Saturday, December 30, 2006

Know Your Moons

Not long after I first met Wayne, he gave me a framed postcard of the Names of the Full Moon, which detailed names Native Americans gave the full moon throughout the year. I just ran across the names of the full moons for 2007 online, and since I have no desire to rehash my entire 2006 now and make predictions for 2007, this seemed the best way to end this year and ring in the next. Mark your calendars and check your watches. Because I'm a Cancer, you can always tell when the full moon is just by talking to me (right, Lesley?), so if you lose dates and times, call me.


Jan. 3, 8:57 a.m. EST - The Full Wolf Moon. Amid the zero cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. It was also known as the Old Moon or the "Moon After Yule." In some tribes this was the Full Snow Moon; most applied that name to the next Moon.

Feb. 2, 12:45 a.m. EST - The Full Snow Moon. Usually the heaviest snows fall in this month. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some tribes this was the Full Hunger Moon.

March 3, 6:17 p.m. EST - The Full Worm Moon. In this month the ground softens and the earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signals the end of winter, or the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. A total lunar eclipse will take place on this night; the Moon will appear to rise will totally immersed (or nearly so) in the Earth's shadow over the eastern United States. The rising Moon will be emerging from the shadow over the central United States, while over the Western U.S. the eclipse will be all but over by the time the Moon rises.

April 2, 1:15 p.m. EDT - The Full Pink Moon. The grass pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and -- among coastal tribes -- the Full Fish Moon, when the shad came upstream to spawn. This is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full Moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed six days later on Sunday, April 8.

May 2, 6:09 a.m. EDT - The Full Flower Moon. Flowers are abundant everywhere. It was also known as the Full Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.

May 31, 9:04 p.m. EDT - The Blue Moon. The second full Moon occurring within a calendar month is usually bestowed this title.
Although the name suggests that to have two Full Moons in a single month is a rather rare occurrence (happening "just once in a . . . "), it actually occurs once about every three years on average.

June 30, 9:49 a.m. EDT - The Full Strawberry Moon. Known to every Algonquin tribe. Europeans called it the Rose Moon.

July 29, 8:48 p.m. EDT - The Full Buck Moon, when the new antlers of buck deer push out from their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, thunderstorms being now most frequent. Sometimes also called the Full Hay Moon.

Aug. 28, 6:35 a.m. EDT - The Full Sturgeon Moon, when this large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like Lake Champlain is most readily caught. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because the moon rises looking reddish through sultry haze, or the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. A total lunar eclipse will coincide with moonset for the eastern United States. The Central and Mountain Time Zones will see the Moon's emergence coincide with moonset, while the western United States will see the entire eclipse.

Sept. 26, 3:45 p.m. EDT - The Full Harvest Moon. Always the full Moon occurring nearest to the Autumnal Equinox. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice-- the chief Indian staples--are now ready for gathering.

Oct. 26, 12:52 a.m. EDT - The Full Hunter's Moon. With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can ride over the stubble, and can more easily see the fox, also other animals that have come out to glean and can be caught for a thanksgiving banquet after the harvest. The Moon will also be at perigee later this day, at 7:00 a.m., at a distance of 221,676 miles from Earth. Very high tides can be expected from the coincidence of perigee with full Moon.

Nov. 24, 9:30 a.m. EST - The Full Beaver Moon. Time to set beaver traps before the swamps freeze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Beaver Full Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now active in their preparation for winter. Also called the Frosty Moon.

Dec. 23, 2:51 a.m. EST - The Full Cold Moon; among some tribes, the Full Long Nights Moon. In this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and the nights are at their longest and darkest. Also sometimes called the "Moon before Yule" (Yule is Christmas, and this time the Moon is only just before it). The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long and the Moon is above the horizon a long time. The midwinter full Moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low sun.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Contemplation in the Dead Zone

The week between Christmas and New Year's always feels like The Dead Zone. I never understand why I am at work during this time, except for the fact that, annually, I am the guy who does not travel for the holiday and is therefore the one who gets stuck there, having forgetten to ask for time off six months ahead of time like everyone else.

Christmas this year felt odd and yet perfect. I got a great taste of holiday cheer--complete with music, tree, and presents--at Wayne's on Xmas Eve, with Lesley, Tammy, and Rebekah in attendance to continue our tradition of what I simply call "the bad present game." The object of said game is simply to wrap horrid presents as nicely as possible and then pass a die around the group and let everyone who rolls a "6" take a present; once distributed, you set a timer and then whoever rolls a "6" can steal a present from whomever they like. And even though you know it's going to be kinda sucky, you become totally fixated on presents when they are stolen from you. It's kind of evil, and therefore a lot of fun.

Christmas Day was, thankfully, 75 degrees, so I ventured to the beach and spent the day with Chrissy and two of her friends, drinking beer, wandering in the sand, and then grabbing Indian food--a nice change of pace from the usual day of staying inside and opening presents, cleaning up, and getting ready for guests. Part of me definitely misses the subtle pageantry of Christmas with Wayne, but I also was so unprepared for the holiday this year that I am glad I could let it slide by, somewhat unnoticed. I struck just the right balance between holiday and non-holiday.

But then there's that Dead Zone feeling--a week at work feeling itchy and unproductive. Evenings at home feeling lethargic and weird. James Brown died on Christmas, which seemed both a propos and utterly bizarre. Then Gerald Ford died. Then there was the two-year anniversary of the tsunami.

For some reason, though, Ford's deathmade me emotional, and I never get emotional watching presidents do anything. I think what did it, honestly, was watching all this footage of him be completely genuine, down-to-earth and obviously committed to what he was doing--which was trying to heal a country completely splintered by war and political scandal (sound familiar?). It made me even angrier about the administration we're saddled with right now, and how horribly one-dimensional Bush is--how utterly lacking in grace, wit, intelligence, and true compassion. Even more telling this evening was how all the footage of Ford that was airing on the NBC Nightly News was followed by a commerical about all the atrocities happening in Sudan and how 400,000 people have already died there without us truly intervening.

I know, it's all kind of a big downer, isn't it? And yet something seems very natural to me about reflecting on death at the end of the year. I don't say that because I'm depressed and hate New Year's Eve. I just find my thoughts often turning to people I wish had been here to witness the last 12 months, or those whom I wanted to poke me and tell me to stop taking everything so seriously. I remind myself of the blessings I have--like friends who will buy horrible $5 presents and wrap them magnificently and those who want to watch a warm sunset over the Pacific Ocean instead of cooking Christmas dinner.

