Thursday, January 31, 2002
SWEATIN' TO THE OLDIES
Dear Chubby Bunny,
It's my resolution to be less fat this year. It's the cheese, though. I need that cheese.
You can relate, it seems. So what the hell is the answer? Help me, Rabbit-san. You're my only dope... Er, I mean, hope.
Hopeful But Large-ish
Dear Largely Hopeful,
Exercise, HBL. Exercise, exercise, exercise. Not because you'll get less fat, but because you won't care nearly as much how you look.
Allow me to explain. When you're young, you exercise in order to have an even better body. As you get older, you exercise just so you don't feel terrible all the time. A change happens at about 28. Before 28, you can go out, drink, wake up hungover, sit on your ass and eat pizza, and you feel fine. Sure, you may have a hacking cough for a few months straight, but overall, your state of mind and your physical health are relatively decent. You have energy, you manage to engage in upbeat conversations at any time of day, and you're not "stressed out" - in fact, you have no fucking idea what that even means.
After 28, if you don't exercise fairly regularly, you basically feel like you have a flu most of the time. You want to crawl into bed or stumble listlessly around the house in dirty athletic socks. Your only hope is caffeine, which props you up for about 3 hours and then leaves you in a mire of self-loathing, empty reactive thoughts, and suicidal ideation. (Like a silly fling, it's still worth the ride, of course.)
It's nice to look good, but personally, I exercise almost completely for the mood benefits. Without exercise, I'm sick and grumpy all the time. I don't like having to walk, or even having to prop my head up off the couch enough to see my computer screen. My life lacks luster. I'm thankless and generate grudges effortlessly.
If you're over 28 and you don't exercise and haven't for years, and you're beginning to think that these traits merely define your personality, you're sort of like someone with chicken pox who simply conceptualizes himself as the kind of guy who's constantly breaking out in an itchy rash. Imagine his personal ad, if you will...
Me: From across the room, I look contemplative, even distracted, but that's only because I'm covered in oozing pustules.
You: Shy but smart enough to know that pox-y = foxy!
My Fave Pastime: Scratching the itchy bumps that cover every inch of my body!
Tattoos?: No, but there's a bright red infection on my left butt cheek that's looks exactly like Argentina!
Can't Live Without: Calamine lotion, dude! It rules! Hydrocortisone is for mouth-breathers.
I can't argue with that last bit. Just putting fucking hydrocortisone on my gangrenous limb makes me feel like a mouth-breather. In fact, I'm pretty sure I breathe through my mouth whenever I apply the stuff...
Anyway, back to our story: I have a friend who calls me about once every month or so. Every time we talk, he's either doing terribly or he's doing great, and it has nothing to do with what's going on in his life. Every time I talk to him and he's doing badly, I say, "You're old. You need to work out more often. Work out means happy. No workout means no happy." Then he'll call me again, a few weeks later, and say, "Dude." (He's like that. He says Dude. So do I, of course.) "Dude. I am so much happier, thanks to you." By then I've fallen out of my running habit, and I'm laying on the couch, all grouchy and stinky and mean, and I don't want to fucking hear about his stupid fucking workout routine.
Anyway, boys and girls, for those of us with Bad Heads, workout equals happy. Bad Heads just don't function well without exercise... and a big caffeinated beverage once a day.
But all of this fits into my big new theory about how there are two types of people in the world.
MY BIG NEW THEORY ABOUT HOW THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD
Basically, there are two types of people in the world: Those who think there are two types of people in the world, and those who are way too depressed and tired to listen to someone's stupid-ass theory about the two types of people in the world.
Type 1: Energetic, Upbeat Types Who Like Keeping Busy
Type 1 people love traveling, and the outdoors. They do yoga, they love to shop, they find meeting new people incredibly easy. As my friend Carina once said, "They know the names of muscle groups and say things like 'at this point in time.'" (I'm stealing a line from her upcoming book, Bad Boyfriend, which I'm helping to edit by telling her repeatedly how funny it is. The mobius strip of circle jerky goes on and on!) These are the kinds of people who end up balancing job and family with superhuman grace, or at least without beating their children.
Lest these Type 1s sound utterly healthy and well-adjusted, they aren't. Not necessarily. They're prone toward anxiety attacks and manic behavior. Plenty of cynics and angry people are high energy, too, and they can get very depressed, particularly when faced with sudden periods of inactivity which they fill up with frenzied existential questions and circular thoughts.
Apparently one of the worst things someone with manic tendencies can do is go on Selexa, which brings out the hidden manic side, if you have one. A friend of mine took it and stayed up for three nights in a row, then found herself at a party talking a hundred miles an hour, so that finally a friend said to her, "Hey. Listen. You have to stop taking that stuff." At which point she went into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror and said, outloud, "Damn it! You have to stop acting so happy, or they're going to take this stuff away from you!"
I fucking love that story. Anyway, needless to say, I don't have a manic bone in my body. In fact, I don't have any proof that there are actually bones in my body at all. I believe I might have some kind of exoskeleton, or some kind of cartilage-related frame that bends easily.... Which brings us to Type 2.
Type 2: Sluggish, Moody Types Who Prefer Not To Move
You can tell a Type 2 person by the way he reacts to a big, shapeless, squishy couch. If he sinks into it, so that his spine doesn't have to do any work at all, and sighs deeply, and then quietly utters, "My god, this couch is so comfy." with a breathy, lustful tone to his voice, that means he's a Type 2. If he perches on the edge of the couch, or chooses a chair instead, that's a Type 1.
Type 2s often own very ugly, comfortable furniture, like those monstrous armchair-ottoman combinations that seat one person yet take up half a room, but that allow that person to lounge in the much-sought-after body prone, head and shoulders propped up just enough to see the TV set posture. The "Splayed Ham Pose" is what I think it's called in yoga.
Or they own those huge circular chairs that look like a cushioned satellite dishes, with the ugly wicker bases that sometimes allow the occupant to spin in a circle, but which the occupant rarely does unless he or she is under the age of 12, in which case he/she spins rapidly in circles until someone gets hurt, knocks over a potted plant, or throws up all over the shaggy white throw rug below.
You might think Type 2s would have bean bag chairs, but they don't. Type 2s see bean bag chairs and they think "That would be cool." but they're not motivated enough to actually buy one. Type 1s own bean bag chairs and never sit in them. Then they sell them at their big annual yard sales (at which all items have price tags that list exact prices and say "Non Negotiable!" underneath).
Type 2s are pessimists, prone to depression. They also tend to be a little bit emotionally needy, but this is only because their lifestyle necessitates the aid of another human to fetch the groceries and generally bring the fun right to them, to cater the fun, to deliver it straight to the couch where that Type 2 is planted. Type 2s are not unlike houseplants in this way. They give very little but expect far too much from others, and when they don't get it, they wither and wilt pitifully.
Just to contrast our Type 1 anecdote, I have a Type 2 friend who recently started taking Selexa, and he's gone from being the grumpiest curmudgeon to the happiest person I know, and he still sleeps well at night. This does little for me, personally, and in fact I find him more entertaining when he's miserable. But, you know, I care about him, so I'm happy that he's happy.
OK, I'll admit it. This blog is sponsored by Glaxo. Dammit, a rabbit's gotta eat!
Personally, I can't take happy drugs because I enjoy my sadness and I'd never write another song or post to this pointless blog if I were propped up by drugs. But really all that means is that I'm not clinically depressed, and therefore don't have a right to comment on the matter. I will say that it's been fascinating to see someone get very happy on a drug, seemingly without negative side effects - a drug that almost made another friend completely lose her mind.
Oh Jesus. Am I still supposedly answering some letter? What was it about?
Um... Wow. Lovely letter! Thanks for writing.
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
THREE LOVERS IN THREE DAYS
Provocative headline, no? If wishes were horses, then dreamers would spend all their damn time in the stable, and people would say, "She's a horse person" in that way that sort of suggests that possibly she's a lesbian.
God, who understands this shit I write? Everybody who knows what I'm talking about raise your hands in the air like you just don't care! Apparently almost a thousand people just didn't care on this chilly Tuesday. But then, wasn't Tuesday "Special Guest Day" on The Mickey Mouse Club? Just think, if every special guest would just leave one dollar in the Pay Pal tip jar today, I wouldn't have to find gainful employment this month. That's the dream, anyway. Sorry. What can I say? I'm a horse person.
Jesus, the tie-in joke is sort of the geriatric walker to my act, isn't it?
No matter. I'm feeling glad to have an act, since it's the one of the only things I have, really, as I pack my boxes and prepare to move out and on. I also have these terrible itchy bug bites the likes of which I have never seen. One of them is gangrenous, as I may have mentioned. The antibiotics, they're working, sort of, but I still live in fear that some Civil War-era doc will check out my leg (flinching and squirming while I say stuff like, "How bad is it, Doc? Give it to me straight!") and then he'll be forced to lop it off with a dirty axe. But he won't tell me that first. He'll just do it. Sort of like when you go to the pediatrician and he stabs you with that booster shot without warning, to catch you off guard - only many millions of times worse than that.
But let's look on the bright side, why don't we? If you think about it, infectious bug bites are a lot like infectious enthusiasm, only without the enthusiasm.
