from russia, with love

I am being accosted by Russian brides.

Not directly. As in, they are not currently banging at the door. But they have infiltrated my inbox, and they won't leave.

Somehow my company missed the boat on spam protection, because we get everything. For a few weeks, it's Canadian prescriptions. My boss was bombarded with gold watches. Then I got big black beauties. Followed by Viagra at 80% off. And now, Russian brides.

Today I got back from lunch to find this subject line:


Um....no? Sweet Kitty keeps his distance from all pussy. Pretty sure I'd remember one with communist tendencies and poor grammar.

What kills me is that these people actually make money. Schemes only last as long as they're profitable, so someone out there is shelling out $3.95 a minute for god-knows-what, but I'm betting it involves Anastasia and a bottle of vodka.

Continuing the theme of societal hemorrhoids....the cast of Jersey Shore. I hate even bringing them up, but yesterday I got my W-2 in the mail, the annual reminder of just how much Uncle Sam enjoys anally pile-driving the working man. After I sobbed into my pillow (not really) and poured a stiff one (really), I got online to find out that those goons back east are going to make 10K an episode for a twelve episode season. Six figures, just to act inbred on television for a few weeks.

My figures start with a "3" and end shortly thereafter with a "go fuck yourself, poor person." Commence face-stabbing.

Online whores, media whores, and yet I feel like the dumbest whore of all. I try to be proper and corporate, with my business card and my labeled files and my secure vanilla existence; meanwhile the freak shows on the fringe laugh all the way to the bank.

I'm not saying I'm going to go wax my downstairs and buy a webcam. But a better balance of money and happiness? Finding that would definitely warrant a fist-pump.




I wish this was in the signature of all my emails today. And maybe tattooed on my forehead:

politely borrowed from here, by way of here, here, here, and here

I've got a case of the Mondays reminiscent of grade school, when you fell down at recess and Mom made the tuna with too much mayo so it made the bread all soggy, and Mrs. Stewart let some other douche be the line leader even though it was YOUR turn to be the line leader, and you're pretty sure everyone hates you because this is not how it's supposed to work.

Of course you'd go back on Tuesday and maybe Mrs. Stewart would be hungover so you'd get to color all afternoon, and fuck if there's one thing you love, it's coloring. And everything would be okay.

I'm bringing my Crayolas tomorrow in the hope of a better day. Feel free to do the same.



city of angels

So we meet again....me, a Sunday evening, and by whatever chance of fate, now you. One of these days I'll get over apologizing for the places my mind goes once the sun sets on another week, but I'm not there yet. It would of course be easier if I wrote this anonymously, or didn't worry about any form of judgment or repercussion....but when you're a big ol' sack of crazy, I suppose you have to embrace what comes with the territory.

I am rounding the corner on 25 and still spell "judgment" wrong. Every. Fucking. Time. It's maddening.

For no reason in particular I'm listening to slow trance-y techno, which while perfect for drugs and long talks, is not conducive to being positive and productive when home alone. My room looks like a Goodwill exploded, our kitchen is a biohazard, there are emails to write and checklists to cross off, and all I really want to do is watch The Big Lebowski.

As I just momentarily daydreamed about a nightcap somehow appearing in the form of a white russian, a roach took a leisurely stroll across my bed. Well, halfway across. I took a few seconds to silently curse this overpriced infested shanty I call home, then Raid-ed his buggy ass to hell and back.

I even flicked him onto the floor first, lest I Raid my sheets. Two points for planning ahead.

What I'm getting at is I want to go back to Saturday afternoon, when we climbed to the top of LA and silently sat in the sun, breathing in the joy that comes from being above it all. In case you're not from these parts, the best part about rain in LA is that all the smog and dust and ego disappears, and for a day or two afterward everything is as clear and beautiful as the postcards would have you believe. What most citizens of this fair city take to be a punishment, a burden, a struggle, in actuality it creates the opportunity for something amazing to emerge.

The trick during the rain is to remember that it's temporary.

There has been a lot of hardship lately, friends and strangers alike. While I'm slightly baffled at the sudden rainstorm of misfortune, I'm hoping that everyone will not only make it through but also be blessed with a clearer view on the other side.

chin up, lil soldiers -



things my friends say, vol. 10

Today's nugget comes to us all the way from Thailand, compliments of:

"Last week I saw a ladyboy get baptized in the ocean by a guy wearing a hemp tunic with a bigggg marijuana leaf on the front. Reminded me of you."

