Showing posts from May, 2010


Many months later, the exquisite corpse scrapbook I started with my artist friend Sergio is complete. Even after the pages appeared to be full, he kept adding layers: a cityscape in the corner of a partially used page, a collage of coolers and lawn chairs and mysterious holy men. It's everything I love about L.A., art and randomness. Here are a few highlights, as photographed by AK. (The happy writer. Ignore scrubby Sunday afternoon clothes.)

further adventures in hypochondria

A short play. The only characters are the voices in Cheryl’s head. VOICES IN CHERYL’S HEAD: I have a symptom. It must be a disease , most likely one that will cause infertility now and cancer later. Whatever I do, I shouldn’t Google it. [Googling it] Fuck. [Later that hour] You know, that symptom was really mild and now it’s gone completely. It might have all been in my head, and I think we both know what goes on in here. [Googling some more] But wait—-it says here you can have the disease and not have any symptoms. So I’m not off the hook. Fuck. What other symptom-less diseases might I have...? [Googling]

why i don't tweet

Every time NPR runs another story about Twitter, AK and I roll our eyes. At best, these stories are about how, say, Iranian students are organizing protests via Twitter. At worst, some old reporter caps his interview with some old rock star by asking, “Do you Tweet?” To which Old Rock Star either says, “Good lord, no” or, with a bit of ironic distance, “Yeah, all the kids are doing it,” and I guess we’re supposed to squeal at the adorable, hilarious mental picture of Old Rock Start pecking away at his 140 characters. As far as I can tell, Twitter exists for the purpose of 1) marketing, 2) coordinating protests in countries under the thumb of oppressive regimes and 3) making reporters who are over fifty feel like they’re with-it. If you’re not a marketer, protester or reporter, you have no reason to be on Twitter. Even if you do have stuff to market (and, sigh, don’t we all ), you’re only going to be hawking your stuff to people who are there to hawk their stuff. It’s like the garage s

vodka and other curatives

Some updates: T-Mec is now sans tube-in-face, and we’re all happier for it. My regular vet didn’t even charge me to take it out, even though he wasn’t the one who put it in. I have a long list of kindnesses I need to pay forward. Many of the said kindnesses were committed by AK, including hand holding, grocery shopping, and administration of vodka when I was so crazy with cramps last night that I was just sort of rolling around moaning. Vodka both tastes and functions like medicine. My book club likes poetry . I think that makes them particularly kickass as book clubs go. But because of the aforementioned cramps, I missed some other good poetry: Steven Reigns ’ reading of his new book Inheritance . When I get a chance to read it, I’ll let you know all about it, but if you want to beat me to the punch, go here . I suck at bowling, go kart racing and probably all other indoor sports. AK came in third Saturday at Kimberly’s birthday party, and proudly wore her “Winner” medal (which, actu

million dollar day

Well, I did end up crying on the drive home from Fresno, this time not because I was seized with the poignancy of life , but because I got a speeding ticket. I'd just spent a sweaty but lovely 45 minutes in the parking lot of a 76 station interviewing blog friend Peter of Plastic Bubble World about his years as a cruise ship dancer, as this is where my so-called circus novel is heading. I pulled back onto the 99 and talked to my sister for a while--using my hands-free device because that's the kind of safe driver I am. But shortly after hanging up, I saw red and blue lights in my rear view mirror, and soon I was in another parking lot (Burger King this time) having a much less pleasant conversation. I wouldn't call the CHP officer baby-faced, but he was someone I could easily picture as a mildly trouble-making middle school student. He told me I was going 82 in a 70 zone. He asked why I was shaking. I said because I'd gotten pulled over (third time ever, first for s

freeway flowerings

The guest speaker at All Saints on Sunday was a man who’d lost both hands and an eye to a letter bomb sent to him when he was protesting apartheid in South Africa many years ago. I had the thought that, wow, it’s bad to send a letter bomb to anyone for any cause, but when your cause is pro -apartheid? Extra bad. The topic of the sermon was forgiveness. The speaker said that, if he met his bomber now, he’s not sure if he would forgive him. Maybe, he said, if he learned that the bomber had spent years working in hospitals. So his point was that forgiveness is complicated, and should come with strings attached. But what I took away from the sermon was the importance of being big and brave in the world. Lately I’ve been feeling like life is good, but because I’m a guilty, superstitious person, this goodness has made me small and afraid. The more I have to lose, the more likely fate is to swoop down and take it all away, right? So church made me want to be big and brav