The week isn't over yet, and I wonder what these last three days of 2006 will bring. I already had one night during which I got choked up watching Gerald Ford and then reviewed a Yoko Ono CD. How could it get any weirder?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I Love A List

I used to be able to write my top 10 (or 5 or 20) CDs of the year piece for a magazine or two, but this year I was not asked to contribute my opinions. Granted, I didn't really lobby to be considered, either, but the POINT is simply that I love yammering about music I like. So, here are my fave CDs of 2006. Short 'n' sweet and in no particular order:

Neko Case
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Folk-country-alt rock-murder ballads all rolled into one. Simply gorgeous.

Belle and Sebastian
The Life Pursuit
Who knew they had an album this good in them 10 years on? All the classic B&S with some new bluesy riffs and sense of humor intact.

TV on the Radio
Return to Cookie Mountain
Avant-garde enough to be weird and atmospheric; interesting enough to keep you listening over and over.

Jenny Lewis
Rabbit Fur Coat
(Team Love)
Similar to Neko but with more sardonic humor. "Rise Up With Fists!" is sheer genius, and sums up L.A. perfectly.

Corrina Repp
The Absent and the Distant
(Caldo Verde)
Finally, she might get some attention. A bare, sparse, spine-tingling album that's both melancholic and invigorating. Much more so than Cat Power's Chan Marshall.

M. Ward
Wasn't a fan, really, until this dusty collection of hymns appeared. Captivating and familiar at the same time.

The Late Cord
Lights From the Wheelhouse
Technically it's a "mini-album," but still ... for anyone who misses This Mortal Coil and likes some creepy country, carnivalesque overtones... maybe it's just me....

Tanya Donelly
This Hungry Life
(Eleven Thirty)
I was not prepared to love this CD, which was recorded live two years ago. But it shows Ms. D--she of the amazing voice--getting back (thankfully) to her power-pop roots.

Yo La Tengo
I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
Again, was not a fan, really, before this. Epic, insular, warm, loud, ambitious. Makes one remember why terms like "alternative rock" were coined.

Hell Hath No Fury
Apocalyptic hip-hop that's both ambitious and clever--musically and lyrically... a rare commodity in the genre these days.

Jennifer O'Connor
Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars
Liz Phair became gross a while ago, but finally another indie songwriter appears who can write plain, unadorned songs that hit all the right emotional notes.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

'Tis the Season ... to Miss Mix Tapes

When I was getting ready to fly to Australia, I had a panic attack about 48 hours ahead of time because I realized my iPod only had about 6 hours of play time, and I was set to be on a plane for over 13 hours.

Now, if you know me, you know I can be very, um, particular about my music. So, listening to what was available via the plane's headphones would simply not do. Then I remembered that I had my old Walkman, batteries, and over 50 mix tapes stashed in my closet. Some of them are only two years old--proof that I held out for quite some time before giving in to the so-called digital music "revolution."

I thought of those mix tapes tonight as I struggled to put a playlist together on iTunes for a CD I wanted to make someone for Christmas--whittling the massive list down to 20 or so tracks.

The mix tapes I still have chronicle almost every major point in my life over the last 10-15 years, from my first road trip to college, to some spectacular flameouts with ex-boyfriends (hence the "You Fucked Me Over and I Hate You For It Mix"; thank god PJ Harvey's "Rid of Me" had come out around that time), and even some of the real high points. (I made Wayne a mix tape when we first met in 1999 and though I chose the songs specifically for him, I made a copy of the tape for myself and remember listening, wondering if he would be freaked out by the fact I put a song called "A Loon" on this tape that supposedly declared my "like" of him; luckily, he wasn't.)

The last six years, in particular, are well represented by the tapes in my closet, with titles for the cases that pretty much succinctly sum it up: "Let's Go To Iceland!" (for my fall 2003 trip to Iceland, natch, complete with Bjork and Sigur Ros songs); "Post-Apocalyptic" (made after Owen died); "No Decision to Be Made" (during a period when I wanted to quit my job); "Ethereal Elixir" (all music without any discernable lyrics I listened to when I had insomnia); and "Insert Catchy Title Here" (apparently, I could not be bothered to create one).

I grabbed a few of these mixes and they made it on my flight with me. In fact, I fell asleep listening to a mix tape rather than my iPod.

On my trip to New York last week, I didn't take the mix tapes, though I kind of wanted to. I even found myself wanting to make more tapes, and realized I no longer had the ability to. I wandered Manhattan's chilly streets between work meetings, trying to re-create the effect of the tapes with playlists on my iPod, but, as you might expect, it wasn't the same. There was no hiss of tape that was slowly disintegrating, no screwed-up lapses when bits of songs would bleed into each other accidentally, no weird one-minute blank space toward the end of the list of songs where you could sneak in a snippet of someone talking or something recorded off TV.

Waiting for the subway one day last week, I remembered that the last mix tape I made in New York was for the trip Nicole and I took cross-country in August 1998. The tape--"Music to Road Trip By"--is barely functional now, but I still listened to it yesterday, laughing at some of the inclusions I made, yet impressed by my segue between "California Love" by Dr. Dre to "Levitate Me" by the Pixies.

Music is a huge part of how I remember things. I place so much emphasis on songs that entered my life at particular moments--from hearing "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper" minutes after learning my father died to bonding with Barbie over Helen Reddy's "You and Me Against the World" (yes, really). So, This evening, as I struggled to assemble playlists by dragging and dropping abstract song titles, listening over and over again to see if the songs went together and conveyed what I wanted them to, I realized just how intimate the act of giving music to others is for me. It's nice to think that I may introduce him or her to a song that will have some lasting personal effect. Not that I want the person to think of me. I just like the idea that I assembled a present and left it behind as an artifact as much as a collage of sounds.

If I hand you a CD, now you know how much I geeked out in the process of making it.

(Apologies to those who are getting something else from me for Christmas.)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Middle of Nowhere--and Everything That Comes With It

If this sounds like it's being written by a befuddled, jetlagged man... well, it is.

I got back from Australia a couple of days ago and feel dazed, to say the least. I felt like I was living on the edge of the earth for 2 weeks--which, I guess is partially true, since I was literally in the middle of South Australia, hundreds of kilometers from any major city, trying to balance my job with simply being one of the people on this press trip. I am not sure it succeeded necessarily. But that's something probably best left off my blog and for another time.

There were definite highlights, though:

1. Cruising the Murray River on boats of all sorts in the stark, oddly beautiful Riverland area.

This included some threatening thunderstorms that seemed to follow us daily.

