Tuesday, December 11, 2007
If you know Jack Bauer, or a recent fan of his like I am, you probably love Jack because he might be the only human ever to really make the most of his day. He takes 24 hours and really jams them full of activity, every minute of which is so emotional, so physical, so...sexual?* If he's not fighting terrorists, he's making important calls on his cell phone, or discovering important facts, and goddammit if he ever takes a minute to eat, or pee, or breathe. Heroes don't need that shit, and I love him for that.
I guess I don't love him as much as I love the idea of him. He's just so productive, you know?
And now that I have a job and spend most of my day on very unproductive things, I find that now more than ever I want to maximize my free time. I really do. Truly, madly, deeply do. It is a precious gift, to be spent wisely. So a few weeks ago I decided to watch all of the first season of '24'. Because it makes sense. Also because spending (not wasting) time watching '24' doesn't feel counter-productive. It feels like I'm helping, so it may as well count as community service, which we all know is very productive.
If sitting on the couch for hours at a time witnessing one man save the world from mayhem and destruction is wrong, then I don't want to be right.
Of course, while exercising my talents in voyeurism can be both stimulating and fulfilling**, there are times when even I, the most dedicated of TV on DVD viewers, can step outside of Jack and his swashbuckling world to realize that Hmm, maybe my muscles haven't been used all day, and whatever alcohol remaining in my system will probably be converted to fat before my very eyes. Maybe actual exercise is actually necessary.
So I get up, and I run.
Or jog. Whichever. I don't have enough money to join a gym.
This familiar cycle of TV-induced anesthesia followed by guilt followed by exercise most recently happened over the weekend. At 2:00pm on Sunday I was halfway up 26th Street, jogging my way back toward San Vicente, pondering the nature of time... what it means to spend it, what it means to fill it, to use it wisely, to waste it. Is 24 hours to me the same as it is to a child laborer in Indonesia? Is time a discrete series of snapshots, or do we all exist on some sort of continuum the way Kurt Vonnegut writes in 'Slaughterhouse Five'? Am I real? Is any of this real? Am I still high?...
I continued jogging.
I was proud of myself for choosing genuine productivity over my distorted version in the half-world I had created on my sofa, right in that perfect ass-shaped dip between the cushions...Right where I wanted to be sitting.
I needed to know what happened between the hours of 6:00pm and 7:00pm on the day of the California Presidential Primary.
Jack, I'll never let go...
This is where I noticed something quite peculiar. So what if I was busy philosophizing the nature of time and existence, far be it from me not to notice the details. It was fascinating: All up and down 26th Street, on every electrical box, every manhole, every available non-concrete surface, written in what appeared to be industrial strength whiteout was this simple phrase:
'What.. the... fuck?' I asked myself; the first in series of questions, followed by, 'Why, God, did this person choose to tag his name in whiteout on every available surface for the full length of this Santa Monica street?' 'Who is Satchmo?' 'What does he want, and why has he declared '07 to be his year?'
I'm pretty smart, but I had a hard time with this. Ordinarily I guess I'd just overlook something so retarded, chalk it up to a crazed jazz enthusiast trying his damnedest to make sure the legend of Louis Armstrong lived on forever, and focus on the pain in my hip. But something bigger was happening inside my pretty little head. What this phantom tagger made me realize was how selfish and pompous I had been. Here I had spent all this time congratulating myself on finding new and exciting ways to waste time, when really I'd missed the boat.
Whoever this guy was, whether his name really was Satchmo or Bill, or Ted, He had figured it out. Not me. I thought that spending the best years of my life plopped on a caved-in sofa in front of a pathetically small television fighting off feelings of guilt while an overpaid actor pretends to stop humanity from ending itself was the time-waster to end all time-wasters. What I had attempted, he had achieved, and all I could do was bring myself to a reverent stop in the middle of 26th Street and thank Jesus for creating a human who truly knows how to waste this precious gift we call
*Did I take it too far with that? I don't know anymore.
**Ah. I wish everything was both stimulating and fulfilling.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
No, I take that back, it's the traffic.
No. Maybe it's the shallow people I meet everywhere... Wait, is that the same as what I first said?
Dammit I'm confused.
It never rains here, so from the perpetual sunshine distracting you from the fact that the planet is indeed in orbit, to the fugly blond trophy wives that clumsily drive around in their absurdly large Range Rovers, very few things and people give you a sense that you're living in a real world, and that you all actually exist. The city itself is arbitrarily stitched together with concrete and asphalt, and the only thing that distinguishes a "good" part of town from a "bad" part of town is that someone, somewhere made a decision a long time ago that Beverly Hills would be a place that should make you want to vomit, and anywhere east of the 101 should make you fear for your life.*
Speaking of the 101...
Not long ago, after drinking a few beers and singing a few tacky karaoke songs, I found myself abandoned on the curb in front of the Pig 'N Whistle in Hollywood very late on a Thursday night--a very unfortunate and distressing situation that more or less forced me into taking a cab back to the west side. This sucked. Also, it cost me $35, which sucked even harder.
And it's too bad, because it was a really fun night...
The full-length story leading up to my cab ride home is actually pretty entertaining, but lucky for some people, that is not the enlightening life-anecdote I've chosen to try to learn from tonight.** Rather, I'd like to discuss the cab ride itself.
It was a very average looking cab, yellow on the outside and musty with the scent of hundreds of other weepy, abandoned late-night karaoke addicts, with a very average looking Armenian driver. I sat in the backseat, so as to spare this quiet man the pathetic little display of tears I was indulging. Also, because I think sitting in the front seat of a cab is one of the most uncomfortable situations a person can find him or herself in and should be avoided at any cost.
