Secret Pop

Oct 23, 2007

Time Travel

At 9 A.M., it looks like sunset. Heavy, orange light streaming in through curtains that seldom look that color. I remember the skies looking like this, the air feeling like this, four years ago. You can look on news station web sites and see specific addresses of homes that have been completely destroyed. I remember looking at those lists last time around. Most of the homes were in Scripps Ranch. The street names sounded like they were supposed to be estates in the French countryside. I remember thinking that you get less sympathy from people when your house burns down and it's built on Moneybags Lane or Millionaire Drive.

My family's home burned down in 1998. Not as part of a big county-wide disaster. Just a house fire. So the governor didn't come bring us blankets, but I do know what it's like to not be able to believe that everything's gone. And also to look back on that experience nearly ten years later and know that it didn't kill us. Maybe it even made us stronger.

So far, my sisters and my parents are all safe. My little sister's neighborhood was evacuated yesterday. She's at my parents' house taking it easy, because school is closed all week. We talked yesterday about how we take it for granted that we live in the part of the country where these things happen. I told her how I had just been talking with our friend Geoffrey and that his brother and sister-in-law had moved to Florida. And while they're not on the Atlantic coast, I was saying that I have difficulty imagining I could ever move to Florida knowing how hurricane-ridden the area has been. And my little sister said, "Yeah, I know we've got fires and earthquakes, but I still say, fuck hurricanes." And that made me laugh.

I realize that this entry was written specifically in reference to another similar event four years ago, but I just referred back to the entry I wrote about THAT occurrence, and I realize that nothing I'm saying today is new. And that I may have said all of it better before. I must just be getting out of practice. All I write these days? Emails about work. Typing my address into online orders, if that counts. Clipped conversations in IM windows. I push the buttons on my phone a lot to play Bejeweled. And if someone was keeping track, the keystrokes might spell something out. It's not that I have less to say. Or maybe it is.

This used to be where I would write what I was thinking, only skeletally interrupted by what I was actually doing. My activities provided the scaffolding for all of the other often unrelated things going on in my head. But now, more often than not, I realize that I'm only prompted to write because I've done something or gone somewhere. And all I say is where I went or what I did. And as I rarely go anywhere or do anything anymore, the entries grow fewer and fewer.

I have been suppressing sentiment for some time now. I learn this lesson over and over. I keep it to myself when something tugs at me. And then at some point, I don't keep it to myself. I utter it aloud. I type it. And the absence of being met halfway is more apparent than the sentiment itself. There is no satisfaction in playing patty cake with the air. All of the satisfaction rests in the two hands coming together and making a clapping sound. The canceling out of equal and opposite forces. Force only has value when resistance measures it. (Note to NASA scientists: That's not an actual physics theorem. Please don't use this "law" when trying to get us to Mars.)

What's this? What's this? What...IS...THIS?

Friday night, I went to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D at the El Capitan Theater. I didn't know until the movie started that the 11:30 screening was a singalong. I can think of few things more horrifying than being in a movie theater filled with people talking and singing and vocalizing and not being within my rights to tell them to put a sock in it. And the songs in this movie are not all that easy to sing. And I think many people don't realize how few of the lyrics they actually know. And the soliloquys are sometimes speak-sung, so they can't really be sung along with. So SHUT UP, YOU AWFUL AWFUL GOTH PEOPLE! was all I could think for much of the movie. Although it's definitely a film that lends itself to 3-D-ification. And all of this just makes me want to go back to Disneyland. Where I've not been at all this calendar year, despite my ownership of an expensive premium pass.

All Animals Are Audrey

I watched a good bit of Animal Planet over the weekend. There was a Meerkat Manor marathon, during which I saw Flower sustain a fatal cobra bite to the head, and I saw her mate Zaphod have to leave the security of his family to go out on the rove. When Flower died, I thought, "Singalong Nightmare Before Christmas, and now THIS?" It was very sad. And although I realize they are not really very similar at all, meerkats make me think of Audrey. It's in the eyes. And the look of uncertainty always on their faces. Frankly, all animals make me think of Audrey in one way or another. All breeds of dog, certainly. But most other animals, too. I watched a show about a couple who adopted a baby hippo named Jessica, and Jessica's big wet eyeballs were Audrey all over the place to me. And then there was a show called Papa Bear, in which a guy in New Hampshire took in bear cubs who had been abandoned by their mothers and developed these amazing relationships with them and was able to study their behavior in ways that no other researchers ever had. The one bear named Yoda was remarkably affectionate and gentle. She would literally sit down in front of him and flop back on him like they were competing in the luge together. And he would scratch her and let her play with his watch band. It was the most amazing thing. And all of the close-ups on the little bear cubs' faces and later on the faces of the mothers just looked like Audrey to me. Hunters who shouldn't have been hunting in that part of the forest later shot and killed Yoda, and I felt tears sprout out of both of my eyes and thought that I agreed with the man on the show about Jessica the hippo. Viewing a photo of another wild hippo they had called Charlie who had been shot by neighboring farmers, he said that man is the worst animal god made. And I was inclined to agree with him.

When Beulah and I were talking about our love of animals and these shows I had watched, she understood what I was saying. And I told her about some people in the Cedar Fire of four years ago dying in the fire because they couldn't get their horses out, and Beulah scoffed, "Duh. You RIDE them to safety." She's very smart.

