Tuesday, January 18, 2011

a complex & skeptical system

I'm losing my edge. I especially noticed this today while having coffee with an ex co-worker from the Brooklyn flea market days when I sold fish tacos in DUMBO by Grimaldi's.

This guy, we'll call him Jake, was a good eight years younger than me, studying psychoanalysis in Manhattan when I met him; he was one of those effeminate types who always talked about his girlfriend.

We got along, him being into Asians, and me being into that passionate attention that gets lavished upon you when you're exactly the type someone's looking for to love. Doting, puppy-eyed worship. It's virtually irresistible when projected by an attractive person.

Anyway, Jake is a fox, so I was happy to meet him when he messaged me saying he'd moved to San Francisco and was going to be in LA for the afternoon. His girlfriend, in town for whatever, would be dropping him off at Intelligentsia at 2:30 to see me.

When I got to the coffee place, I was a few minutes early, so I ducked into a boutique next door and splurged on a handmade cardigan by a local designer, who superimposed N'Sync members onto the bodies of Transformers underneath a bio hazard symbol.

By the time I made it to Intelligentsia, Jake was standing outside, smoking a cigarette by a meter, with his phone in hand to text me and let me know he had just gotten there.

When he saw me, he gave me a nice squeeze, a few kisses on the cheek, and asked me what I'd been up to. I showed him my cardigan. He said it looked expensive and asked me if I had a job. No, I said, then told him about my marriage, physical condition--expecting new life in June. What a way to spring a surprise on me, he said, woah!

When we saw that the coffee shop had a line that went out to the street, we went to Casbah Cafe, which almost always has a place to sit without having to sift through skinny kids in thick framed glasses vogueing and talking about music; although they are often adorable.

I ordered a Yerba Mate latte, a few baked things to pick and taste, and Jake got an Americano; we commenced to catching up.

The scoop on the flea market scene after I left for LA, which apparently became aggressively incestuous before self-destructing, was a joy to imbibe second-hand; drugs, sex, stealing, it was all there. My story on the other hand, was very tame.

How is it anything other than pathetic to hear that an independent forerunner for strong-minded and ambitious women in America has settled down, become domesticated, cooks for and takes care of her husband as one half of a co-dependent partnership, is expecting a baby, and is looking for a new home to build a quiet life in?

A year ago, before all this I was living in Williamsburg, jogging in McCarran Park, having a delicious affair with a skilled and sophisticated Casanova, eating daily Chinese from around the corner, carousing with beautiful gay men to beaches, to clubs...

(it sounds ridiculous and anything but romantic now, but the major difference is I was free and convinced I would never be a representative of convention. I scoffed at moms with their power strollers and organic meal plans. It felt revolutionary to fight the clock, to counter-mimic ideas of stability imposed upon any woman in her lifetime.

For one, I felt it was impossible to find one partner who I wouldn't find completely aggravating after a a few years of spending too much time together. And two, if I did ever find  that guy, there would be no guarantee that he'd want me back.

What a complicated system: coupling; it's half based on smell and the rest has to do with timing and a willingness to settle for some semblance of a prize.)

As I spoke to Jake, I saw the look in his eyes change from a shy, flirtatious curiosity to looking nervous and betrayed, as if I went from being "me" to one of "them." Them being of people who have completely unregistered in the department of availability, as a muse, a mentor, fantasy love object, whatever--for his age range anyway.

Who knows, his clock could shift into family mode one day, too; and only then will I make a comeback as the ideal mother/partner figure.

Ideas of revolution fade. Of wanting to feel special, different, or finding one's rich sense of purpose in a realm of antiestablishment ennui. Now baby pictures shroud the family mantle as a contemporary shrine of la tabula rasa; as the organized rebirth of one's own calamitous identity.

I used to fantasize about living alone on a lighthouse with no connections to the outside world. I see now I was only preparing myself for the worst. Trying not to be blindsided by potential shitty hands being dealt at any given moment. I was bracing myself for tragedy.

