Friday, June 30, 2006

un-american activities

Last night the illegal fireworks began on my block. My cats hid under the bed; I expect that’s where they’ll be through the weekend.

Yesterday, I told Jamie, “I’m going to a baseball game with AK tomorrow. I warned her that I know nothing about baseball, but that I could probably get into the general experience of attending a game.”

“Oh, definitely,” said Jamie. “There’s fireworks and beer and peanuts and hot dogs.”

“Well, I like the way fireworks look. From a distance. I’m not so into the loud noise. And I’m a vegetarian, so the hot dogs are out. But beer and peanuts sound great.”

So as far as appreciating all-American things goes, I’m batting, what, a C minus?

Monday, June 26, 2006

if jesus is bread, then jesus is tasty

1. the book of ragtime

“They talk a lot about how we need to love and accept gay people and how the need to love and accept gay people is something we should talk about,” AK said on the car ride to All Saints Church in Pasadena.

Sure enough, when we t
iptoed into the chapel (a little late, because God made comfy Sunday-morning beds, didn’t He-slash-She?) the woman-in-a-robe who was speaking was talking about gay people. And black men. How both groups needed love and acceptance. Recently she’d been at an event where a group had sung “Make Them Hear You” from the musical Ragtime.

My ears perked up as sh
e read the lyrics (changing “ten million righteous men” to “ten million righteous friends” in good He-slash-She fashion). Hey! I knew Ragtime! I knew gay people! I knew Ragtime because I was gay people! Could it be a sign?

2. ge

On the way to church, I told AK, “I haven’t been to church since high school,” but later I realized I’d probably been a dozen times. I was raised as a Christmas-and-Easter Christian with a Jewish last name (long and somewhat interesting story to be saved for a later blog entry). Even though I hadn’t tagged along to anyone else’s church since the fabulous Chinese New Year feast at Amy’s church circa 1994, I’d seen Baby Jesus born to teenagers in Nikes and togas at the Wayfarers Chapel in Palos Verdes a bunch of times.

Apparently I’d comple
tely blocked those visits from my mind, though—probably because I also saw my mom memorialized there, in the beautiful glass chapel that now kind of makes me nauseous. I remember having some kind of quibble with the pastor (preacher? priest? The technicalities of religion are hazy for me—I know he wasn’t a rabbi or the pope, though), whom we were supposedly so lucky to book, because he was the same guy who married my parents at that same church in 1973. I thought he talked too much, or was too picky about how many flowers were allowed onstage (or whatever they call that thing at the front), or used annoying metaphors about boats.

I sat there defiantl
y, sobbing and quibbling in my lemon yellow funeral dress, as everyone around me seemed thoroughly touched. I wanted to like him, and to like church, because my dad did. But I also wanted to hate him, and hate church all the way on up through Christmas ‘05, because everyone else seemed to think they were so great. I was in no mood for the beauty of hundreds of candles reflecting off the glass ceiling like tiny stars-of-wonder-stars-of-night, damnit. After Christmas ’03, which was one big, angry, memorial service flashback as far as I was concerned, my aunt actually initiated a group hug. I was in no mood for group hugs.

And so if my contrary, yellow-dress self was going to have a spiritual moment, it was not going to be at the (genuinely lovely and ultimately innocent) Wayfarers Chapel. But, really, I’m almost always up for a spiritual moment, so when I walked in to a gay-folks-and-show-tunes sermon, following closely behind a girl who sounds so smart and sexy when she uses words like “liturgical,” it didn’t take long for me to get a few chills.

In a parallel universe, I would totally be dancing with snakes (in a churchy way, not the Britney Spears way). There but for the grace of my naturally cautious nature and secular SoCal upbringing.

3. the review

I dug All Saints because it was friendly and open without feeling watered dow
n. There was no hellfire and brimstone, but it also wasn’t the equivalent of a big family dinner where everyone gets along just because they silently agree not to talk about certain things like Uncle Jeff’s Special Friend.

There was theater: baptism and stained glass. There was a mission: Chip in to buy solar-powered ovens so that the women and girls of Darfur don’t get raped while gathering firewood in refugee camps. It was direct and specific, and fiery in its own way. The congregation was generally qui
et and polite, and although no one was spontaneously shouting “Hallelujah!”, I felt like the church had the necessary ingredients to counter the less savory aspects of those where people do.

