Saturday, April 29, 2006

delete your link

The "Convincing John" blog has been erased due to lack of interest.
What can I say, that puppet was a tyrant.
So, go ahead and nix the link--thanks to all who had one, and everyone who did read.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Suggestion Box

Yesterday while out shopping at World Market, my friend Erin convinced me that purchasing a bottle of Voss Water would be a fantastic idea. It's $1.99 and comes in a heavy glass bottle. It's artesian water from Norway. Wouldn't it be worth it, just to try it once? I hedged and backed away from the display. "I can't justify it," I said. Erin said, "But I can." And she bought two. Love Erin, my former Verizon Wireless coworker and fellow Pisces fish.

So my question for suggestions is, what to do with the bottle? Because it is ever-so-fabulous and must be saved, displayed, and somehow artistically employed. (And need I say, don't be dirty or rude.)

P.S. The water was tasty--might have been better if cold? But henceforth I'm sticking with the good ole water that comes right out of our refrigerator door. $1.99!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

She Wore Red

The sign on the door said, "Welcome to Fabulous Sin City". I thought, oh, dear God, what am I doing here?

But anything that gives you license to wear rhinstones, I say, why not? It was a black and white semi-formal event. Pre-Chicago-MFA days I was always running around town going to galas and clubs and Parties, events where I could meticulously craft an outfit, but since then my connections have tempered or dulled- into a toxic combination of hermitage and I'm only almost 30. So having nary a job or funds, more critically, to do anything about anything, let alone celebrate my birthday in style, I have to live vicariously. The outfit ensamblage (a top)for this event alone maxed a credit card and that's without a manicure and new shoes. DamnIT. Social events are taxing.

Things like this are always tricky too- it's that terrifying "unknown" on oneside and conjecture on the other- of: I don't know anyone and what the hell am I in for really? Her people are not my people, but still, there's that nagging that I should be adventurous and celebrate somebody's birthday in style, so why not hers. And then the next question is why black/white? If I were dabbling in the upper classes I would think there might be a legitimate reason, but lingering as most of us are in the abyss of the middle class, it had to be something else.

I was met at the door by the lady herself, gregarious, and wearing red- and practically nothing else- if you take my meaning. Sin City, indeed.

She says, I didn't think you'd come. I knew she (Lucy Liu) would come, but I didn't think you would come. I'm so glad you came.

To preface my trip down the rabbit hole, SWR and I have known each other since- practically kindergarten. I know her mom, as many run-ins at Costco will attest, and we went to school k-12. Alas, she was always, and I stress always popular- From even 4th grade I remember a vague interest in who she was dating, what was going on, like a prime reality tv experience. Into HighSchool and her cheerleading self, it didn't change. I had the oblivious ability to be personable to all social strata and so when I met her again at the 10year reunion- she let out a belting MENDACIOUS!- and I smiled with a familiarity that one has with long lost friends, drinking buddies, and distant cousins. I had dinner with her sometime after and she's made an attempt since to include me- that I can't snub. The quote that tipifies her relation to me was, "in high school i didn't understand you," which leads me to believe that perhaps she gets me now.

SO when the invitation came in the MAIL and the evite arrived later how could I possibly refuse- not only for the social excavation, but because we all need to party and meet new people. I dressed in black, put on some jewels (which were raved about by the way!) and arrived fashionably late. The only major hesitation was that some other people from high school were going to be there and then there's that reunion type awkward tension of running into people you have nothing to say to:

Run in #1: (Brunette, 5'5. Blue eyeshadow, straight brown hair.) She saw me as I came in and fled outside. (The girl at the reunion who puked all over the floor.) I can't decide if she really has a distaste for me or she's shy... SWR's mom pointed out that she was there- mom has no idea that the social circle of SWR did not on any regular basis include me. But to Brunette's credit she came up and gave me a polite hug and ran away again- later on my 3rd drink i told her she had a nice skirt, she said, oh thanks- fled, and i kept mixing my rum and coke.

Run in #2: This girl was always a bit quirky- but I loved her at video parties I threw and all nighters. Post highschool i dropped the ball on correspondance, at least i'm pretty sure- then she blew me off at the reunion, which you know puzzled me- cuz who blows me off? And I called her on it by saying, oh and I thought you were avoiding me all night. Escape. Escape. Escape. Think Lane (her family specifically) on GG meets just a wee dash of Kirk with oddly the now beauty and possible social grace of Lucy Liu. She explained her life in 10yrs like she shouldve at the reunion- and then -- explained her departure from Christianity to Metaphysics back to Christianity and now back to Metaphysics. Did I know my Rising Sign, Moon- What house is everything in? Hmm. I don't know. She literally turned and walked away from me like I hit the "turn the channel" button. I don't know if it was because I didn't know the house or the absurd turn the conversation had taken. Later I find out that she's been engaged twice and have been firmly told that I was probably never suspended in HighSchool bcs all the teachers loved me. You were the teachers favorite. Hmm curious. I'm still pondering this one. Current Drink: Sangria

Run in #3: BFF of SWR(Newport Beach, Realty, Blonde with 3tone high/low lights. A sparkling band of diamonds. Skin tight gold/black dress) Housewives of the REAL O.C. When introduced I realized she was the same fresh faced cheerleader Mom had pointed out to me in an old photograph upon entering. While gorgeous and perhaps closest to my upclass Barbie, she was wry and contemplative, and I would never have recognized her. She tells me that she's been married for 2 years and is headed for divorce. Was she serious? Yes. Did he have enough drive? No. Had they grown apart and become two different people? Yes. There were so many things to inject into such a topic but I felt remiss to do it at a party. It's like back at Halloween when a friend of a friend tells me her brother committed suicide and the ugly relatives on the otherside say he's going to hell. There are people like that, i'm not like that- but what is one to say? Maybe I'm just a recepticle for these sorts of indulgances but still, I'm only an hour into the party at this point. Current Drink: 2nd helping of Sangria