It's nice to be able to relax; I've certainly paid my dues. And if this makes me boring and old and conventional, then I embrace all of it, as long as my husband embraces me whenever I need him to.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

when minimal mode is bling

Have you ever noticed that the only thing standing between "spoiled" and "soiled" is "p"? I didn't until today, and what a decadent day it was. I hope something ominous isn't looming on the horizon. Considering nothing in life is free and things are often too good to be true, it seems life is calm for the moment, and curiously generous. *knocks on wood

My toenails, for instance, good god they were in a funk, chipped since before Thanksgiving, last year. I finally made my way to that special place on Hyperion with all the People magazines and massage chairs today, right before the sun went down. I walked there and (carefully) back in flip flops for exercise. They charge $15 and I always leave $5, and they always act surprised and grateful, as if they usually get nothing extra. I think they all speak Vietnamese, hardly a lick of English. The red I chose today is called "High Maintenance." I thought that was cute.

I also have a new leather handbag by LA designer Clare Vivier from the Mohawk General Store on W Sunset. Ned had surprised me with a smaller bag by the same designer at Christmas, but the clasp broke on the way to the post office in Atwater Village, so I had store credit. The new bag is a roomier hobo, I absolutely love it, even though it reeks of death in a way. It's also unlined, so my new Grace Paley is becoming tinged with orange pages before I can even open it and devour the stories inside. 

Sure, I'll get over it, but you'd think, for a $380 bag, Vivier might've at least sewn a swatch of silk inside, making it less rustic, and a touch more...upholstered? Regardless, it's mine now.

If it's not obvious by the photo I also started Thomas Pynchon's V today. Oddly enough, I've lost interest in graphic novels and now I'm veering more towards long, modern novels. 

So far I've made it all the way through to chapter one, something about sailors and beer and a girl and the New York subway. I can tell this isn't going to be easy; it's very masc-centric, dense, loopy and complicatedly book about nothing in particular but a man named Profane just kind of being a likable bastard. 

The way the sentences twist and twirl around sometimes is what makes it special. It's not as complicated as White Noise or Blood Meridian or anything, but it's definitely in the same club of jargon-based word art. I'm going to try to get to 100 pages by the end of the night, then I'll only have 400+ and maybe I can finish the whole thing in less than a week. 

My old Gateway is at the Apple store in the mall tonight, too, along with my new Macbook Air. The genius squad is transferring my photos and word documents over to a hip, lightweight piece of techno-inevitability. Dependabilitywise, the look on my face had to be of shock when they told me they'd have to keep both computers overnight until six the next day. 

I said to the genius Mac guy, "What the hell am I supposed to do without a computer at home, use my phone?" and then I remembered I had a Dell netbook at the house that I've barely used. I bought the thing thinking I'd take it to coffee shop and write some great novel on it one day. Heh! Eh...ugh. 

I have three computers and a miniature computer phone. Is that normal? Depends on who you ask I suppose. My handbag's expensive according to most minimum wagers, but cheap compared to those who will settle for nothing less than a 2-grand plus Gucci, Prada or Alexander Wang bag. 

And walking down the street today, I wondered if I was wearing one two many rings with my flip flops and new leather handbag; as hybrids, SUVs and Mercedes flew past the sidewalk I trekked to get a pedicure. Then an attractive black teen in a prep school uniform asked me for a dollar in exchange for a smile. 

Perhaps this is just Los Angeles, and to adapt to Los Angeles, the minimal mode is bling. I'm not complaining, trust me; I've never had a better excuse to play materialistic.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

yellow cake & chocolate icing

I caught on a person's status update a few days ago that her newest cravings involved fried oysters with black beer, and yellow cake with milk chocolate icing. The first one, the oysters and beer sounded edgy and romantic, sure; it was the second one that got me.

You know when you have a craving for something, whether it's the crispy wings of a rotisserie chicken or raw cookie dough ice cream, it's hard to shake. Is this a woman thing having to do with hormones, or a simple hard-headed mildly obsessive complex?

The main story in a waiting room Reader's Digest once told me to trust my food cravings, no matter how sugary or off-the-wall, saying if you're intuitive enough to listen to your body communicating, it will tell you when your vitamin levels are deficient.

Moderation is the key, stressed the article. So if you're craving beef or red wine, your body's low on iron, dairy means calcium, so on.

