" who were always inviting them over for dinner parties but it seemed like it was out of pity.
I was right about how wrong I was about you.
They walk so heavily at night.
Putting my hands in my pockets Until my jeans turn them blue
Be careful what you touch With those fingers of yours
Hang yourself A necklace of hard words
When you're down, looking up just feels like an insult.
I could be not growing corn -- pay me!
Can you believe there are people who were just born? It boggles the mind.
It's late And not for lack of trying
I don't like being lied to. I don't like being kept in the dark. I don't like being treated callously. These things will keep me up at night.
Down takes the color from everything There is no joy left And no appetite for what is flavorless
Up turns me gluttonous Makes me overdo it Gets me giddy And out of control
I fear them both
I don't have much to add to what the newspapers had to say about the day X died. The details were all there. Plenty of people saw his car take the turn too fast. There were more eyewitnesses than there were attendees at his funeral. It seemed that everyone was looking in the very same place at the very same moment. As if everything in the universe converged on that point for one instant. So there could be no doubt.
These callous attempts at caresses are like barbs thrown in prose.
"Everything is life or death here and there are days between smiles."
Every line but one came from me. This came from a spam:
I did not object to the object. I must admit that I am a pretty fair talker. I like tall women. I like tall women. You walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it's not plugged in.
You're so jittery that people use your hands to blend their margaritas. Right one. Candidate said he never finished high school because he was kidnapped and kept in a closet in Mexico. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear. You forget to unwrap candy bars before eating them.

Feb 6, 2005

For want of a plastic cutlass

I was more of a gypsy than a pirate, in the final analysis. But no one gave me a hard time about it. In fact, all the other swashbuckling folk were terribly welcoming. And I made friends in odd ways. I tried to teach someone how to juggle with a trio of limes. I doubled up on a Cheap Trick song for moral karaoke support. I helped remove a corset and stood as lady-in-waiting while the disgusting bathroom facilities were being used. And I took scads of photos. And met people I already knew but didn't actually know. And I'm too tired to try and handle the photos or to tell the tales or to complain about the coffee shop or to even recount all that Beulah and Justin and I did today. But it's coming up on five a.m., and that means exactly the same thing every day.

I couldn't get drunk to save my life.

Feb 5, 2005

Intermittently, this happens.
I am, yet again, the featured personal ad on another Spring Street Networks partner. This time it's the LA Weekly. An influx of "cyberwinks" (worst nomenclature ever) brought it to my attention that something might be up. A friend brought it to my attention that I was correct. I'm flattered in a way. Although I am tired of the continuing announcement that Mary Forrest is looking for love. That's not necessarily true. I haven't signed on to my account in months. How would you know what I'm looking for. I don't even know half the time.
Right now, what I'm looking for is an eyepatch. It's the last touch to my pirate-themed costume for tonight's bowling alley birthday party for my friend Farrah. But maybe I should just carry a print-out of the LA main page and warn those approaching that I intend to make off with their hearts. A whole fleet of 'em. I couldn't be pleased with anything less.
Mary, hook for a hand

Feb 4, 2005

I hate Buca di Beppo.
But I love my friends.

And I need to get my hair cut, because I'm tired of having to put it in pigtails for lack of anything more manageable. Plus, it's time for something new. I love that, these days, it always seems to be time for something new.
Scotty is such a curmudgeon in the Relics episode of STTNG. But when he says, "NCC-1701. No bloody A, B, C, or D," I feel kinship with him. And I wish life was like television, and that some studio was storing the sets of all the scenes I've lived so that I could go back to them and walk around and feel nostalgic, even if they were always empty and dusty-smelling. If there was a Ghost of Christmas Past that could just take me around on days other than Christmas and let me look at the rooms I once lived in without having some huge moralistic agenda, I would totally be up for being dragged out of bed to take that trip. If only I had a storage unit large enough to save everything that has ever happened to me. I want a Smithsonian dedicated solely to cataloguing my life. But I don't want anyone else to be able to visit it, because most of my life has been godawful embarrassing.
This episode is full of bald-faced metaphor, and I am amused that people might ever speak to each other in that fashion and not be called a name. For instance, Scotty's line, "Ah, it's like the first time you fall in love. You don't ever love a woman quite like that again," if it had been said to me, would have been met with a scowl. And then he would say, "There comes a time when a man finds that he can't fall in love again. He knows that it's time to stop." And I would roll my eyes and fight the urge to explain to him what I mean when I scowl and how it relates to clumsy use of metaphor. And Captain Picard would pull me aside sotto voce and ask me to stick around, because he was a little weirded out by Scotty and didn't want to find himself the recipient of an awkward kiss attempt. And I would tell him to pawn Scott off on Geordi, and he would totally do it.


