Thursday, October 28, 2004


today is one of those days where i wish i could claim to be afflicted with an exotic sounding disease or ailment, like "swedish fever." then i could dial up my boss and moan: "i can't make it in today, i have swedish fever, and i have it bad." my swedish fever today consists of a headache from an unidentified cause, nausea, exhaustion, dental pain and the fact that yesterday i had some weird acid reflux incident resulting in something streaming out of my nose. you see? wouldn't it just be easier to say i had the swedish fever and let me crawl back in to bed. believe you me, i'd much rather have the swedish pancakes. ah, but there is no room in my life for fever of any internationality; so i shall leave the malapropism* aside and carry on. or, hmmm, wait... how about: "i'm sorry, i can't make it to work or school today. i have a bad case of malapropism." watch out. i hear it's severely contagious.

*and, yes, i'm fully aware that i'm misusing the term 'malapropism.' therein lies the irony. and the malapropism. don't mess with english majors--we're word geeks.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

open-book examination

one of my favorite improvisation exercises has always been "truth-in-a-minute." when other classmates would begin to feel their knees weaken or their hands tremble in anticipation of their perceived impending doom, my heart leapt and lurched on the force of adrenaline. i would jump to the hot spot on the stage and wait for the rapid-fire line of questioning from my fellow students, and eagerly answer with the plain truth. in "truth-in-a-minute" you give sixty seconds of your life over to the pure truth.

but the trouble was that no one would ask the questions they really wanted to; for therein would lie their own scary truth. instead it would stay on the safe but titilating side: "have you ever...?" or "who in this room would you...?" and my falsehood lay in the fact that i wouldn't subject my friends to the public humiliation of the kinds of questions that really sparked my interest, the kinds of questions i would, conversely, have no problems answering. because i live my life like "truth-in-a-minute."

the other day someone i work with at the university remarked that she loved me because i was so honest, and that i could laugh at my own failings. i suppose i never thought about how rare that trait might be; outside of childhood ignorance and learning i've never seen the merit or appeal of being dishonest about the way things are. i've entered in to all my friendships in that manner, i've begun my romantic relationships with the invitation that my partner may ask of me anything they like. few people ask more than a token share of timid questions; but those brave enough to summon a darker truth...well, they'll get it in spades. i have nothing to hide.

living in this manner has altered perhaps the way i write, mainly because i know my audience, or, more specifically, i know certain individuals are a part of my audience. so i've had to flex my writerly muscles and find a more lyrical way to express dismay at a romance gone sour, or delight in an intimate escapade. does everyone really need to know that i might not know the last names of the last couple of men i've slept with? well, there you have it. so i create digestable tales that sometimes raise eyebrows; remember the reader who accused me of being evil for revealing that i was spending some bed-time with an unskilled bed-mate? for some reason he didn't agree with my truth--he made a negative character judgement of me based on some truthful (and non-malicious) material. maybe his reading of my story distanced himself enough from my reality so that the story couldn't possibly be relevant or understood by him. maybe that is the downfall of being so open.

i've always intended to be famous; i've always envisioned being a favorite late-night talk show guest, the kind who gives the host a big hug and a smooch and then kick of her shoes, curls up on the couch and tells fascinating stories about herself and her life. lately i've thought about how i would act if i were being followed (god forbid) by a camera crew. i would probably make some adjustments to my 'real' behavior. i would probably clean the house, not make proclaimations about having gas, actually wear pants while i made my lunch or brushed my teeth, growl a little less at my copy of mary shelley's frankenstein and not be so eager to pop the latest netflix-ed disc of dawson's creek episodes in the dvd player on yet another late, lonely, rainy night. and why would i do this? why are somethings obscured for the sake of appearances? and why are we so concerned with "truth" and "reality"?

i don't anticipate being invited to sit on a late-night talk show host's couch, or to have a film crew monitor my every move. more often than not i leave the house without makeup, i don't hide the fact that i know all the words to third eye blind's "semi-charmed life" or billy joel's "we didn't start the fire." i hate holidays, like halloween, when you are 'supposed to' have fun. i get a sincere thrill out of getting high grades on papers and from helping students with their papers in the writing center. i envy my married friends for having the kind of partnership i can only imagine. i should eat better and work out. i wish i were a better writer.

and i will always, always, always tell the truth. just ask me.