I'm in a weird mood. I think this excellent rhyming bad-in-theory, good-in-practice list set me off:
Here's my contribution:
1. Watching reruns of Zorro
2. Benicio Del Toro
3. M&M's you found on the floor-o
A stretch? Perhaps. But, still. They really all are fine items, in their own way.
Proving once again that stretching is good for you.
I'D LIKE SOME MORE, PLEASE
Unrelated Things (In List Form) Sent Via Email (Not Autogyro)
1. A very crazy religious group (probably a cult) says the name Heather means: "You desire all the finer things in life - lovely clothes, home, furniture, and environment. However, procrastination is your worst enemy, and you find yourself lacking the ambition to make your dreams a reality. People are inclined to take advantage of your sympathetic, tractable nature. You naturally attract people with problems who seek your understanding and advice. You can give good advice although it is unlikely that you would follow it yourself."
2. Also, kidney problems.
3. You and Layne have taken ill. I have not. Jimmy the Greek was right. Best to listen to Snoop as a precautionary measure though. To my knowledge, Chumbawumba cannot cure a cold.
True, Chumbawumba cannot cure a cold. To cure a cold, it takes a vodka drink, it takes a whiskey drink, etc.
Astounding how much the cult knows about me. I intensely dislike the word "lovely" however - not sure why. It just sounds insincere, like saying you "thoroughly enjoyed" something on a thank you note. You might as well just write "I had a fucking awful time. Please leave me the fuck alone."
Once I had a roommate who was unbelievably boring. Whenever she spoke, I would say, "Really? Wow. That's amazing." or "Really? Wow. That's insane." seven or eight times per paragraph. The "Wow" so clearly expressed precisely the opposite sentiment, yet I felt powerless to change my response, so I lived in fear that she'd figure out that I was bored. I shouldn't have worried - boring people are by nature the least likely to observe that the people around them are silently hoping that a tragic natural disaster will hit the area, quickly ending the conversation without fanfare. I can't count the number of times I would've gnawed my own paw off to escape the steel trap of her mundane monologues.
Oh, poor pookie. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Jesus Christ, I bet the rabbit would think I was dull as mud, too. What a mean jerk she is!"
I am indeed a mean jerk, but trust me, you're not nearly as dull as my former roommate. It takes a huge effort to be that dull. If I could remember a single thing she said, I'd give you an example. And I would feel guilty for complaining about something as stupid as boredom, but really I'm just jealous, because she was a very happy, happy person, who had excellent, healthy relationships with other happy, healthy people. Being unhealthy, I was not one of them.
Well, psychological health is pretty dull, let's face it. Hence the Personality Disorder of the Week, which should pick up again momentarily - as soon as I'm not too lazy to go find that booklet with all those diagnoses for nutsos. (Or rather, the beautiful of mind. That makes a nice name for a soap opera featuring cranky old people and lunatics: The Old & The Beautiful of Mind. That's almost as good as a soap opera about stoners called "Ryan's Dope.")
Anyway, back to me: Yes, it's true, I lack the ambition to make my dreams a reality. That's why I have a Pay Pal button.
I attract people with problems. Well, duh! People with problems - that's you readers out there. You guys have tons of problems, right, or why else would you be here, reading this slop?
It's OK to have problems, though. Just remember: What doesn't kill you will only make you far less boring.
Tractably, with huge tracts of land,
WINNER OF THE "MY LIFE SUCKS THE MOST OF ALL" AWARD
And the winner is Mr. Open to a Fault, whose piss-poor decision-making skills have led him down the path to ruin, up shit creek, under the gun, and into the headlights of an oncoming choo-choo. Here's his story:
It all starts with me having a thing with my (then) flatmate's girlfriend, while my relationship with my girlfriend was in the shitter. Then I break up with my girlfriend. Then my flatmate's girlfriend decides that she will be a good girlfriend to her boyfriend, not me. Then I move out, into my own apartment, which is almost double the rent of what I was paying before, signing a 1 year lease. In the meantime, I get my salary review at work, and it is basically no raise - even though I got what appears to be a good review. A few weeks later, the company decides to lay off a bunch of people (startups, you know...), and I am one of the lucky people that gets the boot. I had not yet unpacked my boxes in my new apartment, and I decide to wait before I unpack ... to see if I will need to move to a another city for a new job. Very few people hiring, and I don't really feel like getting a job anyways. So I move out of my apartment ... into my parents'. I live in my apartment for 4 months, 2 of which I was unemployed. And then it is winter, and I need to get my mind off my shitty life, so I decide to go snowboarding with a buddy of mine. I fall on my back a few times, and my back hurts severely. When I get home, I check in the mirror, and
there is a lump where my back hurts. I go check it out, it is a boil. A furuncle. An abscess. In my lower back. Do you know what they do to boils? They drain it, and then they stuff it with gauze. And then they pull out the gauze, and stuff another bunch of gauze into it. And they do it about 3 times, and it hurts like hell. In summary:
+ I'm an asshole who cheated on his girlfriend
+ I cheated on my girlfriend with my flatmate's girlfriend
+ I dumped my girlfriend and was subsequently dumped by my ... flatmate's girlfriend
+ I lost my job
+ I had to give up on my apartment
+ I had to move back in with my parents
+ I found I had a boil on my back by falling on it, many times.
Oh, try to tell me my life does not suck. Go ahead.
Open To A Fault
OTAF, your life does indeed suck. In fact, it Sucks The Most of All(TM)! Congratulations! Thanks to your courageous work in the field of suffering, you've inspired a whole new generation of young horny toads lacking basic standards of decency, reminding them of the 100-lb anvil of bad karma that drops from the tippy-top of a skyscraper onto the heads of the ethically and emotionally challenged, leaving them flattened like transparent sheets of phylo dough. With proper medical care, they may one day walk again, and have torsos similar to accordions, but life will never be the same.
Thank you, OTAF, for making our own pathetic mistakes seem far less ill-considered and tragic in comparison.
Monday, January 28, 2002
CITY OF BAT-WIELDING CHILDREN
Quite a few readers responded to my pointless challenge to think up three rhyming things that are bad in theory, but good in practice. We'll start with this one from Laura, because she demonstrates nicely how the internet can be used as an effective research tool. This letter alone should qualify me for government funding for educational programs, funding which I'll use on whores and high grade cocaine. Oh, how I long to be the Enron of prostitution and declasse narcotics!
You've struck some nerve - some need of mine to rise to senseless challenges. (Is there a personality disorder associated with that?) Oh what fun! Let's think of things that are awful in theory and excellent in practice, and that rhyme. I'd much rather do that than work.
Lo and behold:
1. french cheese that has mold
2. putting this in your smoothie: drippy bananas that are old and no longer
3. the movie Kate and Leopold
(Okay, i just said that 'cause it rhymes. Haven't seen it. But you have to admit that it isn't so good in concept: "Kate & Leopold are two strangers in New York City, separated by a hundred years. When they meet, a century's worth of differences come crashing together. Kate McKay is a modern-day executive, a 21st century woman driven to succeed in the corporate world. Leopold, the Third Duke of Albany, is a charming 19th century bachelor; each has grown weary of waiting for love. When Kate's genius ex-boyfriend Stuart (who discovers the portal that accidentally transports his great great grandfather Leopold from 1867 to the new millennium) lands Leopold in present-day New York, all must confront the prospect of a love affair 100 years in the making."
I'm not kidding. I just pulled the synopsis off of some Hollywood/Kate and Leopold Website. "A century's worth of differences come crashing together" - huh? What does that mean? Modern day woman falls for her ex-boyfriend's great great grandfather - male chauvinist royalty? Please. Very, very bad in concept.
So, for this to work, you just have to make the rather large leap in faith that the movie is *good* - and then I'm in there. and, I might say, it's a brilliant addition to my list, given that I've started off with"mold" "old" and "gold." Let's see what Ebert and his buddy had to say, shall we? Hmmm, both Ebert and his pal Roeper gave Kate and Leopold the thumbs up. but I'm just not sure I buy it. So I'll give you one more, in case you discount this one. Let's see, where were we?)
1. french cheese that has mold
2. putting this in your smoothie: drippy bananas that are old and no longer
3. giving a kid a bat and then covering her eyes with a blindfold.
(See attached photos. Okay, in these cases it was a broom and not a bat.)
Thanks for the morning entertainment.
Let me get this straight. Kate prefers ancient men in tights to geniuses? Personally, I'd take a genius over some sexist bourgeois monkey in a velvet coat any day of the week. How charming could Baryshnikov possibly be, that he outshines a veritable genius? And they want us to believe that Meg Ryan could get laid by charming ballerinas and supergeniuses with hair like that?
I have to admit, though, I do love it when a century's worth of differences come crashing together. But then, who doesn't?
Still, I'm gonna have to go with the kids in blindfolds with bats, simply because it's an even worse concept than yet another comedy featuring Meg Ryan as a lovably mediocre yuppie to make all the mediocre yuppies out there feel that their mediocrity makes them quirky and desirable. Plus, when I first read it, I thought, "Who would blindfold a kid, then hand her a bat? That's fucking sick!"
On that note, I want to post your kids with bats photos, but I'm afraid the pervs will sniff them out with some sneaky Google search involving drippy bats, cheese, blindfolds, children, rabbits... Talk about your century's worth of differences crashing together.
