May 10, 2007

"This is some gay shit right here." A response to Spider-Man 3

Jessie and I went to see Spider-Man 3 on a whim. I was fully prepared to not like it. I'm not a big fan of the franchise in the first place. I don't care for Kirsten Dunst at all. My sister Sarah makes a face if you mention her and says, "You can tell she smells bad." I guess that sums it up. I do, however, like the music in all three movies, if that counts for anything.

So, I wasn't expecting to love the movie, but I was also not expecting it to be so inexcusably bad. Sam Raimi's at the helm, and it's the most expensive movie ever made. Shouldn't it not suck? Well, clearly, there's no science to these things. Because it suh-ucked. And the places where Sam Raimi might have been attempting to make it funny seemed absurd. And the places where he wanted us to listen to Kirsten Dunst sing were like being made to pay for crimes against humanity we didn't commit. When we see her singing for the third time at the end of the film, I muttered, "Oh, great. Bonus." And I didn't mean that I thought it was a bonus. In addition, nearly every time an older person spoke, the acting was so poor, I wondered if Sam Raimi was just trying to get SAG cards for every one of his relatives. Stan Lee falls outside this theory, but his acting was no less notably bad.

And then Tobey Maguire started dancing.

This film's take on the legacy of Venom is that it is the mysterious alien substance that turned Garth Brooks into Chris Gaines. Flubber pops out of meteorite whose arrival has been noticed by no one and attaches itself to motor scooter, later to give Peter Parker an emo hairdo and black eyeliner. Also, when one's darkside is being stoked, disco takes a hold of you and you can't not dance. And the ladies love you, because you are in the city and you are dancing. Ladies always love that. Some of them even faint, don't they? But this causes any potentially suspended disbelief you are experiencing to snap right back. Because Tobey Maguire is not hot. Not in the face anyway. Boyish? Okay. Homely? For sure. But not hot. And no amount of hair product will change that.

I am notoriously nitpicky about things that don't matter to anyone but me, but I also made a note about it when James Franco's butter starts burning, and then he just throws the eggs in and makes a pretty yellow omelet. No way. That omelet would have been brown. Period. And did you notice that whenever a piano player was accompanying a singer and someone walked in, requiring a melodramatic cessation of the song, the piano player stopped playing before the singer stopped singing? Who knew the band was full of psychics and/or drama queens. When my hair caught fire in the orchestra pit for Guys and Dolls, we all kept playing, and the singers kept singing. I put out the flames, brushed the fried crumbs of my once-lovely hair from the body of my violin and went right back to it. You don't halt that manhole dance just because someone put a citronella candle where they shouldn't.

And the action looked about as convincing as a video game. Did they really spend the most money ever spent on a movie just to make a "live action" film that looks like a cartoon? I melodramatically checked my ticket to see if I hadn't actually come to see Shrek.

I am very tired of that trademark carousel shot, too.

So the black gunk turns Tobey Maguire into Chris Gaines and it turns Topher Grace into Adam Carolla. Weird. And I used to think Thomas Haden Church was cute. What a fish mouth he's turned into.

And if you're going to spend THAT MUCH money, shouldn't the scar on James Franco's face look like it wasn't made with Sculpy?

I really did still enjoy the score, though. Really.

And at the gym, I saw the local news covering the fires in Los Feliz and doing a little human interest piece on gas masks for pets. Apparently, you can just stick the gas masks on dogs, and they're cool with it. But cats -- being mistrustful and ungrateful -- have to be immobilized in a little cat duffel bag and then thrown in the river. Oh, wait. I mean and then fitted with a gas mask and carried lovingly to safety.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 11:02 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Nov 9, 2006


I was driving back from San Diego the other night, and Adam and I were chatting about the upcoming mid-term elections. We were agreeing on the importance of electoral reform. I think that -- if we are ever going to make a real dent in the problem of voter participation and also begin to undo some of the disillusionment created by the last two presidential elections -- the electoral process needs to be overhauled so that it is possible for a layperson to actually understand how it works. The way we do it now, I don't think I would be able to audit my precinct, much less a national election, even if I was given the chance to do it. I don't really know what's supposed to happen. I think Adam agreed with me, if I recall correctly, and he went further to talk about the problem of disenfranchisement among the poor and immigrant populations. He was talking about how requiring a driver's license would disenfranchise the very poor in particular, as they are less likely to have such identification (correct me if I'm wrong, Adam), and that previous leadership would never allow such a requirement to be imposed. And, while I completely agree that we need to make certain that one party does not seize or maintain power expressly by keeping the groups who are likely to vote against them from getting their ballots in the ballot boxes, I had to admit to him that I'm growing more and more tired of being a member of the party that relies on the poor and immigrant populations to win. Because like it or not, the poor and immigrant populations are generally less educated and have less influence, and needing them to come out to the polls en masse in order to win has begun to make me feel like we're riding some sort of Democratic short bus. What we need is for the white, affluent, English-speaking citizens to vote on our side, too. What we need is for more people to give a shit about more than just themselves and for Democratic campaigns to call out and trump the six-year-long keg stand that has been taking place in the Oval Office since the hanging chad became a part of the cultural lexicon. Because that seems to be the key policy-making difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republican policies -- that decimate social services, line the pockets of the richest of the rich, foresake the environment, protect the assets of the largest corporations, chip away at healthcare and educational infrastructures, and pay the robber barons of the war machine instead of the soldiers at war -- seem to have one overarching value, and that is that these policies are plainly shortsighted and don't consider the plight of future generations at all. And Republican voters have gone to the polls repeatedly and reiterated this value. "I don't care about the environment. Let them worry about it when I'm gone. I don't want the estate of my wealthy family to be taxed. Let me spend that dough now, and fuck you, schools. I don't care what the rest of the globe thinks of us. I won't be alive to need their help in the next international crisis. Plus, when am I ever going to France? I don't want to pay teachers a decent wage or give public schools the funding they need. I won't be around to be robbed, raped, and murdered by the kids who don't get the proper education. I don't want women to be able to have abortions, because that makes me feel bad NOW. Instead, I want to force them to have their babies and then just not fund the social programs that will help them raise those babies with the proper healthcare and education, because that will happen LATER, and I won't be watching when it does. I'll probably be in Montserrat."

And then the election happened.

And I'm happy to say that I'm encouraged today. For the first time since November of 2000, I'm encouraged. I'm hopeful that a Democratic Congress can restore some sanity in a system much in need of it. I was never terribly partisan before the 2000 election. I never felt I had to be. But I almost feel as if the divisive partisan tactics of the Republican campaign engineers backfired on them this time. Because I would have voted a straight Democratic ticket, no matter who had been running, just to try and restore the balance of power. Which means the issues are lost and the conscience of the voters is lost, and that is a scary precipice to be perched on. I voted this time in the spirit of triage, but I really look forward to being able to vote one day soon armed with just my intellect and powers of reason.

I don't think the mandate of the voters can be selectively honored. But I wouldn't be surprised if Republicans choose to instead find another way to say "mandate."

I echo Adam's sentiment: "I haven't been this hopeful since Bill Clinton."

I'm happy for my party, and I pray they don't fuck it up.

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

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     Sep 3, 2006

Figuratively speaking, Congressman Darrell Issa can suck my dick.

I am watching a re-airing of Real Time with Bill Maher -- which has fallen into considerably less favor with me since host Bill Maher buried his, shall we say, opinion in Ann Coulter -- and Darrell Issa is so irrevocably full of shit, it makes me want to push him in front of a bus.

But this brings me to another point. It really irritates me when people have so little imagination that my saying that someone or something can suck my dick prompts them to ask me if I have one. I always answer that question with a yes, and I usually leave it at that. But, please, people. When I went to see The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2 with friends at the cinema and the end credits began to roll, one of the boys in my party said, "The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2 can suck my cock." And no one asked him if he had one. But I'm also going to wager that no one thought he really hoped for a blow job from that movie. It's a movie. It can't give him a blow job. People seem to be fine with that. So it's a figurative expression. And yet when I use it, the figurative nature of the expression goes out the window.

Gender skews the meaning of a lot of things. So much so that you can't replace certain phrases strictly by shuffling their gender meaning, because their effectiveness is completely affected. If I were to replace "suck my dick" with the equivalent that would be correct for my gender, it would hardly carry the same weight. In fact, I would guess people might think I have a thing for Darrell Issa and want him to come over late night. I don't.

I also think I may be giving up on Bill Maher. The comedy bits aren't that funny. The guests aren't that good. And I'm not entirely sure I know where Bill stands on topics outside of the importance of pretending to be a guy with any amount of sex appeal whatever. I used to really enjoy the show. I don't know. Maybe it's just the war. I've grown weary of so many programs because of how tired I am of hearing the same messages, the same arguments, the same shallow pin-pricking at the surface of what really matters. My friend Adam sent me a sound clip of President Bush admitting in no uncertain terms that there was no connection between Irag and 9/11, despite years now of subtly and insidiously encouraging Americans to come to the opposite conclusion. I believe the pull quote is Bush saying, "Nobody's ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq." And my response to Adam was, Why don't we ever see any backlash when these things shake out? The most I expect to hear is a wry mention of it on The Daily Show. If anything. I'm just so tired of everyone shrugging it all off. The news that we were lied to provokes maybe a shrug and a, "Meh. What do you expect? It's the government. They also screw me on parking tickets constantly. Assholes." Remember when there was all this passion in the debate? Passion that was squelched in me by too many years of unsubstantiated neener-neeners from Republican acquaintances who don't read the newspapers but care very much about paying less in taxes.

But maybe I'm just as tired of arguing as everyone else. I'm assuming it's now just taken for granted that our next president will not be a Republican, unless it's a Republican who completely takes this administration to task on the campaign trail. I'm so disillusioned that that scares me, too. I'm thinking, Come on, Democrats. Don't get lazy. We have no laurels to rest on. The electorate is not energized. There are no more unicorns on the Beltway. All is surely lost.

What a downer.

Anyway, Congressman Darrell Issa can suck my dick.


posted by Mary Forrest at 1:24 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jul 15, 2006

An exercise

A long time ago, Adam and I had a conversation in which he asserted that Sandra Bullock is the poor man's Julia Roberts. The mention of this to Beulah in a later conversation led to a series of such comparisons, eventually leading us to conclude that Angelina Jolie is the poor man's Jon Voight, and Tom Cruise is the poor man's Tom Cruise. In addition, I think that Laurence Fishburne is the poor man's Denzel Washington, John Goodman is the poor man's Brian Dennehy, and Whitney Houston is the poor man's Robert Downey, Jr. Ethan Hawke used to be the poor man's Johnny Depp, but now he has become the poor man's Matt Damon. Russell Crowe used to be the poor man's Mel Gibson. But now Mel Gibson is the poor man's this guy. Emilio Estevez is the poor man's Charlie Sheen. Meatloaf is the poor man's Air Supply. And church is the poor man's eHarmony. I am going to begin erecting a caste system based on these data. I hope you're rich enough to bathe in the same dirty river as me and my precious cows.


posted by Mary Forrest at 5:52 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Apr 28, 2006

Instant Rebus

My friend Adam has only recently begun allowing me IM access to his attention. He uses Trillian. I use Adium. And apparently Trillian has a function that turns certain words in parentheses into icons. This is annoying and weird. And useless when you consider that people not using Trillian will only see the word in parentheses and not the picture. In addition, what if you just want to type a noun in parentheses? Maybe you won't want it to suddenly turn into a picture. I take this same issue with IM clients (including Adium) that interpret certain sequences of punctuation to be emoticons. You can type http://, but if you type ftp://, part of that becomes an emoticon. The middle part. And it's the face that looks sort of nonplussed. The half-frownie. And there's nothing you can do to keep it from doing that. Even though ftp is a commonly known and used protocol and URLs can begin with those characters any old time. But this is a secondary gripe.