All of this sounds like I’m reviewing the church. “All Saints gets four out of five stars,” or something. The prospect of which sounds really blasphemous, except it’s not, because for me art is church too, and both should be reviewed, if perhaps less simplistically than via a five-star system.

While I kid about snakes and am no friend of George W.-style religion, there is a lot about a lot of religion that is
inherently appealing to me: introspection, mystery, philosophy, therapy, empathy, philanthropy, connection, self-improvement, music, wine and bread. (Seriously Dr. Atkins, why do you hate Jesus?) All are part of investigating how certain aspects of life are bigger than the sum of their parts, which is the best way I can describe what I think of as God-or-love-or-something-powerful-and-glowy.

And art, for me, better represents that bigger-than-the-sum feeling better than just about anything. Books (Bible included) are just little shapes placed in varying sequen
ces on a piece of mushed-up tree. Music is just thumping on things and blowing air through things. But they add up to something that makes me cry or laugh or feel better about a breakup or resolve to take recycling more seriously.

4. the desert of the real, the garden of cal arts

A while back I started reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong; I’m not very far into it, so I’ll withhold judgment like a good Christian or a good book reviewer, but in the introduction she talks about how, as a secular humanist, she sees all the gods and myths that people have invented over time as evidence of the beauty of human creativity. And I thought, Why can’t the beauty of human creativity be evidence of God?

Deconstruction teaches you that reality is basically a bunch of made-up shit, which at first seems pretty depressing. Sometimes you even need two years of therapy after grad school. But the corollary to this is, Why can’t we just make up some really great stuff? Why can’t we construct the world? Why can’t the desire for God create a God that is as real as a mind-bent spoon? If nothing is real, everything is real.

5. revelations

So, um, anyway…that’s just a little armchair theology for ya. As much as going to church sent all sorts of ideas and feelings zinging through my brain, I am also a big believer in doing one’s homework. Seeing one Harry Potter movie doesn’t make you an expert on children’s literature, you know? But it’s also fine to get excited about that one Harry Potter movie, and to tentatively plan to maybe read one Harry Potter book if it happens to cross your path, and to respectfully mention to people in velvet Hogwarts capes that you like their capes.

So yeah, I feel completely unqualified to talk about any of it, but why did God invent blogs if not to give the meek a pulpit from which to share their uninformed glory?


Friday, June 23, 2006

make it a zombie porn blockbuster night

I’ve discovered this new thing. It’s called eating at home. It can happen in one’s own home, as per Wednesday night, when Heather came over to my apartment (“Cozy,” she said sincerely, but we all know that “tiny” and “woefully bachelor-esque” live right next door to “cozy” in Adjective Land). I made pasta with bell peppers roasted on an open gas-stove flame, a technique I stole from AK, who stole it from Meg, who I think was just born knowing shit like that. Heather brought wine, but we soon discovered that I don’t own a bottle opener. The good news is that apparently I don’t do a lot of drinking alone. Or I just drink things with screw tops alone.

Eating At Home can also happen at someone else’s home, as per last night, when Meehan, AK and I gathered at Nicole’s new apartment in a building that bills itself as “Casa Overlanda” (“Returning to the original Spanish name,” Meehan observed). We got tasty-cheap takeout from Sunin and crowded together with glasses of Charles Shaw (but the new, fancy-ish Beaujolais!) on Nicole’s balcony, which overlooks an alley and some other people’s balconies.

Then we watched some horrifically bad zombie porn.

I know, you’re thinking, “By ‘horrifically bad,’ you mean ‘really great in an ironic way,’ right?” No, I don’t, and I refuse to go into too much detail for fear of resurrecting troubling images. Suffice it to say that it wasn’t so much zombie porn as porn, then zombie comic relief, then more porn, then more zombie comic relief. What is the point of zombie porn if you don’t get to see any actual zombie-on-zombie action? Although there was one great dance scene, which was played as seductive but was about as seductive as the “Go Greased Lightnin’” number in Grease, and I would be willing to let that scene wear the “so bad it’s good” crown.

