Secret Pop

Jan 31, 2006

Have you ever had custard-filled mochi?

Oh [stop] My [stop] God [stop]

When I die, please have the morticians stuff thirty of them in my mouth before burying me. I wish to take them with me into the afterlife. Granted, I will have difficulty sharing them, as they will have been carried in my mouth, but I'm very greedy and have no problem with this.

Jan 30, 2006


Sensory Explosion

Star Trek III and a hot pepper.
"How soon is now."
Pon farr. The seven year itch.
The needs of the many. The needs of the one.
When Kirk's voice catches in his throat as he delivers Spock's eulogy.

I did a bit of stand-up tonight. It was less time than I thought it would be, and it was over before I knew it, but it was not so very painful, and that is something.

I was in workshop in the Andy Dick Theatre at I.O. West the other night and Andy Dick walked in. With Dino Stamatopoulos and some other guy whose name I don't know. We were close to the end, but it was still a weird interruption. Andy offered to "work out" with us. Craig Cackowski maintained a placid silence during the brief but bizarre little episode. It was surreal and awesome.

Yen took me to see Of Montreal at the Ex Plex, and it was wonderful. Afterwards, at Chip Pope's dance party, I was waiting outside, because Yen and her pals were coming to meet me, and I know M Bar is hard to find if you haven't been there before, and Willie Garson -- the guy who played that guy on Sex and the City bummed a cigarette off me. He made a to do about the fancy type of cigarettes I had. They're Dunhill Lights.

Last night, I appeared with the Winchester Preparatory Sketch Academy at the UCB Theatre. I donned a short, dark wig and glasses and a school-girlish outfit to portray one of five Asian girls who were poisoned by lemonade and died in front of the stage in a dogpile. I'm pretty sure my skirt flipped up when I fell over dead. I hope the people in the front row didn't bother to notice my shame.

Bryn and Kerri gave me another box of porn for Christmas. Martín borrowed some of it for his "friend at work." I walked him home with Audrey tonight, and we went inside, because Audrey loves to run on his wall-to-wall carpet. And he put in a disc, which I think was Black on Black 7, and it started with an image of a flag waving in the wind and the words "In memory of 9/11/01" superimposed and then promptly went into the fucking. I laughed myself dizzy.

I like Thai food.

I'm going to play Pac-Man World 2 on my PS2 now. I keep dying in Canyon Country, or whatever it's called. I also like bases ball, Martín. But I think I got it right, and you got it wrong. We can fight it out Dance Dance Revolution-style.

Jan 23, 2006

Colin Firth and his underpants.

First off, let me say that I really like Colin Firth. He is handsome and charming and has a lovely accent and a reluctant smile. And you get the sense that a lot of the awkwardness in the characters he plays is genuine. Not debilitating. Just sort of ordinary. Like a person would be. Not always certain what to do or say in a given situation. By contrast, Hugh Grant is generally the opposite of this. But I adore him, too. I would allow either of them to beat me past recognition and take all my money. Or date me, I suppose.

So Colin Firth is a guest on the Ellen De Generes Show at the moment. And I find myself both liking and pitying him. Ellen started off by thanking him for doing her show when she knows he hates doing that sort of show. Which I suppose makes for a rough start. And then she coaxed him into telling a story about an embarrassing incident that happened to him recently, which I'm sure was the product of the pre-interview. But he just sort of stumbled through the story, making very little eye contact, and getting a few laughs and looked, at the break, as if he didn't expect to still be sitting there when they returned from commercial. He was, and he seemed more at ease. And I was glad for him.

He wasn't the winning raconteur that a Hugh Grant or an Alec Baldwin would be in that seat, but I almost liked him more. Especially when he described himself as not being very neighborly. He doesn't strike up a conversation with his seatmate at the beginning of a flight. What if they're awful? You might chat with them twenty minutes before landing when the stakes are lower. Genius. And he doesn't "do neighbors." When he's about to "move house," yes, but not generally when he's just moved to a neighborhood. Bravo for that. I think there is too much of a premium on being nice and being friendly. It's great when you only meet nice people with whom you might share common interests and common standards of social behavior. But when you're just friendly to everyone, you will end up receiving phone calls at all hours from the worst people, and all because you felt bad that no one else was talking to them. That's more of a sign from nature than a call to action. There's no real prize in being the only person in town who likes that guy. The movie Forrest Gump really blew this quality out of proportion.

Anyway, I like Colin Firth. I don't think Ellen is the most skilled interviewer there ever was. And I wish my neighbors would mostly fall down a hole at the bottom of which was a river of pure magma.

Jan 20, 2006

So dirty. So handsome.

James Franco was absolutely the right guy to play a pre-dead James Dean. He's so pretty. And can make his eyes look weepy for an entire movie. These two things are capitalized upon in Tristan & Isolde, which I went to see with my friend Kevin Tavolaro on Wednesday night. And aside from my thinking his sweater was ridiculous when Isolde saves him on the Irish shore, I didn't have a huge number of complaints about the film for the first half or so. Some of the boyhood stuff seemed implausible. And I always cringe a little at how bad I'm sure everyone in that time must have smelled. And the whole thing smacked of Braveheart. But I let all that go and just wanted to see the two lovers meet and fall for each other and be star-crossed. Because I like crying at the movies, as long as it's not because someone has hurt my feelings.

