Secret Pop

Apr 6, 2008

Rabbit's Foot

It's hard to be impressed with the acting of someone you know. You've seen them making fun of other people. You know what foods they like and whether they eat popcorn in a theater like a decent civilized person or like a starving fiend with a vacuum throat. You know they would make fun of you if you were trying to recite Shakespeare in front of them and take it all seriously, and you would return the favor. That's what friends do. Not respect one another's creative efforts. Right?

I started a blog a while ago about how hard it is to believe in the performances of people you know when you see them on television or in movies. Now that I live in the fictitious city of Hollywood (and technically I live a smidge outside of Hollywood proper, so even here I'm being fraudulent), I know all sorts of people who act for a living. And I see them in movies and in commercials and in television shows. And as generous as I try to be, I often find myself looking at my friends and thinking I can see through them in some way. Not all of them. But some of them. Particularly those who are called upon to convince me that they are eating something really delicious or that they are surprised by something.

I met Tom Cruise last weekend. (P.S. He's as nice as you like and not at all crazy-seeming. And Katie Holmes and little Suri are also delightful and lovely) And maybe it's because I've never hung out with him properly -- because I haven't seen him get super REAL on me -- but I'm watching Mission Impossible III now and I have to say, the rule doesn't really apply to him. I believe he's Ethan Hunt, and I believe he's very upset all the time. And I'll bet if he was trying to convince me that a sandwich was really good, I'd think about buying it. As long as it didn't have a lot of onions on it.

Caveat: I've neither met nor hung out with Ving Rhames, but I can totally tell he's faking.

Apr 3, 2008

Redefining Edible

Jessie told me about a class she took where she and her fellow students would try and come up with the grossest possible combinations of food only to have their instructor taste their concoctions and say, "Ooh, I really like this." I asked Jessie for an example of "gross." She said they made, for instance, a "dessert soup" that was mostly melted orange sherbet. I said, "That doesn't sound GOOD, but it doesn't sound gross." And it made me realize that whenever someone starts telling a story involving purportedly gross food, I feel as if I'm being challenged. What will they think if they learn that I eat animal innards all the time. That I have sweetbreads and pork brains in my freezer AT THIS VERY MOMENT. I'm not trying to win a trophy. But I have very few powers left, and this is one I feel I will carry with me to my grave.

Apr 2, 2008

This time it was a song on t.v., and I couldn't make out the words.

It's almost always going to be a music cue or a scent or a particular appearance of the moon that makes me decide I have to hurry up and write what I'm thinking. But more often than not recently, I convince myself before even approaching the page that whatever I'm about to write I've already written. I'm losing confidence that I'm capable of original thought. If only because I've plumbed the depths so thoroughly in past compositions.

Speaking of plumbing, perhaps I can answer a question publicly that I was asked privately. My friend Kristen Herman, upon the decision to get married recently, was Googling images with the terms "60s wedding hair," and the very first image to pop up was one of me. A photo called wedding_hair.jpg that I took before my sister's wedding last October, because I had just gotten a haircut and desired to show it off. Weird, yes. And only one of many cases where someone writes to me and says something like, "I was googling plumb bobs for my old cast iron tub and you were one of the sites that returned." That's a real one. See for yourself.

05.18.2007 Michael N.
I was googling plumb bobs for my old cast iron tub and you were one of
the sites that returned. Plumb bobs. Now I'm reading your archive
about Disneyland after the election, the fragility of life and fruity
pebbles. Go figure.

7.5.2007 Mark S.
This is to let you know that I landed on your archive page via a Google search for something entirely unrelated, and hung around enough to find
I enjoy the hell out of your writing. I was all disappointed that it
ended in early 2005, then followed the URL back to its root and found
you were still around. Yay!

05.31.2007 Jon T.
I ran across your home page while googling stuff for
work... its very interesting... not a big photography
buff, but I enjoy it from time to time....

My question is, how come you have a few of those
picture sites blocked?

