Wednesday, May 26, 2004

You My Dawg, Dilbert
Another person was let go today, which, coupled with rumors, confirms my fear that the firm has unleashed that most innocent, yet deadly of office euphamisms upon us... Downsizing. It seems to be moving systematically from department to department, axing the most recent hiree. Which means if they target Filing, I'm screwed. My plan is to step up the workload until this blows over. So I'll be doing things faster, but mostly this just means I have to pretend harder. Moving papers around more deliberately when the OM walks in the room, laughing less when I read blogs and emails, standing up when I ask someone if they need help, etc. Realistically, they could survive with one less person, but not without screwing over the other two. Unfortunately, the firm's not one to accomodate its employees unless it's absolutely necessary. I suppose if an earthquake hit and we got stranded up here on the 15th floor they wouldn't make me fax their signature pages or whatever, but they ain't going out of their way for anybody. On the plus side, I competently do the jobs I'm given, and everyone seems to like me. I think it's the joy and enthusiasm with which I approach my wor... sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Anyway, I guess unemployment wouldn't be so bad. There's something kinda romantically working class about standing in line for food stamps, ri???

Monday, May 24, 2004

Where Fiction Doesn't Dare
Hung out with Terry last night. He came to LA for something passport-related to prep for his move to this tiny town in Canada with world-famous weed. Over the years, I've come to expect amazing stories from this man, as he does things like move to tiny towns in Canada with world-famous weed. "Drug-Crazed Boxer", "Lost in the Desert", and "Nearly Shot by Germans", are some of my favorite Terry tales. The guy's just a magnet for certain types of people. Or rather, type. Like, insane type.

So last night he told me about his friend, Elijah. Elijah used to be Darren, a dancer. Darren used to clean pools in Escondido, which is the San Diego equivalent of, say, Reseda. One night Darren went to the desert and took too much acid, had a vision, and returned to Escondido as Elijah, the profit. He RSVP'd God's invitation and made his way to Jerusalem to hang out on certain sacred rivers, all the while doing more and more acid.

Upon return, he started some kind of production company, the extent of which is unclear. What is clear is it's called Elijah Productions, and they made a short film on DVD to advertise... whatever it is they do. The short was like a Footloose opera performed by the Burning Man players. It's all soundtracked by a funked up kind of Enya, and Elijah dances around a lot in flowing costumes, mostly dance-challenging his foes. In the end, he dances off with Satan and totally serves his ass.

Now, to Terry's credit, he unraveled the Elijah tale cracking up all the way, especially when he told me about the guy's clothing line. He takes scraps of miscellaneous clothes and turns them into other clothes. For example, he cut up an old jersey, sewed it differently, and ta-da! Instant shorts.

Terry also said that the people in the film worship Elijah. He's even supposed to be dating the lead girl dancer, even though he's thoroughly queer. She doesn't know. But even if she did, does it really matter? When you're dating the profit of God, I think you let something like sexual preference slide.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Went to Kick Ass, Don't Wait Up
The other morning at the coffee shop I flee to, I ran into a former student from USC. I pretended not to notice, but I could only feign fascination with the sign for new ice blendeds for so long. Inevitably, we made eye contact. She launched into how happy she was at her new job in advertising at Cartoon Network, how she changed her major 'cause she just wasn't meant for theatre, etc. And then she asked why I'm at a law firm. I think I muttered "because I'm masochistic", but really all I remember is bolting with my coffee the first chance I got.

Since then, I just really, really have loathed my job. For no particular reason. I mean, besides the enormous suckage. Just the most menial of tasks (a tough competition for what I do) pisses me off. The prick lawyers, extra pricky. The crusty old white bitches, especially honkey-ish and whiney. I started blaming Former Student. What kind of dark-hearted wench asks about my job?! Why hasn't she been drawn and quartered yet? And then it hit me.

It wasn't her fault (holy shit!).