Being four months along, I've yet to notice a substantial change in my appetite. I have been craving more than a modest level of carbohydrates: bread and butter, English muffins, fried food, and thought this was under control, until I saw the status update involving the yellow cake and milk chocolate icing. In my mind, there are carbs, and then there are sweet carbs, which are nothing but trouble.

Ask someone who lost a massive amount of weight what they had to give up in order to lose 100+ pounds and they'll tell you: muffins, cookies, doughnuts, cupcakes, chocolate ice cream is a big one, but let's stay on course here. Flour + sugar + butter = the devil.

I went to the grocery yesterday, bought a box of yellow cake mix, a small bottle of vegetable oil, a vat of milk chocolate icing and went to town when I got home. I already had three large eggs to add the the batter and butter versus shortening to smear all over the baking trays.

Wearing my right arm out without an electric mixer, I then placed the mostly lump-free raw mix in two baking trays, and inserted them into a preheated oven at 350. I set the egg timer.

One hour later I had two golden cakes ready to stack and ice with milk chocolate frosting. An hour after that, half the cake was gone. Poor me.

What exactly was so deficient in my body that I couldn't thwart off the guilt I experienced after gorging myself like a pig? Was my blood's unnecessary junk meter at an all-time low?

The only thing I can imagine happening to me is that my body wants to put on weight, but that'll make it so hard to do anything. I'll be incapacitated if I gain ten more pounds above what I already weigh at 5'7" and 145 pounds. That's ten more pounds than my normal weight. And I'm supposed to gain fifteen more!

I know people do it all the time in America, become overweight, but isn't it gradual? It seems like what my body is trying to do to me is drastic.

Yesterday I could barely bend over and sweep hair off the bathroom floor because of my condition, and I can only expect it to get worse until June, when I purge a new human into the world.

In the meantime, I'm trying to decide whether or not to throw the other half of that cake I baked last night away. If I don't, I fear I'll eat the rest of it by the end of the night; it's like I'm possessed by a zombie mind control megaphone craving sweet comfort foods.

I rode 1.5 miles on the stationary bike today so far, then heaved myself onto the bed in a sweaty mess with my hand on my heart, deathly afraid of my pulse exceeding 140 beats per minute.

Anyway, I'm going to attempt another 1.5 miles in a few minutes. I figure it's better than nothing. And self-control is the key to being healthy, I suppose. I'm going to try to focus on that when it comes to all of this. Hopefully, everything will come out alright in the end.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

cheddar pretzel combos are gross

Craving something savory, I found an unopened bag of cheddar cheese pretzel Combos in the kitchen cupboard, sitting next to ancient pinata candy and a tube of Quaker oatmeal. The Combos were part of a care package, which also contained a few packs of mint Orbit gum.


The first Combo was delicious, the second, third, very good. Around combo number five, I began to eat the pretzel outside of the inner cheese consistency. At combo seven I abruptly stopped.

I had wandered into thoughts of synthetic substances rendered to look like food. Perhaps it was the taste, or texture. I wondered what my body would see the ingredients as being: polyester, plastic. Eating a handful of dirt would contain minerals at least.

A co-worker studying nutrition to become a personal trainer once told me that Cheetos, Doritos, Skittles and Pop-Tarts all contained ingredients which would accumulate in certain areas of the body as indigestibles, and eventually form tumors.

Who knows, moderation says: do whatever you want as long as it's not a large-scale gross-out feast of fried Twinkies or strudel. This is why I keep the diet sodas down to one can a day. Sometimes two.

Combos, on the other hand, should only be eaten by people in black magic cults who are protected by the gracious spirits of digestion.

Friday, January 7, 2011

screenplays: the new novel for the evasive drone

19 weeks today, he's the size of an heirloom tomato.

Downloaded a trial version of final draft into my Mac, since the real thing costs a fortune ($249) and I've had no training in writing screenplays. I have two ideas that seem reasonable. Original ideas.

They're both about injured people, or people becoming injured emotionally from their quests for love. One is about furries, the other is an incredibly ironic, chronologically condensed heart-breaker; it almost perfectly coincides with more chaotic aspects of my life...

(with names changed, of course. The furry story is set in NY. The second story is happening now in LA.)

