Dec 31, 2004

Tempted

I'm wondering whether potato chips would taste good when washed down with bourbon.

I don't generally call people when I've been drinking. Even though that's the time when I would be most likely to say what's really on my mind. The down side of that being that when I've been drinking, what's really on my mind is nearly always hanky panky. Or omelets. I do sometimes send text messages when in this somewhat more vulnerable state. And that's worse, because I can always see exactly what I sent the morning after. And there's often something to be ashamed of in that.

I feel as if I have been on vacation. For too long. I'm almost worried to return home to whatever awaits me there. Even if all it turns out to be is routine.

It's on the verge of being next year. And I don't feel anything at all.

Something killed that cat. Some say it was curiosity. But the more I hear about it, the more I think it was probably feline leukemia.

Did I ever have the face of a child?

posted by Mary Forrest at 5:40 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 30, 2004

Double Down



Vegas is my bitch. I ruled the place. And came home with more "large" bills in my wallet than have ever been in there at any one time. Officially the best visit ever.

Jessica, who now lives in that glittery gulch, was good enough to spend a few days with me, and that was excellent. The Mandalay Bay put me up for free and gave me money for food and beverages, so we just lived it up. Room service. Crazy gratuities. The works. And by the end of my stint there, I had racked up enough player points that they gave me $110 cash just for my troubles. I made most of my winnings on a few slot machines. Roulette was not good to me this time around. But Red Square was. Jessica and I had a dandy of a time drinking fancy Russian vodka and being treated extra nicely by the various bartenders whose names all began with M.

Come to think of it, I don't know what the deal in Vegas is, but Jessica and I got more attention in these past couple of days than I can logically explain. Seriously. Everywhere we went. It was like we were movie stars or something. I found it puzzling. And wonderful. And stupid. All at once. My only regret is that I didn't get a doggy bag for the omelet I didn't finish. It would have been so good right now.

Some lady came up to me in the casino and asked me if I had the time, but she had this very intense look on her face. I told her the time and she asked me where I was from. I told her Los Angeles and she said she was from Hawaii. Then she said she works at the MGM and is a psychic. I groaned inside. She asked if I had ever been to a psychic before, and I was looking at the machine I had just sat down in front of when I began to say, "Yeah, but it's not really for me," and when I turned back to her, she was already walking away from me. Mid-sentence. What a whore, huh? There was also some dude who came up to me and apologized if he had been making me feel uncomfortable, and I had never even seen him before, but apparently, he had been watching me play blackjack, and security came over and made him go away. I guess he was just standing behind me watching me for some time. And he was upset that they told him to move along. I told him it was cool and that he hadn't disturbed me at all. But if he had tried to tell me one additional boring detail of that story, I would totally have had to flag security down and ask them to remove him again. I needed to watch the slot machine and see whether that clown face was going to come up again. Some people have no sense of appropriateness or timing.

It was raining and cold and dark most of the time I was in town. I have never seen skies so strangely black. And then with patches of brilliant blue and sunlight breaking through in places. My room had what would have been a gorgeous view of the pool and beach area. I fondly remembered soaking up the rays at the beach there in August. The wave pool is my favorite thing with water in it. I could have floated out there for days. I was with friends, and we swam with drinks in our hands and sunglasses on. And we tanned ourselves while laying in a shallow part of the lagoon where we were always a few inches deep in cool, clear water. Which was so great, given the intolerable heat. I can't believe it's been more than four months since that visit. And I can't believe how badly I need a haircut.

Well, I didn't win a car. And I was sort of hoping I would. But in all other respects, I had the time of my life. And I am looking forward to my next visit. I have already been invited back to be the guest of the Mandalay Bay sometime in the next two months. I shall gladly oblige them. And I will take them for every penny I have. If you know what I mean.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:04 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 27, 2004

Trepanation of an Holiday



Christmas Eve Eve

I drove down to San Diego late late late after packing a heap of gifts and clothes and travel essentials and my dog into my car. No complications were wrought by my garage door this time. It turns out the last time that happened, it was my neighbor Paul, who lives in the apartment behind me, thinking he was doing me a favor. I am told he is very very sorry. And it's lucky for him that he's so cute. Which he is. I'm just channeling my rage towards my very unattractive upstairs neighbors.

Christmas Eve

I sang "O Holy Night" in my parents' church with a cough drop in my mouth, and it went better than I was afraid it might. Then I had dinner with my family. I drank a single glass of wine with dinner and was laughing and my mom said -- as if I wasn't sitting right there -- "Look at her. She's drunk." And it's not like I was sitting laughing in a room by myself. I was laughing at a story Beulah was telling, and it was funny. But apparently merriment of any kind is a sure sign of intoxication. Frankly, in my house that may be true. Which might explain why I try to drink when I'm there. Later, I went and met friends at The Casbah, where their annual Rolling Stone-a-rama (not its official name) was going off. I had to sneak out after everyone went to sleep, because my mother so strongly objected to my having any semblance of fun. I ran into so many people I know, it was super swell. I felt like a soldier who just got back from The Great War. Only I was wearing my pink and white houndstooth check coat and had all my limbs.