This leaves me equally amused and mortified. I'm tempted to ask which part in particular conjured up thoughts of me, but I'm scared of the answer.

Happy Tuesday, cheeky monkeys. If you're in LA, run between the raindrops.



lost in translation

This weekend I saw a senior citizen take Communion in gold hot pants.

Who says one can't be stylish whilst receiving the body of Christ?

This has little to do with anything forthcoming. But I needed you to know. Gold hot pants. Old woman. Catholic wedding. The only thing that kept me from laughing out loud was the GIGANTIC Jesus (looking quite heroin chic, I might add) looming over me. Giant Jesus demands solemnity. I've sinned in ways the church hasn't even banned yet, and I still wore a tie. Even matched it to my shirt. But apparently the dress code is a gray area when you're in good with the Boss.

Meantime, back at the ranch....

When I wasn't avoiding the cold stare of Gigantic Jesus, I did actually pick up on something enjoyable. As this was a grande Mexican wedding, everything was bi-lingual. The priest went into an explanation of the saying si Dios quiere, which in case you ditched seventh grade Spanish, loosely translates to "if God wants it."

I'll spare you the drawn out sermon; bottom line, sometimes we have to realize certain decisions are out of our hands. Even though this particular phrase invokes a higher power that I'm not entirely sure pulls my strings, it stuck with me all the same.

Fast forward to today, when I was holding down the backseat on the long drive back to the left coast. As I'm more than guilty of having what second graders call a "staring problem," I love gluing myself to the fun side of a tinted window and watching the soap opera of lives concurrently heading west on I-10. Retirees and road trips. Endless entertainment.

As we continued along, 80mph and too many cacti to count, the following entered my screen: an older, nondescript white hatchback driven by and older, nondescript white woman, neither memorable at first glance. The back of the hatchback was haphazardly stuffed with items looking as worn and forgotten as their chauffeur. As we pulled up next to her, I saw the woman was crying. Nothing hysterical, but enough to be noticed. And immediately I felt for her. I think we all do that at some point. (And if by "that" you weren't sure if I meant cry in the car or empathize with a stranger, you're right either way). I didn't know this woman. I couldn't venture a guess as to where she last filled up, at what mile marker the sobbing would cease, or who put her in such a state.

I say "who" instead of "what", because in my experience the "who's" cause more tears.

But there I was and there she was, separated by fleeting white dashes and infinite unknown back story; ludicrous as it sounds the only thing I wanted to do was tell her "si Dios quiere" over and over again until she believed it, and maybe keep at it until I believed it as well. This stranger with the pain all over her face for the whole desert to see, I wanted her to know that, Dios or not, whatever had happened would end up okay. She would end up okay. Her worn-down car and her worn-down life would eventually end up exactly where it needed to be.

It does not escape me how crazy this all sounds. She could have just been a pack-rat that turfed a desert creature and got choked up. But we all inherently carry our personal baggage into our interpretations. And as the white hatchback faded into right-lane oblivion, I hoped that we both were headed en la dirección de la felicidad.


it's not the pronunciation that bothered me

I was having one of those mornings, those mornings, when I received this magical typo from a client:

Here are some men raped by (agency name). Let's check on there viability.

Can't always rely on spellcheck now can we? An inappropriate raping AND the wrong "there".....this person clearly needs a stiff drink and a Hooked on Phonics workbook.


I'm off to Phoenix so behave yourselves in my absence. You know I hate coming home to a mess. I will, however, be attending my first Catholic anything, and a Mexican wedding at that; hopefully I won't burst into flames so I can describe my religious experience upon returning. How embarrassing that everyone is going to sing songs and I won't know the words. Christ hates those who lip-synch, I'm sure of it.

Feliz Viernes, amigos -



all in a day's work

I know someone who scrubs the kitchen when everything else seems resistant to change.

Another friend takes photos when the rest of life appears out of focus.

Today I spent hours looking at flights halfway around the world, flights I don't have the funds to purchase or the time to take. But I like knowing they're there. Alitalia, those layovers, those stamps wet on my passport all still a possibility. One day. Not today, with Logic and Reason keeping those dreams from leaving the gate. Today is call sheets and billings and only the mind allowed up in the air. But someday. Someday that final boarding call will include me.