Run in #4: Was sometime later- the brother. Very cute. Very personable. Not nearly as wild as his sister SWR. We reminisce politely about k-12 together- keeping to topics like recess and school scandals, like teacher affairs, cocaine addictions, and of course my favorite- when our favorite polisci teacher slept with his student a year after getting "The Teacher of the Year" plaque. As Brother states, I chipped in 5 bucks for that! but Lucy Liu joins us and suddenly the conversation is about his relationship and commitment phobias and how much money he makes as a mortgage broker- meanwhile i'm suggesting early retirement and downsizing his 80 hour work week- I don't care if he owns 3 houses. Current Drink: Cranberry/Vodka

Respectively, my married date Brian leans into me with his arm around my waist and says, what's your story- After I tell him in very general terms- he kisses me on the cheek and says, you'll find somebody. It'll happen just like that. (He's lovesick which explains his optimism, his 5th anniversary and the alcohol). After he hand feeds me some chocolate covered strawberries, we head up to play pool and in my head I think Brother never gets to play pool on this spankin new table he owns with the two corner tv mounts, bcs he works too much. Now the back story on my date is that we arrived about a minute from one another- as he says, "I saw you in your car I think, as I drove up in my Explorer- and you were doing whatever." Whatever- was trying to take a picture of myself with my cameraphone- and i kept turning off the dome light bcs i didn't want to appear strange and vain. That didn't work. He says, "I can tell your a good person." "Thanks I say. So SWR sees us together and says, You came together. Yes. Yes we did. "Mendacious, this is the man who got me fired!" "What," I say?! "Don't tell people that," Brian pleads. I shake my head and look disappointed. Later when we're playing blackjack another attached boy named Royce gives me a few extra black chips and Brian brings me a Rum/Coke- explaining, don't worry there's no GHB in it. And I say, thanks. I'm grateful. And mental note: I didn't even think about it.

So around 2 I've heard everything about everything. We've sung SWR happy birthday. Somebody's peed on the floor of the bathroom. The red/black balloons are sinking to the floor and about half are dancing around the tables. The Dj is playing 99 Luftballoons and I think how appropriate. I loose my last game of pool. I say goodbye and get a kiss from Brian. I tell Brother goodbye. Trying not to fall in the pool. I switch to water and tell Mom we should get together. SWR and BFF sing out my name and wave as they disappear down the hall- and as I tread carefully down the stairs, taking the last bits of bruschetta and shrimp (for protein) with me, the fog from the machine envelops me as I make a quick dash to the door- down the nicely paved sidewalks and houses that are much too uniform and into my car- with a particularly wry smile~ but by God it was worth it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Dear Sarah Hepola,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart down to my tippy toes for your recent Slate article about why you took down your blog. And in fact, I wanted to ask, can we be friends? It turns out, I really need more discipline in my life, and I think you're just the girl to help me. For instance, I blog way too much, not about things like "American Idol and my kitty cat," like you did, because well, for one, I just can't get into this latest season of 'AI,' in spite of my adoration of Simon Cowell, and two, I'm allergic to cats and therefore can't have one. I do tune into 'AI' every now and then just to see what bleary statement falls out of Paula's mouth next, for entertainment value, but I'm more prone to blog about everything else I watch (please refer to the following blog for an almost-complete list), and my two dogs. It's shameful, really, and I'm embarassed of my bad habit. And here I've been trying to pretend that blogging is Actual Writing. That blogging and commenting is actually a productive use of time, kind of like a daily regimen of mental calisthenics, not to mention an enjoyable cyber/social experience, rather than a behavior nastier than chewing off your own toenails instead of using a clipper.

But I think with your help, Sarah Hepola, you can get me back on the straight and narrow. Maybe even *gasp* get me to watch a little less TV--with the end result that I finally start writing The Great American Novel. So when I'm at the next high-falutin' gathering of publishers and writers, and they are in the midst of showering me with Ivy-laden compliments, I'll have a hearty "YES" to whip out of my back pocket, rather than a meek "no" to their next, inevitable question: "But do you have a book?"

Because I don't, Sarah Hepola, and I'm embarassed. Every writer needs a book, and let's be honest, my MFA thesis was cute and all, but no one's ever going to publish it. I need to get cracking, and clearly it's the blog that's sucking up all my precious time and talent, preventing me from The Only Goal a Writer Should Ever Have (a book deal), and not the fact that it isn't the right time for a book just yet. I used to think that writing a book required things like Inspiration and Drive, but now I know that all it really requires is the elimination of Useless Time-Suckers, such as blogs. Thank you for your insight; I'll credit you always. Maybe we'll do lunch?

Your New Pal,

P.S. My favorite line from your article, which I plan to print out, post on my mirror and refer to while brushing my teeth:

"At times, I started to feel that jokes and scenarios and turns of phrase were my capital, and that my capital was limited, and each blog entry was scattering more of it to the wind, pissing away precious dollars and cents in the form of punch lines I could never use again, not without feeling like a hack. You know: 'How sad. She stole that line from her own blog.'"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

as soon as i tear myself away from the garden i'll be posting about a 30th birthday bash. the sign on the door said "welcome to fabulous sin city"... hooyah! so later today i promise... ! xoxo. M.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weekend Recap: Prime Examples

1. Artsy, WTF movie ending: Has anyone seen Broken Flowers with Bill Murray? I'm not saying I didn't like it; I did. I mean, I just can't get enough of movies that feature a reticent Bill Murray sitting around and staring defeatedly into the distance. They touch my soul. But dammit, I can't help feeling like Jim Jarmusch copped out at the end of this one. He didn't have to go the all-tied-up-with-bow-of-sweeping-musical-score Hollywood route, but could he not have at least told us who sent Bill the letter, and if he really did have a son? Honestly.

