Tuesday, August 31, 2004

somewhere between magically delicious and coincidental

last night, while engaged in a delightful instant messenger chat with the lovely and talented fish i received an impromptu invite out for the evening from a very sweet and adorable young man. after i shyly accepted, i popped back over to fish's window and told her she must be my lucky charm. i don't know from yellow stars, blue diamonds or purple horeshoes; i'm perfectly content with a fish on a bicycle as mine!

and from lucky charms to amazing what-are-the-odds-of-that: the sweet, adorable young man used to live in my apartment building for a year, up until just a few months ago. in a city of over eight million, with hundreds of neighborhoods and thousands upon thousands of apartment buildings, and my monday night date used to live one floor below me. is it fate? i guess i'll just have to follow the rainbow and see if i've found my pot of gold... or if i just end up with some rainbow colored marshmallows floating in milk.


Monday, August 30, 2004

ten years later

it's ten years later and i find myself sipping on a manhattan in the crowded foyer of a suburban hotel. women who were once brunettes are now blondes, men who were once plain and studious have now learned how to use hair styling products and match their belts to their shoes. i'm straining to see who's who at the check in table, and i pray that they will clip on their silly nametags so that i might stand a fair chance of recognizing them. the best thing about ten years later is that it's taught most everyone kindness; people you'd never dream of talking to in a locker-lined hallway ae now offering you hugs and warm greetings.

ten years shows up in tiny lines around the eyes. it's audible in easy laughter and confident small talk. ten years taught me that sometimes it's best to keep an opinion to myself, and that there's a time and a place for a certain kind of story, a certain kind of discussion. ten years teaches you when to keep your mouth shut. but it also teaches you that it's okay to speak up, it's okay to engage someone in conversation, to admit you had a crush, to wonder why it is you never spoke before. ten years ago most people would surrender their friendships for the sake of a new love interest; now the spouses are left to chat among themselves while the girls hit the dance floor with their pals. and then i realized that the room was brimming with self-confidence and a noticeable lack of adolescent insecurity. well, and the liquor helped a bit.

i'm glad i went to my ten year high school reunion, even if it was a little over-priced and very under-attended. the "prizes" awarded and applauded chose to honor just those who'd married, had kids, travelled far or paid their ticket fee the fastest (prompting me to shout: "hey, how about let's hear it for the poor, unmarried, childless people!" and everyone at my table clapped and hooted--regardless of the fact that they all had spouses or long-term significant others!), making that little ceremony the only thing 'high school' and lame about the evening. i was able to share in the joy of success with my former classmates, for their studies, their careers, their marriages, their children. i hugged a former journalism cronie in the bathroom, i did a shot of tequila with a girl i'd never talked to before, i accepted heaps of praise for my work here on the site and for other writing accomplishments that are about to be revealed. but mostly i smiled, and marvelled at the utter twilight-zone feeling of the night.

ten years later and the party wrapped up a little too soon. many had drifted out early, citing long drives or babysitters waiting patiently as their reason. we exchanged phone numbers and emails, most of us knowing that it was just a gesture, that what the night had shown us was that we'd all turned out okay, and that ten years time between tossing up a motorboard to the tune of "pomp and circumstance" and this soiree was just a blink of an eye in the scheme of things. for me the most curious part of the night was when i got home, and i kicked off my darling red shoes, said hello to the cat, and felt my real life returning to me in waves. ah, yes... i thought, this is my home, and tomorrow it's back to work, and let me check my email, and is that a bill that came in the mail? and i arrowed through the night's photographs on my camera one more time, washed my face and crawled under the covers, thinking how amazing that it's ten years later. and how it's nice to know that the class of 1994 finally got some class.

...and that ten years teaches you how to be yourself.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

it was supposed to be funny

it was supposed to be funny: me, beloved gal-pal bunny and a former classmate in a wheelchair whose heart could give out at any moment attending our ten-year high school reunion together on saturday. we'd expected the three of us would cause a bit of a sensation, not to mention a plethora of "oh my god, it's you!" kind of moments. after all, our former classmate had moved to the midwest before graduating with us, though she remained bunny's best gal-pal from as far back as their first alphabetical seat assignment pairing in junior high. her life had turned out radically different than ours; she was plagued with serious health concerns and a lot on her plate, including two beautiful young daughters to raise. but she wanted to make this trip out west, despite the severity of her situation.

like i said, it was supposed to be funny. fun. pleasant. a chance to reconnect.

she wasn't supposed to die this morning on the flight out here.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

public service annoucement: zach braff is good people

zach braff has excellent taste in music. he also has a blog. he might possibly be the only thing remotely redeeming about the current state of television sitcoms. he was in a movie with diane keaton. he is utterly adorable. he has written, directed and starred in a film that is what i consider to be the first "must see" (and perhaps see it alone, really) movie in a long while, ranked up there with american beauty and lost in translation. we're talking life changing here.

ladies and gentlemen...zach braff is good people.