04.11.2007 John
Stumbled onto your "double bird at disneyland" photo after a google
search for something waaay different. Sweet! That's the standard
greeting at *************.net. People with attitude are more
interesting! Anyway, nice photo!

02.01.2007 Ray A.
Obviously you don't know me, but I was originally going to try and sign your
guest book after I accidentally ran into your web page- I was doing a search
on Ketel One images and your picture was in the bunch so I looked- and I
just wanted to compliment you on your page and how fascinating are.
I don't know how up-to-date it is, but regardless, you seem like a very
interesting and colorful you needed a stranger to tell you
that. Thanks for taking the time to read this and again, very nice
webpage...and you're pretty cute too. Take care.

01.17.2007 Megan E.
More! I want more True Life Adventures. Your writing seems to have
changed a little since you last wrote in that link, (have you become
more melancholy because of the season or maturity?) but I'd still like
to read them and laugh.

Your fan,
A girl/woman/lady?/person in Nashville who happened upon your page when
Googling for quotable lines from Audrey Hepburn

06.30.2006 Jerry D.
Hi Mary:
I'm a new fan of Mary Forrest. I'm not generally an internet time wasting kind of guy. I don't seek out blogs, I don't "IM" unless it's business. I did all that back in '96 when I worked for an Internet start-up (that never did). I am a professional cartoonist (5 strips), illustrator, commercial artist type guy and father of I don't have lots of time to spend online doing diversionary stuff. Heck, I don't even have time to write this letter! But I wanted to write and say thanks. I was searching for an architect font (sure you're not surprised) and accidentally fell into a nice comfy limbo called for the past forty five minutes reading and getting to know (in a very shallow sense) you from what you've written. What I got from it is that you're a funny, talented, insightful, caring, cultured, real kind of person...if someone who I didn't know thought nice stuff like that about me I'd like to hear there you are. Thanks!

02.28.2006 An Amazon Marketplace Purchase
Hi Mary, Thanks for reponding so quickly. After sending the previous email, I noticed that you have a website, so I checked it out for the hell of it. Not at all what I expected. Very cool. For the record, Don Knotts was one of my favs as well, bless his heart. Perhaps we can contact him via Count Von Delecky. Easily my favorite Andy Griffith episode of all time. Anyway, thanks, Keith

04.26.2005 Will S.
Hello Mary Forrest!
I decided to update my fonts when I came across your website and haven't
been able to leave. I should be working, but I just had to drop you a line
or 2.

First of all, I'm very impressed with your writing skills, do you write
for a living or just for whacky entertainment?

Secondly, your eloquence of the written word is surpassed only by your
beauty. I don't think I've met your parents, but they should get some kind
of trophy or something for having such a good-looking daughter. I once had
a pet rabbit that was cute, but not really good- looking and I have a
stapler that's good-looking, but certainly not cute. Yet, you have
accomplished both!

Thirdly, well I'm not sure if you can even have a thirdly, let alone a
fourthly or fifthly.

Wow, a bird just flew over my head and bonked into the window...and I'm
indoors! Good thing I have a hat on.

05.11.2005 Sean S.
Hi. I just stumbled onto your blog via a vaguely embarrassing Google
search. I haven't had the chance to delve deeply, but the blog is full
of interesting keywords. Plus you're not too hard to look at,
especially with the new do. So I thought I'd say hi.


06.19.2007 Richard T.
Just wanted to say that I "stumbled" across your site whilst looking for
something else - as things happen web-wise - there's something very
fascinating and compelling about you. Currently enjoying my way through
your pictures and "what we can do for you". Wash your car ? Why not.
Thanks, Richard.