This last year I've watched movies like crazy, studied them, analyzed them, to figure out a basic formula. Watching romantic comedies are the biggest pain-in-the-ass. If I want to watch crap that never happens in real life, surrealist-type movies, mind benders, are far more enjoyable; Naked Lunch for example, but I don't have it in me to take the risk to create something that complicated. Not right now.

Cronenberg, the name alone makes me tense. But also, most surrealist-styled stories revolve around either dreams in sleep, insanity, or junkie meltdowns, and I don't feel like going into any of those places.

Maybe ten years ago when I still popped pills at parties, and guzzled nightcaps hours before bedtime, but ten years ago, those pills were everywhere, and bedtime...was a joke.

I haven't established myself. I'm no one. An incredible, inspiring no one. At least my cat likes me, as long as I keep feeding him on time.

I have a blog, sometimes I write fiction, I never submit my stories to publications. I've never completed a large body of work. It's only lately that I've begun to read longer novels vigorously, like/dislike buttons flaring up like semaphores in a buzz of analysis.

But what are books going to do for me now? Who didn't get some sort of electronic reader in their Christmas stocking this year? Bah, I going to shut up and memorize this before bed.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

long lost friends

Janie had just woken from a round of bad dreams, she'd had a huge fight with her husband before bed regarding a woman in a picture from the New Year's Eve party he attended without her.

Earlier that day they'd had a fight about something different but equally induced by boredom. In the incriminating picture, a mid-thirties brunette with frizzy hair was pulling Janie's husband in for a kiss, as he smiled sheepishly, half-heartedly pulling away. This was on the night Janie spent New Year's Eve alone, for the first time in her life.

Janie reached for her laptop to check for mail in her inbox. Aside from one chain mail joke about a fairy placing a curse on a man who wished for his wife to be younger, there wasn't much to see. A girl she knew from high school, but never really liked had sent a friend request on facebook. Why not, thought Janie, I'll just add her to the pile.

Janie signed into facebook, she accepted the friend request of the girl she hadn't talked to and never really liked in the first place. She went to the girl's page and looked through her pictures. 53 mutual friends, married, three kids, fat, boring. Nothing new. When Janie was finished lurking her decade ago non friend's pictures, she went back to sift through the friend requests she had ignored for a while.

The first was a broke boozer musician she'd dated briefly in Houston, until they had an argument one night, she told him to leave and went to bed disgusted. That night the rocker type took a rare bottle of chocolate orange liqueur she'd been saving, from her nightstand, cracked the seal and drank the whole thing, even to complain about the taste.

When she woke up with livid complaints, he made the case that she was too concerned with material things to be a decent human being, to get over herself, then commenced to degrading her character to her Oxycontin addled roommate, who for months she had been estranged.

Janie had to move out a month later. The rocker moved on to a fat moneybags, who supported him for years after that incident, in exchange for his services of making daily love to a human marshmallow. But soon enough, he had transformed a marshmallow, too. Cheese sticks, had someone said about it once. For all I cared, he could've shoved them in her ass with his guitar.

The other friend request was from a woman she had never even heard of. One mutual friend. She clicked to see who it was. Then called her husband who was on his laptop in the kitchen.



Do you know a Sophie Toren? 

Wha? Sophie? 
I dated a girl about six years ago named Sophie. 

She friend requested me on facebook. 

Let me see the picture. 
Oh, yeah, that's her. 
We went on three dates about six years ago, 
but then we stopped seeing each other. 


Oh, I don't know. 
I guess it didn't work out. 

So you don't remember? 

Do you really want to know? 
Promise you won't get angry at me? 


Okay. Well, Sophie and I went out three times 
and then we had sex on a couch in an office. 
Only once. 

Did you not like it? 

Her nipples were weird. 
She had no aureoles. 

So you stopped seeing her after that? 

Yeah, does that make me a bad person?

No, I don't think so, it means you have preferences. 

Sophie was tempted to tell her husband about the time that she took a very handsome, foreign stranger home from the bar, how he filled up her gas tank with premium, how they smoked a few joints together in bed, before they started to fool around, how he pulled out his penis resembling a one inch nub with a button mushroom attached, how he begged her to let him put it inside, and she said maybe next time. Sophie held her tongue and let him have the floor with his weird nipple story.

