Sunday, October 31, 2004

dear penelope,

the day is colorless without you.

well, well, well

so the reunion...

expectation fulfilled:

1) it was dark and unfortunately noisy.
2) it was small.
3) the senior video lives (why aren't there more pictures of me?)
4) no streamers or silver balloons, sigh with disappointment.
5) amused by guy with guitar playing in the corner, think, is it for us? or was he already there?
6) ask waiters if events like this freak them out. they say, yah, were watching. were taking notes. i believe this will end up as a short monologue or at the very least a comedy routine.

what happened:

1) deep breath up flight of long, long stairs. balanced with grace in high heels, later that evening took to slouching or casualing leaning against chairs, people, anything that would eleviate said foot crushing pressure. i lean i lean. i babble. i think, yes it's time for me to go.

2) that long island hit me a little fast. encouraged people to "sit down" and eat with me. (thanks wendy)

3) forgot 2 peoples names. i swear given time i would have remembered! jennifer says: nice try karen. (dammit, she used to hang out with a michelle) and well really doesn't she remind me of janine(?) gerafalo (yes, yes she does)

4) a girl threw up. that was bewildering and hilarious- looked ascance at the action unfolding... not repulsed. thought, there's a story there.

5) wondered at my risky top- i mean pink and brown horizontal stripes- what was i thinking-fashinada, possibly? daring, yes. will i wear it again? who can say...

6) note blonde bastard who belongs muscling on venice beach. note: he is not paul carlson. note later: he has taken off the name tag. party crashers? uh huh. not. cool.

7) take 37 pictures. i think this will be the wierdest scrapbook collection ever. a series of flash-photos- me on the left. victim: said curious, said captured in time on my right.

8) laugh to myself after i grab natalia and blind her with a flash. she blinked. she actually shook her head. the power i have amazes me. think later, for looks, LIGHT and OPEN would have been better for pics. think, at the 20 yr. we should have a photo booth.

8) surprised: two people blew me off- i think, what did i do to deserve that one? think: okay i know. but get over it. i mean 10 yrs. is 10 yrs. and that one guy in the corner, it's okay to be different now. you looked fantastic.

9) dismissed: one was ambivilant, another was a snob. think to self: self: i used to be friends with her in 1st grade. think: huh: i wonder why her parents hated me.

10) happily: did i mention, that in the very last months of my senior year a sort of bliss washed over me. and i looked at all these people and didn't hate them, didn't feel angst over the popular people or what could have been (as in i never learned french or took woodshop)- thought, this has been a good time. did not look back with regret. enjoyed all the people i talked to. think: these are cool people, laid back, chill people. and didn't they all look fantastic? yes. think: the fact that i grew up with half of them IS SOMETHING. mental note to cherish other people despite circumstance- after all, they have memories of you that you don't even remember. contemplate that. wish we had time to talk more. think about redemption. people can change. think, maybe throw up girl will one day change.

11) sadly: think of marginalized people. think: in such a small class, the outcasts were really the outcasts. shrug. think: i was an independent. how many can say they were: independent. think: am glad to be me and wish more people would have come. (more unscripted thought)

the script:

"so what do you do?"

"as in...?"


...well i'll be jobless in 2wks. but i. then i. chicago. 3 yrs. no single. yup single. is that your better half? good answer. congratulations. kids? wow. no. i feel 24. well school was a long time. it was infinite. good job. congratulations. that's fantastic. aw, you remember that? you rock. that was awesome. seriously? nu, uh. okay! cool. hey, let's get a pic.

internal dialogue: why do i keep bringing up the single part. novel, must write novel. look at those 2, they slimmed down. glamour! wow, still a bitch. she's nice. kim, stop shouting. shh. hey, i didn't get a pic, he's really nice. i don't like his wife. i can't believe they... cool. these people are really cool. is it hot in here? it's really loud. damn my feet hurt. why don't i stop talking.


(mean it. yah, you bet.)

sincerely yours,

Saturday, October 30, 2004

i hardly believe

that anyone in fast food enjoys their job. but maybe that is just me.

although, my friend sebastian did very much enjoy her job at mcdonald's while in college. all four years of it. but that was a college town. different circumstances, had to be.

had to be!

hmmm. might ponder possibilities of enjoying work on the front lines at grease huts of america. do love the food, myself. and customers can be enjoyable to interact with at times. hmmm.

Friday, October 29, 2004

cute shoes!

and cute top, outfit, etc. you must have dazzled, darling.

now, storytime?


Thursday, October 28, 2004

la shoes Posted by Hello

sassy xoxo Posted by Hello

the outfit Posted by Hello

dear marginalized

dear marginalized, know she loves her job. cuz she has a job. we're speaking from an elitist position- one that bears with a heavy degree that says, you need to do what your "worth"... its not like all low paying jobs suck ass- my does sometimes but that's not the point. although i understand your anti-corporate bias. did you know that the creators of taco bell and del taco are old college friends. yah. totally wierd, i know. and i forget that you have mc'ds experience. i can only say that "you" as we know it if you'd lived in another place wouldn't have ever worked there. we should ponder that. if i'd lived elsewhere...hmm. i don't want to think about it. anyway, the place where we have our shoot has got a way bad vibe. everyone walks around with the most dower (?) faces. and look actually upset by the fact that we're there. the building manager actually used the phrase "cuz, i can shut you all down in a word. if i need to."... uh yah, okay. (*W#@*#!*&^#. if we're shooting porn...well that would be something else. as it was we just had a refrigerator stuck in the hallway and the fire marshall didn't like that... and he's like uh blah blah blah i'm a dick. i'm going to call the building manager... blah blah blah. okay. next! my reunion.

mendie out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Dear Taco Bell,

Zesty Chicken Border Bowl?

