Friday, January 28, 2005

The Play, She Lives!

Unless we get usurped by bigger news, the local paper plans to do a feature on our humble group of playwrights. I say, it's much more efficient than what I've been doing: chatting up strangers on the street, in the elevator, over the shower curtain in the locker room... Apparently, crazy doesn't sell tickets like it used to.

Did you know that the usage for the word "failure" has drastically changed over the centuries? It used to be that you "made a failure," not that you were a failure. In other words, if you don't buy a ticket to see my play, you are making a failure.

I've recently returned from our second rehearsal, and I don't want to ruin the ending, but it involves the opposite of making a failure. You can quote me on that.

One week from today, my eyes will experience LASIK and my insides will experience Valium.

My left pinky hurts. I've been copying and pasting "code" all day, due to my insistence on text editors to create HTML magic (and not having Dreamweaver installed on my work machine). I submit this paragraph as evidence for my upcoming workmans' comp lawsuit. That makes you all my witnesses. I can subpoena you and shit.

Have a happy weekend. Don't make any failures, or I'll cut you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Title Not Included

The first rehearsal went well. We rehearsed in a chalky, dirty classroom on campus. The blinds were broken, ripped and hanging from the middle. Also, lights in the womens' restroom were insufficient -- as in out. But these are small things ...

Both actors are incredible and an absolute joy to watch. I am ECSTATIC that they were willing to work on my play. And now I am very tired and will probably require mass amounts of caffeine and sugar to see tomorrow through. Consider yourself updated.


Monday, January 24, 2005


Everyone I know is publishing a chapbook, so why not me? Maybe it's because I don't have any material. But if I had to scrape the bottom of my shoe and say, hey world, buy this thing that's not a blog, I think my chapbook would be an "experimental," "edgy," "edge of yer seat, wild ride" kinda chapbook (artistic misspellings, no extra cost!)

What would I write about? See that's the beauty. I'll just flip through the dictionary, pick random words and string 'em together. Not quite poetry, not quite prose, but all sorts of symbolic. I'll send out limited edition, numbered, lettered, hand-sewn, first edition, top rate pamphlets and I'll pressure you into jumping on the bandwagon, so at parties later you can smile smug and say, oh yes, I knew her back when she kept that silly blog. She really came into it then, and by it, I mean her voice, vision, style, you name it. I'll become a brand, a veritable chapbook whore, and instead of cards, I'll send chapbooks to everyone on my Christmas list.

And isn't the word "chapbook" grand? For me, it evokes mental pictures of grizzly hardcovers sauntering about, bow-legged, leather fringe hanging from their thighs, swinging lassos and mending fences on the prairie.

Hell, who am I kidding? I'm pickled green with envy.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Show Me Sexy

The photographer told me to smile less. I said, "It's too easy to look sad."

I'm not sad. I just have a natural downturn to the edge of my mouth. It's the end result of years of sulking, moping, indulging in convenient teenage angst. I try to combat the scars by applying daily facial moisturizers to the affected areas.

Oil of Olay has got me by the balls.

The photographer let me see myself in his camera viewscreen. As per usual, I couldn't see my likeness without adding a few sarcastic quips. I can't help myself. (That'd be a job for professionals.)

He took group shots of all us playwrights and then individual head shots. We posed with scissors and cell phones in a busy corridor outside the restrooms at the mall. Every few minutes we'd stop and stand aside so that the mall patrons could rush past, heads down, in their Sunday best. The corridor may have been busy, but it had nice light. Dugout light. Soft, flattering, textured light. The sort of light that makes playwrights look pretty. Not that we needed it, no sir. We're a damned good-looking group, and don't you forget it.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Post-Mountain Glow

After four previous attempts -- where we didn't so much as quit as "postpone the inevitable" -- BF and I, today, completed our goal of reaching Inspiration Point. It's not a long hike, only about 3.5 miles, but it's up and then it's down and not a lot of flat ground in between. The only reason we succeeded today and not before is that I've spent an hour everyday at the gym for the last two weeks. I'm not saying you'd notice a difference if you saw me on the street, but my heart has stopped bursting out my chest if I go up a flight of stairs. That counts as an upgrade.

In other news I stepped firmly into adulthood by buying a belt. Saggy pants are so last year.

Tomorrow is a photo call for the ShePlays playwrights. A reminder: my play opens February 11 in Santa Barbara, CA. Information is on the theater's website, available here.

I'm off to put my feet up and let my brain rot. Happy weekend.

