Aug 16, 2006

Like the man said, "Nothing lasts forever."

Every time Deep Space Nine ends, I feel as if I've ended a small life of my own. Every time I hear Vic Fontaine sing The Way You Look Tonight, I feel like I'm saying goodbye all over again. To something that was never quite in my grasp. It all ended in a blaze of white light six years ago. And now it just ends and ends and ends. For some reason, I never feel such attachment to the beginnings.

This has been a difficult and painful week for me. Challenges and cares floating on a raft of small successes and hopes. I have cocooned myself away. I have slept nearly not at all. I have rubbed my eyes a lot. Blown my nose a lot. Felt like I'd been run over by a truck. Wished the truck had stopped to cart away some of my belongings before driving off.

This month -- this week -- is filled with many anniversaries. Many birthdays. I am marking the milestones the way you measure distance on a map. With fingers swiveling, itsy bitsy spider-style. An inch is a hundred miles. A year is a lifetime.

I am sorry for not holding on more tightly. I am sorry for many things.

That man loves me. Couldn't you see it? It was written all over his back.


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:35 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Aug 1, 2006

Beisuboru or "I was hoping for that reaction."

I know no one wants to hear how much I love Deep Space Nine, but I can't shut up about it. And season 7 is airing on Spike TV these days, so I'm watching my two episodes a day and being sent into a familiar reverie of anguish and delight. The "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" episode is on right now, and Sisko, having been challenged by the smarmy Captain Solok of the Starship Tecumbra (a ship with an all-Vulcan crew), tells his senior staff that he has accepted Solok's challenge to "a contest of courage, teamwork, and sacrifice" on their behalf. Worf's stoic reply, "We will destroy them," is priceless to me.

I used to date a rabid Yankees fan, and I loved playing in the orchestra for Damn Yankees. Adding in this television program, I think I might actually be a bona fide baseball nut. I even have Dodger Dogs in my fridge.

Nana Visitor also looks hot in her practice duds. Maybe that's all American baseball needs to catch my permanent fancy: Bajorans.


Then Nog doesn't know what to do when the runner doesn't touch home plate, and Worf yells, "Find him and kill him!" Ah, if only.

Second Epilogue

And then they are trying to give Rom batting signals, and he says, "What?" Who knew heaven could happen on a baseball diamond?


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:18 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     May 3, 2006

Master at Arms

I'll say one thing for Jean-Luc Picard. He doesn't have to be physically held back by his crew as frequently as James T. Kirk. What a hothead that guy is. At least once per film, he's being restrained by two or more crew members, lest he do the thing that will jeopardize the safety of himself, his crew, his ship, or the universe. You'd think a guy who made it to admiral would have begun learning to suss things out when emotions run high. But then, I guess that's maybe why he lost his admiralship and ended up a mere captain again. Even though that's what he actually wanted. Maybe he just likes having his crew manhandle him. After all, it never takes that much effort to hold him back. And I've seen people who are making a fuss and have to be restrained. They may not break free, but they usually manage to mess their own hair up a little at least. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, McCoy and Spock hold him back as the Decker Unit gives himself up to V'ger for the sake of Earth, but he's really just standing there protesting verbally. I suspect posturing. He never liked the Decker Unit anyway.

I often revert to my Star Trek vexations after coming across suspiciously human. It's my way of reminding you that I'm really just a cartoon character. Or it's how I throw you off the scent. I expect pursuit to be greatly depressed by a whiff of my Federation-issue pheromones. Back off, curious. It takes effort to make it to the grave alone.


posted by Mary Forrest at 1:03 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Apr 29, 2006

Finger Foods

I accompanied Kevin to a screening of two shorts being hosted by the company he is about to begin working for. One was an animated Indiana Jones-y thing that was very cute and had no dialogue at all. The other was Most, a lovely and sad little film, mainly in Czech, written by two guys, one of whose names was immediately familiar to me. I told Kevin he's the guy who played Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid, the mean blond boy and star pupil of the Cobra Kai dojo. I don't think Kevin believed me. But it turns out I was right.

After the screening and a small reception, we went to the Cat and Fiddle where Jeff met up with us, and we gabbed and drank and avoided befriendment from the guy to our left who obviously wished his companion had as much to say about Star Trek and bathroom etiquette as we did. To be fair to Jeff, Kevin and I were the only ones talking about Star Trek. But we are defined by the company we keep.

I've had difficulty getting past the gloom. Seeing sad movies sometimes makes me think that it is necessary and appropriate. That things aren't as beautiful when they are perfect and pretty. I am more likely to take a picture of something broken or smashed or chipped than of something brand new and untouched. I like the desolation of abandoned buildings. I like to picture how things used to be or how they might have been.

My body is sore from many gymnasium visits. My teeth are tired from gritting. I think working in an office promotes nostalgic episodes in me, because I am more inclined to listen to music and be reminded of things. And yet, there is nearly no sensory input that doesn't have the potential to send me off into a reverie. I am so busy remembering I wonder if I'm ever really here.


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     Apr 7, 2006

A Crinkle in Time

I stayed home from work today. Woke up with a piercingly painful sore throat. So I decided to work from my couch. Out of concern for my co-workers. With the consumption of copious amounts of water and tea, I actually feel fine now. Fine enough to watch my pair of Deep Space Nine episodes, which happened to be the final episode of the series. It still makes something in me flutter. It still makes me tear up a little. It still makes me yearn for the lingering tendrils of nostalgia that once made remembering both wonderful and horrible. That final shot of Jake and the station is so lonely. The theme music, too. I long for a world of wide open spaces.

The future is a place you go by yourself. What you find there; there are no guarantees.

And the further you get from the origins of nostalgia, the more varied strata of other things stack up between you and the thing, and suddenly your memory isn't of the thing anymore but of your last memory of remembering the thing. I've talked about this before. Even this is an observation once removed.

I used to make popcorn and chicken sandwiches late at night. I never liked the scent they left on me. But it mattered less then.


posted by Mary Forrest at 1:52 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Mar 26, 2006

As Good As It Was

I drove to San Diego yesterday to perform in some comedy shows. I also stopped over at Sarah's for Paul's birthday party, where some fun was had. We even went to The Lamplighter because Sarah wanted me and Beulah to sing karaoke. And I ended up on the stage alone. I sang "Rosanna." Then I left. And I really think The Lamplighter is a shitty bar. I always have. I always will.

I had to rush over to the comedy theater to play the late show and our monthly midnight show, in which I am allowed to say words more representative of the words that actually come out of my mouth when talking than one might be able to tell from watching the regular PG-13 show. The midnight show is a fun excursion. We don't do the short-form games of which I grow so bored. We do long-formy stuff, and we get to be more creative with edits. And none of this is entertaining to talk about. I had a fun enough time, despite some disappointments. And I drove home in the rain in the wee hours, listening to a very old playlist on my iPod that sent me into a strange reverie. Strange and painless. I was almost trying to force myself to feel nostalgic and wistful. It's like I miss all that heartache. Like I don't know how to want things in the absence of being denied them. This all ended in getting into bed at the hateful hour of five a.m., where I was neither sad nor happy and where I was so tired I couldn't sleep. So I read a Star Trek novel for a while and then forced myself to turn off the light and be quiet and still.

Who cares.

Now, I'm working again. And As Good As It Gets is on the television, and Audrey is my little Verdell, and I can't believe Helen Hunt won an Oscar for this movie. The movie itself is still reasonably enjoyable to watch, but Helen Hunt's performance didn't wow me the first time I saw it, and none of the letters in "wow" are in my feelings about her performance today. I much prefer her in that educational film where she takes PCP and jumps out a window.

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     Feb 22, 2006

"Apologize to THEM."

Oh, it's sunny and brisk here in Jobville today. Yesterday, the day the city was founded, was surprisingly windy and cold, despite the sunshine and cloudlessness. The wind provoked comment from nearly everyone. Especially in the elevator.

Sharing a parking garage with a middling shopping center offering Starbuck's, Borders, Nordstrom Rack, and a waffle place, Jobville is more convenient than Formerjobtown. And far more pleasant, despite the absence of a fancy pants Miele espresso machine in the kitchen. I'm surprised that no one has noticed or commented on my LCARS screen saver yet. In a way, an aspirational nerd like me is protected by the relative unknownness of the things she likes. If there isn't a picture of Captain Kirk on it, most people don't know Star Trek from Beatrix Potter. Soon enough, I'm sure everyone will learn the many unfortunate facts about me that first impressions obscure. Beginning with my clumsiness, my addiction to Super Text Twist, and my fear of using the phone system.


posted by Mary Forrest at 10:35 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Feb 8, 2006

Are you shopping for me?

How sweet of you.

Here are some of the things I like:

Full Metal Alchemist
Paranoia Agent

Herman Miller Aeron Chair
Star Trek
Star Trek Deep Space Nine

Izawa/Hijikata Puppet Story Books
Marilyn Monroe
Duran Duran
Photo albums
Art supplies
Ernie and Bert
Lenticular images
Art supplies
Film scores
Mel Torme
Bing Crosby
Moleskine notebooks
Winnie the Pooh
Paris (by Yves Saint Laurent)
Things from Japan

Here are some things I have:

PlayStation 2
Laserdisc player
Record player
DVD player
DVD burner
Most commercially available DVDs
Reel to reel
Lomo LC-A
Canon A-1
Canon SD500
A Kodak Disk camera
Sony DSC-V1
Gym membership
Queen bed
A full set of Cutco knives (even the cheese serving tools)
A tape gun

Here are some things I used to collect (but no longer do):

Sewing patterns

Here are some things I don't like at all:

Cannabis candy
Must Love Dogs
Old lady perfume
Old lady jeans
Old lady underwear
Nutrition bars
Hershey's chocolate
Blue cheese
Shoes that have been worn before

Word of caution? I am hard to shop for. When in doubt, opt for consumables. I far prefer things that can be used up, if only because I have no more space to keep the things that can't be. And don't worry. If I really like you and you give me something that I use up, I'll probably keep the package.

P.S. My birthday isn't coming up right away or anything. I was just thinking is all.


posted by Mary Forrest at 3:07 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jan 30, 2006

Sensory Explosion

Star Trek III and a hot pepper.
"How soon is now."
Pon farr. The seven year itch.
The needs of the many. The needs of the one.
When Kirk's voice catches in his throat as he delivers Spock's eulogy.

I did a bit of stand-up tonight. It was less time than I thought it would be, and it was over before I knew it, but it was not so very painful, and that is something.

I was in workshop in the Andy Dick Theatre at I.O. West the other night and Andy Dick walked in. With Dino Stamatopoulos and some other guy whose name I don't know. We were close to the end, but it was still a weird interruption. Andy offered to "work out" with us. Craig Cackowski maintained a placid silence during the brief but bizarre little episode. It was surreal and awesome.

Yen took me to see Of Montreal at the Ex Plex, and it was wonderful. Afterwards, at Chip Pope's dance party, I was waiting outside, because Yen and her pals were coming to meet me, and I know M Bar is hard to find if you haven't been there before, and Willie Garson -- the guy who played that guy on Sex and the City bummed a cigarette off me. He made a to do about the fancy type of cigarettes I had. They're Dunhill Lights.

Last night, I appeared with the Winchester Preparatory Sketch Academy at the UCB Theatre. I donned a short, dark wig and glasses and a school-girlish outfit to portray one of five Asian girls who were poisoned by lemonade and died in front of the stage in a dogpile. I'm pretty sure my skirt flipped up when I fell over dead. I hope the people in the front row didn't bother to notice my shame.

Bryn and Kerri gave me another box of porn for Christmas. Martín borrowed some of it for his "friend at work." I walked him home with Audrey tonight, and we went inside, because Audrey loves to run on his wall-to-wall carpet. And he put in a disc, which I think was Black on Black 7, and it started with an image of a flag waving in the wind and the words "In memory of 9/11/01" superimposed and then promptly went into the fucking. I laughed myself dizzy.

I like Thai food.

I'm going to play Pac-Man World 2 on my PS2 now. I keep dying in Canyon Country, or whatever it's called. I also like bases ball, Martín. But I think I got it right, and you got it wrong. We can fight it out Dance Dance Revolution-style.

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     Jan 17, 2006

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil.