Zesty Chicken Bor--

Zesty Chi--


You think that's funny, punk? Let me just tell you, this recent ad campaign of yours causes my blood pressure to rise the instant I see that pompous jerk of a customer's face as he tests the validity of Taco Bell's claim of making the NEW Zesty Chicken Border Bowl the moment AFTER you order.

Let me say at the outset that I myself love some Taco Bell. Not the chicken products, mind, due to a negative experience with poultry slime back in the late '90s. Perhaps it was just the pico sauce. Regardless, on many occasions I do find myself craving such food products as Soft Tacos, Double Deckers, Nachos Supreme, Crunchy Tacos, the 7-Layer Burrito, and mmmm, remember that too-brief promo for the 7-Layer Nachos? The guacamole and the crispy red tortilla strips? Now that was a nice one.

And your commercials, too: Generally, I don't mind them and sometimes, as in the instance of your recent campaign with the men standing back and shouting about "getting full." Or something like that--it's random, it's catchy, it's kinda fun.

But, this correlary to the main ad campain, this complement commercial with the Zesty Chicken Border Bowl: The pompous ass-clown customer, the perkily apologetic girlfriend who in real life would never date such an ass-clown, and most importantly, the HARASSED TACO BELL EMPLOYEE--it is not working for me. Why, because the pompous ass-clown is essentially just fucking with the Taco Bell employee to see if he will really start making the border bowl the instant after the order was placed and not a second before.

And that Taco Bell employee is a human being.

He is a hired actor, yes, playing the part of a Taco Bell employee--one who takes his job entirely too seriously, which is a little dorky, yes, and untrue-to-life. But for all intensive purposes what this commercial does is:

Reinforce this sick food chain, pecking order, high-and-mighty BULL that threads through our society.

Believe it or not, the second they leave the building, the people who work at Taco Bell behind the counter more than likely do not give a flying fart about their job. (Even if they have brought home some of the food to eat. Ha. Sorrry.)

They are people, not toys to wind up and set down on the floor to watch go.

Just, have some respect.

It's just like the UPS commercial where the shiny lady in her 30s is just so happy to be serving the 40-ish man in his business suit. Because it is her job and she loves it!!!!

Do you love it?

Not Loving It

P.S. Are you really "making" that NEW Zesty Chicken Border Bowl the instant after a person orders one? Or just assembling it with pre-cooked items like all the other tacos....Hmmm, yeah. I thought so.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

redux de job.

"hope your job isn't too jobby. and that you aren't lost in the depths!"

my dear penelope.
i am in fact lost in the depths. clearly. i have no underwear. i need to do laundry and i'm already planning on ditching the 730am call. what the fuck. 730 am. i got off at 814pm. everyone in LA flips out when it rains. and so that 915 arrival at home wasn't surprising. now scrubs is on. so i have to watch that and then laundry. laundry must occur. yes. um... wait. what was i talking about?

uh... SVU?


oh right! there are many unanswered questions. unfortunately they'll have to wait till thursday, no sorry i meant saturday. i was hoping maybe if i get off early this week then... and i was going to tell you about this guy getting a ticket and crashing his car. but it wasn't him it was this chick on a motor bike and then there's the whole reunion thing. i mean... god. this loyal communicator can't communicate if they're working the whole waking day... which frankly makes me question the "industry". hmm. lets think about it. so much to tell. so little time to create.

i weep for me. (no time now. maybe later.)


Saturday, October 23, 2004

penelope lives!

it's true, people. this week was not the best week for sanity and time. alas, but it wasn't a bad week. two days ago was S's b-day and he turned 33. i made a meal and immediately after felt like death? but i swear it could not have been the meal itself, because these things take time to process, no? i blame the china buffet take-out purchased for lunch. the dinner meal was tres superb, if i do say so myself. beef tenderloin in a mushroom red-wine sauce, french bread, and a side of spaghetti squash, mmmm.

the dogs are barking like murderers, now.

anyway, arrived at work yesterday and felt vomitous and dizzy. could only manage about an hour and a half before the idea of home took over. spent the whole day in pj's on the couch with hair awry, looking and feeling a little like death. but nothing major, in the end--fell asleep for the second night in a row at 9:30 pm, but this morning, ah glorious saturday, was able to sleep until after 10:00 am. niiiice. and magically i feel all better. i think the lethargy needed to happen, man.

watched the first three hours of "angels in america" just to see what all those oscars were about. and i see now, i see. the next three hours will come soon via netflix...anyway, right after finishing these three hours of "a.i.a.," went to check mail and found another ad for our state senator, whom i've already decided to vote for anyway, based on her alleged priorities. and this ad was all, "candidate x wishes to be first openly gay candidate in the senate." and i was all, "cool, gives me another reason to vote for her, right?" well then i realized that duh, the ad was from the opposite camp and this was a smear. and ugly, ridiculous, righteous smear from the Other Side--well it's pretty much set in stone that i'm voting for her now. ugh. feeling of vomitous-ness washed right over me again as i read through. the South, the South.