In fact, she did me a favor. I've been way too complacent with this job for far too long. Not in the sense that I'm gonna march into someone's office and strut around to "Take This Job and Shove It!" (though I would... for a price). But in the sense that I've let myself get too cozy with mediocrity. Even my bitching is on auto pilot. Now that's some sad shit right there. So I'm lighting a fire under my ass. Gonna write more. A lot more. To borrow a phrase from a totally rad 1980s hit movie, "I feel the need / the need / for SPEED!!".

Monday, May 17, 2004

See, I like to think I'm all heart. When the chips are down, I pick 'em up and huck 'em into the ocean. When a solution's needed, I don't just push the envelope, I shred it to pieces, chew it up, and digest the shit out of it. But every once in a while, I forget myself. The pants-splitting incident at Scripps college comes to mind (for those who don't know, just trust that it was amazing/ly dumb).

Yesterday, Marah and I drove up to Malibu. The perfect beach day. Sunny and clear. We parked in a little dirt lot just north of El Matador, and descended a trail down a cliff to the beach. After a few hours, we felt a little crispy and had to pee. So, tearing picnic bag in tow, we made our way over the rocks back towards where we came. Except instead of the one trail we walked down, there were now ten. A few were identified with signs like "no trespassing" and "private property", but most lead up to individual houses.

So we walked back across the main stretch of sand. And then back again. Then, with a bag of food we wanted to save, about to split, pee about to spill, and the embarrassment of confused looks from everyone around us... a god send. There was a narrow, paved service road.

"Perfect", I thought. "This will undoubtedly dump us smack on the highway and we can just walk to the car. What could possibly go wrong? Why yes, it is a very steep incline. Oh, there's a house and another house. This must be some sort of community driveway, but clearly it will take us to the PCH without incident...".

We climbed this motherfucker, panting and sweating. And when we finally made it to the top... gates. Tall, steel "Giants, Keep Out" gates. And leading to the gates on either side was a chain link fence. The kind with pointy steel curly cues on top. We caught our breath, contemplated what to do. Walking all the way back down just wasn't an option. We swallowed our pride and rang the doorbell to the nearest house. A dog barked, but nobody came.

Nevermind we were barefoot and in shorts, "We're going over that fence!"

I scaled the bitch quite stealthily, if I do say so myself. It wasn't comfortable, but I was full of piss and determination. Just as Marah put her toe in the fence, a woman appeared behind her. We apologized profusely. She just shook her head and, as if lamenting the state of mankind, said, "No one should have to climb a fence".

A button was pushed. The gate slid open and Marah walked out. This I vaguely remember because I was too fascinated/frightened by my cut up, bloodied hand. Luckily, this fear dissipated and was quickly replaced by the fear of Tetanus. When's the last time I had a Tetanus shot? How rusty was that fence? My thumb hurts, does that mean I'm dying? Etc.

We found the car, and after some medical advice from my brother and some kind of nurse hotline, we stopped at Sav On. On a bench outside, Marah swabbed the cuts with peroxide while I ate an ice cream sandwich. So manly.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Los Angeles, I'm Yours
At work, we get a sweet supply of magazines in the mail. Usually, they're addressed to attorneys who've died, been fired, quit, etc. Which for me means Magazine Party!! (You may recall this is what helped me strike metrosexual gold).

So I'm pondering this week's issue of Teen People, and as I'm about to flip past a Loreal ad in a rush for new Olsen twins pics, I stop 'cause the guy in the picture looks familiar. Now, living in LA, I've learned to resist this instinct, this recognition of beautiful people. When I see someone on screen or in a magazine who I think I know, 90% of the time I don't. I just know their weird alien species because they walk the streets here alongside Normals.

But this guy I'd definitely seen before. And then it hits me. Subtract the Seacrest highlights, and this is the lieing dumb-ass who I trained to be a receptionist at work six months ago. After two weeks, he was let go. Why? For being a lieing dumb-ass. I remember he had moved here to act despite never being cast in anything or taken an acting class. He might've seen a movie once. With acting. But that's about it. And now he's in magazines.