Christmas

We had a big yummy breakfast and then opened presents with the Lakers game on, because Sarah and Justin wanted to watch it. No one actually paid any attention to it. It was just annoyingly on the whole time. Both the doggies got a bunch of crazy cute little outfits. Audrey is wearing a little t-shirt that looks like that Chanel suit that Marge Simpson kept wearing in that one episode from that season from before. It's adorable. I was sipping Knob Creek bourbon in the afternoon, and my mom and my sister began making uninspired jokes about my need to begin attending "meetings." I was beginning to think that the company at those meetings might be preferable to the gallery of judgment I kept finding myself sitting in, but I kept that to myself. Later, I played two fun shows at the comedy theater and then met my friends (the ones who had come to the late show) at Nunu's for a Christmas nightcap. It was too warm, but everyone was so very friendly and cheery, I was really glad to be there. I ran into my friend Anya, who kissed my hand, which I will never ever wash now.

And then

I was invited to go to Disneyland, but my cold had ratcheted itself up a bit, and I didn't think I could enjoy it much, nor could I keep from contaminating my friends' respiratory systems. So I stayed in town. I played the most embarrassingly poor games of billiards ever at Gaslamp Billiards and drank way too much for someone who hadn't eaten a thing all day. That came back to haunt me later in the night. I stayed in bed later than I had planned this morning. And I roused with a smile when I heard the Ms. Pac-Man intro blasting on the television downstairs. Beulah bought my dad one of those joysticks you plug into the t.v. for Christmas, and he's been playing the shit out of it ever since. When we lived in Guam, my dad used to come home from work and destress by sitting down in front of our Atari and playing Ms. Pac-Man. When he played it on Christmas morning, he said, "This reminds me of my melanoma." Which is both hilarious and horrible, but so typically Samuel Forrest. I'm sure this toy was his favorite gift this year. Followed closely by the Mr. T in Your Pocket that Beulah also gave him. Who knew that Urban Outfitters was so the store to shop for my dad. There are photos on my Roundup page of him modeling the Jesus wig and moustache-beard combo that Beulah also gave him. He is a good sport.

And now I'm off to Vegas. Later than I had planned, but there is no time in Vegas. So it doesn't make a difference.

So, that's what's inside. I am dismayed by the news of all the disastrous carnage in South and Southeast Asia. But I don't want that to be what I write about.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:22 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 25, 2004

In case you aren't in my address book:

Subject: Have a happy Christmas, if you care to do so.

Hello, friends and those who have carelessly allowed me to collect their email addresses throughout the years. Here is my warm holiday message, intended to remind you that I exist and that I maintain some amount of affection for you. It is arriving on Christmas, because that is the holiday I celebrate. If you celebrate a different holiday, I'm sorry that I have missed it. But I feel confident that there is no one in my address book who doesn't appreciate that Christmas is the most important holiday of the year, and that includes you Jews.

Even if you don't believe in the little baby Jesus or if you resent Santa's continued obesity, surely you must concur that people give more of a crap about Christmas, by and large, than they do about nearly any other holiday. Twenty-four hour taco stands don't close for Hanukkah. I don't even know when Ramadan is. And I'm pretty sure nothing is closed for Kwanzaa. I would celebrate Diwali every day if I could, but that's because the costumes are very colorful, and I enjoy Indian food. Just not the desserts. Anyway, I'm not saying I am better than you for celebrating Christmas. I'm just saying that it explains the date this email is arriving in your inbox.

That being said, I really just wanted to wish you a gloriously happy holiday and suggest that you make 2005 the best year ever on some level, even if you have to buy a gym membership to do it. Succeed at something. Read a book. Finish that needlepoint sampler you've tucked under the cushion on your rocking chair. Drive by a soup kitchen and admire the people who volunteer their time there. And don't hesitate to keep in touch with me, even if it's just to tell me that you found this message offensive and uninformed.

See ya round the manger!

Mary Forrest, recognizes three paragraphs of your time was too much to ask

posted by Mary Forrest at 9:45 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 23, 2004

My thighs look like they have a secret.

You don't know what that means.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 9:37 PM | Back to Monoblog


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Mice, men, and the pronunciation of the word "awry."

I'm disappointed. I'm discouraged. I'm disenchanted. I'm any number of words beginning with the prefix "dis." I thought for a day or two I might actually be looking forward to the holidays, and maybe I will be by tomorrow. But today, I really despise this part of the calendar and all the tradition of which it smacks. Maybe if I take the time to tell the stories I have skipped, I will forget the desire to have better stories to tell.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 2:44 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 22, 2004

It's a wooden pickle.

I really didn't want to like Bad Santa. Really. I loathe Billy Bob Thornton. And I thought for sure it would be lame. And I secretly resented it because I think it must have been inspired by that unbelievably depressing Ziggy Christmas special that came out in the '80s, and why should anyone profit from ripping off Ziggy? And, in all honesty, I have only sort of been halfheartedly listening to it while working, and it's not actually over yet, so I can't give a responsible review. But I have laughed out loud a number of times, despite my flagrant wish that I wouldn't. There is some dialogue in this movie that makes me want to laugh in some symbolically extravagant way. If someone was here right now, I'd punch them in the face. For effect.

