Friday, November 30, 2001HOW ABOUT THEM APPLES?
I got my computer back from Apple! It works and everything! Nothing has been lost! All files intact, including THE NOVEL. This means I have to write 16,000 words today to finish it. See how even miracles lead to more work? Why should everything lead to more work?
I may just go eat Indian food and complain to my friend Joanie instead. I like the name Joanie. Once we went to go get coffee, and the coffee guy asked for our names, and then said, with surprise, "Hey! Joanie Loves Chachi!" I thought this was hysterical, but Joanie just rolled her eyes and said, "She sure does."
It's a good thing to keep in mind: making a play on someone's name is only funny to onlookers. Oh my god! That guy wasn't trying to flirt with Joanie, he was actually trying to impress me! I gotta go back and find that guy...
In closing, let's steal a joke from the snarky malarkey blog:
"When I die, I want to die like my grandmother who died peacefully in her sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in her car." * Author Unknown
Thursday, November 29, 2001Dear Rabbit,
I am a young, white woman with what most young, white women are horribly frightened of - a big butt. It isn't freakishly large, but it is definitely noticeably bulbous. Luckily, it doesn't impair my walking or limit me to sitting at home on it for fear of ridicule from strangers. However, it does permeate my nearly every thought.
Having a big ass is different from having a large tummy or flabby arms. Having a big ass requires you to stand with your back to the mirror and crane your neck around in order to get a glimpse. The view from this uncomfortable position is distorted, at best, and so follows my self-image.
Men love to point it out to me, as if I were blissfully unaware. "Hey Baby, fat ass!" Women take great pleasure in pointing out how they have no ass at all. It's maddening.
What's a big-bootied girl to do?
Got Much Back
Those charitable men are only updating you on the state of your ass because they know that you can't quite see all of it in the mirror without straining your neck.
And the ass-less women are just jealous. That's what you big butted women don't understand. You just assume that all skinny girls are in some kind of little bony-ass club that meets every Thursday over celery and diet coke to talk about how utterly disgusting big fat butts are. Au contraire. They meet every Tuesday for peach ice cream and mallow cups to talk about how great it would be to be just like J. Lo, except without the lame songs and the dumbshit nickname.
Besides, didn't you say "noticeably bulbous"? That doesn't say huge and flabby to me. That says big and round and firm like a basketball. I myself have always aspired to have a truly bulbous ass, because I think bulbous asses are a force to be reckoned with. In fact, I think it's quite possible that they bind the galaxy together.
My friend Ann is like you. She's very tall with a small waist and a relatively large butt, and whenever we go out, the people always shout, there goes a girl who's ass is big as shit, lada da da da da da!
Ok, sorry. Ahem. Whenever we go out, she always asks if her ass look too big in these pants or that skirt (I'm not sure she can see her whole ass without pulling a muscle in her neck, like you said). I always say, "It looks big, which is good." Unless she's wearing pants that make her butt look small, in which case I say, "It looks smaller than usual, but that's not necessarily a good thing in my opinion." I'm waging a big flaunt-your-ass campaign with her, but it's not working, probably because she lives in New York, where the streets are filled with charitable men like the ones you described. Heroes, in other words.
Anyway, GMB, you're horribly confused. Big asses are a good thing. If men were yelling at you, "Hey baby, flat ass!" or "Hey baby, that's one saggy pooper!" or "Hey baby, where's your ass?" then I might feel a little sympathy for you.
The bigger the cushion, the better the pushin'.
That's what I said,
Tuesday, November 27, 2001Personality Disorder of the Week
This is a new feature on the rabbit blog. Each week, we'll feature a new personality disorder, and discuss it amongst ourselves, and just generally frighten ourselves with the possibility that we suffer from it, or, alternately, that we might still turn crazy out of the blue one day without any warning - "Sudden Onset Loss of Doughnuts" I think is the technical term for that. In this way, the rabbit blog will serve as sort of a little support group for mental health hypochondriacs, only we won't really support each other, we'll mostly just worry each other unnecessarily by taking small snippets of facts out of context and twisting them into big scary demons that have the power to haunt us henceforth.
Ok, then. Shall we?
This week's personality disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV, a diagnostic tool used by diagnosing tools i.e. mental health professionals:
Histrionic Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
(1) is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
(2) interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
(3) displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
(4) consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self
(5) has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
(6) shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
(7) is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
(8) considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are
Well, that nicely sums up my behavior for about 7 years of my life, starting my sophomore year in college and ending when I was about 25, at which point serious traumatic events, steady employment, and a stabilizing relationship snapped me out of it. It was fun while it lasted, though.
Although, I'm not sure my speech lacked detail. If anything, I went into way, way too much detail. Also, I didn't use my physical appearance to draw attention to myself. Instead I'd wear something funny on my head or make weird guttural sounds. I wouldn't say my behavior was seductive, necessarily - provocative, maybe, in the way that drinking several beers while standing on your head is provocative. I definitely thought my relationships were more intimate than they actually were, but that's not too hard in college, when most relationships are about as intimate as a large currency transaction. And theatricality? Exaggerations? These are ways of life for me, and always have been.
Come to think of it, about 80% of the gay men I know are currently suffering from histrionic personality disorder.
I like this personality disorder. I feel proud to have been a member of this elite club.
We'll go with something with a little more teeth next week, just to ensure that we're all jittery and self-loathing like we should be. In the meantime, I'll try to look into the suggested treatment for histrionic personality disorder. Maybe it's similar to the "treatment" for homosexuality. Har har har!
I think the treatment for heterosexuality in women is watching 20 straight hours of Sportscenter while scrubbing the greasy dishes that your honey pumpkin seems physically incapable of cleaning effectively.
Monday, November 26, 2001Blogger And Its Discontents
That last entry is very boring. I feel guilty, and personally responsible for presenting such dull pap as "content." Please, from now on, try not to think of anything that appears on this site as "content." It's not content. I'm not content, you're not content.