A gently edited version of an IM exchange between me and Adam follows. The editing was done to remove extraneous conversation parts and to make me and Adam both look like excellent spellers and typists. To put it in context, I was reassuring Adam that, though I nearly refuse to ever type "LOL," I still find his witty messages amusing and clever. I also nearly refuse to ever use emoticons or to abbreviate. I am an IM and text message snob.

adam: (toast)
adam: God, Trillian is weird.
me: I don't use Trillian.
adam: What do you see in the line directly above the phrase, "God, Trillian is weird?"
me: (toast)
adam: Wait, do you see parentheses with the word "toast" inside it, or do you see a picture of toast?
me: Parentheses and the word "toast." Does Trillian replace the word "toast" with an icon of toast? How lame.
adam: They have millions of these.
me: Well, I am seeing text. And I prefer it that way.
adam: (book)
adam: (sushi)
adam: (candycane)
adam: (dice)
adam: (duck)
adam: why would you need these?
me: (intestine)
me: (taun taun)
me: (spigot)
me: (funicular)
me: (glowworm)
me: (spaghetti phone)
me: (mitochondria)
adam: (xmas)
adam: (audiocd)
adam: All mine are real.
me: Oh, listen to you. Yours are REAL. I don't have that function. I'm testing it for you.
adam: I just wanted you to know that I was still picking the ones Trillian put in the system and not making them up.
me: I figured as much. I was trying at being funny and showing off my vocabulary. And insanity.
adam: (squirrel) not kidding
adam: (ps2)
adam: (water)
adam: (flag)
me: What a useless feature.
adam: i hate it.
adam: (book)(toilet)(eye)(food2)(food)(write)(dice)
me: I'm just trying to imagine the pictogram sentence that would make. If it were a rebus.
me: "Bookcommode I munch munch letter craps." Whatever could it mean?
adam: (cheese)
adam: (error)
adam: (frog)
adam: (ket) (pc) (flag) (info) (file) (write) (work) (home) (globe) (robot) (bug) (octopus) (bunny) (squirrel) (turkey) (cent) (ufo) (apple) (balloon) (icecream) (soda) (fish) (webcam) (search) (key) (lock) (cheese) (wine) (wine) (hotdog) (bttf) (rb) (vc) (hourglass) (beep) (!) (talk) (n/s) (ap) (0)

And then we discussed the proper onomatopoietic representation of an archetypal porn soundtrack.


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

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     Apr 19, 2006

This it is everything perfect to my like.

Adam showed me this little film called The Forest in Winter. It is amazing and wonderful on many levels. He showed it to me on, but I will post a link to YouTube, as you may not be a premium Salon accountholder, in which case, how not the best for you.

This film has affected my syntax.


posted by Mary Forrest at 3:27 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Feb 3, 2006

Happy Birthday, Adam!

You are the cutest boy I ever frightened with my analgesic throat spray. I adore you.


posted by Mary Forrest at 3:34 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Dec 23, 2005

The Big 2005 Holiday Mail-Order Letdown

If I were writing a syndicated column for some news empire, I'd feel compelled to write a piece about how abysmally poor mail-order has been this year. Especially since, for the past few years -- ever since the dotcom boom really -- there was always this talk in the business world about whether the Internet would change the face of retail and put brick-and-mortar stores under. But in order for that to have happened, a trust would have had to be forged. A trust between buyer and seller that an item that the buyer paid for would get to its intended destination at the right time and that it would arrive in the way that it would arrive if they had lovingly packed and shipped it themselves. And it seems that you can rarely trust that will happen in the holiday season. Even with usually infallible

With the wealth of aggressive marketing promising that it was not too late to order for Christmas delivery coming from nearly every retailer who knows my email address, I decided to take advantage of this convenience and do a good bit of my shopping online. My money came late and time was short, and I was pressed for time and working nearly all of my waking hours. I ordered from Urban Outfitters, The Discovery Store, Williams-Sonoma, and, and my results were lackluster at best. I ordered several items to ship directly to the recipients with giftwrap and a message enclosed. With, if you order multiple items to ship to the same recipient, you can't group those into a single gift shipment with a single gift card attached. You have to attach a gift message to each item. In the case of my friend Adam, that means that the one item he received today has the same gift message as the two other things he will apparently be receiving later will have. But as far as he knew, he'd gotten as much gift as he was getting. So he called and thanked me, and I asked him how he liked the things I sent, and only then realized he hadn't received all of the items yet. Boo. He said the gift card was also strangely overanxious about wanting you to open the package first and read the message after the fact. Which makes no sense to me. I sent gifts to several other people, and I hope they will arrive as planned, but who knows. The fifteen or so items I ordered to be delivered to my address so I could then wrap and bring the gifts to San Diego with me were a total bust. None of them arrived on time, and I dind't find out until I received an email from today that they weren't going to ship out as promised. So when I went and spent my super stressful day at the malls yesterday, I didn't know that I still had to cover the people I thought I had already checked off my list. One of whom is my sister, who is extremely hard to shop for. I don't know why the items didn't ship. All I know is that I even joined that Amazon Prime and paid $79 so I could get unlimited two-day shipping, and nothing I needed got here when it was supposed to. The only two items I ordered that arrived on time were things I bought for me. As if to teach me a lesson about greed. Urban Outfitters didn't get my order to me on time either. And The Discovery Store may still get my shipment to me by tomorrow, but I decided not to stay in Los Angeles and risk being further disappointed and also have to sit in godawful traffic. I have to go to the mall now anyway. I might as well shop for everyone. Only Williams-Sonoma got it right on the money. I used them to ship gifts to all of my clients, and as far as I can tell, the parcels arrived on time and in good shape. Unfortunately, a few of my clients have already left for the holidays and probably won't get their gifts until after the new year. If their co-workers haven't already pilfered them all.

If web retailers want to corner the market on sending gifts for people, I say they have to make it so that they send the gifts the way YOU would send them. Wrapped in holiday paper with a note attached and packed in a box that isn't full of in-carton marketing. And preferably shipped in such a way that you don't get one part of your gift one day and the rest of it another. As Adam pointed out, it would have really sucked if I'd bought him an RC car and batteries and only the batteries had arrived today. I did not buy him an RC car. But I certainly know what to get him next year. That's right. Batteries.

I guess it's more personal to handwrap the gifts and put your own peanuts in the box and take them to the post office and stand in line and everything. Further, I guess it's a lot easier to only exchange gifts with friends who live near you and are willing to pick their gifts up from you on Christmas day. Or to not exchange gifts with people at all. But in the absence of that, mail order would be such a godsend if it actually worked. I can't be trusted to do it right or on time. I only just sent out my holiday cards, and I forgot to affix my return address labels to them, so it's likely the recipients won't even know they're from me. My signature is unintelligible. It's why Beulah started calling me "Muzzy."

So, I don't know what the retail numbers will be like this year. Whatever they are, you can bet the current administration will use them to prove that consumer confidence is fine and the economy is not in the shitter. If I'm any case study, though, the numbers are more a reflection of consumer idiocy than confidence. I should absolutely not be spending as much as I have this Christmas. Especially considering how lean much of this year has been for me. But I get suckered in and I go apeshit. My spending isn't based on my confidence that I will have plenty of work next year. It's based on the mania that this season creates in me. And it's no good.

I am beginning to hate Christmas. I just hate the whole pretense of having to buy things for everyone. I love my family and I love my friends, and frankly I'm pretty darn nice to them all year long. And I buy gifts for people all year long. And then at Christmas it's like I have to top all of that. Because my friends and family are accustomed to having me give them that book they wanted or that handbag they touched at the store. You know, just because. So Christmas comes around and I end up having to spend thousands of dollars. Just to come up to par.

On top of that, celebrating every Christmas in San Diego is wearing on me, too. This is the fifth year I've had to do this, and it's such a stressful misery trying to get my shit together. Packing my clothes and my laundry and my gifts and the wrapping paper and all the little things I want to make sure not to forget. I always forget something. ALWAYS. I bought my parents a Honeybaked Ham this year, and I left it in my refrigerator. In Los Angeles. I guess I should be grateful that I didn't leave it on the living room floor. But still. When I give it to them next week, it'll just feel like dinner. What a let down. I really just don't feel very much of the holiday spirit this year. I like egg nog, but in every other respect -- HUMBUG.

I would so love a handmade Christmas. Just once. For real. I would love making things for everyone I love and having them make things for me. And I would even love it if all the gifts were awful. In fact, I would prefer it if they were awful. Really good handmade gifts would just show up how poor my gifts would be. Actually, I think I should start insisting that all my gifts be water-soluble. I'm working so hard to get rid of things in my apartment right now, the last thing I need is to cart home a carload of knickknacks in an elephant theme. Unless of course they can be taken into the bath tub with me and melted into colorful nothing that I can watch swirl down the drain as I clap.

But lest I sound ungrateful, I want my friends and family to know that I appreciate every kindness I'm shown and every gift I'm handed. Unequivocally. I do. And I save almost everything. And I look at my gifts fondly over the years and remember how wonderful it was to be important to whoever gave them to me. But I will also remember the pictures we took together and the drinks we raised and the things that made us laugh. And I will treasure those gifts most of all.


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:30 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Sep 29, 2005

Getting hip to the liveness

I'm home configuring my new PowerBook, and I've got NBC on. The Will and Grace season premiere is a special live episode. For the past few months, I suppose it's natural that my ears perk up a little whenever any noun is modified by that adjective. I'm working for a company with live entertainment on the brain and not much else, after all. So I asked the question, "Why do we like LIVE?"

Here are my thoughts:

1. Even though I find the writing on this show to be predictable and tired in its campiness, I also applaud it for making the mention of sexual behaviors acceptable in prime time. I also think Alec Baldwin is bomb ass. And seeing him give in to the swish a little is fun. No matter how much I fight it.

2. I just cut the fuck out of my finger a few minutes ago. See? I was on the phone with my mother trying to cut a piece of french bread into appropriate sandwich size, and the cerrated edge of my Cutco sandwich knife sawed vigorously into my left index finger. My mom got an earful of cursing. And then she gave me lots of advice about putting a bandage on the cut. And she made all the Chinese pain sounds in her vocabulary -- she seriously sounded like it was hurting her more than it hurt me. So we got off the phone, and I dripped blood all over the floor, and I won't be playing violin tonight.

3. "Live" is thrilling, I guess, because of the propensity for the unexpected to happen. The biggest laughs in the show and the most satisfying moments happened when the actors broke or when something didn't go as planned. It makes the audience feel like they're on the inside of something private and exclusive. Like when Tim Conway and Harvey Korman used to not be able to keep their shit together on The Carol Burnett Show. Even though uptight theatrical types will point out that this is just evidence of their unprofessionalism. Well, those two dudes tour around doing stage shows for $100 a seat, and you're still toting your little Ben Nye make-up kit to rehearsals for a community theater production of an Agatha Christie play that will be put up on a cleared-out portion of the dining room of an Acapulco Restuarant, bub. (Note: I do actually find it unprofessional when Horatio Sanz and Jimmy Fallon pull this same boner. But that's because they're not as funny. Nor as white.)

4. It's a shame Don Adams passed away. I enjoyed him very much. And it was in a discussion about how much I enjoyed Inspector Gadget that I was reminded of how I used to also like Danger Mouse.

5. I guess I'll go finish making that finger sandwich now. It was going to be a chicken cutlet (katsu, if you speak the language) sandwich. But I may not have it in me to fix that up anymore. Maybe I'll just have a Pop Tart.

This is the liveness that happens in my brain all day long. Seriously.


posted by Mary Forrest at 9:08 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Sep 3, 2005

"Narcolepsy is not a superpower."

I was watching CNN's Katrina coverage on the TV in the gym this morning. I remember watching the tsunami coverage there, too. Today, I felt so sad and tired of looking at all the devastation that I found myself watching The Surreal Life on the adjacent monitor. There isn't even closed captioning. But it was easier to watch than all that suffering.

I've been to New Orleans a few times. The first time I visited, it was in the springtime, and it was beautiful. And I shopped like mad in the French Quarter, and foolishly brought back all sorts of New Orleans foodstuffs that you can readily buy locally. I ate very well. Tried all the things that are famous. Beignets. Bananas foster. Coffee with chicory. Bread pudding. Gumbo. Jambalaya. Red beans and rice. Muffalattas. Alligator sausage. Even a Lucky Dog. You name it. I was there for a conference, and my boss was a foodie of grand proportions. So we didn't waste any meals. The next time I visited, it was nearly Christmas, and the city was cold, and my work was tiring, and I didn't make nearly as much of my stay. The next two times were right at the holidays. Once, passing through on my way to Italy to spend time with my family, I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning there. That was the time Richard Simmons called me "pretty hair." The last time was in late 1996. I stayed for a week, from Christmas Eve until New Year's Day, visiting with the family of my sister's then-boyfriend. And although it was winter, it was muggy and warm most of the time. And I regretted all the wool I had packed. During that visit, I did all sorts of fun things. And all sorts of cliché things. At Tipitina's one night, a local band was playing a song whose subject was New Orleans and whose unsurprising lyrics kept repeating the phrase, "Big Easy. Big Easy." And a guy in the crowd next to me called out, "More clichés! More clichés! Sing about Bourbon Street. And jazz. And red beans and rice." Later that night, I wrote it down in my notebook.