I was pretty upset, but even in the throes of childish whimpering I knew there was nothing more girly and pitiful than crying in the back of a cab. Upon realizing this somewhere between Fairfax and La Cienega, I figured it wouldn't hurt to sack up and make some friendly-ish conversation with my driver. I was sort of drunk and disheveled, and ten minutes earlier a nicely dressed but rather short businessman had seen me crying on the sidewalk approached me offering money (for a cab of course, you asshole)... so I was hard up for a ride, but at least I wasn't in the driver's seat of a Yellow Cab at 1:30 AM, you know. If anything I was doing this guy a favor.
"So where are you from?" I asked.
This wasn't rude of me. It was a good question. He was clearly not from America and there is absolutely nothing racist about that. I just wanted to know which kinds of generalizations I could make about him and whether or not I could guess what he'd eaten for dinner that night.
"Iran," he replied.
Fuck. I thought he was Armenian. Oh well, close enough.
"Oh wow, that's far," I said, like a complete moron. "So do you miss it?"
This question also made me sound like a moron. I guess since I miss living in Northern California, I falsely assume that anyone not from here would naturally pine for the place they call Home. Even if that's Iran. Remarkably, he responded the way I had predicted, mentioning that Yes sometimes he did in fact miss living in Iran, mostly because he missed being close to family, but in 1989 when he left the country it had gotten too dangerous to stay...and after having been a soldier in the Iranian military for two years, moving to the United States looked like a good option...
Hmm. Iranian military...I guess he needed a change of pace?
We continued down Sunset, the boulevard of broken dreams, and the snot on my cheek was almost fully dry when he mentioned one last thing he missed about his homeland, in the form of something he didn't like about LA:
"It seems like nothing here smells good. Flowers are all pretty but...no smell. Same with the fruit. I go to Ralphs, buy very big apple, but I not smell it."
Dude. That was deep.
Sitting in the back seat of that musty cab, I thought about my life, and all of my fruit buying experiences. I too have purchased many a very big apple, and it's true that even at Whole Foods they are almost never fragrant. In all their bio-engineered goodness, even fruit loses it's authenticity living in this city.
LA is all about size and style. You can't even buy an everyday watermelon without having to purchase it leather boots, leggings, and a pashmina. Even then, it's probably not the right pashmina...
Oh, and by the way your melons better be huge. And expensive.
Perhaps on some level I have an "If you can't beat 'em join 'em" mentality. I mean, I do have more than 2 overpriced purses (I just love them!), and maybe I care more than I should about how I look when I go out, but fuck you if this place doesn't give you a complex.
But even I, the eternal pessimist, can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I won't live here forever.
Plus, what would I blitch (blog+bitch) about, if not my scorn for Southern California?
Today it was all of 78 degrees.
Nothing here feels real.
Except maybe for my melons.
*Ew, I hate everything east of the 101.
**For those of you who've never read my blog, that's what I do. I learn from my life. You should try it some time.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It sounds dramatic, but in my case it just might be true.
See, living away from home, you have the luxury of fooling everyone you meet into believing that you somehow don't have a family. Maybe you were one of those dumpster babies, or maybe you were independently minded and emancipated yourself from your parents shortly after moving to solids or being potty trained. Maybe you're what happened when lightning struck the ocean and DNA magically came together. Who cares. Whatever your story is, no one in your life has to know where you come from, or more importantly, whose genes are actually responsible for the person you are today.
But I'll always know...
And thank God there's the Thanksgiving holiday to remind me!
Thing is, it's taken me years to get this comfortable in my own skin. If you were to have told me as a chubby little nine year old with offset front teeth and frizzy hair, alone in my craft room hot-gluing art projects together for hours at a time, that I would actually turn out to be somewhat interesting and not completely plagued with self-loathing, I probably wouldn't have believed you. It may sound like a lie, but I'm a real life grown-up.* I live my life, and now that my car starts and I have a job I don't hate, I'm actually starting to love my life. I still complain about a lot of shit, and I know my behavior can be more than a little off-beat, but God forbid I take full credit for it.
This year, like every other year and/or any occasion that my extended family is calamitously brought together, Thanksgiving was a fucking crazyass carnival shitshow that made the truth of my lineage shine brighter than the warm fire at our hearth. It also made it burn just like that fire. Or maybe that was the alcohol I wouldn't...stop...drinking.
Just take another sip, don't panic.
Your mom's 48 year old confirmed lesbian cousin just made another suggestive comment about you being her lover. Gulp. Uh-oh, your 3 year old cousin just hit you in the face again with the bean bag. Aaaaand there goes his hand up your shirt. He just touched your boob. Don't panic. Shit, what next? Grandma is drowning in a puddle of her own self-pity, and that's right, your questionably retarded aunt is crying in the corner because no one will look at pictures of her cats...again.
Keep drinking. Do not panic.
Shh, it's ok, Lisa. You'll be ok. This is just a nightmare and soon you're going to wake up...
Except here's the thing: I didn't wake up. The nightmare I seemed to be having wasn't a nightmare at all. Nope, I was fully awake, and with my father reminding me hourly that his blood ran through my veins, I was all too aware that my ancestors had apparently been doing their swimming on the shallow end of the gene pool.
This sad fact became apparent as I was halfway through jamming my face full of stuffing at our opulent feast and nearly choked. And it certainly wasn't because of the food. My mother succeeded brilliantly, once again, in preparing a most decadent spread for our family, and 15 of our closest distant relatives. Including good old Uncle Bob.
All too often we don't give credit where credit is due. My 78 year old great uncle may be as old as the hills of Westwood, but he can still remember with unsettling clarity his days as a young buck at UCLA. This is is quite funny, you see, coming from a man who actually doesn't remember how old he is.