Monday, October 25, 2004

fifteen months to reap the whirlwind

fifteen months after my last day and i am still fodder for water cooler talk. i can go away, but i'm always there in spirit; who knew my spirt was such a controversial thing? and there's the once-yearly gathering i've twice graced, when the prodigal son welcomes me with open arms, when the one who got married greets me with a smile, and the one who couldn't take a joke stares right through me. and they all go back to the office family fold to meet the one who rides horses and the father figure and they analyze my handwriting. they deconstruct my criticism and call it unconstructive. they label me a ringleader--it's the easy thing to do--and point the angry shaking finger at the most familiar face.

but meanwhile i've made a family of my own, a family of sisters who aren't afraid of fingers wagging without cause. they know my truth and trust me because I've told them; they know the accusor's truth and distrust them because they've seen the wrong they do. and we all have a good laugh because i'm feared in crowd scenes; and i take a little pride in knowing i make waves fifteen months after i'm gone. and the old family can untangle whatever venom they want to find in my words, knowing that there was once a pair of shoes left for me to fill, a perfect fit in which i could have slid my eager feet and walked about the corporate compound. knowing that they turned me out like spoiled children might, rather than beckoning me nearer like adults should. knowing that though they shut the door i already had my eye on the window and i saw--am seeing--right through their every move.


Friday, October 22, 2004

desserts and vino party

the very lovely judy held a dessert and wine party last saturday, and would you believe that with enough planning and foresight i was able to get the night off and attend?!

the lovely hostess, with angel bunny and bunny

my contribution was a dessert, and i'd selected something called a banana
split cake, mainly because i was shopping with bunny and she said that
the cake looked like "a party waiting to happen." i also liked the sticker
on the box that claimed it was "the moistest cake you've ever tasted"
because that's such a preposterous claim and also 'moistest' isn't a real
word. it began to rain as we made our way to judy's place, thus giving
us more cake themed jokes as we reference that godawful song "macarthur
park" naturally. we got there so late, though, that they didn't need the cake,
so the cake came home with me. i should have just pulled a "macarthur park"
with it--it was not the moistest cake i'd ever tasted, nor was it a party waiting
to happen. it was just banana flavored cake with really sugary frosting.

the desserts.

the vino.

my feet, apparently, were having fun and it needed to be captured on film.

oh, there's the rest of me. judy had personalized glasses for all of us,
only someone had taken the one with my name, and i was left being
'roy' all night. it was nice to relax and chat with my pals, and it was
especially nice to see judy. i think the next time i get a night off for
socializing is thanksgiving. i can't wait!


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

nancy punkin drew and the photo-referrer mystery

i'm normally an excellent detective, particularly when my beloved world wide web is the main tool in the spy kit. but this pink panthress is utterly exhausted and needs some help solving her latest mystery.

i noticed a distinct spike in hits today for my page based on my stats. while tuesdays tend to be high readership days, the distance of the leap from the norm is far too extreme, and if you couple that with my lack of recent posting and decline in hits over the past few weeks, you see my puzzlement. the stats show that an unprecedented bulk of the referrals are not from the usual places, but instead my very own pages of my photography. and it isn't just the odd hit, but hit after hit after hit from numerous different places.

so, somewhere out there someone is publishing a link to my photographs. and i want to know who. not out of anger or dismay or objection (although a little email "heyireallylikeyourphotosmindifilistalinktothepages" would be nice, and show good manners) but out of intellectual curiosity. i don't have a statistics tracker on those individual photo pages, so i have no point of reference.

ok, super spy readers, anyone who's arrived here from a link to my photo pages, or the link lister themself--solve the mystery, please! you know what they say about curiosity, and, well...i like my cat alive.