So why do you think this chick's sending me a friend request? 
Is she a stalker? 

Sophie clicked on the woman's page. From what she could see, she had listed Sophie's husband's movie projects as her favorite movies.

No, she seemed like a nice girl. She was a yoga instructor. 
I don't think she's obsessed with me. 

Then what is all this about?

Sophie pointed to the woman's profile pics of her lying half nude on a bed with her wet lips parted.

Woah, she got some professional pictures made! 

That doesn't even look like her! 

So let's say that I'm not going to say yes to this friend request, so this woman can lurk me and see who took her lover from her. 

Would you like me to delete her from my friends? 

I don't care. I'm just glad you like my nipples. 

I do, they're always excited to see me, and that's a huge compliment. 

Sophie's husband returned to the kitchen to finish his work, as she grazed her hand on her rounded belly. Well, baby, it looks like we have our hands full with this one, don't we? She closed her laptop, carefully got out of bed, straightened the pillows and sheets, and sat back down.

Monday, January 3, 2011

internet hijackers & Freddy Mercury ramen

My friend Sam recently had his hotmail jacked by hijackers, who contacted everyone on his contacts list, to say he was traveling, lost all his money, to send money, so he could get home. This was the note:

Hope you get this on time,sorry I didn't inform you about my trip in UK for a Christmas program, I'm presently in now and am having some difficulties here because i lost my small bag, right now i don't have anything with me,all cash,credit card and cell phone are gone on my way to the hotel where i stay,have already gotten 1,500 pounds from a friend,I want you to assist me with a loan of 2,600 pounds to sort-out my hotel bills and to get myself back home.

I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively,I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with,I'll Refund the money back to you as soon as i return, let me know if you can be of any help. I don't have a phone where i can be reached. Please let me know immediately

The first thing that tipped me off immediately, that this was a scam, was the fact that Sam graduated with a degree in creative writing. This means the no-space-after-the-comma bit is totally out of line. Who does that? Someone who obviously never passed an English class. It irritates me to look at it. Eugh, take it away. Second clue is the email came from his hotmail. Who uses hotmail anymore? Sure, sure, plenty of people, and some I know still use AOL, those freaks.

Who actually makes money from these hacks? Does it happen, or is this phenomena some self-proclaimed hacker's field day? Is it the government census bureau experiment?

Remember when myspace rotted away because of hackers, phantom's impersonating porn stars offering web cam services to lonely masturbators with credit cards? Now the same thing is happening to facebook, I've noticed: click here to see what so and so said about you! And twitter; sometimes I sign in and immediately get whooshed off to the myspace sign in page.  As if I'll say, oh, myspace, this is where I meant to really go, let me sign in now and come back to all of this, myspace is probably better than ever! Such Bullshit.

I wonder about these seedy companies behind all this. For one thing: I know they're not Japanese. The Japanese know how to sell their products and make money. Even if they pay top dollar for top quality celebrities to sell cup ramen. At least it's honest, and doesn't take advantage of people. And who doesn't love ramen?


oranges are nothing touching the fresh meat of wild

Barnabas just woke up long enough to watch me peel and eat an orange with the same distain I would display if he pealed and ate a squirrel right in front of me. Psh. What do cats know about vitamin C...


I tried reading George Saunders' CivilWarLand in bad decline in one sitting before I got too distracted by his loopy sentence structure in the first story to get anywhere past it. I decided to sprint through, to get to the end anyway, hoping to absorb and catch what it was all about, by scanning the words with my technical translator mindset. When I got to the finish, I reread with a slower pace from the beginning, and had slightly less trouble trying to understand exactly what was going on.

Most of what's really going on is obvious in its title, I came to realize, with other things, like sentences, thrown in for the sake of the spirit having a body apart from just a head. I read and loved Pastoralia. Saunders seems to have a preoccupation with old-time theme parks.


Braved the rain to watch the Warrior's Way at a $3 theater after simmering a giant pot of spicy golden curry with pork tenderloin, potatoes, onion, peas, carrots, a few fat slivers of jalapeno pepper, and steamed sticky white rice to give the savory concoction a place to sit, steam and look glorious. It's safe to say I've come close to perfecting both green and gold curry. Mother would be proud.