His plate was clean, and the mashed potatoes were long since gone when he brought up the very appropriate subject of venereal disease.
See, the old folks always have some story to tell about Life and Love with the kind of insight that only comes with age...
"Now, I can remember when I was at UCLA. There was one guy at the fraternity who would screw pretty much anything with legs--"
This is where I sort of inhaled a chunk of yam. WTF Uncle Bob!? He continued, not noticing...
"--and he tried to get me to go out drinking with him down at the bars near campus...you know, drink lots of beer so we could get the girls back home and in the sack. But I didn't want any part of that. I didn't want to get any venereal disease. That shit scared me to death. I wanted healthy kids."
Stuffing. Stuck in nasal passage.
Uncle Bob then segued into his not-so-misguided thoughts on young people today and how crazy it is that we all run around doing keg stands and drinking shots of tequila from each others' cleavages and how that's something that would really get him pretty excited, ya know...
I didn't know how to respond, and perhaps I'll never know how to respond. I couldn't very well corroborate the caustic rumors with a polite, "Why yes Uncle Bob, I do enjoy a good body shot," or offer to demonstrate my upside-down beer drinking skills.** All I could do was hope that somehow, somewhere deep in the double helix of my DNA, whatever genes I shared with this lovable 78 year old man had randomly mutated.
Hope is all I have.
I love my family, and look forward to next year, and every idiot parade to come, but for as long as I live, I will shudder at the thought of what we share...
*Eff you. I pay bills, I am a grown-up.
**I am very skilled in many things including keg stands.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Lucky for me, I don't get gassy when I drink milk, or eat yogurt, or add cheese to my beans. I can eat as much dairy as I want. I could bathe in cream, and if I get sick I can automatically rule out lactose intolerance as a possible cause of illness.
And I'm glad about this, because life is already hard enough.
I'm one of the lucky ones, unlike the poor soul in front of me at Whole Foods today. As I was waiting to purchase my standard salad + water bottle lunch, I noticed that the elderly gentleman standing just in front of me had a mixed basket of non-dairy dairy products, all of which appeared to be artificially engineered using soy. Soy milk. Soy sour cream. Soy American cheese.
My heart bled for this man.
Here was a man who clearly loved dairy. I can imagine him as a child as the ice cream truck passed through his neighborhood. His little feet scampering to the door at the sound of cheery music making its way through balmy summer air down what I'm sure his parents referred to as 'The Avenue.' He watched behind his screen door as the kids next door rushed down their lawns, fists filled with quarters in a hopeful race against time. He would have been right there with them, if it weren't for his lactose intolerance. "You know how you get when you eat that ice cream," his mother would say with a knowing grimace.* And oh boy, he knew...
This man and the fictional life-story I made up for him while I waited steps behind of course got me thinking about life, and the everyday expectations and disappointments we all must survive. The lactose we must tolerate, if you will. See, this cheese-loving man was no different from me in a lot of ways. He wanted what he just... couldn't... have.
I may not be lactose intolerant, but there still things that make my tummy hurt. And with the barrage of questions I'll undoubtedly have to answer (with a smile) at this year's Thanksgiving familypalooza, there are a few things I wish I could address to my relatives before we break bread:
1) Yes. I have a job and so far it's okay, but at this point I don't know what I really want to do with my beautiful mind so please don't ask, it makes me uncomfortable. I left the entertainment business because it sucks and I don't any patronizing "I told you so" speeches. Thanks anyway, please pass the yams.
2) I make less money than I would like to make.
3) I don't really date because I feel strongly that Los Angeles is a soulless wasteland nearly devoid of viable options (I hope I am wrong). Regardless, I have no intention of telling you anything about my personal life. Which leads me to...
4) No, I do not have children, or plans to bear children in the near future. Comments or complaints about our family replenishing itself with new life and how great that would be will be disregarded and considered personal assaults on my inability to find a suitable mate. Meeting men at bars is not only unlikely, but unwise. When my children ask me someday about how I met their father I don't want the story to start off with, "Well, Mommy and Daddy were wasted at a bar one night and Mommy was so good at karaoke Daddy just knew she was the one!"
Enough about me, let's talk about you. Oh, you feel like yams, too? Yeah, I thought so...
I guess the difference between me and the Soyophile is that the things I must deal with are at least within my sphere of influence. I have no genetic pre-disposition to not knowing how to constructively harness my ambition, but we all have to decide at some point to what extent we are willing to let our limitations dictate our expectations. What concessions can we stand to make and what are we willing to settle for? At what point do we stand up and say "No! I love cereal and I won't let my body's aversion to milk stop me from eating it! Ever!"
I expect to be happy. I expect to be rich.** I expect to marry and have several children.
I expect to have my ice cream, and eat it too. I will not settle for soy.
Not today. Not ever.
*She was referring to his violent dairy-induced diarreah.
**No, not really.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Incoherent Musings on the Issue of Coolness, or Pounding Jello Shots with Senior Citizens Is A Great Way To Spend A Weekend
My entire adolescence reads as an Odyssey of sorts, a fumbling about in the dark, a long and winding road that hopefully dead ends at some point with an answer this puzzling question.
But I'm not keeping my fingers crossed.
See, it's always been a mystery to me, what makes someone truly cool. Just when I think I've identified an actual cool person, just when I've outlined in my mind the key factors that make that person cool, they'll blow it and do a magic trick, or be into race-cars, or have a girlfriend--and in an instant the wind is swiftly swept from my sails, and again I am left to wonder...
There's a lot of confusion surrounding the issue of Coolness. Lines are easy to cross, and the shades of gray...well, they are many. Like, it's cool to watch 'The Office,' but it's not cool to make awkward jokes at work (ala Michael Scott.) And what about drugs? We're taught that they're definitely NOT cool in elementary school, but then the rules abruptly change and in junior high it's like, only the cool kids smoke pot and sneak their parents' booze. The definition of the word, and whatever attitude it implies is so fucked up and challenging and I've never fully grasped it...
