Thursday, August 28, 2008

Eyes rolling into the back of my head with Belligerence.

I swear to GaGaGad that if i ever come by/choose a boyfriend/husband/partner, i will not exhibit an unearned entitlement when it comes to social events/seating arrangements.  Getting some not-worth-it deep dick action or some ti-red p***  does not make a person more deserving of respect or social niceties.  In fact, single people need to get more props for resisting the call of transient validation.  I'm not saying coupling is an offensive thing, especially when your Love Partnering makes this world a better place, but The Power of Two should be used for good, not bad.  

Monday, August 18, 2008

verboten.

  • Owls perpetrating as Fashion.  Stop.
  • Unicorn/Waterfall/White Tiger fantasy kitsch
  • Faded, played out Om, Star, Rainbow tats
  • Unflattering Gladiator sandals that make you look like stump leggy fever
  • Mariah Hating.    She's a lyrical genius.

Silence This

The other morning I was hiking in Griffith Park with a friend. We were walking single file down a narrow trail when an elderly Armenian man appeared from around the corner. (I think he was Armenian, or Russian maybe. One of those old balding guys who hikes in dress shoes and a sweater vest, while smoking.) As he approached us, I smiled broadly and said, "Good Morning!" He looked at me for a second, and as he passed he growled under his breath, "Shut up."

I am not here to bitch about this. In fact, it made my day. I love this man. I even considered writing a short film about a younger American woman who becomes obsessed with an elderly Armenian man after he snubs her on a hiking trail. At first she wants just to cross his path again, hoping to change his mood - put a smile on his face! But each time he passes, no matter how cheerfully she greets him, he offers the same grim salutation. Even when she offers him a carton of cigarettes. Then, cookies. Her obsession grows. Why does he snub her? Why does she care? Could she be falling in love with this inexplicably hostile, swarthy, aged foreigner? What would her friends and family say? Surely they would disapprove. She is tantalized by the possibility of this Forbidden Love. She follows him home. She peers through the bushes at his stout little Armenian wife, who sits waiting, wordlessly, all day, upon the brown and beige plaid sofa on their porch in a long black dress. Waiting for what? No one knows.

That's as far as I've gotten.

Anyway, today, I am at the Los Feliz branch of the Los Angeles Public Library . I come here to work sometimes because it's air conditioned, because the studious atmosphere tends to encourage me get down to business instead of talking on the phone, or watching tivo'd episodes of Snapped and Women Behind Bars, ( not to be confused with these Women Behind Bars )and because it's quiet.

Oh, sure, there is the schizophrenic lady who sometimes can't resist pacing back and forth and rustling her shopping bags while mumbling something about the coming Armageddon, the sexy blond blind woman who loudly stumbles in the door behind her not-so-well-trained seeing eye dog, and the weird old man with the crushed box of Soft & Silky tissues who invariably sits too close to me and asks for help preparing an Excel spreadsheet. (What on earth for??)

But that's ok. If I'm going to be distracted, I want to be distracted by people who somehow fascinate me, a homeless drunk inviting me to share his ham sandwich, or a dotty old actress telling me about the old days at Metro. These people have character, they have stories to tell, they live interesting and/or desperate lives. They are inspiring. They are what hanging out in a public space is all about for me. I don't mind these people interrupting the silence. In fact, I like it. No, I live for it.

This is who I do not want to be interrupted by: Bob Odenkirk. Sure, he's made me laugh in the past. One time I saw him perform in a sketch in which he played Charles Manson as Lassie the dog. Hilarious. And Mr. Show! I've heard that makes other people laugh. I get it, he's edgy, or whatever. But if I want to be amused by one Mr. Robert Odenkirk, I will march on over to the Steve Allen Theater, El Cid, UCB, Taix, etc., and buy a ticket. If I'm not paying him to perform for me, and we are at the library, which was not an underground comedy venue the last time I checked the L.A. Weekly, he can just Observe Fucking Silence, like the rest of us. (Except Armageddon Lady, because she, like Paul Revere before her, has an urgent message to spread.)