I'm sure there will be some third act redemption bullshit, and I probably shouldn't stick around for that. That's what's wrongest with American cinema. And predictably so. But before I get totally cheesed off by the inevitable happy ending, I'm taking this moment to say that this movie made me laugh when I wasn't expecting to.

posted by Mary Forrest at 3:38 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 19, 2004

In a Vacuum



Last week, a jogger passed me on the sidewalk and called back over his shoulder, "Paris?" I said, "Yes." And he smiled and waved and said, "Hi." And I felt good. That's my perfume. Paris. By Yves Saint Laurent. I've been wearing it since I was fifteen years-old. Once, in high school, I strayed from my usual scent and tried Opium, also by Yves Saint Laurent. And my chemistry teacher sniffed the air and said, "Who smells like bug spray?" I kept silent, but I knew not to make that mistake again. I think Opium is a very pretty scent, too, and I like it on other people. But I think I was traumatized by that comment. He also said I should never cut my hair short again because it made my head look like a bowling ball. I think I have transcended that part at least. Because when I look at pictures of me with my long hair now, I screw up my face and think, "Gross. How in the world could I have worn it like that for so long?" I mean, I guess it wasn't super ugly. But I get bored just thinking about it. I'm happy to have shorter hair. And I'm happy to not always have to exist in the superlative.

There are many people in the world who know me by my scent now. Friends from high school used to say they knew I'd been in the hallway before they passed through because that Paris scent lingered. People who may still have a shirt or a pillowcase or a barrette that never managed to rid itself of my fancy residue. People who haven't even known me for so very long but know what to expect in their noses when I show up. I never really tried to make it my signature. But there you have it. The signature I put on my checks and tax forms is a weird scrawl of nearly unintelligible peaks and squiggles, and I don't know how that came about either.

Fish, for instance

I'm in the habit of commenting on the movie trailers more than on the movies. Today, I will try to do both.

When I went to see The Life Aquatic last week, I saw a teaser for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I felt all giddy. I actually inhaled sharply and clapped my hands over my gaping mouth. And I was surprised that I was the only one. In that theater filled with hipsters who were cool enough to be seeing a Wes Anderson film before nearly everyone else, you'd think the words "Don't Panic" would have more of an audible effect. I miss my old Infocom game. I miss my youth. I miss the certainty of immortality that infuses the cellular structure of a fifteen year-old whose bra size is not yet fixed. Maybe we start dying as soon as we figure out what size jeans we will wear. For the rest of our lives.

Then there was a trailer for a new movie with Lawrence Fishburne and Ethan Hawke, playing some version of the roles played by Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in the previous movie by the same filmmaker. From the bits pulled from the movie, my guess is it's just Con-Air in a building. And Gabriel Byrne is too short to be scary. Ethan even gets to wear the same costume as he did in Training Day. Which is good, because he always looked to me like a guy who preferred to wear his clothes until they rotted off his body. Like the Mongols did.

"Oh, good. There's a movie with Will Smith AND Kevin James in it. And there will be a chance for Kevin James to try to dance in some form of hiphoppery, and Will Smith will correct him." That's what I thought to myself when I saw the trailer for Hitch. And then I thought, "Oh, please." And I wished I could have thought something more vitriolic, but that's the best I could muster. I'm sure many lessons in love will be learned in that movie. And I'm sure white people will feel very good about how accessible Will Smith is to them. And that everyone will forget that slavery ever happened. Because we're all friends now.

"Oh, good. John Travolta is back. And as Chili Palmer, no less. What a relief." That's what I thought to myself when the trailer for Be Cool began. But I was being sarcastic. I don't like John Travolta anymore. However, Vince Vaughn looks like he might be amusing in it. He hasn't quite Ben Stillered yet. I can still tolerate the one note he plays. But then there's Cedric the Entertainer. And then Uma Thurman. And then The Rock. And then James Woods. And then Danny DeVito. It's like a roller coaster of disappointment interrupted by the occasional Oscar nominee. Anyway, I probably won't see it until it happens to be on and I'm too lazy to reach for the remote.

SEA WATER ANALYSIS

Without spoiling any of the movie for you, I can give you a cryptic synopsis of what I thought of The Life Aquatic.

There is a certain cynicism with regard to love in Wes Anderson movies. It is hollow and sad, but it appeals to me for some reason. And this film was more of everything the other films were. The relationships were tenser. The emotions were falser. The colors garisher. And there were so many beautiful, bizarre little moments. Little secrets happening in the background. Labels I wanted to write down. I was even touched to see them using one of those retractable multi-color ballpoint pens I remember from my youth. I didn't really love the animated sea creatures all that much, although they did have a certain Harryhausen appeal to them. And I didn't really like Cate Blanchett's elocution choices. But you can forgive Owen Wilson's shoddy southern drawl without much ado, because he's thoroughly likable in so many other respects.

Visions of Italy are lovely. I used to drink Campari sodas all the time. This movie made me want to order them again. I won't. But I remember what it was like to down that sweet, bitter fizziness. And I remember how pretty it looked in a glass.

There were a lot of wonderful lines that I wanted to write down and remember. I scribbled some of them in my notebook. Some of what I scribbled is illegible to me now. "How could you lay that slick faggot?" is not. I was able to make that out perfectly. "Please don't make fun of me. I just want to flirt with you," was also quite easy to read.

There is an admirable amount of branding in the film. And that typical self-awareness that the characters always have in Wes Anderson pictures. That calm straightforwardness. That imperviousness to shame or awkwardness. The poker face. Maybe you assume it masks some fragile vulnerability, but you really don't see it. Even the vulnerability is only ever verbalized. Maybe this is part of what I like about Wes Anderson's style. I never really mastered the "show don't tell" approach. I've always been better at saying it. And in his movies, everything that is experienced is announced. No matter the level of sincerity. The dialogue captions everything that is implied. I can't decide whether that elevates subtext or shamelessly outs it. But I know that it feels different than watching anything with the Wayans Brothers in it. And I'm grateful for that.