By the way, don't worry about that need to rise to senseless challenges - that's what makes you a 21st century woman driven to succeed in the corporate world. You go, etc.
21st century mammal driven to eat moldy cheese in bed -
MORE SETS OF THREE RHYMING THINGS THAT ARE CRAPPY IN THEORY BUT EXCELLENT IN PRACTICE
1. Bjork, sporks, The Snorks
2. Macgyver, Survivor, Maria Shriver
3. cheesy sitcom, nosy mom, high school prom
(squeaky fromme? tinylittlepenis.com?)
4. brie, long island iced tea, bourgeoisie, potpourri*
5. cunnilingus, Charles Mingus, Bird's Eye Fish Fingers**
6. scab, crab, flab
7. Sex and the City, boys that are pretty, unsolicited pity
8. long jogs, Prague, Angus Og, Crapaud, pollywog (*cough*)
9. Easy Cheese, when old people say "the bee's knees", producing more than humanly expected when you sneeze
*"sets of three" might be a nice addition to this group
** shouldn't that be "fish fingas"?
So. Who knew that nosy moms, flab, and Maria Shriver were so warmly embraced by American culture? I certainly didn't. But I think you're stretching the definition of "rhyming" when you simply string a bunch of words together until you get to a word that rhymes, as in:
1. Pizza Huts
3. really gaudy gold jewelry that looks like it might once have been King Tut's
Does there really have to be a winner? Of course there does. I'm partial to Bjork and sporks, personally, so I'm willing to give The Snorks, whoever they are, the benefit of the doubt, even if they (appropriately) sound bad in theory.
But then, who can argue with cunnilingus, Mingus, and fish fingas?
Fuck picking a winner. Bad in theory, good in practice:
1. Refusing to pick a winner
2. Getting thinner
3. TV dinners
Or how about:
2. girls named Heather
3. a century's worth of differences crashing together
SMALL THINGS CONSIDERED
I'll be on NPR today, talking about something highly irrelevant. I'm told it'll air at 5:50 pm Eastern time, and either 4:50 or 5:50 pm Pacific. Got some great rhyming bad in theory, good in practice things from the huddled masses. Keep 'em coming, brothers and sisters! Let no crappily conceptualized practical wonder go unnoticed!
Sunday, January 27, 2002
Feeling a little less chafingly grateful today, thanks to a cold, some relentless rain, and an infected bug bite that requires pesky antibiotics to keep my whole leg from turning gangrenous.
Oh Jesus. Unfortunately I just did a search on "gangrenous" to make sure I was spelling it correctly, and the first site I came to had some pretty upsetting visuals. I guess that one swings me back around to grateful once again. And that brings us back to doh, doh, doh, doh!
While we're griping pointlessly, though, let me take a moment to remark on the awfulness of Jeff Probst. Why should a perfectly good show have such a grating human for a host? And what an oddly appropriate name.
And why does Carrie on Sex and The City wear outfits that would make a monkey blush? On the last show I saw, she wore: A shirt that revealed the bottom of her bra, a green gingham belt around her bare midriff, and what appeared to be a tiara made of ivy. And why must she whine and roll her eyes and mince about so? I particularly hate the scenes where she tiptoes around on bare feet, either sneaking into or out of bed with someone. Something about the way she moves doesn't work for me - it looks insincere. Last week it was sneaky sneak over to Aidan, who we're supposed to believe is some form of humanoid who wants to marry Carrie. Before that it was sneaky out of bed with Big, sneaky sneak out of Big's apartment, and then, that "Oh my god, I'm so surprised!" thing she does, with the scratchy startled voice and the jazz hands? It's like the preteen star of a local production of The Nutcracker trying to telegraph alarm to the guy in the back of the auditorium.
And who cares about the Rams and the fucking Patriots? How dull. Why not the Steelers, or the Jets? And why can't it snow like crazy every time they play? They should dump fake snow onto the field for added visual excitement.
And today I really wondered: Why ham with the pineapple? Why not just pineapple? I'm an adult now, right? Why pretend? It's the pineapple that I want, damn it. Screw the Canadian bacon. It's just an excuse to get that pineapple. In fact, double pineapple is the way to go - one of those very rare things that are awful in concept, yet utterly irresistible in reality.
Other Things That Are Awful In Theory and Excellent In Practice
I can't think of anything. Blogs? Snogging? Small dogs? Nut logs? The first person to send me three rhyming items that are very bad in concept and very good in actuality gets to be Monday's Special Hero.
Fuck, I wish I were Monday's Special Hero, what with the sniffles and the gangrene and the drippy drip outside. But then, what doesn't kill you only makes your bog stronger. Or not.
What the fuck is going on with the archives on Blogger? It's a fucking bitch how mine disappear every few weeks. I do the Mexican Hat Dance with switching them on and off to fix the bug, as instructed, but those archives still seem to reappear only when they're good and ready to do so. You know, I pay good money to use Blogger, and I expect it to... Oh yeah, it's free. But still.
Anyway, send me your Monday complaints. The person with the best complaints gets the "My Life Sucks The Most Of All" award, a sure source of high profile cooing and sympathy from the masses. And who doesn't want the masses to feel very sorry for them? Clearly I do.
And what could inspire more pity than a few lines of Rick Springfield?
And I look in the mirror all the time,
Wonderin' what she don't see in me.
I been funny, I been cool with the lines,
Ain't that the way love's supposed to be?
Friday, January 25, 2002
YOU THE MAN NOW, DOG!
In a quest to find out which Year of Dog you were born in, I discovered that it is not the Year of the Horse until the Chinese New Year in February. We remain in the Year of the Snake for a few weeks longer.
Your Research Assistant
Thanks, Florence. Have the towncar ready - I'm running late for the airport. And, by the way, I think I specifically instructed you to get the Verona Blend, not that Ethiopian stuff that smells like stale peanuts. Please rectify the situation before my return on the seventh. Honestly, I don't know where your attention to detail has gone - and don't make me say it again: the phone calls to your kids have to stop. This is a professional environment, if you want to make personal calls, you do it on your own time.
Alright, I'm out of here. Grab my suitcase and call the Sheraton to make sure they upgraded me to the king-sized bed, extra firm mattress. Oh, and call my ex-wife and tell her she's got my copy of Jeff Buckley's "Grace", and I fucking want it back by this weekend or she's in deep doodoo.
The Boss of You,
SLIP IN A BLOTTO
You know on those diaper commercials where they put the baby ass down on the diaper, and then they slip a "blotter" between the diaper and the ass, then pour blue liquid over the "blotter"? And they say, "Slip in a blotter!" What the fuck is going on with that? I mean, what's the point? After that, they show us the blotter, and one blotter has less liquid on it than the other, because one diaper has crazy absorbent synthetics that have a landfill life of tens of thousands of years - I guess that's the idea. But still, why is the blotter blue? Why is the liquid blue? And as long as you're gonna use blue liquid, is it appropriate to have that opening visual of a baby ass, sitting on the diaper? Are these alien babies that pee blue?
Anyway, there's gotta be a new catchphrase in there somewhere. Like, when you make a plan with a friend you don't like that much or don't want to discuss certain heavy, pressing issues with, so you bring along another friend? You slipped in a blotter. Or when you're trying to avoid talking to your girlfriend, so you turn on Alias? Slip in a blotter!
That Alias chick is a stone cold babe, huh? Sure, she's foxy, but you know, she'd be perfect if she were about a foot shorter, had a more interestingly screwy face, you know, like a larger nose and a head like an end table? Then, scratch the dimples, add some scratchy lines on the forehead (to show that she thinks a lot - Yes, sir, she's always thinking!), throw in a few random blemishes to liven things up, and - Yeah! Now THAT'S the look we like.
Wow, I know I'm in trouble when I'm not just following every random tangent, but actually starting things off with a random tangent.
The quote from yesterday was indeed Otto. I shouldn't have included the part about the school bus, that made it easier.
OTHER PEOPLE'S POSSES
A shout-out to Gompers' boys, JC and the Liu. "You boys are my boys!" he says.
A shout-out to those crazy-ass severely-street-cred-challenged political science graduate students at Berkeley! You dogs are off the chain, yo!
A shout-out to the snarky motherfuckers at snarkymalarkey! Snark it up, boyeee!
And Lena G. is in the house, hell yeah! She says, "This is for Victor, Joey, and my boy Rocco! Mad Love to all!"
THE BENEFIT OF THE LOUT
One particularly notable response:
"I'd say Otto the Bus Driver, but I know I'd be wrong. He did paraphrase whoever it is, anyway."
How excellent is it that this kind gentlemen assumes that I must be referencing something obscure and high-brow that some sad little hack at The Simpsons, in turn, referenced? It's so relaxing and convenient to have readers who give you the benefit of the doubt. Much to my joy and delight, it seems that my endless manipulating, my faux humility and spin and Jedi mind tricks, have tricked countless individuals into believing that I'm a worthwhile rabbit. Muhaha!