2. The Gawler Ranges.

This was a stunning landscape of rolling hills with salt lakes--as you can see from the pics I got of others on the trip and me on this insane exapnse of white, which apparently astronauts can spot very clearly from space (probably because there is NO ozone layer here)

The camp we stayed at was solar powered, collected rainwater for showers, and was run by Geoff Sholz, a guy who knew exactly what he was doing when building tents in the Bush, as the Aussies like to say. It was set among white sand and gum trees and was as silent a place I'd been in years. Just beautiful.

The camp also beckoned some kangaroos--just two of the dozens we saw.

3. The West Coast of the Eyre Peninsula, where the Indian Ocean is uninterrupted until you hit South Africa.

And the obligatory shot of me in flip flops....

4. Kangaroo Island: Beautiful beaches, koalas, and more stunning scenery. We literally got within a few feet of some koalas and wallabies. They didn't seem to care that we were there at all.

And this final shot is a view from one of the houses we stayed at for our last night on Kangaroo Island. Not too bad, eh?

Coming back to L.A. was a bit anti-climactic--going into the office to simply get ready to do a trip to New York in 3 days for another client, and really questioning, once again, what I am doing. It's been keeping me up many nights already. I suspect everyone in their 30s wrings his or her hands about what one should be doing in life. These questions of "What is my purpose?" "What am I passionate about?" "What really matters to me?" All of that has been going through my head rapidly. Having several nights on the other side of the world to think about it makes it feel more intense too. I did this last year when I wen to Melbourne and came home to realize that Wayne and I really should no longer be boyfriends if we wanted to remain in each others lives.

I am thankful I have had these opportunities to travel and have a few moments to step back to see what my life looks like. But the vision is not always as beautiful as these pictures. That's OK. Images of what you experience are one thing; how those experiences influence your decisions for the future is something else entirely.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wrap It Up

It's Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I leave tomorrow for 2 weeks, so let's recap some highlights from the last several days:

1. Tawny Kitaen busted for cocaine possession. Not as shocking as the detail that she lives in an apartment in San Juan Capistrano.

2. I eat a fabulous cupcake. Provided to me by Tom, who then disappeared into the night after dropping it off. At 12:30 a.m. it tasted dee-lish.

3. I write a CD review for one of my favorite artists. All I can say is the new Kristin Hersh album kicks ass. I'll be listening all the way to Australia.

4. Michael Richards has a meltdown. Thank you,

5. Clay Aiken vs. Kelly Ripa. May the bigger girl win. Oh wait, Rosie's involved now too. Geez, there is SO much bad hair involved in this. I can't care anymore. Or maybe that will make me care more... hmmm.... intriguing conundrum.

6. Barbra Streisand's last concert on her tour. I mean, I guess I'm glad she's a liberal 'n' all, but... meh. And after reading that horrifying Entertainment Weekly story in the newest issue about her fans, I'm totally creeped out.

7. America's Next Top Model. OK, so it's on later tonight, but the more pressing issue is how I can go TWO WEEKS without watching it!

8. Wishing for a business-class upgrade on Qantas Airlines. Please, please, please, please, please...

9. I see "For Your Consideration." And realize I know way too much about how Hollywood works. Maybe I've been here too long. Then again, the absurdity is half the fun of living here, isn't it?

10. Thanksgiving. One of the few holidays I like. Luckily, I get to spend part of it with Lesley, Lissa, Tom, and others before the taxi comes to wisk me away to LAX.

If I get a chance to blog from Oz, I will. With pics of penguins and wallabies to come in mid-December.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Why to Watch "Aces: Iron Eagle III"

With all the attention "Borat" keeps getting, it's worth remembering that in the early '90s, cultural and racial stereotypes were adeptly highlighted and skewered by this Lou Gossett Jr. stunner.

Here's the IMDB description: "Chappy, with the assistance of a few other pilots and friends, heads south of the border to rescue some Americans being held captive."

But a word of advice: Only watch the last 20 minutes. That way you need not concern yourself with plot. Instead, you will soak in the following:

* A "fiery" Latina who wields machine guns and expertly slays miscellaneous bad guys in the name of protecting "her people" (who, by the way, are all huddled in a pueblo and look like extras from "The Milagro Beanfield War").

* A Japanese fighter pilot whose anger at the German bad guys makes him go all kamikaze in the name of solidarity with good guy Gossett and company.

* Lou Gossett Jr. as the African-American man who is noble and will save the cast of "The Milagro Beanfield War," thus signifying to us that Latinos and African-Americans can bond.

* The inability for certain African-American men to make good barbecued steaks--as we learn in the inexplicable ending where everyone--black and white--is dressed like they're in a John Wayne movie and the Latina wears a purple dress with a plunging neckline and shoulder pads, evoking memories of not only Expose but also Lisa Lisa.

The most important lesson of all is that if you are a vaguely Native American-looking bad guy with a greasy, skinny ponytail who blows up a peublo, make sure you stand clear, because a giant bell may come spinning at you--flying through the air and landing on your head with deadly precision.

Thanks, "Iron Eagele III"! Now I know that no matter what color our skin, we can use World War II-era fighter planes to stop a cocaine lab in Peru from destroying the world ... or something.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"A" Is for Rats!

I made myself leave work before 8 p.m. and go have drinks with the boys over at Akbar tonight, which is always delightful. We're like the Pink Ladies of gay media, with editors and writers for/from Out, Frontiers, Instinct, In Los Angeles, Out Traveler, Metrosource.... what else? Am I actually forgetting one? Probably. It's funny sometimes when I am in the same room with Darren, Jeremy, Rick and Steve, and Chris (minus Matt and Mike tonight)... a good funny--I can't believe sometimes that I know these people and this is my big gay life. It's good. I like it.

I wish I could have just gotten plastered, but alas, by 10 pm it was time to go.

BUT.... The Kitchen, which some of you remember from one of my previous posts about rats and food was now actually open again, and was sporting an "A" in its window!


From "A" to "Closed Due to Rodent Infestation" to "C" to "A" again?

Dear L.A. Health Code People: How does this work? Can we really trust you? Methinks not.

Even saying the word "rats!" really loudly as we walked past the kitchen didn't faze anyone. Though it did look emptier than usual.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Time and Patricia Arquette's Hair

It's probably just as well that my original post was wiped clean by a "server error" earlier. After all, I was typing on Lesley's computer and "Medium" was on TV and I was totally distracted by Patricia Arquette's bowl haircut, which makes her look like a child that has that weird disease where you age really quickly. I didn't even know "Medium" was still on TV. I am so not part of the Zeitgeist.

