Secret Pop

Feb 28, 2006

I'm not the only one who remembers Ayds.

Kittenpants is glorious. And I'm not wishing it on anyone, but I so wish I could say someone has a house in Vermont. Thumbs up, gay community! You find a better way of saying EVERYTHING.

Feb 27, 2006

The Bravery sure is apologetic.

To listen to their lyrics, if they aren't sorry or asking your forgiveness, they don't really have a lot on their minds. Maybe it's a form of politeness. Or passive aggression. I can't tell yet.

"A can of Simoniz."

I just found out that Darren McGavin died this weekend, too. I would make some "it comes in threes" speculative remark, but apparently Dennis Weaver also passed away. So, I guess no one else need die for a while. We're covered.

And I don't mean to sound glib. I love Darren McGavin. Given the number of rounds of A Christmas Story I've watched in recent years' TBS A Christmas Story Marathons, I may have a greater impression of Darren McGavin as a father figure than I do of my own father*. And, while I often get Dennis Weaver mixed up with similarly white-haired actor Harold Gould, I respect his IMDb playlist, too.

What a sad weekend for Hollywood. It's a shame that people get old at all. I saw a commercial this morning for Ameriprise, and it basically said, Your generation changed the world and rock and roll and all that stuff, and now you're changing the way people retire. Then you see an old guy in a hang glider or some sort of experimental airplane. It's really depressing. I'm sure those Woodstock mud-dancers would be utterly dismayed if they could have seen into the future and caught a glimpse of themselves keeping their grey hair a little on the long side and also diversifying their investment portfolios. I guess you have to market to people. But I wonder how effective it is to market to people as they truly are as opposed to marketing to them as they see themselves. I'm too young to be as old as I am and too old to not have lived through both of the great wars. How do you get someone like me to buy a flat of Lunchables? Answer: Make a melon-flavored variety and package it like it's from Japan. And then use a Bing Crosby song in the commercial.

*This is distinctly not true.

This will mainly be for my Los Angeles friends.

Last week, I found myself in a meeting with Pilot Peppler of Pilotware. I had no idea that Pilotware was named after a guy. I guess it's as good a name as any. Maybe even good-er. He reminded me a little of William Gibson. Or maybe of a character in a William Gibson novel. And he was using a PowerBook.

Feb 26, 2006

'A masterpiece.' The Times

I finished the book I've been reading. The one I bought at Counterpoint back in the spring of 2003 and would read for a bit and then abandon for months. The one I bought because the cover was sort of pretty and lonely, and the book was very thick, which always attracts me for some reason. It's called The Unconsoled, was written by Kazuo Ishiguro, and was without contest the most infuriating book I've ever read. I'm glad I finished it. I didn't hate it. But for some reason, passage after passage would just confound me with a mixture of impatience and frustration. If there is a city in the world where people actually do behave and talk like they did in this book, I hope that it ceases to exist before I ever stumble upon it. Although the description of plates of breakfast in the very last pages made me want to visit there very much.

Stairway to Redundant Heaven

I just saw a promo for the 10 O'Clock News that is apparently about backward masking. Fox 11 News finds secret messages in your music, or somesuch. And they were playing Queen's Another One Bites the Dust and showing a vinyl record being spun backwards with someone's hand.

Um...duh. I heard that "It's fun to smoke marijuana" clip when I was in junior high school. I was going to a Seventh-Day Adventist school, and we listened to an audio seminar (on cassette tape) called "Rock A Bye Bye Baby." It was a live talk given by some pastor about the harms of rock n' roll music, and I remember that it made an impression on me. At least enough so that I used to think Ozzy Osbourne was a Satan-worshiper and was a little scared of any band featured on the cover of Circus magazine. That is to say, until Duran Duran was featured on the cover, and then I realized that rock n' roll was not only perfectly safe but also very, very handsome.

Is this really the only newsworthy thing happening in America today? It's hard for me to believe that this decades-old story made it past the editors as something anyone hasn't yet heard about. Tomorrow night, Africanized bees, Tylenol tampering, and the deception of "light" beer.

The Incredible Mr. Knotts

Don Knotts died on Friday. I'm so sad. I have loved him for years. All those movies, falling in love with his wide-eyed clumsiness, his nervous gulping, his stammering attempts at suave, his raspy declaration that any sip of liquor was "smooth."

