Showing posts from January, 2009

these boots were made for blogging (about)

It’s been kind of a rough week. But today the overpriced-but-discounted boots I ordered from Zappos arrived. It’s a little scary how much I can love an inanimate object. Or, I guess, two inanimate objects. Four if you count the perfect brown boots I bought last weekend during my quest for the perfect black boots. Now I look at my shoes from so many different angels while walking around that you’d think I was checking for dog doody. I think Rachel said it best on the first episode of Friends , when she had yet to enter spoiled-rich-girl recovery: “They’re my new ‘I don’t need a job, I don’t need my parents, I've got great boots’ boots!” Although, since I bought them with Christmas money from my dad, I guess I do need my parents.

no more ms. tough guy

1. my weightlifting career is in serious jeopardy Until my best friend Shannon and I decided it was nerdy to get perfect attendance and played hooky the last day of eighth grade (though we still got our parents’ permission, which doesn’t help to disprove our nerdiness), I was always one of those kids who fought to go to school no matter how sick I was. I think my pride in physical toughness is my one big butch quality. I was proud of making my high school’s bench-press wall of fame (if you call having your name written on a piece of construction paper in a musty, rarely-used weight room “fame”). I was proud that I didn’t cringe when getting my tattoo. I was proud that I didn’t need to take a single Vicadin after getting my wisdom teeth out, even though I might have had more fun if I did. So when I learned yesterday that the mysterious lump on my abdomen was a hernia—meaning no weights or sit-ups until surgery—I had distinctly mixed emotions. The first was relief that it wasn’t canc

art imitates life

Two movies you should see. 1) Doubt : If I’d managed to see this one over the holidays, it definitely would have made my top-ten list (falling around number two or three). It’s so meaty and moral, with complex characters you want to dish on later like they’re your own dysfunctional family. Meryl Streep’s uber-moral dragon-lady nun character—who has a soft spot for little old ladies but wages war on ballpoint pens—kind of reminds me of my ex. Would you believe me if I said I meant that as a compliment? 2) Breaking and Entering : AK and I rented this 2006 movie last night, and Jude Law and Robin Wright Penn’s characters reminded us a little of ourselves in the way they dealt with their problems (or didn’t). Penn’s character got all control-freaky and Law ran away—although, AK pointed out quite fairly, “When I need to escape, I don’t have an affair. I just go to Barnes & Noble for a while.” Fictional characters are a good entry point to talking about relationship stuff because y

there is an “i” in “introvert”

I just got back from seeing a read/sing-through of Embers , a “jazz opera in poems” based on Terry Wolverton’s novel in poems , at the L.A. Central Library . It was fun to see one art form morph into another, to hear words I’d read take wing against a background of black-and-white cityscapes. But it was just as cool to look through the program and read people’s bios, many of which said things like, “So-and-so has been collaborating with Terry for 30 years.” Thirty years! I feel like I’ve only been working with (as opposed to against) myself for about ten. Suddenly I found myself itching with inspiration, wanting to inhabit one of those loose Bohemian worlds where artistic projects flow together and apart, and you all grab drinks after play rehearsal. The problem is, I suck at collaboration. I never liked group work in school, and I pretty much always try to wedge an “I” into “team.” Myers-Briggs puts me somewhere between introvert and extrovert*, but closer to the former. This mean

inauguration, celebration

L.A. Live, January 20, 2009.

confessions of a gentrifier who’s kind of over confession

1. perplexed in the city First of all, a shout out to Hawaii friend Mano , because not many houseguests would get genuinely excited when their host said, “Hey, there’s this lecture at the library I want to go to tomorrow night. Want to spend your only night in L.A. doing that?” Luckily, it was kind of a kick-ass event: a Q&A between poet/KPFK guy Jerry Quickley and writer/solo performer Danny Hoch , whom I became a fan of in college when his one-man show Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop came to UCLA. The topic at hand was gentrification, the subject of Hoch’s new show Taking Over . Jerry and Danny are both NYC natives who saw the city through the crack epidemic, the Giuliani crackdown and the era when Michelle Williams began strollering her baby through Brooklyn. Even though Jerry was quick (no pun intended) to point out how everyone likes to believe the gentrifiers are the ones who came right after him or her, I could tell he also wanted to devote some time to humorously raggin