I've heard this story a hundred times. It doesn't really bother me any more. I'm just pissed 'cause I'd like some credit for his role. If you look closely, his expression suggests an attitude only an accomplished phone-smith can pull off... Maybe he really is good.

At any rate, Los Angeles, I'd like a new job, please. I'm smart, but not too smart. I don't even need to be in a picture. Indeed, it's better for everyone if I'm not. All I want is exorbitant sums of money for little to no effort. I've seen your clientele. I don't think I'm asking too much. Think it over and call me. I'm at work.

Monday, May 10, 2004

The Healing Power of Music
Tragically, my computer at work is the "without speakers" model. But as I told the "guitarist", Matt, the visuals speak volumes.

If you or anyone you know suffer from drunk, pukey, loud mouth parents, and need an outlet for your unrequieted rage that won't land you in jail, go here. And please know you're not alone. Thank you.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Help A Brutha Out
Anybody know any good songs about (unrequieted) love, loneliness, death, or all three? It's for a play I'm writing. So rest assured your contribution goes to a good cause: me. I'm shooting for an eclectic mix of genres and eras. The time period is preferrably between 1900 and 1980, but if there's a great recent one, I'll take that too, please. Oh, and the more over the top, the better. But anything'll do. Thank you. This demanding bitch is signing off.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Coachella '04
What kind of self-respecting blogger would I be, if I didn't write about the two day tragi-comedy that was the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. Can't say there were any big epiphanies or anything, except that when hot enough, even eye balls can sweat. And sadly, the trucker hat tally was more than I bargained for. Every third person wore one. We counted 20 in 10 minutes and folded under the force of so much ironic-sloganed mesh. But it's the details, the parts of the sum, that made it worth it.

3pm. As we walk from the parking field to the entrance, I utter the instantly regrettable "ya know, I thought it was gonna be hotter. This isn't so bad". Once in, we zig-zag through the sea of thousands to slide into a giant tent to see Stellastar. They're fun. Pop-punk. People dance. After 5 songs, I realize I'm starving. Not to mention cooked in sweat. We get in line for food. Definitely the low point of the weekend. The 100+ degrees finally settles. Marah looks ready to pass out. I want to destroy everyone around me just 'cause they're there. It's apparent I won't be able to find any other friends, despite cell phones. The only saving grace is Trail of Dead playing in the distance.

4:30. After eating in the shade and taking a few minutes to breathe and shift into Festival Mode, we attempt Beck, who's in another small-ish tent. The promoters underestimate his draw. There's a bizillion people surrounding the tent. People who can't even see in. Not so fun if he's just playing a guitar. "F this". We go see Death Cab. Despite Benjamin Gibbard's whining about monitor problems, and the fact that they don't play anything from the second record, they rock. The outdoors energizes them in a way I haven't seen. A shirtless ex Frat Boy roars, "Yeah!" over a particularly heartbroken lyric. Surreal.

There's a surprising absence of corporate logos.

5:30. The Black Keys. Holy shit these guys are good. Just a coupla farm-bred white boys playing dirty, dirty blues rock. Like a stripped down Jon Spencer Blues Explosion minus the hubris.

6:30. We stake our plot for The Pixies. Our friends, Lacey and Scott find us, miraculously. After some much-appreciated sitting time, we're on our feet when the enormous crowd starts cheering (someone estimated over 10,000). "Bone Machine" starts and I see that, despite being old and fat (which only adds to their charm), they play just as passionately as any anyone else on the bill. More so, actually, 'cause they tear through an hour and a half set without stopping for air or between-song banter. Kim Deal (Kim or Kelly? I always forget which sister's in which band), casually nurses cigarette after cigarette. They draw mostly from Doolittle and Surfer Rosa, which delights the fans -- something I figured out after watching this 40 year old guy nearly cream himself on the Jumbotron-ish screen after they burst into "This Monkey's Gone to Heaven". After the last note, they come down stage and soak up the applause. They're all giddy smiles -- understandable, if your music is just as relevant today as it was ten years ago.