And yet Coolness, while it remains an intangible mystery shrouded in a dense fog, is also the only real thing I know exists.
So really. Someone please tell me. I'd kind of like to start implementing some changes.*
Because there is no Rosetta Stone for this kind of thing. No rules or regulations. My high school calculus teacher may have been the coolest man alive, but the same could be said of John Lennon, or even my Dad on a good day. In the milieu of fleeting trends and unbearable fads, bandwagons and here-today-gone-tomorrows, it's hard to know what actually qualifies. Is coolness based on what you wear? What you listen to? How attractive you are? Is it owning nothing but vinyl or having the newest iPod? Is it knowing how to play the guitar, or having a boyfriend who does?
Hmm. I don't have any of those things. Fuck. See why I need help?
Try as you might, you may never actually learn how to be it, but you sure as shit know cool when you see it.
And last weekend, I saw it. In the most unlikely of places.
Last weekend while I was hanging out at my aunt and uncle's house, I saw cool happen. My visit happened to fall on the same day as an annual get together they host for a group of friends who have apparently all known each other since high school. Keep in mind, that's a helluva long time; these people all qualified for AARP like, 20 years ago. So they gather at the house, eat greasy lasagna, drink cheap wine.... and (drumroll, please) do Jello shots.
Seriously. Jello shots.
Maybe I'm over-stating my reaction when I say I was blown away by this, but at first I honestly didn't know how to respond. When a gray-haired woman with intimidatingly blue eyeshadow and imposing bosoms shoves a tray of those things in your face, the experience alone can make you dizzy with surprise.
"I'm sorry ma'am, shouldn't you be a 20-year-old frat boy? Where is your bunk-bed and your ulterior motive? Can I trust this Jello shot? Should I be worried about my reputation?...Wait, are you my grandma?"
I guess the point, and really the humor of all this lies in the fact that even though the Jello Shot-Fairy was at least 67, probably diabetic, and in severe need of some hair-dye--things that would usually land you in the uncool category**--she was undeniably the most clued-in guest at the Lasagna Party. Her very presence and the intoxicating gifts she bore flipped all my notions of coolness upside down. Again.
And you know, so what? So maybe there is no formula for being cool. Maybe it's totally possible and it's just a matter of time before I'm 67 and diabetic and force-feeding my overweight, geriatric friends Jello shots that could potentially kill them.
At least being cool is totally possible.
*Preferably sooner than later, because at some point I'd like to get married and maybe even have kids, and I think being cool would help me achieve those goals.
**Sorry, Diabetes is not cool.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
It's not just the fact that I can't really fathom how they work, because I know it's super complicated and way beyond what my little brain can understand (wine may be good for your heart, but trust me it turns your mind to shit). They are complex, and humongous, and involve math, so obviously I will never fully grasp what really happens behind the computer screen when I book a flight. I click the button, and hope the work stops there. I pack my bag, I board the plane, I'm told to enjoy the ride...
And therein lies what baffles me most of all: When it comes to air travel, I never ever actually enjoy the ride.
Of all the modes of transportation that God invented, roller-blading and riding side-saddle included, I think air travel sucks the absolute most. I'd like to take this chance to outline my reasons, inspired by my trip to Portland last weekend, but based on the aggregate of all my really awful air travel experiences.
Reason #1 Flying is The Balls: Getting a ride to the airport is shitty.
In all honesty, this reason on its own could warrant its own entry, nay, it's own blog, if i really wanted to get into it. This is because flying always starts with driving. Until teleporting really catches on, which it very well could given both the legacy of "Star Trek" and the recent popularity of NBC's "Heroes," in order to catch a flight you have to get your ass to the airport. And you'd better hope that shit is close, because otherwise your drive may take even longer than the plane ride itself. And don't even THINK about taking a shuttle. Not only have I had a miserable string of near-death experiences in airport shuttles, I have been straight up LEFT on the curb by the fuckfaces at both PrimeTime and Supershuttle. On three separate occasions! And over the summer, when I actually made it onto my van, I had to sit behind a pasty-white man in ill-fitting shorts and try not to hide my complete disgust while I stared at his leg hair as he told me about how he dumped his entire life savings into a brilliant plan to design a three-wheeled, ethanol-burning vehicle he lovingly referred to as 'his special little car.'
God, I hate airport shuttles almost as much as I hate...
Reason #2: Flight Attendants.
I'm not sorry* if your mom or aunt or (God forbid) brother is a flight attendant. I generally don't like flight attendants, and I think they deserve even less credit than they already don't get. Whatever strides we've made as a society toward legitimizing the work of the Flight Attendant, we should immediately take three giant steps back. There are few customer-service careers that are as overrated as that of these phony-balonies. I'm sorry, Stewardess, but knowing CPR doesn't qualify you for a better job title, and you're only pretending to be happy to serve me, you snatch; I know you're only doing this for the frequent flier miles. When you tell me to turn off my iPod before we hit a cruising altitude of 10,000 feet I want not only to leave it on, I also want to bitch-slap you across the face. For the life of me, I do not, nor will I ever understand why my seat needs to be tilted all of 10 degrees higher prior to take-off and landing, and when you call me out for not returning it to its full upright position as you pass my row for the 14th time, you make me feel like a troublemaker when really all I want is to be a little less uncomfortable. AH you are a bitch! And in an era where my terror alert is always red (thank you, G. Dubya), am I expected to believe that Tammy, Cindy, and Kara really going to rise up and defend me in case of an emergency? Highly doubtful.