All this is to say, I’m enjoying this time in my life where I’m kind of a grownup who drinks wine on balconies, and kind of a kid who giggles at zombie porn and gets excessively giddy over alcohol I don’t have to pay for. There was a very good episode of How I Met Your Mother about this late-twenty-something phenomenon. And I mean genuinely good, not ironically good.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

the only thing more boring…

…than sending work out to agents and publishers is hearing someone else talk/blog about sending her work out to agents and publishers. But I nevertheless have to give myself a little blog-cheer for finally getting off my butt (or at least hoisting myself up to a squatting position) and querying two agents regarding the book I finished back in February.

As I sat on my butt, the manuscript sat on my laptop, gathering cyber-dust. Recently, my writing group listened as I rattled off a somewhat complicated psychological explanation of why I hadn’t been working on my new-ish novel lately. I concluded by adding that I hadn’t yet sent out my finished novel either.

“Do you think it’s for the same reasons?” Terry asked.

“No,” I said, “and I know that the big obvious reason is fear of rejection”—not the reason I wasn’t writing, by the way—“but that’s not it either. I’ve sent out lots of work and gotten lots of rejection, and I know there’s going to be plenty with this book too. It’s just that there’s always something more interesting to do than type out a chapter-by-chapter summary.”

Yep, the impulse that’s preventing me from querying agents is the same one that prevented me from studying for science tests in high school, and from going jogging on Sunday. “Ooh, I’m a procrastinator. I am sooo creative and complex!”

Most things are not as bad as you think they’re going to be, just like most things are not as great as you think they’re going to be. I did go jogging this morning, partly because I’d taken a personal day to get off my aforementioned butt, and it was a great way to buy myself 40 more minutes of non-submitting time. (This strategy was what got me writing fiction in the first place in college, because while writing a short story wasn’t always as appealing as watching a Real World marathon, it was usually more interesting than studying for a Shakespeare final.)

One perk of getting older is that I’m onto my own tricks. I know what will make me jog: postponing sending my Big Fat Lesbian Novel into the world. I know what will (I really, really hope) make me nudge my Big Fat Lesbian Novel into the world: blogging about it so that my seven blogiverse friends will hold me accountable. Because how embarrassing would that be, to blog about something as boring and business-y as trying to find an agent, and then not even try to find an agent?

I’m now going to back slowly away from this entry before I lose any more interest in myself.

Monday, June 19, 2006

ms. klein hears the mermaids singing

I have decided that maybe what I need to do instead of write right now is to paint a giant picture of a mermaid.

There’s a big blank wall in my bedroom that needs a large thing to occupy it. I tend toward the many-small-things school of decorating, but I’d been thinking about getting all Trading Spaces by creating my own art for said wall. TS usually encourages Modernist work—say what you will about “my five-year-old daughter could have painted that” art morons, but it’s easier for the average homeowner to emulate Jackson Pollock than George Seurat.

But I’m kind of a Grandma Moses—good with tiny little people, not so good with perspective. I figure that I will challenge myself this time by painting one giant fish-person rather than a bunch of little people-people. Because artists have to grow, you know?

Two things this weekend have motivated me to (possibly) take this past the idea stage. On Saturday, I attended AK’s friend’s housewarming party, in which she (AK’s friend) invited everyone to create art for her new walls, as well as anything else they wanted to assemble from her arsenal of paint, canvases, stamps, yarn and spare computer parts. The hostess and many of the guests were clearly hardcore crafters. AK, Christine and I were taking a beer-on-the-couch break, and had been sitting there chatting for quite a while when all of a sudden this girl named JP popped up from behind the other end of the couch with a wooden sign in her hand. She’d been crouching there the whole time with her wood-burning kit. The sign would eventually say “Danger,” but for now it said “Dan.”

While I painted a small, respectable picture of a strawberry, as soon as I branched out into 3-D territory, the sucking began. I always think I should be good at crafts because 1) I like to draw and paint and don’t suck too much at it; 2) I’m sort of a girly girl; and 3) I’m a dyke. Shouldn’t that mean I’m able to make a candelabra out of spare bicycle parts?

But no, apparently all I’m able to make is a really ugly vase out of an ice tea bottle, raffle tickets and pink glittery nail polish.

So it’s back to the drawing board, literally, which is a place I’m quite happy to be, especially because I just finished reading Alison Bechdel’s beautiful, eloquent, detailed graphic memoir, Fun Home. The book looks at her gay father’s suicide through a number of different literary, historical and personal lenses, from the Icarus myth to Joyce’s Ulysses to Alison’s own coming-out story.