I know, it's true, it's just a blog. Blogs can teeter precariously on the border between charmingly self-involved and painstakingly dull. I tip-toe on this delicate ridge sans sherpa regularly, erring in the direction of gratingly cute and dull more often than I like to acknowledge consciously. But still. I'm a rabbit. I expect more from myself.
A Real Conversation Between My Friend Sam and A Six-Year-Old Girl In A Pet Store
Sam: Those kittens sure have long ears!
Girl: Those aren't kittens, they're RABBITS!
It's fun to make little kids think you're a fucking idiot. I plan to spend a great deal of time convincing my children (if I have some) that I'm an utter moron. On that note, I saw a preview for a movie called Sam I Am in which Sean Penn plays a retarded parent. It looks good. I guess he wants an Oscar. Or another Oscar. Whatever. Sean Penn is an excellent actor. I cried twice during the preview for Sam I Am and cried zero times during the supposedly touching K-PAX. When I don't cry during a movie that's supposed to be touching, that means that it's quite possibly one of the most ineffectual movies ever made. I cry during commercials for The Olive Garden. OK, not really, not unless I'm really hungry.
I am the consummate easily manipulated consumer.
Wait, there's Brad Pitt on Friends! He's pretending to hate Jennifer Aniston, when really he choo-choo-chooses her! Tell me what to buy already!
I tend to see this kind of thing as a blessing in disguise (although I probably wouldn't if it weren't still under warranty). For one thing, I spent yesterday feeling proud of myself for not having a mini nervous breakdown, which is to a breakdown what a mini muffin is to a muffin: smaller, less significant, but similar enough to the real thing to have the same impact. Except it's smaller. For another thing, I felt so very grateful to have a back-up computer, grateful that I haven't sold it yet (I've been planning to sell it for a while). Finally, I was reacquainted with the absurdity of my stance concerning backing up files: I tell people to back up all the time, laugh at people for not backing up, yet rarely back up myself despite the fact that I have the equipment to do so. It's an important lesson that really doesn't hit home until...
Anyway, suffice it to say that I'm very much hoping that the hard drive has not been affected by this trauma.
But regardless of whether it is or isn't, one thing is certain: I will not be "winning" NaNoWriMo by completing my 50,000-word "novel" by November 30th, because my "novel" - all 34,000 words of it - is on my computer which most likely won't be back before the deadline. Yesterday, in the heat of the moment, I quickly resolved to write 10,000 words a day for five days, all of it actual, real fiction, much of it brilliant, according to my hastily hatched plan. Then I wrote 1700 words and took a break. During the break, I tried for a minute to face the very real possibility that those 34,000 words might be lost and gone forever. First, this made me very angry at myself. That is an understatement. But moments later, I thought about those 34,000 words, and tried to figure out just how many of those words I would actually mourn the loss of. I figure about 5,000 of them were worthwhile (unlike these right here, for example).
This realization that most of the many words I had written were not worth a whole hell of a lot made me rethink my plan to write even more worthless words, even faster.
Thus, my new plan is: Less quantity, more quality.
It was nice writing 12,000 words in a day, just to prove that that's possible. It's also nice to be able to type as fast as I'm typing these days, and to think onto the page so quickly. But otherwise, I think it's wiser for me to try to write maybe 500-1000 words a day that are actually worthwhile.
Well, you know, we morons have to learn these things on our own.
I still like the NaNoWriMo thing, but I'm sort of relieved to have failed so miserably at it, because when a goal begins to seem arbitrary but you can't give up for fear of feeling like a quitter, it's nice when an act of god occurs and lets you off the hook.
Thanks, god! You the man!
No, I don't necessarily believe there's a god. Jeez, have a little more faith in me than that!
Me, moronic me!
Slow children and me me!
Thursday, November 22, 2001Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 21, 2001I'M NOT OK, YOU'RE NOT OK
I dated a girl for like three months and then she moved to Florida. A few days after she moved, I realized how shitty the relationship had been (it was sooo shitty) and decided I never wanted to talk to her again (or in any way be reminded of that fucking nightmare).
So, instead of telling her: I stopped answering her calls, stopped responding to her e-mails and "blocked" her AOL Instant Messenger screen name ('cause I really really didn't want to talk to her).
Anyway, now she has a new AOL IM screen name and is sending me instant messages (e.g. "helloooo", "I know you're just sitting there", "if you don't want to talk to me, just say so, don't ignore me", "okay...have a good life", "hellooo") and I really don't know how long it's going to be before she stops. Also, every message freaks me out.
Am I obligated to explicitly say "I never want to talk to you ever again", or is it ethical to ignore her 'til she stops writing?
Your non-confrontational fan,
I wish I could say that I can't relate to the sudden onset of utter repulsion toward a so-called loved one, but sadly, I'm just as dysfunctional as you are. I've spent decades tackling difficult emotions with thoughts, leading to an almost reflexive, deeply maladaptive strategy that blends equal parts of denial and neuroticism.
Here's how the process works:
1. You meet someone who you feel strong positive emotions for.
2. You quickly lose touch with these feelings, but you're not used to having feelings anyway, so you proceed without noticing that your love is slowly being replaced by ambivalence.
3. Little bursts of annoyance push through the protective layers of denial and reach your brain, but your neurotic defense mechanisms and self-hatred tell you that these distress signals are just electrical impulses from your bad head, signs that you're "just a jerk" and you should be "nicer" to this "wonderful" and "attractive" person who you "care about".
4. The person leaves town. Suddenly, you can let down your guard. All of the annoyance and disgust that's been building up comes flooding out of you. Your true love is not just unworthy of your love, she or he is a loathsome little mealy bug, unworthy of love in general.