The sun's finally set, temperature's a much more tolerable 80.

9. The crowd thins out a little, so we move up closer. Radiohead comes on. I'm expecting mellow 'cause most of their music is so abstract and atmospheric. But with all his jumping and flailing, Thom Yorke proves to be much more charismatic than the whiny, tortured man-child I thought he was. The songs spark. We only stay for three quarters of the set to beat exiting traffic, but even the songs I don't know are made kinda fascinating live. The bass player kicks ass.

11. We drive up a curvy moutain road to middle-of-nowhere desert, arrive at our friend, Bert's family's li'l cabin. Lacey and Scott show up. Over beers and smores, we speculate how the setting would be perfect for a horror movie, and I insist that, should a homicidal maniac attack, they band together to protect me since I clearly have the most to offer the world.

2pm. We stop at a roadside cafe to avoid the hunger crisis from yesterday. We're happy to see the grounds at half-capacity. Makes things like walking so much easier. Also brings the weird spider-y sculptures (the "arts" part of the festival) into relief. The Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra takes the stage. 10 people playing so many different instruments, and a lot of dancing. Lotta hippies, too. It is Terry Hovey's favorite band, after all. We finish watching from the luxurious shade of the beer garden.

There's a guy wearing nothing but a woman's mini skirt. Definitely not in drag. Maybe gay, but more likely he's just a fashionable dipshit.

3:30. Broken Social Scene. So, so good. They avoid typical rock riffs for more hypnotic songwriting, which works surprisingly well in the 110 degree heat. Just before the last song, after going on about how excited they are to tour with their friends and loved ones, one of the guys takes a knee and proposes to his girlfriend. She says yes. The crowd issues a collective "awww".

4:45. We crowd in the back of a tent to watch The Thrills. My skin feels like it's melting away in centimeters. Or I'm just sweating. Can't tell. They're fun and Irish, but play with a piano-y country twang. Like the record, though, their songs kinda blend into each other.

5:30. Recess in the beer garden. We make our way over to Cursive, who are sufficiently emo-y, but I'm distracted by this white guy in a doo rag who's dancing around all suggestively like he's on The Grind or some shit. After a few songs, we go to the big stage to see Belle and Sebastian. Good sundown music.

7. Bright Eyes. It's really, really crowded now. Lots a ladies and apparently some dudes love them the Conner Oberst. Mostly new songs, which are more folk-y than the older, whinier stuff. At one point, Conner says it sucks to go on after Cursive. Dramatically brushing the hair off his face, I can hear the strained sincerity in his voice.

8. Marah and I go to a tent to see The Sleepy Jackson. By this point, the tent REEKS of B.O. and the ground's littered with bottles, cigarettes, etc. We stand just outside to avoid the stench. They're really tight straight up rock, like they've been playing together forever. Which they have.

9. It's dark. The crowd seems mellower. The Flaming Lips come on. Save for The Pixies, this was the highlight of the weekend. First, they all dress in bunny suits. Rad. Before they start, the singer (who's maybe the most positive, thankful, enthusiastic man in rock -- a likeable motivational speaker) gets in a giant bubble and tumbles around on the hands of the fans, a la Tommy Lee in the "Dr. Feelgood" video. The bunny guitarist keeps exclaiming "that's so cool!". They unleash giant balloons for the crowd to bounce up and down. If their music wasn't so quirky and innovative, their enthusiasm'd be pretty obnoxious. They close with a sing-along "Yoshimi".

10:30. We wait and wait and wait for The Cure, even though we're totally beat. Then we wait and wait some more. Still nothing, so we bail. Then we get lost in the parking lot for 20 minutes looking for my car. Even neon green don't show up in pitch black.

Around 1am, I drop Marah off, go home. Crash on my bed before I remember to brush my teeth or set my alarm. It's a pretty sweet exhaustion, though.

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