And that someday is enough for today.



You know you've hit a dry spell when an attractive man in a Bentley makes two consecutive turns behind you and the first thought you have is "Please for the love of all that is sacred be following me....I'll absolutely be late for work if it means a good old fashioned anonymous hook-up."

I could say that was a made-up scenario, but then I'd be lying. And I can't lie to you.

Happy Friday lovelies. Let's all make a conscientious effort to get some this weekend, shall we?



thicker than water

My grandma wants to have a Spam party.

Exactly what it sounds like.

She's turning 70 this November, and when I asked her plans last night on our weekly phone call, she said she wants a big party....a Spam party. At this point I'm driving home, so I'm reasonably sure I haven't been drinking and therefore heard correctly, but clearly baffled all the same I asked for an explanation.

"Well I've always loved Spam. You fry it up with mac and cheese and it's just delicious. Plus it's a running joke from when we went to Hawaii in 1978 with.....(I blacked out here).....and you know they just love it on the islands. Plus I keep all the old Spam cans I use, so we can put flower arrangements in them. And I want everyone to either bring a Spam dish or at least a recipe idea I can make later. And I want a t-shirt to wear. Do you think they sell those?"

Yes Grandma. They sell those.

At this point the fact I'm surprised is ludicrous. My family tree, particularly Dad's side, grows someplace where hallucinogenic mushrooms mingle with runoff from the anti-depressant factory. We are not, and have never claimed to be, a normal people.

Speaking of, and this is where I'm really descending into hell, I get a Facebook friend-request yesterday from someone I've never heard of, and our only mutual friend is my aunt. So I shoot my aunt an email, inquiring as to the status of this stranger. Turns out she's my second cousin twice removed, from that part of the family, the part that warrants italics. I've heard about them. But pictures are worth a thousand words, so I took the liberty of saving some choice gems from her page so you can understand that my white trash tendencies are more nature than nurture.

I need to reiterate. Actual. Family. Members. Distant, but still inescapable. And now I will let the reality of it all do the talking, because nothing I can caption will do these justice. And I did try to maintain a modicum of respect, why at this point I'm not sure, so I blurred faces on two....but that last one I had to leave. I don't care if it causes a family meltdown. It's worth it.

I'm a horrible person. But I mean COME ON. You can't serve up treats like that and not expect me to dig in.

Happy Hump Day -



things my friends say, vol. 9

Today's nugget, compliments of:

"Sooooo I seriously believe the cleaning lady at my office stole my banana. And I'm so broke....that this....is an issue."

When I lived in Koreatown I once had a minor breakdown because I dropped a bottle of spaghetti sauce, and knowing I couldn't afford another one, it was plain pasta for dinner.

And these are the best years of our lives. Right?


the fourth wall

Excerpt from a chat with one of my more unique talent, a charming young lass who describes the following in a manner and tone one would expect when reading a grocery list:

"Well I'm working at this place called _______, which is a high end lounge with an S&M motif. Some nights are themed and masters bring their slaves, some nights we have to act out masturbating while getting choked...it's a good gig. The other night I got beyond wasted on Jack and (A-list male celebrity deleted) stuck his camera all up in my crotch while I was on stage, but I was too tanked to care. That night I was only wearing red tape on my nipples and red fishnets. I just like it better than Vegas, performing out there gets monotonous."

Monotonous. The woman standing there brought us a plate of homemade rice krispy treats, and later tonight will mimic fetish sex on stage for the pleasure of the wealthy elite.

I would give anything to see her resume.


welcome to the future

I saw something the other day that said "1990 was twenty years ago." People I graduated with have children in elementary school. I am now the same age my mother was when she had me.

Just saying....a new year brings a spectrum of emotions.

Speaking of the way-back-when, as I ponder possible resolutions I'm reminded of an elementary school mantra that was always directed at the underachievers. Remember what the teacher would always say about incomplete assignments?

Something is better than nothing.

And to this day, I agree. Even though I dared never leave an assignment unfinished (lest I fall from my gleaming pedestal of perfection), I still got the drift. And I much prefer that message to the more demanding directive of "if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right." Which of course is fine and dandy in spirit. But I like most people have certain areas of life where I am completely content with being afloat in a sea of mediocrity. Mostly trivial things. Math, for instance.