2. Fear-Mongering at its Finest: Oh, Ann Curry. I do believe you're a sincere individual with good intentions. I know it's not your fault that at the heart of these Dateline Specials is a push for fear-driven consumerism. But what I really didn't need on my lovely Sunday afternoon was to get sucked into a stomach-churning anxiety spiral, imagining the world, the nation, this city, our friends, our family, my husband, myself and MY BABY contracting what is apparently the inevitable strain of pandemic bird flu. So, thanks for that.

3. How to be held up right: Last night (after the bird flu thing), J-Lo and I watched Dog Day Afternoon, this 1975 Al Pacino movie about a guy who holds up a bank in order to fund his lover's sex change operation. Based on a true story and everything, and it was t-riffic. What killed us throughout the movie were these two teller chicks who were having a grand old time during the entire course of the 2-day standoff. Laughing, dancing around. It's like nothing bothered them. I love people like this.

4. Quite Possibly Soulless: What the hell is up Tawny Kitaen's ass, exactly? First of all, Tawny, do you really believe Florence Henderson was trying to make a fool of you on the live TV news broadcast by "throwing you a curve ball?" Because it seemed to me like she just asked you a question you didn't know the answer to, and you're mad because you weren't able to gracefully respond. Second of all, get over it. Your vendetta is unfounded and overblown at this point, and anyone who tries to take down Mrs. Brady isn't going to get a great audience response. Not the best way to win your own talk show, but then, seeing as you're such a hotshot and all with curveballs, it probably wasn't the job for you anyway.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Friday at 7, set your TiVos

I love Cheerleader Nation not just because documentary-type shows about human obssessions are fascinating. And not just because I wasn't a teenager that long ago, and I can relate. And not even because KG won't be a teenager herself that long from now and I can't help but be wary of what I'm in for. Mostly I love Cheerleader Nation because it turned out very different from what I expected. I thought orginally it would be similar to those shows about the Pageant People. The creepy pageant toddlers with their fake teeth, artificially tanned skin, and Glamour Shots-style makeup. And the creepy matching moms who all insist it's the little baby girls who loooove pageants and are obessed with winning, it's not the mothers at all. Mm hmmm. (Although I would still probably loved CN if it had turned out like the Pageant People Shows, just in a more horrified way.)

Cheerleader Nation takes place in Kentucky and chronicles the national champion high school varsity team, Dunbar. They're trying for their third consecutive 1st-place win this year, and the show focuses on their training, their public performances and other team events, with a dose of their home life thrown in as well. Featured are about 8 girls, as well as the coaches; the rest of the team appears, too, but in a more sidelined way.

The South, of course, also has quite the reputation for its obsession with cheerleading; like how many Lifetime movies are there, all based on true stories, about mothers offing their daughters' biggest competition, just so their daughters can make the team. Murdering, for a sport. It's crazy.

Cheerleader Nation, however, is really not. These girls and their coaches and their moms and dads are dead serious about their cheerleading, it's true, and sometimes it does get a little silly. Some of the mothers seem to live vicariously through their daughters, which is a bit much. For the most part, however, the girls themselves seem so...normal. They're not even the bitchy stereotypical cheerleaders--though popular, they're all relatively cute in a relatable way, rather than Barbie-dollish. They don't talk about how they're the coolest kids in school, or all the name-brand "stuff" they have. Yes, they are on the affluent side; they're the kind of kids who get their brand-new car on their 16th birthday. Mostly, though, their problems are so typical: one girl's struggling to keep her grades up, another's got body-image issues, another feels overshadowed by her big sister, and another's drifting from her best friend. They do all have a chip on their shoulders in the way teenagers do, but it somehow makes them even more endearing. I sort of love the girls of Dunbar.

I'm not saying we would have ever hung out, if I were a teenager right now at Dunbar High School. I certainly wouldn't have tried out for the squad, because look out, these girls can do some freaking gymnastics. The routines are tight; it truly is a sport. But ah, Friday nights on Lifetime. It's like the best thing since reruns of Golden Girls.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Now Stretch

Good Morning!

I've had a couple days to adjust to "working" and for the most part all is well. A particular shout out for Sarah who got me the gig, and has been untiring in her efforts to find me a job, any job, that she could get her hands on in the 2 years+ that i've been sporadically unemployed. Now that is consideration and friendship. Thanks Sarah! (and to callie too!)

My day starts like such- it's a new novelty so i have to take you through it.
Up at 7:45, 8am. Ready by 8:15- which means throwing unassembled items into lunch bag, maybe or maybe not brushing teeth, brushing hair, splashing water on face and running out the door. i still always have time to turn on the computer even though i do it all day at work. it pains me not too, but i recognize i have a problem.

Besides I have plenty of time to wake up in the car- usually a 45 minute commute over the hill and through the city to grandmas house we go. Today it took me over an hour bcs a couple jackasses on both freeway systems decided to catch fire, block lanes of traffic- it's particularly cruel for such things to happen on a friday- and of course i hope no one died. And of all the places in LA this was my least favorite place to go bcs there is no convinient freeway system. It's just an abyss of streets and cars- although i do get the chance to try out my maverick shortcuts.