I've been reading Rilke -- and just so it doesn't sound like I'm trying to come over all bookish, I've just finished a trilogy of Star Trek novels by William Shatner and a trilogy of Deep Space Nine novels by the people who always write the books with William Shatner -- and having that experience of epiphany that makes me admit and lament that I could not exist in a vacuum. I am independent in many ways. But there is this craving in me to commune over ideas. When you're reading all night and it's six a.m., the urge to call someone and wax sophomoric over something you've read is easy enough to suppress. That's what blogs are for, I suppose. That's why I jot down quotations and pilfer authored phrases and song lyrics to label and spur on my writing. Something in me wants to capture that instant when I experienced a flash of meaning. Something in me wonders if such things can be shared. Even with the most ample and exhaustive descriptions, I often feel as if the exploring mind is a doom of sorts. A curse. I don't know if you can share a realization. I imagine many people read what I read but don't think what I think about it or feel what I feel. Even in something as seemingly empirical as language, there is the beast of nuance. And I hear every word through the filter of the whole of my experience. Each song that plays is performed by an orchestra of memory. And I am sad when it occurs to me that no one else has ever heard that orchestra. And that is why I clutch at the connections that exist within some shared experience. That is why I treasure the mingling of histories. If only to be able to look at another person and say, "Remember that time?" and have them say, "Oh, yes."

I have been reading and thinking a lot about time travel. Both in fiction and physics. I have been trying to make sense of the various paradoxes and trying to vet the logic in it. And occasionally I drift off into those flights of fancy wherein I have the power to choose such things. Would I change my past? Choose my future? Split off into a veiny mess of alternate timelines? Would I be clever enough to fix it? Or strong enough to leave it be? Bound by science. Neck-deep in fantasy. I never know which end is up. And there are times I can't tell if I am awake or dreaming.

I have been reading humor and history. Philosophy. Psychology. And I have been underlining things on the pages of books I don't plan to resell. I am in the middle of eight things at once. And I am always careful to carry a pencil.


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

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     Jan 13, 2006

Just a perfect day.

I started the morning out by panicking and thinking I'd left my camera at The Standard. I hadn't. But I didn't confirm that until I'd called Sarah and the hotel and then found it in my car. I was going to charge my battery for a few minutes before Jeff arrived, but then my camera was not in my bag. Disaster. I can't imagine going to Disneyland without a camera. I can't imagine going without at least two. Luckily, I wasn't forced to find out what that would have been like. And truthfully, I have plenty of other cameras I could bring. I was more upset over the prospect of losing all the photos I took the night before and the night before that. And also at the prospect of having to admit that I lose one camera a year in a bar setting.

Jeff arrived with coffee for me, and we headed to Disneyland where the line at the tram pick-up was long, but it was misrepresentative of the population in the park. It's as if everyone who was there showed up at the parking lot at exactly the same time we did. But then no one else came. Making it perfect.

The weather was lovely. We easily got reservations at the Blue Bayou. We never required the use of a Fast Pass. The longest we had to wait for any attraction was twenty minutes for that new Monsters, Inc., thing (which was monumentally disappointing, by the way), and that's just because it was brand new. We just breezed in and out of the things we wanted to see and do. And it was gorgeous and sunny the whole time. And it was the best Disneyland sales pitch I've ever been able to give to someone considering upgrading the passport I just bought them to an annual pass. Well done, Disneyland. We make quite a team.

I bought the photo that was taken of us on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. For some reason, even though I've totally been on that ride before and knew what was coming and even took pictures of myself mid-fall the last time I was on it, I was really sent for a loop this time. I involuntarily screamed words like "shit" even with children nearby. And I found myself pounding on my knees in a weird way, like I was trying to keep myself from freaking out. I was sort of laughing as I was screaming. I wasn't having a panic attack. If anything, I was amused and completely disarmed by how bizarre and uncontrollable my reaction was. Anyway, the picture the Disney cameras took shows me with my hands covering my mouth and Jeff looking at me like we're having a normal conversation. Maybe I've just accidentally shared something that should have been secret. It's not the best thrill ride photo I've ever been in, but it was worth buying if only because it's completely different from any other that has been taken of me. Plus, I have a premium pass now and I get a discount. So the value is inarguable. Once I get my desktop problems squared away and can start conveniently playing with my scanner again, I will post it. But it won't be that big a deal.

While we were in line for that Monsters, Inc., thing, there was a little girl being held by her Spanish-speaking mother, crying in the onomatopoeitic, "Wah! Wah! Wah!" way. It was like she had learned crying from a cartoon made in the forties. She eventually shut up. But not because of anything her mother did. That girl was one of a few notable cases of children making noises as if reading them from the pages of a comic book in which the noises need to be written as words. I wonder what causes that.

Jeff and I even rode the Disneyland Railroad, which I seldom bother to do. That's what's nice about going to Disneyland with someone who doesn't go very often. Even the boring stuff has awesomeness in it. And, of course, I made Jeff go on everything that I love the most. Including my beloved Winnie the Pooh ride. And Soarin' Over California and California Screamin' (I don't remember if they use those apostrophes or not, but it seems like every attraction in Disney's California Adventure is trying to be folksy in that way). It's a Small World was closed, which is a disappointment I don't care for. But that was the only misfire. We got lollipops at the candy store in Critter Country. Jeff learned how good those chocolate-covered pretzels are. I still didn't have any ice cream. And I didn't even look for turkey legs. And in the end, well-placed coffee purchases kept our spirits from flagging. And I never even required the support of the whiskey I was carrying in my purse. I guess not having to wait in line makes it a much less tiring day.

We drove back up to The Standard to meet Sarah and Paul and Arnold. Then we left almost immediately to go to Magnolia, which used to be Bar 66. I went to a party at Bar 66 back in late 2003. I think it was the birthday of my friend Hillary's friend Anna. Or maybe it was Hugo's birthday. I can't remember. I just remember that it was a party, and Hillary was wearing the pink Jem wig she had worn to the Halloween party we had gone to only a week or two earlier. It seemed like a hard rock kind of bar with a hardcore kind of crowd. And there was a patio in the back that people smoked on. A rickety wooden landing atop some uncertain looking stairs. When Sarah gave me the address, I realized I had been there, but I never would have recognized it. Now it's a very fancy-looking bar and restaurant with an outside dining area back there and nearly no evidence of leather pants or studded belts. The food was good and the service was friendly. And Sarah and Paul shared the Mint Chip Ice Cream Sandwich after dinner, and that was something to behold. They wanted to go to Shelter, and I absolutely did not. So we went next door to The Bowery and had a drink, and then we went our separate ways, and Jeff drove me home, where Audrey and I continued our love affair and where I had work to do.

My throat was feeling scratchy, so I heated up some chicken broth. Then I read a few chapters of a Star Trek novel with On Her Majesty's Secret Service on at very low volume. The fact that James Bond falls in love and gets married in that one makes it seem somehow more sad and sentimental to me. It doesn't take much.

I sometimes feel as if I no longer have beautiful things to say. It pains and frustrates me. There was a time when my words might surprise me. There was a time when I might be pleased with the places my typing might take me. But I fall into these phases of list-making and traveloguing, and I wonder what the point of writing is if all one writes is where one goes on a night of the week. I want to write something lovely. Or something clever. Or something funny. But it isn't always as easy as that. I long for the times when it's precisely that easy. But I am in a state of longing for things more often than not.

In the end, I didn't take very many pictures at Disneyland. So many of the pictures I would have taken are pictures I've taken before. I was looking for something different. Something magical. And for a moment, I felt like congratulating myself for exercising standards from time to time. Quality. Quantity. They almost sound the same. And yet.

Oh, it's such a perfect day. I'm glad I spent it with you.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 8:50 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jan 4, 2006

A Gripe

I sure do miss having better reasons to be up this late. I take care of my clients. I entertain my IM buddies. I accommodate my dog. I meet my deadlines. And all the while I search for meaning and reward and so often come up emptyhanded. I bite my tongue -- I stop my fingers -- when I think of typing out lists of druthers and missings and longed-fors. It serves no purpose.

And I would so much rather be reading a Star Trek novel in the bathtub.


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     Dec 19, 2005

What You Leave Behind

I've been doing a lot of reorganizing. I got my apartment halfway tidy, and then I decided to just redo it all. At the moment, that means, most of my books are in stacks on the floor. It's coming along, but I couldn't have anyone over right now without having to waste their time with a lot of apologies and explanations.

In the process, I've been finding things I'd forgotten. And sifting through things I'd put away with the express intention of sparing myself having to look at them again. Time. Wound-healer. Some of those things I was actually able to take out of the box and re-introduce into circulation. Some of the sting is gone. An ache gone dull ages ago but never tested. I went looking for a few books. One because I sold it on Amazon and now need to pack it up and ship it to someone. The other just because it occurred to me that I know I own this book, but I can't seem to find it. I wasn't able to find either. The one I've sold is a tragedy, because that's twenty dollars I will have to refund. The other one is less of a big deal. I just ordered another copy. But it still nags at me. I know I own that book. I know it. I just can't figure out where I might have tucked it away, whether for self-preservation or for space-saving.

That book, the less of a big deal one, is a Star Trek novel. A Deep Space Nine novel, to be more exact. When I went online to rebuy it, I found that there is a novelization of the final episode of the series called What You Leave Behind. And just seeing the title made me think again of that show and how devoted I was to watching it every Sunday night. And how sad it made me to watch that final episode and to see the disposition of everyone's lives. He ends up with her. He ends up alone. He'll come back someday. She'll wait for him. It's what made graduations sad. The diaspora everyone embarks on. Not always in opposite directions but never on exactly the same path.

I watch Deep Space Nine on television a lot these days, so it has lost some of its rarity. There was a time when a DS9 marathon would thrill me right to my Tivo. Or when I applauded the various networks who carried an episode a week in some late night time slot. Spike TV has spoiled me. But it doesn't make me any less grateful when I get to see those several episodes I really love. I sometimes feel as if I just keep living my life over the same few points, hitting the same notes each time I pass them. Reliving. Sometimes the nostalgia is welcome. Sometimes less so. I've been able to be less sentimental at times. I've been able to steel myself against the habit of remembering. I've been able to adjust the lens a little and see things more accurately. But it doesn't change that event of transportation I experience. Being thrown into a sense memory.

I haven't left enough behind. I carry far too much with me. You should see me trying to get on a plane.

But maybe some of the colors are fading. Some of the candy coating has grown moth-eaten and dull. I'm learning that you don't have to keep a stock of everything on hand. You can get new things when you need them. You might have to leave the house, but it can be done.

It's not just the stuff with me. I can get rid of the stuff. It's the memory of the stuff and the getting of the stuff and the use of the stuff. I was folding up some shopping bags, and I found a store receipt. It was from Counterpoint, that used book and record store on Franklin. And it was from April of 2003, and I remember exactly when I was there who I was with and what I was wearing and what I bought. I remember every tick of it. I had the same thing happen with a Jack in the Box receipt I found on the floor of my car once. Receipts are like the Dead Zone for me. I pick them up and it's like having a psychic interlude. I guess I can't complain. Some people can't remember a thing. Maybe that's its own curse. But then when people get Alzheimer's, it's the people who aren't sick that suffer the most. The person who is sick lives in the bliss of not knowing that anything else has ever happened. And the people who love them grieve and wish that they could just remember that time they danced together or that meal they shared when it was raining. I feel like that's me. Struggling to reawaken some form of awareness in my senile dementia-ravaged surroundings. I'm the keeper of the history. But no one wants to hear the stories anymore. And a friend of mine just invited me to join a knitting circle. Clearly, I'm one hundred years old.


posted by Mary Forrest at 3:33 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Dec 14, 2005

Questions for Science

Does the inner monologue of a retarded person sound like a retarded person? Or does it just sound that way when it comes out? Does a retarded person think in the voice of William F. Buckley and then it just comes out sounding like a cartoon character? Or are there just as many appearances of the consonant "d" in his head voice? The voice in my head sometimes sounds autistic. And sometimes it sounds like my mother. But it never ever sounds like the voice on my outgoing message.

Does air travel make you older? Or do flight attendants just need to use more moisturizer?

How much popcorn is it safe to eat?

Does Christmas matter?

Should I dye my hair darker?

Can Two and a Half Men give me cancer? It sure feels like it could.

Do bugs know how much I hate them?

Is having a dream as foolish as it sounds?

Will the future be anything at all like Star Trek? Please?


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     Dec 2, 2005

Favoritism and Checklist

Double down. Organ favorites. "If you want it to be good, it's extra." Cut corn. Hot bathwater. Fresh air. Goosebumps. Excellent service. Plans. Sneakers. Pancake breakfast at Disneyland. Housecleaning. The light at the end of the tunnel. Fulfillment of obligation. World's Softest Socks. Space Battleship Yamato. Steak au poivre. Neckrub. Sweet doggy love. Victory. Soft drinks in glass bottles. Happy family pictures. Concert encores. Violin strings. White nail polish. Milk chocolate frosting. Avoiding disaster. An economical meal. Arcade sounds. Eggs. Someone to lean on. Strawberry ice cream. Calling one hundred dollars "a bill." Star Trek novels. Making fried rice. Distraction. Specific kinds of pornography. Robots. Stargazing. "Welcome, swingers. Pull up a groove and get fabulous." It's December. Can you believe it?


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     Nov 15, 2005

Item 2: Rosy Cheeks. Obviously.