Monday, August 23, 2004

as seen at the fair

saturday night i met up with housemate l.q.t. after my workday and we strolled over to the neighborhood park to check out the carnival that was going on all weekend. to the best of my recollection, i've never attended a fair like this before; i see them set up in schoolyards and parks just about all year long here all over town, but i've never stopped to check it out. my main purpose in going was to take some pictures--i'm easily dazzled by row upon row of blinking lights. now i can say i've been to a carnival!

the gravitron ride...a guaranteed puker.

the ferris wheel--a classic!

the zipper became my favorite photographic subject for some reason. this one is my favorite shot.

i forget what this ride is called, but you lie down on your stomach and it lifts you up and flies you around in a circle like a superhero chasing their own cape.

obviously, fair food abounds. we opted to share a cotton candy, which l.q.t. devoured, exclaiming: "i can't stop eating this. i'm hooked on the pure sugar!"

this was the drag race game where you rolled a golf ball in to a hole in order to make your car move. i played this, sitting next to a little boy about 7 years old. "watch out, kid, you're going down!" i told him. "i don't think so!" he told me with attitude. we both lost to some woman who looked like a professional golf ball drag racer. a think she was a ringer for the carnies.

skee ball. hands down the best fair game, with 'fair game' being a misnomer. there's nothing fair about this game. i think i'm just a sore loser for having finished 20 points shy of winning some sort of stuffed purple lion or something.

l.q.t. and i took this shot of ourselves, much to the amusement of the onlookers. this is actually take three of the series; take one was so close up it only showed one of each of our eyes, take two had me with my hair in pigtails and i felt i looked like a boy. when we paused to review this one l.q.t. insisted that i post this. so here you go.

we wandered the fair for no more than an hour. we played some games, but didn't ride any rides. while we were browsing some toy stand i noticed that the vendor had a tv, and it was tuned to olympic diving. i immediately dropped the light up yo-yo i was playing with, and found l.q.t. "hey. hey, l.q.t., he's watching 'lympics. diving." l.q.t. gave me a quick knowing look. "ummm...wanna go home and watch the olympics?" she asked. "yes," i said quickly. "yes i do."

and we left. all in all, i liked the fair. there were tons of undesirable menfolk who stared appreciatively at us, there were a thousand winking, blinking lights for us to stare at. there was the smell of the classic fair fare like hot dogs and corn on the cob. maybe next year when i'm not so poor and when the olympics aren't on i'll spend more time there. maybe.


Friday, August 20, 2004

contemplating the sit n' stitch

i don't know if it's just the fact that my social life is at an all-time state of stagnancy exacerbated by utter poverty, or if it's from bearing witness to the happy couplings of many friends, but if i come home to one more friday night alone to volley comments at a television screen only to wake up the next morning and groundhog day my life away, i'm going to lose what few marbles i have left. i do believe i've reached the depths of abject lonliness, my friends. but what's a girl to do? i've heard that the eternally-perky-but-feisty actress jennifer garner is also a singleton once again. maybe she and i should team up and while away our dateless date nights together. maybe do some embroidery and talk about the best way to get stains off our fine washables and what qualities we want in our dream men.

oh, dear god, send me a legitimate prospect for my truly lacking love life! someone somewhere in between liev schreiber and my stalker from the gay latino cowboy bar would be just fine. because the alternative sit n' stitch scenario leaves a lot to be desired.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

for my viewing pleasure

it has been clearly decided around my place that the best way to watch the olympics is to do so on the floor of housemate l.q.t.'s room, cocktail in hand, while making a wide variety of witty comments regarding the athletes, their sexual orientation, their country of origin, their physical appearance, their names (moss? guard?) and their athletic ability. for some reason it is wholly satisfying to scream at the tv screen showing a taut, muscular, and boyish gymnast from a formerly communist nation something along the lines of: "hey, asshole, don't fall off that high bar!" or "way to go, loser!" and then ape the insipid observations of the so-called color commentators by growling "that move was a dreamkiller!!!" when the phenomenal athlete wobbles or hesitates. i think that l.q.t. and i have more insight and much more resonantly clever things to say than the fine folks at nbc, including bob "no, i swear i was paying attention" costas and anyone named 'rowdy.' i'm going right to hbo with the pitch--after all, it's never to early to plan for 2008.