And by Silence, I do not mean instructing his nanny and children in a loud, decidedly non-edgy, baby voice, "We may watch Discovery Channel, we may ride our bikes outside, but we are not going to watch videos today. Ok? Are We listening?" Yes, Bob, we're listening. After hearing him discuss his daily schedule and his latest career moves with a couple of other grownups who happened by, I finally did something I have never done before. I shushed. I didn't say, "Hi? Could We please keep Your voice down?" (Which, in retrospect, I wish I'd thought of then.) Instead, I just clenched my teeth together and let out a, "Shhhhhhhhh," in his direction. And it worked. He stopped talking and quietly left the building.

Thank you, my Surly Armenian Love. Thank You.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Left for Dead Jeans, by Wrangler



Link

Mind Your Manners

An Open Letter to the Governor of California:

Dear Mr. Schwarzenegger,

I've been wanting to say something to you for a long time: Go to hell!

Before you get all riled up, no... this isn't some political rant where I complain about your policies or my taxes. I'm not even complaining about Jingle All the Way or Twins (although both are more than enough reason to hate you like poison.)

No. I'm talking about something far more personal, Arnold Schwarzenegger: You stole my cookies.

That's right. You stole my cookies, and I want them back.

Let me set the scene for you: It was 2001. I was but a young, fresh-faced boy just trying to make it in this business we call "Show." I was working on the First Annual World Stunt Awards (First WorSt, for short) which were meant to celebrate the achievements of Stuntmen and Stuntwomen in movies & television. Instead it was a night of disappointment and shattered dreams.

The production staff had been working day in and day out for six solid weeks in preparation for the big show where you, Mr. Schwarzenegger, were scheduled to receive a very special Honorary Taurus Award. On show day, the whole city was abuzz while gifts & congratulatory notes came pouring into the cramped production offices for you.

The biggest present came from the Manner Wafer Company who dropped off a massive case (about 3' x 4') of their famous Hazelnut Flavored cookies. The box was cleverly decorated to be a giant replica of their packaging (left) but with one major difference... the popular Manner Logo was altered to have your name printed in its trademark(™) blue script:

As a long-time fan of the sophisticated, worldly flavor of Manner Wafers, I was blown away by this gesture. After all, to have one's name emblazoned on such a well-respected product is an incredible honor!

Not trusting anyone else with the task, my boss and I brought the bulky box of Manner Wafers to your trailer ourselves (Yes, it took two of us. As it turns out, hundreds of light-weight hazelnut wafers are pretty heavy to us scrawny non-body-builders.) We then set it up on the sofa directly across from the entrance to your trailer to ensure you would see it immediately upon entry.

The show and ensuing party went off without a hitch (if you don't count the dozens of injuries to various production people, the two audience members who were struck by swords, or the guy who died.) When I arrived the next morning, the cleaning crew was already sweeping up the remains of the show... and guess what I saw sitting atop a mountain of trash in the middle of the venue.

I couldn't believe my eyes--you had discarded this one-of-a-kind gift as if it was a common box of Chips AfuckinHoy. Seeing no alternative, I rescued it from the rubble heap, brought it home and proudly hung it on my wall as a unique piece of pop art, where it would be kept safe from the ravages of the landfill.

My heart was filled with joy until a couple of days later, when the calls started pouring in from your office. We were told that you somehow managed to remove the cookies from the box without realizing that your name was emblazoned on it.

Really? Because I'm pretty sure that if someone scrawled my name in letters that were one foot high across a giant box of hazelnuttiness, I'd likely notice. And so, I can only draw one conclusion: You, sir, the Governor of California, are illiterate.

Hmmm.... seeing that in print makes me realize that perhaps an open letter to you was not the way to go. Nevertheless, I shall continue--but I will do so by addressing the literate:

Hi! So as I was saying, this saga went on for days, with my boss and I keeping our mouths shut. All was well until an evil French Producer somehow got wind of the situation and discovered that I was harboring this foreign box top. She aggressively "suggested" that I return it to the office, ignoring the "Finders Keepers" stance which most of the staff had adopted.

It was exactly like the eight years I spent in a Catholic grade school: I was being picked on by the big, burly bully... only this time, not even Jesus could save me.

Eventually, I was forced to relent. I was accompanied to my apartment by a European production assistant who took the cookie box from my home... leaving behind a bare dining room wall, and a pink rectangular hole in my heart.