I've been working for twenty hours straight now. Well, I took a 45-minute nap at 3 A.M., but I've been going the rest of the time. So it's no surprise that I just hit my head on the door of my freezer so hard that my jaw was rattled by it. Nor will it be surprising tomorrow, when I can't remember or figure out why there is a sore spot on the top of my head. I am a disaster.

I gave up on televised happenstance at about 5 A.M., and I finally put some of my DVDs to use. A Guide for the Married Man. Tommy Boy (the Holy Schnike Edition). Mary Poppins (the 40th Anniversary Edition). And then I watched something else I can't remember. And then it was time for the Star Trek rounds. Pretty soon, the James Bond marathons will be running their circuit. I don't like being reminded how many hours on end I spend at my computer with my television chattering in the background, but then, I can't get enough of James Bond.

If only I could be sleeping right now. What wonders that might do for my occasionally cheery disposition. It's so easy to forget myself otherwise.

And now my finger hurts. The finger I cut like a sandwich a month or two ago. Maybe it's going to rain.


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So you think you can love me and leave me to die.

It's midnight and there is a fog on my street that makes it look like my imagined version of Merry Old England. I've been working from the moment I woke up. I haven't even had time to have a shower. Or to go running as I'd planned. I took a short break to make some chicken curry and some peas. And then I got back to work. And I ignored the phone calls from Jessie that would have told me she was coming over to check on me because she was worried about me. Lord love her for caring enough about me to not allow me to self-destruct the way I am prone to. She knocked on my door, and I momentarily considered not answering it. But that's only because I didn't know it was her and didn't fancy a visit from the creepy guy across the street who intends to marry me despite the fact that he will have to kill me first. Fortunately, I took a chance and opened the door, and Jessie came in and sat with me for a while, and listened to me talk (and cry just a little bit) and blow things out of proportion and trivialize them in the same breath. And never once did she let on that she is tired of me or my mountain range of bullshit. And then I heated up a bite-size portion of chicken curry and rice for her, and she said "yum."

So Jessie just left, and I took Audrey out for a walk, and that's when I noticed the fog. It's nearly white outside. And bright. It's the middle of the night, but it looks like early morning. It looks like daytime. Everything is wrong about it.

Yesterday, Sarah and Paul took me to see Robert Wells at the Civic Theatre in San Diego. I would have stayed in San Diego a smidge longer, but I had so much work to do, and switching computers has left me occasionally up the storied waters of Shit Creek. I end up far from home realizing I don't have the software I need or the files I thought were on the hard drive. Without fail. It's hard to plan for things. It's hard to pack for trips. It's hard to be prepared for everything that happens. I, for one, nearly never feel prepared, though I'm certain I give the impression that I've always got it together. And I certainly carry most of the right things in my handbag. But to be truthful, much of the time -- most of the time -- I am at a loss. I feel out of place and uncertain. Nervous, awkward. When Martín and I were at Disneyland last week, I heard it in my voice. The sound of that silly little girl in my voice. The one with nerves all a-jangle. Maybe I don't let my voice take on that cast as often anymore. Maybe it's because I am so seldom in the comfortable bosom of enduring friendship. Instead, I'm so often playing at being this version of me that even I've gotten used to. And I detest playing the role so much that I think I've shut down. And maybe that's why I never want to answer my phone anymore. Maybe that's why I don't know what to say.

In addition to a fine rendition of the beloved Bohemian Rhapsody, the musicians at the Robert Wells concert (who included Ruben Studdard, and he didn't appear to have lost any weight, but he sang like an angel -- a big fat angel) also came out for an encore that was a medley of ABBA hits. Of course, I sang along. The man to my left was wearing a tuxedo. He did not sing along. And he also did not seem to be able to remember to clap on the twos and fours.

I worked all day, through episode after episode of Little House on the Prairie and then Star Treks Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation. They were all episodes I remembered. Even the Little House ones. And I haven't watched that show since childhood. It was the two episodes with Jason Bateman when he and his sister lose their parents and then end up being adopted by the Ingalls family after being temporarily adopted by a really mean family and then by a bear trap. Deep Space Nine is in the season seven portion of its rotation. One of the episodes today was the one where Sobor is disgusted by Kai Winn's carrying on with Anjohl (who is actually Dukat in disguise). Kai Winn sends him away one morning, and he asks what she will be doing, and she says something that isn't "making out with Anjohl," and then Anjohl comes in, ever the lothario, and Sobor says wryly, "I see." I remember how much it made me laugh when I first saw this episode back in its original airing. I laughed again today. And then I thought (wryly) how disappointing it is to have to find all of my pleasure in the memory of it. Among the three Next Generation episodes today was The Inner Light, one of my favorites and the origin of that pretty pretty flute melody that I used to listen to on this CD when I worked at Protein Polymer Technologies. I listened to it over and over. Mostly to that flute theme and then to the music from The Trouble with Tribbles. The days seemed endless back then. I listened to this CD a lot during those days, too. So pretty. All those variations on La Folia. Something I like to play on my violin a lot. I played one of Corelli's variations at the Governor's Mansion in Guam. Later, that governor killed himself. Like a few years later. Not "later that night." I don't think it was my fault, but you never know. Everything seems to find its way back to everything else. At one point I eventually started listening to this CD. Which serves to remind me that there was once a time when I only had a CD player that could play a single disc at a time. And now I have in iPod. And my control of the music I listen to is much more masterful, but all the music I listen to still seems to mean the same thing it used to.

And yet it doesn't. Driving home from San Diego, I played songs that mean certain things to me. Songs that have meant 2002 or that trip to San Francisco or updating my web site in the winter. And I could barely pay attention to them long enough to remember how they used to make me feel. I remember what they used to remind me of. I remember being made to feel things by listening to them. But now, for some reason...well, it all just seems blank now. I seem to have cauterized all of my nerve-endings. I just can't feel a thing.

Cold and hot. Something tingly? Everything is...strange. My measurement devices don't seem to work. I'm even tired of taking pictures.

Nothing really matters. Nothing really matters to me.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 12:52 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Oct 30, 2005

I think about this loveless fascination.

A tempest of driving and concertgoing. Beulah took me to see Beck on Thursday night. I drove down to San Diego and then, for a number of reasons, drove back up to L.A. later that night. This is an exhausting choice, for the record. Also for the record, Beck was wonderful. But I hate the crowds that Rimac draws. And I am beginning to hate concertgoers as a category. Perhaps even including me.

Saturday afternoon, after a long, long Friday and too little sleep and a nostalgic resurrection of Jane Fonda's Workout Challenge, I scrambled to get my Halloween gear a-bundled. I even made a trip to the wandering Halloween superstore down the street from where I live. But it was a disappointment. It's like a Party City outlet. With fewer costumes than a regular Party City. And fewer mylar balloons. A couple of years ago, on a very hot Saturday, I visited a Halloween superstore in City of Industry I think. It was not a super experience, but it was indeed a superstore. Those overheated, un-air-conditioned warehouses remind me of Guam. On the Navy bases, "Toyland" is a seasonal location. A place that is for some portion of the year and then is no more. Much like these Halloween superstores. And Brigadoon. Toyland would have its grand opening in the fall. And then it would stay open until Christmas. And then it would go away. The grand opening had balloons and hot dogs. And it was a hot, sweaty, complaint-inducing disaster. I remember waiting out in the hot sun for what seemed like weeks. I remember wanting a Lite Brite. And a pink Huffy bicycle. I got both. These warehouses would be hot with large industrial fans blowing. Cement floors and the smell of cardboard boxes. Pallet jacks and personnel wearing trusses.

Anyway, the Halloween store on South La Cienega was a complete waste of time. But it did sort of smell like the Toyland I remember. Only I got nothing that I wanted and someone glared at me in the parking lot.

Hell Bent for Leather

All that done, I packed up and drove down to San Diego again. Beulah took me to see Anthrax and Judas Priest. We encountered the enemy of a good time in the form of a blonde squirt in a Staff Pro jersey with a military haircut and an overexuberant love for the rules. But Rob Halford is indeed a Metal God. Still. He is also a man who owns a stunning number of coats.

When I arrived in San Diego, I realized that I had forgotten one of my bags. This happens to me frequently. It is maddening. The bag I left this time had all my shoes in it and a number of crucial cosmetic items if I am to wear any of the costumes I might be able to cobble together out of the portion of my wardrobe I brought down (all of it). When I did this in December with orchestra shows to play, I ended up having to do a number of shopping errands and spending hundreds of dollars trying to replace the items I already own but hadn't been smart enough to bring. This time, being between projects and just generally fearful about whether I will taste poverty again before we set the clocks forward, I didn't want to have to try and re-buy all these things I already own. So after the concert and after a brief visit to Brians', I left Beulah and sped up to L.A., grabbed my bag, changed into something warmer, and then sped back down. That's three trips in one day. And five trips in three days. That's nuts. On the way back down, Highway Patrol was running a traffic break to allow for time to clean up what looked like it had been a nasty smash-up. Once I got past it, I revved back up to nearly 100 mph, I being not one to believe in portents. I was tired, though. And I could completely imagine driving into a wall or another car. I'm just glad I didn't.

The Final Frontier

I brought my iPod with me on the trip back. The trip up had been somewhat lacking in entertaining songfare. I was glad I did. Having the right soundtrack makes all the difference. When I hit that no man's land stretch of the 5 between San Juan Capistrano and Oceanside, I was nearly alone on the road. The only thing to look at were the white reflectors (people in the industry call them "bot dots" -- and by "the industry," I mean the traffic safety industry, not the entertainment industry; I have no idea what James Cameron calls them) on the highway, speeding past me like in Night Driver, a game I always preferred to Pole Position. One of the (good) tracks from Star Trek First Contact came up in the shuffle, and I had a gruesomely geeky swell of elation and I could sort of pretend I was navigating my Honda through outer space, the reflectors looking much like the stars do when one pretends to travel faster than the speed of light. I dream of having that far to go.

Efficiency Expert

I took something like 1300 photos at Lucha Va Voom on Wednesday. 728 of them are posted on my flickr account. Eventually, some portion of them will find their way onto the roundup page. But for now, if you were to want to see them, you could go here. This all reminds me of how much I continue to fall behind in the words I plan to write, the pictures I plan to post, and the promises I plan to make good on. Such reminders make me frown.

This is your eighth grade gym teacher Mr. Baumann.

I reset the clock in my car while I was driving and it became 2 a.m. for the second time. The other clocks are networked and reset themselves. I'm glad for the extra hour. Perhaps it will help me to not miss the four or five hours I wasted in unnecessary back and forth, or at least to miss them less.


posted by Mary Forrest at 4:14 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Oct 14, 2005

Your Day of Days

On this day, you will find the sky the perfect blue, the air the perfect sweet. Your hair will have that little swoop in it and effortlessly. Your shoes will fit better than they have ever fit. You will want to run in them. Your toothbrush will taste like candy. You will not require a decongestant. You will find a tender note from a former love in a book you had never intended to read. You will get a phone call from someone who just wants you to know that you're great. Your favorite Star Trek episode will be airing as you get dressed, and it it will end just as you are walking out the door. You will discover an action figure that looks very much like you. And is not one of the ones kids hate. You will suddenly have need of your blender and be glad you've had one all this time. Your cellular telephone will work perfectly. You will find an article of clothing you once adored but had since forgotten you owned. It will take you back. You will be delighted by the newspaper headlines. You will be pleased with other people's driving. Your skin will be perfect. You will have lobster sandwiches for lunch and prime rib for dinner. And you will get just enough of both but not so much that you feel bad about it. You will walk in to a mirrored elevator car and love the way you look. Bypassers will stop you on the street to pay you a compliment. You will enjoy something at the movies. You will find joy in the simplest of things. You will hear that something terrible happened to someone who wronged you. You will realize that you are so over it that you are able to feel bad for them. You will not accidentally watch anything bad on television. Each drag of your cigarette will taste like your favorite food. Something precious you lost will be found and returned to you. You will laugh for all the right reasons. You will revel unselfconsciously. Everyone in the room will wish to know you. That poem you wrote will be published in The New Yorker. You will be busy with important and fulfilling things. You will remember your favorite days, and they will pale in comparison.


posted by Mary Forrest at 1:01 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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     Aug 19, 2005

Things that have been important to me.

In no particular order.

