Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Box o' Treacle

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Meet Your New Mommy

this past saturday night saw me babysitting my niece and nephew at my sister's house in the lovely south bay. usually this job is reserved for my parents, who adore and spoil those kids mercilessly, but as my folks had an engagement that evening, my sister, Tatyana (Tat for short), had to call in the reinforcements -- auntie milla, who swooped in from her urban environs to play mommy of the suburbs.

and mommy i did play. i even maneuvered my sis' mini-van -- after first strapping the rugrats safely inside -- through the suburban oasis that is palos verdes to get the kiddies their dinner. and as we walked through the parking lot and toward the panda express where we ate, i felt all my maternal instincts bubble up whenever a car drove by us too closely, causing me to mush the kids against me and hold their little hands even more tightly. then on the way back to the house, i rallied the two little troops to sing along with me to the christmas carols that sprang from the car radio.

even more surprising was what a disciplinarian i was, all "no sugar before bedtime" and "wash your hands before dinner" and hell, we even said grace before we ate as is customary in that household. i guess i assumed i would spoil them like my parents do. one of my mom's favorite sayings is: Grandparents and grandchildren get along so well because they have a common enemy.

the only enemy these kids had were each other. my niece, Paulina, is a preteen, prepuberty nightmare, a know-it-all commando who constantly challenged me for control. (my parents tell me i was just like her at that age.) my 5-year-old nephew, Derek, whom i've dubbed 'boob-boy' because of his penchant for feeling me up at every opportunity, is a sensitive and sweet little fighter, whose boundless energy frightens my sis' deaf dog, the 12-year-old collie Spock.

i'm sitting on the couch with the DirecTV remote, overwhelmed at my TV viewing options when Derek runs out of his room crying. apparently, Paulina was trying to help him with his preschool homework. "what happened, derek?" pseudo-mommy milla asks. "shee hutt my feewrings." it was too cute; i couldn't hide my smile. i gathered him into my arms and he promptly rested his head on my chest. Paulina came out a moment later with a rolling of the eyes.

and so it went, with my asking Paulina to be more sensitive to her little brother and her threatening to call her father and accusing me of loving Derek more. but i remained resolute and never once bristled, forcing the kids to apologize to each other and kiss and make up. ten minutes later, the scene repeats itself. ah, parenthood.

yes, parenthood. it was saturday night, primetime in hollywood, and i felt so content being with these little tykes and their little problems in the 'burbs. it made me -- dare i say it? -- kind of, sort of long for kids of my own. that's not something that needs to arrive today or tomorrow, just...eventually. i always assumed that it would happen eventually, but turning 30 next year tends to place a baby on the brain and an ear on the clock.

not that one night as a babysitter has reinvented my wheel and turned me mommy minded. the mere thought of living in the suburbs with a mini-van gives me a rash. there's still plenty left to do before tackling this whole parenting business. and when that time comes, i'll go faithfully and willingly into that final frontier. how that will all work itself out, i can't even fathom. it'd be great if it were all nuclear-style, with a husband and a house, but i'm not opposed to going at it alone if that's what necessity dictates. in this life, it's more important for me to be a mother than a wife. i am a nurturer by nature. and though i've never been one to blindly love all children, my blood is my blood and my love is my loyalty.

my tipsy sister and her husband arrived home at 1:30am to find me passed out on their couch. those fuckers were exhausting, but i worked it out -- by night's end, the kids were fed, bathed, burped, tucked in and kissed goodnight; the dishes were done, house was tidy, and the mini-van was safely parked in the three-car garage.

"how are the kids?" Tat asked while hanging up her coat.
"alive," i replied, "they didn't walk into any rakes."
"rakes? what?"
"i don't know why i had this irrational fear all night that they would turn a corner and walk into a rake, like something out of a cartoon," i said.
"you're crazy," Tat said while hugging me goodbye.
"i must be, because i want to do this again. call me when you need a babysitter next time instead of calling mom and dad."
"yeah. really," i said before hopping into my car and heading home.

i walked into my place past 2am to find my furry baby sleepy and yawning, with that relentless tail of hers still wagging. Juice, whom i always referred to jokingly as "my birth control," suddenly looked different. i sat down with her before going to bed and petted her shiny, clean coat, kissed her wet, salty nose, and marveled at her sweetness and good doggy manners. i thought to myself, "i did a damn fine job here, and one day i'll do it again."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Day in the Life

is that cooking i hear in the kitchen?

is that bacon i smell?

i love when you're a messy eater.

back to being satiated and sleepy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Drive Slow, Homey

funny that just a few months ago i was desperate for life to sloooooow down and wait for me, and now that it has finally slowed i find myself bored, restless and, perhaps most disheartening, with nothing to blog about. oh, the horror and shame.

i guess i could blog about smart things like politics and art, but i'll leave that to the experts who can do it better, as i have no original insight to propel those conversations. opinions are cheap, especially on the internet. the only thing i feel qualified to blog about is my own lame life. being a narcissist will do that for you. so for lack of expansive topics, here's some news in brief:

-- i saw mr. kanye west at universal ampitheatre this past saturday night. his being an egoist guaranteed a spectacular show, and the man delivered with a high-energy performance and tons of special guests, including common, patti labelle and even jamie foxx who came out to do the intro to "gold digger." kanye made quite the funny when he announced during that song: "white people, this is your only chance to say 'nigger' and have it be ok, so go ahead!"