5. Your skin recoils when you think of the person. Not only can you not speak to them, you can't so much as write them a wee post-it note to inform them that it's crucial that you never, under any circumstances, lay eyes on them again.
Many of us go down this path, but the way we handle this last step is what separates the men from the spineless wienieheads. There are essentially three ways of dealing with it, ranging from acceptable to abominable.
SAYING GOODBYE TO SOMEONE YOU'VE QUITE SUDDENLY BEGUN TO LOATHE
1. The Right Way
It's only right to call the person, explain that you won't be in touch, and take a healthy portion of the blame. Remember, the moral here is not that you have an unfortunate habit of choosing loathsome little mealy bugs as partners, the moral is that you ain't right, boy.
2. The Wrong Way
While #1 is clearly the healthiest choice, most of us choose #2, which consists of basically aiming for #1 and missing the target completely. We make the call, fine, but just as we're beginning to take responsibility for our side of things, that awful mealy bug on the other end of the phone goes for the jugular. There we are, letting our guard down, and that little skank just can't resist suckerpunching us when we're down. This is too much. We just can't resist. We pull out our extensive list of every reprehensible thing this person has ever done, every bad decision she's ever made, every bad shade of eyeshadow she's ever worn, every crappy book she's ever read. When we're through, she has several auxiliary assholes, and we feel like one huge asshole.
But we don't stop there. We write a cartoon about the whole stupid saga. (Some consider this a way of making amends, but those featured tend not to see it that way.)
3. The Horribly Wrong Way
Ripping someone several additional assholes is far more charitable than ignoring them completely. Even if you tell them they're awful, at least then they can write you off as a threatened loser. If you ignore someone completely, though, they're left to wonder. And you have to wonder: Why do you want to torture this person so much?
Plus, you're torturing yourself by not dealing with it. Avoiding confrontation is bad for you. Dishonesty in one of your relationships tends to leak into all the others. Plus, holding things back makes you sick and resentful and weird and creepy and unlikable.
Look, we're all nuts. Call her, admit it, cut off contact, and move on. And then, do what the rest of us do: Whine incessantly and listen to lots of Kristin Hersh.
Tuesday, November 20, 2001MARTHA MY LOVE
I'm beginning to worry about your sanity. Are you sure you're okay? I mean, there used to be this wall of unapproachability around you. Sure, there was a link to write to you, but I never would have dreamed of actually communicating in the past. You were so smart, so angry, so biting, so... not pathetic. Accordingly, I offer this letter as a humble sacrifice, a grapefruit sized portion of ill thought opinion combined with casual insult. Skewer me. Please. Before you start handing out Martha Stewart tips in the blog.
Hmm. So you prefer the wall of unapproachability, do you? You prefer to be intimidated to the point where communication is impossible. You prefer the company of smart, angry, biting, dismissive types, who will most likely judge you badly, shame you publicly, and most importantly, recognize your fundamental worthlessness. Have you considered prison camp? I hear there's one for chubby kids just like you.
If you want a dominatrix, you'll have to look elsewhere. My anger isn't a little act designed to titillate deeply insecure men, believe it or not. I'm biting and pathetic, and to pretend otherwise would be pure folly, since dishonest writing is tedious and manipulative, and, in truth, my flaws are really the only interesting thing about me.
But anyone who's remotely familiar with my oeuvre should know that patheticness is a recurring theme. Perhaps a closer reading of my work is in order. (I'm so tired of you grad students! You can't get a handle on the concepts set forth in my works? Well, do your thesis on Milton then, for crying out loud!)
The problem with you poor overworked academics is that all those dreary little departmental gatherings serve the absolute worst food. A bag of blue corn chips and some Old El Paso salsa, again? How dreadful. I'm glad you mentioned skewers, though: Sprigs of woody herbs such as rosemary make excellent skewers, particularly if you keep the leaves attached to one end!
Monday, November 19, 2001TIME FOR BAD ADVICE!
I'm dreading Thanksgiving because my sister is an uptight freak. Any suggestions on passive-aggressive, snide things I can say to satisfy my meanness while appearing to be civil?
Dear Lil' Sis,
You're in luck! I also have a big sister who could (occasionally, maybe, possibly) be described in similar terms, but only by someone who's fat and ugly and who's just jealous anyway, so there.
Personally, I would not suggest passive-aggressive snide comments. I may have indulged such urges in the past - hell, I may well have set out, consciously or unconsciously, to topple the apple cart at every turn with behavior ranging from sullen silence to shouted accusations. However, I find that visits home go much more smoothly if I avoid all conflict, smile and nod my head at anything anyone says, just like a soft, furry animal who's been heavily sedated. Luckily, I'm a rabbit and I drink a lot, so this isn't too challenging.
Here's my complete list of handy tips for the coming week:
TIPS FOR SURVIVING HOLIDAY VISITS WITH FAMILY
1. Drink a lot.
2. Pretend that you are a small, round, fluffy animal who's been de-clawed and makes only joyous, squeaky sounds. In fact, picture yourself as a wee little squeak toy, on the carpet, a trifle, never bothering anyone. This may make it difficult not to get mauled by the family dog, but it will make everyone in your family more cheerful. In fact, they'll make comments about how "happy" you seem, and how much you've "matured" lately.
3. Ask family members detailed questions about the intricacies of their jobs. As they prattle on about things you don't understand, you'll have plenty of time to think about more important things, like whether or not there's still a little peach ice cream in the freezer, and when would be the earliest appropriate moment to excuse yourself and abscond with it.
4. Clear the table and do all the dishes, every night. Not only will this enhance the illusion that you're an adult, but it will also provide you with an easy exit from the most conflict-heavy part of the night. You'll have time to think your own highly negative, corrosive, reprehensible thoughts while indulging in the art of washing dishes, widely revered for its ability to induce a Zen-like state in even the most jittery squeak toy. As everyone else is ripping each other new assholes, you'll come out smelling like Palmolive.