I've been too busy being almost completely detached or slightly crazy. I spent the weekend in Palm Springs with the Jeffs, Matt, and John in a house with a pool, a kitchen, and cable TV. That's all I needed. I read 2 1/2 books, got up, dove in the pool, soaked in the Jacuzzi, ate, slept, and then did it again, ending my weekend by buying a pair of jeans at the Cabazon outlets. Tres fancy, I know. But soooo needed. Especially since my last vacation to Oregon turned into a family drama.

The house we rented was at the end of "The Gauntlet"--the upper part of Warm Sands in Palm Springs where all of the "exclusive" gay resorts are--i.e., where everyone is hidden by hedges that are 10 feet tall. Which means, of course, lots of men walking around and not having as much sex as they thought they might be when they booked their clothing-optional vacation. Unless of course, they are of the mind to stand out on the street at midnight, just idly looking at who is driving by. It was amusing, to say the least, and no one was particularly cute. Imagine. Closer down the street, where it was quieter (closer to our rental), however, there was a giant phallic rock in one yard, the tip of which was covered in what looked like black tar. Why I didn't take a picture of it is beyond me. I was too busy reading fantasy novels and practicing my breaststroke in the pool.

It was a nice break before the onslaught of this week's 12-hour days, and my growing mania as Thanksgiving approaches and I prepare to board a plane to Australia, which you think would be relaxing, but I'll be "on" for 12 days straight--working, leading a press trip, and having meetings with the South Australian Tourism Commission. These last 4 weeks have made me question a lot of what I am doing work-wise, and whether I care. I can't say I have the answer to that, and long days will make anyone cranky, but it's all been amped up too much. I literally sit down at my desk, get up to grab food around 2 pm, and then 10 hours have gone by. Ugh. I don't like it.

My mood is not being helped by medication I am on that my body is adjusting to, making me feel bonkers--from perfectly fine to seething to despondent in 30 minutes and then fine again. Frankly, I'm exhausted by myself. I can only imagine how annoying I must be to a lot of other people.

I am trying my damndest to put an end to these epic days and reclaim a little of my life before I have to fly away for 2 weeks. It would be nice to leave not feeling stressed out.

At least I don't have Patricia Arquette's haircut. That counts for something, right?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Anatomy of Election Day 2006

1:15 a.m.: Go to sleep

4:45 a.m.: Get up to go to Burbank Airport

6 a.m.: Arrive Burbank

7 a.m.: Fly to Phoenix

9:30 a.m. (MT): Leave Phoenix airport's bizarre rental car terminal; get on highway; see other side of highway shut down and an array of cops with guns drawn pointing at a giant fat, bald man wearing a half shirt who is kneeling on the freeway and being frisked by a female police officer.

10:30 a.m.: Slowly drive north toward Scottsdale, wondering why there is so much traffic. Talk to co-worker about our 11 a.m. meeting at a nearby resort re: PR. See cops pull over more people. Listen to all the religious radio stations that have songs with lyrics like "God is awesooooome...." Ponder how God can actually be "awesome."

11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Have meeting at lovely resort; have great lunch overlooking the desert and mountains.

2:30 p.m.: Back on freeway, stuck in traffic. Get slightly rear-ended by another car. Pull over and exchange information with poor guy who tapped us. Try to get back on freeway and realize people here can't drive and don't like cars trying to do something called "merging."

3:30 p.m.: Drop off car at weird car prison 3 miles from airport. Take shuttle back to aiport even though we just drove past it. Check in at work via phone.

4:30 p.m.: Fly back to Burbank.

5 p.m. (PT): Arrive in hot, hot Burbank still in my suit. Get car. Drive to Hollywood. Turn on radio to hear it was 95 degrees today.

6:15 p.m.: Vote at elementary school where old women either smile or sneer at me. Put my "I voted" sticker on cell phone.

7 p.m.: Dinner and a deep breath at home.

8 p.m.: Go to Tim's to join him, Sara, and Dana for election results. Exhausted and tense.

9 p.m.: Drink champagne when Democrats take the House.

10 p.m.: Still drinking. Excited that there is finally change afoot. Breathe a sigh of relief and then realize Dems may also win the Senate. Get tense again. We all chat excitedly about 1992 election, remembering how excited we were when Clinton won. Guess how much plastic surgery Nancy Pelosi has had, but discuss how great tonight is for her.

11:15 p.m.: Obsessively watching CNN and MSNBC hoping they will call MT or VA Senate races.

11:45 p.m.: Finally leave Tim's house, tense, excited, exhausted...

12:30 a.m.: Blissful sleep, with a dream about Nancy Pelosi walking around my apartment.

3:30 a.m.: Wake up from said dream. Look at new mosque-shaped alarm clock Steven got me in Oman. Realize, thankfully, I have 4 1/2 more hours to sleep before I obsessively check Yahoo News.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Schizophrenic Post #1

OK... permit me just one tiny rant about John Kerry and the stupid "backlash" against his remarks about how individuals who don't study hard and do their homework would likely "get stuck in Iraq."

According to one news story: "Aides said the senator had mistakenly dropped one word from his prepared remarks, which was originally written to say 'you end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq.' In that context, they said, it was clear Kerry was referring to Bush, not to the troops."

You know what? The bottom line is that the armed forces actively recruit working-class people of color to enlist. No it does not mean these people are stupid, but a vast number of those servicemembers fighting in Iraq are individuals who, as American citizens, are not supported by any Republican policy here on our own soil. A large number of them are stuck in an educational system and class structure that never helps them rise above problems that are perpetuated by right-wingers and old rich white guys.

At least Kerry actually fought in a war. Instead, we get blowhards George W. Bush and Dick Cheney yammering on about what an ass he is. Yes, Kerry may be an ass--or at least arrogant and annoying--but he said something that at least starts to reveal what is so obvious right now about our all-volunteer army.

As Michael Moore already made clear once on film: Hey, Congress! Why aren't your well off, mostly white, kids helping fight the war in Iraq?


I'd actually intended on posting an entire geek-out tonight, prompted by a question posed to me about when I first "got" Throwing Muses, which, as I have posted, is the band that inspired the name of my blog.

What's funny is that I was thinking of this at 8:30 a.m. today as I woozily left the doctor's office after watching them take what seemed like an insane amount of blood from my veins. Oh, how I love that.

But I remember it clearly: I was in high school and heard snippets of music from the band before, but always thought it was just too chaotic and, as I thought then, atonal. I have always been a fan of female singers who gave off a twin air of toughness and vulnerability--a somewhat mercurial duality. But I just didn't quite wrap my head around Kristin Hersh when I heard some of the Muses' early stuff.