whodunit? idunit

“I’ve decided that I’m dressed like this because I filmed my last movie in Mexico and got really inspired,” I said to AK. I was wearing an embroidered Mexican dress belted to look like a mini skirt, lots of folk-art jewelry and big white sunglasses. “I now donate one percent of the proceeds from my perfume sales, after costs of course, to children’s charities in Mexico.” Next to me in the car, AK was dressed in jeans, blazer and baseball cap. She was director Peggy Marshall and I was actress Raquel Tilson , and somehow we’d agreed to do this for Julie and Andrew’s murder mystery party, which had a Hollywood-party-in-Mexico theme. “The invitation said you’re not allowed to make up clues,” AK said. “That’s impossible,” I said. “That would be so boring. Come on, what’s Peggy like?” “She’s obviously gay.” “Maybe Raquel is trying to sleep with her to get cast in her new movie, Gingey ,” I suggested. “Look, if you want to do some role playing later, just say so.” In college, Stephani

universal coverage

A few years ago I got into the habit of buying bras around the time of the L.A. Times Festival of Books. I think maybe Robinsons May had a sale then. There I’d be with a lot of older Persian ladies in the bowels of Westside Pavilion, sifting through racks of large beige bras. Despite what our culture would have you believe about breast size, being a bigger girl is depressing business. And I am sure the Persian ladies would agree. Robinsons May has long since gotten gobbled up by Macy’s, and when I went there today, I couldn’t even find the lingerie section, although Jamie later assured me there was one. So I went to Nordstrom at the other end of the mall, where you can buy all the same stuff but for more money. And so I did. Victoria’s Secret had already disappointed me with its flimsy straps and not-small prices, and my lunch hour was rapidly turning into a lunch hour-and-a-half. Panic got the best of me: I walked out of Nordstrom with four bras. The straps weren’t flim

quality ladies

AK and I spent 24 hours of our weekend in Palm Springs celebrating Christine’s bachelorette party. We partied the way I suppose bachelorettes in their thirties do: We had lunch at the Parker (a Jonathan Adler spectacle of swank with mirrored shag and $15 oatmeal), Christine worked by the pool at 7 a.m. and Michelle ducked out periodically to spend some quality time with her breast pump. Plus AK was getting over a bad cold, so we found ourselves cozied up in bed at the Quality Inn* watching Saturday Night Live by midnight. But what a night for SNL ! It was the long-awaited Betty White episode , which I think may go down in history as a TV tipping point: The moment when the power of the “I bet I can find one million people who want Betty White to host SNL ” internet trumped the power of publicists and the rest of the TV machine. And more importantly, the moment when a bunch of ladies—many of them over forty and one of them way over forty—took over a male medium and made it tw

owning it, ending it

God, my last post was so unbelievably long—like a serial novel but not in serial. And not really a novel, actually. Okay, never mind. But I’ll keep this one short: just a quick reiteration of how much I love college students. Terry and I visited Antioch last night on the last (for now) stop on our unofficial two feminists/two generations tour. It was a little different from the usual read-and-sign gig, and that much more fun for it. We were guests in the psychology department’s LGBT concentration’s lecture series (got all that?). Meaning we were there to talk about feminism, activism and social movements more than our literary inspirations. I was into that because big social ideas are what inspires me to write, and I’d almost always rather talk about ideas than about the writing of ideas. At the same time, I hardly felt qualified to speak as a representative of the younger generation of activists, seeing as how I’m neither young nor an activist, unless you count that form letter ab

oldies, goodies and what i read in april

This afternoon I put our ancient office computer out to pasture, which involved wheeling it on a luggage cart through the hallway of our building so I could take it to the dusty gadget-and-repair shop down the street for recycling. Inevitably, this garnered some oohs and ahhs from our building-mates. As in, “Ooh, that sure is an old computer,” followed by an implied, “Ahh, how hilarious that you actually used it for seven years!” The supposed hilarity of old electronics is a pet peeve of mine. My philosophy, which I know makes me sound 85, is if it ain’t broke, don’t upgrade just because the new one is shinier. I also tend to anthropomorphize inanimate objects, so making fun of our slow but sturdy computer also just seems mean. (This runs in my family: My sister just bought an iPod Touch and gave me her first-generation iPod on the condition that I not change its name, which is Nigel.) Saturday night AK and I saw Please Give , a wonderful and thoughtful movie about the pros and cons