Rather than cast aspersions, let's enumerate my flaws, shall we? The older I get, the less my self-deprecation is merely a style issue, a sugar-coating for my overblown ego. These days, I aspire to put my actual foot forward (as opposed to my best imaginary foot). True, I can make a manipulatively good impression, either on the page or in person. I learned this skill at Duke, where cheesy geeks with delusions of grandeur go to learn the language and mating cries of the professional American - the witty banter, the frat boy bravado, the tough, know-it-all stance, the quick smoke-blown-up-the-ass, the general-purpose it's-all-good mien (communicating that it's all good without actually deigning to use the phrase).
Here's the trouble with impressing or charming others when you're actually awkward, neurotic, and wildly dysfunctional: It's false advertising. It's like wearing a miracle bra. You'll catch a lot of fish with that net, but eventually the second boob has to drop.
Now granted, in the career realm, who gives a shit? Being "professional" is all about squelching inconvenient emotions, ideas, and/or principles and faking it to make it. Behaving "unprofessionally", therefore, generally indicates that someone has acted like an emotive, thoughtful, principled human being, which, as we all know, is a huge mistake in the workplace.
What bothers me is when I shift into macho autopilot instead of behaving like a regular, flawed person. Interpersonally, I have a bad habit of meeting someone in a social setting and subconsciously leading him or her to believe that I'm completely confident, happy, and in control, when in fact... well, let's not state the obvious.
The great and powerful Oz is a big hit, though - don't get me wrong. The flames, the smoke, the bellowing voice... Just watching those cowardly lions tremble and shake is worth the price of admission alone. But when someone catches a glimpse of the little bald man behind the curtain? They're not just disillusioned and sort of bummed, like Dorothy. They're fucking pissed off.
And why should I have to feel like a jerk just because I'm really a jerk, huh?
I mean, if I would just act like the neurotic, awkward, needy, introspective, self-congratulatory, contradictory attack dog that I am, then I'd never make any new friends or win over the babes, but one day I might meet the mutant who finds me vaguely appealing not in spite of but because of my flaws.
That's right, you go girl, you choose those illusions! In fact, let's all play! Hey ladies, fear not! Some day your prince will come, and he'll love your big ass, your dramatic office anecdotes, and the way you whip up that Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese like you've been doing it all your life! And just think, boys, some day you'll find that special supermodel who digs male cellulite and farting in bed!
IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN, A HEART, A HOME, THE NERVE.COM
Cheesy anecdote: Someone made me check out some featured guy on Nerve.com whom she might write to, because he's a babe and so is she (so at least they have that in common). I checked out the guy, then got to the end, where he says he doesn't want to be with someone who "expresses her emotions by going on the attack."
My friend's in the clear on that one. But it got me to thinking.
Since when did it become unacceptable to express your emotions by going on the attack? Isn't that what being a scary, unpredictable female is all about? I mean, without that basic freedom, what the fuck are we ladies supposed to do when we're PMSing, besides eating Cherry Garcia ice cream out of the carton and sewing those little Voodoo Dolls of people we hate, like we normally do?
Sometimes I think you men don't understand how insane it is to be a woman. I mean, just check out how it looks from the outside. What the fuck do you think is going on in there? Think about it: that human being can make a baby. There's a fucking nuclear reactor in there! Ssstt! Hot hot! Too hot to touch! Blaming us for our eruptive natures is like blaming the sun for rising.
You know, enlightenment and taking responsibility for one's emotional experience are all well and good, as long as they make other people do what I want them to do. But when they start making me behave differently, well, that's a horse of a different color.
DON'T LOOK THE YEAR OF THE HORSE IN THE MOUTH
I'm excited about this year, the Year of the Horse. I like the way things are going. You know those days when all your clothes are in the washer or the dryer, and you end up having to scrape together some random outfit that you would never normally wear, but then it's really excellent and you're glad to be wearing it all day long? That's how my life is right now.
But then, I'm pretty grateful by nature, considering I was born in the Year of the Dog... which somehow fits nicely with Our Theme. Let's sing our theme song, shall we?
Me! Mean, vicious me!
Hot poker and me me!
Wednesday, January 23, 2002
FAKE SOMEONE HAPPY
(So used to reading "Dear Rabbit" that I feel as if it is not me writing it):
Allow me to quote:
partygoer #3: Personally, I've always wondered what Gertrude Stein would've done with a battery-powered dildo and a six pack of Zima.
1. My guess is that she wouldn't have written as much or nearly as well as she did.
Kevin and Regular Me sound like the same person; what with the shared vocabulary of "hipsters" and the group sex orgy thing. Are you faking your letters again?
I love your site, by the way. That's all I really have to say now.
People often accuse me of faking exactly those letters which it would be absolutely impossible for me to fake. I mean, "Humping Party"? "Frank Zappa is a guy whose death I really regret"? These are the kinds of tweaked details that it's impossible to fake. I've tried. Lord how I have tried! But the man says I need a piece of paper to drive the school bus...
Those who can tell me the source of that quote (previous 3 sentences) get their name(s) printed right here. That's weak. How about, they get their name(s) printed right here, along with a phat shout-out to their posse.
My god, this blogging shit is beginning to more and more closely resemble volunteering at a really bad radio station.
No, the two hipster sex letters are similar because one guy read the other guy's letter and had his own monster-related story to tell. I fear that the overuse of the word "hipster" is my own fat fault, since I've been overusing that fucking word since around 1996. I know it calls to mind all the wrong things to some people, but I trust that longtime readers of Filler picture a Terry-illustrated dude with bed-head, loose jeans, a chain, and that general-purpose look of malaise that comes from going out with your dull friends every night because your life has no larger purpose, beyond a personal philosophy stolen from the first few lines of the movie "Trainspotting." You know, fucking mainstream wankers with their bloody washing machines and two-car garages, etc. etc.
Speaking of big garages, my cousin, who is younger and better than me, recently sent me a holiday greeting picture (picture on left, "Seasons Greetings!" message on right) of the house that she's building with her brand new husband, a house that appears to have (deep breath) a FOUR car garage, and a gravel driveway about four lanes wide to match. Now, just to be clear, we're not talking 8 bedrooms, a majestic entryway, and a circular drive (none of which I'm fond of, let me add). We're talking 2-3 bedroom house that's positively dwarfed by a massive, massive garage and driveway that more closely resembles a freeway. I can only assume that this is the way things are done in Wisconsin. Instead of comparing the greenness of their lawns, suburban types compare the width of their driveways. Or else my cousin is just some kind of a freak - which is a pleasant surprise.
But back to you, CK. Your theory is that, with a high-voltage dildo, Gertrude Stein might not have written as much or as well. Hmm. I guess that explains my prolific streak of late. I'd better stay dissatisfied or the year of the rabbit is over. What year is it, by the way? Year of the Rat, Ox, Horse? Call in right now and let me know. Caller number six gets their personality flaws unpacked on live radio. We'll call the show "Shoveline."
Onward: You ask, "Zima?" As in, why Zima, Rabbit? Well, once I was on a hike and me and the two scrawny boys and the girl I was with didn't bring any water (very unlike me, always have water, don't like going without water) but we DID have some Zimas that one of the scrawny boys brought. It wasn't very good, and left me with a severe headache, feeling even more thirsty. This Bad Situation was quite typical of that era (early 20s) and that place (San Francisco).
Other Typical Early-20s Mistakes
1. Falling in love with someone in the band.
2. Temping for several years, repeatedly turning your back on a good salary for the sake of "keeping your options open", as if you have options.
3. Moving in with your best friend who's intense and half-crazy, just like you. (And no, her name is not Suzanne, and if she does occasionally bring you tea and oranges, she saves the receipts and posts your outstanding balance on the fridge.)
4. Encouraging your avoidant exboyfriend, who you're very possessive of, to move in with your borderline best friend, who you're very possessive of.
5. Being very possessive of exboyfriends and friends, and being far more skilled at diagnosing the psychological maladies of others than you are at objectively analyzing your own toxic cocktail of personality and mood disorders.
6. Leaving that futon in the street because it was too hard to move.
7. Sleeping with that guy who once dated Uma Thurman, thinking in some small part of your mind that you might make up for deficits in certain areas (like not having tits that, when revealed in all their largish yet perky glory, make men nationwide suffer mini-strokes) with certain benefits in other areas (like being able to sing the theme to "The Love Boat" if not very well then with a great deal of enthusiasm, albeit not infectious enthusiasm).
8. Ashing into the pocket of your suede coat, then commenting loudly for the next half hour to everyone within earshot on that "awful smell, almost like burning flesh" as your favorite coat slowly smolders.
9. Getting very drunk as you wait for your name to come up at an Open Mic Night, then borrowing someone else's guitar.
Ok, I'm repeating my anecdotes now, a good sign that it's time to wind things up here. Thanks for your questions and/or comments, CK. A worthy springboard for aimless travel, as it turns out.
In The Year of the Mainstream Wanker,
I don't want to bite off Kevin, but speaking of wack parties and misguided socializing:
Yo...I got invited to a "Humping Party". For real. According to the invitation, that means "sexy costumes and props and make-out tents". Supposedly everyone is going to go ahead and get ugly drunk and nail each other. "I'm not going," I thought, without hesitation. "Gross." But as soon as I said that, 14-Year-Old-Me, god-king of the uber-adolescents that live in *my* bad head, flipped out and started keeping me up at night. He wants to go, and really badly.