I remember learning the story of Tristan and Isolde (actually Tristram and Iseult) in a mythology class I took in college. It was told in the cycle of Arthurian legends, and I vaguely remembered it as a possible archetypal progenitor of the story of Lancelot and Guinevere and their betrayal of Arthur, but in looking back on my notes, I don't know if that was what I was actually taught, as Tristan was apparently once part of the Arthurian legends and was considered one of the two most important knights until later in history when it stopped being him. My notes say that the Celtic story of Dierdre and the Sons of Uisnach (The Third Sorrow of Storytelling) was the inspiration for the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot triangle. But the Tristan and Isolde story seems to fold in, too. That wouldn't be readily apparent from watching the movie, though, because the other thing that came of reviewing my notes was my learning the movie wasn't really very true to the legend, and that always brings me down. Until I had cross-checked my references, I wasn't really so offended by that. I just got so frustrated and disappointed when we got to the third act and it turned out to be a festival of crappy cliché, happenstance, and bad wigs. Such a let down.

Why can't Hollywood master the third act? This seems to be the true sorrow of storytelling. I can't count the number of movies that fail in the homestretch like this. And I don't really know why it is. It doesn't make sense that the process gets rushed in the end or something, because films aren't shot in order like that. I don't think it's just because of studio executives liking their ideas best. I wish I knew and could squash the reason, because it's what makes me think I should start watching movies until the two-thirds point and then just duck out.

I guess ending a story is the hardest part. I know how that is. But maybe it's the desire to wrap everything up so neatly that ruins it. That was what German cinema cursed Hollywood for. And maybe they were a smidge right. And yet with a story like this one, the story is already written. The events are foretold. We know how it ends. So how hard could it be to make those things happen without it feeling like we're playing a pretend detective game on the playground after school. Come to that, I'm pretty sure my friend Sharon Prieto and I used to come up with much better plot wrap-ups when we were making those stories up in fourth grade. And we nearly never got lice in the process.

While I am beginning to think that Gene Siskel's untimely death is what sealed Hollywood's awful fate -- Ebert and Roeper are jerks whose opinions embarrass me in their toadyingness -- I will honor him with the downturned thumb I have to give Tristan & Isolde. Rufus Sewell looks like one of his eyes is made of glass, but he was good. And James Franco is pretty and weepy-eyed and heroic. But the guy who plays Wictred is awful. Wearing a terrible wig and looking like a cross between Andy Garcia and Stanley Tucci and not managing to seem cunning or sly for a necessary instant. And the guy who plays the King of Ireland is pretty good at being brutish and unfeeling and scary until the very end, when he becomes ridiculous and suddenly his crown reminds you of watching the movie Xanadu.

So thumb down. But much applause for the experience of going to the movie. I was a bit tipsy before I even got there, from having had drinks early with my other friend Kevin. And then Kevin Tavolaro and I had cocktails at the Arclight bar, and I snuck a flask of whiskey into the movie, as well. And whether because of the movie or all the spirits, we laughed and laughed. And that was a good time.


For my mother, there is no real distinction between someone who drinks and someone who has a drinking problem. I have plenty of stories from my own experience. The Christmas Eve dinner in 2004 when I was laughing at something Beulah was saying and had had a half a glass of wine, and my mom snarled, "Look at her. She's drunk." There are plenty more like this. She isn't a teetotaler. She's just judgmental.

But the best case of this is with the Food Network's Sandra Lee. Now, I dislike Sandra Lee for my own reasons. She promotes the white trashery of the American epicure. She speaks authoritatively using words she mispronounces. She has a show, for Pete's sake. A show whose entire purpose is to teach people how to cook without actually having to make anything. The whole point of the show is to use storebought, prepackaged foods to cobble together something that pretends to be more refined. Meaning your family dinners are even more thoroughly suffused with chemicals and preservatives and fat-makers than if you had unwrapped a stack of Big Macs and set them on your fine china, hoping no one would notice you don't smell like a fry cook. I assure you, if you thicken your soups with a can of storebought chicken gravy, you're probably not going to die at your goal weight. Plus, the food she makes doesn't even look pretty to me. I grew up watching Jacques Pépin and stuff, so maybe I'm a big jerk, but if I went to a restaurant or even to someone's home and had one of Sandra Lee's "creations" set before me, there's very little chance I would be able to pretend to be impressed. But whenever Sandra Lee's name comes up or her show comes on, my mom tells me -- as if intoning a great secret -- that Sandra Lee is an alcoholic. I thought at first maybe she had read this somewhere, so I would say, "Really?" But it turns out it's just because Sandra Lee includes recipes for cocktails on her show. It's not even because she swigs from a wine bottle while sautéeing or anything. Just the fact that she has bothered to include recipes for mudslides and creamsicle shots makes her a drunk. Whenever someone is accused of a crime, my mom also assumes they're guilty.