Speaking of mom, I called her today after making the New Year's resolution to call her every Sunday. Last year I must've called her less than ten times total, though I know she called me less times than that.

She's Korean...I don't know. Anyway, I thanked her for the titanium non-stick cook wear she graciously gifted the household for Christmas, as she went into details of how oven safe the pans are, the lightweight convenience of Titanium, and how not to scour any of it with metal scouring pads. I told her I'd take it easy. Then she told me about her great New Year's Eve, while I told her about mine, which was the worst I've ever experienced in my entire life. She gave me a special recipe for champagne in the summer which is a blend of beer and 7-UP. Not Sprite, she said, 7-UP has a bite to it; it's better. I told her I'd try it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

people, places, art i loved in 2010

Ned Vizzini, LA, In Watermelon Sugar, Barnabas the cat, Ken Baumann, the Oaks Gourmet, Netflix, Fables, 10-second rabbits, Trader Joe's, Skylight Books, neon toilet, Toronto, driving the Shark, Waverly Dr, New Beverly Cinema, writing reviews, James Hall, Camille Navarro, Donte Scott, Man vs Food, Cake Boss, Pawn Stars, palm fronds, Silverlake, cooking for two, eating for two, pedicures at Hyperion, 140 characters, Goodreads, Pandora radio, meeting Lauren Kate Stanley, Sam Cooney, hiking in the Hollywood Hills, Chateau Marmont, all-you-can-eat Korean Barbecue, Troika Moonshine 300, iPhone, Satyricon, saving, spending, fruit stands, Anthuriums, Sephora, Glendale Galleria, sunshine, flip-flops, fresh basil, beaches, Asterio's Polyp, el Tepeyac, Bloomingdale's with Rio, Birds, boutiques, coffee beans, meeting Leo Tolkin, Matt Polley, Thom Yorke, David Lynch at Book Soup, Thurston Moore, Colin Ferrell, Kathleen Turner, Robert Redford, Ryan Adams & Mandy Moore, tip basket cash, Ralph's, public libraries, Atwater Village, Pastoralia, San Francisco, Salsalito, Big Sur, Arclight Cinema, Angry Birds, Ren Faire, Medieval Times, Shin ramen, carbohydrates, Thai food, pears, the Tilleys, pumpkin lattes, NARS blush, Cha Cha Lounge, meeting Tommy Pickles


safety pins & spikes

Ned was invited on facebook to attend a goth party at a venue in Hollywood tonight. He, joking heartily, said, "Wanna go to a goth party?" Whereas I replied, "You know what? I you should. It would be good for you. For an essay or scene or something. I'll do your make-up."

After the unexpected positivity, he was absolutely enthusiastic.

"Yes, I am going to go to this," he said, and when he texted his writing partner, Nick about it, sharing the fact that a mutual friend was hosting the event, Nick responded with a text saying: Ugh, I remember that girl, the worst fuck I've ever had in my life.

I told Ned not to mention Nick's name at the door.

Inspiration for Ned's goth look, I found from an old cache of pics from a 90's party I went to in 2007 with my good friend, Eric Todd.

Eric, a singer-songwriter Indie type, went as a goth creeper with hair gel, spiked sleeves and safety pins secured to the front of his black top that spelled out "kill yourself." He was inspired by the Crow.

Eric plays a mean "King of Carrot Flowers" on guitar 2010
This was before the safety pins that spelled out "kill yourself" '07

I went as a Seattle grunger '07

So Ned removed his glasses, his usual jeans and tee, donned black pants, a black top, a studded belt, and a gray scarf. I applied the same Shiseido mascara I was wearing, thick, a heavy dab of eyeliner, bright red lipstick from Benefit called "flirt alert," a few puffs of pale, white powder; I even arched and darkened his eyebrows, and by the time he was out the door, I have to admit, he looked like a sexy Transylvanian Count. I was impressed with my handy work.

Ned as his goth alter ego "Edison Price" 1/1/11

I stayed at home as not to distract from the project. It's now closing in on 1 am; he left the house before ten, so I can only assume he's having the time of his life. And I can't wait to hear about it.
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