When I moved to New York after college, I had goals. I wanted to make friends with people who had funny-shaped glasses and sleep with them all the time. All at the same time. Always. And I'd make some kind of art, too, hopefully without having to leave the really big futon that had cameras and ashtrays and funny glasses strewn all over it. That never really panned out because I thought there would just be me and seven million girls in the city, and that wasn't the case. That's fine.
So time passed, etc. Maturing, etc. Life, and so on. Thinking about the things I once thought would turn me on now makes me feel vaguely ill. Like funny-shaped glasses and orgies. Also tattoos in foreign languages, silly piercings, and veganism. I didn't yet have access to my imaginary hipster-sphere, so I decided that it probably didn't really exist and that I didn't want to go there anyway. Well, I was sorta wrong about it not existing, but I still don't want to go. But that's just Me, enjoying the benefits of my meager experience. 14-Year-Old-Me insists that I'm a sellout. He's surely right.
So I'm going to go ahead and ask: What kind of sex should I have?
Wearing very regular glasses,
Dear Regular Me,
That would be in the butt, Bob.
But come on. That was too easy. You're just trying to make me look good, aren't you? Pitching me those big fat whiffle balls. I mean, please, "I got invited to an orgy, what kinda sex should I have?" Next thing you know I'm going to get letters that ask me things like, "I've got a box of Whitman's chocolates here, the one with the little map. What order should I eat them in?" or "What do you think of Britney Spears, Michael Chabon, cucumber-scented candles, and/or low rise pants?" or "How would you compare the current season of The Simpsons to The Simpsons of 1992?" or "I just ran into a guy named Chris Sanchez who says you had a big crush on him in 4th grade. Please, I beg of you, tell me all about how you made him a card with a giraffe on the cover to express your love for him, and then you ran off to the bathroom and cried for half an hour." Really. It's like walking into the VA hospital and asking someone to tell you all about The Great War.
What are you gonna do, Johnny? Stay at home and watch Celebrity Fear Factor? You have to go, and that's an order. Otherwise, you can't tell the rest of us randy nimrods every racy detail. Except, if there's badly lit cellulite, or you smell patchouli or body odor in the air, or people are doing drugs that make them act a little seedy? Leave those parts out. And if it's a cheesy apartment with wall-to-wall carpeting and vertical blinds, and some guy with a mullet has to move a few open bags of nacho cheese Dorritos to make counter space to cut up some blow? Skip that stuff.
I know it makes you feel queasy, but come on. Think about it for a second. You don't have an inner child, you have an inner 14-year-old. What does that tell you? It tells you that your development was arrested at the age of 14. Why? Because, Johnny, you never did this "Gross" kind of stuff, because you had some kind of a Catholic thing going on, or your dad was a little bit too much of an authoritarian, or you fear intimacy which - well, I don't really know what that means, but it's not good and takes lots of meditation to overcome. And meditation is pretty tedious.
If your inner 14-year-old wants to get its tiny little rocks off, damn it, well then it's your duty to come through for the little bastard! You don't have to do anything, but drink a few quick shots of tequila. The rest will take care of itself.
Children, if you're reading this because you did a search on "bunny rabbit", please realize that we're just joking around. You know, adults are so silly. We like to pretend that there are things like "sex parties" out there because we're bored with yucky-tasting whiskey and soap operas. Unlike you, we have limited imaginations and have to dream up utterly cliched fictional scenarios and then try them on for size, over and over again, sometimes employing the use of accessories and ultra moisturizing hand lotion. An orgy is sort of like a monster and no one ever does anything in the butt, except poopy, which, as you know, is pretty funny in and of itself.
Tuesday, January 22, 2002
Wow, it's easy to write when people write to you, encouraging you to write. "Write fair old one, write like the wind!" they say, and they're not clammy-handed mouth breathers, either, they're very tall and lovely with nice muscle definition in their calves. That's what they're like in my mind, anyway. My mind is a wonderful thing to waste.
I appreciate the letters. Especially this next one.
WOOING OR WOO-WOOS?
I play in a band that, against all odds, is acquiring a certain cool cachet among local hipsters. I, myself, am decidedly uncool, though it seems my uncoolness, manifest primarily as niceness, cordiality and solicitude, no matter how freakish the person I'm dealing with, is being repositioned as coolness. At least, I'm meeting with a degree of acceptance and welcome, in fact a level of head-turning sought-after-ness to which I am unaccustomed.
So I'm finally part of this bohemian, young-urban-hipster scene that I, as an uncool but (okay, I'll admit it) socially ambitious person, always felt a dirty little social-climber impulse to join, but never really could. Trouble is, after attending a party on Saturday, typical of several I've been to lately, at which all kinds of freaky art-scene shit was going on (a woman photographing women's vaginas in the bathroom, people playing with the host's collection of sex toys, or gaily discussing his collection of truly gruesome crime-scene photos), it stopped being campy fun, and left me with a profound longing for anything wholesome -- puppies, buttercups, hell, I would have happily talked to a fucking Mormon at that point. This also after several unsatisfying conversations featuring exchanges like the following:
Me: Frank Zappa is a guy whose death I really regret. He died just before the digital age really blossomed, and I've always wondered what he would have done with the technology.
Drunk Guy: Man, Zappa WAS the disztal age, man! He WAS the fucking disztal age.
Me (at a loss, reverting compulsively to totally inappropriate intellectualism): Um, well, yeah, I guess you could say a lot of what he did sort of pre-figured a lot of digital experimentation that's going on now, um, sure.
Drunk Guy: Right on, man, Zappa WAS the disztal age!
So what's better, white picket fences or group sex? Old-fashioned wooing or wall-size photographs of genitalia? A house littered with campy sex-toys or 2.4 children in private school? Or are these all false dichotomies? Do I need to just loosen up a bit?
Social climber with vertigo,
Oh, Kevin. Kevin Kevin Kevin. Even a loose understanding of the non-Western world should indicate to you that all dichotomies are false. Your preconception of the "other" is what informs such limited thinking, and restricts your ability to conceptualize the basic tenets of...
Now see what I just did? I just tried to fit in. That was your first mistake, Kevin. I mean come on, "Frank Zappa is a guy whose death I really regret"? Why? Did you kill him? You've been wondering what Zappa would have done with digital technology? Well, I've been wondering what Richard Nixon would've done with a cell phone. Does anyone need another beer? 'Cause I sure do.
Seems like you're envisioning a utopia where conversations at parties are fascinating and informative and full of wonder.
Provocative Party Conversation
partygoer #1 You know, I've often wondered what George Washington would have done with a corn dog and a 32-oz Big Gulp.
partygoer #2 Really? Because I tend to wonder about what the ancient Romans would've done with those pressurized cans of whipped cream.
partygoer #3 Personally, I've always wondered what Gertrude Stein would've done with a battery-powered dildo and a six pack of Zima.
But Kevin, I can't blame you for being bent, after having to endure that awful bullshitty art scene. I mean, vaginas and crime scene photos are cutting edge? How laborious. What will they do next week, embalm barnyard animals? By the time summer rolls around, only an Ass Sex Festival will do.
Speaking of stupid ass sex jokes, once I went on a trip to Whistler with my friend Steve and his friend and his friend's cousin, who was only 17 and visiting for the summer. While we were driving up there in the car, I tried to fuck with the kid by saying, "You do know that this is Ass Sex weekend at Whistler, right? I mean, you know that's why we're going up there, right?" From then on, we referred to it as Whistler Ass Sex Weekend, or WASAW!
It's a lot of fun having a 17-year-old around. You might consider renting one for your next trip.
OK, where were we? Picket fences or group sex? Wooing or woo-woos? Personally, I have to side with old fashioned courting, homemade pie, and buttercups. I think you could probably skip the lame-o hipster fests and still avoid solitude. If you're as sought-after as you say, all you have to do is climb offstage after your next gig and sweat and listen to a gaggle of girlies tell you how you remind them of Trent Reznor. When I was in high school, I was the lead singer in a band that had some gigs at local bars and frat parties. Afterwards, guys would come up to me and tell me I was great, which was a blatant lie. It was pretty thrilling, until I figured out that they just wanted to get laid. I have a feeling this discovery will be less disappointing to you, though. Just take one or two girls home and talk about buttercups and puppies until it's time for bed. Talk about having your cupcake and eating it, too!
The bottom line is that soon you'll be happy to attend a party where everyone stands around eating triskets and talking about where to purchase a sturdy broom. Maybe you should enjoy the genitalia and slurring kitchen sociologists while you still can.
Resting at base camp,
Sunday, January 20, 2002
MISERY HATES COMPANY
That's "international woman of misery", and aren't you already there?
Dog is my copilot.
Holy projectoid! I know you are, but what am I?
I don't understand the urge to fire off a few rounds into a crowded room like that. Who's your copilot again? Cujo? I mean, if I actually were miserable, that would be a depressing note. Why would you bother?
Oh, right. I'm sorry. Maybe you need to eat more leafy green vegetables. Get a little fresh air. Play some croquet. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.
Beware of God,
MAKE A NEW PLAN, STAN
Apparently there's a party in my mouth, and I'm invited. It seems that one of my three fans has decided to post to plastic about my absence in that neck of the woods. There's a rather touching (to me, and only me) plea for me to grace them with my presence. Such obsequiousness is so timely, given my former editor's recent takedown of bloggerly back-patting and buzz creation through endless mutual back-scratching, circle jerking, and link link link link linking. As a clear beneficiary of such behavior, though, I have no complaints. Besides, I enjoy trying to figure out which weirdo is friends with which other weirdo. It makes me feel like a part of a community, like I actually exist outside of my own imagination. A comforting illusion.