5. Occasionally pull out a board game and shout, in the manner of a buffoonishly lame dad, "Hey, who wants to play Squeeblies? Oh come on! I love this game! It'll be FUN!" If your family, like many, is lacking a buffoonishly lame dad, you need this very crucial energy to keep the snippy little bitches and sullenly macho boys and passive-aggressive martyrs from making themselves and each other miserable.
6. When conflicts in the game arise, as they invariably do, and someone throws something and stomps off, do not think twice. Promptly announce: "I will go apologize." Then tip-toe, knock-knock, and claim personal responsibility for everything that has just gone wrong. It's not your fault, of course, but if you don't coax them back into the game, you won't have a chance to win and rub it in their snotty faces.
7. Walk around the block every now and then. Studies show a simple walk around the block would have prevented about 78% of the cases of domestic violence reported to the Hall of Justice.
Form of: a squeak toy! Shape of: a vodka tonic!
Sunday, November 18, 2001SOME IRRITATINGLY POSITIVE THOUGHTS
I'm really beginning to like L.A., as impossible as that seemed two years ago. One afternoon out drinking beers in the nice weather at a place that's less than a mile away from your house can do that. Convenience is not one of the selling points of this town, so a quality neighborhood outing can do wonders for the spirit. That and the beer. Beer is great for school spirit. Go team!
See, now I'm starting to sound really tediously bloggy. Beer maketh the vision foggy, and the blog tediously bloggy. But who am I kidding? My blog is on fire!
Moral: When your blog's on fire, smoke gets in your eyes.
Hey, doesn't someone out there need some bad advice? Let's hear it. I like to pretend I have important things to do, and letters begging for bad advice help me to feel useful, sort of like those miniature kitchen sets they give to future anal retentive housewives when they're four years old. You know, girls like that always insist on being the mommy, and then they self-seriously bang play pots and pans around and occasionally shout things like:
"Children! Quiet! I'm making CORN MUFFINS!"
Saturday, November 17, 2001Two exciting discoveries yesterday! Just found Found Magazine, a charming and addictive site I heard about by wandering around nil by mouth, the blog of someone with very good taste. It's good to have friends with good taste, even if they're only imaginary friends.
On that note, don't you wish Snuffleuppagus's name was actually Snuffleuffagus, like you used to think? And while we're discussing trite '70s nostalgia... Ha ha, no. Bad idea. That kind of talk is best reserved for the 2 a.m. 4-beer buzz (that used to be a 4 a.m. 8-beer buzz, but then that stopped being respectable at some point about 3 years before I finally noticed) (But don't tell that to the local winos, it'll just hurt their feelings).
Didn't you hate it when you were younger and some kid said "You hurt my feelings!" In my family, them's fightin' words.
OK, back to the point. The second discovery: Amelie, the new film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It's GREAT!
Guaranteed 100% Real or Your Money Back!
Rabbit: Hey, I know where we can go to dinner! Fartknocker's!
Rabbit: Fartknocker's. We go there a lot. It's great!
Sister: What kind of food is it?
Rabbit: Beans, all kinds of bean dishes. Chili, three-bean salad...
Sister: What's it called?
Rabbit: Fartknocker's. We should totally go there.
Sister: I don't think so.
Friday, November 16, 2001THE NOVEL
Don't you think it's wonderful that I'm writing a novel? Don't you think it's courageous and admirable of me, to take on such a monumental task, to rise to such a serious challenge? Don't you think it's fantastic that, in the face of poverty and destitution, I could be bothered to put words on the page, however worthless and empty and rambling and stupid those words might be? Isn't it utterly too too? Isn't it delovely? Isn't it rich? Aren't we a pair?
I have written over 30,000 words. This is because I panicked on Wednesday and wrote 12,000 words.
Skeptic: Is that possible?
Rabbit: Why, yes, as it turns out, it is.
Cynic: How is that possible?
Rabbit: Well, you just type, really fast, and you keep typing. It helps to do this in public, where you're embarrassed to pace or mumble or stare blankly at the ceiling for hours. Yesterday I went to a place not far from my house where they serve coffee and salads and people have loud conversations about how creative and special they are. Hence the term "salad days."
Naysayer: You go to a cafe? You haul your fucking computer into a cafe and you plug the thing in and you sit there and type? Doesn't that make you a huge jackass?
Jack "Rabbit" Ass: Maybe. Maybe it does. But hey, 12,000 words. I mean, come on. I can't complain.
Devil's Advocate: You can't complain?
Rabbit: Well, I do complain. But I shouldn't. On the other hand, when I complain, that just means more words.
Hatchet Man: And how many of these 12,000 words are complaints?
Rabbit: Roughly half.
Tweedle Dum: And you call that a novel?
Rabbit: Ever read any Updike? Jeez.
And now for our theme song...
I'm just too marvelous, too marvelous for words,
Like glorious, glamorous, and that old standby, amorous!
I'm just too wonderful, I'll never find the words,
that say enough, tell enough,
I mean they just aren't swell enough!
Thursday, November 15, 2001L.A. FOODIE, WIND-SWEPT FOODIE
Man, oh man. Remember "step on a crack and you'll break your mother's back"? Well, step on anything related to Los Angeles, and the natives here start sharpening their wee little sticks and stones. My negative take on local restaurants (no, I haven't been to every restaurant in this unfathomably massive city) has earned me a great deal of snipping and sniping. Which is more than welcome, of course.
"...if there's one thing that bugs it's San Francisco transplants bitching about LA food. OK, the choice dishes here aren't served in centrally-located, precious, theme-y joints that cater to right-on hipsters, and yes the service sucks at Mexico City (or as we call it, Mexico Shitty) and there's an overabundance of yellow-cheese Mexican. BUT... ask around and be willing to experiment and you'll find a feast awaits you."