She briefly covers her bout with OCD, and there’s a bit of an OCD quality to the memoir as she goes over and over the same narrative in hopes of finding the perfect frame for a picture that’s too terrible and too incomprehensible to look at. She even repeats key frames on the page, such as the one where she’s lying on the floor of her college dorm, listening to her mother tell her that her father slept with men. The lead-up and the frames that follow are different in each chapter, a sort of tragicomic book Run Lola Run where the ending is always despairingly the same.

One fun part of reading Fun Home was that AK read it too. Whereas it took me a week, she read it in a morning at my apartment. I wasn’t surprised. I can go to the bathroom and when I get out, she’s often read half my bookshelf. Usually I’m like, “Oh, how was Nick Hornby/Banana Yoshimoto/etc.?” There’s a lot on that shelf I haven’t read. But it was fun to read the same book and then be able to talk about it, although briefly, as her cell phone battery was dying, which forced a People Magazine review mode. Bottom line: good stuff. No, wait, People is punnier than that. Bottom line: Take Fun home with you today!

Friday, June 16, 2006

i heart hungry, grouchy, foul-mouthed sailors

It’s happened again: I’ve witnessed something so brilliant and powerful that I’ve decided I don’t ever need to write again (just when I’d started writing again, in little dribbles, my characters puttering around chapter five with pained expressions on their blurry faces that said, “Could you please make us deeper or at least give us something interesting to do?”).

Usually, the likes of Michael Cunningham or Richard Powers or Toni Morrison or Arthur Miller prompt such flights of ecstasy/despair. This time it was a bunch of teenagers.

Or more specifically, the former teenagers who read old letters, poems and diary entries from their respective youths at the last-for-a-while installment of Mortified at King King last night. In between fits of laughter that almost made me drool, I couldn’t help but think that, while many writers and filmmakers devote their entire careers trying to capture the bittersweet magic of adolescence, and some do a really good job, none are able to do so more perfectly than teenagers themselves:

  • The upper middle-class goth girl who hates all the fake people out there and, like, the government and stuff. She can’t wait for ten years from now when all the fake punks have turned into yuppies but she’ll still be living The Life.
  • The 11-year-old who can’t understand why her diary entries are any less profound than Anne Frank’s. She really hopes her diary will be found and published someday, but she also really, really doesn’t want to die in a concentration camp. (My own diary may have had a few entries along these lines, as history, guilt and fame were always appealing to me.)
  • The 14-year-old camper whose 28-year-old self accurately describes her as a “hungry, grouchy, foul-mouthed sailor.”
  • The boy who loves nothing more than ditching class to watch The Guiding Light and hang out with his mom’s friend Liza Minnelli, and can’t figure out why he doesn’t fit in at school.

Never have I been so envious of someone’s embarrassing youth. And yet (again, between eruptions of laughter), I noticed that everyone on stage was white and had grown up in some stratum of the middle class. Is teen angst only funny if the teen in question has nothing, really, to be angsty about? (Although divorce, social leprosy and discovering you’re queer in the early ‘80s are not exactly hallmarks of privilege. And I found the entries that were just slightly disturbing to be the best.)

Don’t non-white kids who grow up in apartments still have obsessive crushes that serve as fodder for terrible, terrible poetry? (I can answer that question, and the answer is yes, I’ve read and gently edited a lot of it.) So maybe it’s more that the Mortified crowd is made up of largely middle-class 20- and 30-something former nerds who’ve blossomed into semi-hipsters. So of course I felt pretty comfortable there, save for the slight discomfort I feel whenever I’m in an overly homogenous situation.

The show was a benefit for 826LA, a writing center for kids, “so that they don’t write crap like this,” explained the host. Dave Eggers’ 826 franchise is noble, fun, brilliant and so hip that sometimes I want to strangle it. It makes me feel like I am not so much a former nerd as a current one, whose boring office doesn’t have even one pirate store attached to it.

In that way, I got to relive my teenage years just a bit too vividly. But I was happy to be there with my high school friends Amy and Heather, who stuck by me through so many bad hairstyles. Amy and I found ourselves recalling Prom Night ’95—a.k.a. the night we set up our sleeping bags to watch Speed on video in my family room.