Notebook paper. Duran Duran. Violet Crumble. Shoestring potatoes. Egg custard. Paper clips. Names of characters in stories I have not yet written. Picture-taking. Bust support. Accomplished drinking. Perfect rice. Organized hosiery. Freesia. Chamomile soap that doesn't get made anymore. Big Top Pee-wee. Soundtrack albums. Long distance plans. Allergy remedies. Ive League education. Speech and debate. Air hockey. Swimming. Haircut. Hourglass figure. Strappy shoes. Frequent flyer miles. Diet Dr. Pepper. Hydration. Pedicure. Competitive sports (just kidding). Making the perfect bolognese sauce. Turtleneck. Blue mascara. Approval. Callbacks. Pantry space. High thread count sheets. That guy. Mendelssohn. Low-waisted jeans. Knee boots. That other guy. Black and white. Winning. Tongue-twisters. Superlatives. Correctness. Cuteness. Eraser collection. Fractal patterns. Books I've lost. Marilyn Monroe. Lined clothing. Silk. Mark Rothko. Japan. Dignity. Handel's Messiah. Soprano. Deep Space Nine. Salt and vinegar. Ballroom dancing. Perception of neurosis. ABBA. Spelling bee. Pedal pushers. Green. Juicy Fruit. Danny Kaye. Good side. Pork chops with cream sauce and mushrooms. Anodized cookware. Stovetop popcorn. Running. Stress urinary incontinence. Etymology. French. Christmas. Violin. Balance Bars. Arranciata. Campari soda. Whiskey. Mid-century modern. Simpatico. Phrasing. Sleep. Preparation. The Girl Can't Help It. Sebastian Shpritz Forte. Chicken fried rice. Olives. Stringed instruments. Memorization. Completiong. Jigsaw puzzles. Phyllo dough. Elephants. Late night dog walking. Ephemera. Binaries. Hard drive space. Bragging rights. Apple. Starvation. Sense memory. Certain sitcoms I'm embarrassed to list.


posted by Mary Forrest at 4:56 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jun 16, 2005


ABBA's Two for the Price of One came up in my iPod randomize-a-ma-tron, and I was sorry to be sitting in an office with earphones on. Oh, how the world would hear me singing along if there weren't such a thing as shame.

We felt the earthquake a couple of hours ago more pronouncedly than I think I have yet felt a quake in California. I actually thought someone was jogging my chair to get my attention. Then I realized the open beam and suspended architecture were all swaying and lurching. And the lamppost whose neck I can see out the front window was quavering like a weed in the wind. A lot of people in the office cried out when it happened. And then the loud murmur began. Everyone has a story to tell of a quake they've been in. And if they haven't, they can tell the story of how they've never been in a quake before. Talk talk talk. And then eventually we lose interest and go back to what we're doing. I was on the phone with one of my co-workers when it happened. We said the mandatory four or five sentences you have to say when that happens. And then we got back to business. What a resilient bunch of creatures we are. You feel fear when it's happening, and that fear comes from the anticipation -- I assume -- of injury. But once you escape unscathed, you forget that you were ever at risk. Maybe that's naive. Maybe it's pragmatic. The first people to fly on a commercial airplane after September 11 must have had to negotiate this territory. And if you play the odds at all, you know that it's far less likely to happen to you anyway. Not right after it already happened to someone else. Your brain spins through all of this in a split second. And then you realize you are a little hungry. You're not sure what you want. Maybe something sweet this time.

I miss watching Star Trek episodes while working from my couch. But I also love that I package my days differently. I'm not allowing myself nearly enough time to rest or recover. I took Tom to Ruth's Chris last night as a belated celebration of his birthday (which was in February), and we ate like bloody kings, he with his scotch and I with my whiskey, the both of us with our wine. And then we talked till the hours reverted to the wee state, and I shook my head, because I had begun the day yesterday in such a taxed and tardy state. After workshop, a few of my chums and I went to Birds, and I drank what was probably too much whiskey and for what was definitely too many hours. And I woke up very late and had to scramble to get dressed and to the office for a 9 a.m. meeting. Which I managed to arrive in time for, but not in the most put-together condition. Although, my assumption is that no one I work with was any the wiser. Except maybe Brad*. The day was packed from beginning to end, so when I headed home, I was already planning my Red Bull strike and a shower and lazy outfit choices. So anyway I do this nearly every night now. The price of a day job, I suppose. No real complaints. Just concerns about what part of my motor functions I will lose when I finally do have that stroke I'm expecting. I had a great big coffee and then a great big espresso and then a great big iced coffee. And a few pistachios. If I had to put money on it, I'd guess it will be some of my speech and the use of the right side of my face. But I'm open to your thoughts on this.

Do you think Stephen Merritt is a brilliant and stupefying genius like I do? If not, put this in your stupid pipe and smoke it: I should have forgotten you long ago, but you're in every song I know...I haven't seen you in ages, but it's not as bleak as it seems. We still dance on whirling stages in my Busby Berkeley dreams. I guess you feel pretty dumb right now. As well you should.

Earthquakes appear to make me unnecessarily combative.

*This time it was absolutely because you're reading.


posted by Mary Forrest at 4:17 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jun 4, 2005


I don't like a lot of anime. But I love Fullmetal Alchemist.

If I am eating a steak, and I realize I just got a mouthful of fat, I sometimes think twice before spitting it out.

I don't care for Angelina Jolie. I just don't see what all the fuss is about.

There are many things in my apartment that are lost to me.

For the rest of my life, I will always believe that Mozart really looked like Tom Hulce.

My heart races when I see police cars.

Chocolate-covered pretzels from Disneyland are easily more important to me than god or the bible.

I don't mind traffic. I like sitting in the car for long periods of time. And I also get motion sick. Even sometimes when I'm at the wheel.

I take a lot of pictures of myself, and I don't entirely know what the point is. It's sort of a project for me. But when people inquire about it or imply that I'm narcissistic or that there is something wrong with me or that they are concerned for my safety, it nags at me and I feel myself wanting their approval. Every criticism I face has the potential of changing me forever.

I still really wish dinosaurs were real.

Sometimes I think someone is not attractive at first, and then I realize that they are.

I compare myself to everyone. I don't like that I do it. But I do it constantly.

Things that used to make me cry or hurt don't always make me cry or hurt anymore. And then sometimes they still do.

I love comic books.

Part of me believes that the future really will be like Star Trek. And I can't decide which color of uniform I would most like to wear when I get there.

If harps have ladies' faces carved into them, I will always suspect them of singing.

I would rather be cold than hot. I am almost always both.

I get embarrassed easily. I am embarrassed almost all the time.

I am bonkers for my dog.

I used to think Sylvester Stallone was awesome. When I saw First Blood, I told people he was my favorite actor. I also once found a piece of notepaper with "I love David Hasselhoff" written on it, where the word "love" was actually a little heart. And I don't have any recollection of writing it, but it's totally in my handwriting. And I remember when Sarah and I watched the first episode of Knight Rider that Sarah said the guy who was the original Michael Knight was really cute, but I don't remember what he looked like at all. And I have never ever thought David Hasselhoff was cute, but apparently I loved him once. That scene with the close-up of his back and feet in the Spongebob movie almost made me barf. That's how much I don't remember ever having loved him.

I once got a detention for making fun of a kid with a broken arm.

I fantasize about reading.

I have been able to go out and have a good time without drinking. I don't like that this is true.

Sometimes I want to dance. And sometimes I don't want to. But I never want to dance when someone tells me to.

I believe I can fly.

I give a hoot. But sometimes I still pollute.

Given enough time, I will grow to hate anything I have created or performed. Sometimes, given enough additional time, I will come back around.

I don't like the taste of milk.

I always want to touch things you're not supposed to touch. And I am often tempted to poke at soft things in grocery stores. Like that crazy old lady in Tampopo.

I am irritated by the implausible cinematic representation of most computer interfaces. They are usually absolute bollocks.

I wish I had had braces as a girl. Partially because I have crooked lower teeth and partially because girls with braces were always so popular.

Very few things remain my favorite for long.

When I get angry, I cry.

It is easy as fuck to ruin my day.

I am always capable of identifying the worst case scenario.

I stopped eating onions and garlic because I was in a play wherein I had to both kiss someone and talk angrily at him at close range. That was almost nine years ago, and I am still in the habit of avoiding them. Sometimes I take consideration to apparent extremes.

I really, really, really try to be prepared for anything. It's very frustrating when I fail.

I want to be perfect. Every day is a failure.

I used to think I was a lot more awesome than I think I am now. I suspect that's what growing up is.

I am tired of waiting for Simon and Simon to come out on DVD.

I used to have a book of fractal patterns that I would color in with markers.

I want to understand the mysteries of the universe. And I have a lot of opinions about quantum gravity. I was a physics major at one time. And I liked it.

Routine is hard on me.

I spent the night in a bus station in Boston once. And I had many adventures.

I once got it on in a Burger King bathroom. (And it was in no way an homage to the Humpty Dance. That guy's nose was ridiculous.)

I am afraid of stairs and steep inclines.

I love it when something I say goes over.

I hate it when I'm the last to know.

I am more afraid of humiliation than of physical injury.

When I was in grade school, we gifted and talented kids got to go to this day camp for a week, where we learned about nature and conservation and animals and stuff. And each day, there was a mystery item in a box that you were supposed to stick your hand into and guess what was in it. And I could never bring myself to do it. I was so horrified at the idea that there would be a living creature in it or that it would be something that felt too disgusting to bear. So I never once entered the guessing contest. It always turned out to be like an empty tortoise shell or the molted skin of a snake. And I was always glad to have not touched it.

I lost my virginity to a Def Leppard song.

I have gotten away with a lot of things on the basis of my reputation.

I remember things the way I first experienced them. No matter how many times the experiences recur.

I think my father passed his pyromaniac gene on to me. My mom gave me the gene for loving noodles.

I don't like that there is a name for the madonna-whore complex.

I am growing more and more tired all the time.

This could be a much, much longer list.

I pretend I don't care, but I do.


posted by Mary Forrest at 1:11 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jun 1, 2005

Business Card

So, I'm starting a new job on Monday. I just sort of fell into it, and it's nice having a new exciting thing to let my brain harp on. Nicer still to have an additional paycheck to deposit. Although I'm sure there is the risk of becoming overwhelmed and quickly. I had a brand strategy meeting today, and it was awesome going through that process again. I think I used the word "avatar" a couple of times too many. I'm no dot com bullshit artist. Really. But I sure know how to sound like one. If inadvertently.

This is an interesting, entertainment industry-type gig, and I've been hired on account of my apparently being dialed into the pop culture scene. Me? Who knew? I'm flattered. And already thinking of ways to turn my nightlife into a tax deduction.

I will be consulting, but I will be doing it on site in Beverly Hills. And to be truthful, I am even looking forward to having to be in an office again. Despite having a meeting to get to this morning, I stayed out plenty late last night, going to workshop, meeting Mig and Melanie at The Burgundy Room and then taking them over to Cinespace for drinks and a groovy bass line. Even stopping by Canter's on the way home to buy some chicken soup. As I was climbing into bed a little before five a.m., I felt triumphant in my certainty that having a day job again for a while isn't going to curtail any of my nocturnal shenanigans. I also noticed that the clock/radio beside my bed is still a few hours off. There was a power outage a few months ago, and I never bothered to set it. Which says something about how often I feel the need to rouse myself with an alarm. So, I may have to set that clock. And I may have to try and be sensible about sleeping, but I'm going to fight the sensible part. I'm going to fight it like some people claim to fight colds. I shake my fist at bedtime. The only real scheduling issue this new job will present involves having to walk my dog. And that will be an even bigger problem if I end up having to go to New York next week.

Really, though, even when I first moved here and had a day job and was often required to be at my desk long into the night, I nearly never said no to a night out. And I nearly never went to bed before the wee hours. There's evidence of that in blog entries of old. I like to behave as if I don't need the normal sustenance of other living creatures. I like to pretend I don't need food or rest or drink that is not booze. It's not true, of course. Despite all my chatter, I do eat, and I do sleep, and I do hydrate. I just try to do all those things when no one is looking and hopefully when none of it can be proved. I don't know if it's an innate rebellion against authority, but I fight nature every step of the way. You tell me I have to breathe, but I'm always thinking there must be a way around it. You have no idea how much I've tried to prove you wrong.

I guess I'm more forlorn at the idea of not being able to watch Star Trek all day while I'm working. And not being able to go hang out at LACMA while the sun's up. But I don't know. Maybe I will find something adventurous and unusual and else. Maybe my desk will be haunted or something. I always buy too many calendars. So, at very least, I will be able to get some use out of one of the ones I never decellophaned from Christmastime. Probably the Raoul Dufy one. And the Edward Gorey desk calendar. And maybe I'll drink a lot more coffee. And maybe I will find a sandwich shop I like. Or a sushi place. Or maybe I will break into an impromptu rendition of that song from Annie. And maybe I will get fired right after that.


posted by Mary Forrest at 1:12 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Mar 27, 2005

"I can't go on denying the world my extra-greatness."

I have fallen extraordinarily behind in my written upkeep. Sure, I have excuses. Passable ones, even. But it occurs to me that just buckling down and writing something is better than all the notetaking in the world. And where notetaking is concerned, there has been a mountain of it lately.