Hey, I don't care if it's theme-y and precious or not, I just want the food not to suck. I lived in the Mission in '94, when the prevailing theme was "try not to get shot on the way to dinner." Hipstery or not, a lot of those places were inexpensive, consistent, had great service, and were owned by nice people you knew by name. Yeah, and I'd rather walk for 3 minutes than drive for 40 minutes to get to a good meal, whether there's bad art on the walls and "The Girl From Ipanema" on the stereo or not. So sue me.
LA isn't San Francisco - I live here, not there, for a long list of reasons. But insulting people who like cheap food within walking distance sort of makes you sound like a Canadian whining about how the north side of Niagara Falls is way better.
Actually, let's have that list of reasons I don't live in San Francisco right now, shall we?
WHY I DON'T LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO
1. It's cold.
2. It's small and brightly lit and filled with cute stores and cute restaurants and butt-white people, like a big, indoor mall, except without the central heating.
3. It's arguably more provincial and goofier than a much smaller, more isolated town.
4. It's a well-established, widely-known fact that the women are all smart and funny and great and the gay men are great but the straight men either have bed-head and play in joke-rock bands, or they're sort of wiener-y.
5. It's chilly and wet and you never have a coat with you, because you're a moron who'll never learn.
6. It's filled with perpetual adolescents who share a scornful attitude toward mainstream America, like you're not cool unless you drink green tea with soy milk and listen to This American Life and have the inside scoop on Salon. Snore.
7. Yeah, I like those people just fine, too. But still. It's cold.
8. Ambition is seen as an affliction that only strikes the shallow and the soulless.
9. There's a fundamental flavor of alienation in the air, like you're all living in some huge hipster ant farm. You tire of the other ants, but you're afraid of the real world. It's sort of like college, really, only everyone's dumber and uglier and you have to pay for the beer. And it's really fucking cold.
Yeah, I'm generalizing. What else is there to do? I'm a fucking rabbit!
Now that that's out of the way, we can begin the "L.A. is a smoggy dystopia for anorexics with fake tits and jackasses with gelled hair" part of our journey. Bring it on, ladies! But unless you've lived here, your jabs will be filed under "Opinions Formulated By Watching CHiPs." And don't think about writing if you don't want your letter published. Don't worry, Chumpy, I won't print your name. Unless you ask me to, real friendly-like.
If they say I never loved you,
you know they are a liar!
Let's add that to the list...
10. They are a liar. [See also: You's a lie!]
[LA Times, 11/15/01]
IN OTHER NEWS...
Bush Urges Palestinians, Israelis, To "Live In Peace" and "Stop Killing Each Other"
Big Bird Tells Bert, Ernie: "The Bickering Must Stop!"
Audiences to Hollywood: "Forget Profits, Make Better Movies!"
Male Population to Britney: "Show Us Your Tits Already!"
I've been thinking quite a lot about being the Boss of You. Fortunately my wife is very indulgent. I don't want to say that I'm perfect for the job - heaven knows that I never did very well as the Boss of Me, but that's the problem with working for yourself, isn't it? Maybe we could trade back and forth. Be still, my beating heart.
Anyway, I am available on a part-time basis. I think you'd enjoy working with the Boss of Me, an adorable sixteen-month-old boy. You could move, or at least commute, to Dallas. Stop laughing. Life is affordable here, and worth it. Stop laughing. Our city government and our daily newspaper would provide enough hilarious material to keep you writing as long as you want to. Even a fiscal idiot can own a house here, and ours is within blocks of veal, carnitas, pho, Cuban sandwiches - let's just say that Carryout Derby day is always a party at our house. Let Ken Layne stay in California. Sure, people are dumber here than on the coasts, but that just makes you look smarter. You'd spend so much less time in traffic that you could learn to cook, too - I did.
Dallas is the perfect frontier, bullshit town to light and nourish your creative fires. Well, it hasn't worked for me, but this *is* the town that killed Kennedy. Our concert hall is named after a person who is still living. Our biggest internet entrepreneur cashed out the day before the bust, bought a basketball team, and now pursues his first love, playing bit parts on shows like Walker, Texas Ranger. No shit.
And the couches! Dallas is the Silicon Valley of leather furniture. Did I say that? Well, it's true. People come from all over the country for our leather sofas.
Dallas is a place where a little professionalism goes a long way, and that's what I can offer the position of Boss of You. A little professionalism. Damn little. Word up.
Dear Dallas Daddy,
First of all, you're the one relocating, not me. I'm offering a job, here, not begging for an invitation to eat Spagettios at some kitchen table with you and Dorris and Little Mr. Poopypants. I've got nothing against Dallas, personally, but if I wanted to waste my time laughing at bad city government and bad daily newspapers, I'd move back to San Francisco. Besides, the local TV news here provides more comedy than I have time for.
Have I mentioned that I'm incredibly busy and important?
Here's the trouble: I wouldn't want to hire any Boss of Me who would actually want the job. The Boss of Me must hold me in utter contempt, must be repulsed by the sight of me. I have to be intimidated by the Boss of Me, otherwise I won't do my stupid job, I'll just sit around making free chamomile tea and reading back issues of Newsweek featuring articles with titles like "Generation 9-11".
Furthermore, the Boss of Me need not be professional at all. Oh, no. I'm the one who needs to be more professional. In contrast, the Boss of Me should be prone to temperamental outbursts and totally unprofessional bouts of violence, punctuated by simmering rage, grumbling, and snarky insults. That way I'll be afraid to write long, pointless emails and babble endlessly on the phone with my equally dysfunctional friends.
I would be much happier as a jumpy, twittering workaholic. The Boss of Me will know this. Unfortunately, he or she will not want the job.
That's a problem for which I have no solution. The Boss of Me would have a solution for that problem, but I don't have a Boss of Me yet, so I guess I'm shit out of luck, huh?