Oct 9, 2007

Knowing Me, Knowing You

Audrey and I just got back in from a walk. There was a package at my door. Well, there were two. One was The Boatniks on DVD. The other was a black knit turtleneck sweater dress I ordered. I tried it on in the guest bedroom. It reminded me of a charcoal grey knit turtleneck sweater dress I bought and wore around this time of year eleven years ago. But the charcoal grey one fit better. The one that just arrived is probably going back.

Someone nearby is playing ABBA loud enough for me to recognize and sing along. Which reminds me that I just spent the weekend celebrating my older sister's nuptials to her lovely Swedish groom Paul. After the wedding, there were 15 or 20 Swedes (and two American crashers) in my hotel room, playing ABBA on my iTunes playlist and eventually getting security involved. And yesterday, there were as many Swedes lounging poolside at my parents' house, looking perfect in their bathing costumes and wondering if Encinitas is officially paradise.

I was so exhausted, I could barely keep my eyes open driving home from San Diego last night. Like I had to talk myself into not taking extra long blinks, even when I was only a mile or two away from my apartment. That fatigue has stretched on into today. I can barely tell what day of the week it is. Or what hour of the day. It's all chapped lips, sore neck, crooked posture, and indecisive eyeshadow today. I'm looking at this as the painful process required before renewal can begin. Digging in deep to peel off my dragon skin.

Oh. On Friday, I went to San Diego to change my hair again.

I let my stylist take pictures of my breasts for a collection of photographs he is going to be mounting in the salon to raise money for breast cancer research. At least I think that's what the story was. So if you walk into a hair salon in San Diego and see a bunch of boobs on the wall, two of them might be mine. Let's find a cure already. I'm eventually going to have too much self-respect and/or shame to continue this kind of activism.

Oct 5, 2007

Oh, my aching everything.

I don't mind working all day and all night. But when I know I have to be up early, and when I know I will be packing in a frenzy, and when I know that I will forget something important...

This Sunday is my sister Sarah's wedding, and it's important that I shouldn't forget anything. And it's important that I shouldn't get stuck in L.A. later than planned. And it's important that I get to the other side, because somewhere over there is the hope of my finding myself again.

It's easy to put off everything you want to do in favor of everything you tell yourself you have to do. I just wish it was so easy to tell yourself you have to do the things you want to do. You have to do them, or when you're all finished you will have pleased everyone but you. Or even fewer people than that.

Anyway, I've been working a great deal this week. And I'm sore all over just from slouching before my two notebooks all day and from holding a phone to my ear for hours at a time. It would be nice if I was sore because of a long bike ride or an embarrassing game of softball.

Oct 4, 2007


I work from home much of the time. And lately, I work so much that I feel as if I'm under house arrest. I nearly never get to go anywhere. I nearly never see anyone. My dog and I can't tell what time it is. I no longer have an array of different things I wore during the week by which to differentiate the days in my memory.

I watch a lot of TNT during the day. Law and Order and ER, I particularly enjoy. But I've noticed that whenever there's been an especially rough day or an especially great day, someone asks their co-workers if they want to go out for a drink. And they always say no. It drives me nuts. I remember when I was a regular office-goer, and I remember occasionally suggesting people go out after work for whatever reason. And when people shoot you down, you hate them for it. Oh, you have a wife? So what? I have a dog. Don't we both have responsibilities? I frown on the word "no."

This happens occasionally after a comedy show or after a rehearsal or after some sort of thing that brings me into the company of people I know and don't dislike so much I wouldn't be able to swallow alcohol in the same room with them. You put yourself out there. You say, "So. Anyone want to get a drink?" Or you say, "Anyone hungry?" Or you say, "Do you guys even like me at all?" And the awkward declinations resound. And you (I) get in your (my) car and lament having done your (my) hair and only seen four people. I guess I've said no to people in this situation before, but it's only ever if I have some place I'd actually rather be. Or if the person posing the invite is someone whom I dislike so much that it affects my ability to swallow. If I dislike you so much that my throat closes up, there's really nothing entertaining we can do together that doesn't involve me throwing a rock at you. And that's only entertaining for a few seconds. And it's nowhere nearly as refreshing as a cocktail.

Jessie called tonight right in the middle of the Top Chef finale. I can't believe that _________ won. I was so hoping it would be ________. Jessie is probably the person I turn down the most and also the person who turns me down the most. To be fair, I generally turn her down because she invites me to be somewhere without giving me time to shower and get dressed. And she generally turns me down because she has other friends she likes better than me. So at least we understand each other.

I used to have a lot of profoundish thoughts when I would take Audrey out for walks late at night. Something about the moon. Or the temperature. Or the smell of the street. I still think some of those things. But I'm beginning to realize that I'm just thinking things I've already thought before. Ad that's not worth writing about. Even writing about how I've already written about things is a tactic I've used up. Maybe it's time for a change. Lease is up in January. Who knows what awaits me.

I've got to get out of this place.

Comedy Central is unusually loud on my television.

But I'm still going to watch South Park now, and then the new Sarah Silverman Program, featuring my pal Steve Agee, whose web site I recently almost finished. You should watch, too. Because any time I finish watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and don't accidentally end up watching the cold opening of Mind of Mencia is a victory in my book.

Oct 3, 2007

Carbonara isn't just a bacon thing.

This Quizno's Chicken Carbonara Sub commercial is offensive to me. There is nothing carbonara about this sandwich. It even has mushrooms on it. Will people just eat anything if you give it a name that sounds like it comes from a restaurant you've never been to? And on the other side of that, will anyone ever really buy these Cafe Express Steamers and not be afraid to eat what's in them?

P.S. Yes. This is my first actual post in quite some time. I can only imagine your disappointment.