What I'm getting at is more or less a lesson in realism. There are reasons we all haven't accomplished our every goal up to this point, and they usually have to do with those darn personal shortcomings that we just can't seem to shake. I could have cleaned the kitchen today and, flush with determination, declared that in the spirit of bettering myself, no soiled utensil shall grace our counter top from this day forward, forever and ever, amen.

And that, friends, is called "delusion."

I'm lazy. The dish soap dries out my hands, I hate scrubbing, and frankly my ability to turn a blind eye far surpasses my ability to self-motivate. I hold all these truths as self-evident. That being said, my list of resolutions focuses on something being better than nothing. Instead of stringent diets, budgets, or god forbid sobriety, I am instead focusing my attention on smaller goals. For example:

Eat smaller portions
Polishing off plates that can be confused with serving platters is decidedly south of sexy.

Eat only when hungry
Snacks make the belt buckle disappear, not the boredom.

Lay off the weeknight hooch
Simply making it through another day does not (always) qualify as reason for a nightcap.

Buy fewer rounds
He's a hook-up, not an investment opportunity. Spend hard-earned money in a way that does not include ultimately searching for your other sock as a payoff.

Occasionally break a sweat
How many chubby guys do you approach in bars? Case in point.

Those are the big ones, and of course they're all connected in one way or another. Hopefully taking small steps still gets me somewhere.

I mean, it's not the 90's anymore. It's time to get serious.


don't need no education

So here's the skinny: I'm a bit wrecked. Good wrecked. The kind of bewildered exhaustion bestowed upon one after three full days and nights of partying without regard to health, reason, or the socially acceptable time of day to begin building a wizard staff.* My voice is gone, my immune system is right behind it, and I'm sitting here with spotty memories and bruises of unknown origins, not exactly being what parents would call a role-model.

But hey...it is what it is. Clearly you're not the judging type. That's why we get along.

While at the cabin yesterday, we played a game called Wits & Wagers. Fun concept: trivia questions are read, you write down your best guess, and then you can bet on the spread of answers to gain points. Fairly simple.

Fairly simple except that one by one we became mortified at our fundamental lack of basic education. Twelve friends playing this game, fourteen diplomas between us, and we had people guessing that the world's largest pearl weighed in at 70 pounds. For the record, it was seven. Seven pounds. Fun fact to know and share.

We guessed thousands of feet short when assessing waterfalls. We were hundreds of years off when recalling historical events. One by one we would mock a competitor for not knowing when Hawaii became a state, and then feel karma's open-palmed slap on the ass when everyone now knew you honestly believed it would cost $3 million to open a Subway franchise.

We're not dumb, any of us. We all have above-average educations, fledgling careers, good upbringings; pedigrees worthy of at least face time on Jeopardy. But the humble pie was served family-style as we sat dumbfounded, silently wondering how we each could know so much and yet so little at the same time.

To be fair, there's of course an argument to be made about quality versus quantity when it comes to smarts; I do not know which king beheaded which wife, but I do know you wear a green-tinted moisturizer to neutralize a reddened face.

Knowledge is really just mental priorities.

What I took from this ego-bruising game was more or less my resolution for the year. I might muster up an actual list tomorrow, but for now my larger mantra is this:

Keep Learning.

I'll of course attempt to mold this onto other desires for 2010 - learn how to eat smaller portions, learn the actual grammatical rule regarding "who" versus "that" - but more importantly I want to remember how little I actually know. This is not self-deprecation. I can be downright intelligent when push comes to shove. It's the larger essence of learning, to think beyond what I know, or what I don't know, and look for more either way. Learn moderation. Learn patience. Learn to write every day, learn time management, and learn to live by Ecclesiastes 3:1 if you're down with me folding an unexpected biblical reference into the mix.

I'm thinking within the next week I'll need to be putting some resolutions down for accountability purposes, but for now I'm sitting here alone on the couch, generic sport drink in hand, quite pleased with the thought-fodder that comes from a much-needed vacation, and feeling genuinely excited about the promise of the future.

Happy New Year -


*wizard staff = duct taping your empty beer cans together end-to-end to form a lengthy wand of awesomeness. Best started before noon. Comparing staff length is encouraged.