I think my old college friend Brian Housh may still live in New Orleans. We've fallen out of touch. I hope he's all right. The people I was visiting in that last trip no longer live there. I am so sad for the people who are going through this nightmare. And I am glad that at least some journalists are making a point of calling attention to the molasses-like response of the federal government. Adam sent me this link to Ted Koppel's interview of Mike Brown, director of FEMA. It's encouraging to see some courage and incisiveness return to the news. At the same time, even as these questions are being asked, help is only just getting to New Orleans. And still so little attention is being paid to the rest of the gulf coast, where entire towns have been wiped out. Entire towns. Gone. It's hard to imagine. Hard to believe. And this is just me as a far-off observer. I can't even begin to think what it would feel like to return to your neighborhood and see nothing left standing. I remember the shock of seeing my parents' house after the fire that engulfed it in 1998. I remember just walking through like a zombie saying. "Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god." And eventually beginning to cry.

Walking through the parking lot at Trader Joe's today, I thought to myself how fortunate I am. And I hate corny sentiment. But I saw a father and his young daughter trying to decide what kinds of flowers to buy, and I thought that we really are lucky to be out here right now where the sun is shining and the breeze is blowing and the temperatures are mild and lovely. Of course our own local news media wants us to be afraid, too, as usual. There was a segment yesterday evening on disaster preparedness. What if an earthquake hits us? Or some other catastrophic event? A reporter went door to door checking to see how much bottled water and canned food people had. Whether they had flashlights and batteries. Anyone worried about me should relax, knowing that I have enough non-perishable food to last me well into the next decade. And a goodly amount of bottled water. Of course, I also live in a very old building and would probably be crushed by debris and my jerk upstairs neighbors, if the earth were to quake with any great force. And so would all my valuable supplies. So there.

At the gas station, on my way home, where I paid $3.12 per gallon to fill up my tank, a guy with a giant boat of a vintage Cadillac was making conversation with a bum trying to wash his windshield for him. I overheard him say that it costs him seventy dollars to fill up his tank at this price. And then he laughed and said, "It's just a weekend thing." It seemed crass to me. But I was also filled with relief that the freelance windshield washer was too engrossed in his conversation with that freewheeling gas-guzzler to hit me up for any money. We're all jerks on some level, I suppose.

I went to see my friend Ben's show The Thrilling Adventure and Supernatural Suspense Hour at M Bar on Thursday night. I hadn't been able to make it to the past few shows, and I was glad to be catching it again. It was a fine production and I laughed many times. During the Beyond Belief segment, Paul (F. Tompkins) actually had to shush a table to the left of the stage. And later, when they apparently continued to not shut up, he glared at them. I found that awesome. After the show, in the ladies' room, I heard another in a series of mindnumbing conversations I have heard in ladies' restrooms between girlfriends who stun me with the lack of interesting subject matter that infuses their discourse. This one went a bit like this.

Girl 1: I like your hair.
Girl 2: Do you? I think it's getting too long.
Girl 1: Oh, no. I like it long.
Girl 2: Really? Because everyone tells me they like it better short.
Girl 1: I like it long.
Girl 2: How long?
Girl 2: Like long long?
Girl 1: Yes. Long long long. I like long long hair.
Girl 2: I like your earrings.
Girl 1: Oh, they're like doorknockers.
Girl 2: I want to be a more daring earring person.

I saw them outside later on. I didn't care much for Girl 1's earrings or for Girl 2's hair. Paget Brewster clued me in that they were the ones who were making all the noise during the show. It figures. Boy, does it figure.

So, it's Labor Day Weekend. And I guess I'm glad to see summer coming to a close. But I'm not sure that I continue to be grateful for the demarcation. It seems that I am able to access too many of my disappointments when I place them in these seasonal categories. I have had happy summers and horrific summers and summers that passed without much mention. But it seems like the happy times end up getting tainted. Inevitably. Even the good times eventually get hidden behind a feeling of, "Oh, but then THAT happened." I once wrote, "Sometimes when you think you're on top of the world, the world turns over." And I guess that's just the way it goes.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 6:04 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Aug 30, 2005

God Bless the Randomizer

Wanna be just like me? Here is how you can fake the serendipity of my music collection by copying my iPod's shuffle pattern. I would make you a CD, but you would lose it. And it would make me feel sad and unappreciated when I asked you about it later.

That You Might (Home Video)
Music Is the Victim (Scissor Sisters)
Seachange (Wendy Morrison)
Supersonic (S#arp)
Alabama Song (ex-Girl)
Better Luck (Scissor Sisters)
Subterranean Homesick Alien (Radiohead)
All the World Is Green (Tom Waits)
Precipitate (Interpol)
Loro (Pinback)
Somebody to Love (Queen/George Michael)
Return to Oz (Scissor Sisters)
I'm Gonna Be the Lonely Boy Tonight (Cherry Twister)
Indian Summer (Pedro the Lion)
Praskovia (Calexico)
Willing to Wait (Sebadoh)
Perverted Undertone (Prefuse 73)
Secret Oktober (Duran Duran)
Like a Ghost (Tarnation)
UMF (Duran Duran)
Fly (Nick Drake)
Alec Eiffel (The Pixies)
He Took Her to a Movie (Ladytron)
Another Morning (American Music Club)
Cosmopolitan (Joe Jackson)
Land Lovers (The Auteurs)
Money for Nothing (Dire Straits)
Hair of the Dog (Nazareth)
The Middle (Jimmy Eat World)
Beyond Belief (Elvis Costello)
Radio, Radio (Elvis Costello)
Wonder Wonder (Edith Frost)
In My Time of Dying (Be Good Tanyas)
Kill You (Eminem)
Me You and Everybody (Gomez)
The Same Race (Star Trek Insurrection)
Hyper Music (Muse)
Conjugate the Verbs (Enon)
Another Love Song (The Frames)
Sonic Turtle (Melt-Banana)
Suffer Never (The Finn Brothers)
The Littlest Birds (Jolie Holland)
Consider Me Gone (Sting)
La Negra Celina (Charanga Cakewalk)
Not Even Close (Tim Finn)
dick is a killer (rx)
Life Is Full of Possibilities (Dntel)
Ever Falls the Twilight (The Gothic Archies)
Pressed in a Book (The Shins)
The Birds (narration) (Nilsson)
In Between Days (The Cure)
Natural Disasters (Enon)
The Chauffeur (Duran Duran)
Laser Love (After the Fire)
Quartet, K.285 Allegro in D-dur (Mozart Flute Quartets)
Die on a Rope (The Distillers)
See a Little Light (Bob Mould)
Banjo Favorites (Nickel Creek)
I Wanna Know What Love Is (Foreigner)
Born (Over the Rhine)
Surfin' USA (Melt-Banana)
A Hole in the World (Thursday)
Cry Me a River (Diana Krall)
Noodletown (Mitchell Froom)
The Way Old Friends Do (ABBA)
The Bird that You can't See (The Apples in Stereo)
Gypsy Moons (Mystery Science Theater 3000)
Busby Berkeley Dreams (The Magnetic Fields)
Slow Bicycle (Mum)
Red Dress (Jonatha Brooke)
Fortress (Pinback)
New Born (Muse)
Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday (Stevie Wonder)
Sour Times (Portishead)
Tin Pan Miracles (Aspera Ad Astra)
The Book and the Canal (Calexico)
Bow Down (Westside Connection)
Oh, You Are the Roots that Sleep Beneath My Feet and Hold the Earth in Place (Bright Eyes)
One Hundred Percent Free (Digby)
You're the Storm (Cardigans)
Superstitious (Stevie Wonder)
Mr. Brightside (The Killers)
Can't Take My Eyes Off You (Andy Williams)
Heads High (Kill Dem Wid It) (Mr. Vegas)
Nightporter (Japan)
I Missed the Point (Neko Case)
You Was It (Spoon)
"How Many Ships?" (Star Trek: First Contact)
From a Balance Beam (Bright Eyes)
Before You Go (The Frames)
Invisible Ink (Aimee Mann)
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes)
86 (Green Day)
Lost Cause (Beck)
I Beg Your Pardon (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden) (Kon Kan)
Suit of Fire (Parker Lily)
Twin Cinema (The New Pornographers)
Sora (Gutevolk)
Paint by Numbers (Danger Mouse & Murs)
Club Foot (Kasabian)
Fistful of Love (Devendra Banhart)
Rebellion (Lies) (The Arcade Fire)
Stormy Weather (Nina Nastasia)
Melancholy Serenade/Yesterdays (Jackie Gleason)
In a Funny Way (Mercury Rev)
Goodnight Goodnight (Hot Hot Heat)
Smile Around the Face (Four Tet)
Viola (Girlyman)
I Feel Love (Cobra Verde)
Reflections After Jane (The Clientele)
Barnowl (Caribou)
Lobsteriscos Rocketiza (Applied Communications)
Complaine de la Butte (Rufus Wainwright)
What'll I Do (Frank Sinatra)
Persephone (Cocteau Twins)
This Time (Bryan Adams)
Crush with Eyeliner (R.E.M.)
Last Chance on the Stairway (Duran Duran)
Breathe Me (Sia)
Lawrence of Arabia (Jackie Gleason)
Princess Poo-Poo-Ly Has Plenty Papaya (Alfred Apaka)

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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:01 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Mar 2, 2005

Laughter. Like Medicine.

Last night at Largo, Paul F. Tompkins had a bit to say about the Oscars and about Sean Penn and his apparent humorlessness in taking offense on Jude Law's behalf to what Chris Rock said about how many movies he was in last year. I was sorry I hadn't actually gotten to watch the show, because some amount of the jokes may have been lost on me, and that is a grave concern of mine. My powers of inference and extrapolation are considerable, thankfully. So I doubt I was ever entirely left in the dust, but there's really no way of knowing at this point. Tonight I watched The Daily Show and heard Jon Stewart lampooning the same incident, and I got to see Sean Penn's actual "performance," followed by Jon Stewart's epilogue to the incident, which went something like this: "Penn added, 'And while we're at it, Mr. Youngman, I would not like to take your wife, as I already have one. And, Mr. Seinfeld, regarding your query, in re: The Deal with Airplane Peanuts, the answer is economies of scale render it fiscally imprudent to distribute them in larger packaging. Let's get to the nominees.'" And that amused me greatly and also made me think that, despite his acting talents and impressive head of hair, Sean Penn must just be no fun at all to live with. I wonder what would happen if he ever happened on to a televisation of a celebrity roast. I'll bet there would be tears and broken things very soon after.

My friend Adam sent me a very well-written and thoughtfully-reasoned assessment of the show, too. And all of this just compounds in force and focuses like a laser on my sense of inadequacy at having not bothered to watch or form any opinions of my own. Sometimes I miss things. And, yet, I managed to watch Equilibrium in its entirety. Yes, I was working the whole time, but it's not like I didn't look up ever. Christian Bale is awfully distracting. Even when he's fulfilling the gargantuan cliché of experiencing an enormous welling-up of emotion at the first hearing of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. I mean, yeah, it was the Fourth Movement, but it was right at the beginning of it. Not anywhere near the Ode to Joy. No one cries at that opening part.

Anyway, at least I managed to not see The Counting Crows at all. You have no idea how much I go out of my way to not be exposed to them.

So, yeah, the PFT Show was awesome as usual. I wonder what I would say in the event that it ever wasn't any good, but my imagination just isn't that keen. My friend Tom and I were talking today and couldn't remember how it was that Paul got off on an interesting tangent regarding skeletons just before the show wrapped up -- right before Danny Boy and the excellent reference to 1995's Se7en, a.k.a. Seven (alternative spelling). But Tom felt that the declaration, "Skeletons, you take the cake," was the topper.