So today i was late- and some guy was covering the phones. He's nice. He feels tortured to be there though- i think it takes a particular type of personality to be able to be chained to a desk you can't leave even with regulated breaks and operate a switchboard to somewhat stressed out movie executives. I've already heard gossip about uptight directors, assistants and crazy people working in other departments. this place is full of eccentrics. so mostly i just sit there with my bag of sunflower seeds and watchfully take notes for later review on just who is who and the office dynamics which run aplenty.

i'm going to miss this place. 3 days a week is just perfect for a girl who hasnt' worked for 4 months. And I'm not chained to the reception desk until i relieve the other guy- it's a perfect set up. I'd take you thru more of the quirky reminesce of the day but i think my bloodsugarlevel is low- so all i can think of is do i want the lean cuisine for lunch or do i want to assembe a tuna sandwich...

Thursday, April 20, 2006


have temp job. (stop)
will post soon. (stop)
do not be alarmed. (stop)
perfect storm averted. (stop)
scones still available. (stop)

Dear Henry,

I'm just not sure what to make of you. I mean, you seem okay, for a next-door neighbor. A little grumpy, maybe, but at least you mow your lawn unlike that family down the street, the one with the sinister-looking tree and the somehow creepy assortment of children's toys in their yard. You're downright impeccable with your landscaping, in fact, and even though I know you would totally call the cops on us if we had a party rather than asking us first to quiet down, I can't complain too much. Yes, it took you several months after we moved in to say hi, but we didn't say hi, either--I admit it's a tw0-way street.

I just don't know about you and Bender. I think--I think--you might actually get along with her, or at least you're entertained by her Tasmazian Devil-inspired posturing shows she puts on daily for you at the fence. (As you should be.) When you growl, Get over here, I would swear, though it took me a long while to realize, that you're actually having fun. I stopped calling Bender inside whenever she acts in this freakish manner, because by now, I figure at the very least you're used to her, and frankly it's too annoying to get up 30 seconds after letting her out.

But, I have to ask, what was with the pesticides this morning? You're 85 and although you're crotchety, I don't want to think badly of you. Maybe your aim was off. But were you spraying that junk at my dog, or were you just spraying the bushes, and Bender happened to be there. Please be honest. Because making a dog choke on poison like that on purpose, even if she is a little nuts, is not very nice. In fact, I might be more than a little mad if she happens to get sick.

Your Neighbor, and a Non-Hooligan (I swear),

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Like a good old-fashioned traffic accident

I know you know about this tool already, but can you bear to look? Can you bear not to look? Oh good lord, it's depressing.

I only looked because I have recently had the extraordinarily good fortune to be offered a debt consolidation loan with 0% interest and no strings. (I'm still in the process of counting my lucky stars.) Consolidating the 2 cars and the AmEx card into this loan, according to the calculator, is going to save us exactly $4510.17. And perhaps the lining of my stomach.

Now there's just the student loans, the mortgage, those damned taxes owed to the IRS... Ah, life in America. I consider the house an asset, and therefore refuse to feel bad about that debt. The IRS can bite me as we use next year's refund to pay for this year's catastrophe. And the student loans, I am in Complete Denial about those. I will not look, I will keep on driving and Will Not Look, I am not going to look--gahhhhhh!

Monday, April 17, 2006


Currently it's looking quite shady outside, all windy, rainy and Wizard of Oz-like, pre-Yellow Brick Road. They're advising those who live in mobile homes to take cover in a ditch somewhere, rather than stay in indoors. I'm grateful for the bricks. Inside, the baby's crying (it's almost Un-Happy Hour, hosted nightly by the lovely KG), and the dogs, valiant lab/lab mix they are, are crammed into the 3 feet of space under my desk. Bender's sweating, Bailey's looking concerned. I'm just hoping the power won't go out.

I'm kind of trapped, so here's a worldview:

Oh Spring!

Good afternoon. I've been in ecstacy over Spring just now, having spent 3 hours outside with not much to do but play with the dogs and read... and of course tan. A mockingbird was serenading me and the Starlings were impatient to have the small field of grass back. And I just sat there until i was worn out with the sun and breeze. And now I'm back for my normal afternoon of a Gilmore rerun and perhaps... some yard work later after lunch. I was going to commemorate such a glorious midday with a poem about Spring and I went of course to Shakespeare and then I thought well maybe somebody else like Tennyson. Then i just lazily googled it. "Poems for Spring." And it came across me that I would enjoy being a teacher bcs i could run my hands over all the delicious words of writers past all the time- that and good ole indoctrination. SO i ran across this on a website of poems to "Spring":
in Just—
spring when the world is mud—
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles far and wee

It's an eecummings poem and it's only the first portion of it. Of course the magic internet box doesn't tell you that its excerpting it and it claims it for spring bcs you know, the word luscious and spring are in there... and the balloon man is whistling. So what could be the harm in that. But the poem in full has a much more ominous undercurrent. And i really like the poem- But i cant' remember when i studied the poem and its even vaguer if I wrote a paper on it, which i think i did- but here is the poem in full (just for you curious studious types): (also i couldn't quite get the staging right-- don't hold it against me)

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisabel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



balloonMan whistles

For cummings placement and spacing was really very central to how a poem should be read and understood and they didn't even do that right. And okay- that balloonMan is creepy as fuck as the expression goes. The descrips for him in total are lame, queer, old, and goat-footed. So he's either a pied-piper type figure or he's either baccanalian as he quite deliberately lures the children from their games with his whistling and his progress thru a park or a neighborhood. And if that kind of guy was luring my kids or even myself, eternally youthful as I am, i'd have some issues. Is all i'm saying. Which reminds me also of a time when my HistoryofArt teacher asked us to find ways in which images are appropriated and taken out of context- i scored an A by finding an advert for Vegas- coupled, quite literally implying such, with the Statue entitled The Rape of the Sabine Women. The advert tag said, "So good you'll never want to leave"... And if you didn't know the statue you'd think wow, that woman really doesn't want to leave- Man, i was going to say more but now i'm sort of getting irked- And perhaps a tad angry about the missappropriation of things... but gah, it's SPRING! So nevermind the goat-man and the evils of advertising- and let's focus on:

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white


Friday, April 14, 2006

In lieu

ah, spring. so we've got mushrooms, that's fun... and the rest is just you know- a real post coming soon, but for now enjoy.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Words. Words

It's true. At least I'm 95% sure it's true. Even when i was only 50% sure I soldiered on the same. I still have to borrow $300+ from my mom to cover the bills (thanks mom) bcs the job isn't coming quite quickly enough. And it's only "possibly" maybe going to start "the 2nd week of May", and that still doesn't change the fact I owe $514 to the IRS- I sent them $2. I hope the check doesn't bounce. My temp agent hasn't called. So I sit and wait. Still tanning, still reading delightful Victorian novels, and toying with the idea that I should take another trip down CentralCasting Lane. None of it seems real enough to warrant...

It happened like this- they called me in again, making sure i really really wanted the job. They threw out a number that I was loathe to tamper with in any way. Given that I maybe should be making more than that? But who was I to say- and after all the official budget approval hadn't come in from the network so it could be less. Fair warning they said. Okay, I said. We had a "you're our first hire" group hug (literally) but no contract was signed bcs those aren't in yet and those won't be in yet until the budget is approved. So I left, having given them the 411 to my life and the thumbs up sign was made by all. "You're a go."

When the 8th rolls around and they call me in for work I will be screaming and jumping up and down and freaking out. I will get down on my knees and say, Thank you God! and Nicaragua here I come! And I will begin to be thrilled with the reality that all my creditcard debt is going to disappear and a couple break your knee cap loans... and then maybe a car. Bcs once the contract is signed it will be a guarnteed 9-10months and 78 episodes come hell or high water. And it will be the best 30th year ever.

Until then I muse, wander the garden and walk the tenuous line of complete disaster and crushed dreams- that I should never desire to be a fallen woman whose hopes for a better life have never come true whether by incompetence or fate- I wait.

Up Next: Blogging About the Workplace? Future work related oddities? Those were some of the best blogs ever... (Jan-March 2005). And, probably not as much downtime but you my lover, my blog, I shall rush home- and tell all my secrets to.


1. An argument for chocolate: As anyone who comes over to visit Casa L-beam knows, we tend to keep a lot of candy on hand. Bowlfuls of M&Ms, snack-size Milky Ways, Peppermint Patties (mmmm) and things like that. Well, we recently ran out. Normally, I would go right out to Target and purchase a few more bags of the stuff, but I've been trying to a) spend less and b) eat healthier. And it's not that chocolate isn't in the budget; it is. But Easter's coming and my mom, if she doesn't buy it for us, usually has a lot of extras that she insists we take home--so I just thought I could wait a few days and get it for free. But the last couple of days I have noticed that I am starving, like all the time. And I've been eating a ton of those giant Pepperidge Farm cookies, which is okay to a point, but seriously, 4 a day? Not good. I'm getting that, ew, I ate too much but I'm still not satisfied feeling. And it occurrs to me that it's because of the missing chocolate. I must need chocolate in my daily diet. I still eat healthy things throughout the day: yogurt, apples, oatmeal, grapes. A basic food groups dinner. But without the chocolate to graze on, I am lost.

2. Oh Lord: When I was pregnant and trying to guess whether the baby would be a boy or a girl (ah, the Big Question), I would watch a Lifetime movie here and there, or an episode of "Desperate Housewives" where Bree has a confrontation with her daughter, and I was like, man. I'm going to be happy either way, but oh, those girls. And I remember how vile I was when I was a teenager, how I could cut to the core with my acid tongue: basically I was a moody biotch throwing a lot of low blows. So, you know, I'm already guarded about Teenaged Kaleigh. I already know it won't be good. Especially considering the way times change--the little hellions only get worse, right? So, let's see, it's 2006 now; by the time Kaleigh's a teen it will be 2019 (yikes). One has to wonder what 2019's version of this will be.

By the way, I'm so ordering a copy in spite of the negative reviews, not just for the Scared Mom Factor, but also because I'm never going to grow up and I find things like this fascinating.

And by the way, I hate them for getting a book deal before their freshman year in college. And in their Today Show interview this morning, Katie Couric asked them if they planned to be writers, and they were all like, ohhh, I don't know, maaaaybe. Either way, they got a book published and it will probably be a best-seller if it's not already. Assholes.

3. Fuzzy World: I really am starving and have no idea what I'm going to eat for lunch. I can't focus. Because why? There is NO CHOCOLATE TO BE FOUND.

4. Huh?: I spent $15 this morning for the doctor to tell me to use an OTC remedy for Kaleigh's diaper rash. It was supposed to be a follow-up visit from her well-baby appointment last week. I don't get it. I mean, I'm not knocking the co-pay or anything, but why exactly did I have to go in then? For them to tell me it wasn't infected? But it wasn't infected last week, either.

5. Word on the Streets: I heard a rumor that mendacious got a new job? Tell us, mendacious, is it true??? And more importantly, what does this mean for your blogging life.

6. From the Gallery of Peanuts: Kaleigh wished for me to contribute the following on her behalf--"Gooo..." and "La!" I second that, my dear.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

good times

1. My current hero, Milo Ventimiglia, aka Jess on "Gilmore Girls." He cleaned up his act, figuratively and literally, writing a book, washing his hair, even paying off his debt to Luke. Not to mention he's kind of looking mighty fine. I wanted Rory to make out with him for hours last night, to forget that dog Logan, but alas. Jess's stock rose thousands of points, regardless.