I actually bought The Real Ramona through Columbia House, of all places, as one of my 12 CDs for a penny, based on the tiny little blurb that called it "folksy/moody." Who says I can't be marketed to?

At the time, I was waiting for college acceptance letters, furiously hating high school homework, and just as furiously writing a novel and journal entries late into the night that seemed to be like growing spirals of words that wouldn't resolve themselves.

When I get into writing--really get into it--I seem to create a fever dream for myself. I fixate intently on the words, working out their cadence, their rhythm, their structure. I am aware of putting the sentences and paragraphs together, but it seems to happen without too much conscious thought. The structure just seems to appear, and the idea I am trying to convey gets draped around the structure. I catch myself using a subtle form of repetition in a specific piece. Themes keep reappearing and I only see them later.

Putting on The Real Ramona, there was suddenly this rush of guitar noise that seemed to match the way I saw my own words, which is such a 17-year-old's kind of epiphany. The words, in particular, made me pause: "Counting backwards/I count you in/I don't remember him/I don't remember"; "This woman literally felt she had a hook in her head";"This day is brutal/It wants red/So I got red shoes/Because red becomes you/This red becomes you."

That's when I got it.

I was listening to The Real Ramona at 8:30 this morning, in fact--a bit bloodless and drifting along Sunset Boulevard with the sun rising in the hazy air behind me, feeling like I was 17 again, driving my orange Ford Maverick, trying to decipher a code. And yet I still felt very much 33, embarrassed at remembering what I used to write and how weird and bad it all seems now, yet happy that I can find someone else's own combination of elliptical poetry and odd structural elements so inspiring.

Looking back now, it's not my favorite album by the band. My writing has gotten better (I certainly hope so, at least). I still write a bit in the same fixated way. And there's a lot of music that inspires me, as well as a lot of other individuals' works--visual, sonic, and otherwise. But it's always nice to remember when you "got it."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rubik's Cube With a Mustache?

The older I get the less inclined I am to celebrate Halloween. I understand I should maybe a bit more "happy go lucky" or "devil may care," but I just don't really like getting dressed up. I am a fan of conceptual costumes (like the year I was "nice" for Halloween and went up to everyone I didn't like at Bennington and said things like "Wow, you look so pretty tonight").

Last night, Lesley told Chrissy and I that we needed to give her ideas for a Halloween costume, and so, after watching "America's Next Top Model" (interjection: Tyra, what were you wearing!?) we sat on Lesley's balcony and tried some brainstorming. I still think Lesley should go as Steve Irwin with a stingray attached to her chest, but I suspect that will be popular this year.
Then we alighted upon the Web site that shows tons of horrible '70s Halloween costumes. You know... the ones with masks and a big plastic bib that just says what the costume is, rather than actually being a costume. (See for yourself:

I had been particularly taken with the Rubik's Cube outfit, as well as the one depicting the Leatherman from the Village People, so I naturally voiced my thought that maybe I should go as a Rubik's Cube with a mustache.

Chrissy just looked at me like I was nuts. Lesley nodded like she knew that was both exactly what I was going to say and also totally natural (she's indulgent that way). But I kept thinking about it today and now I've latched on to the idea. I just, for some reason, would love to have people asking me with their brows furrowed, "'re a....Rubik's Cube...but why do you have a mustache?"

That's what I'll be for Halloween: deliberately confusing.

You'd think I'd have more to say from this busy week, but I don't have much. I got a promotion at work, so now I sound more exciting and authoritative than I actually feel, but I think that's often been the case, even when I was editor of a magazine.

I could go on about the whole drama with my brother's ex-girlfriend and how my sister and I are going to have to call her to let her know my brother turned up after going missing for 18 months. This ought to be fun. She wants child support. My brother is working hard to get his life back together. I am sure their priorities will be in sync, don't you think? Ah, former lovers...

Maybe I could go as her for Halloween.

Or maybe I should go as Vicki from "Small Wonder," with whom I was obsessed as an adolescent because I couldn't believe someone actually got PAID to make a sitcom about a father who creates a robot daughter and everyone seems OK with that. I think I was somehow fantasizing that my own home life should be so wacky, and yet totally functional. Maybe I can get some other people to dress up as the cast of "Ordinary People." Or better yet, we can go as the creepy suburban family from "Small Wonder" but change in the middle of the night to become "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" or, worse, "Full House."

Lesson learned: Plan now for Halloween 2007.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Did that happen?

I traded e-mails with Robin Leach yesterday.

No, really.

Mr. Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams himself.

I work with a new hotel in Vegas and he was on our press release list, and, well, the rest, as they say, is history. I don't think he likes me much, though. It's just a gut feeling. And what will become of me if Robin Leach doesn't like me? Quelle horreur.

I wonder if I can put him on my Xmas card list.

The weirdness of the day was topped off by having dinner with Rick in Silverlake at The Kitchen. We hadn't seen each other in forever, so it was great to catch up and eat mac and cheese and turkey burgers and just yammer on about everything, including our respective writing projects. Well, his. Mine is stuck in neutral.

After our meal, however, we noticed a woman go to the window and take down the "A" that was hanging there. She then folded it up and tucked it into her weird metal clipboard/briefcase. Next, an employee came and unplugged the neon "Open" sign. Hmmm... ok.... Rick and I looked at each other with a tiny bit of fear in our eyes. Were they closing the restaurant for some reason?

Next, the "A" thief went to the front door and taped something on it and the waitress in the front turned away potential diners. Rick asked our waitress as she returned with his receipt if the restaurant was being closed and she looked at us but declined to speak and walks away.

No one was being told to leave. The place was filled with diners chowing down, as The Kitchen has pretty good food. (I've always enjoyed it, at least). Suitably weirded out, Rick and I downed our wine and got up to leave and went to the front door, opened it, stepped outside, and turned around to see a Notice of Closure due to "rodent infestation."


What did we just eat? "Do you feel OK? I feel OK," I asked Rick, and we both couldn't form sentences for a second, trying to reason that it could mean anything. It's an old building, after all. This happens all the time.

Well, sure. But have you ever had a restaurant close due to "rodent infestation" WHILE YOU WERE EATING THERE? Have you?!

And how do you go from an "A" to Closure in the matter of 15 seconds with weird inspectors sitting at a table wearing jeans and cheap tennis shoes who refuse to talk to anyone about what they're doing?

By the way, I feel fine today. I don't think I ingested anything I shouldn't have.