Thanks a lot, Arnold. I hope you enjoyed devouring my hazelnutty innocence, surrounded by a scrumptious flaky crust.

Oh wait, I forgot... You can't fucking read this. BAH! You screwed me again, Schwarzenegger!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

See This


This amazing play was written by our very own Queen of Nice. It's about a self-help guru who spent his childhood locked in a cage, and it's pretty fucking Bitched Up. And dark. And very, very funny. Catch preview performances on August 15 & 16 at Son of Semele in Los Angeles, or see it at The New York International Fringe Festival August 20 - 24!!



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Not a Toy

I like children. I’m more of a dog person myself, but I can see their appeal. Sometimes they say the darnedest things, and if you are either exceptionally nice or horribly mean to them, they will be riddled with guilt and take care of you when you get old. In any event, though I don’t plan to have any children of my own, I would never kill one, at least not in public. Which is why I was so appalled at what I witnessed at the Trader Joe’s near my apartment a few weeks ago.

During the last 15 or so years that I have lived in my neighborhood, it has grown increasingly wealthy, white and straight - in every sense of the word. The Mayfair Market was long ago replaced by the Tiffany’s of supermarkets, Gelson’s. It’s parking lot, once full of old VWs and Volvos bearing bumper stickers begging us to free Leonard Peltier and Mumia, is now littered with fancy SUV’s, Lexus’s (Lexi?) and Mercedes too pristine to be sullied by arcane adhesive causes.

The owners of these vehicles are what I refer to as Bohipsterans. They are rich, but don’t like the Westside. They send their children to hideously expensive and permissive private schools where shoes aren’t required, and neither is learning. You know, if little Mabel Starlight isn’t feeling arithmetic, she isn’t feeling it. And if she hits another kid, she is expressing a healthy hostility toward our current administration and the war in Iraq. Besides, Mommy is late for Pilates and Daddy has a very important pitch meeting at Sony. They don’t have time for this shit.

So, these are the people who have co-opted my neighborhood. And, they not only shop at the Gelson’s, they sometimes slum it over at the Trader Joe’s across the street, which is where my story takes place. I walk in one weekday afternoon, pick up a basket and head over to the produce aisle. There, I see a little Bohipsteran boy, about two or three, sitting in the front of his Very Busy Yet Jobless Silver Lake Mother’s grocery cart. He is wearing the prerequisite Ramones t-shirt and he is looking right at me with a giant grin on his face. Very cute. I smile back. I start to wave, when he reaches behind him and pulls a clear plastic produce bag over his head. Ahhhh! His mother isn’t looking because she is preoccupied with selecting organic Japanese eggplant or something. By the time I realize what is happening, the kid has pulled the plastic bag back up onto his forehead and he is laughing. Oh, I get it; he’s playing Peek-a-Boo Russian Roulette. Mommy certainly won’t like this when I warn her. When the boy pulls the bag back over his head again, I start to walk over to their cart, but just then his mother looks over. Phew! Surely Mommy will rip that bag out of his hands, say something like, “Where did you get that? This is not a toy! Never, never, ever play with plastic bags like that! You could suffocate!”

Alas, no. Mommy glances over at little Eucalyptus Tree, or whatever his fucking name is, for one bored moment and casually turns back to picking through the specialized vegetables. By the way, when Mommy turned toward her son, not only was the bag still over his head, he was experimenting with the fun of gasping for air, enjoying the warm sensation of soft plastic as the bag gently encased the inside of his mouth and blocked his windpipe. What a cool mom.

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t say anything to the woman, although I did make a couple of frantic gestures at the boy, miming pulling the bag off my head, crumpling it into a ball, and tossing it over my shoulder. See? That’s fun too! I think I was just too stunned to react rationally. I didn’t believe it was really happening. Who doesn’t know you don’t let kids play with plastic bags?! It says so right on the side! I looked around and no one else seemed to notice what was going on, so I thought maybe I was crazy.

As soon as I left the store I started having visions of Little Euke toddling toward the recycling bin at home in his mid-century modern kitchen, alone, while Mommy is upstairs fucking her life coach. He opens the lid and, lo and behold! A treasure trove of his new favorite toys!

You can guess the rest.