Maybe I'm going to write you a letter right now.

I was just thinking about that song with the line about blue skies smiling at me. There's a line in it. Nothing but blue skies from now on. That line bothers me. I guess the idea of the song is that I've met this special someone and now everything will be wonderful and perfect forever. And I'm not opposed to that idea, but I think if the sky was never anything but blue, I would murder someone. I really enjoy a good bit of rain every now and then. And an ominous cloud or two. And you really can't overestimate the beauty of the diffuse light that happens on an overcast day. Take black and white pictures in that haze and you'll wish the sun would never again show its smug face. Well, I'm using the word "never" where I shouldn't. The whole point is that nothing is so great if it's always the same. Who wants to live in a wax museum? Well, me, but only for like a month. Then I would get bored and want to live in an apple cider factory.

So, I've been in San Diego all week. I've been performing in Christmas pageants and comedy shows. I've been doing my Christmas shopping and catching a cold. I've been settling for TBS and Spike TV. And I've been going out for drinks and good times as often as my less enthusiastic friends will humor me. And I've been feeling a little bright and a little bleary. I've been feeling a little soft and sentimental. I don't know what it is to feel Minnesota, but maybe I've been feeling that, too. I'm going home later tonight. That will either alleviate or exacerbate my sense of displacement. There isn't enough time to do all the things I have to do. Certainly not enough time to do all the things I want to. And there's no surety in any of my plan-making. I'm up in the air. And, much as I like that weightless feeling, I fear the inevitable thud that will happen when the ground comes looking for me.

At the beginning of the year, when I was sad and adrift and had no work and no money, I started sending mail art to people whose addresses I happened to have. I have a great deal of stationery and clippings and half-done projects and the benign desire to put them out into the continuum. I have letters I still mean to write. And plenty that I've written but never sent. All in my customarily tiny print. There is a sort of romance attached to the notion that someday, long after my tragic death, some interested party will carefully pore over them and weep for all the unsaid words. I might worry a bit that they would mistake my "h"s for "n"s, but not so much that I would be motivated to type out a companion manual. Where's the romance in that.

I would send more letters. I just wish they didn't have to mean so much. And at the same time, I am saddened that they wouldn't mean more. Don't you get tired of how I turn things over like that? It's not like a conundrum is a kind of cookie or something.

The year is coming to a close. Another year. Another series of ups and downs. More things are different than ever before. And that's a better thing than I would have expected it to be.

Looking at happiness, keeping my flavor fresh. Nobody knows, I guess, how far I'll go.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:04 PM | Back to Monoblog


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Flash of Faith

You just wouldn't believe what the stars look like. If you've spent enough time in Los Angeles, a few late nights in coastal San Diego will just completely redo your thinking on the subject. Night after night, I've seen this great night-colored canvas, spotted with brilliant little pinpricks of faraway light. The Belt of Orion has never been so easy to spot. Nor has it ever been so perfectly positioned as to always be on my mind. I took a Gifted and Talented class in astronomy when I was eight years-old. We went to a planetarium, where the seats reclined and a projector showed us a view of the night sky in an accelerated annum. When the lights came back on, I realized that I was having a nosebleed. All over my favorite little knotted halter top. I am nowhere near as sanguine today. I look up and see constellations I recognize, and then I lower my eyes and get back to the business at hand. And nary a drop of blood is shed. Maybe that's growing up.

posted by Mary Forrest at 4:31 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 17, 2004

Degrees of Obnoxious Separation

My sister Sarah was apparently on the telly last night. She flew to New York with her friends Linda and Therisa to root for Kelly in his Donald Trump-a-thon. Therisa is betrothed to Kelly, who apparently won on The Apprentice last night. I'm sure Sarah will have a handy heap of stories to tell about her adventures. It's strange -- I don't really know that many people who ever win anything. I had a friend at the office years ago whose high school pal won some huge Lotto jackpot. That's about as close as I've come. So Kelly, who I met in late 2002 at the Viceroy Hotel, where Sarah and company were celebrating Bobby's birthday, and I was tagging along, is now the latest reality t.v. victor. I'm happy for him. And I'm curious what any of that is like. I'm curious whether I am going to start seeing him on commercials for high-tech shavers or mutual funds. I'm curious whether his life will be forever changed and whether he is making a point of noting all the differences. Demarcation is so rare. If I had the chance to watch it happening in my own life, I know I would remember it to pieces.

I hate reality television. I really do. But I'm glad someone I know is getting something good out of it. It's like squeezing a tumor and having diamonds come out. No one likes a tumor, but one that gives forth jewelry isn't quite so bad as one that just has pus inside. Right?

posted by Mary Forrest at 2:08 PM | Back to Monoblog


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I dare you to make less sense.



I don't think I get a prize for not getting any sleep for days on end. But I can wave it around like some glorious flag, can't I? I have gotten so little sleep in the past three or four days, I could be a Navy SEAL. Except for the skillfully murdering people part. I wouldn't rule in that contest. I really shouldn't be trusted with any sort of fancy weapons. I will invariably accidentally slice off a few of my fingers before my mark gets what's coming to him. I'm one clumsy fucker.