"lost": but yes, we have to forgive the coffin-smashing because of this episode's overall brilliance and creepiness. stand up, jack, oh yes. i feel like the series is really beginning to gel...but not like magellan. why, because that dr. scholl's commercial is really the stupidest ever.

up next: mendacious reunion.

didnt i tell you

there'd be a vision quest on LOST. sure there were those creepy dolls and that coffin- which by the way would not be empty or able to be broken into tiny bits by one hot MF. but i guess i'm okay with that.

i have to work today.
today is also reunion day.

i can't say where penelope is either. has anyone seen her lately? if so please feel free to email me or comment and give me possible clues as to her whereabouts. i'm fine with treasure hunts and stuff but i don't know how particularly good i am with brain teasers, so don't make it too hard.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

bliss Posted by Hello

continuity Posted by Hello

at Posted by Hello

the 25 a day job

"laguna beach" is really distracting me right otherwise i might tell you about the job. i like it for the most part. art production- scenic, props- set dress sucks, props also sucks, scenic sometimes suck especially when using drippy enamel paint- i'm not really sure how much i like continuity either. huh.

i have 2 wks left.
(i know this was substandard.
i apologize.
i don't normally post in the morning.
you can see the problem.
now, made is on...
so i'll rethink this whole thing and get back to you later tonight.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


mendacious says:

i feel like we're always stuck with that inherent fear. that we won't return to what we love because of apathy or disgust or because we fail to lead dramatic or destructive or chaotic enough lives. and god sometimes nothing is happening anywhere. but let's keep in mind time is deceptive. you feel like months go by and you're lost and could it be more than a phase, more than me being burnt out...can't we find the balance btw spew and when "inspiration" strikes. but if it doesn't start here in the small things than where does it start. and really when non-fiction fails to appeal work with invention. polor bears for instance on a desert island...internal spaces that involve daisies with titles like "intertia land"... a place where honey buns exist and housewifes stabbing cakes... well anyway i was going to say something about characters and being the puppet master but my pinky and index finger are taped together on the right hand so i keep hitting the wrong keys. i was washing a glass and didn't realize it was broken. and a quarter inch slice down and some blood later... i'm a dumbass, and who wouldve thought that yesterday this would have happened.

that's the beauty and the horror of being an artist-- having to reconcile with time and circumstance. (cuz its all about artists)

so its not so much about the wedding or the 25$ a day job- its what's behind it, behind the routine and the place where we imagine ourselves to be.

nevertheless i will be talking about the 25$ a day job tomorror. till then. mon amis.

despair (mock, of course)

oh my god, she thinks, as she walks to her work--i am no longer A Writer. really, she does not mean to harp on the subject, but it may very well be true, if even for just a few Very Bad Moments in life. a phase, maybe. but there is a large and real fear looming in those clouds up there: the fear of the phase turning into a lifestyle, a new way a being, a bad habit that you never will quit.
and what are you without writing, without using This Something that was given to you like a gift? just another average girl with average looks that no ever sees or hears as someone with Something to Say. another jerk wearing Old Navy clothes, walking down the street. an entity of little or no definition.
it is your voice and no one else's.
she admits there are semi-regular Projects, Occasions, where she takes the time to write: for instance, here in Ivy Land. and then there is the script over which she and mendacious toil. so it is not really the lack of projects, then, or the fact that she is not one of those writers who Must Write Every Day or Die (what is that all about, anyway?). though she wishes she had some of that in her, just a little bit. she wishes she would feel that burning urge to write her own stories for instance, just a little bit.
it is not the lack of time to write. it might be the lack of energy. the plethora of excuses. or some ugly combo of all three.
but penelope is thinking with Deep Dismay this morning that it may just a problem of larger proportions. a very heart-sinking problem. the Lack of Inspiration. is she, as she most feared in all those doom-like days leading to the Final Graduation, now boring?
even when out being social, what is there to say, much less write about? talk about the job? eh. talk about the wedding plans? eh. there's just not enough drama in either world to make a good story.
or worse: the real horror and horror! what penelope fears most and the cause of this blog: has she lost her eye?
because life is good, as previously established--there are always problems, a little drama here and there. enough to make life interesting but not unbearable. 
what is always important, what will always be important, is The Eye.
my eye, my eye! i have to find my eye!
should i look in the couch cushions?
i think i may just need a big shake-up of my world.
sandier pastures, baby, i am telling you.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

whose reunion

yah, whateva' it's mine. I'm not complaining see? it's just you know reunion time. and i think, i don't know these people... but then i think, wait- i spent k-12 with half of them. you think i might give that a little credit. not that i remember much of k-12 but really... I am a voyuer, end of story.

