Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy Friggin New Year

while i could care little for xmas, i do enjoy the festivities that accompany the new year. after initially worrying that i had loser plans this year, i rounded up some friendly troops for an evening at club sugar in santa monica. i'm gonna try to look HOT tonight. i bought brand new everything for the occassion -- new dress, shoes, even matching jewelry. i'm also gonna get a wax and actually wash my hair. if anyone's still looking for something to do, i think the cover is a very reasonable $10.

in other news, my girl raidis spent the past couple days with me before leaving late last night. she just lives over the hill in my hometown of van nuys, but she needed to get away from her house and we needed some long overdue QT. so spent our time together eating, getting drunk, gossiping, shopping and watching 'sex and the city' DVDs. i really love that girl. she's my best friend whom i've known now for 15 years. here's a pix of her sexy ass on halloween:


the day before that, i saw my other best friend -- the male version of raidis -- jon-david, whom i've known for 12 years. (unfortunately i don't have a photo of him as a domintrax.) i went to visit him at his mom's house in freezing antelope valley. it must have been 40 degrees. we also spent time eating, drinking, gossiping, etc. it was a lovely few days of back-to-back best friends.

up ahead are a few more scattered friend visits and entry into the alone zone, a place i relish but visit all too infrequently. i thought of making a foray into SF, but think that's unlikely now. so i'll ride out the rest of my vacay reading, sleeping and hopefully working on this god-forsaken website, if i can motivate my lazy ass. anyway, happy new year to you and all the rest of that jazz.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Friggin Christmas

look at me, blogging daily now. seems there isn't much else to do. pablo left this morning for argentina for two weeks, leaving me without anyone to kiss come new year's. i'm sure juice will oblige, but how am i supposed to sneak her into a jumpin club for a midnight smooch?

anyhow, i've gone and done something uber-girlie to pass the time, at least for the first few days of solitude -- i've rented a bunch of DVDs of old 'sex and the city' episodes and plan to curl up on the couch wearing warm socks while eating bon bons. well, more like atkins bars. (still on low-carb.) i'm just gonna veg, no deadlines hanging over me, no interviews to schedule. just lazy dayz ahead.

and yes, merry f-ing xmas. while i do like the season, i don't really care for the actual day and its eve for obvious reasons (i'm jewish). when i was younger, i remember my christian classmates being in disbelief that i didn't celebrate the day, that is was somehow impossible not to. "but, at least your family has a special dinner that night, right?" they would ask. "no, we don't acknowledge it at all," i would answer. "but it's christmas!" they would say, as if saying it that way suddenly changed everything. "umm, nope. we don't do anything," i would insist. "well, then santa must not like jews!" guess not. but that's okay, cus i never gave a shit for that fat bastard either.

i'm still looking for something to do on new year's eve. virtually everyone i know will be out of town or otherwise occupied. if you'll be in hell-lay and have ideas, please e-mail me pronto.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Hawaii, Part Two

aloha, punks. ready for the second installment of our hawaii series? what follows are details of the eerie psychic experience! oooh. aaah.

Lan Vo
that's her name, in case you ever find yourself in oahu wrestling with life's questions and sixty bucks to spare. she's a vietnamese lady in her forties, maybe fifties, and she has a thick-ass accent i often could not cut through. "please, no smoking, eating or drinking. thank you. have a nice future," the sign near the receptionist read.

since lan is booked months in advance, the only way to get an appointment with her is to arrive early and sign the walk-in list in hopes that some of that day's clients cancel or just don't show up. we were the first ones there at 9am, and lo and behold her first appt was a no-show, so i went in (kiana managed to get her reading first thing after lunch, so we spent the better part of the day there, leaving at around 3pm.)

she took out regular playing cards, prayed silently while holding them, and then had me shuffle and cut them into three stacks. she then spread the cards onto the table separating us and began asking me questions, while gluing her eyes onto my face, which makes me a bit nervous. then she seems to abandon the cards altogether and just begins spewing things out, one thing after another. some are past events, others are premonitions for the future. this continues for close to half an hour, with me interjecting often to ask questions or ask her to repeat herself because her accent's a bitch.

-- past: one of the first things she tells me is that i have two degrees (and i'll eventually get one more, which i think is unlikely). she sees last summer's trip to europe, and that i've been moving around alot (and i will continue to do so, she says). she sees the scholarship money that i received from USC this past semester and that i "make reports" for work. she sees my back surgery and that i have recurring bladder infections, but says that neither is of serious concern.

then, as if in a vision, she sees pablo and begins to describes him, saying that he has three tattoos (he does), one of which is a formula across his back (it is); that the hair on his head is thinning, but he has plenty of it on his chest (all true); that he has a greencard and is not from around here (he's from argentina); describes one of his old girlfriends as being tall and blonde (erin, i've met her); says that he is an engineer who does programming and has recently left his job (true that); and that his name is "something with P and B." there's a lot more pablo talk that follows this, but i'll keep it to myself.

she also sees my ex, describes him, and we discuss him briefly. we then move on to my family, and she spells out my sister's surname -- "N-G-A-I" (her husband is chinese). she tells me things about their marriage, but that their kids will be fine. she tells me how my grandparents died and that my paternal grandpa -- whom i was named after and who died before my birth -- was a "good man." this sends a chill over me.

we talk about my parents and she sees that my dad had a brain tumor when i was growing up and that it made his eye twitch. she also sees my mom's hysterectomy. she also sees the history of diabetes in my family and tells me that as long as i'm careful with my sugar and salt intake, i won't get it. she also saw my dog's hip dysplasia ("she walk funny") and said she has 7-9 years, which bummed me out a bit.