Me, obvious me!
Warm, mungy lettuce and me me!
Wednesday, November 14, 2001Scrappy devil-may-care journalist Ken Layne keeps trying to pick a fight with me. Keep yelling all you want, little man!
He did offer this humble list of cheap restaurants in my area, which is nice, but the truth is, I'd trade in all of the above for a falafel deluxe at Truly Mediterranean, the spicy eggplant at Firecracker, a steak and cheese at that steak and cheese place off Valencia that I can't remember the name of, a pot pie from Liberty Cafe, a tuna roll from Ebisu, a pizza from almost any place in the Mission, a carnitas burrito from El Farolito, a Mediterranean crepe from Squat and Gobble, a salade de mer and a ham and cheese crepe from Ti Couz, some kind of spicy beef from Brandy Ho's, and pretty much anything from Angor Wat. And I'm leaving out countless other insanely good, affordable places in San Francisco. Not that I feel like choking on patchouli as I creep through the fog, but still. I guess a few of those places have changed since I left.
Still... Ken's list is downright unfathomable. El Chavo? Is that Spanish for "stinky dog"? Palermo? Is that Uncle Junior's little brother, the one who likes a tablespoon of salt on all his food? Zankou? Is that the chemical agent we used during the Gulf War? Mexico City? Is that the capital of overpriced, overcrowded, overrated restaurants with really, really bad service? The sushi joint next to the Coffee Bean? The one where the tuna is grey, where they stuff fishy salad in the California roll where the krab should go? Now you're just being funny, right Ken?
I like the Hillhurst taco stand, and Netty's is ok when the owners don't kick you in the shins as you come in the door, and the ravioli at Michelangelo's is good, and El Cholo is good for tamales and margaritas only, and then there's R-23 (not cheap), La Cabanita, Black Cow in Montrose, Leela Thai with all white meat... but the best move is really to save up your money from all the countless crappy meals available here, and blow it all in one trip to Joe's Restaurant in Venice, the only truly excellent place I've been to here.
I'm glad you're so easily satisfied, Ken. As I've oft remarked to whatever lazy aristocrat is nearby, dizzy from hours of chess and fine brandy, "Darling, life must be so much easier for those of poor taste! Yes, those who can hardly tell veal from carnitas must live rather well indeed!"
Cheers to you, little man! A tip of the hat! El Chavo es mui bravo!
TYPICAL CONVERSATION WITH GUEST VISITING LOS ANGELES
Rabbit: That's The Humpy Dumpty. That's where Sneezy Shnorzle lost his creme-filled crullers and had to be carried away in an ambulance.
Sister: Have you ever been there?
Rabbit: Oh, god no! There's Snaggo's. That's where stars like Smugmug Doodoohead and Snippy Whinola go to "see and be seen".
Sister: What's it like?
Rabbit: Oh Jesus, I have no fucking idea. Now we're getting into Brentwood, where that guy who drives a Bronco lived, before he started hanging out at that Roasters 'n' Toasters in Florida...
Sister: What's that place over there?
Rabbit: Fuck if I know. Some bar, looks like.
Sister: Do you ever leave the house?
Rabbit: Only when someone comes to town to visit.
*One hour later...*
Sister: All these neighborhoods look exactly the same.
Rabbit: Yeah. Hey, let's go home and order Thai food and play Risk.
Rabbit: Take a little nap. We'll be there in about an hour.
I love it here, a lot of the time. I just don't think it's a great place to visit. Visitors tend to want to do ten things in a day in ten different places, even when you try to explain that that means they'll spend the majority of the day on the freeway. Visitors tend to leave with the impression that living in LA means sitting on the freeway all day. Au contraire, I sit here all day, on my couch. At least they're jealous of the weird plants we can grow here.
The food here is also a problem. In San Francisco and New York, there are a wide range of high-quality, cheap places to eat. Here, good food and bad food alike are way too pricey. Also, chumpy LA denizens keep shitty restaurants in business for arbitrary reasons unrelated to food, like the lighting makes their skin look all glowing and dewy.
Now I'm going to get some letters from people listing off good cheap places to eat in LA. Which is the point, really. I need such lists. Keep in mind, though, I live in Silverlake, with the cooks and homebodies and poor people, not Westwood, where the perpetually shopping and dining full-service yuppies live.
Friday, November 09, 2001Dear Rabbit,
I'd wanted to write you for a long time to ask how I could parlay my stunted, curmudgeonly personality into a real career. Now I just want to tell a little story...though I'd appreciate your telling me, if you still know. My job - directing Off-Off Broadway theater - is surpassingly irrelevant. (Today I'm working out the lunchbox-sized show budget on a Mac Powerbook with Suck.com stickers on it. That should say a lot about my dedication to hopeless causes. Also, I like to hold hands. What?)
So my story: I was walking up Lafayette St. just a few nights ago. I stopped at a corner to cross the street and, glancing about me, discovered that I was surrounded by tall, somber, hooded figures. (This story is completely true.) I was fixin to panic, but then I realized that those people were merely vampires, and they meant me no harm. Now, as it happens, it was Halloween, but these vampires weren't planning to join our big-deal annual Halloween Parade. They were there to protest, in a way. They meant to skulk around the periphery, scowling and grousing about the how trendy and commercial the occult has become, and how there's no longer a place for them even in their own shadowy gloom.
It occurred to me then that in this life, it is good to figure out what you like and, if it's not too dangerous, do it. It is to be esteemed and admired. So before the hero fatigue set in, I'd like to send a shout out to America's Vampires. They do what they do, even though it's weird and dumb and mostly unwelcome, because they like it. Good for them.
And thank you too.
Weird and Dumb and Mostly Unwelcome
I know exactly the feeling of admiration you're experiencing. It's a feeling of awe mixed with self-conscious skepticism, a recognition of brave zealotry in the face of utter irrelevance. And there's some small sad feeling that recognizes that some people are just far more courageously weird than you could ever be.