BF from behind at Inspiration Point, 1/22/05

Monday, January 17, 2005

I Dedicate this Entry to my Sports Bra

Here's something: The Paris Review - Interviews. Go to it and read cultural icons answer questions in a structured format. Or not. Hell, I ain't your keeper. Do what you want. (However, I recommend the Dorothy Parker and the Edward Albee.)

I've avoided telling you -- partly because I'm afraid that if I stare it in the face and ruminate, it'll flit away -- but it's a fact, I'm going to the gym. It all started about a week ago... This drastic behavioral change is motivated by our office move into a building with gym access and also, The Health Epidemic of 2004. No matter how much I hate cardio and assorted weight training, I've got to admit it makes me feel healthier. Begrudgingly admit.

While I'm in there tethered, I think about things. Things like, why can't time go any fucking faster? Or my legs fucking hurt. Or, all this walking in place is a metaphor for something, if only I could put my fucking finger on it... In my head I use the 'f' word a lot. It makes me feel like a big man. Even though I've got boobs.

I concoct elaborate fantasies. I pretend I'm Linda Hamilton in the Terminator movies or Kristy Swanson in the Buffy movie. That way, when I get all sweaty and drippy and moist, I feel like an actual ass kicker and not just some out-of-shape bimbo hopping in place for forty-five minutes daily. But then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and the illusion is shattered.

I'm so much cooler than all those bitches.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Arroyo Burro Beach (Hendry's) August 2004

Music Tames the Savage Beast

I don't want to be responsible. I don't want to go to the grocery store or start the laundry or use the turkey sausage to make dinner. I don't want to write page 2 of my ten-minute play or clean up the papers the kitten knocked over. I just want to sit here, quietly, and listen to k.d. lang sing "Hallelujah."

I walked on the beach for an hour this afternoon. It was a beautiful day. Sunny and clear, the tide was out, further than I've ever seen. Couples and families strolled along, some clutched babies, some teased dogs, mostly heads down, eyes on the sand. I found a pretty shell. It was brown and orange, faded, but a perfect curl. I tossed it in the waves, like a sacrifice.

I enjoyed "Closer." I was especially impressed by Clive Owens and Natalie Portman -- just like most of the reviewers. So no new information for you there.

To get my k.d. lang live fix I bought Hymns of the 49th Parallel and Live by Request. These CDs are the soundtrack to my weekend. And soon, they'll be the soundtrack to my feeding the cats. Crazy cat ladies have to do things like that or they cease to be cat ladies and end up just being crazy -- that's how eccentric turns to ugly, dontcha know.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Too Wired to Sleep

I just called the cops on my neighbors. I've never done that before.

It started with a dog barking.

I'd been playing video games with the headphones on, so who knows how long the dog had been barking. I tried to rationalize it. Sure, the dog got spooked. Dogs bark. Then the dog was running loose and the man was chasing it shouting curse words and the woman was crying and moaning and then the woman started screaming and the man screamed back and the dog kept barking and I looked at the clock and whoa, it's after midnight.

I heard the man yell, "I'm all fucked up Angela. Let me in."

I held my cat and thought about what I should do. And I thought about Kitty Genovese, because I was a good psych major and that's what former psych majors think about it when they hear a woman screaming. Especially when that former psych major is holding a kitten.

So I called the cops. I gave them my information and told them that I thought there was some sort of domestic disturbance going on. What's strange is that the apartment where I thought it was happening has been unoccupied for months. I felt bad about calling. I know I shouldn't feel bad, but it's like describing it to you now, it's someone else's business. I shouldn't butt in.

The woman is doing her best, "Don't take him I love him" routine, asking him if he has his keys and telling the cops not to hurt him, and kicking things around. I think they're escorting the guy away now. I know one of them hurt the dog. I know that much. That's why the dog was barking. He was in pain.

Part of me still thinks I shouldn't have called the cops, even after all the banging and wailing and two-people-killing-each-other noises. Part of me wishes I hadn't gotten involved. (That part needs to go away now and let the grown-ups talk because I'd call again in a heartbeat.) I feel like I should have walked over and asked them in person to calm down. But then I remember, hey, super lady you're not. They were violent and (from the sounds of it) on something. This is me justifying what I consider to be a personal failing: my inability to become a proper vigilante. Watching Kill Bill does not an ass kicker make.

All this on BF's first night away. What wonders/horrors can I look forward to tomorrow night?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Hello Prufrock, meet Dune

After this moment, I will not think of you ever again. But you, I'm certain, will think about me everyday for the rest of your life.
from the movie Ever After
I join an elite cadre of sentimental bloggers by using this quote. Eight and counting. For the record.

It's not entirely true though. I wish it were, but I haven't yet risen above my animal instincts, my uncivilized nature. What I mean to say is this: the gom jabbar would kill me, kill me dead ... No, I am not the Kwisatz Haderach, nor was meant to be ...