things i didn't accomplish before the 10 yr:

1)lose 100 lbs. (dammit, next year for sure)
2)write long awaited novel (dammit, maybe before the 20 yr)
3)enter into long-term relationship (wait who are we kidding here? i said @ 30. right?)

things i expected:

1)debt (lots)
2)ambiguous and unknown job (ie. future and therefore indeterminte. ie. not present tense.)
3)to be educated (come on phd. that's only if i'm bored and am tired of making minimum payments per the results of 1 and 3 and bcs i don't have #2.)

things i didn't expect:
1)out-fit anxiety (encompassing: shoes, hair, nails, whether to wear chord jacket or go for something else. what about earrings? whose performance is this anyway?! like a one night only event, and i'm paying to preform and the alcohol isn't even included!)
2)that- sucks.

things i always pictured in my reunion scenarios:
1)john cusak with post-it-notes
2)streamers (blue and white ones ala peggy sue got married, also her silver dress and balloons. lots of balloons. also silver.)
3)relative darkness with circular tables and crowds of people
4)blown up pictures of random people or at the very least our senior video

things i know will be at my reunion:
1)none of the above
2)think small
3)hopefully dark
4)the next day cop-out picnic which i won't be attending due to the following reasons:
a) it's out in the OPEN
b) it's LIGHT outside
c) i'm picturing ugly blanket cliques and splintery tables
d) there's going to be "families"
e) you have to bring your own lunch?
f) did i mention open and light outside? also banners or streamers in that context just can't abide.

so check in next week to hear what i have to say about it. and as per some of my friends suggestions, you can always come and try to crash it- causing a scene, pretend to be an ambiguous but outraged lover, or a money grubbing bastard seeking unspecified amounts of money... yah man. yah. i can only hope for that kind of drama. guns anyone? or maybe a really good game of lazer tag. that's just sick but i like it. a fog machine might make it EVEN better.

m- oUT.

note the pumpkin Posted by Hello

team america, continued

Elaborate, mendacious? I require a more complete movie review when waking up on a Sunday morning.


Saturday, October 16, 2004

team america

matt stone and trey parker are my heros. i'm serious. they fucking rock.

Friday, October 15, 2004

penelope's evening breaks down

4:30 PM: Penelope will leave from work, more or less dashing to her car, which is parked on the second level, about halfway up the slope, in the parking deck. The warm-glowiness of Ah, It is Friday will spread over shoulders.
4:45 PM: Will be still entrenched in inane local rush-hour traffic, refraining from any cursing. Because it is Friday. And we are grooving to The Shins.
5:00 PM: May be still entrenched in inane local rush-hour traffic where people DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DRIVE, but also still refraining from any cursing. Because it is Friday. And we are on our way to a picnic. And if you don't find the GAS PEDAL SOMETIME TODAY, well--no, nothing. Because it is Friday.
5:07 PM to approximately 6:30 PM: Penelope will eat free pickles. Oh, and some hot dogs, hamburgers, maybe some potato chips. We'll see what they got. It's an office picnic, for her guy's office. Which he hates. But that is another story. (And it is the office he hates, not the actual people, just to be clear. The people are sorta cool, so far.)
6:30 PM: On her way home, only one-beer tipsy. Because Penelope is Substance Sensitive, but also a Responsible Driver. Even in traffic only moving 25 miles per hour. Songs about being on one's way home play in mind, over The Shins: Simon & Garfunkel, some Enya maybe?
6:50 PM: Home. Really. It's true! Say hi to doggies.
7:00 PM: Work-outfit-to-pajama transformation.
7:02 PM: Couch awaits, but okay doggies, we'll play. Just to calm you down a bit.
7:20 PM: Couch! Finish watching America's Top Model, DVR'd* from yesterday afternoon. Because we don't get UPN in these parts, but CBS is kind enough to replay certain shows. But let's not talk about Amish in the City, because we completely missed that.
8:00 PM: Watch Joan of Arcadia, which is really, really smart and funny and good. It is no Touched by an Angel. It is not Pax. It appeals to this target 26-year-old, female audience.
8:59 PM: Mop up inevitable tears from Joan of Arcadia. Because it is SO. GOOD. Penny means it.
9:00 PM: Watch Degrassi: The Next Generation, new episode. But is it really new, or just new to the US and old hat to the Canadians? Hmmm. Anyway, DVR'd at 8:00 PM while watching J.o.A., and so here it is.
9:31 PM: Philosophical Crisis of Sorts. 
What to do, what to do? Read Alice Hoffman book, watch more TV, catch up on all unread New Yorkers, pick a movie...write? Ha. Hmmm, let me ponder...let me wander 'round.
Here, ladies and gentleman, is where True Lethargy ensues. But the question is, if Penelope sits here and plans this evening out, even going so far as to blog it in Ivy Land, does the Planned Lethargy qualify as Legitimate Lethargy? That is, will she wake up feeling as though real time and effort was spent Doing Nothing? Because that, to be frank, is the goal. Some significant amount of time somewhere in this weekend where nothing of consequence is done and no bad feelings are experienced for doing so: In fact, bad feelings would be experienced only if it wasn't done.
These weekends are flying by, and it could be The Wedding Countdown, or it could be just the nature of this life and how break-neckingly fast it moves, particularly when times are good. Because let's face it: despite all these stresses and that stubborn thread of un-placeable, un-blameable melancholy, life overall right now is pretty darn good. (See: "Mantra" below.) The problem only comes when the weekend goes by so fast, filled with so many Things to be Accomplished, or even filled with great activities and people that are a whole lot of fun--it is the speed. And the lack of Down Time.
When life gets this hectic, I guess it is inevitable that Down Time must be a Scheduled Task. And so if accomplished correctly, it does have some value and will ideally make the blur of this passing weekend not quite so blurry.
But oh for those bouts of Down Time that just happen, and happen often. They are like naps on the couch while watching a movie or a show: Because you didn't plan it, because you weren't asking for it, because you weren't insisting upon it, that sleep is so much more deep.
10:02 PM, 10:10 PM, 11:36 PM, and all the other minutes in-between: Stone Phillips? Maybe. No. A new idea. Let's leave it undecided.
*Penelope and Time Warner Cable's answer to TiVo. And it totally rocks.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

