Showing posts from March, 2009

catharsis, new ideas and glitter

Some parts of this weekend sucked (thank you, reproductive cycle! You are why our new towel rack is still on the floor, just staring wistfully up at the towel-rack part of the wall). But it got off to a great start when I met with AK’s coworker Hataya’s guy Sergio (got that?) about collaborating on some kind of text/visual art thing. As you may remember, I have a love/hate relationship with collaboration . At CalArts, I participated in this project called “Blind Date,” wherein a bunch of writers were given works by people in the art department and asked to respond creatively, and vice versa. I got to write about a sculpture I remember as silver, loopy and about knee-high. It was cool-looking, but it did not bring forth great emotion in me. So I wrote some trippy, abstract prose poem in response. But even though my meeting at Vroman’s with Sergio was also something of a blind art date, I have to say I was totally smitten. He’d read a couple of my stories and I’d gotten a chance to ch

what chicken* wants

According to my McDonald’s place mat**: “Chicken is so rich with potential. It’s ready to be elevated into tender sliced chicken breast. It longs to be premium all-white meat chicken. It wants to be crispy or grilled chicken breast that’s laid across a honey wheat roll or an incredible hand-tossed salad. Chicken doesn’t want to be ordinary, it wants to be juicy, tender, premium chicken. That’s why the best chicken, Tyson chicken, goes to McDonald’s so that you can have a tender moment…with chicken.” *“Chicken” is not to be confused with “ chickens .” “Chicken” is apparently a conceptual yet sentient substance that wants nothing more than to be your mealtime bitch. “Chickens” are birds that, while not known for their intelligence, probably do not have this desire. **Interestingly, the Spanish version said, “Se puede convertir…. Puede ser crujiente….” If my high school Spanish serves me correctly, that means “Chicken can be…” not “Chicken wants …” Is it a translation thing, or is th

i put the cheryl klein in

Apparently Akbar has been hosting a weekly queer-ish comedy night for three years now, but last night was the first AK and I heard about it. I don’t mind being late to the game, though, as long as I’m not too late to see Karen Kilgariff , quite possibly the funniest person alive , who performed last night. She started by reading off the list of people who’d RSVPed “yes” on Facebook. It was a sad but hilarious roll call. Then she did a bit I’d heard her do before, but which still made me laugh so hard that if I’d attended a few days closer to hernia surgery, I could have seriously injured myself. I love funny people. Even though I’ve heard they’re all crying inside, and even though there were a fair amount of anecdotes from, as comedian Erin Foley described it, “my 20s, when I didn’t know if I was gay and did a lot of overeating and overdrinking.” So there’s evidence that maybe they’re not models of well-adjusted-ness. Still, when I hear funny people talk, it makes me want to get o

suspending my dislike of suspense

1. train gang I have a complicated relationship with suspense. In movies, that is. In life, I just flat out don’t like it unless I’m on pins and needles waiting to find out just how much I won in the lottery. Except I don’t play the lottery, because [see first half of previous sentence]. With movie suspense, there are pros and cons. Con: “Stressed-out” is not the emotion I go to the movies to feel. And suspense stresses me out. I can handle blood (unless it’s animal blood, in which case I cover my eyes and cry). I can handle sorrow. But if I wanted to feel stressed, I would just, I don’t know, schedule too much stuff to do. Oh, wait…. Pro: A little suspense will keep you awake while watching a DVD in your cozy darkened house after 10 p.m., and that is a task I most definitely need help with. Enter Transsiberian , one of the most stressful/suspenseful movies I’ve seen in a long time. The first half is a believable drama about a couple (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) taking th

lazy, foggy saturdays call for facebook memes

Cut , pasted: Four jobs I have had in my life: 1. bagel slinger 2. gymnastics teacher 3. entertainment journalist or possibly "journalist," as it was the anything-goes dot-com boom 4. arts administrator Four movies I've watched more than once: 1. Waiting for Guffman 2. Sunset Boulevard 3. The Birdcage * 4. Soul Man * *Sometimes you don't re-watch movies because they're good, or even because you love them, okay? Sometimes they're just on channel 9 on Saturday afternoons a LOT, or your roommate owns the DVD. Four places I have lived: 1. West L.A. 2. South L.A. 3. Southwest L.A. 4. Northeast L.A. Four places I have been: 1. Oaxaca, Mexico 2. Kuching , Malaysia 3. Berlin, Germany 4. pretty much everywhere in California that you can go in a motor home Four of your favorite foods: 1. bread pudding 2. flan 3. sushi 4. burritos Four places I would rather be right now: 1. the gym, because my doctor barred me for two weeks and I'm contrary by nature 2. so

sunshine in unexpected places

I'm not sure whether, when you take a week off for surgery, you're allowed to go see a movie if you feel pretty good on the sixth day and think that it might be useful to ease back into the world gradually rather than jumping in the deep end on Thursday. So, if you are my boss, let's just say that I got an illegal screener of Sunshine Cleaning and watched it on DVD from my sickbed. And if you're a member of the MPAA , or whoever polices such things, let's say it wasn't illegal and I'm in fact a member of the Academy. But whomever you are, you should see this movie (unless you're the dad of the girl who was in front of me coming out of the movie theater, who told her in a semi-baffled tone, "I think I liked it...except it was kind of boring"). As I explained to AK, I love movies about people trying to figure out their lives: in this case, Amy Adams is Rose, a former high school cheerleader and present-day single mom trying to turn her housec