I plan to see the film "Closer" this weekend. And maybe write something. That's as far as plans go. BF flies the coop tomorrow and I'll be entertaining myself for the next 3 days. Last time he left I spent the entire weekend eating chocolate cake and drinking soda. When he finally got home I could only pat my belly and moan. I'd managed to forget the extreme subtleties of the English language. My speech consisted of long and short grunts punctuated by the beating of my chest with alternating hands, hurling feces for emphasis. Pray he comes home soon.

No Monday off for me, not for the private sector. I'll be hammering away at the ol' cubby-hole, eating my bagel and dreaming of natural light. You sleep in nice and late for me, okay? Do that for me, and I won't stick anymore pins in your voodoo doll. Deal?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Chewing the Corneal Fat

I had an entry all prepared, but I'll spare you. My eyes are dilated from the pre-operative evaluation for LASIK surgery -- I expect you to be impressed -- and I'm about to flee the fine print and rest these weary pupils. As my eye doctor, lovely woman, poked and prodded my corneas I kept thinking: "You've got to get used to this. Next time there'll be lasers." For some reason, thinking of lasers searing off the top layer of corneal fat didn't comfort me.

I asked my doctor if there wasn't something I could do at home to prepare for the lasers. Like, if I poked myself in the eye repeatedly with a sharp stick, would that toughen me up? Make the corneas calloused, desensitive them to the burning? Hello? She gave me a bottle of antibiotic eyedrops. I guess that's just as good.

Highway 101 is closed to the south, which is understandable. You don't mess around with mudslides. However, an infinitesimally small consequence of the closure is that my director can't come to town to meet with the actors. I know this doesn't compare to the horror that the good people of La Conchita are experiencing -- there's still some part of me that isn't a complete and total sociopath (now 24% sociopath-free) -- but I'm sharing because it affects my play. A natural disaster is affecting my play. Truly, this is an unexpected turn of events.

LASIK countdown: 24 days.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


I refuse to accept that the weekend is over. There must be some mistake. I insist there be a recount.

I began the day at 3:30am with a cat lying on my head and then pushing all my books to the floor, one by one. I may have punched the cat then, but don't tell the ASPCA. I'll only just deny it. At some point (after 9am), I decided it'd be a good idea to go to the gym. I experienced the treadmill and the stairmaster, the stationary bike and various weight shifting metal plate machines. Then I went to callbacks, then I went to a casting meeting, then I went to see k.d. lang in concert. Now I'm going to bed, but first--we interrupt this program to bring you... complete and utter nonsense.

I cast two extremely capable and exciting actors in my play this afternoon. My director was stuck beyond the veil of rain and I forged ahead with help from the Producer. My director drove part-way here and then got turned around by cops. Flash flood warnings or something.

Callbacks are hard. Directing is hard. Fighting for actors to be in your play is hard. I don't think I'll do it anymore. Just give me my Final Draft and a stable operating system and let me alone. This real world shit is too depressing.

But seriously, my play is going to be even better than I thought it could be. These guys are really good.

Speaking of good, I am in love with k.d. lang's voice. But... how do I break the news to BF? Oh I know. Limericks. Everybody loves a good dear-John limerick. If I weren't so freakin' tired I'd write it now. But alas, our relationship is saved (yet again) by my lack of discipline and imminent exhaustion.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


Seven hours after I arrived at the theatre, I was allowed to leave. I watched lots of people perform contemporary one-minute monologues. I didn't ask too many questions. I sat quietly for my part, taking notes, and pretending I knew what I was doing. I tried to look official, and deeply interested.

Here is what I learned today: auditioning is hard. I sure as hell don't want to do it.

The next step is callbacks. If all goes well, my play will be cast by 5pm tomorrow. And if it doesn't go well, then I'll just keep on keepin' on.

As for this intersection of space-time frivolity, the plan of attack requires changing into dry clothes (still raining), curling up somewhere warm (preferably involving pillows), and selecting a good book to keep me company. The plan also involves turning off the Britney Spears' song I'm listening to (Toxic), because it's probably giving me ear cancer.

Friday, January 07, 2005

No Content, No Problem!

I spent the last three hours shuffling through medical bills and Explanation-of-Benefits, creating an exceedingly organized spreadsheet to figure out how much I owe the doctors post-insurance. I managed to whittle down a $1000 bill to $85.72, because lo, these hands are full of magic... not to be confused with magic fingers, which are something else entirely.