-- i have been wasting far too much time on myspace.com, which has sucked me in with its vastness and many pictures. i know it's been around for years, but i've jumped on its bandwagon only recently. i imagine this addiction will pass just as my brief addiction to friendster.com had passed a few years earlier. in truth, i have no reason to be on myspace as i'm not looking to hook up and my blog is not housed there, but i hate missing a good party so there i am. visit my obnoxious profile to add me as your friend if you haven't done so already.

-- it's still not cancer: my last physical exam detected no strange or abnormal cells near my cervix, confirming my suspicion that the earlier nasty cells were brought on by stress. now there's less stress and more B vitamins in my life, so my kitty is kosher again.

-- work is slow now that i'm between projects. freelance work is also slow now that seasonal shutdowns are beginning, so i find myself quite idle lately. this translates into lots of daydreaming during the day and lots of couch-sitting during the evenings.

-- couch-sitting has involved oodles of TV viewing, most notably America's Next Top Model. that's right, i love that show and i'm not ashamed to admit it. DVD viewing has also gone on, including watching the second seasons of 'Nip/Tuck,' 'The L Word' and 'Arrested Development'; the film 'Crash'; and the documentary on strippers called 'The Strip Game,' directed by Method Man who provides a hilarious director's commentary.

-- people-viewing has been less frequent lately. all the partying left me pooped and i've entered a hermitic hibernation that will likely last through december. i'm still attending the choice outing here and there, but for now, couch-sitting with a blanket over me and juice and/or Momo by my side appeals to me far more than bar-hopping with pals.

and that's about it.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Glove Love

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I Can't Think of a Good Headline

i had thought of doing another one of those "these are the things i'm thankful for this thanksgiving" entries, but thought better of it after realizing i had done that last year as well as the year before. not much has changed in my list of blessings, and i don't anticipate much will change in years to come. i have great people around me, a loving family, a stunning dog, etc., etc. i've also realized that i have a propensity for serial monogamy, as evidenced by the fact that i had a different boyfriend to be thankful for each year. i like to think that this is because i keep going back into the dating (cess)pool for an upgrade. which means by this time next year i should be dating god himself.

my thanksgiving itself was a bit odd this year. my parents and i headed to my sister's place, where we sat down for dinner with her husband and two kids. as the whole of my family has a strong distaste for turkey, we had duck and ham. the duck looked gorgeous, having come out of the oven perfectly browned. it was placed over the potatoes and then carved at the table, where it spewed blood all over its surroundings.

whoops -- back into the oven it went. the potatoes were tossed, stray blood stains spotted up and we sat around the table staring at each other for another half hour while it finished cooking. at the table, my nephew was annoying my niece with the antics of a 4-year-old; my niece was annoying me with her reprimands of my nephew in that 11-year-old shrieking voice of hers; and i, apparently, was annoying my father who was quick to tell me that my life "has been full of mistakes." whaaa?

finally, my niece turns to me and says, "do you want to go upstairs and play Dance Dance Revolution." hells yeah, i did! and wow, did that game wear me out. in fact, the whole night was rather taxing. and i didn't have that friday after thanksgiving off, which i thought only happened if you worked in a mall. but apparently my company stays open when the market stays open, and i guess stockbrokers don't want to spend time with their families when there's money to make.

i know, the lady doth protest too much. things aren't terrible, not at all. holidays rock! gift-buying is fun! and if you want to send me gifts, i'd like a set of professional cookwear cus my pots and pans suck. and if you're my mom, i'd love it if you gave me that immaculate green Volvo you drive -- or if you want to help me pay off my $20K in student loans, that would also be cool. but if not, that's ok, too, because i have my many other blessings to keep me warm, right?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Life's Little Cruelties

that will be the title of my unwritten masterpiece -- the great american novel that is just aching to escape my guts through the manicured hands that spend countless hours pounding away on this here keyboard. they say there is a novel in each of us. but they say a lot of things. i say a lot of things, too. who should you believe?

Me. (duh.) and i have something to say about the cruel way life has been educating me these past few weeks. i like happy surprises as much as the next gal, but the unhappy ones, not so much. so it's with great sadness that i report on the infiniteness of my own stupidity, which still manages to impress me after all these years. it was Einstein who said, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

it's good to keep raising the bar, they say. it's good to be good at something, they say. and i say that i can do dumb pretty damn well, as the following examples illustrate.


Situation: the only phone jack in your entire house is, inexplicably, located behind your refrigerator. you are having problems with your DSL connection because the phone company hates you. you need to move your fridge away from the wall and check the connection because having a phone technician visit will cost you $60 for 15 minutes if the tech deems the problem to be your fault (thanks, SBC!). with a few strong jerks, you pull the fridge away from the wall, forgetting that you placed a bottle of red wine atop the fridge, which is where, you know, you've always placed your bottles of red wine. said bottle then falls and shatters into a zillion pieces behind your refrigerator.