Monday, August 16, 2004

a postcard from the summer of hurry up and wait

my days of late have done little to inspire me to post, save for a few tortured words on some highly personal subjects that went over here like a lead balloon. my days ahead seem to hold the promise of perhaps a little more excitement, what with this week featuring my attending two readings, wrestling with a deadline for an important writing project, poking and prodding the tediously slow folks over at the admissions department of my university (who are holding up the no-brainer process of accpeting me so i can set the financial aid and registration balls in much-needed motion), attending my very first carnival, cat sitting for my folks, and my continued and dogged devotion to home-screenings of dawson's creek on dvd. so i have for you, my loyal readers, a paltry offering of my endorsements in the realm of entertainment, in the hopes you may enjoy them as much as i do!

film--at theatres:
the door in the floor
garden state
napoleon dynamite

film--at home:
in america
the bourne identity

phoenix: alphabetical
ashlee simpson: autobiography
usher: confessions
paul simon: graceland

on tv:
the summer olympics
what not to wear
dawson's creek

cocktail in hand:
a manhattan


Thursday, August 12, 2004

would you rather i talked about kittens?

the other day there was a family outside the grocery store with a giant cardboard box. i overheard someone say "kittens!" and i knew that i should steer clear of the box, because seeing a little baby kitten in need of a home would break my heart. but i just couldn't resist, so i wandered over and peeked in the box. there they were, all soft and furry and blinking at me with their sleepy blue eyes. one stood there, all jaunty and assertive. "mew!" it said. "mew! mew!"

"i wish i could take one," i sighed.

"well, why can't you?" came a gruff voice from behind.

"um, well, i have a cat, already."

"so?" he said. "older one can teach the younger one."

i thought about my princess of a cat, and my roommates, and knew there was no way in hell i could bring home a kitten. "no, no. i just can't do that."

"well, we're taking 'em to the pound tonight," barked the man. i heard the kids whisper, 'dad!' like they knew he was taking the hardselling of the soft-cuddly angle a bit too far.

and it almost worked. almost. but i knew better, and i walked away.

maybe you guys out there like kittens better. comments, anyone?


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

then the 'mudslide' brought me down

it can get pretty heated, sitting under a sunny sky that's close to 100 degrees, wasting away the better part of the afternoon. it can be cooled by feeble attempts at swimming granny laps in the shallow pool, the sting can be lessened with grateful slurps of melting ice cream cones. there is the promise of a trip to the store to buy the makings of mudslides.

even after the sun has gone down, it's still rather hot. it can get pretty heated playing joking rounds of speedy card games, and dancing in the window to familiar tunes to the amusement of the long haired guy who plays frisbee in the yard across the way. it's even hotter, still, or heated, rather, walking down the street in the night air, finding voice for your angriest, meanest, most often squelched thoughts, pointing one hot finger at a building over there, feeling the scowl overtake the muscles in your face, pointing one hot finger at yourself. finally: "i. am. just. so. very. angry!"

but it's still hot, because the one good cry everyone says will soothe you stubbournly refuses to come. and the words they choose to placate you just play ring-around-your-rosy-head, and you can't be sure if things like "smart" "funny" "beautiful" and the likes are just things friends say because they love you. and when you get back to the artificial cool of the apartment there's a slurry-eyed round of games that you unexpectedly lose, and the good-natured friend doesn't mind that your very angriness might mean you have no choice but to smack her right on her undeniably lovely face. "well, don't you look good?" said the stranger at the door. "what happened to your smiles?" asked the guys outside the liquor store. "you can call me any name you want to shout out and i'll come running" offered the friend of an old friend lingering in the parking lot. and wasn't there something so violent about those roses? and did i tell you about the dream i had last night? and did i tell you that i. am. just. so. very. angry?

and it can stay rather heated, as the mudslides bring you down and evaporate into sticky pools of sweat that binds the blanket to your skin. the cat has fled for higher ground. you never did wind up hitting her, or wrestling, or having that good cry. nothing got solved, and the angry is still there in the late morning, hours after you fell asleep watching dirty dancing, and while you try to understand while you feel so let down.