camp sketches Posted by Hello


have derailed vehicle. please advise.

Mantra: Penelope Responds

Even in a state of job-having, Penelope needs a mantra, and it is this:
C'est la vie.
Whatever will be, will be.
You really, really like TV.
No, seriously.
Whatever is meant to happen, will.
And you really do believe that.
Never stop dreaming of greener, or perhaps sandier, pastures.
You ARE a writer. You are.
You will always BE a writer. You will.
Don't forget what you have. Think of Haiti.
So what if you're already starting to sound like A Mom.
No worries, it's all good--wait, those are someone else's words.
You have your own words.
Your own style.
Your own flair.
And two big dogs!
Which is a really big deal, because you used to be afraid of dogs.
That says something.
You're continually making an effort to improve: Health, wealth, well-being, outlook.
That effort is good, and should not stop.
Despite any slumps.
A thought to make your heart lift: Nothing lasts forever.
A thought to make your heart twist: Nothing lasts forever.
Life is short.
Life is good.
And wherever you live, Al Roker will always introduce the local weather with,
"Here's what's happening in your neck of the woods."
Hey, she said she was a writer, not a poet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

along the line

journey midpoint Posted by Hello

when i was just a little girl,as we all were when we were just a little something,I got taken by the hand.

and it's like now, I'm being pulled around where I don't want to go, but i can't object, bcs i have no will of my own, or more-over that i don't have anything better to do. and now it's like- I'm reading the only novel that I think might be good, so despite some slow passages I still have to see what happens. and bcs i'm so distracted I'm wandering dangerously close to a cliff, or on coming motorist, or an old lady with a mean dog or a thicket of gangsters and really maybe just a big crack in the sidewalk. it doesn't matter, because all i'm thinking is, i have to finish it.

(read aloud. sound- forceful. serious and slightly on the edge of sarcasm and despair.)

DAY 3 (DAY 4 doesn't come)
7:15AM- up. awake. on-line. breakfast.
7:45AM- on the road.
8:30AM- lost. appear to be trapped in some sort of nexis.

8:42AM- arrive at St. Vincent's. A huge thrift store in the middle of downtown LA. I call L and they are BOTH running late. I am on my own. There are people fervantly searching through huge boxes. I climb over mounds of clothes, intimidated by their singular focus. (the people not the mounds) I see a Jack Wagner LP and a John Denver LP. (seriously tempted). Syndey Sheldon lies at my feet. I suddenly feel obsessed with phones, as well as a red desk and a leather couch. I think, damn that's cheap. I need to remember this place. I ponder used pianos.

11:00AM- downtown LA. pass by Bradbury Building. Ross Cutlery and Grand Central Market. Also Flower Market. FIND the Fabric District. Park car for $3 all day. Only have a $100. Man can't break $100. Takes my keys. Embark on fruitless search with R to find 3 king size satiny quilted bed spreads for less than $100 in either dark dark navy, black or charcoal. Stop for a diet coke at El Pollo Loco. R buys. He gets fries. We go to Starbucks across the street and sit there instead. We read "The Arts" section of the LA Times. We see that writers are finally getting some good faith agreement power with the studios. This makes me smile. We watch a younger man at the corner, next to El Pollo, blow bubbles at passerbys, attempting to sell this bubble blowing wonder-machine. No one is buying. Just 2 feet away is a thin and slightly unkempt man begging- for what, I don't know. When we crossed the street I ignored him both times. The man with the bubble blowing wonder machine and the begging man seem to have a strange and easy peace, both tired and neither willing to concede. More bubbles. I wish i had a camera.

12:ishPM- we find "what will do". not a quilt. we call for approval. I think, I have to remember to come here again sometime. I think, maybe one day I'll need cheap fabric.

12:45- i take R to Lake Hollywood. The brown haze interferes with the majesty of our once emergency drinking water. Yesterday was glorious.