12.16.2007 Nathan D.
You don't know me, but I wanted to say hi. The internet search engine is a strange and wondrous tool, it can bring you the most relevant information to your fingertips, or it can lead you down a twisty, curvy path to things you never expected. Earlier today I was googling for information on old 1950s Air Force fighter jets (that's my current research project) and for some inexplicable reason it popped up a picture of some woman giving the double-bird to the camera. For some equally unexplainable reason, I clicked on that picture and it eventually led me to

Now, you'd think that as soon as I realized that your website did not, in fact, contain any references to the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak all-weather interceptor fighter jet, I would have clicked off and gone about my merry way. But, instead, I started looking around your site, and before long, an hour had passed...
(a lot more stuff was said, but there's no need to reprint all of it)

PS. You don't happen to have a list of serial numbers for F-84F ADC units serving with the 116th Fighter Squadron based at Larson AFB between 1952 and 1958, do you? :)

02.22.2008 Anders P.
My name is Anders and I live in Norway. It's 8 am and I've been awake all night and thought about why I don't always get the most out of life and why I have trouble doing things. I am lazy. I googled this. I googled "I am lazy". Your blog post on laziness came up on the google results so I clicked it. Now, I don't have a full time job as of now, I am currently unemployed at the old old age of 23, but I have an obligation in my capoeira group. It's a brazilian martial art. They seem to dump more and more responsibility on me that I'm not supposed to take on and I feel bad if I say no. I'm going to try that next time. Say no instead of having to teach five 2 hour long capoeira classes a week because I don't want to. Thank you for opening my eyes. I've been aware of it for a while, but this time I've pretty much had it.

I tried to be short and to the point because this might not be the most interesting thing you'll read this week. I just wanted you to know that your bhlawging has been read and appreciated.

03.15.2008 Mark B.
not long ago i had a dream and the only part of it that stuck with me was the phrase "a lonely refrigerator in winter". anyway for what ever reason (perhaps hoping that i had found the key to a societal subconscious) i google imaged the phrase.... and stumbled onto your photo thus discovering your blog. at a glance i noticed that it went back many moons, at which point i decided to see the rest of what proved to be a very interesting web site. so i started to peruse and then i felt.... i dunno, i cant find the word for it.

There are lots of others. Over the years, it's mostly been, "I was looking for fonts, and then I found you." Or something to that effect. When I cruise my site analytics, I see unusual search terms from time to time. I wrote about some of them in a previous blog. Those included:

"pork mary forrest"
"36-25-36 filipino"
"red light district"
"eternal punishment"
"a poem of the mahabharata"

I guess the answer is there's no real science or logic to it. Every now and then, someone will get an inexplicable urge to Google "a sort of buttery beige" or "Tri-Ominos is a funny reference," and Google will return links to old blogs of mine. And that person may or may not read what I wrote. And they may or may not scratch their head over the number of photos there are of me to look at. And they may or may not write to me and tell me about it. And the fact that any of it happens is a curious wonder to me, and I have no feelings of shame. Even when the people who do write to me offer diagnoses about what's wrong with me or what causes me to expose my brain (and occasionally other parts of me) like so many breasts and buttocks immortalized in marble in the fountains of the Roman piazzas. Piazza Navona is my favorite, but I only saw it at night. We were on our way to eat at the one Chinese restaurant we could find. It was owned and operated by native Chinese people who had immigrated from China, so we were dismayed to find that all the food still tasted like cacciatore. And what's weird -- and perhaps a tidy way of getting back to what I was saying in paragraph one -- is that I'm pretty certain I've already written about that event. If I didn't already write about it, I must have talked about it so much that it feels like old news. I don't even have ideas anymore. And I'm pretty sure I've written that sentence before, too.

Later that night, we went back to our hotel room, where my parents and Beulah each slept in tiny twin beds, and I slept on an arm chair that folded out into a very uncomfortable cot. The walls had plush paper on them. The bathroom had a showerhead right above the toilet and a drain in the floor beneath. After everyone had bathed, the entire room was dripping wet. So when I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, my socks met with a cold puddle and it couldn't have been more than a fraction of a second later that my face squinched up the way it does when something is awful or unpleasant.

I guess the trick is to just sit down and write something. Even if I'm just writing about how I have nothing to write about. I'm not saying this is a great blog. I'm just saying it's not the same as a blank page.