Saturday, October 16, 2004


if i were a normal, average, middle-class, "real" job-holding, responsible person, i would be the kind of annoyingly on-top-it person who would take their car for its regularly scheduled, every-so-many-thousand, eighty-seven-point maintenance inspection from some sunshiny attendant named chip who calls you mister or miss or missus and offers you coffee with real liquid cream instead of that godawful powedery stuff. the appointment would be marked on the calendar, maybe, or programmed into my snazzy p.d.a. it would certainly be factored into the budget--you know, a budget, that kind of money-managing tool that helps you organize what you spend, and what you save. what you might save for a rainy day like today.

well, i'm obviously not that person. i'm more like the kind of person who lives paycheck to paycheck, who barely manages to mix the fine art of bill-paying with, oh, let's say...eating. when i put twenty five dollars worth of grossly overpriced gas in my car i'm also filling the tank with campaign-style promises tinged with positive psychology and optimism: "when i have money, i'm gonna treat you to a real tune-up. when i have money you're going to get new brakes. hell, when i have money you're going to get washed!" i'm the kind of person who goes to a local 'lube' shop to get a much needed oil-change while on a work break, and who winds up being helped by a fast-talking homeboy named "dwuane" who tries to give me a grinning version of the guilt trip, chiding me about the apparent sad state under the hood of my car. i need a little of this, a little of that, he tells me between toothy smiles.

do i tell dwuane that i'm just managing to make ends meet on the small check i get from all the hours i put in at a neighborhood retail store? do i bore him with the paper-chasing facts about my student loans that take week upon miserable week to process? do i explain to him how the deceptively kind guy on the phone at financial aid last week promised me he'd process my tuition grant so that in a couple of weeks i'd get a check from them that would almost cover all the money i borrowed from my boss to pay the tuition in the first place? do i revisit the car's history of repossession, how i have an outstanding ticket for not having my registration decals because i can't afford the time or the money to go to the dmv to square things with them? do i tell dwuane that i really fucking tired from getting up at six most days of the week and going from one stressful job to the other, and from having piles of reading boring literary criticism to wade through (i mean, rest in peace and all, derrida, but, come on, what are you talking about most of the time?) and a paper due?

instead i grimaced, forced a laugh, and told dwuane that if i could trade in on my good looks to get the work done we'd have a deal.

but dwuane wasn't in a bartering mood. he came back with: "i can give you coupons."

i laughed. "unless you can get it all done for around, oh...four dollars, well, sorry, i just can't."

if i were the kind of person who took their car to one of those detailed inspections i'd have had some heads up and cash to spare so that i could get some new brakes. instead i'm the kind of person who sees her "brake" light go on and just adds "when i have money i'm going to look in to that" to the list of promises i make on a daily basis. and in my defense, the warning light panel on my car has done some deceptive things in the past. and my brakes never squealed. and i've been driving waaaaaaaaay more than i ever have before in this car. and they went from feeling maybe-a-little-worn to pushing-air-towards-the-floor in a matter of hours.

it's come to the point of my being unstoppable. literally. i do know i don't want to be the kind of person who just keeps rolling through major intersections on red lights because of that physics law that has to do with motion and weight (and it's no wonder i was never good at math or science).

so i've had to go and find myself another lending branch of the extended family tree to hang myself from. i've had to plot the routes of bus lines, subways, and transfer points that will get from my home in what i like to call the 'northern part of hollywood' to the west side of south central to the academic abyss of east l.a. and back again, starting at the crack of dawn and ending late at night. i've had to investigate the financial impact of the day pas versus the week-long pass. i've had to make peace with biting the bullet and just dealing with it. i've had to realize i just don't have a choice.

look at me go...i'm unstoppable.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

love letter

it's not that i don't love you. it's not that i don't care. it's not that i don't think about you when i'm not around, or that you're any less important to me than you were when we first started this relationship. it's just that i'm in this spin-cycle lately, where i'm never sure if i'm coming or going; i just know i probably have to be somewhere and it's going to take all my attention. i know that when i come home late at night you're there, waiting for me, hoping that i might give you some of my time, hoping that i might take a moment to check in with you, see how you're doing, see what you've been up to. but i can't. i'm just so tired, sometimes i can't even see straight. i just want to flop down on my bed and shut my eyes and get some rest so that i can get up in the morning and do it all again. i just can't be there for you the way i used to be. and i'm not cheating on you! granted, i do spend my time doing some of the same things i used to do with you with others. but i don't love them the way i love you. i don't think about them in the shower, i don't think about spending more time with them, i don't feel as though they're as good for my soul or spirit as you are. sometimes i don't have a choice: i have to spend my time with them and not you. i wish it didn't have to be that way. i know that someday, soon, i will be able to give you everything you deserve, want, or need. but for now, well... you're just going to have to understand that i don't have as much to give you as i'd like. it's not you, it's me. it's my responsibilities and obligations, it's where i am right now. and i love you. oh, my beloved blog...hang in there and i'll be with you soon. i just need some time. i know you understand.

love always,
sassy little punkin


Friday, October 08, 2004

it was just another average thursday, wherein i...