One of the old morning shows in San Diego had a guy (Cookie "Chainsaw" Randolph on KGB FM) who did a Barney Fife character on the show. I was listening to KGB at work one morning, and I called in and won the Thousand Dollar Thursday contest on Van Halen's Hot for Teacher. And they put me on the air, and they had Barney talk to me, and I told him I loved him, and they teased me for it. And, really, I was thinking more of how handy that thousand dollars was going to come in when I moved into my own apartment in a number of weeks.

But that wasn't even the real Don Knotts.

I have collected his movies for as long as I've owned media. On VHS. On laserdisc. On DVD. And I have found him delightful even in the movies that weren't delightful themselves. And whether it's a product of getting older myself or just being greedy, I maintain that eighty-one years was far too short.

"This is a very specific kind of bullshit."

Last week was my first week at a new job which came to me suddenly and thus took on a dreamlike quality. Not dreamlike in that it was beautiful and ethereal, but rather dreamlike in the sense that it never felt like I was fully awake or fully there. My sleep habits are ridiculous, and my eyeballs are delicate. It seems.

So, it was not entirely unforgivable that I plain forgot that I had tickets to see the Kids in the Hall at the end of the week. My calendar and a conversation with a friend reminded me, and all of a sudden I had to scramble to find mates to go with me, because I had bought two tickets for Friday and FOUR ticket for Saturday, assuming I would have lots of buddies who missed out on the sale. It wasn't difficult. Save for those who wouldn't be in town, no one DIDN'T want to go. In the end, I took Martín on Friday and then Dustin, Boris, and Martín (again) on Saturday, and both occasions were super. The theater was so crowded on Friday night that Martín and I had to stand in the back, but we were flanked by Vera and Blaine and a handful of other friends, so it was really nothing to complain about. But on Saturday, I made sure to get there good and early so that we could sit up close and not have to wonder about what unplanned offstage banter was happening out of earshot.

The Kids performed all new material they had just written this week, which was a thrill and a treat and a dose of inspiration. And an equally potent dose of indictment.

After last night's show, Boris and Dustin and I skipped out on the after party for the show and went instead to the House of Pies and then to the liquor store and then back to the Steve Allen to watch the Tomorrow Show, after which I still had a great deal of whiskey in my handbag and really should have created a scenario that would have led to my drinking more of it, but instead I hurried home to my dog and my Guitar Hero, which just might be as good as it gets.

My friend Simon and I had an IM chat later that night during which I confessed that I had felt pretty, as a means of balancing out the usually self-critical responses I make to any of his kind compliments, and also because -- amazingly and for once -- it was true.

Feb 24, 2006

Autodidactic Chiropractic

Constant bleeding. Mopping up unsightly messes. I almost stopped and wrote out the ideas, but I assumed I would remember them. And of course I didn't. What was it? Mortality? How death has always followed me -- at least in my brain? How I am always so wrong? Was it about my mother? Nothing frustrates me more than having something on the tip of my tongue. I should have stopped in my tracks and started writing. It's a lesson I am constantly learning.

I have a number of different Chess recordings on my computer. I am listening to all of them. When I do that, it's suddenly a dewy late summer in my brain. Days that started out hot and ended in chilly outdoor orchestra performances. Music stands sweating condensation on photocopied manuscript paper. My stand partner was supposed to photocopy the score and share it with me so I could have it in my archives, but he never did. What a shame. His name was Lowell, but his nickname was "Speedy."

The pain in my eyes is greater than the weight on my shoulders. Or is it.

Feb 22, 2006

"Apologize to THEM."

Oh, it's sunny and brisk here in Jobville today. Yesterday, the day the city was founded, was surprisingly windy and cold, despite the sunshine and cloudlessness. The wind provoked comment from nearly everyone. Especially in the elevator.

Sharing a parking garage with a middling shopping center offering Starbuck's, Borders, Nordstrom Rack, and a waffle place, Jobville is more convenient than Formerjobtown. And far more pleasant, despite the absence of a fancy pants Miele espresso machine in the kitchen. I'm surprised that no one has noticed or commented on my LCARS screen saver yet. In a way, an aspirational nerd like me is protected by the relative unknownness of the things she likes. If there isn't a picture of Captain Kirk on it, most people don't know Star Trek from Beatrix Potter. Soon enough, I'm sure everyone will learn the many unfortunate facts about me that first impressions obscure. Beginning with my clumsiness, my addiction to Super Text Twist, and my fear of using the phone system.