Oh, and for the record, my mom was watching Rachael Ray the other day and she scowled and shook her head and said, "Look at her. She's getting fat."

Jan 17, 2006

My promises are many.

My arguments are few. (Click the photo for a higher-resolution version or whatever.)

And if you are too lazy to crop your photo strip out of the top photo, click here to get your own personal delivery, because you are very special and I have a huge amount of bandwidth:

Mindy and Mary
Mindy and Mary (again)
Mindy and Mary and Marcia and Ryan
Mindy and Mary and Tim
Mary and Jeff
Mindy and Mary and Cale
Mindy and Mary and Tom

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil.

I've been reading Rilke -- and just so it doesn't sound like I'm trying to come over all bookish, I've just finished a trilogy of Star Trek novels by William Shatner and a trilogy of Deep Space Nine novels by the people who always write the books with William Shatner -- and having that experience of epiphany that makes me admit and lament that I could not exist in a vacuum. I am independent in many ways. But there is this craving in me to commune over ideas. When you're reading all night and it's six a.m., the urge to call someone and wax sophomoric over something you've read is easy enough to suppress. That's what blogs are for, I suppose. That's why I jot down quotations and pilfer authored phrases and song lyrics to label and spur on my writing. Something in me wants to capture that instant when I experienced a flash of meaning. Something in me wonders if such things can be shared. Even with the most ample and exhaustive descriptions, I often feel as if the exploring mind is a doom of sorts. A curse. I don't know if you can share a realization. I imagine many people read what I read but don't think what I think about it or feel what I feel. Even in something as seemingly empirical as language, there is the beast of nuance. And I hear every word through the filter of the whole of my experience. Each song that plays is performed by an orchestra of memory. And I am sad when it occurs to me that no one else has ever heard that orchestra. And that is why I clutch at the connections that exist within some shared experience. That is why I treasure the mingling of histories. If only to be able to look at another person and say, "Remember that time?" and have them say, "Oh, yes."

I have been reading and thinking a lot about time travel. Both in fiction and physics. I have been trying to make sense of the various paradoxes and trying to vet the logic in it. And occasionally I drift off into those flights of fancy wherein I have the power to choose such things. Would I change my past? Choose my future? Split off into a veiny mess of alternate timelines? Would I be clever enough to fix it? Or strong enough to leave it be? Bound by science. Neck-deep in fantasy. I never know which end is up. And there are times I can't tell if I am awake or dreaming.

I have been reading humor and history. Philosophy. Psychology. And I have been underlining things on the pages of books I don't plan to resell. I am in the middle of eight things at once. And I am always careful to carry a pencil.

I like monkeys and phases of the moon.

Here are some photos.

Cale's birthday was fun. A little too cold. And not enough Cale. That was Friday night, the sixth day of January.

Tom's actual birthday was fun -- though not an actual party -- but the pictures I took were mostly of me and Mindy in the bathroom. Sorry, Tom. That was Sunday night, the eighth day of January.

Quality Street performed "Cool - a bathroom ballet" at Garage Comedy on the ninth day of January. (I am in Quality Street.)

I appeared in a short film by Erin Gibson the day after that, which was the tenth day of January.

Sarah and Paul invited me to dinner on Wednesday, the eleventh day of January.

I took Jeff to Disneyland as part of his ongoing three-month birthday. That was the twelfth day of January. And it was lovely. Even though I took a record low number of pictures.

Ryan's birthday was celebrated by many at Tangiers and a day early. That was the thirteenth day of January, and it was a Friday, and the only bad luck that happened happened to Sean, whose bicycle was stolen. He took it winningly, if you ask me.

Tom had the audacity to observe a second birthday. And for some reason, again, the pictures are mostly of me and Mindy and then of Mindy and Tim. Sorry, Tom. And I don't really think it was audacious of you to have a birthday party. And I will post the photo booth photos as soon as I get them scanned. That was the fourteenth day of January.

On Sunday, I drove to San Diego to have dinner with my family and my Auntie Ping Ping. I didn't get any pictures of her for some reason. But we sure did laugh a lot that night. And then Beulah and I challenged each other to make the ugliest faces ever, but those photos are on her camera. I drove home late at night and sang along with my iPod. That was the fifteenth day of January, and boy did I need a break.

Sometimes, the moon makes me think of monkeys. On the sixteenth day of January, I took my dog for a walk, and I noticed the gibbous moon, and I remembered having wanted to write something about the moon the last time I noticed it, but I don't really rememeber what it was. One night recently I was driving home, and the moon was just so big in the sky and so low to the rooftops. And I had memories of that sky and of those rooftops and of warmer weather and smaller moons. But I don't know if that was it. When I see the gibbous moon, I am often reminded of my high school boyfriend in Japan, whose name was Ed and who used to tease me by pretending he thought it was called a gibbon moon. Like the monkey. One night, we were driving by the sea wall, and he stopped his car in the middle of the road and we got out and looked at the moon and did some kissing and stuff. And the moon was gibbous and he must have called it gibbon, because he nearly always did, and despite my abhorrence of incorrectness, I thought he was adorable. I went to see an exhibit of Laura Owens paintings at MOCA a couple of years ago, and gibbon monkeys are heavily featured in her work. That time, the monkeys made me think of the moon.

