Friday, August 30, 2002
THE GARGORY DETAILS
Congratulations to Natasha and Gaz, who got married a few weekends ago on the beach in Malibu. It was a solid wedding with all the basics covered: good food, weird music, strange relatives. There were extras, too: two toasts that rhymed, one of them delivered by a 10 year-old, great h'ors d'oeuvres, and the Jewish thing with the chairs and the dancing in circles. They even hired a pod of dolphins to cavort in the waves right before the ceremony. Those dolphin pods aren't cheap, either - I think you end up paying each dolphin something like $50, plus tip. You might be able to get them a little cheaper if they don't know it's for a wedding. Say the word "wedding" and the fees skyrocket. Damn those saavy sea mammals!
I'M JUST WILD ABOUT SAFIN
Not really. I'm liking Guga at the moment. I don't know shit about tennis, but I played recently and didn't suck quite as badly as I had the three other times I've played. This may have something to do with the fact that I played with someone who's a good, non-bossy coach, and who's good enough at tennis to be able to place the ball in front of my racket. There's something so satisfying about hitting the ball and placing it where you want on the court. This has only happened a few times for me, mind you, but just the memory of it makes me want to go out and buy a racket. And, watching tennis is suddenly interesting. What's next? Join a quilting group? Power-walk through the mall every Wednesday morning?
It's bad enough that I'm in a CD-mix club, in which you get a mix CD in the mail every two weeks for 5 months. In exchange, you have to make 11 copies of 1 mix CD and send it to everyone on the list. So far it's been pretty interesting. But, because the club is just a wee bit eclectic and precious, with obscure songs from Zero7, Kings of Convenience, special foreign shit, not to mention indie pap that dates us all, like Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr. Given the hip aftertaste of the whole thing, I figure my CD should have some kind of a really pathetic, cheesy-ass theme - something like "Love on the Rocks" or "The Seven Deadly Sins." Or maybe an all-female compilation and called "The Red Vag of Courage."
It's tough not to be self-conscious when you're choosing music for other people to listen to. But like all good things, the best mix will only spring from an unselfconscious, shameless mind. It's just like throwing a party - you really can't please everyone unless you put on Portishead or Radiohead or Tricky or The Beta Band or Nina Simone for the ten millionth time. Who wants to hear Portishead again? You just make a mix you like. And if they don't like it, who gives a fuck, really? You're still getting free crap in the mail either way.
Thursday, August 29, 2002
ABSENCE OF PHALLUS
Dear Absent Rabbit,
Disappointing to hear no rabbit-rustlings for a whole week. Maybe this will shake you from your torpor, get you back running on the squeaky blog-wheel.
Since Broadway has already produced family-friendly musical extravaganzas for every other mediocre 70's hack songwriter, the nadir will be reached in a month, when Twyla Tharp and Billy Joel collaborate on "Movin Out -- The Musical". Featuring "24 of Billy Joel's greatest hits", this will follow the lives of 4 friends from the "old neighborhood" through 20 years of "life and love, troubles and triumphs."
Pardon me while I vomit up my spleen. New York has officially become Branson for Snobs. This will be "Tommy" as done by Sha-Na-Na. The possibilities for awfulness and maudlin circle-jerking are frightening. The world does *not* need a 13-minute long production number of "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant". Or a "Captain Jack" dream ballet. A symphonic version of "The Ballad of Billy the Kid" as an overture. Christ, I had suppressed all of this crap.
What's next? Bruce Springsteen and Alvin Ailley present "South Passaic"? Mark Morris interprets the canon of Will Smith and Jazzy Jef? Linda Rondstadt sings torch songs (whoops, already done.)
Hopefully this news will move you to outrage. Or maybe you are scurrying off to work on the book for your secret project, the Ben Folds Five musical. May I suggest as a title, "My Friend Steve's Last Night in Town?"