2. New CD purchased: "Solace," Xavier Rudd. He's friends with Jack Johnson, G.Love, and yeah, it's kind of like that. Kind of Paul Simon-y as well. Oh, it is so good.

3. A show that was "saved by the fans": "Love Monkey." Yes, it's true. That's what the commercials on VH1 say, anyway. Last night, they showed the first 3 eps of the series, and starting next Tuesday, they will air new, never before seen eps. I don't know what this actually means for the life of the series, but hell yeah. VH1 seems a fine home. It's got Tom Cavenaugh, Jason Priestley, cameos by people like Aimee Mann and Ben Folds, and this High Fidelity-type vibe. More than anything, it stokes that small flame of lingering can save a show? Please oh please oh please, Santa if you're listening?

According to...

Top 10 best jobs
MONEY Magazine and researched hundreds of jobs, considering their growth, pay, stress-levels and other factors. These careers ranked highest. (more)1. Software Engineer2. College professor
3. Financial adviser 4. Human Resources Manager 5. Physician's assistant 6. Market research analyst 7. Computer IT analyst 8. Real Estate Appraiser 9. Pharmacist 10. Psychologist

2. College professor
Why it's great While competition for tenure-track jobs will always be stiff, enrollment is rising in professional programs, community colleges and technical schools -- which means higher demand for faculty. It's easier to break in at this level, and often you can teach with a master's and professional experience. Demand is especially strong in fields that compete with the private sector (health science and business, for example).The category includes moonlighting adjuncts, graduate TAs and college administrators.

hmm... i've never seen it look so good. it has to be an utter lie for most english departments but still- when i'm 50, i'm sooo there... more real posting later!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I'm stealing Kim's blog idea and running with it. Nyah nyah, can't catch me!

Recent thoughts in penelope's brain:
  1. Do you like RADISHES? I was at the grocery store yesterday perusing the veggies section, as Scott and I have lately been making an effort to eat some Healthy Things here and there, and I was like, hmmm, radishes. I don't particularly care for them, but I wonder if Scott does. I think he does. A bag of radishes is only $.99, which seems reasonable, and would fill out nicely the cut vegetable medley I would prepare that evening. Should I get the radishes? It seemed dumb to call. Perhaps I could text Scott and ask, Do you like RADISHES? Wait, is that from a movie? What am I thinking of? Oh yeah, Good Will Hunting and the diner scene with Michael Bolton--Do you like APPLES. I wonder why we don't go around saying, "How do you like them radishes," instead.
  2. "Cut vegetable medley?" Damn, I'm such a housewife.
  3. Oh, but I love it. Heehee.
  4. The name "Apple" for a child really does become normal in your head after awhile, particularly next to the name "Moses."
  5. A History of Violence: I'm sorry, where did the rest of the movie go? Did I miss something? I mean, it was good, I guess, but I thought there would be...more? This would have made a nice made-for-TV flick, perhaps. On Lifetime.
  6. You can watch episodes of Degrassi online for FREE. Like, all of them. Freaking HOT. I am uber-excited about this information.
  7. It occurs to me just a few minutes into watching Degrassi: Old School that the Next Generation was so modeled on the old version back in the 80s--like the character Claude, for instance, becomes Rick in the new version. They're both kind of creepy, they're both on the fringes of all the cliques, they both shoot themselves at school. It's all the same.
  8. In Canada, they say "Claude" as "Clode." But if I hadn't seen that in writing, I would have completely assumed that Canadians actually name their baby boys "Clode." Although, let's be honest, isn't Claude just as bad?
  9. I wonder how long I will continue to watch shows about people that are younger than me. And when it will become truly sad. Probably at the age that I no longer care about such things, like whether anyone thinks that I am sad. Oh wait, I don't care now.
  10. But, how uncool is it to wear a shirt or a skirt or a pair of pants to a store and walk right by the rack that they're selling it on? I think it's probably not very cool. Hmmm. Oh well.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

to all things contagious.

i am a walking pathagen, my lungs coughing up snot enough to make me quesy. I shuffle around the house, half a life and do much convalesing in the sun, smelling the flowers which have no fragrance and petting my faithful dog. and i'm sure somehow this will tie into the plague of 1924... one of my favorite realizations while living in Chicago was that the context for all those disaster flicks of the '70s was grounded not just in super-hot box office action but on real and palpable paranoia and fear (maybe). Crowded in subways, deserted city streets at night- it wasn't hard to imagine some inevitable event and the apocalypse all in one. Movies like Towering Inferno (hello faye dunaway!), Earthquake! (ah, charlton heston!) and more recently Outbreak! or Resident Evil might really happen. (who doesn't love the Red Queen?) I have secret yearnings to be a conspiracy theorist and the government really will make you disappear if they want to- it's like that one time in 1924 when the bubonic plague broke out in Los Angeles-in a relatively poor section of town. A man pulled a dead rat from the wall of his house, laughed about it, and sometime later his whole family was dead. As the death toll rose the city got wise and cordened off the "infected area" and confined, from what i remember at least 2,000 ? people to take their chances. But the case was they weren't allowed to leave to shop for food, work or anything that would mean that they weren't doomed. All in all for a plague it was pretty tame. I think only 39 people died. And there was a woman who ran a school who jumped the barricade to help alleviate the depressed and subjected by continuing to teach school and convincing confined musicians to play and make merry- thereby giving them a sense of normalcy or lulling them to sleep, kind of like oxygen masks in a crashing plane. But i'm for a little dosing if it'll stop the uncontrollable crying and screaming. Am i right? You know I am. Anyway it lasted 2 wks and they killed all the rats and squirrels- which apparently are still to be kept a wary eye on in the hills of California- squashed. It was actually the last outbreak in the United States and can be traced back to plague rats from China that jumped ship in San Francisco back in 1919, or thereabouts. You know i'm picturing Lome reading a book about bubonic plagues right now, in an orange jumpsuit, in the middle of the ocean, with wide, wide eyes.I think we can all say that songs no matter how morbid- with rosies and posies- give us a lift in the face of unimaginable death. As I was just a week ago stricken with a fever of 102- waking every hour and begging for the dawn- i was thinking of acting-and that i needed to remember what this felt like if i were to ever play a character who was quickly becoming consumptive- it's true i've been reading too many victorian novels- except that my friend Cath, just found out she had tuberculosis bcs some girl at her work was stricken down and the CDC was informed and suddenly everyone had to get tested. So poor Cath tested positive, shuffling around the subways of NewYork, with heaving breath to her 5th floor walkup- with an ill appetite and watery eyes, waiting to see if it's the iron lung she requires or perhaps a very long holiday on the shores of a bright sunned place with cool ocean breezes and a sympathetic aunt to watch her thin pale frame and bring her tea when required. Suddenly all these sorts of things become real in the face of illness- and none are ever so pretty once you leave the upper classes. It's Austen to Dickens in a heartbeat. Not to mention the actual inevitable fact about mortality. But I digress.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