I got that feeling for the first time way back in 1984, when my older brother brought home this "underground newspaper" written by a classmate of his. This girl actually published a one-page underground paper in high school during a time when Reagan was in office, and most women her age where wearing bright pink pants with bright green shirts and little plastic belts with gold alligator clasps. This newsletter wasn't just bold, it was funny and there were even guest writers who slipped their submissions into her locker (she published her locker number!). But the best part of the newsletter was this "Hate Mail" section, in which she'd publish the meanest, most threatening note that some preppy slipped into her locker anonymously. The first time I read the newsletter, the hate mail was something like, "Stop printing this disgusting bullshit, you fucking freakish cunt!"
These days, this stuff hardly seems groundbreaking, even for a high school kid. But for a 14-year-old in the '80s going to great lengths not to attract negative attention, the idea of publicizing such insults seemed like the most courageous, incredible act imaginable. Plus, the insults were just fun to read. And her fine example sure came in handy when I started fielding angry reader mail at Suck.
Who was that hero of my younger years? Why, it was none other than acclaimed author and noted Vampire enthusiast Poppy Z. Brite!
So then, let's have a toast to Poppy Z. Brite and to all your weird, your dumb, and your mostly unwelcome yearning to breathe free!
Weirder, Dumber, and Less Welcome Than Ever,
"Shotgun Boogie" by Tennessee Ernie Ford
"Too old! Too old! He's too old to cut the mustard anymore!"
"Too Old To Cut The Mustard" by Ernest Tubb
Speech Recognition, is online now. The text on the site doesn't mention NaNoWriMo (although it is in the intro), so I'll mention it again here: NaNoWriMo!
I can't believe they took out the part where I sing the theme to The Love Boat. No, I'm not kidding. Glad you were spared? Well, it just goes to show, every single day, God gives his little children something new to be thankful for!
Thursday, November 08, 2001I'm going to be whining on NPR's All Things Considered today (go here to find local broadcast times). If I sound over-caffeinated yet nasal and garbled, well, that's my fault. I need to take some broadcasting lessons from the Phil Hartman School of Voice.
I also need a haircut, a car wash and wax, and a nice leather handbag to replace the linty grab-bag I haul around like an irritable soccer mom. See, all this is stuff that The Boss of Me should be handling.
Lately I keep thinking of that line by the Real Estate King in American Beauty: "Call me crazy. But it is my philosophy that in order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times!" I need a little Real Estate King professionalism sprinkled into my messy, hunchy, house-bound loser soup.
Some other things ill-considered:
Suck-dot-com (first one on the list)
What's Next? (scroll down about 2 screens)
Wednesday, November 07, 2001I've finally found a site that's funnier than The Onion - my old high school's newspaper, featuring headlines like "Snow loses its appeal, creates icy, cold mess" and "Students jeopardize health for a quick tan" and "Boy bands' immense popularity frustrates, confuses music listener"!
The more things change, the more they stay the same!
And yet... do most kids these days wear tiaras and pink dresses in honor of getting their drivers' licenses?
I never wrote to you when I read Filler religiously, but I have a question now: why has it been so hard for you to find a job? Is there really such an over-supply and lack of demand for writers who really have a well-developed understanding of how this medium works, as opposed to just "well, I can write, and words go on the web?" I mean even my cousin still has a writing job online even after getting laid off from her real job. My guess would have been that you would've been snatched up post-haste after getting laid off by Suck! Isn't Salon hiring like crazy now that they're charging us for it? Can't you get a job in something archaic?
I guess deep down my hope is that you're being brave and trying not to sell out or something. I guess in the new America, brave isn't stupid anymore.
Of course, this is coming from a guy who works for a place called
The sad truth is I don’t have a job because I haven’t been looking for a job. Some might call this "brave". Others might call it "foolish", "lazy", "ill-considered", or even "cowardly." But I have been writing.
At least, I was writing a lot, at first. Lately there’s been a decline in productivity, though, and I have no one but myself to blame, since I am the boss of me. As much as I'd like to blame it on September 11th, the truth is I'm not a very effective manager.
NOW HIRING: BOSS OF ME
Full-time. Responsibilities include managing me and charting my productivity using Excel for Windows. Those without at least four years of experience cracking whip and intimidating worthless, sluggish humans into creating works of great insight and stunning originality need not apply. Long hours, no salary or benefits.
Anyway, no, I haven’t been snatched up. I think we all imagine that other people’s lives are a lot more magically delicious than they could possibly be.
By the way, what makes you think I have a well-developed understanding of how this medium works? I just write and words go on the web. But hey, can I put that "well-developed understanding" bit in my resume?
Tuesday, November 06, 2001Dear Rabbit,
Where the fuck are the Filler archives? I tried to get there through Suck, through Fillerama, nothing. What’s going on?
Desperately Seeking Filler
It looks like the Filler archives are down. I don’t know what to tell you, other than someone, somewhere will perhaps put them up again someday, somewhere. I personally lack the resources and ftp access to do this, but I’m sure there are others...Well, for now, we’ll just have to wait in joyful hope.
When Filler’s up again, I’ll announce it here, or you can sign up for the Fillerama mailing list and I’ll send you an email. Until then, you’ll just have to read my sloppy second thoughts and reminisce about a better time, those golden, happy days before the fall of Suck, before the war. Sigh.
The demise of Suck has been a sad, sad thing. I really loved writing Filler, collaborating with Terry... But now Terry’s working on his house in St. Cloud. Good time to go all Lake Wobegon on me, buddy.
Ah, well, all that’s left for me now are word pictures.
Fuck word pictures!
I can’t believe you’ve resorted to blogging. How many readers did you have, back in the day? Isn’t this kind of like The Beatles playing an open-mic night?