The more I write about this the more pissed off I get. I'm moving on to...
Reason #3: In-Flight Companions and Their Bodily Functions.
Pretty simple. Planes are close quarters, and not everyone is courteous enough to monitor their pre-flight intake of bean and cheese burritos. And cursed you will be if you end up in a window-seat on a 737. Two seats filled with Person will keep you trapped in, nice and close when the chump next to you happens to have nasty BO. And you'll be an unhealthy distance from the lavatory. Thanks to the terrorists, you can't even stand in line by the bathroom, so good luck timing exactly when you have to pee. Yeah, I know it's impossible, but try explaining that to your flight attendant. She's a bitch and no matter how harmless you are she'll probably make you sit down without explaining why. Instead she'll offer you another beverage and...
Reason #4: Party-Mix
If my kid had a peanut allergy, I'd just as soon wrap him in plastic or send him in a cargo crate before I deprived the rest of the passengers from the only thing that offers a momentary flicker of light in the darkness that is Flying: Airplane Peanuts. On my most recent mid-air misadventure, I was offered Party Mix. You can imagine my dismay when I discovered that this so-called Party Mix consisted of nothing more than a few miniature pretzel pieces, 3 spiced crutons, and a Wheathin. There is nothing "party" about this mix. It is a disappointment on all levels, and as it happens, contains absolutely no peanuts. Not even trace amounts. I bet you five years ago some allergic asshole ate a nut and spazzed out when his throat closed up then cried wolf to the airline, and unfairly made all subsequent generations of air-travelers pay the price for his genetic inadequacy.
I hate that guy, and I effing hate Party-Mix.
Reason #5: The Mile High Club.
Despite the allure of having sex in an on-board bathroom to stave off the boredom of sitting in your uncomfortable window seat, at worst the Mile High Club is repulsive, and at best a myth.
I suppose if I was to continue with my exhaustive list, I'd be belaboring the issue and I'd probably convince myself to never go anywhere. Air travel as a theory is mind-blowingly cool. Air travel as a practice is a bunch of lies and bullshit. I think most of this stems from the fact that I have bad luck in a lot of areas including this one, and last weekend when I had my roommate drop me off at LAX, I got out at the wrong terminal and had to rush my shit clear across the airport just to find out my flight had been delayed.
And then I got served Party-Mix by a snatchy flight attendant who told me to turn off my iPod.
Which I didn't, by the way.
Take your party-mix and shove it, lady, or I will fart in your vicinity...
Hey, anyone want to go to Europe?
*Ok, maybe I'm a little sorry.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
What looks one way from the left, looks completely different from the right. What is useful right side up is obsolete upside down. What sounds like a good idea at 10 PM, feels like a big mistake at 9 the next morning...
Halloween, much like Life, is all about perspective.
Last night I went out (some might say all-out), in support of this retarded celebration of the fact that I can buy my own alcohol. And that I no longer have a curfew. That beer has replaced candy, and that trick-or-treating is really code for looking around the room to see who you can actually stand the thought of waking up next to in the morning.
I thought growing up meant getting smarter...
I was very wrong.
This stupid holiday, at least for the twentysomething crowd, exists solely for the purpose of giving us young, sex-starved, beer-craving idiot freaks* an excuse to put on costumes, drink heavily, and then make bad decisions. With each other.
It's an opportunity to change who we are and how we see the world for a few hours and fuck up our lives in less-than-extraordinary ways with the perfectly acceptable justification of: "Oops! I was drunk, and it was Halloween."
At least, that's my excuse… Both for what I wore. And how I behaved.
See, I bitch to no end every year about how I get grossed out by the typical girly Halloween costume. Why be a maid when you can be a slutty maid!? Why be a unicorn when you can be a slutty unicorn?! Why be a bee, when you can be a slutty bee?! (Seriously, ladies... a slutty bee?) Anyway, this year I decided to do what everyone essentially does anyway.
I went as a slut.
I know. I'm so ironic.
My costume was a success (what a fun role to play!). Yet, while changing the lens through which you see the world (thank you, Bud Light) can be awesome for one night, it can make the next day more than a little miserable. So at five o'clock, after having been awake for all of three hours, I discovered that if I ever wanted to feel human again, some intense recovery efforts would be necessary.
My insides felt like a bloody Civil War battlefield and I guess taking a shower was going to be the Reconstruction of the South. But taking a shower is very difficult to do, you see, when the room is still spinning and standing up is not an option.
So I sat.
I sat on the floor of my bathtub. I stared up at the water from my shower-head five feet above me, beating down upon my broken, hungover body... and honestly, it helped. Tremendously. I realized then that from a new perspective, even something as ordinary as taking a shower can become a rebirth of sorts. Maybe even a cure for stupidity?
I realized sitting there that the situations we find ourselves in take on new meaning when we simply look at them from another angle...
I also realized that I lack self control, that I should stop drinking forever, and that I lack self control.
Need a change of perspective? Try three screwdrivers, two shots of So-Co (why, God?) and a couple of brews. That'll give you a fucking change of perspective.
One that lasts well into the next day.
Trick or treat!
*Life is also like a box of chocolates
**Notice how I expressly included myself in this group. I am a young idiot freak.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Ford Models and the Solution to Personal Finance, or "How I Ended Up Wearing Heels To the Laundromat"
If you want, you can skip the rest of this entry because tonight, the bottom line is gonna be the same as the top.
I guess I'm not as poor as I am young. You can empathize, I'm sure. See, the benefits of a top-notch college education, enlightening though it was, don't necessarily translate to much at first. Four years and one B.A. later, essentially all I really got was a Fast Pass to the front of the soup line. We've all been there. Or here. Wherever here is.
Hey. No cutting in the effing soup line.