My car is totaled. I will have to buy a new one. I'm not happy about it. I'm not sure how everything will resolve itself. This one drunk driver is costing me so much in money and time and effort and angst. Not to mention the persisting symptoms of nerve damage. I have not had to wear a neck brace or anything, but I have also not had my MRI yet. That should be an adventure. I don't think I'm claustrophobic, but when the orthopedic surgeon's nurse asked if I was, it gave me pause. I'm curious what it will be like to be conveyed into the belly of a big robot like that. I have a feeling it will be even more embarrassing than X-ray photography.

I was also asked if I have any metal in my body. And I was slightly disappointed to have to report that I do not.

I still think about headlights coming at me from time to time. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm going to cry when I talk about it. And the occasional conversation with a friend will remind me that if I had eaten it that night, it's likely that many people would never have found out. They don't know enough of my close friends or family. It wouldn't make the news. There would be no blog updates. Just silence. I imagine a few people would assume I just turned into a rude bitch. All uppity and too good for them. Well, Los Angeles has a way.

I think I will be catching up in bursts rather than in one gigantic post. I have a lot of headline ideas to exploit.

This post began as a draft weeks ago. When I felt it necessary to note that "Move Along Home" is really one of the gayest episodes of Deep Space Nine. It's a shame. I guess they can't all be gold. But still. And I don't know why, but Tri-Ominos is a funny reference. Without fail.

Like I said. They can't all be gold.


posted by Mary Forrest at 1:19 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Mar 6, 2005

in order to prevent the passions from showing

These are harmless excerpts from emails to friends. I find I write more that is worth saving these days when I am writing to someone actual and not just to the fish in the sea or to the back of my hand. I have written a great deal in the past few days, but not all of it has found its way onto anyone's eyeballs. This is my way of making that not be true.

Of course I missed hearing from you. Sometimes my life is like a prison -- self-imposed though my consecration to it may be. And the voices from the outside that find their way to me are glimpses of freedom. All the better if they have interesting and eloquent things to say. Most of them just want computer help.

I have been writing lengthy letters when it was called for. And it reminded me of how much I missed our early correspondence. People like you bring out the try in me. And it leads to more of the do. And sometimes some of the sentences are worth saving. Especially the ones with clumsy
Star Wars and Star Trek references in them.

The stirring is just to occupy the silences. The contemplative, suggestive, downcast-eyes, French-movie silences. I will buy you an espresso and a coffee. One to drink. One to stir. Or it can be a glass of water, if you like. With a spoon in it.

Recently it does seem that I catch myself watching from outside my head and I feel as if I am careening out of control. Babbling on when I should just breathe deeply and be serene and mysterious. When I hear myself thinking, "I have only myself to blame," I also realize that maybe I prefer it that way. I'm Encyclopedia Brown over here, twenty-four seven. My brain never shuts up. And I'm always frustrated that the answers aren't in the back of the book.

And whenever I try to be less than a hopeless romantic, I find that I don't know how to handle myself. I can feign callousness in certain venues. I can pretend to be above it. And I can move on and get past things. But the failures live on in the museum of my mind, and I am never able to close the door on them, because closure is not a real part of human existence, and that is a cruel fucking truth.

So when things don't keep to that pattern, I get confused. And I worry that the noodles will not come out right in the end. And I should be more flexible, because I know more than anyone that you can skip the package directions and still come up with something edible. I do it all the time. Because I am lazy when it comes to reading in general, and I eschew reading directions in particular because I am arrogant and certain that I have no need of them. And because I rebel against authority. Even in written form. I would put postage stamps on the wrong parts of letters if I didn't believe it would hamper the delivery of my very important correspondence and payments.

I'm drifting out here. And I don't know if I even truly want to correct that. I almost think that the drifting is fine. And maybe even better. Maybe the point is that I can't keep wasting so much effort and energy and emotion and analysis. I wonder how productive I might be if I wasn't so busy trying to steer ships at the bottom of the ocean. For someone who is tempted to eat food out of the trashcan rather than see it go to waste, I sure do throw away a lot of perfectly good time.

And if I were to tell you all these things in my real voice with my hands tugging at the longest parts of my hair and my feet fidgeting under a bar table, you'd probably notice that I'm smiling when I say it, and that even my most abysmal moments are usually assessed wryly and with whatever humor I can muster, however sardonic. I laugh a lot when I talk. I really do. And it isn't always a sham when I do it. Sometimes, surely. But not always.

I'm fairly certain that, given the right circumstances my previous boyfriends would describe me as someone good and kind and generous and worthy. As long as it didn't make them look bad to admit those things. I'm pretty sure that's how they see me. I was a good egg. But it's the fact that those assessments are paramount that is so flawed. I am living my life for the report card I generate. And then all I want to do is sit and stare at the grades. Moving forward is difficult for me. I ruminate like crazy.

When things are obvious, they are exactly that.

That Churchill fellow was on
Real Time with Bill Maher tonight, and he really did not get his point across at all. He did however mention Hannah Arendt once. And I felt slightly pleased that I know who she is and what he was referring to. But, shit, he could have gotten what he was saying from the first three pages of the book. What a cheater. It wasn't really a very good episode of the show, frankly. Even though Dave Foley was a guest and Janet Reno. They were both good, but Bernadine Healy makes me want to see how long she can stay underwater with my hands around her throat. She's just one of those simpering false ones who wants to kindly disagree, and because she's being nice, you feel bad about having to say, "Woman, you're full of shit." But she's totally full of shit. And someone should say so. Dave Foley's mention of our nation's clandestine policy of extraordinary rendition prompted me to finish reading an article in The New Yorker about it that I had recently begun. I liked him for having done his homework. And for doing a great take when Bill asked if he believes in reincarnation.

I'm competitive when I shouldn't be. Like, ever since the first time I saw Marion Ravenwood outdrink that fellow in
Raiders of the Lost Ark (I want to call him a sherpa because of the setting, but he was clearly like Yugoslavian or something), I've thought to myself, "I could do that."

To Catch a Thief is on. I suppose it's a Cary Grant week or something. And, yes, I adore Charade. As much for Walter Matthau as for Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. She's wonderful to me. Even when she's not great. I just find her so lovely and naive and girlish. Paris When It Sizzles makes me want to write. And Sabrina makes me want to have my heart broken in New York.

What I often learn when I do go back and find and reread old books I used to read is that they are shockingly smaller and shorter than I recall. Pamphlets, really. Barely worth dog-earing if you don't finish them in one sitting. The Mary Poppins books had this effect on me. I was like, "That's it? Crap." But I'm still glad to have them. Just disappointed in their girth. Maybe the Disney people added all those songs just to fill the thing out a bit, huh?

Mary, what a jerk

Today is my mother's birthday. I will drive down to San Diego and celebrate it with her, and then I will return to see what manner of cake I can bake. I feel as if I have been swimming in sameness. Organ-grinding. Pushing buttons on an old defunct console. It will get better. It will get glorious. And then it will get back to whatever it was. I can't complain too mightily about the baseline. It is never as bad as it could be and seldom as bad as it seems. I'm not saying that I'm all sunshine and paper hats. I'm just saying that I'm still able to feel it when my teeth have been pressing too hard against each other, and that means I am still capable of telling when to stop biting down.

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     Mar 2, 2005

"Saying goodbye. Why is it sad?"

The final episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine aired today on SpikeTV. I watch the two episodes of DS9, and sometimes the subsequent two episodes of STTNG, when I'm at home working. I often opt to have things on the television that are familiar enough that I don't feel tempted to pay too much attention to them but also pleasing to me in some way. Star Trek is perfect for this.

The season 7 episodes of DS9 have been airing in order, and that has created the mounting sense of everything coming to an end for weeks now. I watched these episodes in their original airing in 2000, keeping my Sunday nights free or setting my VCR accordingly. And I remember watching this episode -- this ending -- and feeling my eyes well up and my skin tingle. Just like now. Even the memory of endings is painful. The absence of hope that things will continue. Being left to create your own imaginary narrative. If you believe the characters live on somewhere. If you want to believe that.

I'm always saying goodbye. Always leaving. Always having to let go of everything familiar. Even if we're just talking about skin cells. This whole (accursed) existence is just a series of short bursts of connection that eventually come to an end. Paths cross and uncross. Jobs end. Students matriculate. I even feel sad when I get to the last page of a book. I don't tell myself that I would like for anything to last forever, but I secretly wish for the possibility that anything might. And living in the absence of all that I would want to pull in close and embrace is exactly what I like the least about growing up. How does everyone maintain such an unstooped posture in the face of all that draws you back. I feel it so mightily, I can barely stand up at times.

What a liar the passage of time makes of me. All the promises I've made. I will always this. I will never that. This will be true forever. My track record is spotty with such offerings. They were not all pie-crust promises. But they were all eventually broken. Or will be. I don't know how such things came so easily.

I have this episode on a VHS tape somewhere. It aired just a couple of months before I invested in a TiVo. But I don't watch it. And, though I have the entire series on DVD, I have shied away from watching season 7. Because I was sure that it would be too vigorous a tugging on those old dumb strings. But I'm glad to have seen it today. Even today.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


posted by Mary Forrest at 1:11 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Feb 18, 2005

For the heart is an organ of fire.

Watching The English Patient makes me feel all forlorn and romantic. And it comes at the end of an agonizingly busy week of work that could only be trudged through despite my inclination to race.

When I'm working, the television is my only companion. The television and the dog, who persistently wants to be in my lap, even if that means climbing all over my keyboard. I watch program after program. Some as part of a routine. Like the four-hour Star Trek block on Spike TV every day from 11 to 3. Then whatever movie I can stand to have on in the background while I toil, in some cases even with my back to the screen. I gave a chance to Frankenstein Unbound, but I shouldn't have. It wasn't even amusingly cheeseball. Just cheeseball. Although mixing time travel with horror and great works of Western literature is appealing at least in concept. And I am a fan of John Hurt. And even of Roger Corman in this respect. But this movie did not move me. And I changed the channel an hour or so in, finding The English Patient early enough in its presentation that I had not yet missed the music cues that mean so much to me. The ones that remind me of quiet nights alone in a big house taking bubble baths by candlelight with this soundtrack playing in a room closeby. I was full of contemplation and poetry and hope and eager expectation back then. And, though I did not always measure it at the time, I was often met with disappointment. And disappointment is a staple color in my coloring book. More frequently called for than "Nude" or "Burnt Sienna" or "Sky Blue" or "Marigold." So much so that, after watching James Michener's Hawaii while working the night through earlier in the week, I was prompted to close a bit of correspondence with, "Mary, 'everything in these latitudes is a...disappointment'" -- a line uttered by Richard Harris, who was wearing too much eyeshadow (a common problem in his filmography) but was still dashing and earnest and brash and unforgiving and in love with Julie Andrews, like everyone always is.

K is for Katherine. That's my middle name.

I've watched -- or at least sat through -- a lot of movies in the past week while working as much as 21 hours a day. My brain is a bit custard-like at the moment, and I can't enumerate them all in a cogent list. But I know I saw a few that I had planned to get around to seeing eventually and plenty that I had no intention of ever seeing. I noticed that Har Mar Superstar is in Starsky & Hutch and that Chris Penn looks so fat and blustery and red-in-the-face in that movie that he worries me. I also noticed that I am not wrong when I say that I am tired of Ben Stiller. Especially when he manages to find an excuse to do a ridiculous dance routine in nearly every film he makes. He looks like he really works out for a movie, but then he also looks like he works very hard at looking simian. So, he's a guy who get things done is my point. But I still don't ever find him funny. And I wish that the performers I do find funny would stop putting him in their movies.

I caught a little bit of Alex and Emma, too, and that was a bad idea. I opted to switch over to Mom and Dad Save the World. Because it is a far better movie. No matter how many times I've seen it, and no matter how bad it actually is.

It might be because I grew up largely overseas with very little English-speaking television to watch and limited selection at the cinema, leading to my watching whatever we had on videotape over and over again. Maybe that's why I don't mind watching films I like repeatedly. Even when there's plenty of other things on that I've not yet seen. Even when I have a teetering stack of unopened DVDs that I could easily choose to begin viewing. The only reason I don't do that as often is that I don't give my full attention to the television when I'm working, so I actually prefer to have things on that I've seen before. So's I don't miss anything.

I don't even know why I'm talking about this. I'm done with my work for now and I'm ready for whatever weekend I can manage. Whatever I might have scraped out of the inside of my brain can wait. I like the nightlife, baby.

Swoon. I'll catch you.


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

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     Feb 17, 2005

Danger Danger

Just as I am confirming that I was right about John Paragon being in the "Prodigal Daughter" episode of Deep Space Nine, the "Frame of Mind" episode of The Next Generation comes on. I haven't seen this one in a long time. And it's one of the reasons I sickened at the sight of Riker for many years. Jonathan Frakes didn't win me over until First Contact. And even though I still think it's gross when there's some sort of innuendo in the dialogue that wants to make me picture him doing it, I don't hate him anymore. I just can't get over the idea that he was ever intended to be the formulaic surrogate for the Kirk archetype. As if. What actor has ever spent more onscreen time sucking it in? Well, other than Shatner, maybe. But he was way cuter.