big house in the little woods

Originally our idea had been to go camping for AK's 33rd birthday, but as seasoned camper Christine pointed out, you can't camp anywhere north of Mexico in January. So we found ourselves at a "cabin" in Idyllwild that featured cable TV, a jacuzzi tub, a fireplace, a kitchen island, two garbage disposals, a pool table, and a small collection of creepy porcelain dolls, none of which I have at home. Some members of our crew schlepped up Rock Band and Guitar Hero too, and whenever there was a debate over whether a Boggle word was a real word, Amy looked it up on her BlackBerry . So you can't really say we got away from it all, but I think it's safe to say we had fun. Some highlights: The decor. Oh, the decor. It was sort of B&B meets chainsaw. A bottle of Riesling that AK and Pedro found in town. As any discerning wine connoisseur knows, all the best vintages come in bottles shaped like pets. Veggie chili in the super-deluxe kitchen. Pedro's s

the free market isn’t free, but cholera is cheap!

Ever wonder why some of the world (India, Brazil, many parts of Africa, some parts of China) has been so poor for so long? Your high school history class may have subtly implied that it is just is , in an almost eugenics-y way. Or your teacher may have pointed out that those areas have suffered major droughts, which caused widespread famine and disease and stalled development. I don’t know what mine said, because I dropped out of AP history my sophomore year and took California history. I could tell you a lot about the Gold Rush. But, anyway, as Mike Davis explains it in Late Victorian Holocausts , peasants in most countries—England and India alike—lived very similar lives up until the 19th century. They probably had some cows, grew some grain, didn’t have iPods or anything, but were mostly healthy. Certain areas (see above), however, were in the path of El Niño’s predictable-only-if-you-have-a-PhD-in-weather path, meaning they were especially susceptible to drought some years and h

in loving memory of my toshiba satellite, 2004-2009

[Mac voice]: Hi, I’m a Mac. All your friends have me. I’m shiny and pretty and easy to use, and made for people who like to think of themselves as arty, as you clearly do, Ms. Thrift Store Sweater. I’m also perfect for people who really hate when things break or become completely obsolete after four and a half years, and let’s face it: You’re technologically very lazy. I’ll look so cute sitting next to AK’s little black Mac—-you should get the white version of me so we can be all ebony-and-ivory. Oh, by the way, I cost a bazillion dollars. [PC voice]: Hi, I’m a PC. An Acer Aspire, specifically—-don’t you like how my name implies that you’re already hoping for something better? Kind of like the Ford Aspire , and we know how well things turned out with Ford! Your dad found me on the sale shelf at Best Buy and assures you that I’m “as good as an eMachine.” If you go with me, you will feel worthy of your dad’s love and generosity. You might as well just stab that MacBook through his he

if he could see them now

Here's what had AK and I geeking out Friday night: Who knew that white ladies in bell-bottoms were krumping waaay back in the day? "Bob Fosse was always at least 20 years ahead of his time," I said to Jamie as we were watching this video today. "Yeah," she said, "but he probably stole those moves from a jazz club somewhere." Dance is always references within references within references. And damn, the result looks good.

the mormon church: facebook of the ‘80s

1. it would be nice, for once, if just one person i grew up with had gotten fat, but no, that’s not how they do things in manhattan beach My sister’s best friend from elementary school just Facebook -friended me, so I’m now updated on the fact that she is as tall and gorgeous as ever, is married with a cute little boy, threw some sort of New Year’s Eve party that her friends declared really fun…and is a member of “I Support the California ProtectMarriage Constitutional Amendment.” This isn’t a big shocker because H is Mormon—as in blonde, one-of-five siblings, never-drank-soda-at-my-sister’s-birthday-parties Mormon. In case I sound like one of those anti- Prop. 8 Mormon-haters, I should add that H’s entire family was always incredibly nice. My sister spent so much time at our local Mormon temple—which was always putting on awesome kid-friendly events—that there was a time when I thought, Maybe when I grow up, if I’m not married and don’t have any friends, I’ll become Mormon and eve