12:52- enter the backside of Universal Studios. Accidently take R's license along with my own. Discover this at 3:30. Not impressed despite wanting to be. Not by his license but by the Prop Dept. I don't know if in a past life I used to do this-- or like this deja vu moment i had Monday... where, L asks me, have you been here before? and i look, trying to remember something... and then later when she gives me a # to call I turn and look at this case of costume jewelry and right when I think "I've been here before", the phone call goes through to a fax machine, as if confirming the fact that I have in fact been here before, but moreover, have already experienced THIS before. It was a strong impression. I am left unsettled. It will last ALL week.

1-3:30- hungry. pissed off. unimpressed. i furrow my brow. colin f. with a mustache-ugh!. L says, look she's furrowing her brow. i say, reading about colin does that to people. (Have you killed yourself yet and skimmed a head) me. too. yes me too.) but i have to go on. bcs i was there.

3:30-5:00 eat togos in car. meet a girl named Sarah who works at nights of neon. she gives us a deal. i think, cool. she tells me, everyone is working low-budget these days. she says, gone are the days of the $60,000 lights, neon and signage deals. i think, maybe those days will return. I think this Neon, is worth more than me. I think a warehouse full of lit neon is both really loud and really cool. Makes me think, I should be here when it's dark and wearing roller skates-- or maybe blowing bubbles.

6:00- brother comes in from Minnasota. Mom comes home from hospital. We get in his rental mini-van. its grey. I'm wearing my new beige courdoroy jacket. We eat at Tommy's Burgers. We watch south park. he leaves. I may or may not see him for months. he says, mom, if you talk to D tell her not to despair. I think, her husband is inevitably dying- he has been dying for 4 years of colon cancer. I think, when is she going to face this. I think she is trapped in despair. it is inoperable like his cancer. my mom says something cliche like, well you know what they say about a horse- i say, you can lead it to water. she says, you can't make it drink.

7:30- mom leaves to visit dad in hospital. apparently thyroids grow? this one has been growing for YEARS. the surgeon asks, has he been putting this off? Apparently, thyroids are supposed to be 3cm. my dad's was 13cm and spread from his chin to his chest cavity. After 3 hours they could only get half out. Next month maybe the rest... She shows mom a poloroid of the thyroid. I say, did you get to keep it. She says, no. It goes in the medical file. I think, she should have at least made doubles.

8PM- lOST is on.

INDETERMINITE TIME: mom is not yet home. i've run all out of pickles.

dear mr. smithee,

thank you for your thoughtful letter re: "build your very own defense mechanism." we at the pepper sauce store always appreciate any sort of feedback from our clients, as it helps us to feel better about ourselves or, in the case your letter, inspires us to seriously reevaluate why it is we are even bothering to get out of bed in the morning.

to show our appreciation, we will be sending you coupons for insubstantial discounts on pepper sauce, as well as free tokens to use at your local chuck e. cheese. be sure to visit both the ball crawl and the mouse house, as they will make you feel like a kid again.

as for your concerns regarding the "product," which is not so much a product but a "project," i'm afraid i myself cannot help you. i can, however, forward your issues to the Suggestion Box Department, where our chief Suggestion Box Department Sorter will promptly cut the paper up into little shapes and mod-podge them artfully to the wall.

in the meantime, visualize this: you are happy, smiling, eating a lollipop. don't worry about how you paid for the lollipop, just eat away. happy, smiling. there are no clouds in the sky, unless you like clouds, in which case--poof, clouds. you have no worries about petty things like How to Earn an Income, and Your Value in Society, and the Legitimacy of Yourself as an Artist.

you are alan smithee, and you love lollipops, and in the manner of the Greatest American Hero you are, that's right, walking on air.

believe or not, there you are: weightless.

your Customer Care Technician

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

hey whoa,

Hey whoa,

Mendacious is uncomfortable with weightlessness. Mendacious wants to know who Promo-whatshisname is.

You know what- it doesn't matter. I don't want to talk about it. I have to agree that you know positive like internal dialogue is the way to go.

My semi-employed i might as well be jobless MANTRA:

I don't care.
Fuck it.
It'll work out.
The money will come from somewhere.
God does provide.
I'm sure I'll get a good paying job when I come back.
One of those leads will pan out.
I'll not be stuck in the mudwallow forever.
I'll keep on the job hunt.
The connections will serve me later.
A rich husband is on his way.
It's all about the learning process.
I'm glad I have supportive parents.
I'd settle for A husband of anykind.
I can't get what I want 100% of the time.
This faminine is probably good for me anyway.
Then there's the wedding to think about.
You have to start somewhere.
Wish it wasn't in the pit of hell.
I could go on and on...let's see.

I'm weightless.
I'm weightless.
I'm weightless.

dear manufacturer

I'd like to register my dissatisfaction with the "build your very own defense mechanism". No directions were included, and I'm having trouble, perception wise, with weightlessness. Can you perhaps suggest some visualization exercises or mantras? Like maybe Prometheus unchained opposed to vultures picking out his entrails?