Monday, August 09, 2004

the burden of this unreal estate

i have my suspiscions that another unit in my building is getting its carpets replaced. while, granted, this doesn't seem particularly newsworthy in the scheme of life, it does, however, strike a rather resonant chord with me on both aesthetic and emotional levels.

i have lived in my apartment now for almost five years. the carpets, well, they are the much worse for the wear, they have, clearly, seen better days. they've seen far worse days of crazy roommates with penchants for outbursts of irrational behavior, they've seen parties of countless drinks spilled, they've seen angry footsteps, and the cautious steps of new lovers. but the carpets are old, and dingy, and in desperate need of a change. aesthetically, i envy my neighbors and their new, unspoiled carpet.

emotionally, i'm reminded of a postcard i bought in a novelty and book shop in hollywood almost a decade ago. it's some watercolor rendition of a crooked pink building in a wash of turquoise, and the scribbled writing reads: "nothing ever happens." i've been feeling like i could possibly be the stick figure drawn in to the tiny glossy frame of that postcard; that in my pink building in its sea of turquoise, nothing ever happens. and i'm rallying for a change.

i took a walk to run some errands in my neighborhood this afternoon. it was hot, though the occasional breeze took the weight from the air temporarily and moved it gently across me as i strode the sidewalks that have grown achingly familiar to me. i made wry mental notes about the landscape, about what my neighborhood means in a metaphoric sense. but after all my overly verbose musings, things circled back on the breeze to land in my gut. my heart. that vulnerable spot that holds all my sadness and anger and resentment and longing. and it reminded me that, like my stale and stagnant carpeting, the streets where i live hold in them the stains of a thousands days. there is the building that houses my former place of employment, where just over a year ago i was shown the door under circumstances that no amount of psycho-dissecting could lessen the blow of their impact on my life. there is the home of a former boyfriend of mine--someone whom was always ill-suited for me, but is who my mind cannot shake of late; he's in my dreams almost nightly, he's on my mind constantly, and it sits on me like a leaden weight i cannot lift from my back.

i wake up in the mornings, frequently disoriented and feeling hungover, though i'd taken nothing to drink the night before. i lose minutes and hours in the lives of my friends in movies and television, i pretend i don't have anything to say here, to put in a journal, to turn in to the kind of writing i know i am capable of. i sit and make excuses for my inevitable failures. i fear my own success. and i yearn for some affection, to be held and touched and soothed by someone who wants to be there next to me. i try to teach myself a mantra of "i am ready for love" or "i want things to change."

the burden of this unreal estate is underfoot in my grimy, old carpeting. and i can't move, it's not something running away can fix, nor is running away even a possibility. the fact of the matter is, in this gray area summer it's come down to my having to sell off some things i own just to make rent this month. so a new apartment, well, just add it to the list of the unattainables in my life. and my ennui, well, it wasn't fixable with something like my haircut, and, even though i think things may begin if i just have a good cry, i can't seem to indulge myself, though most days i feel like i am on the very precipice of those floodgates. i don't know if it's true that nothing ever happens, but if something doesn't change soon... i'd much rather find myself saying "be careful what you wish for" than to continually stare my hollow wishes in the face.


Friday, August 06, 2004

august 6, 1911

i closed another book on your life story yet again the other day; there wasn't much new to report, really, just a revisiting of the struggles and losses that rang all too familiar. for me you were always about summers and sick days and black-and-white comfort that never failed to elicit a smile or a guffaw. i've long associated with you an endless flickering of sorts, from an old television set fitted with a far-reaching antenna or some sort of un-snuff-able candle i alluded to in my typical early teenaged years of melodrama. i seemed to pair you then with the act of introspection, the breaking of a surface that everyone seemed to take at face value, and then shook their heads with a muted "tsk-tsk" of understanding when the heartache was revealed. it's no wonder people always said you were a tough nut to crack.