It is now the seventeenth day of January. And I have no idea what will happen before the eighteenth comes around. But I have a feeling it will be both less and more.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Jan 15, 2006

I require the use of a time-turner.

I wanted to be in countless places at once tonight. I was at Tom Hicks' birthday party in Silverlake, using up the photo booth at the Edendale Grill like tomorrow would be the end of photo booths. And I also had wanted to go to the Tomorrow Show. And I also wanted to be at home in my bed or in my bathtub. And I also wanted to be performing at the comedy theater in San Diego with my pals that I love there. And I also wanted to be appreciating the company of my aunt who is visiting from far away and has the best name in the history of names (Ping Ping Valtriani). Tomorrow, I am supposed to go make up an improv workshop. And I am planning to go to San Diego to see my aunt and my family. And I will try to make it to a meeting for a sketch show while I'm there. And maybe I will also drop dead. Because it has been quite a week. I've had somewhere to be every night. And I've stayed out well past closing in most of those cases. And I've had work to do when I arrived home, often with a bit too much of the sauce in my veins. And I really don't know that I have it in me anymore. I want to sleep and read and run and tidy up and fix things. I want to seize the day. I want to squeeze every last drop out of the day. I want to pulverize the day. I want the day to be left bruised an unrecognizable, even to its closest friends. I want there to be fewer bits of celery in the leftover Chinese food I'm eating right now. I want the Bond marathon on AMC to continue forever. Even though it will mean never getting to see an episode of this new con-artist show they keep promo-ing. I would not make a good con-artist. I am not good at telling fibs. And I feel sorry for people. And I have too many belongings to ever be able to up and skip town. God, enough with all this celery.

P.S. Mindy makes my world seem like a bottomless mint julep.

Jan 14, 2006

Bung Bung Bung

I was making my mom laugh by mimicking a Vietnamese lady singing on the television. That's when I said, "Bung bung bung."

I worked all day. Made coffee to keep myself focused. Stuffed Audrey into my sweatshirt like a papoose to keep her still and to keep me warm. My mom brought me won ton soup.

I went to a birthday party at Tangiers (Happy Birthday, Ryan!) and then to the 101 Coffee Shop for food I didn't need. And on the way home, I saw two big fat raccoons trying to stuff themselves into a storm drain on Highland just north of Wilshire. What must that be like.

My head has felt all swimmy for some time now. At bedtime, it's easiest to blame the drinks I've had and the sleep I haven't. But it's been perpetual. I can't tell if it's the tail end of sick or the lingering of it or the beginning of a new sick or just the way it's going to feel to be me from now on. It's hard to know what normal is. Nothing about me is ever so consistent. And, yes, I drink plenty of water.

Jan 13, 2006

Just a perfect day.

I started the morning out by panicking and thinking I'd left my camera at The Standard. I hadn't. But I didn't confirm that until I'd called Sarah and the hotel and then found it in my car. I was going to charge my battery for a few minutes before Jeff arrived, but then my camera was not in my bag. Disaster. I can't imagine going to Disneyland without a camera. I can't imagine going without at least two. Luckily, I wasn't forced to find out what that would have been like. And truthfully, I have plenty of other cameras I could bring. I was more upset over the prospect of losing all the photos I took the night before and the night before that. And also at the prospect of having to admit that I lose one camera a year in a bar setting.

Jeff arrived with coffee for me, and we headed to Disneyland where the line at the tram pick-up was long, but it was misrepresentative of the population in the park. It's as if everyone who was there showed up at the parking lot at exactly the same time we did. But then no one else came. Making it perfect.

The weather was lovely. We easily got reservations at the Blue Bayou. We never required the use of a Fast Pass. The longest we had to wait for any attraction was twenty minutes for that new Monsters, Inc., thing (which was monumentally disappointing, by the way), and that's just because it was brand new. We just breezed in and out of the things we wanted to see and do. And it was gorgeous and sunny the whole time. And it was the best Disneyland sales pitch I've ever been able to give to someone considering upgrading the passport I just bought them to an annual pass. Well done, Disneyland. We make quite a team.