I don't want to hold it against The Kitchen, but I am not sure how much I want "rodent infestation" to be a part of my future dining experiences.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

'It's like being stalked by an army of Hummels'

So said I in response to an e-mail that was forwarded to me today that depicted "cute" kitties, puppies, and assorted snuggly-wuggly critters all reminding the viewer to, essentially just "hang in there." The bonus was the psalm at the end of the email. I forget that people still find these kinds of things inspirational. Me being cynical too much of the time, I tried at first to read this treacle with a clarity with which, I soon realized, I am not blessed. By the end of it, as I said to Lesley, I wanted to put my head through a plate-glass window. And then she referred to it as feeling like being shot in the face by a rainbow. I think that's how she phrased it.

What a long strange few days. Not bad ones, either... from watching Tim in a movie that premiered at a gallery in Chinatown to Jessica's bday in Hollywood to a housewarming in a small house in Culver City with a huge yard filled with every imaginable fruit tree (including persimmons)--I've been all over L.A. and have talked to more people I don't know than I think I have in the last month. I even got some time in to visit Hopper, my cat that still lives with Wayne even though I don't live there anymore. It sometimes feels like visitation rights with me as divorced dad, and, when I leave, I actually get choked up, but the cat still remembers me. I can tell because he actually lets me pet him and purrs before turning mischievous and biting me in playful mode. Sometimes bites are the best kind of love you can have.

I may just be in a sentimental stupor thanks to a non-cold that refuses to fully materialize, but I actually have been thinking of love a lot lately, prompted not by the email of kittens who keep reaching for the stars, but by my sister, who still, 4 weeks on, is coping with Bell's palsy and having half of her face paralyzed. We went to the gym over the weekend, and though we didn't talk much, there were small moments when watching her lift weights at a machine next to me, I realized how lucky I am to have had 8 years of living in L.A. near her.

She'll move to Oregon next year and these moments will be gone--for now. No more easily accessible holidays, barbecues, and excursions to Shoe Pavilion. Looking at her this weekend, in awe of how she copes with this temporary paralysis, I couldn't help but think of 16 years ago, when I first lived with her in L.A. When I went back to Portland later that summer--a summer in which her friend became my first boyfriend, I might add--I thought I'd snap in two. I didn't want to leave that special time and place, despite all the horrid heat and underemployment. Looking at her at the YMCA, I realized I never have to feel like that again. Some people never have anyone in their lives, let alone their families, with whom they actually connect. I get a funny, fiercely intelligent woman who not only has a PhD but manages to make an eye patch seem totally normal.

Maybe the kittens were trying to remind me of familial bonds today. Then again, maybe they really are just examples of the most cloying pop psychology. Nevertheless, if being stalked by an army of Hummels makes me feel a bit more appreciative of who I have in my life, I can endure it ... briefly.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dizzy and Maddening

I shouldn't drink on an empty stomach--neither coffee nor martinis. I had a mid-afternoon meeting at a Starbucks near the airport today to talk about the fact that I am going to South Australia to lead a press trip down there, covering probably close to 2,000 km in 2 weeks. It's funny to think I am going back to the country only a year after I was there last as a writer. Who knew I would have a job where I was supposed to escort writers to a part of Australia that so few people actually visit--the purpose of which is to make them write about it? Of course, that's what makes it appeal to me. I get to do something very few people will do in their lifetime--namely fly across the Pacific Ocean and swim with sea lions, track wombats in the dark in a gorge in the Outback, and visit a place the name of which is actually Kangaroo Island. And I leave on Thanksgiving, of all days.

The point of this originally was that I had too much coffee at said meeting and was like a hummingbird drunk on nectar, buzzing around, singing in my car at top volume--making myself hoarse--as I drove back to Hollywood in the crush of rush hour traffic. Then, later, I went to a friend's house for dinner and was given a martini and felt like my bones had collapsed in a heap--worthless and heavy. Somehow I managed to make conversation and keep it afloat, but the words seemed to wrap around me and hang like chains. I think it's simply exhaustion. I have not slept much this week and, when I do, I have had stupid dreams about a stupid movie I watched last weekend with Lesley.

Granted, stupid movies with Lesley and I are ubiquitous, but for some reason "The Maddening" got to me. I can't tell if it's the inexplicable casting of Burt Reynolds and Angie Dickinson as swamp trash crazies who trap an unsuspecting young mother (Mia Sara, long past her prime) and daughter in their backwater house, or if somehow the movie managed to actually touch a nerve in me. Either that or we finally watched something so bad that it just stayed with me like food poisoning. Either way, I have literally had 3 Angie Dickinson dreams this week, with her yammering at me while holding a tray of food--like she does to poor, poor Mia in her locked bedroom in le film. But, unlike Mia's character in "Da Maddening," as I took to calling it, I do not have to pee on the bedroom floor in my dreams. Thank god. No one wants to wake up like that.

Hopefully the rest of the week will clear my head as I wrap up a hellishly busy 5 days and go catch a Kristin Hersh concert on Friday the 13th. I've been listening to Throwing Muses all day, which is adding to the dizziness. Try keeping up with these lyrics: "I have two heads / Where's the man? He's late / One burns one's sky / Where's the man? He's late / I'm two headed ... one free, one sticky."

Maybe the wrong choice for an hour-long car ride from El Segundo to Hollywood.

And before bed, the bon mots of the day, overheard on the elevator, as I rode with two psychics up to the fifth floor of my building (yes, I work next to an office housing consultants on the Psychic Hotline): "Well, I was going to call her, but I already knew she didn't want to talk to me."

All I could think was, "Gee, if only all interpersonal communication was always that cut and dried."

Monday, October 09, 2006

Word of the Day: Necropolis

Was this story timed for maximum Halloween exposure?

Today, the AP ran a story on the Vatican "unveiling" (strange choice of words if you ask me) the burial place this week, which was discovered when someone was trying to build a parking lot--like so many important archeological sites. Maybe there's a joint necropolis/parking lot venture in the works? Ah, marketing...

My favorite passage, though, is this:

"The remains of the child, whose gender wasn't determined, were discovered during the construction of the walkways, after the main excavation had finished, said Daniele Battistoni, a Vatican archaeologist.

Buried there were upper-class Romans as well as simple artisans, with symbols of their trade, offering what archaeologists called rare insights into middle and lower-middle class life."

Considering we have no current cultural insights into lower- and middle-class life (unless "According to Jim" counts), and that we really didn't need to know about the mummified, gender-questioned baby, I am not sure any of this qualifies as important.