I shouldn't be paying attention anyway. Nor should I be emailing friends. Or researching cast lists on But that's what happens when I have a mountain of work to do and shoes on with very poor traction. I slept for two hours. I'm tired. No scientist is likely going to want to write a paper about this fact. There are plenty of real mysteries to solve. Like the sudden popularity of vanilla.

Vanilla sure is chic these days. Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Vanilla Frosted Wheat Thins. Any number of candles and scented room sprays. I like the idea of vanilla more than I like the actual presence of it. I'm one of those people who doesn't really think that Diet Dr. Pepper needed to be improved. Nor do I think that Wheat Thins are meant to be a dessert. I don't mind that these product lines are burgeoning. I just don't want to wake up one day and find that products I already like have been phased out by their vanilla-enhanced counterparts. This is a favor the marketing world need not do me. But it always happens. Especially with my preferred brand of mascara. Which necessarily must change every year or two as the one I choose invariably gets discontinued. My eyelashes are not evolving at all. Who needs all this improvement.

It's almost amusing to me the bald ways I choose to procrastinate.


posted by Mary Forrest at 1:00 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Feb 16, 2005

Beulah is right.

About many things. But most recently about the fact that there always seems to be some sort of James Bond marathon on. And I'm glad about that. I think a previous post of mine may have conveyed an erroneous sentiment of displeasure on my part, but I should correct that by saying that I adore the James Bond franchise, and I will watch any and all of it whenever any and/or all of it is on the air. I was just noting that the things that are wrong with the movies are part of their charm, but I may not have bounced back and announced that the things that are wrong with them are not numerous and are largely invisible to anyone who enjoys a good time at the cinema. I have to be careful not to become a complete stick-in-the-mud at the movies. I never cared, growing up, whether things were all that believable. I just liked not being stuck in a room in Guam, listening to the air-conditioning and watching dustmotes floating through beams of sunlight. Whatever was on was fine. I loved movies like Superfuzz, because that's what was at the theater on the Navy base. I was starving to suspend my disbelief. And I need to be reverent of that when I watch these films today. Maybe it's the ruination of so many of my beloved stories that makes me a cranky nitpicker. But not everyone is George Lucas or Brannon Braga. And not every movie is meant to look real.

I was watching Trekkies 2 tonight with my friend Steve, and I had to admit on a number of occasions that the philosophies of the documentary subjects were sometimes totally congruous with my own. One guy said something to the effect of, Even when the episodes are bad, you love to watch them. And I turned to Steve and said, "That's true, actually. Even when they're bad, I love them." That is true for me of Star Trek, and it's true of James Bond. Tonight, working as I have been in agony and in want of any excuse for distraction, I have cruised through Live and Let Die, Thunderball, and I'm now watching Dr. No. Again. And even at the end of Live and Let Die when Kananga flies out of the water and explodes when he hits that crossbeam, and the humanoid model they used for the explosion made both my sister and me wince at its corniness when we watched it on Betamax as junior high school students with nearly nothing else to do but compete in spelling bees and try and contract eating disorders -- even that scene is fine by me. In the same way that those scenes in Poltergeist with the dude in front of the mirror tearing his own face off are still fine by me. Not as scary as they once were. But fine. Roger Moore trots across a row of crocodiles and alligators like it's stepping stones in a koi pond. I'm in love with that. It's unfortunate that the movie was made in the year it was, as the fashion sense isn't nearly as swanky as I prefer, and it sure does have a lot of Black people in it, but I'm just saying that to be a jerk and to prove to myself that no one is actually reading this.

The "Chinese" girl from the office in Dr. No lives at Magenta Drive 23... That's a fine address, I have just decided.

My pal Robert is in Trekkies 2. I was watching...watching...watching...and then there he was. And then a little later. And then again in the credits. It's surprising and awesome when that happens. When you can say, "Hey, I know that guy!" Especially when he's in a documentary about the one subject that made what might have been a peninsula an isthmus, wherein he and I are the two land masses and the isthmus is a friendship. If you wield metaphor as clumsily and cheaply as I do, you'll find you're often explaining yourself outright, which is really just a waste of everyone's time.

And I have had work to do this whole time.


posted by Mary Forrest at 4:21 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Nov 29, 2004

Notepad Cleansing

Still in the spirit of catching up, I've reviewed some of the things I wrote down with the intention of expounding. In some cases, I've even forgotten what they mean. Or whether I already wrote about them. And I wonder if anyone would be interested to read the things I never said about Coachella. Or Comic-Con. Or any number of other things. I get easily overwhelmed these days. I can only write about something that happened if only one thing happened. I can only write about what I think if I'm only thinking one thing. In all other cases, I start shuffling things around and wanting to revisit and edit and rearrange. And then I never write anything at all. And time passes. And it becomes all the more apparent that the world is not being changed, so why bother? But of course I continue to bother. With self-important hopes that writing is good and that telling is worthwhile and that anyone is reading with more than one eye open and that anyone is listening with any amount of eagerness. Not to disparage people who are forced to wear an eye patch. Reading with one eye is nothing to be ashamed of. But it's really bad for you if you intend to use both eyes simultaneously at some point in the future. Also bad for you? Visine. I know it's weird. It seems like it would be good for you because it's sold in drugstores in the aisle where helpful products are lined up with their labels all facing out, but it's actually really bad. You can get callouses on your eyeballs. Isn't that nuts? I use Visine constantly. I also slouch and eat a lot of red meat and fail to empty the lint trap in the dryer on every usage. So you can see I'm no role model. Don't follow me off a cliff, kids. I may not actually know where I'm going.

I've been trying to sort through the enormous inventory of clothing I have amassed. I have nowhere near enough storage room for all of it. And I'm finally displacing my nostalgic attachment to many, many items I will never, never wear. I can still pick up some skirt or sweater and go, "Oh. I remember when I wore this that one time." And I can imagine a time in the future when I may regret having discarded that skirt or sweater because of a neurotic desire to look at it again and go, "Oh. I remember when I wore this that one time." But I can also imagine a time in the future when I might like to move. Or when I might like to offer someone a place to hang a coat. Or when I might want to actually be able to step into my walk-in closet. So, I toil. And there is a sidebar benefit to culling through the piles and bags and boxes and heaps. I may never have to buy a pair of socks again. See, it is often my practice -- when I can't find a matching pair or a pair that is matchingly clean-looking or a pair that is soft and brand new -- to just go buy a whole bunch of new ones. And even though some of my older socks -- though hardly unwearable by homeless standards -- will never ever see the inside of my sneakers again, I have really never bothered to throw any of them away. Sometimes this comes in handy. One of my ex-boyfriends was trying to cover his wrists when he was dressed in a Scooby Doo costume that wasn't long enough for him, and I found a pair of Calvin Klein socks in a suitable yellow/brown hue, and we cut the feet off and made makeshift sleeve extensions out of them. If I only had a few pairs of socks, I could certainly never have spared that pair. So, you see, there is reinforcing circumstance to promote my packrat behavior. But at the risk of failing to complete a future costume, I'm getting rid of a lot of socks. And good riddance. At the same time, I have found an unbelievable number of perfectly good and often new pairs that I can now stuff into a drawer and not wear for years to come. It's like sock Christmas. Maybe I'll wrap some of them for fun. I'm also getting rid of a lot of things that still have pricetags on them. This is embarrassing. And part of why I will probably never own a house that I paid for with my own money. I am careless when it comes to shopping. And I could probably wear something different -- something entirely different -- every day for a year. Maybe two. Of course, some days would be weird, because I'd have to be wearing a ball gown or a Star Trek uniform, but you wouldn't be able to say you'd ever seen it before. If you happen to see me wearing anything you've ever seen me wear before, you should probably be disappointed. In practice, I have numerous pieces of clothing I count among my favorites, and they get much more frequent airplay than the others. But I don't see any of you frequently enough that I think you would notice, and I'm down-to-earth enough to know that you don't care.

I'm reorganizing my office, too. It's always on the verge of being declared an avalanche zone. I'm tired of that. I'm tired of having to move 200 CDs out of the way before I can get to the copier. I'm tired of not being able to open my filing cabinet drawers, even if they are only filled with old bags of Easter candy and back issues of the International Male catalog. I'm tired of wondering what the wheel of my chair is always caught on. I'm tired of hearing my friend Julie talk about feng shui and feeling embarrassed by it. I'm tired of talking about all the art I've been meaning to frame and the wall shelves I've been meaning to install. This way, when I decide that I'm also tired of not having finished scanning that stack of Lomos on my desk, I can actually raise the lid of the scanner without displacing a stack of CD-Rs containing my old email files from the year 2000 and software installers that are of no discernible value in this age and operating system. When I think of all the things that bar me from being a dynamo of productivity, I want to declare war on them. And when I am declaring war in my imagination, I'm dressed like a Mongol but cleaner.

I drove home from San Diego this afternoon after having a nice leftover Thanksgiving lunch with my mom. My dad was already napping, the dear. It was cold and blue-skied this afternoon. And it felt good to want pockets for my hands. Less good to not actually be wearing pockets. But I survived. It was a long and action-packed weekend, and I felt the relief of getting home. I felt it in my very bones.

I got a little sentimental a few times. And it didn't kill me.

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     Sep 21, 2004

Everything looks perfect from far away.

Josh and I went to see Garden State today. After having thai for lunch, beer for afters, good samaritan cell phone retrieval, and starting to watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. We had lots to catch up on and serendipitous time to do it in. I think Zach Braff is the bee's knees, and this movie didn't set me off that course. It was a little obvious in places and romantic and well-meaning, and these are not necessarily bad things. Although I do have a tendency to compare things to Fassbinder more than the next girl might. It also made me very sad at times. And very certain that I waste too much of my time and my synaptic discharge pillaging a dry run. I could have been someone entirely different if I had avoided squinting when I should have been wide-eyed. I should have paid better attention. I should have seen things for what they were. I should have given myself a chance. I should have counted my vote. I should have treated myself like I mattered. Instead of expecting that anyone else would do it in my place.

I have traveled great distances and exerted great effort to experience The Shins as many times as possible. It was nice to see them so prominently featured in the film soundtrack. She's right about that one song. It will change your life.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 3:24 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Sep 7, 2004

It is expected that I be gracious and fulsome in my praise.

Never a fan of the hot hot heat. Never that me. I like it cool. I like baring my arms, but I like not having to. I like turtleneck sweaters and sleeves that are too long. I like fireplaces and chats by them. I like roasting chestnuts and pretending not to be disappointed by how they actually taste.

I have never chosen summer as a favorite season. I have never preferred it to any other time. I like the late autumn. I like the winter. I like the cold February. In Los Angeles, February is priceless. Sunny and clear but crisp and expectant. None of the haze of disappointing June. Clarity and the occasional bit of rain.

And spring is fine. All that hope and possibility. All the references to rabbits and the incessant humping they do. Easter candies. Egg-shaped and with gooey insides. I saw chocolate-covered Peeps at the store. They looked horrible. I think it was for Halloween. Imagine the makers of Peeps thinking they could branch that brand out to the trick-or-treaters. What arrogance.

I have an outfit in my head that I wish I was wearing. Something Sophia Loren wore. Or Ann-Margret. Or Audrey Hepburn. I will wear it someday. All I need is the perfect pair of pants.

Angie is in town again. She sent me photos from the party yesterday, where she claims I was fending off the boys in some amusing fashion. I tell a good yarn is all. Maybe boys like that. I'm no expert. This is one of the pictures I like best. It's Drew protecting his delicate parts.

"Fulsome in my praise..." I liked that phrase when I heard it. Even though I found precious little else to like in the movie it comes from. There is merit in that -- finding the specks of pleasantness in even the most hateful things. Highlighting the good. Fondly remembering the parts that don't gnaw at you. I lived in Guam for four years, and I didn't like it every day I was there. In fact, I liked it very little for most of that time. I prayed for the National Spelling Bee to provide me with all-expenses paid passage back to the mainland. And it did. But only after three long years of having only one television station and schools without air conditioning and very little access to American conveniences beyond McDonald's and Shakey's. It was a drab backdrop to my adolescence. But when I remember it, I smile. I remember glass-bottomed boats to Cocos Island and Sunday brunch buffets on Hotel Row. I remember Catholic girls' school uniforms and cinnamon buns at snack break. I remember boomboxes playing Hard to Say I'm Sorry and Abracadabra on the bus in the rain. I remember the baseball stadium and the Pescador and playing in the orchestra and playing the part of a princess in the Thanksgiving parade. Climbing up a ladder onto our white-painted rooftop to lay out in my bikini and listen to Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Siouxsie Sioux. I remember mango trees and badminton and school-age crushes and shopping trips. I remember the good parts. And when I remember them, I always forget how sweaty it all was.