Besides, it's easier than putting on black leather and glad-handing with jackasses around here.
Uh oh. Maybe I really do hate myself and everyone else. Maybe there is much anger in her, like her father.
And, uh, by posting about a post about my non-posting elsewhere, I'm committing the most masturbatory sin of all. And yet, isn't that part of the beauty, the self-congratulatory freedom of it all, the faux-glory afforded the little man in this revolutionary golden age of pointless rambling? Just think, some day we'll look back fondly on the rise and fall of the insignificant yet prolific, and we'll cheerfully include ourselves among their ranks. I've definitely been enjoying my bloggishness so far. Is my blathering here any less significant than the highly paid drivel I've been paid to have published elsewhere? I mean, who's keeping track?
Let's all have fun and continue to kiss each other's asses until we get bored. What's the alternative, ripping each other to little bits? I guess we could do that, too, if it's more interesting.
The funniest thing, though, is when people refer to me as moving on to "greener pastures." Uh, my sprinkler has been broken for a while. If you want to help me fix it, use the Pay Pal button - Amazon charges something like 15% and I'm thinking of deleting the button altogether.
Someday, I may make a living again, in which case I may be too busy to write stuff here all the time. But in the meantime, I'll be here, writing down whatever irrelevant thought briefly springs to mind.
And so, the cycle of life continues...
I notice that it's been quite a while since I mentioned my dear friend Ken Layne, whose romantic embrace of midnight blogging, tacos, and chianti have revived my lust for life. It's also been at least days since I mentioned that Matt Welch is one of my bestest buddies and that his rendition of Purple Rain has the power to remind a person that sometimes we all need to reach out for something new (that means you, too). And I can't even begin to imagine why I haven't brought up my supernatural French friend, my one true love Emmanuelle Richard, qui j'aime comme le frommage, whatever the fuck that means. And then there's my soulmate, noted Australian Tim Blair. The most unusual aspect of the group is not their online presence, but the fact that they're intelligent but unselfconscious and romantic and willing to stick their necks out. My own romantic sense of myself and the world was crushed long ago, replaced by a caustic demeanor carefully designed to protect my soft underbelly of unrealistic daydreamy hopeful longing from the red hot poker of cynicism and self-consciousness.
Or something. But most importantly, without these people, I might never have blogged! Imagine, the loss to society, if Dostoevsky had eaten pear and arugula salads, and if I had never blogged!
But don't think of that. No, focus on the future, buttercup.
Saturday, January 19, 2002
YES, MAN. YES!
In a move designed to get me out of my dank little cave and increase my understanding of / interaction with the world outside, I've recently resolved to say yes to many, many things I would normally shun, either on principle or out of laziness or just because I have, in the past, told myself that they "weren't my thing". Not that I'm lame enough to put it that way, exactly. Actually, that phrase - or, more specifically, the phrase, "No thanks, man. It's not my thing!" - sort of calls to mind an afterschool special in which a totally popular kid manages to decline a passed joint without seeming dweeby (impossible!).
Onward: I did yoga for the first time the other day, I helped my friend with a yard sale that started at 8 am on a Saturday, I drank a beer with my neighbor when my urge was to sit in my office and mope, and I'm going on a hike tomorrow morning at 7:50 am. I also took a class in self-discovery through paper mache and fucked a bisexual midget.
Just kidding. I was boring myself for a minute there.
On a similar note, I'm thinking I might want to move to Budapest, mostly because someone was talking about Budapest and I don't know enough about it to have a big handful of prejudices ("Prague?!! How pretentious and post-collegiate." "Paris? How cliche and expensive and General Foods International Coffees Swiss Mocha Mint!"). Also, I'm single, I don't have a job, and I haven't traveled for shit. Isn't this a good time for me to, you know, live up to some romantic notion of what freakish old maids with creative delusions do to keep from fucking married men and then chopping up bunny rabbits to traumatize their lovers' children? I mean, isn't that the choice: desperate psycho or pretentious international woman of mystery?
I've never actually cared that much about experiencing life abroad (perhaps stupidly and pathetically of me), but suddenly it seems like just the thing. That and egg custard, they cry out to me in the night. Also, I'm liking the word "fuck" a lot more than I did previously.
Is it the yoga? I think so. The thing they don't tell you about yoga is that it's weirdly sexual. Even with the smelly hippies and the dirty vertical blinds, it's still pretty sexy. Either that or I'm just a scary pervert.
Oh, jesus. I'm turning into Janice Soprano.
Thursday, January 17, 2002
HOP ON THE BUS, GUS
As tedious as the real-life facts are becoming in the face of more light-hearted fare, I feel compelled to clear something up: the shit is not hitting the fan because I'm unemployed. The unemployment thing is just part of the general make-up of my world right now: not exactly preferable, but not really sparking a major existential crisis (thanks in large part, as I mentioned, to readers and friends - likeyou!). The more immediate issue is that I'm going through a break-up. It's mutual and amicable, but it involves moving myself and all my shit to another location, and as bad-headed concrete thinkers and neurotics know too well, logistical challenges are far more heartbreaking than emotions. What are emotions, after all, besides a little indigent weather, some unrestrained sentimentalism, or the fallout from a bit of undigested potato?
I've received a number of soothing letters regarding my career, which I appreciate. But see, I already said that I feel reassured about my prospects in part due to similar letters I'd received in the past. Do we assume that I'm so thoroughly full of shit that I would claim to be at peace and then require further effortful hand-holding and reassurance, from readers who are perhaps as accustomed to hand-holding and reassurance as dolphins are to composing detail memos regarding human resources' policies regarding the storage of brown-bag lunches in the company refrigerator? Of course we do. But, more importantly, does comparing me to Stuart Smalley really help?
Next time? Jack Handey. (Remember that joke about Jack promising to take his nephew to Disneyland, then driving him to a the wreckage of a burned-out warehouse and then saying, "Oh no! Disneyland burned down!"? ["He cried and cried, but I think deep inside he thought it was a pretty good joke."] That one reminds me of my dad. He liked to fuck with our minds for his own idle amusement. I did think his jokes were pretty funny, though, even when they were on me. That's why I'm a shell of a person, much like Tom Hanks' thoroughly unlovable character in Punchline.
Despite the fact that I'm thoroughly enjoying the mail I've received from a handful of yous (I'll be utilizing rural Pennsylvania dialect henceforth), every time I read the words, "Buck up little camper, you'll get a job some day!" I feel sort of queasy and need to lay down for a few minutes. Not only am I not currently in turmoil over my financial ruin (I've made a hard-earned peace with it - a hard-earned, fragile peace, as evidenced by my tone here), I don't really want a job, nor am I looking for one. Furthermore, I'm trying very hard not to worry too much about my financial affairs, because, dollars is like lil' old guppies, and I got me a 50-lb bass to fry. Hot damn!
Or maybe I just feel misunderstood. It's ok, you didn't have all the facts. Nor should you.
The point is, I'm going through a major life-changing event, and so that's why I'm being so stupidly straightforward about shit. But, again, I tend to change jobs, towns, and boyfriends roughly once every two years, so don't cry for me, Argentina.
Now, some might reasonably posit that I can't seem to maintain a long-term relationship. Some might be right in such a supposition. Some might even suggest that perhaps I'm not far from the Mr. Flinchy character I so blithely insulted in my Filler columns of yore. Some might not be far off the mark with that suggestion. Some might consider the impact a bad head has on a relationship, and silently rededicate themselves to not being so neurotic and critical that it ruins their relationship with their little buttercup, whom they adore more than anything on earth. Some might be urged to keep their little warm love feelings to themselves or risk severe head injury.
Despite having spent a good portion of the last ten years focusing on finding and securing and roping up and tamping down and weatherproofing True Love (TM), I don't seem to have made much progress. I can only assume I'm not very good at this, and should dedicate my time to more fulfilling pursuits, like crafting whimsical figurines from pipe cleaners and felt.
The most surprising thing about finding myself without a job or a boyfriend is that, suddenly I realize that I really don't want another job or another boyfriend. Eventually, I might. But if not, I can always get a bunch of cats and start collecting porcelain crap for the cats to break. When I was very young and much stupider, I would've thought that I would be panicked to be single at this age, especially after years of my father's girlfriends pulling me aside and saying, with palpable bitterness in their voices, "Find yourself a nice guy in college, and don't let go of him. Trust me. All the good ones get taken fast. God, when I think of the guys I knew back then..."
But now, here I am, and when I think of the guys I knew back in college, I scrub and scrub and just can't get clean. I'd sooner have dragged a baby or a bad drug habit along with me all these years than to have lugged along some clod from college like so much crumpled, smelly laundry. I sure as shit wouldn't be writing anything. ("You're so negative! Jesus Christ! Why don't you get a job and stop wasting all your time on that...blogger thing or whatever it is?!!")