-- future: there was certainly more about the past than the future, which is to be expected. she did provide some insight, however, which i am sure is subject to change. namely, that i'll marry only once, have two girls and a boy ("maybe twins"), will write a book that will be successful, will travel all around the world, will get a new car in the next year, will own a horse (!) at some point in my life, will work in either radio or television, will get a new dog, could own my own business, will teach at some point, will always live near water, and will be OK overall. "you worry too much," she tells me, causing me to smile. she also tells me to go see a dentist because i have a cavity and that my cholesterol is high. (there's much more, but again, i'll keep it to myself.)

i can't explain how i felt when i walked out of there -- definitely rattled, introspective, somewhat elated, somewhat disturbed. i sat quiet for a long time thinking and trying to remember everything.

now, of course i know better than to take this as the ultimate gospel. but i've always believed in the metaphysical and this woman certainly had the gift. she's probably the only one i've ever met who has, and i've seen my fair share of charlatan card and palm readers over the years. this whole experience has left me feeling a bit more spiritual than before.

and although she touches on everything, lan's specialty is health. she told kiana years ago that a lump in her mother's neck was not cancerous and did not need chemotherapy. turned out to be true. i would definitely consult lan on health matters, and probably other stuff as well. i'm sure i'll see her again and would easily recommend her to others. i have her number if anyone's interested.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Hawaii, Part One

damn, what a good time i had. i hope to return over spring break for a continuation of the goodness. here is a partial lowdown of the weeklong trip:

-- fly me to the moon: can i just tell you how much i love my very dear friend kiana? i've always believed that having friends with diverse professions is beneficial: a doctor friend for free medical advice, a lawyer friend for law consultations, a chef friend, a hairdresser, a masseuse for obvious reasons. but a flight attendant is just as valuable, and kiana's indentured servitude to American Airlines translated into a first-class, roundtrip ticket to honolulu for just 200 smackers. i dined on duck salad, shitake-encrusted rib eye and guava cheesecake and downed an entire bottle of merlot on my own. (i'm a fearful flyer, i needed to relax.) it was lovely. i'm never flying coach again. well, as long as kiana is still my friend. did i mention how much i love her? here's a pic of her on her wedding day:

-- accommodations: since kiana is from hawaii, we stayed for free at her grandpa's house in manoa valley and rented a car from enterprise. we didn't spend too much time at the house, just paid visits for sleeping and clothes-changing. her grandparents are adorable japanese people in their eighties who rise early every morning to pull weeds out of the yard.

-- heavenly weather: PERFECT. you could be naked and never get cold, nor did it ever really get hot. it maybe dipped once to 72 degrees and the locals began talking about it being "freezing." no rain, just infrequent bursts of drizzle that seemed to pour out of a cloudless sky. "hawaiian sunshine," kiana called it. we took advantage of the great days and spent many of them on the beach, drinking beer and smoking doobs while watching the surfers do their thing. i couldn't have been more relaxed.

-- pidgin: i also spent a good part of the week studying the most bizarre pseudo-language called pidgin. it's kind of like an asian creole based on dumbed-down english and loaded with hawaiian words. it has the unfortunate side effect of making its speakers sound like idiots, much like a boston accent does. not everyone on the island speaks full-on pidgin all the time, but many words and expressions seem to appear in everyday conversation. helping me with my studies were the two illustrated versions of pidgin to da max. so goddamn funny. if something's yummy, in pidgin you say that it "brok da mout" (broke the mouth). if someone's gossiping, you might urge them to "no talk stink." and if someone's staring at you, feel free to ask them "i owe you money o' wot?"

-- food and boob: the best thing about visiting with a local is that you don't waste your time in waikiki walking up and down that commercialized boardwalk. instead, kiana took me to the local hotspots and the best eateries. the food was soooo gooood, i can't even describe it. as a lover of all things fishy, i was in heaven, chowing down on sashimi daily. we also spent much time shaking our tail feathers at various bars and clubs throughout the island. all went well except for one night when a drunken meathead approached kiana's friend kimi with a digital camera and asked to photograph her (38DD) breasts. and later that night, we saw a seemingly insane girl take out her breast in front of a bouncer and squeeze milk from its ducts to prove that she wasn't lying when she said she was lactating. that was about all the tit we could take, so we hurried back and stayed up late talking about boys.

that's all for now. check back in the coming days for Part Two of our story, which will be all about my eerie visit to the psychic.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Thanks, Skanks!