At the top of my list of I'm-Poor Complaints this month, as well as a major source of embarrassment, is the fact that for whatever reason, my car won't start. That is, won't start on command. Like a needy lover, my 12-year-old* POS Carolla will get revved eventually, but that's only after 16 turns of the ignition, 8 repetitions of the phrase "Fuck this," and a quick "Ok, I take it back, pleeeease can we just go now?"
Apparently government will give me $1,000 to take it off the road. And that's more than the shitmobile is worth.
With this in mind, you can imagine my sheer delight when I found a solution, nay The solution, to my money troubles today, in the form of a Myspace ad.
When I logged onto my least favorite of the social-networking websites this morning,** this banner appeared:
Typically I ignore these. They are obnoxious, and a hindrance to the very important business of reading comments and checking to see who else is online. I cannot be bothered to care about whatever bullshit Myspace is offering on any given day. But given this morning's crisis, I was enticed.
"Wanna Win $250,000?" It said to me from the bottom left-hand corner of my screen.
Lemme think . . .HELL YES I wanna win $250,000! And wait--all I have to do is be a model? I don't have to be smart or charming or responsible? I could be dumb as a log and be a model! Good thing I'm super hot. I'll just show up and Ford Models will give me a coulpleahundred grand. And to top off the awesomeness of this already awesome deal, they'll crown me Supermodel of the World.
Holy shit. Supermodel of the World. This is too good to be true.
Now that I have a water-tight plan in place, all I need to do now is do everything in my power to ensure my success. In order to be a model, I must now behave like a model.
"Hmm," I think to myself. "What is the most retarded thing I can do tonight?"
I know. I'll do my laundry. In high heels.
A brilliant idea, indeed. Thing is, what I neglected to tell you earlier is that before the car-not-starting bullshit debacle, I had planned on using one of my three post-workday hours to make a trip to the laundromat. I was on my last pair of underwear, with zero intention of going commando the next day no matter how free the gust of the Santa Anas can make a girl feel, and my crappy little laundry joint is on the way home. So it seemed a fair plan.
But, of course I forgot that doing laundry after work also meant doing laundry in my work clothes. Which today included a red dress and high heels.
I'll let you fill the rest of the adventure with your imagination, but be sure to include the part of the evening where I walked in my red-dress-and-heels through a trash littered alley, past several homeless men and multiple pot-holes on my way to the 7-11 to get cash. And then the part where, out of the many delicious options that 7-11 offers, I chose fucking three-dollar Carrot Juice, because naturally that was the most reasonable thing to drink while waiting for the dry cycle to finish...
Go ahead, call me an idiot. I won't be offended.
I won't be offended, because I'm a model. And sooner than later I'll be laughing my way all the way to the cover of Vogue, driving a brand new Benzy, and dating the Myspace Supermodel of the World runner-up.
My life, folks, is gonna be great. But until then...
I am poor.
* I know how this sounds. 12 years old in car years is at least 36 in human years.
**Don't judge me, you know your face is all over effing Myspace.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Anyone who knows me, or Facebook stalks me, or by some off-chance reads this blog, knows that if there is anything true and real about Lisa Zine, it is that I hate working at ICM.
For the last few months of my downward spiral into Administrative Disillusionment I have done little else besides complain at length to my friends and family.* After a tedious heart-to-heart with my boss (which mind you, is made exponentially more difficult when the other party lacks said "heart") I did what I could to make this shitty job work.
I tried running in the mornings.
I started my blog.
I drank a lot of red wine alone on the couch watching The Office on DVD.
One afternoon I even tried taking my frustration out on a blank canvas, which was a bad idea. The end result was an 16 x 20 inch purple piece of vomit I wouldn't wish on even the tackiest of STD-laden motel rooms. I guess that's what's been going on in my head. Meaningless, purple STD vomit.
Fucking, self expression man...
For anyone who has ever quit anything (smoking, relationships, sex vacations with your gay cowboy lover), you know just how painful the proverbial bandaid-rip can be. Disappointing people is hard, no matter how much you wish they would stop existing. But I did it, and you can all thank me for it later.
Actually I have no idea why you would thank me. Never mind.
Right now my soon-to-be-former boss is interviewing a potential replacement. Lucky for me the door is shut, but I can hear the dialogue...in my head:
Boss: "My little bitch assistant is leaving me and I'm throwing a shitfit."
New Kid: "Oh. Ok. Well can I have her old job?"
Boss: "Yeah. I guess I don't have a choice."
New Kid: "Cool. Thanks."
Besides the time I had to force myself to stave-off a Baja Fresh assplosion so I could avoid having to make a pit-stop in Inglewood, this may be the most uncomfortable I've ever been. But the truth is, this too shall pass.
Before too long, I'll be free from the hellish reality that is my first poorly-made career choice, hopefully it's not one of many, and with any luck my life will get markedly better.
Until then, I'm going to continue to run in the mornings. I will continue to blog. And I will
definitely continue to drink lots and lots of red wine.
And as a parting gift, I'll give my boss the purple vomit.
*Guys, I'm sorry. I had to. It was better than keeping up with the drinking.
Friday, October 12, 2007
This is probably because I don't love my working environment, where most of my days' activities leave my waste-basket full and my heart empty.
In an effort to keep myself from going over the ledge today, I was going to pour myself into writing a really awesome entry that discussed Al Gore and how I can't decide what's better an Oscar or a Nobel Peace Prize? and how I'd like a little piece of the action, and what cause could I champion that would warrant the same kind of public attention? and how if Al Gore won the Nobel Peace prize for being the World's Most Aware Human then his publicist should probably get a 'peace' of that prize because without her no one would know about Al Gore...
And then the phone rang and I lost my train of thought. Again.