And before we left, I gave Martín an opportunity to defend his assertion that Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is the best of the original trilogy to Wayne Federman, as Wayne and I had just been discussing the comparative superiority of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (the Star Wars: prefixes are implied) a couple of nights before. But it was just as I suspected. Even Martín is enough of a grown-up now to admit that Return of the Jedi can be his favorite without actually being the best. Everyone knows the death of the franchise started with that movie. I invite your dissension on this topic, should you find that it inexplicably exists.

Coincidentally, while we were driving to Largo, I asked Martín if he ever feels like a grown-up these days, and we had a short chat about that phenomenon. As I often feel as clueless and flailing as I did in high school, and, aside from having my own bank account and a private residence and stuff, it amazes me on a daily basis that I'm allowed to do anything unsupervised. I'm better today in many ways than I was when I was a youngster, but in many ways I am shockingly the same. And I wish every meal came with a toy.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 2:06 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Feb 9, 2005

Year of the Cock

So, it's Chinese New Year today. I wish I was being asked to drive out east and eat some ridiculous banquet with my Chinese relatives, but I'm not being asked to, and I have a workshop tonight, so that's that. A few years ago, my friend Julie and I went to the Twin Dragon on Chinese New Year and ate some shrimp and wrote our resolutions down on little pieces of paper. We were going to do the same tonight, but she's traveling. It's hard to create a tradition when everyone in the world is so busy. Me included. I wish I had a fancy Chinese dress on and pictures of it. But I'm underinspired. Gong xi fa cai, anyway. And if you don't already know what that means, my mom breaks it down like this: "Gong xi means I wish you happiness, and fa cai means a lot of money." Word. Oh, and I don't know about the romanization of those words. I always thought it was gong xi fa tsai, but I don't really care that much. Spell it how you want.

Adam wrote to me a while back and mentioned having seen a promo for ImaginAsian TV. I meant to write about it then. And in the past week I saw the promo myself. And I meant to write about it then. But I did not. So now I am. I am not excited about ImaginAsian TV. I like Asian things. And I like being Asian. But I have to say that most Asian programming is lame and low-quality. And I also know that the broad Asian brush most people paint with includes all sorts of things that I don't even consider to be Asian. So my imperious bigotry gets in the way. Clearly, ImaginAsian TV is not being marketed to me. I think, quite obviously, it's being marketed to that yellow fever-having segment of the white male population. I don't just mean guys who think Asian girls are pretty. I mean those guys who learn to speak Japanese and Chinese and can perform the tea ceremony and refer to their girlfriends' parents by using the reverent, native language names that family members should use, never knowing how much those parents think they're total jerk-offs for doing it. I've known a lot of these guys over the years. And I have always fantasized about throwing rocks at them.

Yesterday, I was getting ready to go out, and St. Elmo's Fire was on the television. I haven't seen it for a few years. The first time I saw it, I was in high school in Japan, and I remember all my friends finding someone in the film to relate to. And all the dudes quoting lines from the movie with self-congratulatory intonation. That's something I hated about high school. I really don't miss how ready everyone was to adopt some new vocabulary every time a movie was released. And I'd like to think I didn't do that. But then I did date the guys who did that, so I'm no innocent. Oh! The word innocent just reminded me of a message I got on Friendster yesterday. It was an invitation to a friendship and contained these enchanting verses:

Hope u r fine as I m here now. while surfing I
find you and as I like u, I could not prevent
myself to propose you for long term friendship. I
would really love a sober friendship.

About me ; I am 36 never married catholic male
from India working in Indias largest food product
company. As far as education qualification is
concerned, I am bachelor of arts, bachelor of
laws, diploma in secretaryship plus some
certificate courses. I am a loving, caring,
innocent and god fearing person and believe in
honesty to each other.

I found this hilarious and endearing. Anyway, I was benignly surprised to discover that St. Elmo's Fire is such a false film. Who talks like that? Who has friends like that? Who believes Andrew McCarthy isn't gay? I mean, very few films from that era and genre really hold up for me, so it's no great eye-opening revelation. But it's always sort of something for me to be epiphanized about something I used to think was cool and realize that it was totally the opposite. Even the music. What in the world made me ever love it? Shame on me.

And speaking of movies that I have negative things to say about, I think The Matrix Reloaded would have been better if they had just left it as Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. I wonder what it is about the future that makes us enjoy drum circles.

Persistence of Crush

It's like the Dali painting. Only it's about something else entirely. And it brings to mind tingling and uncertainty and happy aftermath and important moments. There's the crush that gets you to work on time or to school early or to the county jail during "exercise hour." You know the crush I mean. The inspirer. The motivator. The no-need-for-sleep-maker. The reason you keep gum on you at all times. The reason you use perfume and Visine. The reason you buy new pants. It doesn't even have to be about a guy. Or a girl. It can be about a job interview. Or an audition. Or a concert you have tickets to. It's just something to look forward to. And I like having that going on whenever I can manage to.

To be honest, I wrote the phrase "persistence of crush" in my notebook, but I don't remember why or what I was going to say about it. But I can springboard, can't I?

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posted by Mary Forrest at 8:48 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jan 17, 2005

Random House

I don't like to watch award shows. But I often watch them anyway. I caught the last bit of the Golden Globes tonight. Just in time to see Diane Keaton wearing an outfit that really is only a parody of her look at this point, to see Jamie Foxx tear up at the podium and to hope that he was sincere -- a cynicism planted in my brain by Halle Berry and her ridiculousness, and to see Robin Williams receive his "special" award.

Okay. For the record. I can't stand Robin Williams. I'm not saying he was never funny or that he didn't make a proper name for himself or that he doesn't have a sprawling body of work. I just find him annoying and unsurprising and never ever ever never funny. Now.

I like Popeye. I'll go on record with that. But I like it because of its production design and because it's the first PG movie I ever went to see without my parents and I broke a filling on an ancient apple Now and Later I got at the concession stand while my friend Sharon's mom (who had brought us to the theater) was watching Raging Bull. I also like the music. And Shelley Duvall. And Burgess Meredith. And the idea that someone might be considered marriageable on account of being large.

But that's not enough for a special award. Even the movies of his that I've liked haven't rung true because of the fact that EVERY character eventually breaks down and does a few minutes of "material," and that's not what film acting is about. It happens in Dead Poets' Society, it happens in (fucking) Patch Adams, it even happens in Jack, and he's playing a kid in that. I think the only film I can think of where he doesn't do that (unless I just missed it) is Awakenings, which is still a pretty good flick. But again. No statue there.

His more recent dramatic roles have not had the funny man character in them, but that gives you cause to notice that -- when he's not pretending to be a sassy Black woman from Mississippi or a flaming queer or some other overused caricature -- he's really very, very creepy.

But this isn't about me or what I think of his work. I really just mean to comment on the fact that I think these award shows seem to be hard-pressed to find someone worthy to recognize. And that his acceptance speech was endemically insincere and performed and, frankly, impolite in its self-importance. Even his attempts to be magnanimous came across as braggart. And when they played a clip from Mork and Mindy, I really had to ask myself if that show was ever funny. Except for the parts with Jonathan Winters in them. And even that's a maybe.

Before the award was issued, a friend reminded me of the lawsuit that is Mr. Williams' reason for being so frequently cited on And then that's all I thought about while he gave his acceptance speech, which was little more than a pandering stand-up act to an entirely industry audience. Thank god he was followed by Orlando Bloom, who cleanses the palate so beautifully. Pretty pretty. I could look at him and listen to him talk for what would amount to a very long time.

I was IM'ing a friend about all this James Bond that I've been watching. I basically said that watching all this James Bond has changed my mind about the more recent issuances. They ALL sucked. They were ALL corny. So I no longer hold it against Pierce Brosnan that the gadgetry is outlandish, the puns are unbearable, and the martinis are still ordered shaken as if any bartended in the world STIRS them. EVER. And Die Another Day had a lot of much more gritty military type action in it. Real warfare-y looking. Far less murdering people with sharks. Or piranha. I think Halle Berry is a putz, but it wasn't a bad film I now conclude. I just take note of how brash and unreasonable and boob-like Americans tend to look in these films. I guess it must mean that that's the way we like to see ourselves. Because we're the ones these movies are being sold to, aren't we? Are we missing something here?

A short list of things I've learned from the various James Bond marathons I've watched in the past month or so would be as follows:

Thunderball and Never Say Never Again (the only non-Albert Broccoli production) have the same plot and the same character names. They even have the same plot summary on But I've never heard Never Say Never Again referred to as a remake. I just remember going to see it in the theater with my mom and being uncomfortable and embarrassed when Barbara Carrera was water-skiing in a one-piece bathing suit with a thong back. How did I ever manage to cease being such a prude?

James Bond had a wife and she died. George Lazenby married Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and then she gets shot by Blofeld at the very end of the movie. And it's the only time you ever see James Bond really seem to lose it over a chick. In a way, it's one of the best moments in the series. He turns into such a shadow of a person after that. Maybe because of that. Huh? Huh? How do you like that little twist there? Anyway, later, in The Spy Who Loved Me (I think -- or was it Octopussy? They all begin to run together.), Roger Moore prickles when he is reminded of it. When a female agent recites his dossier to him and says he was once married. It AFFECTS him. Again. Rare human moment for James.

And lastly, you nearly never see Dr. No anymore. And yet I really like it. In truth, the book is one of my favorites. And the movie was a smash disappointment for me, because of how much of the riveting action from the book was just not done at all. I guess I assumed it was because of the fact that cinema was still fairly primitive, but it sure would have been nice to see that book made into a proper flick. Maybe someday it will be remade again using all that modern cinematic technology has to offer. Although, by the time that happens, James Bond will probably be played by Seth Green or something. Surely, by then it will be his turn.

Okay, well, it's officially Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so I suppose I should tell my one MLK anecdote, which goes like this:

When I was in high school in Japan, each year we would have a Black History Month speech contest, sponsored by some rotary-type club that was for the Black people. (I don't mean to sound ignorant or insensitive; I just don't remember what it was called.) Anyway, I used to enter this speech contest every year, and every year I won. I was sort of the speech and essay contest phenom in high school. I actually made more money winning speech and essay contests than I made in all of my summer jobs. So each year I would enter the Black History Month speech contest, and I would write a speech about Black history, and I would give the speech, and I would win. And then I would be invited to the dinner of this club with all the other winners, and we would sit at the honored table and have dinner before being invited to give our speeches to the club membership. We would sit there on the dais -- me and two or three Black kids. And I would get the biggest prize every year. Even I thought that was sort of weird and unfair. But that's the way it happened.

Gosh golly, it was gorgeous out today. I'm slightly furious with myself for not spending more time out in it. For not taking one of my straw mats over to LACMA and bivouacking out on the lawn with a book and a bottle of something cool to drink. I should have done that. Maybe I will do that tomorrow. If it's as sunny and warm as it was today, I surely should.

And it's been two nights in a row that I've taken Audrey out for one of our obscene late-night walks (yesterday it was at five a.m.) and noticed that the stars were out in force and that I could see Betelgeus, clear as a punch in the face. There are many nights when I can't see the stars at all on my block. Los Angeles with its street lighting and billboards and that persistent haze that makes even the darkness feel like just-after-dusk. If there's even a wisp of haze in the air, the night is cottony black and starless. Bleak and coldly unfamiliar. But these past few nights, as happens at this time of the year and whenever the rains come, the stars are like brilliant pinpricks in a big velvet sheet with a studio-quality lamp behind them. I've lived in Hollywood for long enough now that even the wonders of nature conjure analogies of cinema fakery.

This is the fourth January for me here in Los Angeles. And I have said many times that January and February in Los Angeles make for one of my favorite times of year. When it's cold and crisp but sunny. And the skies are clear. Not the muddy haze of the summertime. Not the humid swelter of an unwelcome Indian summer. Januaries and Februaries have been typically melancholy for me. For some reason. They have always been gloriously beautiful. But sad. If it's not one thing, it's everything. I am glad for a break in the rain. I want to sit on grass that is unmuddied. I look forward to picnicky afternoons. And ham sandwiches. I'm always ready with something excellent to read. And the straw mats are always in the trunk of my car. With a blanket I don't mind getting dirty. I've had too few daytime outings recently. I notice it in my picture-taking. There's nothing so bad about taking lots of pictures at night. But I need a little sunshine and cirrhus clouds in my eyes to mix it up.