I bought the photo that was taken of us on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. For some reason, even though I've totally been on that ride before and knew what was coming and even took pictures of myself mid-fall the last time I was on it, I was really sent for a loop this time. I involuntarily screamed words like "shit" even with children nearby. And I found myself pounding on my knees in a weird way, like I was trying to keep myself from freaking out. I was sort of laughing as I was screaming. I wasn't having a panic attack. If anything, I was amused and completely disarmed by how bizarre and uncontrollable my reaction was. Anyway, the picture the Disney cameras took shows me with my hands covering my mouth and Jeff looking at me like we're having a normal conversation. Maybe I've just accidentally shared something that should have been secret. It's not the best thrill ride photo I've ever been in, but it was worth buying if only because it's completely different from any other that has been taken of me. Plus, I have a premium pass now and I get a discount. So the value is inarguable. Once I get my desktop problems squared away and can start conveniently playing with my scanner again, I will post it. But it won't be that big a deal.

While we were in line for that Monsters, Inc., thing, there was a little girl being held by her Spanish-speaking mother, crying in the onomatopoeitic, "Wah! Wah! Wah!" way. It was like she had learned crying from a cartoon made in the forties. She eventually shut up. But not because of anything her mother did. That girl was one of a few notable cases of children making noises as if reading them from the pages of a comic book in which the noises need to be written as words. I wonder what causes that.

Jeff and I even rode the Disneyland Railroad, which I seldom bother to do. That's what's nice about going to Disneyland with someone who doesn't go very often. Even the boring stuff has awesomeness in it. And, of course, I made Jeff go on everything that I love the most. Including my beloved Winnie the Pooh ride. And Soarin' Over California and California Screamin' (I don't remember if they use those apostrophes or not, but it seems like every attraction in Disney's California Adventure is trying to be folksy in that way). It's a Small World was closed, which is a disappointment I don't care for. But that was the only misfire. We got lollipops at the candy store in Critter Country. Jeff learned how good those chocolate-covered pretzels are. I still didn't have any ice cream. And I didn't even look for turkey legs. And in the end, well-placed coffee purchases kept our spirits from flagging. And I never even required the support of the whiskey I was carrying in my purse. I guess not having to wait in line makes it a much less tiring day.

We drove back up to The Standard to meet Sarah and Paul and Arnold. Then we left almost immediately to go to Magnolia, which used to be Bar 66. I went to a party at Bar 66 back in late 2003. I think it was the birthday of my friend Hillary's friend Anna. Or maybe it was Hugo's birthday. I can't remember. I just remember that it was a party, and Hillary was wearing the pink Jem wig she had worn to the Halloween party we had gone to only a week or two earlier. It seemed like a hard rock kind of bar with a hardcore kind of crowd. And there was a patio in the back that people smoked on. A rickety wooden landing atop some uncertain looking stairs. When Sarah gave me the address, I realized I had been there, but I never would have recognized it. Now it's a very fancy-looking bar and restaurant with an outside dining area back there and nearly no evidence of leather pants or studded belts. The food was good and the service was friendly. And Sarah and Paul shared the Mint Chip Ice Cream Sandwich after dinner, and that was something to behold. They wanted to go to Shelter, and I absolutely did not. So we went next door to The Bowery and had a drink, and then we went our separate ways, and Jeff drove me home, where Audrey and I continued our love affair and where I had work to do.

My throat was feeling scratchy, so I heated up some chicken broth. Then I read a few chapters of a Star Trek novel with On Her Majesty's Secret Service on at very low volume. The fact that James Bond falls in love and gets married in that one makes it seem somehow more sad and sentimental to me. It doesn't take much.

I sometimes feel as if I no longer have beautiful things to say. It pains and frustrates me. There was a time when my words might surprise me. There was a time when I might be pleased with the places my typing might take me. But I fall into these phases of list-making and traveloguing, and I wonder what the point of writing is if all one writes is where one goes on a night of the week. I want to write something lovely. Or something clever. Or something funny. But it isn't always as easy as that. I long for the times when it's precisely that easy. But I am in a state of longing for things more often than not.

In the end, I didn't take very many pictures at Disneyland. So many of the pictures I would have taken are pictures I've taken before. I was looking for something different. Something magical. And for a moment, I felt like congratulating myself for exercising standards from time to time. Quality. Quantity. They almost sound the same. And yet.

Oh, it's such a perfect day. I'm glad I spent it with you.

Jan 12, 2006

The word of the day is "vicious circle."

I went to The Standard Downtown to meet Sarah and Paul for dinner. Sarah's room is all white and has a bathtub too near the center of it. The bathroom is tiled like an old-fashioned locker room. The mini-bar has fancy Swedish water in it. Paul pointed it out.

We took a cab to R23 at the recommendation of the concierge and ate very well. They were out of the two things Sarah most wanted to try. The Deep Fried Sawa Crab ("Very Cute") and the Sauteed Shimeji Mushroom with Chili Peppers. But we did eat the Dungeness Crab Salad ("Very Best") and the Rib-Eye Steak with Ponzu Sauce and an assortment of nigiri sushi and then vanilla mochi ice cream with a little pineapple pastille in the center. Yum, yum, and yum. The restaurant isn't in the best neighborhood. Our cabbie seemed concerned for us. But once you reach the address, there is a well-lit row of businesses and valet parking and everything. We were fine.