Tragedy (and eXtreme weather) struck the director of my play and he's now snowed in at his home in the mountains. This means he'll miss auditions for the play he's directing -- again, that's MY play -- tomorrow. However. He says he has faith in me (cough, cough, sucker) so I'll take his place temporarily and cast my own play. Which means I wasted my whole night cross-referencing medical charges and tomorrow I'll waste my whole day being stressed about my play. I was sorta hoping I could ride on his coat-tails and never make another play-related decision again. But dear, sweet Mother Nature had other plans. His truck is currently cemented into his driveway.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion... Man versus Nature, the eternal conflict live and in technicolor!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

In Search of... an Ending (With Compliments to Mr. Nimoy)

I'm woefully ignorant of her music -- with the exception of "Ridin' the Rails" on the Dick Tracy Soundtrack (not to be confused with the lesser but more popular Madonna soundtrack) -- but I find myself in possession of one ticket to see k.d. lang in concert this Sunday evening. I gave myself a seat in the front row of the balcony, way back when I had power to abuse.

The Dick Tracy soundtrack is one of my favorite albums ever, but I'd probably deny it if you asked me in person. You can buy it for seventy-five cents at which is twenty-four cents less than what I paid at a ninety-nine cent store in the early nineties.

Since that magic moment the cassette (now CD, now mp3) has been my musical comfort food. My titillating taco of tune. I know there's no way she'll sing "Ridin' the Rails," but maybe if I squeeze my eyes real tight and clench my teeth, I can catch a whiff of it between bars. Especially if I go to a lot of bars you cheeky monkey.

My biggest problem at the moment besides is figuring out which book to read next. Graphic novel or trade paperback? Will it never end?

Auditions for my play are this Saturday. If all goes well, I'll be there to heckle.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Chicken and Telephone Ice Cream

If I were forced to fess up and resolve something, I guess I'd resolve to finish what I start. You know, as long as it's convenient and there's not something else I'd rather be doing... like watching television. I sure do like television. Or eating chocolate. No conflict there, chocolate knows where it stands with me. High priority that, chocolate. I couldn't just abandon it trying to fulfill some half-assed pledge I made in a burst of shortsightedness.

I'm full to bursting with shortsightedness.

A little while ago, minutes actually, I finished reading "His Dark Materials" trilogy, which I recommend. More interesting than the Lord of the Rings and better written than Harry Potter, it ripped out my heart while I watched and threw it against the wall and all I could do was gape as it slid slow like honey 'til it finally hit the floor and laid there, twitching. Then I must have passed out on account of the pain, but it's a small price to pay I say. No pain, no brain. As it were.

For some reason, the part of my head that tells me what to write wants more than anything in the world to be Hugh Grant right now. It wants to blush and correct itself and subject the world to its neuroses and its cuteness and then be seen cavorting about with Hollywood madams. That just won't do.

Better cut it off before

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A Gift to Baby New Year

I’ve made a covenant with a glass of wine. One night it came, yellow and sweet as a candy cane, it gave me the once over and offered its paw in friendship. “Hiya,” said the wine. "Welcome to the fold."

At first I was frightened by its voice, all heat and no action. Tears welled up in the back of my skull, the part where the eye connects, and I was sad beyond measure because I knew, now and forever, the wine was necessary to do business. It was the pass key to lost places and dark, dank caves of memory. It was my shaman. It laid waste to all other muses, and in their place it carved a niche so fierce, so red, only blood could touch.

The doctor might say, "Get off it. It’ll kill you." And I’d have to look slowly into blank space and nod. But later, secretly, I'd drink regardless. Such is my covenant.

It’s like this. There is a price for everything. Depending on its worth, there is value for an item. And the price of success is very high. Not everyone is strong enough, you see. Natural selection at work. And on that particular night, the wine came to me and said, “I know where X is. I know what marks the spot. Come with me.” And despite what I knew or thought I knew, I felt my fingers twitch and the mist I thought was cataracts say, “Yes. Yes. Take me to this place.” So we crawled through a hole in the closet on our knees, scraped red and raw. And snot fell thick above my lips, it trickled down my chin and soaked my collar. And I crawled through sewage and I crawled through dreams and I set jet engines on my tail and lit the fuse and I flew, boy. I flew through shit. Days later, months later, I saw a bright spot – my eyes accustomed now to nightmares. I saw a pinprick in the distance and the part that wasn't dead from smell thought, “This it it. We are redeemed.”

The light got bigger by degrees. My whole time in that hole, that was the longest, waiting for the light to grow. And because I’m always the closest to quitting, right before the end, I dropped my head and slept to odd dreams. Dreams about dying and dreams about living. Dreams about choking on shit in between existence and the great ice worm of Alaska. And when I woke I found myself crouched in tall grass hiding from a certain predator. So close we smelled each other.