Later this week, I'm heading for San Diego to ref a minor league runthrough and play a few shows at the comedy theater. I'm thinking it's going to be awesome. I've been wanting to ref for ages. And I get to have a whistle and a stopwatch and everything. Bomb ass. So I'll be in town (or out of town, depending on your zip code) for a few days, and I intend to make a scene. I left a bottle of Bushmill's at John Meeks' apartment as a "housewarming gift." But I hold my liquor a lot better than he does. It's a fine line between housewarming gift and safekeeping. Bottoms up.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 2:24 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jan 6, 2005

You see a doll on a music box that's wound by a key.

I usually enjoy watching CNN while I'm on the treadmill at my gym. I crank up the iPod and read the closed captioning and shake my head at the typographical errors. Today, all CNN was talking about was the tsunami. Or I suppose it can rightly be called The Tsunami now. Proper name. No mistaking it. It made me feel bad. Running in place in my expensive gym with my expensive MP3 player and my expensive shoes. And watching that horrific footage of all that brown water sweeping over a bridge, swarmed over with people running like ants. Ants who were suddenly not there anymore. But just as I felt my humanity catch in my throat, I was brought back to my crabby senses. The monitor with CNN on it did not have closed captioning, so I could only read the ticker and the main captions, which were for some reason all alliterative. "Turning the Tide." "Walking the Walk." I was becoming annoyed. Who is writing these? And why do they think a catastrophic international natural disaster is the time to break out the Hallmark card-writing skills? Ooh, and that first one has a bit of a pun in it, too. How cleverly inappropriate. What cheek. I started making up my own in my head. "Harbingers of Hope." "Doctors of Disaster." "Healing the Heartbroken." "Mopping Up the Mess." Well, those writers at CNN get my goat, but they are clearly better at this than I am.

My mom told me that my aunt, who is from Taiwan, once gave this advice: If you see the tide draw out very far -- much further than it normally does -- and you see the fish jumping on the sand, this means something is wrong. Don't go and pick up all the fish. Run. I guess this is some longstanding Taiwanese wisdom about knowing when a tidal wave is approaching. And I guess there is some risk that Chinese people will always choose poorly and opt to get all the free fish.

On another monitor, Jane Pauley's show was featuring a family whose toddler daughter had fallen in the swimming pool when unsupervised. And everyone panicked in the saving effort. The 7-month pregnant mother went into early labor. The grandfather had a heart attack. They must have been monopolizing every EMT vehicle in their county. And I was really upset that this was going to be my running fare. A bunch of images and sentiments to choke me up and make me feel grateful to be alive. But then it turned out that everyone was okay. The fat parents were seated on the stage, and the grandpa came out carrying the two young children, the near-drowned girl being very healthy and normal except for the fact that she doesn't speak yet. Once I knew they were all okay, I felt free to resent them again.

I should also note that the president of Doctors without Borders, a Rowan Somebody-or-Other, was being interviewed on CNN, and I couldn't help but notice how handsome he was. Also, the doctor the CNN cameras were trailing in Indonesia was in admirably good shape and rather handsome. And I wondered if it helps to be cute when you're a doctor. I suppose it does. It seems to help in virtually every other profession. Except maybe begging. I guess I'd be less likely to go under the knife of some Quasimodo-ish fellow. Much as his Harvard diploma might look authentic. And I wonder if that's smart. I think, in general, ugly people have a rougher time of it. Whereas good-looking people get cut a great deal of slack. Slack that may mean your cute doctor might not have really done so well on his medical boards. He just dazzled the proctor with his all-American smile and thick head of hair. Your ugly doctor, on the other hand, well, he probably had to work extra hard. He probably got picked on in class. If there was a John Houseman-esque instructor in his college, he probably got called out all the time and had to be extra prepared, because no one really wanted him to succeed, least of all the former ugly duckling professor who saw too much of himself in the uncomely lad. Anyway, I think some research should be done into this. I'm not planning any major medical procedures, but when I'm due for one, I'd like to know if I should sign up with Doctor Kildare or Doctor Moonface.

I sound glib, but the tragedy in South and Southeast Asia really breaks my heart. I get upset that U.S. news agencies are telling so little of the local story. I talked with Adam last night and agreed that the coverage was slow to make it to air because of how far down the pigment ladder those brown-skinned people are. And that's really shameful. My mother is Chinese and my father is Russian Jewish, and if something happened to me, I'd like for it to have been newsworthy BEFORE the wires picked up that my dad is from Philadelphia and therefore a bona fide American. And if nothing newsworthy ever happens to me, I'd like to be summarily executed and buried at sea. Preferably while I'm still somewhere in the neighborhood of my prime.

Beulah called me early this morning -- early like seven a.m. early -- to ask me questions about debate format. (I was once on my way to becoming CEDA royalty.) I told her what I remembered and then tried to go back to sleep, as I had been up reading until nearly four. But shortly after I walked my dog and got back under the covers, I heard the smack of auto on auto followed by a very long and uninterrupted horn honk. Another accident on La Cienega. There was no chance I would be getting back to sleep. So I snuck out of bed with Audrey uninformed and under the covers, and I got into my gym outfit and headed out. I saw the mess of the accident right up my street. There was an ambulance there. And police officers. And a lot of traffic bottlenecked around the scene. But it wasn't in my path, so I resolved not to be a lookieloo, because people who delay me with their curiosity when passing roadside atrocities make me wish I had Plasticman's arms and the ability to reach into their vehicles and just snap their necks. It was unusually early for me to be out. For some reason, I'm always extra proud of myself when I'm up early. It might be a sign that there's far too little to be proud of in my actual life. But I'm going to see about making today more productive than it might otherwise be. I'm preemptively certain that I will find myself, six or seven hours from now, shaking my head and wishing I hadn't set myself up for failure. But goalsetting is the first step towards not rotting away in your chair.

P.S. I burned nearly a thousand calories on that treadmill. Isn't that just tits?

Yearning. Yearning. While I'm turning around and around.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 10:43 AM | 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, 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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     Oct 20, 2004

"I love you, mother father."

I feel as if I made some strides today. And not just because I wore fabulous boots or because I kept thinking my skirt was too short when I felt the breeze up in my nethers. I mean thoughtful strides in the unearthing of difficult-to-unearth objects. Progress, maybe. The difference between flailing and upsetting. It's one thing to just flail about. But if you knock something over, too, then at least the flailing is productive. Right? Anyway.

My dream state is a plague. A blight. I have no further desire to know what my mind wishes it was up to. I am no longer curious what my secret self wants. I just want some rest. Damn it all.

Saturday, Steve and Chris showed me the footage of Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire. Watch it. It's all over the Internet, so you have no excuse to not see it. We screened it on Chris's Mac, after finding the Growing Pains reunion to be unwatchable. And not in a campy, kitschy way. Just plain unwatchable. I hope you missed it. And I hope you didn't bother to TiVo it. And if you did, I hope you deleted it before you bothered to watch it. We also watched that scary little midget guy on Jimmy Kimmel -- the new Red Sox good luck charm. They won a few games, so I guess that's something. But that little freak is a freak. I felt sad and dirty after watching his segment. Like I did after nearly every episode of Webster.

I forgot to mention that the hands-down funniest moment in Team America is the "signal." If you've seen it, you will know what I mean and agree with me. It's not what everyone will be talking about, but when you flash back to it in your recollection, you will laugh and laugh. Because it is fucking hilarious.

My dog doesn't like to pee in the rain. I don't think she likes to pee on my rug either, but it seems she likes peeing in the rain less.

Adam and I had a somewhat inspiring conversation today about the political process and what ails it. We talked about the fact that the mistake the DNC has made (other than letting Terry McAuliffe* anywhere near a camera -- or a decision for that matter) is that, in its desire to curry favor among swing voters, it has forgotten its liberal base. When I heard President Clinton speak earlier this year, he quoted statistics about registered Republicans and registered Democrats and pointed out that we Democrats are usually fighting that uphill battle of trying to convince the undecided to vote in our favor and also to turn some of the more moderate Republicans come election day. But what I've noticed is that the party's ardent desire to close that unfortunate gap has given it a case of tunnel vision. Because I listened to the third Presidential debate, and I was so discouraged to hear John Kerry continually touting his sameness. I'm like he is, he seemed to be saying. I own guns. I go hunting. I pray a lot. I go to church. And I'm not saying that he can't be a good Democrat while doing all of those things, but what I want is for the candidate of my party to finally do some damage to the crazy notion that a president HAS to do these things in order to gain mass appeal. That he must be a Republican, even if he's running as a Democrat. I want to elect a Democrat, but I want to elect his courage and his convictions and his ideas and his plans. Not his Republican outfit -- the one he wears when he doesn't think any of his Democratic friends are looking. The one he thinks will fool the neo-cons into thinking he's one of them. What a 21 Jump Street-caliber idea. I want to elect him because of how DIFFERENT he is than George W. Bush. Not because of how nearly the same he is. And I think the DNC has lost sight of that. I think they have lost sight of the need to give those of us out there with our hearts a-bleed a candidate we can thrill to. They need to give us a candidate that will win over the Nader-lovers and the fringies and the George Carlins who think voting doesn't matter because we end up electing the same guy no matter what we do; he's just got different initials most of the time. I'm tired of my electoral passion being limited to my desire to get my "I Voted!" sticker. I want the faithless to turn out to be wrong. I want to believe in a candidate and have him turn out to be a statesman. I want the system to work. Just once before it gets dismantled by Cheney and his gang of hard-arteried thugs.

I don't think John Kerry is a bad candidate. I just wish the party would let him run a little. Let him stretch his legs. See what he can do. And I wish that Howard Dean had been given an actual chance. Because I think the system needs some shaking up. And the country needs to be reminded that a bloody war was fought to keep us from being exsanguinated by the tyranny of the rule of the monarchy. Our government happened because of a desire to protect freedoms and limit the autonomy of the buearucracy. To give those without money or power or aristocratic privilege a voice and proxy. Someone needs to remind us that what is at stake in this election is not just a presidency but our very way of life. I know that will sound to some like liberal hyperbolizing, but I am dead serious. Josh and I went to see Paul Krugman speak on Friday night (he is brilliant, by the by), and it really is downright chilling to consider what has been happening in our country for the past four years and to tally the shockingly small number of voices who are saying anything about it. It seems unimaginable that the dollar will collapse or that a revolution will blister out of the fallout. But we've already seen a coup. I know people pretend this isn't the case, but the 2000 elections were a travesty. And if the Supreme Court and the Governor of Florida are allowed to APPOINT an executive this time around, I hope I won't be the only one on my block shaking my fist about it. We are a nation disenfranchised. And saying that in a roomful of people runs the risk of being transported into an episode of The Twilight Zone. I'm always talking, but no one seems to understand a word I'm saying. Anyway, that's why Adam is my hero. He actually bought a plane ticket and is spending his last pre-election weekend on the campaign trail in Ohio. I am not doing nearly so much for the cause, and I am ashamed of that. I contribute monthly to the DNC and the DCCC, but that's the laziest participation there is, and I know it. I'm trying to mask my shame by applauding Adam. I'm clapping extra hard. And if a Democrat is elected this November, I will give Adam all the credit.

I am reading a lot. I am catching up. I am getting caught up. In both the transitive and intransitive senses. I am keeping busy. There's work. And there's want. And there's trying to get organized enough to BEGIN. And I'm noticing that I'm using a lot of capitalization emphasis in this post. And I think that's EMBARRASSING.

Everything feels so new. Enough so that I get hopeful. That I get happy. Enough so that I want to see what I can get away with and to get away with all I can. I have not been feeling very poetic. But there seems to be poetry all around me. I find myself noticing little wonders all the time. And wondering if that makes me crazy. I'm reading psychology and philosophy at the moment, and maybe that makes me pay closer attention. Perhaps we are not supposed to be able to open our eyes to all that we experience for fear of being overwhelmed, but I do give it my goddamnedest. That I do.

You will notice the absence of a segue.

I think it is my father's contention that if a person does something bad to you, it is because that person is bad. Not because he is good but flawed. Not because he is usually good but the victim of a lapse. When a person hurts you or lies to you or treats you with disrespect or disloyalty, this is because it is in him to do it. When a person breaks a commitment, it is because the commitment was never real. A person who falls out of love with you was never in love with you. Oh, to live in a world that was so black and white.