Alan Smithee

the answer is in this little book

how to build your very own defense mechanism:

so if you don't have a job or hate the one you have--the fact of it, the simple time-and-life-sucking fact of it--, you might find yourself diminishing in your mind the importance of said career and/or money-making situation.

there is no reality, only perception, says dr. phil, and so the fact that you don't have a job or hate your job or either way are always looking for a new job only acquires heavy weight if you assign it that weight.

if you assign it a lesser weight, or best of all a happily oblivious weightlessness, then your stress level about the No-Job or the Bad Job therefore decreases, diminishes, and then is gone.

bye bye.
okay, bye bye now.

--a deep thought brought to you by penelope

Sunday, October 10, 2004


clearly this title belongs to penelope but mendacious has more to say. jalepeno fingers is kind of like inhaling pepper through your nose or thinking, yes, bleach and ammonia together are harmless. but honestly i never would have thought- jalepeno = finger burning, blindness and firey hot death. like deep dark wide abyss. some things should carry warning labels. like apples have those little labels i love to peel off... and stick onto various things, jalepeno label= caution, contents are hot, may cause blindness or enlightment-> depending on if you have a helpful but enigmatic spirit guide or an evil kung fu master.

the best of the weekend:

Shaun of the Dead-> commentary on the comatose nature of the post- 20'something, with hi-larity and hi-drama. it's like deep and if you think about it, totally revelatory.

Poirot-> on A&E. how can you not love a french man solving murders, saving the heiress so she can marry the good doctor who's been secretly in love with her all these years, and she gets to collect her fortune.

Planting snap-dragons.

Feeding a white pigeon in dappled light, atop a fountain. (the bird, not i)

Bargained my way to a beautiful but itchy new sweater and a courdory jacket.

A phone call about a potential job, an email about another job lead. And a meeting involving my portfolio with said potential 3 wk job.

Purchasing tickets to New York and North Carolina.

The possibility of multiple new outfits and maybe, a way to pay for them.

-->I could go on and on bcs i've had THAT MUCH iced-tea.

nope, nevermind, a sherlock holmes mystery is on, that or miss congeniality. i can't decide.

sincerely, mendacious.

(ps. mom says she was cutting a pepper once when her finger started to burn, so she put her finger in her mouth to stop the burning. clever i say. clever.)

no screens for the window

seriously, it was like that when i got there. dust, animal hair, general disorder- in that had it not all been un-disordered i could at least point out a cocked lampshade or a maimed couch cover. blurs...

and then just like that: things are looking up, and the animal hair doesn't bother you because you have allergy pills now. you buy "Dust-off", abusing it to just blow the layers elsewhere or onto the floor, specifically. Forget the Pledge wipes you have under the sink. Youre, what's the word, compensating... and then you think about that saying, "Your room is proportionate to the state of your mind." With that, the pile of laundry is taking on a whole new meaning. (I won't say which one.) the spider in the corner you've let live bcs it collects flies bcs you leave your window open bcs you can't not have that warm night/cool morning breeze- with clarity makes you think maybe i know mercy after all, or ambivalence, and then when you vacuum the spiders up bcs it's just how things should be- makes you feel crueler than you ought to be. and then a whole essay on spiders issues from your mind. (i can't be bothered to write it) and webs and mucks every-thing up. so you decide to damn the saying and think about something other than nature- maybe paint the walls a dusty plum or learn woodworking.

you watch tv, and think possibly- this is safer instead.



from the desk of penelope:

before i comment on the relativity of Loserdom, let me first say that my hands are burning with freshly cut jalapeno. though i have scrubbed them with baking soda, there it is, tingling away, and i must say i can't wait until i take out my contact lenses this evening. the voice of Alton Brown echoes in my head, telling the story of the freshly-cut jalapenos, the burning hands, and why it is he can now only wear glasses.

personally, i believe it is harder to write when one has nothing to do, "nothing" in this instance referring to the state of being temporarily without work. everything, in fact, can easily become insurmountable, as the days stretch ahead of a person filled with perhaps too much possibility. grocery store trips: what to buy? brushing one's teeth: what kind of toothpaste to use, and should the event occur before or after i drink a cup of coffee? finding a new job: what? where? how? the latter task, of course, not only contains the most possibility, but also the most pressure and fear. here Dr. Phil's voice enters into the brain with: "oh, you can a job, son. just go in and start talking!" to which my own voice responds, "no, Dr. Phil. you can just start talking." it is not that easy.

and if by loser, one means an artist struggling to find one's Right Path in life, in the world, in a city built upon the entertainment industry, well then how is it wrong to watch television for a few weeks straight. i did this for months in graduate school with Important Projects like a thesis hanging over my head, and i am not all ashamed. i wrote my entire exit exam, for instance, while watching a Nick and Jessica marathon. and i happened to pass with flying colors. TV can be inspiring, or provocative, or just a time-sucker, it's true. but maybe in certain instances it is also a Background Soundtrack of sorts to a turning mind.

i will defend TV to the death. of course it's not all positive. but you must never ignore the beauty and complexity of this Great Social Experiment.

sometimes i like to pretend i'm smart.

or that there is no pepper on my skin.

items purchased at Target today:
1. large bag Halloween candy, includes Whoppers, Heath Bars, Almond Joy, Reese's PB cups
2. makeup with which to play Makeup Game: shimmery opal powder stuff for eyes, waterproof mascara, glidey eyeliner, body glitter, shimmery eye stuff in Daylight Glow colors: can just use one color or swirl together all
3. contact lens solution
4. frozen meals
5. yogurt

items not purchased at Target today:
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. pumpkin spice candle
3. Halloween headbands that would torture the dogs but delight the humans: probably would have gone with scarecrow and frankenstein. or halo and devil ears. or the wedding veil!

now will penelope come through and write her scene. Magic 8 Ball says, "Better not tell you now."

if only she wrote on the sly at work, fiendishly and with fervor, like it were this bad habit she just couldn't kick.