We went back to the hotel and had a few drinks at the rooftop bar. They were playing Soylent Green on the wall of a nearby building with a projector mounted by the swimming pool. Sarah and I noticed a definite listing towards the Asian side of things in the population up there. Paul told us they were filming The Fast and the Furious 3 and there were a lot of Asian extras and stuff hanging out. Sarah said, "No wonder it's so Super Mario Bros. up here." In my head, I tweaked it to, "No wonder it's so Super NES up here." And that is a good addition to the list of subtle euphemisms my family uses to inseminate conversation with our special brand of racism.

Paul asked me to take some pictures of the skyline for him. As I was doing that, a guy leaned out of one of those red pods on the upper deck and asked if I was taking a picture of the US Bank building. I don't remember what I said. Something like yes. Then, speaking of my pink houndstooth number, he said, "That is a GREAT coat," and I thanked him. And I wondered what non sequitur might follow if I continued to stand there. I didn't. Sarah said, "Mary, he was hitting on you." And I said, "I know. But his conversation-starters need work."

A woman came up to us and complimented my hair and make-up and couldn't believe that Sarah and I are sisters and coincidentally also lives in San Diego and works a few days a week in Los Angeles, and she and I ended up talking for a while and eventually exchanging business cards, because she works for a company that can use my services. As this was going on, I could hear Sarah and Paul talking quietly next to me. And I think I might have heard Sarah say something like, "Leave it to my sister to come here and get hit on by a woman." But it might not have been as snarky as that looks in writing. She's right. That's totally the kind of action I get. The business card kind.

The bathroom at that part of the bar is unusual. The ladies' room and the men's room are separated by a wall and the sink is shared by both sides with a mirrored panel keeping the genders from seeing each other, but there is space beneath the mirrors where the water comes out just above the sink and drain. And you can see the hands of the person opposite you as they wash themselves. It's a little weird. You can't see where the water is going to come from. It's a motion sensor thing. So when you stick your hands under there, you worry you might bump into someone. And then, just as I was going to brave the unknown, I heard the telltale signs of barfing and then saw that a guy was throwing up. Into the sink. The sink that I was about to stick my hands into. I elected to use the hand sanitizing gel I carry in my handbag instead. Yuck and gross. When I told Sarah and Paul and Paul's friend Arnold what I had experienced, they noticed that it was only 10:30 and what a loser. We are very cosmopolitan and could never ever be sick and ruined by that youthful hour.

I shouldn't have stayed out. I shouldn't have gone out. I had work to do. Sarah coaxed me with promises of an early evening. But I arrived home at close to three a.m. Of course. And I have to prepare for my mom coming to visit tomorrow and to take Jeff to Disneyland as agreed. Very little sleep will be had. Will I ever go to Disneyland after having had a good night's sleep? The outlook is not good.

Jan 11, 2006

She's very sexiful.

I'm just letting you in on where I am in the James Bond marathon playing on AMC these days. When I jotted this down, it was You Only Live Twice. It's The Spy Who Loved Me now. I like this one.

I have so much writing to do, and I truly don't want to do one bit of it. That's when I end up reading old emails and old blog entries and finding out what new hilarity can be found when you type your name into Google.

Holy FTP Bonanza!

My excellent hosting company Dreamhost has silently and surreptitiously been increasing my FTP space and bandwidth allowance over the years that I have been with them. I started out paying $7.95 a month (or less because I used to pay the year in advance) for 1 GB of space, and then one day it just looked like it had become 2.5 GB, and then a week or two ago I noticed that it had become 20.5 GB, and I saw an announcement a couple of days ago that they are quadrupling account sizes and bandwidth allowances, and my rates haven't gone up a lick. So far, my account says it has 66 GB, and I think it is increasing incrementally over time, but I didn't read the announcement very carefully. Anyway, they are not perfect, but they're awfully good. And I am now feeling like a no-good lump for not having that much content to put up. I gots to make me some movies and songs. My poems alone won't nearly do the trick.

If you would like to sign up and see me get some sort of commission for it, you may do so by clicking here.

Jan 10, 2006

lipstick on my pillow

Erin asked a few of us ladies to be in a little short of hers, so I went over to her place today and got tarted up and did some funny business. It looks like it will be funny, but I hate to see myself on film. Really. I just want to move to the gym.

When I got home, I went to plug my cell phone in in the bedroom, and I noticed that the lipstick still in my hair last night -- the bit I couldn't quite wash out in the El Cid bathroom -- had marked up my pillow all red and pink-like. Not quite true to my usual form, it doesn't bother me. I'm not going to sleep on it like that tonight, but I'm not all bent out of shape that my bedding is ruined or anything. Theater does that to me periodically. Changes my priorities temporarily. Makes it okay for things to be all upside down. I guess I like that.

Our piece was only two and a half minutes long (which was plenty), so in a way I guess I feel good that the halo of it has stretched on a little bit. Jessie drank too much port, so she had her own halo today. But then she put a lot of salad on her boobs, and everything was a-okay.