Feb 17, 2006

Career Counseling

How do people get jobs these days? Do people actually talk to their guidance counselors and such? Or do they apprentice with blacksmiths and cobblers and the like? I never did any of that. When I was growing up, I think it was more of an oral history tradition. Or an osmosis of popular culture. Because if they weren't getting their career ambitions from the professional cats and dogs in Richard Scarry books, it seemed like most job ideas came to people by way of a short film on Sesame Street or the Electric Company. And people only grew up to be dairy farmers and chewing gum makers.

Speaking of jobs, it looks as if I will be starting a new one next week. What a twisty-turny life it is here in Los Angeles. One can barely buy advance plane tickets with any great surety.

Feb 15, 2006

ex nihilo nihil fit

Continually challenged to determine how many days a girl can go without significant sleep. Sometimes getting only forty minutes. Sometimes getting none at all. I had work to do. And people had birthdays. And I had to fly away for a few days. And I had to fly back. And I had to drive out of town. And I had to visit people. And I had to spend entire days in important meetings. And I had to decide what to wear.

Strange. Wherever I have been was the locus of some string of memory. That place I used to work. Waves of coincidence. Reminders reminding.

I got my hair cut, and I hated it. When I went to Tim's bowling alley birthday party, my friends did not hate my hair, but they were not scrutinizing it as I was. I went back the next day to get the color fixed, and I hated it even more. No one seems to hate it now, either. But you can't trust anyone when your hair is bad. No one will speak the truth, and hearing it will not make it less so. Maybe it's not so bad. But it's not what I wanted. And it was far from free.

I am tired of being away from home.

I offered many wishes of happy valentines today. It felt like a pleasant formality.

I don't usually watch much of the Olympics. I think the last time I sat in front of a television and watched them, it was the year 2000, and it was someone else's television, and swimming events were on, and the evening ended in an ideological impasse. But I have seen a great deal of the Olympics this time around. Also on other people's televisions. My mother always watched the figure skating in the winter and the gymnastics in the summer. I don't remember much else.

This Japanese figure skater has the same first name as a stuffed thumb-sucking monkey I had when I lived in Guam. I will find a picture of it and post it. It wore a sailor's cap, and I loved sleeping with it. Daisuke. This guy was skating to that Tango Di Roxanne number from Moulin Rouge. And from far away, he looked like an iteration of Michael Jackson's fashion sense from a few years back. Men who skate don't seem to mind those outfits they wear.

And what a caricature these snowboarding victors are of the version of Southern California one might think only exists in movies about Southern California.

I wish I had made a better show of it all. I must keep myself from reassessing lest I feel perpetually disappointed in everything I have ever done and every moment I have ever endured.

I'm reading a book I bought a few years ago and never finished. And I finally got to a few passages I felt triumphant to have read. I dog-eared the pages. But I realize that everything I savored in the words was what is sad and forlorn in me. Words that justify my yearning or echo what I say when an ache is present. What a terrible habit I have of indulging that.

It's a shame this Canadian fellow fell in his program. He's a good dancer.

Feb 8, 2006

Foiled Again

Strangers with Candy is on, and I should go to bed. Some battles are best left lopsided and unwon.

Are you shopping for me?

How sweet of you.

Here are some of the things I like:

Full Metal Alchemist
Paranoia Agent

Herman Miller Aeron Chair
Star Trek
Star Trek Deep Space Nine

Izawa/Hijikata Puppet Story Books
Marilyn Monroe
Duran Duran
Photo albums
Art supplies
Ernie and Bert
Lenticular images
Art supplies
Film scores
Mel Torme
Bing Crosby
Moleskine notebooks
Winnie the Pooh
Paris (by Yves Saint Laurent)
Things from Japan

Here are some things I have:

PlayStation 2
Laserdisc player
Record player
DVD player
DVD burner
Most commercially available DVDs
Reel to reel
Lomo LC-A
Canon A-1
Canon SD500
A Kodak Disk camera
Sony DSC-V1
Gym membership
Queen bed
A full set of Cutco knives (even the cheese serving tools)
A tape gun

Here are some things I used to collect (but no longer do):

Sewing patterns

Here are some things I don't like at all:

Cannabis candy
Must Love Dogs
Old lady perfume
Old lady jeans
Old lady underwear
Nutrition bars
Hershey's chocolate
Blue cheese
Shoes that have been worn before

Word of caution? I am hard to shop for. When in doubt, opt for consumables. I far prefer things that can be used up, if only because I have no more space to keep the things that can't be. And don't worry. If I really like you and you give me something that I use up, I'll probably keep the package.

P.S. My birthday isn't coming up right away or anything. I was just thinking is all.