As for the 826 kids, I wish them many years of well-documented crap. Because how else can you elevate your equally lame grown-up reactions to the angst years (embarrassment, nostalgia, lingering insecurity) to an art form?

P.S. Speaking of documenting crap, today is my blog’s first birthday. I plan to treat myself to some delicious, bready cake in celebration.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

on the 110, listening to regina spektor

For a minute there the world seemed so robust and glorious. Sure, there were some craggy rocks here and there, but I was a mountain climber. I had shiny gear from REI and an awesome co-climber, and the sun was shining, but not in a way that provoked sweating.

I am mostly still there, climbing the big, gorgeous mountain. But sometimes, while you’re scampering upwards, feeling all muscular and happy and mountain goaty, you see a tiny little avalanche in your peripheral vision. Something tumbles into infinity—you don’t even hear it land. But you realize: Yes, right, the world is fragile.

Monday, June 12, 2006

sexuality is, like, totally fluid, you know?

On Saturday, AK, Nicole, Annie, Meehan and I went to Dyke March LA 2006 (as the printer-made letters at the front of the, um, parade spelled out). It was basically 50 chicks walking down Sunset to a Silver Lake bar. A few people lamented that alleged infighting had broken Dyke March into two, making both marches smaller. But to me it seemed nice and cozy—such a welcome alternative to the expensive, uber-sponsored official Pride activities (though the eternally fun Bangles did make WeHo Pride more than worth the money we didn’t actually end up spending, thanks to AK’s ability to sweet-talk security guards).

One cheap Gauntlet beer after we arrived at Dyke March’s destination, we were all suddenly talking about boys we thought were cute—a Brad Pitt vs. Vince Vaughn discussion that has taken place in sorority houses everywhere (as has plenty of girl-on-girl action, I’m sure). Although Christine did specify, “I like boys and girls who look like Brad Pitt.”

Sunday was all about heterosexuality, as I attended my friends Lizzy and Mars’ wedding in Santa Barbara. Except it wasn’t, because even though the ceremony was, in many ways, your basic white-dress-and-tux affair, there was no bouquet toss; there was no one-man-one-woman talk in the vows; the matron of honor said something in her toast about wanting the best for all her friends’ “spouses or partners”; and the one other gay girl from my high school tore up the dance floor with her wife. A good wedding is in the details.

And maybe the straights and the gays can get along after all.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

cutest kitty-witties vs. tiredest girl

It’s been a while since my last cutest kitty-witty in the world post. Rest assured that I’m still working at the cattery, and the residents are still extremely cute. It’s just that my inherently lazy nature (see previous post) has intervened.

I do wonder how long I can sustain this particular project—the road to my personal hell is littered with brief volunteer stints: PAWS, Project Angel Food, My Friend’s Place, WriteGirl, Spoken Interludes Next (well, actually I got paid for that one, and I still dropped out after two seasons). Animals, people with AIDS, homeless teens, teens who are failing English, teens who are locked up. All sapped the very small amount of energy that I gave them.

During the first week or so that I worked with Jamie, I made some kind of confession regarding some small guilty pleasure—probably Starbucks was involved. She shrugged and said, “Hey, life is hard” with an implied “Gotta treat yourself.” While I think most women’s magazines abuse this philosophy (“You’re a feminist because you treated yourself to a pedicure.”), there is a beautiful, freeing truth to that statement. Life is hard, even when you’re living a good one. You do have to treat yourself. I knew I would like working with Jamie.

And so, weeknight volunteer projects may, at some point in the too-near future, take a backseat to weeknight writing dates or weeknight date dates. But for now I’m sticking it out and enjoying the cuteness of Tahoe, an immense, blue-eyed bobcat of a cat who I know would get along great with my dad (whose high school best friend was known to harbor an illegal pet or two).

Tahoe is a chewer, maybe because he is also part husky. Not a biter—he just likes to gnaw lovingly on your hand, and his grip unfortunately is as strong as a T-rex’s. I’ve nicknamed him the Jaws of Life. The chewing is a Zen thing for him, I think. He seems slightly wiser and more mature than some of the other cats, like a kid who got held back a year and suddenly finds himself the smartest student in class and vaguely annoyed with the schoolyard squabbles that were so important last year.