Welcome to Quality Street

Jessie and I are Quality Street. It is official. We put up a little performance piece at Garage Comedy tonight. And it seemed to go over all right. In addition to taking our pants off on stage, this is what I looked like after all was said and done.

There's still lipstick in my hair. Wish you could have been there.

I have so many questions.

But I'm beginning to think you don't have the answers.

Jan 7, 2006

It's nighttime, and I know it.

I was driving home from El Cid, and I called Beulah back, and we were talking and she said she had gone to Jack in the Box, and I decided -- though I seldom do -- that I was hungry and I should get something to eat, so I went to the Jack in the Box near my apartment, and I got in the long just-after-the-bars-close line, and I was behind a BMW full of rowdy Israeli guys. I took them to be Israeli by the accent of the one short fellow who actually left the back seat of the vehicle and came towards my car and asked, "Do you want to fuck?" His face was expressionless at first. But his gestures, and eventually his face said, "Come on. What do I have to do?" I ignored him the first time. He got back into the car, and I wondered if I had misheard him. Maybe he realized how long his friends were taking to place their order and was asking if he could get me something. But a few minutes later, he got out of the car again and repeated, "Do you want to fuck? Do you want to fuck?" I was tempted to take a picture of him. With his untucked striped dress shirt and funny little build and his glasses and his urgency -- he could have been a young Richard Dreyfuss, if he'd had a face that looked anything like Richard Dreyfuss. The guy sitting next to him in the backseat was looking at me imploringly through the read windshield. I tried not to smile. When we rounded the corner to the pick-up window, young Richard Dreyfuss opened the car door and leaned out and asked, "Are you having a good night? How is your night?" My window was down, because I had just ordered my breakfast sandwich, so I heard him perfectly and didn't want to be rude. I smiled and said, "I'm having a great night." Then he said, "We are very relaxed. We like to relax. Do you like to relax?" And I said, "I'm fine, thanks," assuming he was now trying to sell me drugs. The guy sitting next to him looked back at me again. He began to knock his knuckle against the rear windshield, I guess to get my attention. My window was rolled up again, so I couldn't hear it. But I could see him trying. I wondered if he wanted to be rescued. Or if he just had a different line to try on me. They took a very long time getting their order, including a lot of various guys getting out of various doors and then getting back in again, and eventually drove away. Then I got my order and got home to find half of the two things I ordered not in my bag. The bag seemed very heavy, but it was because there was a gigantic amount of ketchup and house dressing in it. I guess I didn't need the potatoes. But still. The slogan on the wrapper of my sandwich taunts me, "We don't make it 'til you order it." And it should obviously read, "We don't make it 'til you order it, and even then not so much."

I don't think I have been to that Jack in the Box in years. But I do recall they had a pretty steady track record of always getting at least one thing wrong.

I went to the post office yesterday, and the lady at the walk-up asked me if I was a hair stylist. I didn't expect it, as I've really grown tired of my hair recently, but I suppose it was flattering. People don't usually say, "Are you a hair stylist?" when the follow up is going to be, "Because you should really think about getting into bookkeeping." So that's two compliments this week. "Do you like to fuck?" and "Are you a hair stylist?" And all at the end of a stretch of days when I was sick and miserable for a good part of the time. Thank you, 2006. You've been quite a week.

Jan 4, 2006

It's not often that I clap my little hands together with glee.

Okay, it happens all the time. But not usually while watching my computer. Today, while checking in with, I was delighted to witness David Letterman cleaning the floor with Bill O'Reilly. I invite you to please do the same.

Turkey reports two people have bird flu

That was one of the top Reuters headlines today. Which begs the question, Has anyone checked this turkey's credentials?

A Gripe

I sure do miss having better reasons to be up this late. I take care of my clients. I entertain my IM buddies. I accommodate my dog. I meet my deadlines. And all the while I search for meaning and reward and so often come up emptyhanded. I bite my tongue -- I stop my fingers -- when I think of typing out lists of druthers and missings and longed-fors. It serves no purpose.

And I would so much rather be reading a Star Trek novel in the bathtub.

Honk Honk Honk

When I was feeling low, Jerk Two Dicks on Jerk City dot com made me laugh. I have my friend Simon to thank for Jerk City dot com. He didn't make it, but he made it part of my vocabulary. There are many amusing comics to enjoy on Jerk City dot com. And I should warn you as Simon warned me: "It's highly intellectual humour, I must warn you. You may experience a strong culturing feeling."

Jan 3, 2006


"Better late than never" is a bullshit thing to say. It's passive aggressive. It shrugs at culpability, gives the finger to expectations, and humps the leg of trust.

That being said, here are the photos I took at Kevin Seccia's birthday party. It was a super fun awesome party, and I didn't even get there until eleven pee-em. But if your birthday party is sponsored by Red Stripe beer, that says something. It says something like, "Wow, Kevin Seccia. What the fuck, right? You are some kind of superman." Aimee Mann and Michael Penn were there, too, which says just about the same thing.