The title of my post was exclaimed by a Japanese girl into Dave Attell's camera on a recent episode of Insomniac. I don't know why I wrote it down. It amused and delighted me when I heard it. And with all the delving I've been doing into what is broken in my brain, I sometimes feel the need to reaffirm. I do love you, mother father. I sometimes wish we could have done things differently, but I love you just the same. And I know you did your best. And I know it won't be the end of me. And I would like to believe there is a chance that we can all be happy without any of us having to lie about it.

The same goes for the rest of you out there whose approval has mattered to me or whose affirmations have superseded food and warmth on my hierarchy of needs. If I can make you believe that I was worth any of it, I might be able to get a good night's sleep after all.

But maybe not. I think sleep is overrated. And I do tremendous, amazing, inimitable things in the nighttime. It's not the shuteye I'm missing. It's the daydreams.

I'm thinking in spurts. It's symptomatic of something. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that everything is symptomatic of something. EVERYTHING.

*If you haven't already heard me say how much I hate Terry McAuliffe, you haven't hung around me much.

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

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     Sep 12, 2004

What you don't know

So, I never really got around to telling the tale, but I suppose now is as good a time as any. A few weeks ago, I adopted a two year-old miniature pinscher. I call her Audrey. She was rescued from a puppy mill, where she had really only ever interacted with other dogs. So, she was terrified of me. And any other human being, particularly if there were no other dogs around. I brought her home and spent a very stressful lot of time with her trying to put her at ease and get her to trust me. It was like having a new baby, but one with all sorts of problems. She wouldn't eat. She wouldn't drink. She wouldn't go to the bathroom when I took her out. She just huddled over in the corner in my bedroom, shaking. She likes to sit in front of my full-length mirror. I think it makes her feel like there is another dog in the room.

She made so much progress that first week. I could see her warming up and settling down. She still ran away from me when I reached for her, but she was also very cuddly once she made it to my lap. And let me tell you, I was never prouder of a turd than when she made her first in the back yard. Getting her to go on the leash was a big triumph. It proved she trusted me enough to be that special sort of vulnerable with me only a few feet away. I was ecstatic. Anyway, before my first week with her was up, I was preparing for my evening, and I saw that she was sitting by the back door, so I applauded her for what I assumed was her way of letting me know she wanted to go out. I threw on a skirt and a tank top and slippers and took her out into the back yard, where she promptly did her business. And I cheered her for it.

When I was taking her into the house, up the four steps to my back door, she jumped off the side of the steps, and -- the leash being short -- I leaned forward to make sure she had enough slack to not hang herself, at which point she yanked a bit and caused me to lose my balance. I fell. Flat on my face. Onto concrete. Somehow managing to badly cut the bottom of my foot, skin my knee, my elbow, my palm, and my knuckle, all of which were bleeding. And just as I took stock of all this, I noticed that I was no longer holding the leash, and Audrey bolted. Right out across a very busy street and far out of my reach. I kicked off my slippers and went running after her, barefoot and bleeding. I called her name. Drivers called out to me and told me where they had seen her go. I ran for blocks. A fellow in an SUV of some sort with a young lad in the front seat with him rolled down his passenger side window and told me he would circle the block in the direction he thought he saw her go. When he returned, he had lost the trail. He said he would keep an eye out and asked for my number to call me in case he found her. I gave it to him. He offered me a ride home, and -- as was the case on the one other desperation-filled time that I accepted a ride from a stranger -- I reasoned that he wasn't going to murder me with that boy in the car, so I climbed in and let him drive me home. And when I got out, I felt bad, noticing that I had gotten some elbow blood on his door. He gave me his card and asked me to call him if I found her so that he would know to stop looking. I thanked him and went into the house and began making calls. The micro-chip place where she was registered. The L.A. animal control place (where no one ever answered the phone). The people I had adopted her from, because her tags and micro-chip were still in their name. And Beulah. And by the time I spoke to Beulah, I was crying my eyes out.

The woman from the min pin rescue tried to calm me down. Told me what I should do. Make some signs. Go out and drive around slowly. Bring a friend. Do you have someone you can call? Someone who can come be with you right now? In case you get hysterical? Someone who can drive around with you so you have two pairs of eyes? Bring a blanket, because Audrey will probably be cold. It all began to blur together. I think the needle in my brain got stuck on the part of the record where she asked if I had a friend I could call and I thought to myself, "No, I don't." Not that I don't have any friends. I just couldn't think of anyone I would call at this moment, when I'm terribly upset, when it's an inconvenient working hour, when they would have to drop everything to come to my aid. It made me feel so sad and alone to think that the answer to that question was no. Even if it wasn't. At that moment, it felt like it was.

In the short time after I got home, I had already told myself I probably wouldn't get her back. She's so small and so unfamiliar with cars and the road. She's scared. She will get run over. Or eaten. Or trapped somewhere. I was in quite a state. Beulah and Adam both reassured me that she would be found. People will see she is on a leash and they will know she got away from someone, and they will try and help.

I couldn't decide if I should call and cancel my plans for the evening. I didn't want to. But I wondered what sort of company I would be or what sort of person I would look like if I didn't say that this was more important. But within about two hours, I got a phone call. Someone had found her. She was at the West L.A. animal shelter. I could go collect her in the morning. The rescue people would have to come, too, since the micro-chip was still in this woman Jeanine's name. I would meet them. They would call me. It would all work out. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then, just before I was leaving my house, I got a phone call from the woman I had adopted Audrey from, Sharon. Sharon let me know that Kim, the coordinator for the rescue society, was going to be calling me. They had some concerns. Apparently Audrey came right up to the guy who found her in the street. And everyone at the shelter said she was being very friendly and allowing people to pet her. Maybe she just didn't like me, Sharon was saying. Maybe they weren't going to give her back to me. This all sounded so ludicrous to me. I went out, but in a strange mood.

And the next morning, when they called my house, I wasn't home to answer it, but they never tried my cell phone, which was the phone they had been using to contact me all along. So when I got their message, I learned that Audrey had already been picked up and taken back to Sunland, to the home I had adopted her from, and some things needed to be decided. I was upset and frustrated and angry and confused. And I placed several calls in the hopes of resolving things quickly. But they didn't end up caling me back for seven hours. Seven excruciating hours, during which -- much like the afternoon before -- I had nearly convinced myself that I wasn't going to get her back. But in the end, I drove back out to Sunland and collected her. And she was frightened and skittish. Moreso than before. And it took another week of trying to work back up to where we had been. And I certainly had to sort through my own anxieties about taking her on walks and feeling that sense of panic that I was going to somehow lose her again. We spent a lot of time with Beulah and Justin, because Audrey really comes alive when she's with Tasha. Even though Tasha looks annoyed most of the time. And it's been a few weeks, and she is fine now. Sitting on my lap, as a matter of fact. When I type at my computer, she likes to sit here, with her chin resting on my left forearm, so that her head bobs around as I type. Martín says it makes her look like an animatronic dog. I believe him. Sometimes, things scare her, and I fear that she will revert back to that earlier state. But she still curls up against my lap when I sit down. And she licks my hands when I put lotion on them. And she's been eating her dinner -- even the dry food -- and doing her "business," and I see her tail wagging, and I know she's happy. Even though she still runs away when I reach for her. She comes to me when I'm sitting here at my desk. And I'm sitting here a lot.

I'm just summing the tale up, because I said something about the fact that I was bleeding (and in truth when I typed it, I got blood all over my trackball and my wrist rest), and people who read this speculated in a number of wrong directions. Believe me, if I was going to write about my period, I would totally just come out and say it. Check the archives. I'm not lying.

So the guy who gave me a ride home ended up calling me the next day to see if I had "found my dog." I didn't catch the phone call, but it's just as well. The same thing happened when I got a ride home from an off-duty police officer in San Diego many years ago. It amuses me that someone would look at a girl running down the street, barefoot and bleeding and not dressed in her Sunday finest, hair not yet styled, lipstick not yet on, and go: hot. But that's apparently what happened. I love that there are good samaritans out there. But I worry for them socially.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:21 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jul 15, 2004

At the Risk of Oversleeping

I am one of those few. Maybe they're a lucky few. It depends on how you look at it. I have a hot FedEx guy. Two of them, actually. And I get deliveries from one of my clients so frequently these days that I see at least one of them pretty frequently. Frequently enough that he calls me by name and comments on how early I'm up -- if it appears that I am up in the first place. So, I'm lucky I guess because it's a pleasure to go to the door much of the time. But then there's that other component of panicking that I look frightful when he has a 7 A.M. delivery for me. Honestly, who looks good at that hour? Well, he does, but that's different. He's used to it.

When I told Adam that my FedEx guy is cute -- and I honestly don't recall how that came up in conversation; I don't think I just blurted it out for no reason, but who knows -- he was quick to advise me to "go for it." He seemed convinced that you are actually required to take action under these circumstances, given that so few of us receive deliveries from any but the most unappealing of characters. But that's not how things work in my world. And maybe there's a reason for that.

When I heard the doorbell this morning, I had to throw on a bathrobe (because I was literally just about to step into the shower) and I recall regretting my outfit. That's what proves to me that I live in a ridiculous unreality (a) because I have been reduced to dressing to impress the couriers and (b) because, in truth, I don't think it matters to them what I'm wearing. If I come to the door with a glass of wine in my hand and a come-hither expression on my face, whether or not he takes the bait will probably not be a factor of what color robe I'm wearing. Anyway, it's all too Adrienne Barbeau.


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:11 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jun 11, 2004

Party Down with Erroneous Information!

Adam sent me the link to this article today. It reveals that the U.S. wrongly reported that worldwide terrorism was way down in 2003, attributing that statistic to American efforts in the Middle East. But it turns out, the report was totally wrong! Worldwide terrorism was actually way up in 2003! Ha ha ha! Isn't that hilarious? Those loveable State Department bozos -- it's like the Keystone Cops over there. I sure wish I could be funning and laughing in Washington right now. What a blast!


posted by Mary Forrest at 5:56 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jun 1, 2004

Swan Lake

Let me just start this out by saying that my face is tingling with anger at the fact that I had finished this post and was pleased with it and then went to post it and found that nearly everything I'd written had been cut off. I have tried to recreate it, but I am so tired of having to assure you that I am better at this than I appear. What I wrote the first time around will live on ghostlike in my memory, a taunting reminder that what you will now read is a mere shade -- ersatz.

But on with it.

I had lunch at the Hotel Bel-Air today with Adam and Scott, who wanted to thank me for designing his web site when he was running for elected office (he won). He really didn't owe me anything; I was happy to do it. But the lunch was nice just the same. Lovely company in a terribly beautiful setting. We walked by the little Swan Lake they have there. It was idyllic and sunny and tranquil. It hardly feels like Los Angeles. Until you see all the embarrassingly swanky cars in the lot. And Joe Millionaire was sitting at the table beside us. I have no patience for such things.

As a surefire means of eclipsing the tattered remnants of a month that might have ended without much glory, Martín and I went to see the Paul F. Tompkins Show, and -- like magic -- all that was wrong in the world was set right again. I cannot venture far enough into the depths of the superlative to craft a compliment that would do this man justice. He is the awesomest. He and Michael Penn did a rendition of the Talking Heads' Psycho Killer that you should kill yourself for having missed. Seriously. Right now. Get your affairs in order and get on with it. He even worked an homage to the Violent Femmes' Blister in the Sun into the opening number, and that, too, was several magnitudes more excellent than anything you could possibly have seen or done today. Why oh why did you go to that barbecue where at least three different people brought crockpots with some gross bean dish simmering in them? Why did you let your girlfriend talk you into shampooing the carpets on THIS NIGHT? Why did you waste the day memorializing our fallen soldiers? They can't hear you. And frankly they're not altogether impressed with the fact that you don't think about them at all during the other 364 days of the year. Sure, you have a static decal of the ol' stars and stripes stuck to the window in your Toyota truck's camper shell, but were you really "saluting" it by spending most of the day skirfing? Maybe you just hate yourself. I can't let that be my problem. And I don't actually have any power to compel you in this, but my strongly-worded suggestion stands. You cheated yourself tonight, and for that you deserve to be punished. By you, because the cruel irony will teach you a sterner lesson. I was going to play good cop-bad cop and tell you that you deserve better than the Paul F. Tompkins-free world you are living in, but the more I think about your behavior tonight, the more convinced I am that you don't. A foolish person might see the PFT and wish that everyone in the world could be that funny or that talented or that smart. And another foolish person might call that person a communist.