So, yeah. Lots going on. Lots to do. Shows shows shows. Work work work. Favors favors favors. Everything in triplicate, apparently. I've been busy and distracted and overwhelmed. I dread the ringing of my phone. I can barely bring myself to look at my calendar. I cover my face with my hands and peek at it with one eye through carelessly loosened fingers. This doesn't work, by the way. I employ the same technique at scary movies, and I've found that -- if you actually see the carnage with one slightly squinted eye -- you've still seen it. It's not like you get a reprieve for seeing it blurrily or without the proper depth of field.

So, I'm done with my orchestra obligations. At least there's that. My parents came to the show tonight, and they really seemed to enjoy themselves. My dad (for whom the proclamation "well, it didn't kill me" can be considered a rave) said it was the best one yet. He said it was "excellent." That's a popular word with him these days. But not so popular that he uses it with anything that might be called liberty.

Krissy and I met up at Nunu's after her show and my show had both ended. We talked about party-planning and team stuff. And it all got me thinking about a lot of things that made my foggy drive home more cramped than usual. I didn't want to go home. I drove to that park where I took swingset pictures this past summer and I had every intention of creating some sort of interesting photoplay, but my camera's battery was low, and an end was put to my inspiration. I resent it when creative urges get squelched for circumstantial reasons. I also resent it when I have nowhere to put my excess energy.

I have no business having excess energy, of course. I have had no rest and no relaxation. I haven't yet had time to do any serious Christmas shopping. I even had to take my car back in when it began overheating again in a frightful eruption of embarrassing steam. It's always something. But I've got the energy just the same. I know I should go to bed, but I feel like reading. Or jotting a painting into my litle art notebook. I feel like sitting in a hot bath and making up songs. I feel like cooking something with eggs. I feel like going somewhere.

But I have shows to do tomorrow and the day after. And I don't have any reservations made. And lord knows that's a misery -- impromptu travel during the holiday season. Only a fool would attempt it and not expect to be made miserable. That being said, I think I'm going to go to Las Vegas right after Christmas. I have free hotel nights to spend and an itchy slot machine finger. And the last time I was there was super great.

I'm watching television in the wee hours, and there's a commercial for this Andy Griffith CD. It's songs "and stories" performed by Andy himself. And the commercial plays clips of Andy, for instance, singing "Silent Night," and he sings exactly the way you would expect an old man with no real skill for singing to sound. You know. Like when you're at some church party, and everyone goads that one old guy in the choir to get up and sing his special song, and he relents, and you listen and realize that he sings the vowels wrong because of his dentures. And you wonder if the clapping that everyone does after he finishes is what faith is all about. Anyway, don't buy this CD. But if you happen to get it for Christmas -- even as a joke -- by all means rip it and send a few tracks to me. I like to make fun of people whose careers are all but over. Say, when is Robert Wuhl making a Christmas CD?

I have some ambitions to contend with. I will write more about that in time. You'll see. I'm good for it. If I'm anything, it's good for it.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:09 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 14, 2004

Emergency Release Kit

I went to see The Life Aquatic tonight with Chris, knowing that it would make it so I had to drive down to San Diego in the god-forsaken weeest of hours. And knowing that I had only had a paltry four or so hours of sleep the night before. What I didn't know was that I would leave my garage door open while I packed and then go out to load up and find that my garage door had mysteriously been closed. With my remote control inside the car. Inside the garage. The closed garage. I found the manual for the door, but the instructions for using the emergency release kit are hanging from a red pull, dangling from the garage door motor. Inside the garage. The closed garage. I struggled and sputtered and even went looking for instructions online. But there was nothing. Literally -- and perhaps under other circumstances hilariously -- nothing. Eventually, I figured out how the mechanism works. And I was able to get going. But not until well after three a.m. That, combined with the detour on the 405 and the dagblasted fog, made my arrival time now: only moments before five a.m. I have to be in El Cajon at 8:45 to play in two back-to-back performances of this Christmas show I do. Which means I could sleep for an hour and a half or so. Or I could sit here and try and ride it out. Or I could pray that a meteor falls out of the sky and lands on top of me. But I've never really been convinced about the power of prayer.

Oh, and in the melee, I managed to leave behind an important bag containing all of the various shoes I had intended to wear for the next few days. So I only have a pair of tennis shoes with me. And a lot of concert black clothing. Looks like somebody's going to be doing some really unnecessary, giant-waste-of-time-and-money-given-how-many-pairs-of-shoes-she-already-has shoe shopping. And that somebody is me. And in my dizzied state, I'm actually finding myself strategizing how I might just manage to drive back up to Los Angeles in the afternoon and come right back down for the performances I have to do tomorrow. That means I've gone balmy. And that I seriously believe that a girl cannot get by without an amazing pair of knee boots.

I would write a great many things about The Life Aquatic and my experiences at the cinema, but I think it would all be discolored by the gravity of my predicament. And gravity is not a complimentary color on anyone.