He would make a wonderful companion for someone with a big heart, a big(ish) house and a sturdy pair of leather gloves.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

6/6/06: the end of the world is nigh

Not for the obvious reason, though. The end of the world is nigh because said world is full of people like me. Today I did not vote in the California election. I moved a few months ago and never received a sample ballot and hence was not sure if I was supposed to go to my old polling place or a new one…but really, I’m sure I could have figured it out with a phone call or two. But no, that was just too much legwork for democracy.

What was apparently not too much legwork was logging onto, where I answered 15 or 20 questions about how long I waited for my green tea latte in exchange for a code number that will get me a free beverage of my choice upon my next Starbucks visit.

On one hand, I hate myself. On the other, maybe Starbucks is onto something. More people might vote if there were a frappuccino in it for them.

Monday, June 05, 2006

two reviews and a preview

1. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler is to Jane Austen as The Hours is to Virginia Woolf. I.e. a book about the experience of reading that performs all the particular beauties of its homage subject while solidly occupying the pomo shelf and, also, presenting an ensemble of characters who are far too complex and entertaining to serve as mere tools of homage or literary experiment.

But whereas The Hours can’t (and shouldn’t) get away from that whole filling-your-dress-with-rocks-and-walking-into-the-water thing, neither can The Jane Austen Book Club get away from the fact that Austen loved a fortuitous marriage and a happy ending. Hence the five women and one man that make up the titular club live mundane, middle class, precisely and wittily etched lives that careen toward happiness.

The book, perhaps like Austen herself at times (and you don’t have to really know Austen—I don’t, Gen Whatever slacker that I am—to like The Jane Austen Book Club) seems to ask: What up with the happy endings? It is a small, realistic, tainted, self-doubting happiness that Fowler offers, but I’ll take that any day over giddy, too-happy endings that just end up making me feel alienated. This is the sort of happiness that feels breathlessly reachable; like maybe we already have it, even.

2. The pepino con chile popsicle: not so into it. It wasn’t so much the strangeness of biting into a spicy popsicle, or the mixture of salty and sweet. It was the particular kind of sweet—kind of cloying, but pretending not to be, like an American Idol contestant singing a Morrissey song. It’s like, just be strawberry already. Just be Kelly Clarkson. I think I’d rather just eat an actual cucumber with actual chile on it.

The walnut popsicle, on the other hand, gave arroz con leche a run for its rice granules. La nuez is creamy and caramely and nutty. Sort of in the coffee ice cream family, not because it tastes much like coffee ice cream, but because it feels like a sophisticated, grown-up dessert. On a stick.

3. Ryan Tranquilla—my friend, former boss and the guy who popularized “It’s just literature” as our organization’s unofficial motto—is reading Wednesday night at the fabulous World Stage in Leimert Park. It’s a great venue with a warm, fun-but-serious vibe; Ryan is a warm, fun-but-serious poet.

Ryan Tranquilla
Wednesday, June 7, 8:30 p.m.
The World Stage
4344 Degnan Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90008

$5 donation

Friday, June 02, 2006

mamey is the new vanilla

The store across the street from me is no 99 Cents Only store—which will always be the holy grail of odd, off-brand products; where you can always be assured of finding Olympics-themed Lucky Charms years after Michelle Kwan has hung up her ice skates—but it still has some gems.

Yesterday I was tickled to discover that they sell dishwashing soap billed as “Non-Ultra Joy.” It’s just such an emotional roller coaster of a name. The “joy” holds so much promise, but it’s like Mr. Proctor and Mr. Gamble want to make sure you don’t get your hopes up too high. This product will bring you, at best, a medium amount of joy. A sort of “hey, there’s my missing sock!” kind of joy, not “oh my god, I think I’m in love!” joy.

But I wasn’t in the mood to do dishes anyway. I was in the market for something in the cool-summery-dessert family. I scanned the waist-high freezer case and grew vaguely annoyed. Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s and Dreyer’s were all represented, but there were no low-fat options. Whenever I lament the unavailability of any consumer product, I always feel hyper-American. Three kinds of ice cream isn’t enough for me? When was the last time I lamented the lack of three political parties, huh? The abundance of fake choice distracts from the lack of real choice.

But before I get all Matrix, let me assure you that I did find a satisfactory dessert. A better than satisfactory dessert. If not for the lack of low-fat Cherry Garcia, I would never have met my new love, arroz con leche popsicles. They’re basically frozen rice pudding on a stick, which, if you’re familiar with my love of custardy desserts and flavors that make some people scrunch up their noses (closed-minded fools! But thank goodness for them, because that means more arroz con leche popsicles for me), you’ll know that this such an item fills all my wildest dessert fantasies. And it only has 4.5 grams of fat.