Martín also finally gave me my birthday present. He had left it in the trunk of his car all this time. We joked that it was a puppy. That reminds me of the time my cousin gave me a brown paper bag that was stapled shut and instructed me to give it to my younger sister. I stuck it in my car and forgot about it for weeks. When I finally remembered, we hesitated before opening the bag, thinking, "What if it's a bag of cheese?" But then we remembered that our cousin is Chinese and not likely to enjoy dairy products. It turned out to be a wetsuit. Which doesn't make for much of a story.

So that's how I spent the last day in May. My birthday month. The only month that doesn't require abbreviation. I also finished up some work, did a little tidying, and looked at hundreds of items on eBay. And while all of that was going on, I let Quiz Show play on the television. And it occurred to me that that film is an uncanny allegory for that whole scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison and the ensuing public relations nightmare. If you need me to explain myself, I will. But you will have to ask me to, and that will be embarrassing for you.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 2:55 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Mar 21, 2004

Jewish giant at home with parents in Bronx.

I went to the Diane Arbus Revelations exhibit at LACMA today. It was much more extensive than I realized. I wish I'd had more time to linger. But Adam had a plane to catch. I really feel grateful for people who had the desire to photograph the mundane and the quirky and the bizarre back when photography wasn't nearly as accessible a practice. Otherwise, how would we know what a living room in Long Island looked like on Christmas morning in the 1960s? Today, with digital cameras everywhere and the freedom to take pictures of nearly everything you see, I'm saddened by how few interesting pictures get taken. When I go to the place where I get my 35mm film developed, the board that displays the kinds of finishes you can choose shows them to you by way of graduation photos and wedding photos and smiling snapshots of children in little plastic pools. And that's the kind of pictures most people take. The "say 'cheese'" variety. The one friend who likes to make silly faces when the shutter opens. The rabbit ears. The winning smile. The proud displaying of trophies. The "get in close so that we can all prove that we were here together" kind of portraits that end up on people's refrigerators or in the large collage of photos they hang in their bathroom. My mother always used to shake her head at me when I took pictures of strangers on trains in Japan. "Why do you want a picture of that girl? She has such bad skin." And she is even less moved by the pictures I take of shop signs and glassware and forks and knives and mannequins. But most people share her idea of what photography is for. For memory-making, I suppose. As opposed to art-making. Or for hoping that the thing you see in your brain can be transfered to the emulsion somehow.

But I did used to love to go on photo outings. To get on the train and ride to Tokyo with the hopes that I could take a photo without offending anyone. Maybe the problem these days is that you have to worry if people will LET you take their picture. With a big 35mm SLR camera in front of my face, I suppose I look a bit like an insect. People don't always know how to take it. But back then, I usually took the risk. And Japanese people were too polite to object. And I was too art-hungry to worry that they were saying mean things about me in their heads. And I developed my own film and printed and printed like a mad printing person. I spent hours in the darkroom. And it was always cool in there.

I'm buzzing with the desire to take my Canon A-1 back out and capture all the lame, the luxurious, the dirty, the gritty, the lurid things I can find. I am weary of all the pictures I take of myself. There was a time when I felt a little bit like a pioneer in that. And I have a few photos I've taken of myself that people have found interesting or inspired. But there's also just a great heaping lot of them that are from the inside of my apartment day after day after day. Or from the benches at LACMA. Or from the front seat of my car. I'm not entirely resentful. I'm glad I have some of my history captured. I'm glad I can remember what I looked like from month to month. And I recognize that the days when I don't take any pictures of myself are the days when there just doesn't seem to be anything new or interesting to see. And that makes me sad. I would take pictures of other people if they were nearby and willing. But that isn't always the case. And I fear the getting-fed-up that inevitably happens. When a friend or family member gives me that look and says, "Mary, enough!"

My friend Simon is also an avid shutterbug. I like that about him. I also like that he says such hilarious things. The latest was this:

I heard a good pickup line the other day: "Does this rag smell like ether to you?"

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Spring Sprang Sprung

That many consonants in a row looks German to me. It's Sturm und Drang in pastel colors. I like Easter bunnies that wear neckties.

Restless day of painting and waiting and noticing that the sun had broken through but not feeling able to go collect it. I was touched with blue. But I wore green.

It was a nice dinner at Angeli Caffe -- one of my favorite places to eat. I was introduced to it by my friend Jo. It seems that was ages ago. Tonight, I shared it with Adam and a handful of his Los Angeles friends. And then we danced (and drank) the night away in West Hollywood, until Josh and Joey and Zach arrived, and I was able to mingle the many pals and take advantage of how well Josh knows that one bartender who makes our drinks so strong you have to thank him through clenched teeth.

In dancefloor news, Beulah was the first to admit that Britney Spears' Toxic is a better song than any of us would like it to be. I think Britney looks like she should be checked for the presence of the appropriate number of chromosomes, but I'm willing to admit that the people who write and produce her material make it tough to oppose her and all of her damnable pop currency. They obviously know more about me and what I enjoy than I do.

When is that robots attacking the earth movie coming out already? Josh showed me this trailer before Christmas, for the sake of someone tardy. I need scientific distraction.

You know I'm keen on Al Franken and whatever it is he's up to. The latest on his liberal radio network only makes me long for it with all the more impassioned zeal. Hurry it up, Al. I've got a fire in my belly and no one to share it with.

But first, a quick anecdote. Apparently, Josh was at MOCA today, and he was wearing the "Live Wrong and Prosper" jacket he designed and silkscreened -- the one with an image of George W. Bush turned Vulcan and giving the Vulcan greeting with his hand -- and Leonard Nimoy's wife came up to him, avec entourage, and said, "Oh, you have to come over and show it to Leonard. He'll love it. He HATES Bush." And she ushered Josh and Joey over to their car where Leonard Nimoy took a photo with Josh and inquired about the jacket and how to get one. Josh called me because he wanted to share the story with someone who would properly appreciate it. And he was right to. I had to admit that I had just finished watching the second half of Star Trek Nemesis on the television. It's abominably bad. But I'm too far gone to care. If I'm ever stuck in outer space with only one television show to watch for all of eternity, let it be Star Trek. And preferably Deep Space Nine. Our species will surely fail to perpetuate if I am stranded in the cosmos with nothing to watch but Home Improvement. Anyway, I love many things about this incident, but mostly I love the solidarity of Mr. Spock hating Mr. Bush. I knew we had a few things in common.

I need sleep, but I won't get it.

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     Mar 20, 2004

"I'm ready. Ready ready ready, I'm ready."

Adam says John Cusack was at The Little Door with us last night, but I didn't see him. And I was too preoccupied with being upset that they said their oven was broken and that we couldn't have dinner. It's not often that I bother to make a reservation, but it stings all the more to be turned away when I have. It was one of those moments when I wished I was important enough that the chef would have run home and cooked me something in his own oven just to make sure I was happy and looked after. I've never been that important, so it's not like I would know what that's like. But the sneery treatment I got from the two Italian women in charge made me feel like the rest of the evening was just sandbagging.

And I haven't been able to sleep at all. Not last night. Not in the morning when I could have tried to. I'm doing the deep breath under the covers and everything. The weird alertness that almost feels like a panic attack. The frustrating, pillow-punching, channel-changing, clock-watching, fist-clenching, tooth-grinding, forcible exhaling, fetal position-adopting, back-cracking, sheep-counting, boat-watching, prose-writing alertness that convinces me that, one day, when the world thinks I am dead, I will be lying there in my coffin, breathing deeply and patiently thinking through all the words I ever said and that were ever said to me.

The Girl Can't Help It is on the idiot box. I'm an idiot for this movie. I bought it on VHS because there was no getting it otherwise. It's great. All the rockin' and the rollin'. The bluesy Julie London dream sequences. The sublime Little Richardliness of Little Richard. And Jayne Mansfield may be a poor man's Marilyn Monroe, but she sure is perfect in this film. Plus, she got decapitated in a car wreck. That's some tragic cred right there.


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     Feb 15, 2004


Adam sends me articles from the New York Times on the Web so frequently that I nearly never have to visit the web site on my own. As proof that I actually read these articles, I am prompted to direct you to this one about Janet Jackson's boob, because I agree with it wholeheartedly. Even the part -- I am sad to say -- where it indicts Justin Timberlake for pretending he's really sorry about the whole thing. I would have gone with you to the end, Justin. To the very fires of Mordor.

But Adam never reads my weblog, so this accomplishes nothing.


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     Feb 4, 2004

"Baby, when I see you, I'm gonna love you all over the place."

Macy Gray opened for David Bowie tonight at the Wiltern. I had been looking forward to the David Bowie portion of the show for so long that I had stopped looking forward to it and begun to dread it. As happens when the tumult of anticipation becomes so exhausting that I can only quiet it with disdain. I have never really been a fan of Macy's. I don't hate her music, but it didn't rile me or bowl me over in any way, and I found her speaking self to be nearly intolerable, so somehow an opinion was formed with less than typical basis, and I let it go at that. But she put on such a great show. I was glad to be wearing my dancing pants. And one of her back-up singers was just a dish and a half of sex and swiveling hips. It made my hips go round just watching her.

"Baby, when I see you, I'm gonna kiss you all over your face."

"Is it any wonder I reject you first?"

The man who sold the world had that same world on a string tonight. So continues my long love affair with the Thin White Duke. I never dreamed I would see him singing only tens of feet from my scream-choked gullet. Nor that I might see him perform so many of the songs that made him legend in my brain and in my notebook. He's still a hot ticket. Still a confusingly beautiful and sexual creature. Still a fashionista, whose outerwear tonight occasionally looked as if he bought it at Anthropologie, where I regularly shop. I and other GIRLS. Confusing, see?

"My little china girl, you shouldn't mess with me. I'll ruin everything you are."

I can pretend David Bowie wrote China Girl for me, can't I? Why not? I've said, "Shhh," before. Anyway, it doesn't matter. What you believe has nothing to do with me and my version of the truth.

"Why can't we give love one more chance?"

There was a stunning rendition of Under Pressure, with Gail Ann Dorsey, his bald chick bass player, singing Freddie Mercury's part in uncanny simulacrum, and I mean that in the most admiring fashion, despite it being the least flattering word I could have chosen, I suppose. It wasn't Freddie, but it couldn't have been, so it's nice that it was so nearly him and that it was not in any way Vanilla Ice. And "simulacrum" is a cool word. So I may have forced it a bit. The way you do when the shoe you love only comes in a size seven and a half.

I also loved hearing this:

I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlour, drinking milk shakes cold and long
Smiling and waving and looking so fine, don't think
You knew you were in this song
And it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there
Your face, your race, the way that you talk
I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk

Good God, I can't believe how amazing his voice sounded. Granted, the Wiltern is nearly the best possible place to see live music in these parts, but he just sounded amazing. I remember admiring him so much a couple of years ago after seeing the first installment of Sound + Vision at the Museum of Television and Radio, and I saw him acutely for the musician and performer he was, not just the baffling sex object I had known him to be and the singer of so many great songs. A really great musician. An instrumentalist and songwriter. In addition to having that rare gift for self-promotion and stirring the froth of the masses. But I was still asking myself, "Do I think he's hot because he's a guy or do I think he's hot because he's a girl? And does it matter?" It was a pleasure to be so unsure.

In the aftermath at Pink's, the younger server smiled at me and said, "You've been here before, right?" I said, yes, and he said, "I remembered you because of your beautiful face." And that was a very nice thing to hear. When I was leaving, he said, "See you tomorrow!" Which wasn't so nice to hear. I mean, I haven't been there since last summer. He makes it sound as if I'm a regular there with polish dogs coming out of my pockets. Hang my picture up if you want to, but don't make the people in line think I'm a fatso. I might need their votes someday. This isn't true. I'm not running for anything. My friend Scott Wiener is though. If you're registered in the 13th Assembly District in San Francisco, you should vote for him. I can vouch for the fact that he is a good egg. A good egg with progressive ideas and an admirable record. And a rather slapdash web site put together for him by me.