Wednesday, I drove myself and Jessie down to San Diego for the comedy theater "awards" banquet. Afterwards, we went to Dorian and Krissy's place and then headed back to Los Angeles. I was home by about 2:30, in bed by 4. Then up at 6:20 so I could drive back down to San Diego for a day of client meetings, followed by my referee debut at the comedy theater. A drink at Shakespeare's preceded my drive home again. And I am very tired of the inside of my car.

I had a rough audience tonight. Rowdy, drunk folks and hecklers. Hardly the ideal proving ground for a first-timer. But I think it went all right, all in all. And I hope I wasn't too mean to anyone. The jerks who kept interrupting the show were very kind when they were leaving, congratulating me as if to say they respected me for having survived their hazing. I guess they had a good time. And I guess they had no idea how much I would have liked to dowse them in gasoline.

I was surprised to see my old friend Lee at the theater. He is apparently a pal of Matthew, the token British guy. It was lovely to see happy faces that might have once been considered long lost. I'm glad I didn't discover until after the show that anyone I knew was in the house. Such things tend to make me perform closer to poorly. And I was running on fumes as it was.

I didn't do everything right, and Dorian gave me a series of helpful notes. But the only one I will remember is, "Stop being so hot." At my worst, I glow in the face of a kindness.

I think reffing will be fun. Once I get the hang of the whole whistle and stopwatch and notepad ballet. And once I get myself a ref jersey that fits and doesn't smell so...human. It's weird to hear myself say, "The game of schoolyard insults works like this..." Or any number of other things I have heard said by others hundreds of times over. I look forward to looking back on this sensation when it has all become old hat.

Feb 2, 2005

"Nobody puts Todd Carlin in a corner."

This month's Paul F. Tompkins Show was superlative on many levels. My only regret is that my voice is still so missing that I couldn't really cheer for any purpose beyond soundless aspiration. I tried to, but anyone listening to a mic trained just on me would have probably been made sad by my efforts. Sometimes, one is forced to resort to simple clapping. But my tiny little hands sure do get sore.

Paget Brewster is my hero of elocution. She also played a mean (and by "mean" I mean "fine") Ursa in the Sci-Fi Fantasy Pageant of several months ago. Thigh-high boots were made for a reason, and I think that reason is her. She did not wear any such thing at Largo on Monday, but she materially participated in what Martín is calling his favorite Paul F. Tompkins Show ending of all time. Except maybe for the J.F.K. assassination ending. Or maybe perhaps right in league with it. It's so hard to rank. It's not as if the show is ever anything but great. Mostly, I just rate my experiences on the basis of how disappointed I was or wasn't in the food I ordered. On Monday, I made the bold choice to not eat anything at all and to drink several cocktails. That, I maintain, is a top-notch choice.

Before I lose my camera again

I have a number of pictures I'd like to post, but no real narrative in which to embed them. I am working at being less limited by my own dagblasted protocol. It's not like anyone told me I had to write anything here. I just haven't been writing much as a rule. And it's not for lack of anything to say. It's falling behind and being distracted and opting instead to write to people who matter on a more personal level and with more swear words.

I once made fun of myself to my friend Tom, who suggested that I might be giving him the silent treatment. I said, "And, honestly, Tom. Me? Give anyone the silent treatment? Don't you picture me at home talking into a paper bag just to keep the stories coming? Of course you do." Indeed. Paper bags, closed at the top, and shelved away for later.

It's true. I never run out of stories or things to say or comments to make on stories I've already told and things I've already said. But I do run out of time. And that keeps me from saying everything I mean to. Even on the most relaxed of days. Of which today is not one.

Miss Almost. Miss Maybe. Miss At Long Last.

I have been waiting for Anya Marina's CD Miss Halfway to come out for ages. And it's finally out. And you should totally buy it.

This is me at Lou's Records being what Beulah labeled "a dork." Not that she doesn't support Anya. She just thinks posing next to a record store chalkboard for a picture of you with a CD is totally lame. And I am always looking for new and interesting ways to disappoint her.