sauced and battle-ready

You think things are going all smooth with your day, and then it happens: you spill sauce all over your foot. Luckily, it was refrigerated. Unluckily, it tipped from my hand in such a way that it splattered all over the fridge, the floor, my skirt. What can I say, I am so the coolest kid in school.

This weekend has been kind of nice so far, though. I love spring. Two days ago I was driving down Canterbury, which is off of Indepence near the mall, and there was total mass of flowers, all pinks and whites and purples. Mostly it was the trees and the azalea bushes, but there were some tulips too. It was like being in a painting. I wish I could come up with a better analogy than that, but alas. The weather and flowers this week though, are what make this absolutely my favorite time of year in Carolina.

On the down side. I'm going to have to do battle soon, I can feel it. You see, I have encountered 3 bugs today, all in the kitchen. All...odd-looking. But all the same. What is it about every house or apartment you live in having its own particular bug. In North Raleigh, it was the horrid palmetto bugs. At Colonial Park-ee, it was fleas left by the last tenant's dog, and palmetto bugs. In Chicago.... come to think of it, I don't remember any bugs in Chicago. At least not in the famed dorm at the corner of State and Madison Streets. Maybe I need to move back there:

*Pause briefly for over-nostalgic I-Miss-Chi-Town Reverie*

On Fifth Avenue, it was kitchen ants (and palmettos, like in the pantry, ew ew ew) that I would have loved to scrape into an envelope and mail to the landlady. At Park Avenue, these weird little crunchy bugs that lived in the kitchen, like in flour-based products, but also, randomly, in the bathroom. And now, here in KG, it's these... spotted beetle-type creatures. They're about the size of a Japanese beetle, but kind of yellowy and polka-dotted, and of the 3, 1 was dead, another was half-dead, and the third was fully alive.

When you find 3 bugs in one room in the space of just a few hours, and in that order of Various Life Stages, it is not a good sign. You know they're coming from somewhere, and if it's the kitchen, it's probably a food product. But, what food product, is the shivery question. It makes me simultaneously Afraid to Look and Afraid Not to Look. I'm indiscriminately tossing some more questionable items: the open bag on muffin mix from over a year ago? Gone. Bisquik from who knows when? Toss it.

*Pause briefly to consider the Actual Moment of Bug Lair Discovery, for instance peering into box of, say, corn starch, only to find it teeming with the aforementioned hideous KG Beetle Creatures.*


I'm off to war. Till then,
Combat Pen

(Why can't I use a paintball gun?)

Friday, April 7, 2006

What a Rig?

I had a friend. His name rhymes with Lome. He was one of the greatest television series ever. The places we went, the things we did- restaurants, shopping, rollerblading, hiking, movies, xbox, kite flying- the only thing left was across the ocean. The problem with Lome, however, was that he was sensitive and very tempermental. With a word he would send himself into hiatus and there was no talking him out of it. He'd cancel your subscription in a minute and that, over the years, got a bit hard to bear- the continual searching for his time slot, was it now 8 or 9. Was he best on Tuesdays or on action packed Thursdays. And so eventually when he threatened to cancel the show for the 3rd time, I let him- without a complaint letter. It was fairly tragic to be losing so much in so generous a friend- links to other friends and worlds dissolved, and my world became a little more boring, less adventurous and okay- peaceful. But every so often I'd hear new tales of Lome and it was like listening in on a show that seemed just the same as ever.

I also had another friend. Her name is petrified tree sap. She also subscribed to Lome. We had many adventures together by ourselves and with Lome and it was an idyllic time of entertainment and brotherhood. PTS and I hit a rough patch, however, and were no longer getting reception. And all of our worlds ripped right apart. In varying degrees and at different times. But then suddenly I got signals again from PTS and remembered how much i enjoyed that series and how integral she was to my life and picked her up again and gradually began to watch more of her then I had in the last 2 years. Then suddenly she told me she was subscribing to Lome again, a cheaper-low commitment package- on a trial basis. And with that Lome's world was mine again. It's sort of like stealing cable.