Jeff has a hideous photograph of me doing a beer funnel at the end of the night. Fortunately, it was taken with his camera and not mine, thereby freeing me of the obligation to show it to anyone.

Happy Birthday, Kevin Seccia! You are the best thirty year-old of the lot!

I have the energy of a bear that has the energy of two bears!

Not really. I have nearly no energy at all. I just liked that line from Sealab.


sorest throat no sleep
day into night into day
too much time to think

Jan 2, 2006


Paula Dean's white trash cooking show seems to get most of its ideas from the labels of Campbell's soups and Durkee Onions. My least favorite part of the show is whenever she tastes something she just made. She always looks like she feels sad for the food. Her ecstasy looks like empathy. I'll bet she cries when she's doing it. And chews on stuff.

Jan 1, 2006

In the Pot

Yesterday, before getting gussied up for my New Year's Eve celebrating, I made a large-ish pot of oxtail soup. A favorite in my family and something I find I never get around to making, even when I plan to. My mother makes it from time to time, but whenever I'm around and that happens, I invariably end up eating most of my meals out in commerce, and I never get any of the good stuff. This Christmas, my mom included a pot full of beef tendons, which I love. Make all the faces you want. I eat things some people think are gross. But I'll never ask you to eat them, so unless you plan on having your next meal out of my stomach, you should probably be all right.

Today, after not being able to sleep more than two hours or so on account of a really unbearable sore throat, I watched some television (did you know that How to Draw a Bunny is playing on the Sundance Channel? -- watch it and get inspired, won't you?), cuddled my dog, answered the phone, tried to add photos to a MySpace group with neither success nor satisfaction, and then I decided to heat up the oxtail soup I made and have a bowl of it. My first of the batch. While I was in the kitchen, I remembered that I had also bought some short ribs to add to the soup, but there wasn't room in the pot, so I needed to figure out what to do with them. I essentially made up my own recipe. I pan-seared the short ribs with a little bit of Star bouillon, added them to a sauteuse where I had softened onions and garlic in olive oil, and then made a veal demiglace, combined it with the pan drippings (which I had deglazed with a nice montepulciano d'abruzzo), and covered the whole deal in the sauce, and it is now simmering away on my freshly cleaned stove. I washed all my dishes, finally heated my bowl of soup for the fourth time (I kept heating it and then getting distracted by my kitchen chores and letting it get tepid), and ate it. It was possibly the best I've made. When I tasted the sauce I created for the short ribs, I thought a similar thing. I said to Audrey, "Oh, Audrey. Mommy just made something yummy." She just looked up at me and wiggled around in her pink velour hoody. The only thing she understands is the stuff I put in her mouth.

Thursday night, I had gone to Ralph's with plans to get all the things I needed for several dishes I planned to make, including the oxtail soup. While I was there, I received a mysterious text message asking if I'd brought my club card. But the number that sent me the text was not apparently in my phone list, because I did not know who it was. When I told Martín and Jeff about it on the way to the New Year's Eve party, Jeff suggested that could easily be the beginnings of a plot of a horror movie. When I ran into J. Keith van Straaten, it turned out it had been him. I was just relieved that he hadn't seen what was in my cart. I bought way too much stuff for a lady of my size and roommate situation, and there were chicken gizzards and stuff. So now I will write a horror movie wherein J. Keith van Straaten sends a spooky text message to someone at a Ralph's. Of course, he will have to end up murdering them, otherwise where would be the horror in that? Sorry, J. Keith.

When I got home from the supermarket, I cooked a pan of collard greens with hot links. Then I made Japanese sticky rice with red beans. Then I went to I.O. with Jordon and watched Hong Hong Ding Dong starring my former teacher Marion Oberle (brilliant) and the Main Stage Cage Match, where my pal Evan's group Panties in a Bunch took the honors. By the time I went to bed, I had a bit of a sore throat. By now, I may already be dead.

The party last night was great fun. I got parking free and easy. I stole many kisses. I danced the night away. I took a million photographs. I took a sip of my whiskey when Martín handed it to me, as Jeff cried out to stop me but too late, because it had a cigarette butt in it. Gross. And at the end of it all, Martín, Mindy, and I went to Denny's and waited too long and ordered too much and made fun of the people around us (they so deserved it), and as we were leaving, Mindy and I sat down for a brief interlude with Joe Wagner, who looked to be enjoying a newspaper or a menu. Something flat with words on it. I don't really remember.

I came home to an anxious and loving Audrey and went to bed shortly after arriving, at about five. My sore throat wouldn't let me sleep. I laid there in bed feeling frustrated and miserable and wanted to cry. But now that my throat is not quite as sore, thanks to Tylenol Sore Throat, I can barely remember it and I feel very tough about it. And that's what I hope 2006 holds for me. Only the shortest bout with pain and an even shorter memory of it. And of course also brilliant career success and the trappings of popularity.

With all the cooking and cleaning I've done, I must be avoiding something.

For copies of any of the recipes mentioned today, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Mary Forrest and don't be terribly surprised if it never comes back.