Then this:

"The burial sites help 'document the middle class, which usually escapes us,' said consultant Paolo Liverani, an archaeologist and former Museums official. 'You don't construct history with only generals and kings.'"

Really? I thought history was all about the rich. Oh, wait, I meant "pious."

Not that I am knocking the necropolis. Far from it. If I could afford the plane ticket, I'd be there in line waving my necropolis penant and snatching up plaster replicas of the alleged hermaphrodite child.

Oh, and you have to write the Vatican for permission to enter the tombs. Get out your best Laura Ashley stationery!

Read for yourself:

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Moon Hangover

Not that I give too much credence to the full moon making people feel nuts, but as I slowly evolve into a stereotypical Californian, I do have to admit that when the full moon rolls around, I often feel a bit like a manic-depressive. And let's not get started on the fact that I'm a Cancer, so if you believe anything about astrology, then you know I am ruled by this celestial object, which essentially means I am some kind of cosmic ventriloquist dummy.

Yesterday I couldn't figure out what the hell my problem was--which, granted, is not an uncommon dilemma. And then a glance at the oh-so-informative Yahoo News page informed me that Oct. 6th was, indeed, the night of the Harvest Moon. The moon was 12% fuller and closer to Earth last night. The "news" piece dutifully informed me that there was no evidence the moon makes people go crazy (thanks, Yahoo! thanks, Moon!), but damn if I didn't feel like I had bees buzzing in my head and that every conversation was like wading through a pool of tar.

Then again, I probably just worked too late all week.

For the rest of the night, though, I suspiciously watched the giant moon and felt like it was tapping me on the shoulder. It was like having someone at a party keep talking to you even though you were long past the point of being able to maintain a plastic smile and nod your head in feigned interest.

What's the point of this? I am not sure I know. I just woke up this morning feeling hung over, which I am going to blame on the moon. It's the one night of the month where I feel OK about side stepping any deeper probing of my own emotions.

Now I can also listen to Lesley all day exclaiming "MOON!" to me with a smile on her face. She really can say so much with so little.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Buh-Bye, Holy Roller

Thank god (lowercase "g"). The only times I can really applaud "America's Next Top Model" is when someone cries when having her hair cut or when the requisite holy roller has to pack her bible and go home. And Monique totally deserved it. I mean, last season (or "cycle," as ANTM likes to call it), Danielle had goddamned IVs in her arm and then climbed atop an elephant in Thailand and, to quote Tyra, "rocked it." So if you ask me, Monique having the flu hardly justified her going home in the stretch Escalade from a photo shoot since she was "tired." (Yeah, tired in more ways than one)

But at least we got the best shot of the show: Monique in a straw hat reading the bible with tears streaming down her face.

It's nice to have Lesley back from merry ol' England to howl at this crap with me. Correction: this deliciously entertaining crap. Even if she did fall asleep at 9:15 due to so-called jet lag.

Plus, at the commercial break we learned all about Tampax Sport tampons and how, even though you're a girl, you can still play tennis, swim, and do gymnastics, despite your period. It doesn't mean you will have a box of tampons in any color other than pink, but it must be such a boost of self-esteem to wannabe models glued to their TVs.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Showtime on 7th Avenue

Sometimes it only takes a few words from someone to transport you back in time. I got an email from Nicole earlier today in which she said she was fondly remembering how she used to scour the TV listings to find out which horrible movie would be on later that night.

We were living together in Brooklyn in the spring and summer of 1998. I was hating work, sinking deep into a miserable depression, living in a room the size of my current bathroom, smoking too much, and grieving the loss of my stepsister whom I never really felt I got to know.

And yet, during the miserably hot months that gripped the city and made us want to cry (and I think prompted both of us to move to L.A., truth be told), the late nights brought their respite in the form of so-bad-they-were-genius movies. I closed my eyes today after getting that email and suddenly I was in that brick-red living room, curled up on the beige loveseat in shorts and a tank top while Nicole reclined across the room from me on the couch, artfully dressed in a slip, a sandal, mule, or flip-flop dangling from one foot, bouncing as she absently jiggled her foot.

It would always be too late. We'd already spent too much time staring out our windows across 7th Avenue at our neighbors who would do all manner of things in plain view. There was the hot Puerto Rican guy who would just come to the window naked and stand there while we (I in particular) tried to appreciate it, despite his being backlit. Then there was the couple in the next building over. The female half of said couple apparently took belly dancing lessons and practiced her routine one night for her boyfriend, perhaps unaware that Nicole and I were screaming with delight as we watched her shimmy and otherwise try to enchant her man with somewhat awkward maneuverings that looked more like an uncontrollable twitch than seductive gestures.

These moments were the pre-show, of course. The escapist joy really came from watching Meredith Baxter (or was it still Baxter Birney then?), Connie Selleca, Melissa Gilbert, and many other actresses who generally specialized in all things Woeful scream, yell, and cry their way through films the plots of which usually included stolen babies, bad marriages, and glycerin tears--lots of them.

And there we sat, cigarettes in and out of our mouths, street noise permeating the apartment, sweat refusing to dry on our skin, the faint smell of trash sitting on the sidewalk in front of the deli downstairs wafting in. And for those 2 hours, the disappointment of relationships gone sour, the horror of premature death, and the uncertainty of what we might do next with our lives just melted away.

The movies didn't always entertain. We were not always treated to the antics of our neighbors across the street. And sometimes one or both of us couldn't muster the energy to make it to 2 a.m., but there's something to be said for having a partner in crime.

I didn't feel like I had much else at that point, but this was more than enough.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Paging Mr. Foley

Oh, how I love a Republican scandal--especially when it involves a single man in his 50s who wears smart shirts and says he refuses to discuss his private life (which even the dimmest bulb now knows means "I'M GAY!").

Rep. Mark Foley of Florida: What were you thinking!? I will never understand how a man in his position--i.e., a congressman, someone who is under public scrutiny--thinks he can do anything in this day and age like, oh, sending sexually suggestive e-mails to congressional pages, and get away with it without anyone noticing.

There are several sorry aspects to this story. I mean, who wants to be leered at by a congressman who's not very attractive when you are 16? I think even I would have been uncomfortable, and this is coming from someone who at 17 shamelessly had a crush on an older man and acted on it. The others involve the fellow Republican congressmen who suggested the whole matter not be pursued. Then there's the larger issue. To put it bluntly: how fucked up Foley is. Will there be a discussion in the media about politics, hypocrisy, homophobia, and how American society still doesn't allow many gay men to simply feel comfortable with themselves? Well, probably not. And don't even get me started about how rich white guys in positions of power feel like they can get away with anything they want.