Filler got around 30-50,000 hits each Wednesday. The Rabbit Blog gets 145 hits on a good day. But here’s the weird thing about numbers: You can’t feel them. Letters from readers are great, but numbers never make much of an impact. I never really felt like I was playing stadiums, to be honest. I really should’ve purchased some leather pants, though, back when I could afford them.
True, word pictures leave much to be desired. I still write cartoons, but now they just sit around, waiting for someone to draw them. Which reminds me, talented cartoonists who want to collaborate should write to me. The illustrators I’ve been talking to so far seem to constantly have pies in the oven that need their attention.
Cartoons aren’t very lucrative, of course, but the really dedicated weirdos do it for the love of the game.
So I guess your answer is: The Beatles were The Beatles because they were dedicated weirdos who’d just as soon play an open-mic night as play a packed stadium.
OK, that sounded good, but the truth is nothing can induce wailing and hair-tearing like a really bad open mic night. My friend Cynthia and I once played at this stinky hole on Haight St. that spoiled us on open mics forever. We signed up late, so we ended up spending three hours drinking pints of Guinness and watching some of the worst musical acts ever to grace the stage (including one guy pounding on a Casio for five minutes, shouting things like "The first rule is, there are no rules!"). When we finally got on stage at around midnight, I was drunk, and for some reason I had borrowed Cynthia’s guitar instead of playing my own. It did not go well. I remember, at one point, looking down at her guitar, totally lost, and starting to laugh, then looking up at a crowded bar filled with faces stuck somewhere between shock and disgust. Meanwhile, poor Cynthia was improvising an impressively beautiful yet manic solo on her violin to make up for my drunken flailings.
Ah, to be young and stupid again! How I miss the raw thrills of boozy humiliation!
Um. Anyway. What were we talking about?
Oh yeah, how disgraceful it is that I would deign to blog. Ha ha ha.
Shame is my middle name!
Rabbit "Shame" Bloggerstein
Monday, November 05, 2001THE NOVEL
I am writing a novel. So far the novel has 6000 words and is not a novel at all. This is not the most auspicious start imaginable. However, I'm very much enjoying the ever-looming pressure to write many thousands of words a day.
10 BENEFITS OF THE 30-DAY NOVEL
1. Enjoyable ever-present sense of pressure to write, and the desperation and bitterness that accompany it
2. Good excuse to write with reckless abandon, instead of, say, wandering around the house picking up stupid magazines and reading them while intending to do something much more ambitious and productive and special
3. Parts of "novel" seem useful for plucking out and polishing and transforming into other kinds of writing, like "essays" and "think pieces" and "prose", some of which might be sold for cash money, which can be used to purchase things, like hamburgers, and drugs!
4. Temporary sense of purpose soothes the nerves of otherwise jittery, slightly panicked unemployed person who is under no small amount of pressure to locate some source of income in the near future
5. Handy excuse not to locate source of income for at least another month
6. Concept of having written 50,000 words by the end of November seems fulfilling, even if most of those words aren't worth the paper they'll never be printed on
7. Easy, faceless target for blame when things go wrong, i.e. "Goddamn it, this fucking novel thing is really putting me in a shitty mood."
8. Good excuse to bail on all social obligations for an indefinite period of time [see also: good excuse not to answer phone (learned that one from my hero Ken Layne), good excuse not to wash regularly].
9. Good excuse for angry, impatient explosions and sudden, hasty exits, i.e. "Goddamn it, I can't be fucking around with this, I need time to work on my novel!"
Goddamn it, I can't be fucking around with this, I need time to work on my novel!
Thursday, November 01, 2001INTROSPECTION
According to USA Today, Bush “scorns introspection.” Judy Keen tells us that Bush “is surprised when people ask him how he’s faring. He doesn’t like suggestions that he has been irrevocably changed by the events that will define his administration.”
What does it mean, exactly, to scorn introspection? Does that mean that you feel that the examined life is not worth living? How could anyone claim not to be irrevocably changed by the events of the past two months? I know five-year-olds - no, I know goldfish that have been changed by the events of Sept. 11th. Bush is surprised when people ask him how he’s doing? To even deign to answer that question makes him a big pussy?
Man. First of all, I’m glad I’m not a man. Secondly, I’m glad I’m not the president. I can’t imagine having a job that requires me not only to resist whining at every inconvenience, but also to outwardly reject the mere implication that I’m not overjoyed to handle every awful task that comes my way.
As disconcerting as it is for me to even imagine a second of freedom from the neurotic, purposeless, circular thoughts that plague my brain, though, I have to agree that the examined life is usually a huge drag.
But still: scorning introspection? Doesn’t that basically mean holding your private thoughts in contempt? Doesn’t that bespeak a certain level of self-hatred? I mean, where do you come up with ideas, if not by digging them out of the dark, dysfunctional recesses of your befuddled mind?
Shit. If I scorned introspection, I’d be out of work.
Oh, wait. I am out of work.
EVEN MORE PROOF THAT LIFE IS NOT FAIR
Stupid Laettner gets to play with Jordan, while his genuinely likable ex-teammate G. Hill is reinjured. Ooh! Just now Jordan was forced to pull Laettner away from potential fisticuffs - by grabbing his jersey. Hey, that smarts!
BUT THEN AGAIN
They've got Charles Barkley on the scene. I love that guy. Why aren’t they talking to him? Does some other network own him?
I wish someone would purchase my limited perspective for a salary plus benefits. Too bad I have no marketable skills and no expertise and no special knowledge of anything. I guess I could probably be the color guy at some of those cheerleading competitions they show on ESPN.
“I think any team that does the Cabbage Patch Kid should automatically win.”
“Wow, this team is sort of...short. Jesus. There are some stocky girls out on that floor right now.”
“Hey, that one in the middle has a really positive mental attitude! I’d like to take a bat to her kneecaps.”