I'm sure I sound like your typical aged sour-grapesian philosopher. And in keeping with this image, I'll just say that last night I was driving in my car, and I mindlessly put in a tape of Paul Simon's Greatest Hits (as the heartbroken are wont to do), and there was little Paul (I pictured him looking just like he did in Annie Hall, dorky-hip '70s LA rockstar guy, looking to smoke some weed and score with the chicks) and he was singing, "Yesterday was my birthday. I hung another one on the line. I should be depressed, my life is a mess, but I'm havin' a good time. Have a good tiiiime...."
Actual Conversation With My Friend Margaret
rabbit: I was just writing about this on my website, actually...
margaret: Wait a minute. I don't get it. What do you usually write on your site?
rabbit: Oh, whatever comes to mind. Self-involved drivel, mostly.
margaret: Man, I gotta get me a bog!
From now on, I think this site should be known as The Rabbit Bog.
Tuesday, January 15, 2002
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
I'm back in LA, and I'm feeling bloggy, slightly bloggish, even, which means that very soon there will be much blogging and bloggerly celebration and bloggin' good times, a veritable blogorama, a blogucopia of blogola. Later, the blog police will show up and haul several of the assembled blogoholics to the big house.
But in the meantime, I have to be earnest. As unbecoming and unbloggerly it is to be earnest here on the hostile, rocky soil of the rabbit blog, I simply must. What's that terrible line from Pleasantville? "You just can't stop what's inside of you!!!" (I think he might have been talking about jizz.) (Oh my god, I just wrote jizz. I feel sick.) (Jizz? Or jiz?)
Back to the point: I have to thank my lucky stars that I have the friends that I have. For the first time in my life, the shit is hitting the fan rather squarely, and somehow I have all these friends, coming out of the woodwork, offering to wipe shit off all the surrounding surfaces. No, this is not the first time the shit has hit the fan. Lord, no. Ha! The shit has hit the fan so many times, well, I almost enjoy the familiar sight of shit spattering hither and thither...
NO, the point is, for the first time, I have nothing but really, truly nice friends, and for some reason they're all scrambling to make it known that they're my friends, as opposed to, say, scurrying off to some dark hole until the shitstorm blows over and I'm "fun" again. I'm much more accustomed to, say, calling people to tell them the shit is hitting the fan, only to be told that NYPD Blue is on. Desperate messages are left. Groveling is usually required. Granted, there were some who were more interested in hanging out when I was down, but it was mostly because they wanted to see me fall from my high horse, and maybe break a leg or two - not in the "good luck" sense.
I'm not saying I've had nothing but crappy friends all my life. I've always had at least one or two good friends, often in far away places where I couldn't wear their patience thin. And the friends I had who weren't that reliable, most of the time I think I was too afraid to ask for help, or to let anyone know that I was having trouble. When I say I called and groveled, I think it just felt that way to me. Probably what I did was call and leave a surly message which ensured that that person would never feel like calling me again. I have an unfortunate habit of sounding angry when I'm actually desperate for a kind word. Vulnerability is not my strong suit, except behind closed doors, where I'm a huge cry baby. See the dysfunctional, self-loathing terms I use? I'm fucking Archie Bunker.
No, I'm not actually fucking Archie Bunker. Now that would be a serious crisis.
Naturally, all of this stems from my family. (Shut up, you. This mood won't last long, and I want to take advantage of it.) We weren't big huggers (shocking news, I'm sure). When something went horribly wrong, we'd all yell at each other, or roll our eyes and shrug, and then run off to our rooms and weep silently into our pillows. It wasn't all bad. Sometimes my mom and I would analyze things from a safe distance, and then eat a banana split together. We're good friends, but we're not very good at holding hands and talking about important stuff without analyzing it or acting tough. This makes us a fairly typical American family, I'm sure - except the part where my dad made us box each other. That was a little beyond the pale. (We had little boxing gloves and everything - and no, I never, ever remember saying, "Daddy, what I really want for Christmas is some BOXING GLOVES so I can box my big brother Eric! He's a foot taller and four years older, but ~I~ know how to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!")
The mood has changed a lot lately. Partially, I think, because I've made an effort to be less of a bratty little kid and to accept my family for who they are, and to embarrass myself in front of them as much as possible (you know, by being vaguely honest about who I am. The horror.) As the youngest, it's my duty to get everyone talking. For a few years there, I said to hell with my duty, I'm gonna be a sulky asshole like the rest of them. But now I'm too old for that, and I'm starting to feel like I need to step up to the plate and be the mature one - cook, do the dishes, say nice things. Like a mom. I guess you turn into a mom eventually whether you have kids or not.
Look, I know you don't want to know this shit about me, but this is what's for dinner tonight. Tomorrow the pissed off rabbit will be back, so enjoy this rare glimpse behind the curtain afforded by times of crisis, alright? You'll eat your eggplant and you'll like it, goddamn it.
Anyway. Let's see. So, I probably didn't know that much about friendship, although I was a really good crisis friend, someone who'd drop everything when things got bad. But that mostly meant that I felt disappointed when some of my friends didn't do the same for me.
But now, suddenly, I'm closer to most of my old friends than I have been in years, and my new friends are these generous, incredible people, and it's nuts. I guess once everyone starts having kids, all this warmth and availability will dry up and blow away. But for now, jesus, I can't believe it.
But it's more than just friends. It seems like every, single day that I've felt bad about being an unemployed loser, or questioned whether or not I'm really a writer, I've gotten an email from a total stranger, telling me that he or she enjoys my writing and I should keep it up. Now, granted, each of these people is deeply regretting those words right now. But I've really been amazed at how nice people have been to me - I can't really believe it. I've been unemployed for six months, and you'd think I'd be pretty sullen and unmotivated, but instead, I'm writing a lot and feeling really good about it. I try not to write people back, because once I start writing, I can't stop, and then I spend my day on three emails to the same person and nothing else gets done. But I really feel grateful for the people who bother to read my stupid crap, and to write to me about it. It's really made a difference in my life.
Now I'm going to get a lot of urgent messages instructing me to shut the fuck up, but I just wanted to say thanks to my friends - real and imaginary. I wish I were more like you fuckers.
Saturday, January 12, 2002
A FEW INADEQUATE MEN
Despite recent justifications regarding monetary concerns, the truth is I have been woefully neglectful in updating the rabbit blog. There are many reasons for this, none of them very good.
First of all, I'm still in Durham, NC. Originally, I planned to return to LA on at the end of December. Then I decided to stay for ten more days so I could whip my mom's yard into shape and spend more time with Chloe the evil dog. Then I decided to stay for 6 more days because the yardwork wasn't done yet, and I felt like avoiding my life in LA for a little longer.
Let me take a little time out from this narrative to discuss the benefits of life avoidance through strenuous yardwork (see also: Botanical Avoidance Disorder). I first familiarized myself with this therapeutic method in the fall of 1995. Certain traumatic life events forced me into a two-month reprieve from my life back in San Francisco. During that period, I spent all of my time either working out, working in my mom's yard, or hanging out at the mall, drinking strong coffee, and speaking very rapidly to my friend Steve, who was in his second year of med school at the time (the mall was the only place you could buy strong espresso in Durham back then). I also took a train up to Philadelphia to visit a friend, and spent the better part of the 10 hour trip reading "The Sheltering Sky" by Paul Bowles and drinking Miller Lite. To demonstrate the descent into madness brought on by this experience, with about 10 pages of the book left and 20 minutes to go until Philadelphia, I went to the dining car to get another Miller Lite.
Actual Exchange That Occurred in Amtrak Dining Car, October 1995
Three men with thick southern accents are standing around in the dining car, idly making small talk. Spaced-out creepy girl enters, politely requests can of Miller Lite.
southern man: Now there's a natural redhead!
creepy girl: I, uh, I just dyed my hair this morning, actually.
All three southern men stare at creepy girl with pained expressions on their faces until she gracelessly ducks out the door, clutching her can of beer.
Never, in your dalliances with friendly southern men, do you bring up the truth. Bringing the facts into an exchange like this one is sort of like bringing a roll of toilet paper with you on a date to inspiration point, because "who knows, one of us might need to take a crap in the woods or something." Practical, yes, but not recommended. Having spent the first 20 years of my life in the South, I knew better. But 9 hours of intense Bowles, beer, and train had conspired to make me foggy-brained and slow, albeit somewhat giddy.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Botanical Avoidance Disorder. Two years later, I spent September and October in Durham and worked on the yard the whole time, and I think I took a train to New York and read something else - Call It Sleep, I think, by Henry Roth. The point is, when you're doing strenuous yard work for 3-4 hours a day, and no matter how cold it is outside, you're sweating and dirty and your entire body is in pain, there's just no way you can feel bad. You come inside and take a bath, and you're happy. You sit down: Woohoo! Sitting down rules! You eat a steak and it's the best thing you've ever tasted in your life.
Victor Frankel, a psychologist who studied inhabitants of concentration camps during WWII, developed a very weird therapy for depressed people. Basically (if I remember correctly, which is rare), during the first few weeks of the program, clients are totally isolated, left alone with their thoughts for most of the day, with nothing at all to do. Then, during week 3, they're allowed to engage in 1 solid hour of hard labor. By the end of the program, they're allowed to work for 8 hours, and to read books and socialize in their free time, something like that. It worked. People loved the hard labor, especially when it was work hard or be tormented by their neurotic little minds indefinitely.