so yes, another thanksgiving passed, and i'm glad it did because i really dislike turkey. never have i tasted a juicy turkey breast -- always dry. dark meat's not bad, though. but the best thing about the day is that it marks the start of the winter holiday season, which i really do enjoy. seeing houses done up in lights, smelling that xmas pine and feeling the cool chill in the air just gets me all warm and fuzzy inside.

what sucks about it is all that gift-giving nonsense. maybe if i had a ton of money to blow, i'd buy something nice and thoughtful for everyone i know, but i got no dough, and the pressure to spend and the commercial nature of the season make all those presents seem insincere. i'd rather take that money and buy my homies big birthday gifts instead of little holiday trinkets that i probably stole from the clearance table, anyway. i'm sure this will make me sound like such an asshole, but a word to the wise: if we're tight and you're thinking of getting me a little gift for the holidays, don't bother cus i can offer nothing but gratitude in return. i know, you're not expecting something in return, we all say that, but i'll feel guilty if i have nothing for you, and i have neither the time nor money to deal with malls in the coming month. let's just know that we love each other and that's enough. (but if you're my mom, a digital camera would make me so happy.) yeah, what a scrooge i am. bahumbug and all that shit.

and on that note, i wanted to get to the real purpose of this post, which was to recognize all the wonderful blessings in my life. (see, that's what the holiday spirit is truly all about.) so let's all take a collective pregnant pause before moving on to the list of all the things i'm thankful for this season:

  • my parents (duh.) the older i get, the more i appreciate the people who were there from the very beginning and who will certainly be there until the very end. i adore my parents, and am glad we get along so famously. their love and support have always been unconditional and selfless. they never hesistate to tell me the truth, for better and worse, or to tell me with teary eyes that they're proud of me. nope, mom and dad, i'm the one who's proud. (how bout that camera now, ma?)

  • the rest of my family. yeah, them too. even though my older sister, tatyana, used to torture me relentlessly during our youth, we make pretty good siblings now. and though i like to think that she and i are very different, i know that fundamentally we're the same on the inside. same thing with my cousin, gitella (you, too, roman!). and my niece and two nephews -- paulina, jack and derek -- are golden as well. they're growing up to be awesome little people.

  • the light of my life, the apple of my eye, my darling puppy juice. i'm crazy about this dog -- like super, crazy, madly in love with her. she's my kid, and for her i'd do what any mother would do for her kid: anything and everything.

  • the man with the master plan, the p-funk daddy, the big-brained sugarbearama: my pablo. although we've had our fair share of relationship bumps and bruises in the past few months, i wouldn't trade the four years we've had for anything in the world (not even for johnny depp). he's truly my best friend, all 6-feet, 5-inches, 260 pounds of his luscious, dark, argentinian self. you wanna know one of the many cool things about pablo? he has an equation tattooed across his back -- the formula for what happens when a neutron star dies, which is his favorite astrophysics fact. strange, yes, but you know that not another mothafucka in the world has that inked into his back. yep, my pabs is one of a kind.

  • my friends, who i love love love, for they are my true soulmates. i gotta say that my friendships are lifelong endeavors, so if you're in it with me, we're in it to win it. fair-weathered just won't do, and i've been lucky to find a mess of people i can lean on, laugh with, cry to or just sit there in silence with. special thanks go to my innermost circle who have to deal with my bullshit on a daily or near-daily basis: raidis, jon-david, sharon, jeremy, kiana, juan, zahra, demetria.

  • ok, this is gonna sound so friggin LA, but i'm very thankful for yoga, which has changed my life in so many positive ways. it really keeps me sane and keeps my rickety back strong. i'm converted for life and urge all to give it a shot. namaste.

  • USC, i love you! the annenberg school for journalism has given me so damn much: knowledge, connections to amazing students and faculty, an opportunity to work and live in london, a $20K debt. umm, maybe that last one isn't too great, but it's been worth it -- definitely. i'll be even more thankful if it'll somehow help me get a job to pay off all that debt come graduation in may.

  • this may be self-evident, but i'm really thankful for all the good music and books that exist out there for the many times that they've served as my therapy, my friend, my fun and my hope.

  • thanks go to all the both evil and wonderful people from christmases past, present and future, as they have helped make me who i am today and will continue to shape my future. i really am grateful for all the gentle souls who've encouraged me, boyfriends who've rejected me, strangers who've affected me and bosses whom i've despised. the best life is a nuanced one, and i'll gladly take a (hopefully small) serving of struggle with my big scoop of success.

  • and finally, a list of honorable mentions: the dorky yet cools guys i work with at CFQ/FF; the great deals and films i find weekly at the 20/20 video store down the street from my ghetto apartment;; all the editors who have ever published my writing; strawberry cheesecake; other good friends: greg, stevie, angela, zee, garron, als, ann, courtney, tania, ali; the kind neighbors who've watched juice for me in the past; my favorite LA restaurant, puran's (on labrea); the doctor who convinced me to quit smoking; this past summer spent in europe; anyone who's ever bought or given me drinks, a meal or drugs; quiet cafes; noisy bars; KCRW, which broadcasts NPR and great music; the new york times and la times for being great papers with fabulously written stories; and, perhaps most importantly, you, whoever you are, if you're not already mentioned here. thanks for hanging in there.