Having lost all motivation to do anything of any importance, devoid of all plans to of devise a strategy for saving the environment, or composing an Oscar-winning Power Point presentation on all the reasons I should quit my job, instead I wrote my name over and over on the same piece of notebook paper.
Maybe I wasted this piece of paper. So what. Maybe sitting in front of a computer writing emails all day long drives a person to place of private insanity where self expression is really nothing more than writing your name repeatedly in a useless exercise in time-wasting / paper-wasting narcissism.
Maybe this piece of paper represents my Inconvenient Truth. The truth being that there is a multi-million dollar company* that pays me a little more than minimum wage to write emails and doodle for hours at a time.
Maybe Al Gore would scoff at my piece of wasted paper. But then again, maybe this act of unabashed self-indulgence is actually my ticket to winning the next Nobel Peace Prize.
It worked for him. Right?
*Company, here defined as: A factory of lies.
Monday, October 8, 2007
It wasn't a bad flip-out, and he was straight-up being an asshole, but really I could've been cooler.
See, what the rude man at Trader Joe's didn't realize is that I was having a really stressful day. So stressful, in fact, I was almost inspired to start a whole new series entitled "Reasons Why I Can't Stand LA," or "Reasons LA Sucks," but because that pretty much warrants an entirely new blog and I barely have time to keep up with the exhausting demands of this one, I will not do that.
Anyway, I was standing in line at Trader Joe's at around 2:00pm on Sunday. Let this be your first indication that the day was fucked. Going to Trader Joe's on a Sunday is like like inviting a child molster to your son's bar mitzvah. It's not so much a crime in itself as it is a bad idea.
So I had been standing in line for at least 25 minutes, with at least 10 more to go, and it just so happens that at my "neighborhood" Trader Joe's*, the line for the last checkstand, when it gets backed up, actually overflows into the already crowded produce section creating a blockade of people and shopping carts right in front of the lettuce. I was unintentionally part of the lettuce blockade.
Cue Mr. Sassy McSasshole.
He approached the blockade already with a bad attitude; a khaki-clad twenty-first century hunter on a warpath to the romaine hearts. After briefly scanning the situation and WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING REASONABLE to get around me, he looked up exasperatedly and said with a severely furrowed brow:
"Well?" [Pregnant pause] "Are you shopping or what?"
Taken aback, I looked at my fellow blockaders, just to make sure I was actually the target of Mr. Sasshole's aggression. Their timid stares confirmed it was me. In no mood to take it like a doormat, I responded.
"Oh, Sir, PLEASE excuse me. Is it not OBVIOUS that I'm waiting in line with the REST OF THESE PEOPLE?" I gestured to the 4 people ahead of me, and the 3 behind. "If you need to get to the lettuce, you can ASK me to fucking move! But don't fuck with me dude. I don't need it."
I'm seriously so badass.
With that he shot me a dirty look, grabbed his pussy European salad mix, and stormed off.
I probably overreacted, maybe ran my mouth a little irrationally, but what that douchebag didn't realize when he threw me his bucket of sass was that earlier that morning my car wouldn't start. Again. And then at the laundromat I ran out of quarters and stepped in a puddle of flith on my way to 7-11 to get cash.
And then... and then... and then... what I think it comes down to is that I hate being poor.
Being poor in your twenties is kind of to be expected. People who aren't poor for at least a few years in their twenties are probably getting their money from a trust fund or from investments their parents made in microwaves before eveyrone had microwaves. And those people shouldn't exist. It's not the worst thing that could happen to a person, but there are a lot of things that are better.
I can handle driving a crappy car. I can handle doing my laundry once every two weeks at the shady laundromat on Westwood Blvd. I can even handle the fact that my life is something short of what I'd like it to be right now. But some jerk-off in the salad aisle at TJ's giving me 'tude because of things beyond my control? Nope.
Not gonna take it.
*My neighborhood Trader Joe's isn't remotely close to my neighborhood, and this is another reason why I can't stand LA.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Fact About Lisa #1: I once made 50 bucks selling lotion at the California State Fair.
No, really. There is a real lotion and it is called Touch of Mink and this is a true story about how I sold it and made fifty dollars.
What the hell was I thinking.
It was the summer after my senior year of high school when the mind-dulling heat and the pressure to make some last minute cash before leaving home for college/forever led me to take one of the least rewarding jobs I have ever held. My current job, a daily battle through bullshit though it is, is a greater success than this.
All those who hail from the great city of Sacramento know just how Awesome it is. Of course, that depends on how you define Awesome. If by awesome you mean Really Hot, or Kinda Boring, or Flat, then yes, Sactown is Awesome. Perhaps one of the awesomest things about living in Sacramento is that every year in late September, as if it were planned (!), the fine people of the Capital City get to experience for 2 whole weeks the joy, the heat, and the gang-activity of the California State Fair.
Our state fair is a great state fair! Anyone?...
Ain't nothin' betta than stuffing your face with a greasy funnel cake whilst admiring a price-drastically-reduced spa, or a hand-woven quilt, or the entrancing demonstration of a nimble four-fingered knife salesman, with the down home sound of a Pat Benatar cover band playing a crappy version of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" on some distant, magical stage. The carnies abound, and late at night, walking in the colorful lights of the midway one may even get to witness a real-life gang fight-- carried out, no less, with the same half-price knives so expertly peddled earlier that day in the exposition hall.
Speaking of Exposition halls, this is where I landed a sweet job selling Touch of Mink lotion.Shut up, I needed money.
I showed up to the warehouse where the lotion selling training session was being held the sweaty afternoon before the fair. A clean-cut kid (with straight teeth), plucked straight from the suburbs, I was more than a little out of my element.
