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."