Feb 4, 2006

Oh, Comedy

I did some more stand-up tonight. And that went all right.

Prior to that, I went over to Wayne Federman's place to take headshots for him. I sure hope they come out the way he wants them to.

After my show, Jeff and I went to my friend Evan's housewarming party, and once a bunch of other friends arrived, it was a swell time. Somehow, when Jeff was looking at my Disneyland petting zoo photos and Jessie was greeting him, my camera got dropped and the LCD cracked. This does not make me happy. But I suppose everything will work itself out. Even if I have to buy another camera. Again.

There was a weird Guatemalan fellow who crashed the party. He simply would not go away. And no amount of none of us understanding what he wanted helped. It was all very awkward and uncomfortable but makes for a nice enough story now that we are all home and not murdered.

I stayed too late. But I'm also glad I stayed as late as I did. There were people there I wanted to talk to and laugh with, so even after Jeff and Tim and Mindy and Jessie and a number of others had called it a night, I stuck around and tried not to spill anything.

Audrey greeted me with licky dog love, and I delighted in it. When I'm not with her, I miss kissing her smooth head. And when I am with her, I do almost nothing but make up for lost time.

Feb 3, 2006

The Treaty of Oregon 1846

Manifest Destiny
There was no war.
James K. Polk
54° 40' or Fight!
Mary Forrest does not know everything there is to know about everything. So there.

Happy Birthday, Adam!

You are the cutest boy I ever frightened with my analgesic throat spray. I adore you.

Annals of the Ungood

I did go to Disneyland yesterday. And it was a good Disneyland day. Audrey was a yelpy, crying baby when I went to collect her at the end of the night. But everyone loves a little dog. There is no end to the cooing and the fawning and the small children pointing their chubby fingers. I adore it.

When I got home, tired and a bit dizzy and wanting nothing more than a hot bath and a book and a nightlong coma, I had work to do. I created copy and comp designs for a product my friend Julie is hoping to win business for. And I did that until five of the clock in the morning. And by the time it was okay for me to be sleeping, I was so exhausted that I couldn't relax. That has happened to me before. I am not a fan of it.

I signed up for a new gym membership on Tuesday, but I've yet to have a chance to go. I want to go right now, but I think I will be pressing myself for time. I have an article to rewrite, and I have workshop tonight.

And then twelve or thirteen hours passed, during which I tried to get down with some Dance Dance Revolution but ended up on a series of frustrating conference calls with one of my clients, showered, went to my workshop, went to a couple of shows after class, met Angie and Julie at Lola's, and then came home and wondered whether it is even possible to pick up where one left off. I think the answer is no. Even if you think you know where you were going.

If only all the movies that should never have been made were Lawrence of Arabia. I would go to the cinema with much greater frequency. Speaking of which, I have heard that the new Woody Allen film is good in the way that Crimes and Misdemeanors was good. If this is so, I will be happy in a way that would embarrass some people. I also have plans to go see the new Albert Brooks film, which I hear is not a work of art, but I've also heard that a goose egg laid by Albert Brooks is a far finer egg than one laid by someone else. Namely Michael Bay. I don't have a crazy awesome film release to look forward to at the moment. I miss the days when I yearned to see things on the nights they opened. The passage of time has taught me that I can see it when it's more convenient. And I hate it when I catch myself in a fit of pragmatism. It's so unbecoming.

If Big Momma's House 2 is the number one movie in America right now, I assume that means that there was an "incident," and there are no other movies playing. And the sad part is, my mom would probably really like that movie.

Feb 2, 2006

Tiger in the Sack

At night, I wrestle beasts and monsters. A leviathan in the ocean. A fish. A snake. A fish snake. A recurring fish snake. I battled it with a flute. I lost someone. The fish swallowed the flute. There was a ship. I was in the sea. I was going to die.

There was a great tiger on a road with grass on either side.

The deepening of genius

Perhaps I am too successful
Too convincing
Perhaps I disguise my feelings too well
When they fall in the realm of hatred
The durability of love
It is even able to coexist with revulsion
Some say they are one and the same
I dissent

If I foresaw my future and it held devastation, I would go forward as planned. I have never been one to spare myself where suffering is concerned. I have also never had much of a knack for telling the future. I wonder how differently I might behave if I knew how it was all going to end.

I had many chances to seize the day. Many chances to take the gift of freedom and do something with it. It could have been a very different life for me.

10:20 a.m. 10:20 a.m. When will I ever see you again?

Spoon songs make me think of long-ago office days. Zoo visits. Hamburger stands.