Well, at least I didn't forget my violin.

posted by Mary Forrest at 4:58 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 13, 2004

Night Watch

I am in the habit of taking Audrey for a walk before going to bed. Just so she won't wake me up any earlier than is absolutely necessary. Which means I was walking my dog at five a.m., wondering if anyone on my street was up yet. And then, when I ran into a slew of pesky postscript errors, I ended up continuing to be up, which is the state I am in right now. I've got the local news on. Cartoon Network came up out of Adult Swim and plunged right into edifying children's fare, and boo for that. The plot of the episode of whatever the show was that I passively heard was chock full of information about how farm subsidies work and about the environmental impacts of some of the governmental meddling that takes place in the agricultural industry. It's a superhero type show. The team of empowered youngsters were battling a "Villain" who had sinister agricultural plans. It was hard not to be amused by that. I remember seeing a vintage issue of a Popeye comic at a booth at Comic-Con a couple of years back, and the entire book was about the environment. Popeye was really just a spokesperson for some very green message. And it was all very boring and educational. And I still almost bought it. You know. Just because.

Local news really annoys me, though. Like today, there is frequent coverage of the progress in the investigation of a murder that happened on Friday. Some poor kid in Whittier got shot working in a Subway sandwich shop. He gave the robbers the money, and they shot him anyway. And now he's dead. And every time this somber story was covered, it was followed -- without a beat -- by the cheery-but-bumbling correspondence of the lady reporter covering the announcements of the Golden Globe nominations. I realize it's just one guy and life goes on and all of that, and I further realize that newscasters truly are soulless automatons who can't feel anything that isn't typed in brackets on the teleprompter, but it just seems all too plain that human life is cheap cheap cheap when compared with the money that gets made by the picture show. Seven marines from San Diego died in Iraq today, too. But I'm sure their families would much rather know whether Leonardo di Caprio has a shot at Best Actor. I know I would.

I'm so tired. This past few days have been a vortex of performances and county-to-county commuting and having to ante up in order to make plans. I have the marks of violin playing on my fingertips and my neck. And I have a few more comedy shows under my figurative belt (I really don't wear them that much). And Jessie and I went and signed up for an improv workshop today. And I'm really glad about that. In addition, as we were leaving the theater, we saw a homeless man kneeling Mecca-style, with his forehead down on a star on the Walk of Fame. He was praying to it. And I was especially curious to know which star he might be praying to. As we passed, I nearly burst a blood vessel in my eye with the ridiculous thrill I got from learning he was praying to Lassie. I think that rules all over the place. And I'm not kidding. I don't think that scenario could have been more quintessentially ironic if he had been praying to an anthropomorphized can of fruit.

There's no real reason for my saying so, but I'm really surprised Elizabeth Taylor isn't dead yet.

I took Josh to "A John Waters Christmas" at Royce Hall last week. It was pretty great. At least it was when it stopped being the opening performances of Vaginal Davis (who wasn't as clever as drag queens are expected to be), Phranc (who wasn't bad but only did one number), and Marga Gomez (who wasn't funny for nearly her entire set). John Waters himself is peerless in his ability to inspire me to aspire to the horrible and base. I took a few notes down during the show with the intention of writing it all up. But my weekend and I got into a tiff. Off the top of my head, I can recount that he charged the audience in the following fashion: If you know someone who doesn't want books as gifts, don't fuck them. And if your significant other doesn't have books and doesn't want them and won't get them for you, don't fuck them, either. He followed that with the list of books he would like to receive for Xmas, and the list alone was enormously entertaining. Josh recognized Mink Stole sitting right in front of us. We didn't do anything about it. I wouldn't have recognized her on my own. I'm not as well-versed in the seminal works of John Waters as nearly anyone else in the world. But I sure do think he's clever. And I'm jealous of everyone who gets invited to his annual Xmas party. He told us where he receives his fan mail, and I was tempted to send him dirty pictures, but I've since forgotten the name of the bookstore, and I'm almost sure there's nothing I could photograph that would really pique his interest.

My eyes are burning, and I have an appointment in a few hours, so I'm going to shut my PowerBook and tuck my dog in and see what happens when I hit the sheets. When I resurface, I will likely apologize for the lack of inspiration in everything I have just written. I'm tempted to do it now and get it out of the way. But I'm afraid I won't have anything to say later on if I don't reserve that. Which is truly disheartening.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 6:55 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 7, 2004

A disappointing answer to life's riddle



I've been reading a lot of psychology, and I hear exclamation points popping in my head. "I agree!" "I disagree!" "I must remember this!" "No way!" How narcissistic I am. That my excitement in a book or a film or a song surges when it seems to be addressing something unique to my existence. I underline the words in books that mean the most to me, and then I laugh and think, "How foolish am I, that I only thrill to the art when it seems as if it was made expressly for my peculiar circumstances." In that statement lies the profound irony that the things I consume -- the public things, meant for many eyes, sung for many ears -- these things only exist because of their...broadness? Because of their relatability to the "peculiar" circumstances of nearly all who confront them. If I was the only person who could gain some message from a book or a film or a painting, certainly that thing would never have been made. Unless it truly had been made expressly for me, and those items in the world are rare. And among my favorites.

Whoops. Look at me typing words and meaning them.

Here's something I noticed. Pain does not seem to exist. At least not for very long. It's there. And then it immediately becomes the memory of the pain. Or even the written account of the memory of the pain. That's how women explain the desire to give birth after experiencing the excruciation of a first birth. They say you forget the pain. And then apparently you actually want it again. Survival mechanism? Or naive glitch that will be rubbed out in future evolutionary phases of us? I wonder.