In a New York State of Blind,
I don't mean to sound like Faith Popcorn, but I predicted this trend way back in May of 2001. Naturally, Billy Joel was a part of my short list, but held less comic appeal than, say, yer Nirvana or yer Yes.
Anyway, I wouldn't be so negative about the prospects for Moving Out - The Musical. Following the lives of 4 friends from the old neighborhood sounds pretty compelling, as long as they're muppets. They are muppets, aren't they? Muppets have very good singing voices. They should probably be hard-drinking muppets, though, because alcoholism and muppets go together like peanut butter and chocolate. This story needs a boozy edge to it, in keeping with its creator. This thing could be big, though, really big. If there's one thing America is thirsty for right now, it's a muppet melodrama. I can see the headline now...
"'Moving Out' is easily the best muppet melodrama of the year!"
Jack Lerner, KCBO-TV
That muppet that hosts American Idol would be good for the lead, I think. He needs a new name though - "Dunkelman" is too goofy and unrealistic. Something short and a little catchy, like "Grover" or "Beeker" would work just fine. Also, they need to get a new guy to work his face. Right now he mostly just frowns and flinches, and his unibrow barely moves at all. Plus his walk is awkward and unrealistic. Now that ratings are high, I think they can afford to get some professional puppeteers on the set.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
NEWSFLASH: CATFISH NO LONGER JUMPIN'!
My friends want me to go to Mexico with them. "But I just got back into town!" I said. "I've been gone for two months now and I'm broke!" I tell them. "I need to face the music, smell the coffee, see the shit hitting the fan!" I protest. "I need paid work, I need checks to arrive in the mail!" I squeal.
"We'll be drinking beer that's cold!" they tell me. "It's cheap and it's close!" they say. "It better be cheap, it's fucking Mexico!" I say. "We'll be getting drunk and doing nothing." they scream, knowing how much a person in my situation prefers getting drunk and doing nothing to staying sober and doing things. "I have things to do!" I say. "Pesky things. Things I don't want to do, like paying bills and killing the tiny flies that have taken over my apartment." Mexico has even more tiny flies. Luckily, I know this, or I might be on my way to Mexico right now.
The summer is over. The rabbit has had a very lazy summer. Sadly for the rabbit but happily for those who enjoy her belligerent company, things are going to change real quick-like. Less sunshine, more complaints and ill will. But for now I'm going to walk around outside and pretend I'm still on vacation.
Friday, August 16, 2002
FOR WHOM THE DOORBELL TOLLS
Fiver's predicament is a common one but there is an even easier way to avoid his talkative neighbor: don't answer the door when she comes a' knocking. I also work at home and have employed this cowardly but effective measure with great success. This is how it works.
When the annoying one knocks or rings the doorbell, you be very very quite as if, um, you're hunting rabbits. Hold you breath for several minutes. Resist the temptation to walk to the fridge or go to the bathroom..... she will hear the pitter patter of your footprints or the toilet flushing. Then, when she finally concludes that you must have stepped out for some bagels and leaves, you turn up the music and dance around in your underwear like you normally do.
See, no need to have an awkward conversation or offend. As Old Patroon always says, when in doubt, lie.
Dear Old Patroon,
No, no, that's what I always say! Stop lying!
I've employed this motionless-and-silent method of avoiding callers on more than one occasion. Now, the truth is, I don't really have friends who drop by unannounced, because my friends know better. They recognize that it takes me several long hours of careful preparation - pacing, showering, vaguely mournful primping, a few long, deep sighs of resignation, some strong coffee, a few minutes to locate my keys, change outfits, glare at myself in the mirror - to get it up for some light socializing. They know how taxing it is for me to break free of my circular, neurotic, self-involved thoughts long enough to create the illusion that I'm somewhat normal, well-adjusted, and engaged. They realize that if I'm at home, that means I'm slouched on the couch, typing, drinking lukewarm coffee, manic but slightly unpleasant, with no time to chat them up. Yes, in truth, I probably do have time to chat, but I'd rather sulk silently all by myself.