Now, I'm not depressed, but I do have a very bad head that, when left to its own devices, likes to question the worth of everything I do, everyone I know, everyone I pass on the street, etc. It means well, but it's bored, and is constantly looking for something to rip to shreds. I try to limit its freedom, but, given enough time and space, my bad head would surely produce weapons of mass destruction - or at least write impassioned letters to the editor about the idiocy of the city planners in managing local traffic flow.
The other thing is, major gardening projects have clear and measurable rewards. Writing's rewards are often much more vague and difficult to pinpoint, particularly when one is writing badly. When one is writing badly, writing is about as rewarding as a swift kick in the ass.
So anyway. I've been working in the yard. And it's tougher to post using my mom's one phone line. What else? I've been reading books.
But never fear. I'll stop this Walden nonsense and go back to my life of shallow urban distractions and frivolous, self-involved thoughts in no time. You'll get your unenlightened rabbit ruminations, soon enough.
Tuesday, January 08, 2002
Ok, that last post was actually supposed to go up three days ago, but thanks to dial-up problems (I'm still in NC) and Blogger problems, well... I've had problems. Yes, I plan on posting more than once a week - hopefully I'll get back to a daily schedule once I get back into town. What I'll post is anybody's guess. Sometimes I wonder how I ever come up with anything to write about. Sometimes I wonder why I post the shit I do come up with. But usually these are just signs that I need a candy bar. Or a swift kick in the ass.
I have recently broken off a 3-year relationship and now I’m single again. At first, it was great. I got to drink peach wine coolers and watch Temptation Island 2, I got to buy that goofy clear liquid soap with the dolphins in the bottle that embarrassed my boyfriend (now they make this cucumber-melon stuff that’s even better), and I got to order thick-crust pizza with tomatoes and eggplant and onions, none of which my boyfriend liked. For a while, it was easy to imagine myself as a bold, independent woman who wouldn’t settle for your average bear.
But now I realize that these woods aren’t filled with bears. In fact, I haven’t seen a bear in several months, average or otherwise.
Did I make a big mistake?
100 Years of Soapy Solitude
No, you didn’t make a mistake. The fact that you define your bear as average indicates that you need some time alone, either to decide that your bear is not at all average, that you are average and therefore well-suited to your bear, or that you don’t necessarily want a goddamn bear in your house, swiping his grubby paws all over your nice orchids, growling about your flowery shower curtain, and leaving your cushiony lavender toilet seat up.
The only reason you’re feeling a little panicked is that this isn’t a man’s world or a woman’s world, it’s a couple’s world.
Everything you do in this life is set up to be done in pairs. And if you’re not in a pair, then all of your activities are "singles" activities, as if not having someone attached at your hip at all times is unnatural, and needs to be remedied immediately. People push their butt-ugly alcoholic cousins and their smarmy middle-aged friends at you like you should be thankful just to spend time with someone, anyone. You talk to these dopey couples and their faces are so full of anguish and pity for you, you can almost see their image of you playing on a big screen on their foreheads: there you are, huddled under a comforter on the couch, all scraggly hair and dirty socks, eating serving-size Budget Gourmet Beef Stroganoff while watching reruns of Will & Grace, occasionally feeding a forkful to your needy overweight cat, Sponge.
Actually, that’s a pretty appealing vision. Maybe you just need to get a cat.
It seems like you don’t post as often these days. This is vexing. Please fix it.
Craving More Rabbit
I’m not sure how I can publish volumes on my blog every day and still pay the bills. True, Ken Layne and Matt Welch seem to manage, but unlike me, they have gainfully employed spouses, and enjoy the romance of scrimping and going without. Personally, I don’t find a life without triple lattes and really good cheese all that romantic.
That’s not to say that I don’t dress badly and own the same misshapen couch and uninspired furniture that I've always owned. Yes, there was a hedonistic phase when my fridge was stocked with Odwallas and I bought a '50s kitchen set that once belonged to Data from Star Trek. This was also a phase when I made a good salary inventing frivolous scenarios involving big drug-addled Canadian rabbits. Gee, our old LaSalle ran great! Those were the days!
These days I'm pretty happy writing pointless shit and going without the mango smoothies. However, I still have to pay the rent, and when I spend two hours a day on the rabbit blog and no hours on paid work, I have to wonder if my priorities are in order. I’m happy, yes, but can I afford my butler's dental plan?
Now, it's true that if every person who read this blog sent me a quarter for every time they really, really enjoyed it, maybe I could pay my rent. But it's also true that if we all joined hands and concentrated, we might just change the world (or at least teach it to sing in perfect harmony). Short of that, the war rages on, and I have difficulty covering my costs without spending all of my time writing pointless, fluffy articles for really bad magazines that pay a lot. Like any true artist, I want to spend all my time writing pointless, fluffy blog posts instead.
This is not a self-pitying train of thought, by the way - my circumstances put me in the exact same boat as any other writer on the planet. If you don't create a product that people want to pay for (or one that inspires charity, at the very least), well, tough shit for you, is what I say. I just feel happy that I have something that I like doing. There was a time when I didn't have any interests at all and didn't really enjoy anything but drinking cheap beer and following my joyless, neurotic boyfriend around.
Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you want to read more, but I can't promise you a regular schedule until the NEA creates some kind of a Blog Grant for wayward no-account drifters like myself.
Other Good Ideas For The NEA
The "Into The Wild" Grant
The Surfer Dude Grant
The Good-For-Nothing Son-in-Law Grant
The Post-College Slump Grant
The Groupie Grant
The Crappy Band That Sounds Like Duran Duran But Worse Grant
The Seemingly Lazy But Not Actually Lazy Person Who Wants To Buy A House and Fix It Up But Doesn’t Want To Seek Gainful Employment Grant
The "I Want To Hang Out With My Mom Who Lives 3,000 Miles Away" Grant
The "I Want To Read Books For A Year Because I Haven’t Read Shit And I Can Finally Appreciate Good Writing" Grant
The "I Haven’t Been To Europe Yet And I’m Over 30" Grant
The "I Like Really Good Cheese But Can’t Afford It" Grant
Of course, then there’s the “I’d Be Happy To Eat Government Cheese” Grant, which sort of puts all the other grants into perspective.
As an creative person, it's always good to remember that you're being indulged, and a life of idle contemplation is not, in fact, your inalienable right. The people who enjoy their craft will do it whether it feeds them or not.
Indulging myself yet again,
Tuesday, January 01, 2002
RABBIT BLOG FAQ!
Q: Are you really a rabbit?
A: Sorry, I don't answer stupid questions.
Q: Does that mean it's stupid because of course you're a rabbit, or stupid because of course you're not a rabbit?
A: That's for me to know and for you to find out.
Q: Aren't you being sort of evasive?
A: I know you are, but what am I?
Q: Why a blog?
A: Nanny nanny boo boo, stick your head in doo-doo.
Q: I guess that response pretty much answers my question.
A: Oh, you're so snide. That's so Friends '95. You're so Chandler. I bet you say "Excuse me?" a lot, like when you hear something that is just so foolish you can't believe your ears.
Q: You're being snide right now, actually.
A: Excuse me?
Q: You're being snide right now.
A: Ah, willful incomprehension. Very scoldy older sister. Very straight man. Frank, honest, no-nonsense... I bet you really believe that Dodge Trucks are Ram Tough, too. I bet that song "Like a Rock" in its full, unadulterated version, makes your eyes tear up ever so slightly, especially when it gets to the part that goes, "15 years, where did they go?" The middle-aged man's lament, standing in the doorway to impotency and regular prostate exams.
Q: Do you have some kind of problem with sentimentality?
A: Mmm, defensive. Feisty. I like it. I like the Sprite in you. I bet after a hard day hauling rocks around, you like to put on your best flannel plaid shirt and play pool with your rugged, beefy-assed, corn-fed friends.
Q: Do you loathe mainstream America that much?
A: Au contraire. I wish these little bed-headed artsy boys had a little more of the square jaw, the round ass, the Miller Time, the pot pie in them.
Q: Men like that really prefer to date women who iron their clothes for them, and polish things with Lemony -scented Pledge and have some delicious casserole (featuring Campbell's Cream of Onion Soup and Parkay and pre-shredded cheddar and those crispy french-fried onions on top) in the oven at all times. Or didn't you know that?
A: Are you expecting the general public to believe that that's a Frequently Asked Question? Plus, you're falling out of character, you're sounding too much like me.
Q: I hate you.
A: That also sounds like me. Listen... Why don't you ask me if I have any New Year's Resolutions?
Q: Come on! I'm a journalist! You can't just spoon-feed me the questions you want me to ask you! What do you think this is, Entertainment Tonight? Who do I look like, John Tesh?
A: Hey, John Tesh is a musician, OK? He trashed that ET popsicle stand years ago! He's an artist, damn you!
Q: I know you are but what am I?
Q: Um. What?
A: Chicken butt.
Q: Who the fuck are you talking to?
A: Your mama.
Q: Does the rabbit blog have a mission statement of any kind?
A: Your mama grows milkweed.
Q: Venture capitalists must find such a statement very promising indeed.
A: For all you know, milkweed is the crop of the future. For all you know, milkweed is the next breadfruit.
Q: What the fuck is breadfruit?
A: Case in point.