I bring it up because I noticed that I write about what I feel almost as soon as I feel it, never really giving myself a chance to feel it properly. When I hit my knee on a table edge and hop up and down and contemplate the bruise that will come, I am almost immediately transported to the way I'm going to phrase it when I write it down. And by the time I get the journal out or the page up, I'm too busy trying to remember the way the phrasing sounded best to me to even notice that blood is still rushing to the wound. And, yes, there's room for a metaphor here. I'm just saying that I remember the suffering longer than I ever feel it. And maybe in my memory I do more than dignify the actual hurt. Maybe I embellish it and dress it up and put whipped cream on top. Maybe I make more of it than need be made.

In any case, there are a lot of sensory experiences that I can remember acutely. But when it comes to pain, I find that I can only remember the response I had. The measures I took. The fever pitch of my complaining. The pain itself is a wraith. Easier to let go than you would ever think. Even when there's blood.

This next non sequitur is like a musical montage about getting the gym ready for the prom in a movie about the Louisiana Purchase.

There are a number of pictures of you that I love. I don't know how to look at them. I don't know how to like what I see and not feel foolish doing so. There is the challenge of balancing out the desire to prevail over my weaker self and the desire to sink freely into the indulgence of my weakness. There are things that were given to me that I don't throw away. Instead I put them in a box that I never open. And then I put something heavy on top of it.

I feel as if I get it. Finally. Maybe. You would object, if I scoffed at your simple wants. If I assigned them simple values. You would shake your fist and insist that I don't know what I'm talking about. And maybe you would be right. Maybe you had the answer all along. Maybe I was the foolish one believing in anything. Goodness. Symbiosis. String theory. Maybe it perpetuates because you express the things I am ashamed to admit lurk within me. The same ego -- the same narcissism -- impels me. The same fears limit me. The same desire to keep what little I have close in and safe from the grasping hands of greedy frailty and hungry decay -- it lives in me. I see it. I know it. I can almost laugh about it when I see it now. I can almost breathe a sigh of relief and shake my head and wonder how I ever let any of that get me down.

There that's over with.



Maybe it's because I was once a copywriter, but when I see Wine.com's email entitled, "Perfect gifts for everyone on your list," I'm inclined to shake my head. What about my friends in a 12-step program? What about the Mormons I know? Or the severely judgmental fun-haters? What about the surprising number of people in my circle of friends who just plain don't like the magic that comes from boozing it up? What makes Wine.com think they can just phone this one in? Marketing is an important part of our culture. If you get careless, suddenly marketing becomes just plain lying. And suddenly my professional resume looks specious.

The Lion in Winter was apparently Anthony Hopkins' first film. How do you like that? So many stars these days got their start in Slim Fast commercials or Leprechaun 4 or some embarrassing movie about the dangers of huffing. And there's SIR Anthony Hopkins, getting his start in an Academy Award-winning classic (that bandies innuendo about sodomy with far more regularity than I recall, having watched it as a young girl). I guess it would be hard to try and embarrass him with that. Fortunately, he also made Magic.

It warms my heart when I see my dog sniffing the wildflowers on our walk. I try to put it out of my head that what she's really smelling is the remnant pee of a dog who was tall enough to drizzle it all over those flowers before we passed by. Sometimes you have to look for ways to be inspired. And sometimes you have to keep one eye closed and the other sort of squinted when you do it.


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posted by Mary Forrest at 2:42 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 5, 2004

À la Matinée

I finally went to see the Spongebob movie today. I liked it. Laughed out loud a number of times. But what bears the greatest comment is the preview portion of my moviegoing experience.

On the subject of this new Fat Albert movie, I think Bill Cosby should have to pay reparations to me just for having to watch that trailer. Somebody buy that man a colorful sweater. And smother him with it before he further demeans his career.

I decided today that I'm going to start referring to commercials as "short films." For instance, "Son of the Mask looks less entertaining than that short film about the Energizer Bunny." Who is greenlighting movies like this? And why isn't Nathan Lane in it?

This is the second time I've seen a trailer for Racing Stripes. And, while my eyebrows were raised for a number of reasons, the only real response I had after seeing this most recent one was, "Jeff Foxworthy?"

Nicole Kidman's nose didn't even wiggle right in the trailer for Bewitched. It's like the motor controls for her face are limited to slight movement of her mouth from side to side. Can't they CG that shit?

The new Winnie the Pooh movie uses Cooper Black for the word "Heffalump." But you don't care about that. While I love me some Winnie the Pooh, when I heard the announcer say, "An all new motion picture about the differences that bring us together," I tasted throw-up in the back of my mouth. God, if you're going to try and teach me something important, PLEASE keep it under the radar. If there's one thing I have no patience for, it's entertainment that tries to promote tolerance.

And now that you've had a chance to watch these "Wanta Fanta?" spots, which of those Fantanas would you fuck? And does it have anything to do with what flavor she represents? Maybe it's because I was watching it on a movie screen, but the quality of the print made it look as if these commercials were made about fifteen years ago. I can let it slide, however, because the interrogatory exclamation, "Is there no place safe from their bubbly bedlam?" secures enormous currency with me. Well done, Fanta marketers. You've sold me. Even if, in every other respect, it looks as if your product is only sold in South America. And that it hasn't been on the shelves there since 1981.

posted by Mary Forrest at 3:11 AM | Back to Monoblog


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Fitting End

Tonight was a bummer. I'm glad it's ending in rain. If my camera wasn't a fragile piece of electronic equipment, I would go out and take pictures of myself getting soaked through and possibly contracting pneumonia. The pictures I took instead will not give evidence to the precipitation. Nor will they be seen by nearly any of you.

posted by Mary Forrest at 2:23 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 2, 2004

Target Marketing



Oh, by the way, if you bought me those Spongebob watches at Burger King, it's possible that we could be more than friends.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 6:17 PM | Back to Monoblog


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The Trashiness of the Dreamscape



I met Tom at Good Luck Bar last night. I was talking on the phone with Jessica as I arrived, and I realized that the last time I had been there was with her, when she came to visit in late July or early August. We have lots of catching up to do. And whenever we speak, it's in those compressed moments when we are each on our way to somewhere else, and there is never enough time to say everything that wants to be said. I miss her. And I wish she would move to Los Angeles.