I jotted down the words, "Time takes away all feeling," but maybe that's not what I meant. Maybe time only takes away the feelings that can't redeem themselves.

David Sylvian sang something I liked. "And the mind's divisive. But the heart knows better." And we all know what that means. Except the retards. And they're the lucky ones.

It is too hot for my liking. I slept like MURDER last night. Like bloody murder.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 5:11 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Aug 24, 2004

The louder I say I'm happy, the more I believe it's so.

Saturday night, an anomalous Paul F. Tompkins Show found me at Largo. Paul F. Tompkins, who was so bearded and mustachioed as to make us think at first that his evil twin from the alternate universe had somehow found his way onstage, turned out to not be evil at all but in fact hilarious. It seems pointless to even offer superlative assessment, as each show seems to top the preceding one, and you start to ask yourself if you were even paying attention before because how could it possibly keep getting to be so wonderful. Surely, you just missed part of it before. Because you thought it was damn fine back then, too, and when are you ever wrong. I'm not following my own logic here. Anyway, it ruled. In my notebook, I nearly illegibly wrote, "Paul F. Tompkins, maverick hypnotist," and, "A fun word for the color yellow; 'Rocket Red' is too scientific." You don't know why that's funny, but it is, and you can trust me. Uncannily, Pee-wee Herman was introducing his hypnosis doll Dr. Mongo on t.v. just as I began to type the maverick hypnotist thing. And maybe that isn't exactly uncanny, but I know that very few of you will bother to look it up to make sure.

So, Paul F. Tompkins, right? Give this man his own television show, or I will strap sticks of dynamite to my bodice and blow my womanliness to smithereens. What do I have to do? Seriously. Just don't make it a show that requires him to stop doing his shows at Largo, for that would make me truly and ironically furious.

My pals and I went to Canter's after the show, and I ordered blintzes, but I wanted vodka.

And there's more.

I got a doggy last week. Her name is Audrey. And she runs away from me whenever I reach for her, but I'm sure that will change. Eventually. I also cut and colored my hair again. And celebrated my sister's and my father's birthday. And my friend Jessica was visiting for most of the week, which was lovely. But for some reason, I was tireder than I've ever been last week. I felt like I was falling asleep all day long. I could barely keep my eyes open for the shortest of drives. And I wanted naps again and again. And I didn't get them nearly that often.

The week before last, I went to Las Vegas at the drop of a hat and lived it up at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, where I spent hours at the heavenly man-made beach they have there, swam with my sunglasses on, and liked the fact that you can walk through the lobby dripping wet and in your bathing costume and share an elevator with a woman in a bridal gown -- and look down on her for how gauche she is.

I spent a lot of money gambling, but it didn't hurt at all. I was totally up for losing it. That's a nice feeling. If you can go to Vegas and feel that way, do.

I had all sorts of ideas while I was driving up. I scribbled a lot of them down on a parking stub while I was on the road. Which I shouldn't be proud of, as I covered the 280 mile distance in about three hours and forty-five minutes, including the trafficky part getting out of L.A. I don't think it's recommended that you write while you drive at any speed, but that's just ridiculous. I even had a highway patrolman pull up behind me when I was going 95. I looked in my rearview and saw that scary, cockroach-like silhouette that those cars cut with their coloring and their antennae. I pulled to the right and assumed I was going to get a ticket. After all, my tags are expired, and even though I had an extension in my windshield, this cop couldn't have seen that. But to my surprise and delight, he passed me and pulled up behind the red Acura in front of me. They did not get over right away. And when they did, he pulled in behind them, sirens a-blazing, and I experienced the schadenfreude high that I nearly always feel when someone is getting a ticket and it isn't me. I don't know why I didn't get a ticket, but I took it as a sign and parlayed my good luck at the roulette table, where I did in fact win.

My journey from the angels to the stars was inspirational, to be sure. I spent a lot of money and had a lot of fun and wrote a lot down and learned to use my new camera. Well, one of them. The Sony is still gathering dust. But my new Canon goes with me everywhere. The road to Las Vegas is a tire tread graveyard. Ruined carcasses of shredded black rubber. I empathetically pitied the travelers who must have had to pull off to the dusty shoulder and work a jack in the 110 degree heat. They're long gone now, but the pieces of tire linger. It feels like the Old West, only less old. All the abandoned gas stations and ramshackle diners. Towns with no one in them. Quivering heat fanning off the sandy valley floor. It was stormy on my drive home. Rain and thunder and lightning in the desert. A pale grey sky. Majestic, in a way. I drove straight through to San Diego -- stopping once at Minneola Road to pee and take a picture of an old sign -- and performed at the comedy theater, where I was happy to have done so. I no longer remember what I did on stage on Friday and/or Saturday that might have been worth mentioning. But I remember having a good time and being told by a weird fellow leaving the theater (as he touched his eyebrow to mine) that I was the best one. I would ordinarily not have allowed such an invasion of my personal space, but it came as such a surprise and afterwards I just shrugged it off and told myself he was probably autistic.

Miss Yvonne sure was buxom. She plays old ladies in commercials now. I feel sad for that. But I feel happy when Kap'n Karl says, "Miss Yvonne, may I LIKE you?" Because that is a very funny thing to say. Paul Reubens is a genius. I give him a special dispensation to do whatever perverted and illegal thing he wants to. He'll always be great to me. And our society is too uptight anyway.

Oh, when I was in Vegas, I took my crew to the Star Trek Experience, for I am a nerd of gargantuan proportions. And nothing was funnier to me than when Justin thought that the signature Borg phrase ("Resistance is futile.") was, "You are not suitable." I wish that's what the Borg would say. It's much better. Did you know that when you go to the Borg attraction at the Star Trek Experience, they poke you in the ass? It's true. Vicious pointy things prod you through your seat and make you wonder what might have happened if you had been sitting only two inches further to the left. It's similar to those 4-D attractions at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. That "A Bug's Life" show touches you all over the place. And that's all right in the context of the show. But in the Borg thing, getting poked in the ass makes no sense based on what's happening on the screen and around you. It's completely out of touch with the narrative. It was just rude. The Borg Queen is talking to you and the Doctor is yelling and a hole gets blown in the overhead part of the bay you're in, but nothing really explains the ass-poking. I wonder who designed that part. Maybe it's an artifact left over from the previous attraction, Date Rape 4-D, starring Leslie Nielsen.

Yesterday, I was driving south past La Jolla, and I saw a scruffy couple walking on the freeway with their two dogs. They were dragging an amply loaded cart up a steep grade. I don't really remember whether they looked destitute, but in my imaginary memory they were shirtless and poor. I was listening to Bill Collins reading his poetry on A Prairie Home Companion at the time, and I wanted to write something amusing about them, but I didn't.

The Muppets Take Manhattan has been playing on cable like crazy. It's one of my favorite movies in all the world. And all the songs remind me of our living room in Guam, where I watched our VHS copy of it again and again and again. I wonder sometimes if the fact that such a great lot of my sentimental ooze is unleashed by shows that feature puppets and cartoon characters says something distasteful about my brain development. My tears get jerked by lots of things. But that Saying Goodbye song in this movie is like getting sprayed in the face with mace.

Life is a lot like that drive to Vegas, you know. Like a two-lane highway where everyone around you seems to be content to go sixty. This is an ineffective analogy. But I am always in a hurry. And I seldom get what I want.

When I ramble on like this, I am often at a loss for a way to let go and end it, so in closing, here is an excerpt from a conversation in a coffee shop where pictures were being drawn on placemats:

J: See my Luxor sign?

B: Yeah. I hate it.

J: Well, I hate your house.

M: You guys are like six year-olds.

J: You make me six years-old.

M: Poached eggs are not supposed to be completely cooked through in the yolk.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 2:18 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Mar 30, 2004


Deep Space Nine marathon on Spike TV starting next week. I would say that this fact justifies the existence of Spike TV, but I also approve of Ren & Stimpy and the many excuses they find to play James Bond movies. How can it be that a station "just for men" can be so to my liking? Is this my comeuppance for letting a former boyfriend use my Secret anti-perspirant?

I remember when I used to look forward to staying home on Saturday nights to watch Ren & Stimpy on Snick. After which, on numerous occasions, I would saunter down to the hot tub for some quality Mary time. And I never thought I was missing out on anything. If only I could recapture that feeling.

Anyway, I've often gotten on better with the boys than with the girls and sometimes to my chagrin. And it isn't only because I own an Intellivision. Apparently, some guys don't even know what that is.


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:37 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Mar 21, 2004

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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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:26 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Mar 12, 2004

Plush, human-size animal suits rule.

Trigger Happy TV needs a hyphen in its title. But in many other respects, it's quite good. I love the animal costume people running down the street or having lunch. I wish the world had that sort of business in it. Maybe it's my love of Star Trek. "Futuristic girl looks forward to interspecies dating." They played that song I love by the New Pornographers in the first few minutes of the show, The Laws Have Changed. Maybe they're referring to the laws about interspecies dating. And I thought I'd never live to see the day. I always had a sweet little crush on Morn from Deep Space Nine, for instance. If only t.v. was real.

Now, there's a man-size penguin standing on the side of the road holding a sign that reads, "I am a mirage."


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:10 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Feb 25, 2004


I have so many things to say about how disappointed I was in Mystic River that I almost can't compose my thoughts into a paragraph. I think I must have had a perplexed expression on my face for most of the movie, as I was continuously thinking, "Why is everyone raving about this picture?" There are some truly wonderful performances, yes. But there are also some glaringly horrible ones (that means you, Morpheus; and the over-the-top kid playing Sean Penn's character as a child -- someone, smother him with an oily rag), and the head who most clearly deserves a conk has to be screenwriter Brian Helgeland's for delivering some of the most unnatural, obvious, and clumsily expository dialogue I have heard outside of the Star Trek universe.

And there was way too much butter on the popcorn.

Again, I can only laud the actors who didn't suck, because the ones that didn't suck tipped the scales in the opposite direction. Tim Robbins has only further solidified himself in my eyes as an actor of the highest caliber. And Sean Penn's first big outburst nearly drew empathetic tears from me. But it's surprising how quickly your tears dry when you start rolling your eyes, which I did in disbelief when all those police were swarming on him. One of many maddeningly deliberate visuals in a two-hour parade of unconvincing happenstance. I thought there was going to be some big plot twist when it seemed that the "woman" calling Kevin Bacon throughout the movie had a moustache and the lipliner of a drag queen. But I didn't read the book.

But Sean Penn has great hair. And the sound of my frustrated fists pounding on the table in my brain is meant not for him but for Clint Eastwood. Show. Don't tell. Right? George Lucas and I share a birthday, but when he converted from being the evangelist of the hero's journey to the new church of inspid chatterbox moviemaking, we parted ways. Has Clint Eastwood ever dated Linda Ronstadt? Because she may be the secret link to all this ruination. I just saw Jerry Brown on television the other night, and he looks awful. Coneheadedly bald and pinched and haggard. This may be something worth investigating.

I don't want to overdo my panning, but I noticed a lot of people applauding Clint for having composed the music for the film. I didn't pay very much attention to it, but some of it was bare piano that was about as complex as that annoying little etude from Eyes Wide Shut. Who cares?

In a nutshell: Disappointed in the writing. Too much butter on the popcorn. Sean Penn is hot. Go, ye, into the world and do with this information as you please. Tomorrow, I will be seeing The Passion of the Christ, and I suspect I will have a bit to say about that, too.


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:20 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jan 16, 2004

"I envy you. The world you're going to."

"I envy YOU. Taking these first steps into a new frontier."

I do still love Star Trek: First Contact. I do still have a magnet with its logo on my refrigerator. I do still remember looking so very much forward to seeing it. I do still remember what I wore the night I went. (It was something velvety. And there were boots involved.) The appearance of the Doctor still amuses me. The deflector dish scene still suspends and terrifies me. The music still moves me. And I still get goosebumps when Picard insists where the line must be drawn.

At the end, when Jean-Luc is saying goodbye, I note the dichotomy of the envies. She wishes she could skip all of the getting there and see the future and all its wonders. He wishes he could stay behind in the past and see how what is got that way. This is a contrast that presents itself in my life in many forms, including the movies. I keep stumbling onto it again and again. And I keep being reminded that to want a thing is dangerous. To wish for something is risky. And we nearly never want what we wanted once it's ours. You can't have it all. You can't have it both ways. And either way you get it, you probably won't like it. Predictable. Inexcusable. Unevolved. But true.

"I shall miss you, Lily."


posted by Mary Forrest at 4:11 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Dec 16, 2003

Tally Running

I just saw a guy I know on a Stagg Chili commercial. He made me laugh once. I congratulate him telepathically. And Carson Daly is really a preposterously bad interviewer. Dumpy, canister-headed, and preposterously bad.