For one, I was white. For two, I had a future, and at 18 I hadn't yet whored myself, given birth to one or more illegitimate children, nor had I ever applied for food stamps. Nothing, and I mean nothing, screams "I'm desperate for money" like selling hand and body lotion products made with the animal skin extract at the Califuckingfornia State Fair.
Among the odd lot of sales personnel the classified ad had managed to lure behind the Touch of Mink sales booth was a woman named Ginny. Ginny was slightly built with tired, bloodshot eyes and some gnarly crows feet. I suspect she was a former user. Maybe a carnie. Maybe she was a college professor, fuck if I know. She couldn't have been a day under 56, and with half of the teeth in her mouth missing, she was fucking scary looking. Just being honest. But despite her permanent Halloween costume, Ginny was really quite nice.
And apparently that's all you need to be a successful lotion seller.
In the two days I was an employee at that wreck of a sales booth (the number of hands I touched makes me want to puke), my shiny grin was put to shame by Ginny's snaggle tooth as her numbers soared. Maybe she couldn't bite an apple, or whistle a tune, or floss... but damn she could sell lotion. Moisturizers, pumice stones, mink oil. You name it, Ginny sold it... like it was her job.
Oh Snap! It was her job!*
It's late now, and I'm searching for an ending to this story. Some nice way of wrapping this up to give everyone the impression that I really learned something from Ginny...her wrinkled face, her magic touch. Or that 2 days of slumming it in midtown Sac opened my eyes to some larger truths about human nature, or what it takes to have a successful career in sales. But honestly, this is the bottom line:
I made 50 bucks at the Sate Fair selling mink lotion. And I was outsold by a toothless old woman with a big ol' gap between her teeth, and apparently, an even bigger heart.
*I'm an awful person
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
No. Wait. That's not the expression I'm looking for. Maybe what I mean is, The American media has gone too far.
Granted, my office is not the happiest of places, and after this morning's awkward elevator ride I thought for sure any hopes for a pleasant day were dashed, but I was pleasantly surprised, albeit disturbed (the two go hand in hand) when I came across the following article, if you can call it that, in today's issue of USA Today.
A few thoughts immediately came to mind, the first of which was: "Thank God someone has taken the time to give the American people the information they really need."
A quick reference guide to spotting terrorists is clearly long overdue. Chellooo? This could have been super-handy on September 10th. And in today's fast-paced, terrorist-riddled society nothing short of a pocket-guide would do. Everyone has ADD and/or can't read. USA Today knows this, and that's what makes them a great newspaper.
The second thought was: "If USA Today can make it this easy to spot terrorists, why don't they publish more quick-reference guides to identifying other societal filth?"
Why not a handy picture grid on How to Spot Potential Bitches, or This Is What A Cheating Boyfriend Looks Like. What about Don't Work For Anyone Who Looks Like This? Oh boy, would that have been helpful!
Now wait a second, my boss looks a lot like the Inner Brow Raiser...Oh God. I feel sick.
Really though, if it's that easy to identify those individuals who are most likely to blow shit up based on bushy eyebrows and bags under the eyes, then shouldn't publishers take the next step and help us all out with Quick-Spot guides we could use on days we're maybe not fighting terror?*
Allz I'm sayin' is I'm glad USA Today was willing to make this kind of visual information accessible to Americans everywhere. Especially the ones who work in airports (i.e. The ones who can't read).
Terrorists are bad, and should be spotted.
Now, if I could just change the shape of my eyebrows and take care of the bags under my eyes...
* Please note, we should all be fighting terror every day, even if it's with our minds.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Just how stupid life can get.
So after a long, arduous, tedious day (just one in a series of long, arduous, tedious days) I thought that when I got home tonight, I was done. Safe in my West LA apartment, comfortable. Alone to enjoy the solace of a well-deserved sleep. My bedtime routine nearly through, I finished brushing my teeth and sat down to pee the final pee of the day. Ah, just a few more minutes and I'd be enjoying the satiny joy of my 400 threadcount sheets, when---
FUCK! My toilet is clogged. Water... filling the bowl... the ominous clump of toilet paper, whirling slowly around, looking up at me, laughing in my face as if to say: "No, Bitch. This bowl will not be my final resting place. And this day is not over, no matter how bad you wish it were. And oh, by the way, do you remember how much money you make?"
FUCK, FUCK!! Now the water is all over my bathroom floor. Perfect. What the fuck am I supposed to do? Towels. Right. Ok, where are my towels. FUCK! Laundry bin. Ok. Ew, God this is gross. I feel dirtier than I did that time I hooked up with that guy in that tent. I need a plunger...
I don't have a plunger.
Why, Dear God, do I not have a plunger? I am prepared for everything! A year's worth of kidney beans sits now in my pantry, waiting for Y2K to finally happen, and I have more re-writable CDs than any illegally downloading kid could ever need, but no...fucking....plunger.
Sack up, Lisa. You did this to yourself. So quickly, I change out of my PJs, throw on some sweats and somehow manage to get my broke-ass, braless self to Longs.
"Excuse me," I say after having wandered the aisle where I was certain I would find said plunger. "Where could I find a plunger?" To which the very low IQ bearing night shift cashier responded: "Aisle 14. Hardware." Fuck. I was just there.
So finally after 10 minutes I find the fucking plunger I so desperately need, all the while my foot tingling with the sensation of filth (yes, pee-water did indeed get on my foot), I go to purchase the stupid thing. "$5.40, please," says my half-wit night-shifter. I hand her the money. She gives me my change.
"Have a great night, ma'm."
Walking out of that store, plunger in hand, my tingling pee-feet itching, on my way home to a toilet that remains un-flushable, I honestly had to wonder if she meant it.
Goddamn it. I have to pee.