Ironically enough, our other gay media circus star of the week is former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who showed up on Oprah (but not without a book to hawk, natch), and on the cover of The Advocate. I haven't read or seen any of this yet, but I have to say, with men like him and Foley on opposite ends of the gay political rainbow, I've never been more sure of the fact that I never want to run for any public office.

How's that for Anti-Climactic Epiphany of the Week?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Paid in Full

Dear Bennington College (and by default Vermont Student Assistance Corporation):

I wasn't planning on writing you a letter, but sometimes it seems the easiest way to convey emotions without a long, drawn-out discussion. And given the way you've treated me in the past I didn't think it would be wise to call.

The one thing that always kept us together in the past was money. I know, I know. You'll say that your loaning me money was never meant to be a power ploy, or a way to exercise control over me, but as I've learned over the last nearly 11 years, it doesn't mean that my feelings will change.

When I dropped my final payment of $87.84 in the mail to you today, and realized that I'd erased that $22,000 debt, not only did I feel this incredible weight off my shoulders, but I also felt like maybe now I could actually move on. I wouldn't have to be reminded every month about our relationship. I could actually dwell on only the good memories.

Don't get me wrong. I know we'll always be in each other's lives, and you taught me so much about being the person I've become today, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm happy not needing to be reminded of the role you played in my life for so long.

Maybe now that money is no longer part of the equation, we can actually be friends. I'm being honest when I say I'd like that in the future. Right now, however, I just need a little time to mull things over and get used to these changes. (And you know me, that means I need to have a few drinks!).

I hope you understand. I'll be in touch soon.


p.s. It's true that I paid some of this off by selling porn on eBay. I just wanted to let you know. I didn't want you to have to try and figure out if the rumors were true. I wanted you to hear it from me directly.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pretty Crazy

I woke up late on a pretty day.

But that's the price you pay for dinner, drinks, pool, drinks, a party at someone's house you don't know, drinks, dancing and more drinks ... by this time, water.

I was in a dour mood at the beginning of last night, but luckily Tim and Justin managed to pull me out of it by coaxing me into going with them to a surreal birthday party for a guy Justin knows socially from Akbar and who has a very unique dancing style; he totally owns the space around him on that dance floor.

Bizarre as it is to wander into a house where you know no one, it ended up being a bit more fun than I thought it c/would be. It helps, too, when Tim has had some wine and becomes super-animated and a social butterfly. I like to just watch him at times like that. I always have, even when we were 19-year-old college students. Plus, now I know he plays pool. We had gone to Casita del Campo before the party. Who knew Casita del Campo had a pool table? (And why were we there? I need to ask T and J to clarify.)

By the time we got to Akbar, it was close to 1 a.m. and there was some dancing to be done. It's always the same '80s bullshit, but it's hard to resist "Dance This Mess Around" by the B-52's, even if 80% of the crowd wasn't even born when it was first released.

My 3 a.m. bedtime meant getting up at 11 and feeling a bit like I was missing a really beautiful day. I love the Santa Ana winds and how they affect the look of the sky and sunlight--not to mention make everyone feel a bit out of their minds.

But at least I knew I was seeing Marolyn today--for the first time in 2 years. She's in the States from New Zealand, and when I finally saw her it was like I was back in Wellington, circa 2004. It seemed like nary a day had passed. We drove to Greystone in Beverly Hills to watch the city and the odd remnants of a wedding (empty chairs and fabric strewn across lawns; that god damned "You're Beautiful" song glaring from the mansion, whose exterior is always used on "Gilmore Girls"). We did impromptu photos and then ran back to my house to wander to the nearby park, look at M's wedding photos (NZ lets the gays marry, you know), and then depart for M Chaya Cafe for dinner, where we inhaled food, listened to an idiot sing songs very much OUT LOUD to his girlfriend (insipid poems with bad melodies that no one needed to hear), and cracked up at those who come to devour macrobiotic food and then get in their giant SUVs and peel away.

Lucikly, Pinkberry is now next door, so we got more photos of yogurt, us reflected in the shiny orange walls, and the graham cracker dust spilling from Marolyn's dessert. You know you have a good friend when she tries to arrange graham cracker dust to make a photo better.

I miss her. Why isn't New Zealand closer?

I hope the winds continue. Not because I want all of California to burn, but I want to see who freaks out next.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Muffin Month, Muses, and Me

I resisted this way of sharing ideas and words for a long time, making jokes about how, if I had time to post on a blog, clearly I had time to be doing something else--i.e., something that was more conventionally "productive."

Well, so much for contributing to society in more "meaningful" ways.

Like the cell phone I finally broke down and bought, I've finally realized that ... well, this is productive in a way that I find useful. So there.

I suppose it is also borne from a need to just start writing again. After working in publishing for so many years and writing so many reviews, articles, and editorials, I took a job in PR where I write press releases and e-mails and little else. Granted, this is a nice change of pace, but in the meantime, my other writing suffered, including a long-gestating book project that I never forget but cannot seem to add to right now.

Plus, I got tired of hearing Lesley threaten to play me back voicemails I'd left her that she felt were perfect fodder to share with an "audience," whatever that may mean. Case in point, the nearly manic message I left her last week as I sat at the intersection of Melrose and Vine staring across the street at Yum Yum Donuts, which was sporting a poster that proclaimed "MUFFIN MONTH!" in giant letters (avec exclamation point). Did you know it was Muffin Month? I certainly didn't, and I felt the need to share that most vehemently with Lesley on her voicemail: "Hey! Guess what? It's muffin month! Yes, muffin month. Support your local muffins at Yum Yum donuts! Don't forget!" And so on...

So, now you know. I was spurred to action by Muffin Month!

As for the name Nice Limbo, well, those of you who know my musical tastes know I am a big Throwing Muses fan, and well... "Limbo" is the name of an album and song. But the lyric that starts it goes: "Nice limbo you have here." A short, simple observation that's sarcastic, funny, and slightly troubling at the same time. I just liked the idea that limbo can, indeed, be "nice." And living in L.A., it seems doubly appropriate--a city that can often feel like it's levitating, removed from reality in some weird, wondrous way. And given the way my writing has been going lately, it now seems triply appropriate.

As for me, I spent the day doing little more than contemplating Muffin Month, buying shoes, and seeing some art that I'd been meaning to see--surfboards, queer Canadian troublemakers, and a dose of Anne Murray music. (I'll try to explain that later.)

For now it's time to eat some dinner, turn on some lights and enjoy the evening. How, I am not sure yet. There's still time.