  • talked to a producer from the ellen degeneres show about going on the show to teach ellen how to throw ceramics on the wheel. turns out i don't know how to do that, so i'm not going to be on the show, but i had a blast talking to the producer about the work that i do know how to do, and some of the cool people i get to work with and some of the public appearances i have made for just those reasons.
  • was given a huge hug and spontaneously called "pumpkin" and "doll" by one of my favorite customers. i was also informed by her that i have what are know as "mad skills" when it comes to painting ceramics.
  • discussed "mad skills" (or "madd skillz") in another arena in a series of highly entertaining emails with one of my favorite readers.
  • cracked up my classmates when my email address was put on the board and i asked that they "feel free to contact me anytime. but, like, don't send me porn, okay?" to which our professor added: "punkin is very discriminating about her porn; don't just send her any old thing. erotica, yes... but no junk." later she noticed i was laughing, and asked if it was because i'd written something amusing during last week's exercise. "no, it's not that," i explained. "well, did you write something worth sharing?" she asked. "you wrote that it was an excellent reply," i continued. "so...what's funny about that?" she asked, "is it not excellent?" "no, it's excellent, " i answered. "i just don't remember actually writing it."
  • felt like a celebrity during the coffee break in my night class when fellow students approached me with various compliments and questions, one of which began "you're so funny..."
  • relayed those compliments and questions via telephone to my twin sister, who determined that "people think (i) grow funny, and they want to know if funny grows where (i) grew up." we determined that she can fry "funny" up in the pan.
  • had to defend my current choice to remain unmarried and childless (can i say "choice" when i have no legitimate alternatives or prospects?) to someone who assured me that though i might not remember to feed the cat nowadays, when that natural mothering instinct kicks in (and he promises me it will) that i will certainly remember to feed the baby when it's crying at all hours of the night. i told him if that thing cried all night i'd smother it with a pillow. for some reason he continued to guarantee me that i'd make a good mother. did he not hear me? i used "smother" "pillow" and "baby" in the same sentence! if that doesn't make joan crawford look like an ideal choice for host of romper room i don't know what does.
  • continued to experience a mixture of shock and delight in knowing that former child star and red-headed moppet jenny lewis is now a smokin' hot rock star in the band rilo kiley. i mean, for crying out loud, she was the sunshine cadet who held rose's bear for ransom on a classic episode of the golden girls!
  • reaffirmed my love for a little show called felicity.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

this is the life that i've chosen

if this is the life that i've chosen, i must take ownership of my choices. i have no business complaining when one of my choices leads to dissatisfaction; i have to remember that i can choose something else instead. i've heard that people most often regret the things they didn't do, so i shouldn't regret what i've done, but remember that i have the power to make changes for myself. if this is the life that i've chosen, i want it to bring me joy. and while days of joy don't put food in the fridge, they feed the soul. i've had my fill of the visceral fog that takes me away from what i love; i've had to remind myself that sometimes we can work our way out of obligation and back on to the path that feels right. this is the life that i've chosen; now i've made my choice.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

burial at sea

i came home tuesday night to find that my beloved fish hepburn had gone on to greener pastures. or warmer waters--wherever fish go when the grim reaper comes a-calling. l.q.t. had left a charming little obituary in memoriam, and i did the burial on my own, sending dear little hepburn off to fishy heaven, or the los angeles sewer system, whichever was more applicable. now there is a vacancy in the little fish bowl in our bathroom, while hepburn now is swimming happily in that big fish bowl in the sky...


Monday, October 04, 2004

in transit: photos from union station, downtown los angeles

on friday afternoon i had a few extra minutes before boarding the red line subway train, so i went on a little mini photo safari at union station. i absolutely adore train stations, the people-watching is priceless, and there is something rather comforting about the concept of train travel. i also absolutely adore the architecture and style of union station. the station is also adjacent to the metropolitan water district's building, which has its own beautiful courtyard and tiled fountain. there's also a marking on the pathway that indicates what was once the border of chinatown in 1887. having these beautiful spots to look at makes the trip via public transit to school much more bearable.


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