So looking over this post, it occurs to me that David Bowie sang with John Lennon, and then he died. And he sang with Freddie Mercury, and then he died. And he sang with Bing Crosby, and then he died. I think the lesson here is don't sing with David Bowie. You might die. Did Gandhi ever sing with David Bowie? The fact that we're not sure only gives weight to my hypothesis.

Don't sing with him. But do listen to him. And often. Some of the songs on this new Reality album are quite wonderful. And see him live if you can. I don't like to buy into this whole once-in-a-lifetime-chance poppycock, but then, in a way, everything you do is just for that moment. It's all once in a lifetime. So even if you've seen David Bowie before, see him again, for this once. Your lifetime will be better for it. And you will have a better contextual basis for appreciating what I have written.

On the lesser topic of me, I have a combination of a bunch of pictures to post and a lazy, uninterested lack of desire to post them. This duel will shake out eventually, but the winner cannot be foretold. Not even by the elves, whose prescience was shoddy at best on the whole topic of the quest claiming Frodo's life and all. You will never see all of the pictures. And at times I wonder if I'm doing you any great favor by letting you see any of them. Until this matter has been basted with more time and distraction and something other than displeasure over the look on my face, enjoy these words. They are worth more than a thousand pictures, I assure you.

I am also at long last effecting my revival (read: rip-off) of Ray Johnson and the New York Correspondence School. I don't expect it to go anywhere or turn into anything, but friends of mine have already begun receiving letters and artwork and oddities by way of the mails. And if anything I send out is someday worth a bundle on account of my tragic death, I will only be too pleased. In the absence of that promise, I have just been enjoying writing by hand and putting stickers on envelopes and anticipating the surprise and delight of the acquaintances for whom I have mailing addresses. If you have a mailing address and would like to receive my "art" at it, you can send it to me. I don't promise you will get anything. But I don't guarantee you won't.

Also, I enjoy remembering Douglas Adams.

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     Feb 3, 2004

The Public Opines

I was listening to NPR on Sunday, on the way from my writing workshop to a party in Santa Monica, and a piece was being done about the inertia of American public opinion. How -- despite factual revelations to the contrary -- a staggering percentage of the polled still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the World Trade Center attacks and assorted other lies propagated by the current administration, even after those lies have been rescinded by the liars who first spoke them. The point of the discussion was why it is that Americans hear a poltician say something and then can't seem to expunge it from their thinking, even after it has been contradicted or debunked by reputable sources in the news media. And this isn't the first time in history this thought-centered immobility has been extant. American support for our involvement in Vietnam took more than two years to wane, regardless of what was being reported. It wasn't until the Tet Offensive that the tide of public opinion turned. It's frightening and further highlights the onerous responsibility on the shoulders of those to whom fame and power have given an audible voice. Stop lying, you liars. People are believing you and it is making the world a shithole.

I had so many potentially astute and eloquent comments to make on this subject, but that was days ago, and I have lost the inspired tendrils. That happens to me all the time. More often recently than ever before. The muse whispers and I bat her away, opting instead for painting or reading or a bath or a drink. Anything but the cogent assembly of thoughts and ideas I am convinced no one really wants to hear.

Later that night, on Loveline, Adam scolded a young woman for liking a guy who was bad news saying, "The only thing that could make that guy worse is if he had crabs in his eyebrows." I laughed and laughed.


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     Jun 10, 2003

What I Need and What I Don't no particular order...

a break
the doom and gloom
another drink
a new look
a new outlook
steady hands
a reason
an excuse
an audience
arms to fall back into
a cushion just in case
more Adam Sandler
more closet space
a massage
girl power
cargo room
a nickname
a singing voice
running shoes
headache pills
something to look forward to

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     Jun 2, 2003

Barn Dance & Hay Ride

My day was stress-speckled, but I think I managed to set things right. I went shopping for fresh produce and meat, and I made myself a lovely dinner -- something I often lament not making the time to do. There's something about eating prepared foods bought in a store that makes me feel unloved. Also? The lyrics to that song Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? by Bryan Adams and Michael Kamen from the Don Juan de Marco soundtrack indicate that no one has ever really loved me. Isn't that a shame? These are some of the reasons it's important for me to make my own dinner. In addition to the fact that I should enjoy it now while I can -- I don't think they let you handle cutlery when you're locked up in the booby hatch.

I saw Henriette Mantel at Whole Foods. She looked like she had just had her nails done.

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     Jan 2, 2003

"Eternal life thanks to science!"

Adam referred me to the Raelians. He knows how I'm always searching for answers. I am particularly curious about a religion/philosophy that displays such pervasive and skillful use of feather GIFs.


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     Nov 9, 2002

"Meary can not live alone. She feels lonely everytime."

My friend Adam pointed me in the direction of this fascinating new weirdness. And whaddya know -- it's from Japan!

I miss living in Japan. I miss discovering this sort of strange genius everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I miss finding clever and ridiculous marketing tactics employed to promote urinal cakes. Nothing is too small or too embarrassing or too misunderstood. I just bought a package of sweet rice squares called "Rice Pop" today. The slogan on the package reads, "Natural style of deliciousness." I readily admit that I bought the package for the slogan and not for the contents. I'm not at all hungry.

I would like to go back to Japan now that I know what I've been missing. I know I will appreciate it all more and differently. My actual experience in Japan involved a lot of drinking and poetry-writing and strip poker and Night Ranger and debate practice and yearbook deadlines and frustration over not being able to find shoes in my size. I would be much more attuned to the miracle that is the culture over there if I had to pay for my own plane ticket. And if I had to leave in oh, say, a week. And if I didn't have to go to high school while I was there.

Americans like to put stickers on things, too. But I wonder if they are as adept at promoting a sense of mythical community and false belonging as the Japanese. I wonder indeed.

Here's the best part:

"Meary can not live alone. She feels lonely everytime. ...She is the mirror which projects your feeling...Meary has a which she makes a friend all over the world. If someone points at your Meary and ask you what it is, please tell him that it is a name of 'Meary,' and divide a little of your Meary into the man."

A to the men, my brothers.


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     May 25, 2002

"He's the dancing version of Nunzio."

We had to leave Amagi's before I got to sing my Salt N' Pepa groove, but I wasn't entirely disappointed. I sang and danced and laughed and wished I hadn't let anyone make me dinner. And my throat is a bit raw from screaming out AC/DC and Ramones tunes. It's a good kind of raw.

I've been finding lots of reasons to bare my shoulders. It's nice to not always want to cover up. Summer is coming. God, how it's coming. Summer isn't my favorite month. I think I love the late autumn most of all. "Present Laughter weather," as I've been known to call it. But summer holds some sparkle for me, too. Maybe I will spend more time at the beach this year. Maybe I will drink frozen lemonade on a boardwalk somewhere. Although, I'm always disappointed by frozen lemonade. It's never as refreshing as it promises to be -- as it wants you to BELIEVE it will be. It's too sweet or too sour or too frothed up and deceptively unhydrating. Maybe I'll pass on the brainfreeze-mongers and opt instead for a cool glass of iced tea, with ice cubes tinkling against the glass and droplets of condensation pooling up just above where my fingers are placed. But who am I kidding. No one serves iced tea in glass on the beach. And ice cubes make no sound against the innards of a waxed paper cup.

While we're on the subject of seasons, I miss cherry blossom season in Japan. I remember taking my 35 mm camera out to a park near the city we lived in and snapping black and white photographs of young, be-backpacked Japanese school children jumping in the air trying to catch the cherry blossom petals as they came floating down from the sky like soft, pink snow. My friend Spencer and I took an afternoon trip to Ueno and went to the museum and sighed in front of Van Goghs and Renoirs and any number of other works. And we bought these colorful, sugary spherules -- these hard candies that were so perfect to have on that day. Later, when I knew I would be seeing Spencer during a visit to a university in Virginia, I brought him a bag of those candies. I had carried them with me from Japan nearly a year hence. I wonder if he ever ate them.

Cherry blossom season is also the time of year when Beulah would come home from the bon odori with a goldfish in a plastic bag and other assorted carnival nonsense. Sometimes, I wish I had been a child in Japan. Sometimes I feel as if I got there too late. Arriving as a teenager prevented me from seeking out wonder and instead left me pleased at the ease with which underaged folk can acquire alcohol. A waste. Truly.

Adam passed the bar! And I was the one to retrieve his results for him. How proud I was! I took a screen shot of the notice and emailed it to him. It was a nice moment to share. I will ply him with sushi and shower him with praise. Ever since he was mistaken for my little brother at the Risley dining hall, I have felt a certain maternal care for him. He's older than I am, but he's cute as a button. Literally. (I always say, "Literally," after I say that Adam is cute as a button. It's become a necessary lyric.) And I'm hopelessly maternal as it is. I'm just always on the lookout for a new charge. I probably didn't seem maternal to Adam on the day he first met me. We were driving a sedan to Syracuse for a debate tournament, and I had a bit of a sore throat, so I was carrying on breathlessly -- as I do -- and taking little two-second breaks to pump Sucrets analgesic throat spray into my mouth. Adam thought I was insane. Literally. I was dressed all in yellow that day. That's something I remember.

Last year, this holiday weekend was pretty eventful. I'm back in juxtaposition mode, consarn it. Anniversaries are only meaningful when you observe them. Otherwise, they're just days on the calendar. Right?


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     Apr 3, 2002

Keep your dirty brain off me!

My officemate is playing the Ode to Joy on her computer. It's sort of a bit of heaven, once removed. They're at the "steht vor Gott" bit. I remember singing that part. It was a challenge. But being on that stage was one of the most exhilarating things I ever experienced. And I carry the sense memory of it with me always. Every replaying of the glorious Ninth transports me. Sets my synapses firing and my brain chemistry aflow.

I'm a bit caffeinated at the moment. And plaguing Adam with the clip-clopping of the little horses on my keyboard. And I'm wondering if it ever gets better than this. And it occurs to me that that is a very adolescent and self-involved thing to be thinking. I recall being a starry-eyed youth with plans of changing the world. I gave money to Greenpeace when I could barely afford to buy my own lunch. And I was often tempted to buy myself one of those children Sally Struthers was selling. But the world didn't change much on my watch. And then I got very busy. Now, I just fill my head with rules about how to buy good seafood and an inventory of my belongings for handy reference. I don't think there is a category for that in the Nobel Prize.

I'm cold and hot at once. But it's dark outside and I can take this up with the fates later in the evening.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen! Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!


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     Mar 12, 2002

They change the art at Max's constantly!

I was paid a number of fine compliments tonight. "Atoms move more quickly around you." And then in response to my statement that I'm not from L.A.: "You're so not from any city." I'm fond of a compliment at any hour of the day, but these were particularly memorable.

And a pair of friendly fellows admired my hair and asked me if my lovers get tangled up in it, and I laughed and said I'm just amused by this notion of a world in which I have this mess of lovers to contend with. They laughed, too. I would have liked to talk with them at length. I'm sure of it. A guy in the elevator at my office tonight also commented on the length of my hair, but I didn't get the sense that I would have enjoyed talking with him at all.

What else. They finally fixed the air conditioning vent in my office. I am looking forward to being able to wear tops with sleeves on them again. Alex and I had a fine exchange about Middle Earth. I discovered that he eats scary kinds of cheeses and that we both would like to live in The Shire. Although I would rather be an elf than a hobbit. I just like the idea of having a round door. And we are both keen on second breakfast.

People wait outside of Cafe Largo and press their ears to the glass to hear what's going on inside when the comedy show is sold out. I have never seen such an absurd thing.

I made Adam laugh when I told him the made-up anecdote I told about Jo in the limo at the bachelorette party. That's always gratifying.

And when I was driving down Fairfax on my way home, I saw a man working on the road with a lit blowtorch waving around in the air as I drove past. It was strangely beautiful, and I promised myself I would remember it.

The unburningest log in the world still sits -- half-charred -- in my fireplace.

I wish I had eaten a hamburger tonight. Instead I had eggs.


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     Dec 12, 2001
I got a strange email from a web site admirer, who described himself as "long in the tooth." Adam said, "Oh, my God. That's even an old person's way of saying, 'I'm old.'" That was hilarious.


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