I remember everything you did
Everything you were
Everything you said

And also of daylight savings time and the discovery of golden hour and photographs of my reflection in the conference room window. Even then, it was never good enough.

The difference between the guy who takes months and months to be comfortable letting people know he's with you and the guy who can't wait to hold your hand. They are the petals of one flower. I don't know what made me think of it.

When love loses its restlessness
No longer scrambling towards an object
No longer fearful of losing it
Doesn't it also lose its flavor altogether
Maybe feeling can only be translated
In the vibrations that radiate from
Nervous tremblings and fear
And in the calm of their absence
With the water smooth and placid
The man loses all thought
Of what was once roiling and churning
For he lacks imagination

I am reluctant to write the word here. Unless it is in glib unmeaning. I am reluctant to draw attention to the fact that I ever feel things or think things or know that attention is being drawn. It is an absurd public illusion, this. And at the same time, it is an impetus and a great mess of gushing, and I am grateful for it and would never curse it away. If nothing else, it keeps me organized.

I fall in love with Ray Bolger when he dances. I am not afraid to say it.

This is what happens when I finish reading a book.

Feb 1, 2006

I'm going to Disneyland.


And that's the only reason I'm up early enough to be showered and getting dressed when the Today show is on. It's been a while since that was part of my morning routine. And maybe that's good for my blood pressure, because watching Katie Couric interviewing John Kerry in response to the State of the Union address made me scowl and run to my computer to tip tap type my disapproval.

Is there no journalistic standard anymore? Is it the role of these performers to just play devil's advocate? Because if Katie Couric wasn't playing devil's advocate, then she was letting her personal agenda show like a petticoat under too short a skirt.

She brought an opponent of the President on the show and asked for his response and then reacted with theatrical surprise and dismay at his thumbs down. She cited an NBC News/Wall Street Journal(?) poll that said 62% of Americans are dissatisfied (my words) with the Democrats not stepping up and providing a clear agenda in the face of this administration's failures. Now, I don't know what the details of that poll were, but it seems so the opposite of incisive to frame a question with that brand of generalization. Could the Democrats do more? I doubt you'd find a Democrat who would say "no." But that floats above the topic of the Bush Administration's performance and flits down onto the head of the minority party for no other reason than to avoid actually commenting on the administration in question. It was essentially this: Senator Kerry, don't you think that everything that has gone wrong in Washington is really your fault? or better yet: That man who was murdered, isn't it really your fault, Mary Forrest, for not doing more to save him? But I don't live in Baltimore. Isn't that just an example of the partisanship that separates California and Maryland?

I wish I could follow the logic and not want to beat the person at the end of it with a broom handle. Katie Couric asked John Kerry why the Democrats have been so unsuccessful in winning the approval of America and John Kerry rightfully pointed out that being the minority party and not in control of the House, the Senate, or the Executive tends to narrow the platform from which his party can speak. I think he said something about the size of the megaphone the other party gets to use, and he's right. Katie Couric said, Oh, come on. You can't blame the media. Once again turning the interview into her personal battle with the interviewee instead of acting as the liaison she is supposed to be for her viewers. And then to point out the Democrats' unified clap/no clap strategy as an example of how Democrats are to blame for the partisan divide. I personally like to be a good sport. I don't know that choosing not to clap or choosing to clap with mocking enthusiasm are the most effective responses when you think the guy up top is a shithead, but I also know that this is not where the deals get cut. And John Kerry was right to point out Karl Rove's recent flagrant (and continuing) abuse of 9/11 to imply that Democrats who don't support the Bush tactics in Iraq are delusional and naive. That line is constantly being drawn and always with that insidious Rove-ian approach of saying you are either this or this. And one of those things is what everyone wants you to be and the other is a cockroach in a dirty prom dress. And America responds to that. You can say, You are either with us or against us. And Americans will go, "Oh, okay. Well that clarifies things." But I just don't see very many Beltway issues that are as binary as that. You can support the troops and not support the war. Duh. You can support a woman's right to choose and not dance a jig whenever an abortion happens. You can disagree with President Bush and not be a crackpot with a partisan agenda. And you can also agree with him on specific issues and not change your surname to Lemming. I just wish you could be a television journalist and also be concerned about getting to the truth. Granted, getting your news from mornings news programs is already questionable, but if I had gotten these thoughts from an online news source, they probably would have made these arguments for me, and that wouldn't have given me anything to blog about.

I'm having Mickey Mouse pancakes.