However, my exboyfriend had friends who just loved to drop by whenever, and nine times out of ten I was home, alone, downloading email, talking on the phone, and washing the floor on my hands and knees, and the last thing in the world I wanted was to feign interest in someone I could hardly feign interest in after an hour of mournful primping. I would crawl to the door and grunt, but my exboyfriend's friends would still bust on in, chirping about their day, asking to borrow the phone. They weren't paranoid or bad-headed or sullen enough to suspect that I might not want them around, and for that, I never forgave them.
Eventually when the doorbell rang, instead of just saying something polite and straightforward, like, you know, "I'm almost never happy to see you", I started to hold my breath and wait for them to give up and leave. This was a little weird of me, since my car was always parked out front, but I didn't care. It was my little passive-aggressive way of letting them know that I'd rather hold my breath until I turned blue than chat idly with the likes of them.
Why is idle chatter so oppressive when you're unprepared for it? I'll never forget my neighbor from across the street walking right over to me after my dad's funeral and saying, "I'm so sorry about your dad. Hey, so, how's California? What are you doing these days?" Making me go to the effort to give a superficial summary of my life at that moment was so harsh, I'd sooner she walked up and kicked me in the shins.
Maybe that example is a little extreme. Here's a better one. The other day I'm standing around at a coffee place with my friend Margaret and we're talking about going on a run, and this guy says, "So, are you a big runner?" I hate questions like that for some reason. I mean, who really wants to say, "Yeah, I'm a big runner, I'm a running enthusiast, I love to run!" Sure, I ran 8 miles yesterday, but this reflects my masochism more than my identification with some subset of humanity that discusses things like The Best Marathon Training Programs, Saucony vs. Etonic, or Gu: TriBerry vs. Vanilla. For "big runners," Lance Armstrong's autobiography is soft porn. "He rode straight up this mountain for four hours, then at the top he turned to his trainer guy and said, 'I don't like the way that felt, let's do it again.' I mean, can you believe that? The drive that takes? He's insane, man!'" I'm not a big runner. I run because it gives me a vastly more pleasant demeanor than I can manage on my own.
Right about now you're wondering if I have any friends at all, let alone friends who drop by unannounced.
Well you're my friend, Old Patroon. Thanks for dropping by. Just so you know, next time I'll probably just breathe shallowly until you leave.
Thursday, August 15, 2002
BORING PEOPLE WHO NEED PEOPLE
Congrats on being mentioned in the blog article and coming up high on Google. But enough about you. My downstairs neighbor, a cute and extremely talkative girl, is making a nuisance of herself. Since she discovered I work at home (she apparently doesn't work) she drops by at all hours, including, once, 9 in the morning! (Where do people learn to do things like that? 9 AM? She did bring bagels though.)
She is very nice, and friendly, but it's all wrong somehow. She comes in, sits, then proceeds to tediously describe her troubles with her family and her boyfriend, but she will visit, say for two hours, and she'll never stop talking! I don't know if I've managed to string three sentences together before she interrupts me and goes off again. Her troubles are nothing startling or unusual either, just the usual ho-hum problems, endlessly retold.
At first I thought she had the hots for me, then I thought she just wanted to hang out and be platonic buddies, then I realized that the whole thing has nothing to do with me: she needs an audience and I might as well be a Kirk Cameron poster or a lamp post as a real human being who might actually have opinions about her endless and vacuous tales of woe, or - God forbid - an insight or a story of my own! It's bad with a neighbor, too. They know where you live and all that.
On top of this she has that Prozac earnestness: blatant, vicious sarcasm bounces harmlessly off her invisible force field. So it is difficult to get through to her, forget irony or nuance or hints a normal person would pick up on, like yawning and looking at your watch. I guess I have to beat her out the door with a frying pan the next time she comes calling, right? I don't have the heart to be cruel, but she really is asking for me to painfully blunt, after chewing up all those hours I can't get back.