Lome's life is an adventure- to everyone who sees it but him. To Lome, his life is boring and routine, and agonizing in its drudgery- from his hippie pot-smoking parents to his wall to ceiling dvd collection. But we all want to know more about Lome. That's his power. For instance- PTS tells me that Lome is going to go teach some technology something or other to some employees on an oil rig in china. Who does that? Apparently he had to wear an orange jumpsuit and he got flown in on a helicopter. He had to take saltwater showers and who knows what else. I find this endlessly fascinating. Probably better than Steve Zissou. How can I not make the comparison. Lome in an orange jumpsuit, reading (which he never did when i knew him-the DaVinciCode no less), in line for a computer moniter, on board a chinese oilrig- Jeff Goldbloom and a pack of interns might as well walk up behind him. PTS mentions that Lome was not so amused and in my mind I am glee and belly-laughs bcs that is sooo Lome! How does he not find an oil rig and a helicopter ride fascinating? Or that he's in foreign waters? Or that his company may send him to the middle east. I mean the questions are endless- and i can only ask so much of PTS and she can only ask so much of Lome- so the answers are small and come back in degrees and never to a satisfying level- but always to a level where you want to say to Lome, appreciate your life! The world is yours Lome. Don't you see it? You have money. You have this strange circumstantial life- I hope one day it grabs you and you can if only for a minute- smile- before you change the channel.

Next up: Posts about the Plague, the flu and group dynamics.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

To be or Not to be.

long long ago in a galaxy far far away i was an actor.

burnt out by too many days consecutively spent in a small dark box i opted to explore the dark box of the mind and went to school again for writing. since then its been a dry spell, having not quite bent myself back into the world of theatre. but i do miss acting. and i say that in the back of my mind, wondering if one day i'll eventually make the switch and act again- there are a couple privisions however. it used to be that i'd only audition for a part i thought i was right for- not just anything- but now it's i won't audition for anything while i'm still fat. However there is little freedom from stereotypes in Hollywood acting and even in Hollywood theatre, I always wonder what I'd audition for anyway- which goes back to the first provision- and to the important hope that I will write parts for real people and not hapless types. But behind all my anti-desperation type, pride protecting provisos i do desperately want to act again. but not enough apparently to do anything about it- unless God, in his infinite wisdom- puts it right in front of my face. not that extra work is that, in any way. but it is a reminder. and maybe that's the next script i will write- to all the extras, getting paid $6.75 (because they haven't made it into the union), killing their entire day so some director can make reality exactly the way he wants it. so just think about that the next time you watch a show- and all those countless faces, breathing in a tenuous space of anonimity. you take them for granted.

i got a call from Central- which rarely happens and only when the director is searching, searching, searching- to no avail. i took a horrible pic for central, and i think that picture was exactly was what the director was looking for when i was summarily cast as "midwesterner" in a new show entitled "....." (as in that flag across the sea who shares it's name with the depiction of the democratic party). gold stars for anyone who guesses the title.

so my immediate fear was that i was being cast because i was fat. as i told them i was now a brunette and no longer blonde- and she said that didn't matter. and i was right- they used the term heavyset midwesterners... who perhaps are wearing "colorful" ill-fitting clothing. luckily i had nothing so tacky in my wardrobe. but i was nevertheless made to wear a hideous denim vest in a very uncute combination with an dark orange top and a pink skirt. sigh.

so you call in, get your location and time and who to report to- then you show up, check in, get your voucher (aka timecard), and if your lucky you make it to wardrobe and finally 'get permission' to hit up craft services for your breakfast/lunch. and you wait, and wait, and wait- knowing this i brought a few books and made sure my phone was charged. it did not disappoint. i had an awesome day- of blue skies and non-boredom on the "..." lot (the bastards who cancelled AD).

the other types were hispanic car washers, plastic surgery gone too far, brittany hookers, and anorexic models... i kept wondering which type it was worse to be. once we got in front of the director i was immediately knocked out of competition with a polite "Stand Aside Please"... even if I had the perfect midwestern outfit i don't think it would've saved me- i was actually less fat, less squat, more ethnic, and gloriously tanner than the other 2. and did not fit at all with the two other men there. this saved me from hours of standing, sitting and waiting with purpose. and so i was free to enjoy my captivity unfettered (not that anyone told me so or came back to get me). At dinner, I got to know the other 2 fat actresses - for the funny they totally are. The one girl had to eat a donut (the lord spared me, of this I am sure, bcs i wouldn't have) and the other girl just had to stand there and was glad after the fact that there was no donut for her. But we laughed about it- and said, well we're fat because fat people love donuts, that's why we're fat.

i was finally put to use at 7pm after being there since 935am. I was general airport ambience. And perhaps my elbow will be in frame, but for that moment i was arriving at LAX, w/ everyone else- having just come from some far away place, my luggage having been lost (which explained the hideous clothes), but thankfully my cellphone still working- and on my way home, and after 40 minutes of the most pain-free shoot i've ever been on- i did. and hopefully the next time my whole face will be on frame, fat or no- with all the hopes and dreams of making it- getting into SAG, saying a line, drawing attention and finding the man of my life, and walking into another world with no regrets.

Peas, Give CJ a Chance

Dear Friends,

Please link Convincing John to your blogs. Pretty please? I know it's a busy time of year, but honestly. Kim and I are becoming sincerely DEPRESSED.

You don't have to read it, though we'd love you to. You don't have to love it, though we're sure you will. (Trust in momentum!) And you don't have to contribute with submissions or comments, even though your contributions will be what makes the site FANTASTIC, and even though it would be so much FUN for us all.

But please, if nothing else--link. Link, link, link! We have faith in this thing, but we do need your help.

I feel like I'm waiting for a boy to call, and worrying he never will. Oh, alas... Where is the love, I just don't know.

Sad Penelope


AH, This is that time that i went to dave & busters down in irvine. It's been in my 'phone' forever. Mmm, good times.

Monday, April 3, 2006

oh man.

so- another day and no blog about the things i want to blog about. i am remiss about a whole weekend sans blogging. i want to post about the show i was an extra for and the ever elusive plague-- oh and how i'm sick again. and totally pissed off about it by the way. i hope tomorrow i will have the strength. god willing.