Thursday, October 7, 2004

super-fantastic: malaise of the intellectual

so mendacious says:

hey penelope. hey imaginary readers.

i think i'm lost- tan but lost, and i'm getting sick of water and sunflower seeds for sustenance (and i'm not losing any weight)...with plenty of polar bears but no matthew fox. that about sums it up.

i don't want to "just" respond for the sake of ease but i will say this: (i am a jobless loser who still can't write even though she has nothing to do.) here's the thing-> i need a job. i feel guilty about not having a job. there's brief moments where i capitalize on this enormous freedom of time and advantage. but i fall into an abyss of "i should be" as quick as you might be strolling through the garden and then slip into shit. not cool. not pleasant. and no way to shake the smell and stink- of not thriving- off of you.

emoting makes me feel better.

how-to-thrive: be in a place where you're not treading water constantly to stay afloat while waiting for the life raft to come or the sharks to eat you. but we all have to tread water. how do we multi-task then. i think that's the question. how do we thrive... like collecting coconuts and getting a tan. or reading a book and jazzercizing at the same time (even though it makes me dizzy). . .so get over it, realize discipline sucks,and watch out for land mines.

1-"charlie" will save me from a dreaded tropical disease.
2-the polar bears will have a mysterious respect for me, elevating me to "shaman" or "goddess" ie. one who tames bears.
3-learn french from stupid blonde before she either procreates or gets eaten by said bears.
4-watch for planes, pirate ships...
5-go on hikes into the jungle for days (make it as vague and mysterious as possible), mutter "the horror" "the horror" to the survivors you don't like.
6-while on hike spend time writing in secret journal- so that when you do get rescued it'll be published as either the ravings of a lunatic or the genius of a desperate and passionate survivor.
7-either way: you'll be famous.

thanks, and have a great day!

penelope thoughts:

so what it is is that i have this job that pays the bills, and that was all it was ever supposed to be, see, this Something that Paid the Bills. and in the meantime, i am Writer. Always Writer. it took months to find this job, and i'll be honest, every day i am thanking my proverbial lucky stars that i have the thing. and it is not so bad, this environ, other than the fact that it pays approximately three dollars an hour more than i made ten years ago at my first job ever, at mcdonald's, before graduating not only from high school but college and then graduate school as well.


but i am okay with that, really, because in this town that is something--believe me, that is something. even though it barely does pay the bills, which was the original goal, there is some money leftover after the rent to shop at Target, which is all i ever really wanted. dear proverbial lucky stars.

at this job, there are fun people and free bagels for all on fridays. now that i have got the hang of things, too, can more-or-less successfully coordinate all the perky phone answering and file-pulling and sorting through of data, et cetera, it is mindless enough so that In Theory, at the end of the day enough energy has been reserved, particularly in the Creative Realm, so that i might write. and there is time, let's be honest there is time.

but can i tell you how much easier it is to catch up on the digitally recorded television shows, like gilmore girls and scrubs and survivor (and now lost!) rather than to sit at another desk looking at another computer screen and writing down these words. and what about dinner? have i mentioned i love to cook. cooking takes time, even when planning and executing a relatively simple meal--the shopping, the chopping, the watching and screaming while a pan burst into flames. it is all very hard.

and yet i know that if i do not write, the weight of that lousy job in Customer Service (motto: Because I Care!) increases philosophically and metaphorically and all of that, and here i am feeling worse. not only is nothing written, not only am i not executing that so-called Career that is supposed to be a given next to this Job that Pays the Bills, but i have all this pent up malaise and inspiration and defeatism wrapped up in a little ball that would so easily be unraveled if i would only go back to this computer, this one here at home and, diligently avoiding the new site showcasing Crate & Barrel's new outlet store (who knew such a thing existed!), return to the page.

that is all.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Part I

mendacious: okay so what do we want to say

penelope: let's say something about how completely illogical it is to NOT write....

mendacious: let's say something about how we'll wither and die if we don't write

penelope: how it's so easy to come up with every excuse under the sun, like, as phyllis moore would say, polishing the chrome on the refrigerator...

mendacious: or watching every tivo'd episode of survivor

penelope: and how it's stupid, just plain stupid, because you're going to wither up and die if you don't, and in the meantime, you could be putting the energy of whatever's happening in your life into your feel better afterward, you know the payoffs, you know the punishment, yet, there is no writing, not usually.


penelope: yes, exactly. like that weekend i watched all of survivor borneo. that was a little sick. but i liked it.