If I were to list all my temporal expenses over the past few days, the list would be great but still that: a list. Obligations were ticked off. Appointments kept. Expectations fulfilled. My neck and collarbone bear the conspicuous marks of my violining. Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- makes the hickey joke when they see the marks. But I've never had a hickey that bled and the bruisy plum on my collarbone was just about ready to by the time I wrapped up. I'm never really amused by the hickey-themed accusations anyway. Maybe because they are obvious and tired. Like when a bigly pregnant woman shows up and you feel you have to say, "Hey, whore, who knocked you up?" Or, "Nice gut, fatty." Of course, these are not at all the same thing.

Still nearly no sleep to speak of. I wouldn't have wagered I could get by on as little replenishment as I've had these past five days or so. I usually think I can come up with great mountains of exuberance when I have to. But I didn't know that I would ever be convinced of the must quotient. I had things I said I would do. Things I needed to do. Things I wanted to do. But nothing the not-doing of which would have landed me in jail or the morgue. And yet, I soldiered on. And in most cases, I don't think I was any the worse for it. Even today, when Tommy and I went on our all-day shopping date, I wasn't sure I had it in me. But sure enough -- I did. That's to his credit, though. He's sweet and thoughtful and patient and considerate, and he doesn't judge me when I spend hundreds of dollars on hosiery and fanciness. And he doesn't tell my mom.

I donated a big box of porno to a white elephant gift exchange and made a young man's day for a little while. And someone broke a coffee table trying to lean across it and surrender their 15-pack of mac and cheese to me. But all of that was forgotten in the hot tub. And then the hot tub turned tepid in the shadow of dramatic buzzkill. Little of anything lasts as long as it should. The things that might please you forever exist for mere flashes. And all that would destroy you persists. For as long as you let it. For as long as you feed it and nurse it and tell it how lovely it is.

It gets old, you know. Going past all the same freeway exits. Seeing all the same streets. Latching on to the same flutters of winged memories. Everything that is has been. Even what is new is the same new thing as the last time something became new again. The days that dared to stretch their corners. Secret meetings. Lazy excuses. Driving directions taken down for the first time. My phone no longer rings Deep Space Nine, but that's the only thing that has changed.

Many times over I've asked myself if coming home is ever really a homecoming. And the answer is always the same. An un-answer. There is no home to come home to. There is only a place where one waits until it is time to be somewhere else. With a lock on the door and a light in the hallway and a box where the mail comes. Sometimes you are expected. Sometimes you are not. Sometimes you are welcome. Sometimes you are fearful. Sometimes you are not sure you have ever seen any of this before. Like waking in a world you can't remember where everything is white and shapeless and the light makes you squint and shield your eyes. Is this heaven? you might ask. Am I dead? But no answer comes. These are words that have no meaning. They do not belong.

It's hard to stay beautiful when there's so much madness in the world.


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:13 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Apr 8, 2003

Sweet Relief

It was just some books. One was a Star Trek novel.


posted by Mary Forrest at 4:14 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Feb 9, 2003

A case for cloning

Today, I wish there could be two of me. That way, one could watch the Deep Space Nine Viewers' Choice Marathon on UPN. But, alas, there's only the one of me. And she won't be near a television. Rats.


posted by Mary Forrest at 12:01 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jan 5, 2003

Dragging of the Feet

I'm so tired all the time. I haven't felt well-rested in months. Sleep has just become something else to do. I went out to pick up my photographs today. It was beautiful out. I stopped by Walgreen's to buy some uninteresting supplies. A woman at the door held a small crochet purse out at me and mumbled something. I kept walking. When I left, she was in the parking lot, making the same unintelligible pitch. I made a stop at the newsstand and bought music magazines and things that looked worth reading. When I returned to my car, she was right there again. I kept ignoring her. I thought, She looks like she's doing all right. She's got a sweater and a handbag and an armload of purchases from the 99 Cents Only store. I think she's asking for five dollars, which is a bit grand for panhandling. And if she's trying to sell that coin purse for that amount, she's cracked.

Each time I ignored her, she said something that sounded like, "God bless you." But I had a feeling she was being sarcastic.

It's warm out, but my apartment is chilly. I put a fire on and allowed TNN to fill my living room with the dulcet tones of the Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon they're running. It's the episode where Ryker gets the power of the Q. What's funny is that Ryker grants Wesley Crusher his greatest desire, which is to be ten years older -- a man. And then -- poof! He's this big, strong Sears model-type guy. But it's been ten years since this episode, and Wil Wheaton still looks like the same dork he was back then. Ha ha. And then the hot Klingon chick appears for Worf. Blah blah blah. They all realize they would rather not have what they most want. How noble and wise and advanced they are. Gah! This is such a Twilight Zone-inspired crock.

I was never much of a fan of Ryker-centric episodes. And it's a Deep Space Nine marathon I'm pining for. But my first season DVD set is pre-ordered, so I can feign patience for now. Plus, I have work to do and no excuses. Save for distraction.

For instance, I always frowned on the use of "Plus," as a sentence opener. I think it was most displeasing to me in the days when I wrote catalog copy. I don't know why. It's no less functional than any synonym of it. But for some reason, it seemed lazy to me. I'm a snob like that. I'm glad I am also able to outgrow things.

If only my stream of consciousness would accidentally dump me on the threshold of my current project. Instead, I feel myself being drawn toward that massive stack of still-cellophaned DVDs in my living room. Oh, they want watching, don't they? And maybe I should make some soup. And I really ought to clean my floors. And it's never too soon to get started on your taxes. And I can't remember if I like the way I looked in that one pair of pants. Why don't I go retry them?

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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:43 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Dec 18, 2002

"Irving Berlin."

There was one word that kept coming into my head while watching Star Trek: Nemesis, and that word was derivative. I will have to elaborate on another day. I have many thoughts, but they are painfully disorganized.

I saw it in the big theater at Grauman's Chinese. I think my last foray there was on account of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. The Lil Bow Wow trailer that night garnered hilarious booing from the packed house. The trailer for The Core before today's screening contained a few things worth booing, too, coincidentally. Most noteworthy is the fact that the ostensible protagonist of this thematically nuclear-science-centric story can't pronounce the word "nuclear." I cringe just thinking of sitting through two or so hours of that guy saying "nucular" this and "nucular" that. If that ever becomes an accepted variation of the word, I may be forced to swallow a lump of coal. Then, there's the announcement that the catastrophe cannot be avoided. Someone says something to the effect of, "What can we do to fix it?" and someone else says, "We can't," and then Stanley Tucci says, "What if we could?" What a world this is. The world of The Core. "You will never win the lottery, Fergus." "Yes, but what if I did." "Ah, well, you make a good point there." Who's scoring this debate?

Oh. And in other news of trailer debacles, I can't imagine why the trailer for Daredevil is as bad as it is. I'm sure the movie will be bad. But trailers are usually such inaccurate harbingers of that sort of truth. In the background of visual imagery of Ben Affleck in mussed hair and/or a rather unimpressively-made and ill-fitting superhero costume, there's a ridiculous hip hop song playing. Both times I've seen this trailer in the theater, I haven't been able to keep from laughing. Are the lyrics "supercalifragilistic monkey dropping go ballistic"? Because if they're not, they might as well be. What?

I got a spot of Christmas shopping done. And I had a nice dinner and a nice lunch and a lot of laughing and gadding about. For some reason, I was freakishly giddy today. I was flustered and going at everything at a fevered pitch. It was partly crazy and harried and out of control. And it was partly buoyant and wonderful. I've been going for nearly a full round of the clock. And I suspect I shall still experience difficulty getting sleep to overtake me. I may have to seduce sleep with some challenging reading. Or barbiturates.

Today was a real bit of L.A. And possibly a bit of Christmas, too.

Epilogue: Apparently, it's "Supercalifragilistic. When we drop, we go ballistic." You're a better person for knowing that.

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     Oct 18, 2002

Surprised by Garlic and Smelling of Smoke

It's getting chilly out there. So that us girls in our cropped black pants are wearing boots instead of strappy sandals and looking like Captain Kirk instead of Doris Day. I'll sleep with the heat on tonight. And a wool blanket that's as old as I am. Yes, that's right -- it's ONE HUNDRED years old. Good guess.

Today was a bit on the dreary side. I worked and counseled and played my violin and changed my outfit a few times. And wondered what it's like to captain a dogsled. It looks like fun, but I don't think dogsledding is for me. My lips are prone to chapping.

AMC had some sort of George C. Scott-a-thon going on yesterday. I caught a bit of The Flim Flam Man. I recall my father telling me that he saw it and that it was one of the funniest movies he'd ever seen. See, that's my dad for you. Not The Mask. Not Kentucky Fried Movie. Not Doctor Doolittle 2. But The Flim Flam Man, starring George C. Scott, is one of the funniest movies he's seen. And I'd guess that Modern Times is on that list, too. Oh, sure. You might argue that it's not good taste. You might say it's just because he's an old dude who doesn't "get" the comedy of our time. But no one laughs harder at Seinfeld than my dad. Even though he sometimes calls it "Shine-feld." I say my dad's got fine taste. When I played Amélie for him, he laughed plenty. I think my mom laughed more, but that's because it was in French. Movies in English seem to put her to sleep. When I took her to see Titanic, she fell asleep before the film came out of sepiatone in the opening credits. Then, when I asked her how she liked it, she scowled and said, "It was so boring." She also hates Star Trek because the alien races are all grotesque and ugly to her. But both of my parents love Benny Hill. Although my mom thinks he's German. There's no logic to any of it, clearly.

I've got a lot to do tomorrow. I don't like the sound of that.


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:57 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Oct 11, 2002

Finders, Keepers.

I sometimes liken myself to that character Christopher Walken played in The Dead Zone, except that I get jarred by the clutches of sudden flashes of nostalgia -- which are not nearly as useful for gambling purposes. I was looking for something, and I found an old cassette tape of pre-show and intermission music from an improv and sketch comedy show I was in back around this time of year in 1998. It's the real reason I own a First Contact-era Star Trek engineering tunic. Honest.

They weren't the most glorious days, but they weren't the most awful. I was on my way to many things. And happy to applaud the exploits of the ones I loved. That was the year my family's house burned down. The year I spent the 4th of July in Lake Tahoe. The year I determined to finish my degree. The year I got audited by the IRS. The year I sprained my ankle stepping off a curb. The year I saw all three Indiana Jones movies in one day on the big screen (with a freshly sprained ankle). The year I moved into the apartment I never really liked. The year I got the smallest raise in the history of my career. I lost a friendship that year. And gained one. I struggled with a lot, but came out on top. That improv and sketch comedy show wasn't the best thing I ever did, but it wasn't the worst. And I worked hard at it. And did a lot of laser-printing for it. And painting. And folding. And got to wear a First Contact-era Star Trek engineering tunic. On stage.

That's what flashed into my consciousness when I found that cassette tape. If I had actually played it, I'm sure there would be more nostalgic carnage to wade through. After all, who doesn't have a huge nostalgic connection to The Popcorn Song?

When I remember 1998, the whole year is like October. I wonder why that is.

P.S. When my eyes are extra tired, I look like a Kennedy-era Asian starlet. I wonder if that's a bad thing.


posted by Mary Forrest at 2:34 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Mar 28, 2002

Persistent twitching of the eyelid

"Long ago, in someone else's lifetime, someone with my name who looked a lot like me..."

So, I know I must be tired and stressed out and in all manner of a funk. My old friend blepharospasm has returned -- for good, it would seem. Echoes of last year. Unpleasant echoes.

I was industrious, all right, but it all ran afoul. I overslept this morning and got in later than I wanted to. I guess that's what happens when you're running on Red Bull fumes and you do a mountain of housework and furniture rearrangement well into the wee hours. Deep Space Nine airs at four o'clock in the morning here. The fact that I know that is probably responsible for my sudden shortage of alert cells. Fun is all well and good. As is industry. But it's almost April, for crying out loud. And there's still so much to do.

"In a way, it's someone else's story. I don't see myself as taking part at all."


posted by Mary Forrest at 10:34 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Nov 27, 2001

Archetypes of Inspiration

I was watching Star Trek Generations the other night. Because it was on. It always seems to be. And it occurred to me to consider what might be in my Nexus. I think the same thought came upon me when I was watching Harry Potter and that mirror was introduced. What is the thing I desire most? What would be my reality if I had it to choose? I don't know the answer. A few months ago, I might have had a quick answer for that. I might have thought my happiness could be found in one person or in one assurance. But I don't think that is the case any longer. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm certain it's worth thinking about. As much as anything is. What do I want? And how in the world will I ever get it?


posted by Mary Forrest at 12:11 AM | Back to Monoblog

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