Not surprisingly, I'm not a big fan of the unannounced drop-by-and-say-hi, bagels or no bagels. I intensely dislike having to rouse myself out of my usual stupor and answer the door, then pretend to be upbeat and friendly and social when, while I'm working at home, these are the very last things on my priority list. Other things low on the list at this time: my greasy hair, the dishes in the sink, the way I smell, not to mentioning: listening, being a good friend, hanging out, behaving like a normal, functioning human being, etc.
One of the advantages of working at home is that you don't have to act like a normal, well-adjusted member of society. You can ignore the phone (and should, if you want to get anything done), you can recede into your own personal haze of confusion and circular thoughts, you can disengage from others completely. This is part of the reason working from home is so much more efficient (potentially) than going in to an office: you don't have to spend half of your day interacting with others and answering to their needs, whether they be personal and job-related.
Throw a menacingly long-winded daily stop-by into the mix, and you've eliminated basically every advantage of working from home. Instead, you might as well be working in an office that's not well climate-controlled or plush, where the bathroom isn't very clean, there's no vending machine, and there's this exceptionally tedious female coworker hanging around all the time, preventing you from getting any work done.
It sounds like you, like so many other people, confuse saying what you want with being rude. The next time she comes to the door, just say, I really don't have time to hang out during the day, I've got too much to do, and these are my prime working hours. Maybe you'll seem uptight or something - big fucking deal. You have to lay down the law when you work at home, especially with the drop-bys. Sane humans will understand. The rest can go fuck themselves.
Hard-nosed and idle,
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Thanks to Cathy Seipp's article about blogs (which mentions the rabbit blog, strangely enough, despite our company-wide policy of avoiding useful information at all costs), I've learned that if you do a search on the name "Heather" you'll find that "rabbit blog" is the seventh item on the list! I'm not sure what the name "Heather" has to do with the rabbit blog, but still... Pretty cool, huh? That the rabbit blog would be above, say, Heather Locklear or Heather Thomas on the charts? Unfathomable and really totally undeserved, yes, but that only makes a victory even sweeter.
A DECADE AWAY
Today is August 14th, which means that I've now lived in California for ten years and two days. Did I plan on staying on the West Coast so long? Why, no, now that you ask, I'd have to say that I never, ever planned on staying more than two or three years, tops. But here I am. Why? Why am I still here, you ask?
I have no idea. I've certainly tried to escape to New York more than once. Once I almost put a deposit down on an apartment on the Lower East Side - on Orchard, I think. I've also thought about moving back to Durham one or two times, usually when my mind was clouded by a sentimental haze or by hormones or wine or all of the above. But every time I go back East, I feel like the rest of the world is getting more and more normal. Everyone has a clear path, well-defined goals, etc., and I'm still sort of wandering around looking for a slice of pizza.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot of good pizza here in California, which is maybe why I can't seem to plan anything more than a few hours in advance. I do know that I'm going to the weddings of several friends over the course of the next three months. I guess most of them live in cities where the pizza is a lot better than it is here, which frees their minds to focus on more important things, like what kind of font to use on the programs for the ceremony.
Pretty much everyone is getting married, suddenly, even my friend Steve. Remember Steve? Can you believe a woman has agreed to marry him? A sure sign of the coming apocalypse if there ever was one. Luckily, I'm pretty sure she's a hired actress.
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
PERVERT THE DOMINANT PARADIGM
Recently broke it off with an internet lover. He'd already broken it off by default [ie the narcissistic asshole never rang, wrote email, couriered large expensive gifts, or bought me jewelry]. In fact it went like this. We met at a pool hall, ate Japanese but went 'Dutch' if you get my drift, that weekend I drive out to his beach house for a 'walk along the beach' which of course is an appetizer for 'hot & horny shag back at the beach house.'
Was this my first mistake? Should I have given him home delivery? And shouldn't I have complained to the boss when he didn't pay up? Does a girl always have to cover it out of her own pocket?