Now the wine spoke to me, low and still. It said, “Move.”

And so I did.

On my hands and knees, I crawled through grass, sniffling and sneezing, pissing my pants and hungry as all get-all. I wished for death; it didn’t come. In the in-between I finally realized, death couldn’t touch me. Only pain. Only hurt. Death here would not be easy, but it would last, and so I ceased to pray.

Besides my soul I left behind a fingerprint. Enough to track. Enough so I'd never feel safe in my own home. This dark presence could find me anywhere. Because everywhere is connected.

I crawled faster now. I sensed the wine had lost me for a moment. I sipped water through a straw, I pushed past the double-doors of an old saloon. The proprietor looked me up and down and said, “What’ll it be?” My pockets were empty, so I offered to work in exchange for ... Well, in exchange for the blood which flowed through my veins, blue and strong. The man sent me out back to shovel rocks from hard places and tend to cattle and bring water from the furthest well. I completed all the tasks the man set forth and was awarded his daughter in return. But she was ugly; I refused. And then I ran.

I wish for that moment when the muse speaks directly in my ear, no subterfuge or obfuscation. I hear the words perfectly, ringing. I never worry about what happens next, because I’ve been awarded these powers by a beautiful angel, who perches between another world and my shoulder.

Wine is my friend. I will follow it and it will show my things. It will reward me. And I will consume.

Monday, January 03, 2005

17 Tons

My new office is a big open floor with lots of cubes. We sit back to back and side to side. I hear you on the phone; I smell your lunch. In fact, all my senses are engaged with the actuality of my co-workers.

It feels like summer camp -- though since I never actually went to summer camp, this statement is even more subjective than if it had any basis in reality. Or rather, one man's summer camp is another man's boot camp. And you know what they say about boots... Makes your legs shapely.

I forgot how honest works makes me tired. It's a different kind of tired too, depending on the day and the mercury levels in one's morality thermometer. At my desk, under the bright, fluorescent lights, I think of all the things I'll do when I get home and all the ways that I'll enjoy my four hours before bed. Instead I eat too much or too badly and the television gets turned on or a book goes slowly and before I know what's what, I'm tucking myself into sleep and hurling projectiles at the light switch. And then I dream. Sometimes I disturb myself and sometimes I fly on roller coasters and sometimes I loop the day and look for typos.

Sounds like somebody needs a double-feature of "Joe Versus the Volcano" and "Brazil." I'll pencil it in for the weekend. And I can do that now, you know why? Because I've got a calendar, silly.

I can't be funny all the time.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Winter Showers

I hung pictures around my desk. We've lived in this apartment for almost two years, and I decided yesterday was the day. It all looks so fancy, so lived in. I'm afraid to touch anything.

I miss my feral bachelerhood. It's loads easier to roll around in one's own filth than to take up arms against the kibble.

7 episodes of Farscape yesterday... I know I've mentioned it before, but with all my Farscape love we've never managed to reach the finish line. Various catastrophes and rampant procrastination are responsible. You see, I just don't want it to end -- not if it means there isn't anything to replace it but repeats. So I bit the proverbial bullet and bought the last two seasons on DVD. I sat my ass down, pressed play, and now there are only 12 hours between me and a sea of bad television. I'm on my raft and it's about to pop.

Speaking of rafts, I may have convinced BF to abandon World of Warcraft long enough to see "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou." And then I've pencilled in an hour or so where I can watch the rain and feel sorry for myself. These two weeks of freedom (minus the blood letting and urgent care visit) were... needed. (I tried lots of words there -- like Mad-Libs -- to see which fit best. "Needed" tasted right.)

Back to the grind... and regularly scheduled personal hygiene upkeep.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

Nearly midnight, wrapped in blankets (not plastic), Farscape on the tv, and the room reeking of roasted garlic, I turned to BF and said, "I'm just gonna stay here. There's still some stuff I need to do. You go on without me." He said, "You mean like, in the living room?" And I said, "No, in 2004. I'll be in 2004 if you need me."

It should too work that way.

It's raining again. A neighbor's dog is barking, and all the computers are humming me a song called "White Noise," artist unknown. The kitten purrs in my lap. She is soft. When I got up to feed the demons, I found a Post-It note on the counter that read, "They're lying. No matter what they say, I fed them already." Both cats were curling between my legs, meowing, falling faint with hunger. When they realized they'd been foiled by the written word, they did the cat equivalent of *shrug* and chased each other down the hall. The Hall of Doom! Mwahahahaha.

Happy New Years to you and yours. May it bring everything you desire and only some of what you deserve.