A few days later, I was at home writing when I heard a little kid screaming and crying. I wasn’t alarmed. I knew the new neighbors in the next house over had a baby. He was probably just teething or had diaper rash or something. But then the crying continued for what seemed like a half hour. And the crying was really frantic. Remembering how mad I was at myself for not rescuing poor Euke, who was probably dead by then, I decided to investigate.

I walked down the back alley that runs between my apartment and the neighboring building. The new people lived in the smaller back house. The kid was still screaming his lungs out, so I tentatively shouted over the fence, “Is everything OK over there?” A wary male voice shouted back, “Who’s that?” “I’m your neighbor? I just wanted to make sure everything is OK?” (When I’m anxious and trying to sound non-threatening I turn every statement into a question.) A head popped over the dilapidated wood slat fence: Feckless Silver Lake Dad. Medium height, too thin, shaggy hair, scruffy beard, baggy ironic t-shirt. As the baby carried on wailing, FSLD somewhat defensively explained that the family had gotten home from somewhere late and missed the kid’s scheduled meal. The child was starving, so he was hysterical. “It happens every time.” At this point, I was done with FSLD. As I started to head home, I assured him I wasn’t complaining, just concerned, and was glad everything was ok. While his kid continued to cry bloody murder, FSLD apologized about the noise, and with a shrug concluded, “But when he gets to this point, it’s really out of my hands.”

Check This

Over the weekend, fellow ABU Blogger JR and I were on our way to a party where we weren't sure if food would be served. We didn't have time for dinner and, to put it mildly, I was starving the fuck to death, so we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a small snack.

I grabbed a Zone bar and JR picked up a fruit snack of some sort and we marched over to the checkout lane, where a rather hefty girl in her early 20s was working the register. As she rang up JR's fruitiness, I slowly perished. I briefly considered devouring the Zone bar as JR used his ATM card to pay for his item... but I didn't want to seem like a sow, so I resisted.

While JR waited for his transaction to be approved, I tried to get my mind off the pangs of hunger by asking him a question. I can't remember exactly what it was because I was delirious, but I'm sure it was something veryimportant. Meanwhile, the Chubby Checker was growing impatient, and asked him to hit the button to confirm his transaction. He apologized to her and pressed the appropriate keys as she joked, "You're just making your friend wait longer." I chimed in, only half-kidding: "Yeah. Hurry the hell up!" He jokingly snapped back: "YOU distracted me!" Then Chubby Checker gasped and shouted "OOOOooooOOHHH!" as if she was in the studio audience of the Jerry Springer show. Under normal circumstances I would have made some wise-ass comment, but my organs were in the process of shutting down due to malnutrition, so I was busy trying to stay alive.

It was a task, but I managed to hand her my Zone bar along with some cash. While she gathered my change, I tore into the peanut-buttery bar because I could feel my body going into its death throes. Luckily, I was able to take a bite just before I voided my bowels.

As I consumed its life-restoring choclateyness, Chubby Checker looks at me and says, "You might as well be eating a candy bar."

"Excuse me," I replied, careful not to let any precious Zone-crumbs spray out of my mouth.

"I said you might as well be eating a candy bar. It's just as good for you."

Oh, I'm sorry. I thought I was in the Express Lane, not the Unwanted Bad Advice from Pamela Lane.

Really? REALLY? You're judging me on what I buy and consume... AND you're going to try and give me nutritional advice on top of it all? If my maw wasn't stuffed with food, I would have screamed at her until her candy-eating face fell off, leaving a trail of bloody nougat and caramel on the conveyor belt. JR, seeing that I was trying to swallow my food in order to spew forth a torrent of hate, quickly ushered me away from the scene as he muttered something to her about the Zone Bar's protein content.

How. Dare. She?

Doesn't this violate the unwritten rules of the cashier/customer relationship? Shouldn't I be able to purchase what I want without fear of judgment by an UNPleasantly Plump Checker? This is worse than disregarding a patient/doctor confidentiality agreement, as the effects are immediate and devastating . Am I entitled to some legal recourse?

Here's a tip: Next time you feel the need to comment on someone's purchases, don't. Shove a fucking Kit Kat down your throat instead or I'll do it for you as I'm beating you about the face and neck with a pair of Twix bars.