Anyway, back to the story. It's too late to drive home so I stay the night. He's not convinced this is a good idea and once he drops off to sleep I realize why, 2 little smelly farts noisily escape his bottom as he slumbers. I don't care. I've slept with him now I'm in love.
Weird thing is he doesn't love me. He'd shag me again especially if I offer the convenience of home delivery but he's saving his love for an air hostess type, not a solo mom from the suburbs.
And get this, he wants to be friends. Is that possible?
Poontang Delivery Girl
Despite current market conditions, most analysts are trumpeting Poontang Delivery as a rapidly expanding industry. Similar small cap operations have attained profitability within months of opening. Still, it's true that other, similar businesses seem to flounder indefinitely before going down in flames. Luckily, market analysts have identified a trait that separates successful Poontang Start-up entrepreneurs from their less successful brethren: They charge money.
So, the next time a customer comes calling for some fresh poontang, don't forget the part where he hands you the cash. You might even try taking a credit card number over the phone, so you can see if the charge goes through before you show up at his door.
As far as customers' tendency to mention "friendship" as if it's a viable alternative to actually having a pocket full of tall dollars, that's just a part of the landscape in the cutting-edge world of poontang. Try to approach such a client with the same attitude one might approach small child who wants the ice cream man to be his new daddy.
And speaking of new daddy, as in sugar daddy, as in a man neither you nor your kid will be ashamed to call Daddy (albeit in different contexts), you know and I know that you owe it to yourself to restrict your dalliances to people who might actually give 1/4 of a fuck about you above and beyond your budding enterprise. Try to see each man not as a potential client, but as a potential investor. That means maintaining a professional image: wear something conservative, don't have more than two drinks, don't park the Poontang Delivery Van out in front of the pub, and do not, under any circumstances, hand out free samples. Start thinking less like a common air hostess with a run in her stockings and a hankering for the last olive in some smelly wanker's glass, and more like a crafty entrepreneur with a bulletproof marketing strategy, a palm pilot full of appointments, and a full, ice cold martini with three olives that she's not gonna share with anyone, least of all some gaseous douchebag who wants to be "friends."
Inconvenient and worth it,
Thursday, August 08, 2002
BEWARE OF BLOG!
I'm back! Back in Los Angeles, where it's very very bright, blaringly bright and sunny, glaringly, daringly sunny and bright. I got in Tuesday and picked up my computer from the travel agency that booked its stay at the Apple Computer Spa. Boy, did my G4 need a vacation! The moody bastard is suddenly calm and serene, his skin is shiny and bright, so shiny and bright you would think that the spa actually replaced several key joints, the keyboard, the front plate, the touch pad, and Jesus, even the motherboard, given his entirely changed demeanor. And you know what? They did. I just wish I could pay $450 for the face and ass of a teenager, and a brand new uncorrupted brain! Mostly because it would be so much fun to corrupt my brain all over again, to sink into cynicism and bitterness and regret anew, just like it was the very first time!
Like an optimist, disillusioned for the very first time!
Like a roman-han-han-han-tic, with my heart ripped out, and hung on the line!
Gonna give you all my unselfconsciousness! My originality is fading fast!
Been saving my gall for you, 'cause I know victimization's a blast!
You're so resigned, and you're mine!
Make me second-guess, yeah, you make me scold,
Oh, your bile sought out,
Yeah, your bile sought out what was deconstructed and cold!
Like a hopeful young brain, corrupted for the very first time!
Like a enth-hu-hu-siast, with my passion exposed as useless and asinine!
You're so snide, your brain's fried,
We'll be crusty and cliche, filled with bitter pride!
And we'll both hate teal,
Yeah we'll both hate teal,
because it reminds us of hotel lobbies during the mid-'80s!
Wow, what a great song. Anyway, I'm back, I have a computer again, and so the pointless drivel can flow once again, unimpeded. Rejoice and make merry, for there is much worthless rambling on the horizon!