I awoke this morning with the realization that I had had some pretty fucked up dreams, but I had to laugh at how obvious some of the imagery was. That girl was there, but she always had her back to me. That guy was there, but he kept denying that he lived in the building. He kept telling the door man that it was my apartment, when it clearly wasn't. They were performing their show on the front stoop of the apartment building when I drove up, carrying the television I was going to lend them. And then he got into my car and started trying to make out with me and I felt the need to drink some water. Obvious obvious. Well, to me anyway.

I dream a lot these days. I assume it's because I'm only ever half-asleep, so I wake up in that cloudy, slightly unaware, slightly aware state, and I can feel the tendrils of the dreams still touching me. Like wading through a bed of kelp. It gets confusing. I try and reach over to my journal and jot down little notes about what I was thinking, if only to provide some basis for realizing what is and isn't true. I dreamed a few weeks ago that David Bowie was dead. And it was only the lack of media coverage of it that convinced me that it hadn't actually happened. The strange thing lately is that, even when I'm dreaming something I don't like, I sort of don't want to wake up. I want to see where it goes and what ends up happening. It's like a sort of voyeuristic escapade. Or movies in my head. Except that I'm in them. And there is something involuntary and removed about that. Like I can watch this girl go through some weird day and not have to feel responsible for anything that happens to her or anything she does. And maybe I like the idea of seeing me in the movies. Maybe just a teeny bit.

When I awoke this morning, my dog was sleeping with her head on the pillow next to me and the rest of her little body under the covers. Just like a little person. She's also never really fully asleep. When I look over at her, she's generally just blinking VERY SLOWLY. And if she sees me looking at her, she looks right back at me. I do wonder what she's thinking. But not enough to indulge my mom, who bought some wacko novelty bark collar that supposedly interprets what your dog is saying when they bark and plays some human language statement for your amusement. She's really wanting to try it out. But I keep trying to explain to her that it's just a joke. And that it will say things like, "Feed me." Or, "I like walks." Or, "Cats suck." It's not going to say, "Lili Forrest, the reason I keep barking at you is that your voice is shrill, and it scares me when you speak." And it's not going to say, "Thanks, Mom, for that cool green sweater. It's a little tight in the shoulders, but I really like the way it makes my hips look." I can almost guarantee that it won't say these things. And of course if I'm wrong, I'll eat my coffee table.

I'm adrift today. A bit. Sometimes I'm not entirely sure I ever wake up. But I swear, if I'm actually in a coma somewhere or soaking in the jelly-like innards of a matrix pod, I should be slapped for having chosen such an uneventful fake life to live. But then, I guess we can't all be Adolf Hitler.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:31 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Dec 1, 2004

An Illustration of the Human Nose

Maybe I'm allergic to tidy. Because the closer I get to putting everything in its proper place, the more sneezy and itchy and miserable my entire face is. (Note: Please do not post a comment explaining to me how dust gets kicked up when you're cleaning house and that that is probably the reason for my allergies -- I know that. I'm pretending not to know it, but it's just a character.) But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I told Audrey only moments ago, "We can sleep in our bed again, baby!" Because by the time I'm ready to turn in tonight, I will indeed be able to sleep in my proper bed, no longer displaced by the unbelievable mountainous terrain of clothing heaps that was once on it. And the closet in my guest room is so neat and tidy that I want to throw a party in it. Only one of you can come, though.



Last night, Jessy and I went to Jones, which is much as I remembered it. Drinks not strong. Clientele not unpretentious. We were getting ready to leave when I recognized my friend Judd, and we talked with him for a bit. Mostly about MySpace and Friendster and the online social phenomenon. When we were leaving, two Mediterranean fellows objected and said they had ordered me a pizza and that I looked like I needed it. I laughed (before leaving). The very idea that some swarthy dude wants to fatten me up.

I'm on my way out, and my dog (who won that photo of the week contest on Neighborhoodies.com, by the way -- and thank you very much) hates it. We've been spending lots of quality time together, and I think it only makes her more cranky when I sneak out for a few hours. But she had a bath today, and I will cuddle her to pieces when I return. She's like Wonder bread to me. I'm always tempted to mash her into the tiniest possible ball. And then just eat her up. But that's for later.

I'm high on Claritin D. The last time I took it was when Adam was coming to visit last fall. I thought I was having an anxiety attack. I couldn't figure out why I was feeling so wiggy. And then I was talking about it on the phone with the guy I was seeing at the time and I realized it was the Claritin. The D part of the Claritin. So I never took it again. But today, my allergies were pegging at intolerable, so I decided to give it a whirl again. And I'm not having an anxiety attack, but I do sort of feel like I'm not quite here. Medicine is weird.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 7:42 PM | Back to Monoblog


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