staycationing with my body

1. channel changer What’s tiring is not so much the staples in my side or the fact that Team Gato doesn’t really understand the meaning of “not a good time to pounce on my stomach” (as I type, T-Mec is trying to wedge herself in the non-space between my laptop, my pillow and my elbow). What’s tiring—and also kind of interesting—is all this living in my body . The last time I lived so intensely in my body was probably puberty, which I went through early and reluctantly ( Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret was a cruel joke—why would anyone pray to get her period?). After that my relationship with my body pretty much had two channels: Fat and Not Fat. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to switch from one to the latter, but even during the fattest times, there was a reassuring predictability to my struggle. Cookies = Channel 1. Vegetables = Channel 2. So to be reminded that my body is capable of all sorts of wild-card things—that it can put a piece of my intestine where it’s n

a swift kick in the gut

I'm writing to find out if I really am different on Vicodin . The bottle says, "Use care using machines." I've asked AK to hide the keys to the forklift, but I'm not sure how this applies to internet machines (a.k.a. AK's laptop). I do plan to spell check, so hopefully that counts as using care. In classic Cheryl style, I psyched myself out for a month only to have the actual surgery go totally smoothly. The nurses were nice, the doctors were nice, my dad and AK had a nice chat in the waiting room, sharing a Subway sandwich and debating the pros and cons of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (AK is of the Michael Pollan eat-real-food school of thought, my dad is totally '80s in his love of low-fat products). One of two nice nurses named Karen promised, "It'll be over before you know it," and I realized that this was literally true. One minute the anesthesiologist was telling me how he was giving me a preliminary drug that was the eq

some books for you to read while i watch 30 rock online

The upside of hernia surgery is that it gives me an excuse to be completely irresponsible for a week, which I intend to take full advantage of, beginning Thursday. I shall call on my high school-era procrastination and rerun-watching skills—they’re a little rusty, but the foundation is solid. It’s ridiculously hard for me not to make a to-do list for my involuntary staycation, and yesterday, after one of my New York co-workers kindly offered to write up a document I might have otherwise written, I confessed to my boss, “I could feel my fingers being pried open as I reluctantly let go of it.” “It’s good to let go,” she assured me. “I promise you something wonderful will come and fill your hands.” I hope so. But the first thing may be a remote control, which would be wonderful, actually. (I guess I mean a figurative remote control because our TV has pretty much permanently relocated to the repair shop.) If I’m feeling energetic, maybe I’ll read. If I’m feeling really energetic, maybe

all that love and work

1. hustle ... It had been at least six or seven years since I'd seen Rent , and ten since Stephanie and I had seen it more regularly than we got our oil changed (sometimes two or three times during a run, camping out for rush tickets when we could, blowing our savings on full-price tickets if we had to, once driving to Arizona on a whim). I still had a deep affection for the show, but when I talked about my Rent years to others, I talked about it as if I'd been a hardcore New Kids On The Block fan. Then Rent showed up at the Pantages , and Stephanie wanted to try our luck in the cheap-ticket lotto (they don't let you camp out anymore--it's unclear whether they're afraid of terrorists or it's a liability issue or they just got tired of hosting fan-kid slumber parties). For a little while it was just a thing on my calendar. Then, on the way home from work Friday, I listened to the soundtrack for the first time in ages, traffic melted away, and I realized I r

hp in bloom

I know we’re in a state-of-emergency drought. I wouldn’t be surprised if the plants blanketing NELA’s hillsides are aggressive non-native weeds. But damn, Highland Park is gorgeous after a few days of rain. All the yards on my morning jog that normally have dirt instead of grass (the economical way to practice sustainability) now have grass-like carpets of dewy green sprouts. I don’t know what they are—some salad-ish mixture of grassy stuff and herby stuff and tendril-y stuff. Dirt mounds on construction sites have become frolic-worthy knolls. Our own flower beds, heretofore occupied not by flowers but by stones, succulents and rotten lemons, have gone all Secret Garden on us. Suddenly it’s not hard to imagine a time after humans, when plants push us and all our stupid problems into the ground with their no-nonsense roots. I’ll miss us, but it will be a lovely takeover.

not-so-stiff upper lip

1. if i had a mood ring, it would be going berserk right now I keep prematurely declaring myself done with my winter doldrums. I'll be all, " Yay ! I'm skiing and the weather's nice and I just read a really good book and someone is designing my website!" and then, 24 hours later, I'm all superstitious about hernia surgery again (the song playing in the blood test office's waiting room: possibly bad luck; the show playing on the TV in the chest x-ray office's waiting room: good luck, as it involved a circus). All I can say is: I have a very patient girlfriend. We're taking this relationship class at church right now, and there's a lot of stuff about making time to be silly and not being critical of your partner. AK is a prodigy at being silly and noncritical. She's critical of some things--books and movies and people who aren't friendly--but if you're not one of those things, she's pretty much all love, all the time. Exce