I also stocked up on popsicles in walnut, chicle, pepito con chile and something called “mamey,” which I just Googled, and which is apparently related to the mangosteen, which I’ve been known to eat pounds of at a time. I’m pretty sure my excitement over these popsicles makes me a flavor gentrifier: Plenty of Pickford Market shoppers have been rockin’ the mamey popsicle for years, I’m sure. Today I get all excited and blog about it. Tomorrow Starbucks is offering a mamey Frappuccino. It happened with lavender and green tea. (I mean, I’m not saying Starbucks reads my blog—but you know what I mean.)

But unlike other forms of gentrification, I think we all win here. The presence of a mamey Frappuccino doesn’t deny anyone’s access to a 50 cent mamey popsicle. Of course, actual mamey pickers will still get paid shit, and certain gentrifier types will complain that the mamey Frappuccino is totally not authentic, and certain other types will argue that we are in a post-authenticity era anyhow. And we’ll have this argument on sunny porches as frozen pink mamey juice drips down our chins.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

dear diary, the weather is just too nice

When I was 13, a typical entry in my diary looked like this:

Dear Diary,

Today Shannon and I went to the mall. I can’t believe I’m a size 7. We both got really inspired to lose weight and are going on diets tomorrow.

I really love Spanish class. Yesterday John Peetz and I talked a lot about the present tense. He has really nice eyes.

Your friend,


In other words, my diary (and I was always compulsively starting a new one, so my closet at my dad’s house is full of little pink books with five or six pages filled) existed mainly to document goals (because once I lost 10 pounds, wouldn’t I want to look back at the fateful day when my miraculous weight loss began?) and prove that I did, contrary to popular belief, have a life. If I did something fun or if a cute boy talked to me, I wrote it down. Or if a cute girl talked to me, I’d write it down in a way that didn’t acknowledge, even to myself, that I thought she was cute: “Anita subbed my jazz class at Act III tonight. She was a really good teacher and used to be a gymnast and has a really good body. I want to be just like her.”

I like to think that my current diary is much more well adjusted. It’s not the same as my blog, by the way—the diary is much more boring, therapy-esque and, occasionally, R-rated. But you’d have to wade through so much boredom and self-therapy to get to the R-rated parts that it wouldn’t really be worth reading. Anyway, I like to think that now I know life is not just about documenting coolness and professing ambitions.

But when I decided I wanted to blog about this weekend, I couldn’t come up with anything except little nuggets of coolness that felt utterly necessary to document, yet utterly un-profound. Stuff like:

On Saturday Sara and Becky and I ate so many tiny little sandwiches and drank so much tea. I should probably eat less sandwiches.

On Sunday Meehan and AK and I saw this feminist burlesque group called the Miracle Whips. They wore stewardess uniforms and strap-ons. The one girl who emceed was really cute.

On Monday I went to the beach. I hadn’t been in a long time. It was sunny and nice. AK’s friends talked about their friend who used to wear jeans to the beach because he wanted to be a model of Christian modesty.

AK has really nice eyes.

So those are my big revelations. Very eighth grade-esque, except I probably didn’t have much occasion to use the phrase “feminist burlesque” when I was in eighth grade.

It’s June 1 today, and I’ve always been fond of making first-of-the-month resolutions, but even though hanging out in Newport Beach in a swimsuit is not a great way to feel thin, I can’t muster any real goals, weight loss-related or otherwise. I’m just too relaxed. The weather is just too nice.

Okay, so maybe I did make a tiny little secret goal to do some more writing. If I follow the pattern of my youth, I will fail within three days.

Speaking of writing, and specifically writing that I wrote years ago (though only four years ago in this case), I’ll be reading from The Commuters again this weekend:

Rhapsodomancy Reading Series
Featuring Eileen Myles, Cheryl Klein, Ariel Robello and Christopher Russell
Sunday, June 4, 2006
Doors open at 7 p.m., reading begins at 7:15
Good Luck Bar

1514 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles
$3 donation at door; a portion of the proceeds will benefit a nonprofit organization.
There will be a cash bar.