it's the comfort you offer, though, that i've always relied upon; even when it seems i've shifted gears and begun to paste someone else's photocopied face on the pages of a dog-eared scrapbook. it was the wisecracks tumbling between the fizz and crackle of an old movie played over and over that pushed me on to the stage on a late winter's early afternoon, your voice like a pair of guiding hands edging me towards the center. and i listened. of course i listened. i always had. and i knew your part wouldn't be mine, that i could only wish to be a part of the experience in general. i'm sure, once the posted list confirmed my inklings, that i sensed it was something metaphoric. and i drank in the experience; and there you were, in the best of my imaginations, chucking me gently across the chin with your fist, rasping something along the lines of "well, work is work, kid, you take what you can get."

i'm glad that i never took my admiration as far as pink ceramic cookie jars or iconic salt and pepper shakers made to match a long-discarded title sequence animation. i'm glad that it's been more about library cards and b-movies and confessions penned in my loopy childish handwriting. and though i'll never forgive the new owners for tearing down your storybook house, i'm glad that i've invented my own understanding of its interior, of plaques and awards and framed photographs, of confused children and shouting matches, of quieter times of afternoon backgammon, all thanks to the volumes of written words left for someone like me to devour.

it was more than fifteen years ago that you left. not me, in any specific sense; to think that way would be to have fallen for the ultimate fallacy for believing that what you let everyone see was real. but you left, nonetheless, and i remember crying for the loss. you haven't whispered to me in years--i don't think i've needed you to--but you're always around, at any point in any given day around the world, still. it's really quite remarkable. and to me you are like my favorite picture of you, one i'd clipped and framed and tried to see past the grainy dots of printed reproduction, where you shaded your eyes with one hand and held, oddly, a fishing rod and reel in the other. i'm sure i could never explain it. i suppose that's the way you meant it to be.

happy birthday, lucy.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

hole in my bucket

sometimes, like when i'm driving home at the end of the day and singing along top volume to whatver's on the radio, i wonder if my level of self-awareness and my own notion of how i appear to the rest of the world can be equated with the way i've convinced myself that i'm a really talented singer, when, actually, i can only carry a tune if it's in a bucket.


Monday, August 02, 2004

nobody's baby

saturday evening, before heading out to the hollywood bowl to see rufus wainwright and k.d. lang perform with the l.a. philharmonic, i made the fatal error of answering my phone. prior to the execution of this said fatal error i was happily absorbed in a particularly resonant and dramatic episode from season two of my beleoved dawson's creek (ah, thanks, netflix!), and, despite the cautionary display of "caller i.d. withheld" on my phone, i went ahead and took the call.

i then spent the following six minutes and thirty six seconds saying things i never dreamed possible for me to say to another human being while connected via cellular technology. oh, but how i meant every word i said.

the conversation included, but was not limited to, my unequivocable declarations to my caller that:

  • you should stop calling me immediately
  • i will never call you back
  • i am sure i have plans tonight, and cannot "go to party" with you
  • no, it's not because i have a boyfriend
  • no, i don't have a boyfriend
  • yes, i'm sure
  • i can't understand what you're saying. what?
  • there's no way you could "like" me so much; you don't even know me
  • one reason i don't like you is that you called me at 3:30 in the morning one night
  • another reason is that you continually call me "baby"
  • no, i will not ever, under any circumstance go out with you
  • yes, i'm sure
  • you can call me tomorrow at never o'clock
  • i'm going to hang up on you now

i did hang up then, temporarily silencing the sounds of the unexplained children playing in the background, his predominantly unintelligible and circuitous conversation, and his ceaseless harping on a moot point. i had to laugh. i mean, this was the ultimate lesson in being careful what you wish for; all i'd asked the universe for was for some guy to really like me and want to date me. i never thought some obsessive man with a heavy accent and no social skills would be the one to fit the bill. and so i went on with my evening's plans, enjoying rufus wainwright's love-to-hate it hate-to-love-it vocal stylings and his witty banter, marvelling at the talent and joie-de-vive of my fellow countryman k.d. lang, and sending my evening's companion into peals of laughter with the telling of the tale of the phone call.

this afternoon my phone rang, and once again the display read "caller i.d. withheld." i was no fool, not this time, so i let it go to voicemail. i shook my head in disbelief when i retrieved the message just moments later:

"hey baby. it's giovanni. you call me back, when you have time. my cellphone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. i am waiting for your call. bye, baby."

this leaves me only to wonder: how do i say "leave me alone you sad, pathetic, obsessive, stalking jerk" in spanish? or, alternatively, how do i get giovanni to turn in to liev schrieber?


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