Aftermath: at first, you will want to cry, because the thought of cleaning up broken glass, red wine, two years' worth of dog hair and all the other frightful things that reside behind refrigerators is absolutely dreadful. but you do it because you have to. in the process, you try not to vomit from the smell and sight of the mess you're standing in or think about the fact that you ruined a perfectly good towel for something preventable. you also try not to think about what these incredibly dirrrrty, indefinable objects and organisms you're cleaning up really are.

Lesson: when moving a heavy object, make sure to first clear off all surrounding glass bottles that contain alcoholic liquid. otherwise, you will have nothing to drink after your cleanup is complete. and you will need a drink very very badly.


Situation: you are stoked about your weekend jaunt to san francisco, which you have been planning for months. it's just you and your iPod making the journey up the 5 this time and you're excited for the opportunity to listen to your new music at full blast. to prepare, you visit Fry's and buy (what you think) is the adapter that allows you to play the iPod through the car stereo. when you hop into the car and plug your iPod into the adapter and the adapter into the area for the cigarette lighter, you wonder why your iPod doesn't play. after a few minutes of head scratching and technical finessing, you consult the packaging that accompanied your $40 purchase and discover that, in fact, you bought the iPod charger, not adapter.

Aftermath: you slam on the brakes and return home immediately, where you load up a paper bag full of CDs you've heard a million times before, because you cannot stomach a radio appetite of christian rock and country music for 12 hours, which is how long you will spend in the car.

Lesson: pay attention, dipshit. this was almost as bad as the time you went to amoeba and bought the wrong CD two times in a row. or how about that time you accidentally bought decaffeinated coffee and kept drinking it for a week, wondering why the hell it wouldn't keep you awake, before you looked at the label and discovered your error? god, you're lame.


Situation: you think you are a rock star at work. everyone loves you and wants you to come to their parties. you strut around the office like a peacock, thinking you can do no wrong and that you have your job mastered after 8 months. one day, you notice something funny about the financial stats on this webpage your company maintains. they look outdated and this concerns you because you are a good employee who wants a big raise next March. so without hesitation, you sound the alarms and notify the proper people of these seemingly outdated stats, which are, like, so a violation of federal law or something. people around you take you very seriously because of your good reputation and jump on the case immediately, while you secretly begin to imagine all the steak and lobster dinners you'll be having once you get your raise. a day later, someone returns to you with an update on the situation. you quickly switch from your lost-in-reverie face to a concerned-employee one and say, "yes, how is that going?" only to hear "those stats are updated every three months, not monthly like you said."

Aftermath: you suddenly feel very small and dumb. as a reflex, you flash your brilliant smile that's gotten you out of so many jams before but soon realize that will do nothing for you now as you got this bad news over the phone. stumped, you just mumble, "oh, sorry 'bout that. my bad."

Lesson: do your research.


Situation: you're not having a very good day. earlier, you moved your fridge with a jerk and caused a bottle of wine to fall and shatter. it's later that night and you need some wine to calm your frayed nerves. you're at the liquor store with your boyfriend, Momo, who just walked in with coffee from starbucks in a venti cup filled to the brim because he doesn't take it with cream. you are at the counter ready to pay for your bottle when you find yourself fascinated by a music video on the TV that hangs overhead. it's paula abdul's video for "straight up" and you haven't seen it in ages. you find yourself hypnotized by her tap dancing and can't peel your eyes away. but the clerk wants your money, so you extend your debit card and in the process knock over Mo's hot coffee so that it spills all over the clerk, the counter and the conveyer belt that holds other people's groceries.

Aftermath: the clerk hands you a roll of paper towels and you get to work right away mopping up the mess. the clerk is pissed because the coffee landed on his pants, making him look like he peed himself. the other customers are pissed because their groceries are wet. and you're pissed because you made an ass out of yourself in public. and all the while, friggin "straight up" is playing in the background.

Lesson: paula abdul can be fascinating.


i will take my bow now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Love Note I Awoke To

thanks, Momo!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

To Edit

a few weeks ago i went to a copy editor conference near the airport. i don't know why it's worth mentioning that it was near the airport, but it was near the airport even though no one flew in for it. all the attendees were local copy editors like me, with a handful from orange county (which may as well be China if you live in LA).

the point is that it was a copy editor conference which is curious for a number of reasons. first off, copy editors don't really need a conference -- a fact that made my attendance mandatory. you see, we are a static industry. a semicolon by any other name will still serve the same purpose. the few yearly updates on usage and terminology can be found in the latest edition of whichever style bible we subscribe to. in my case, that would the very cutting-edge AP Stylebook. secondly, we are rarely allowed away from our desks/out of our cages for fear that a wayward comma might sneak into otherwise clean copy. our bosses usually love us dearly and know that no one could do our jobs or, for that matter, would want to do our jobs in our absence. and that's always my most favorite thing to hear from people -- "eww. at work all day you sit around looking for errors in the things you read? i could never do that. it would drive me crazy."

yes indeed, it sometimes drives me crazy. on certain days, it makes my eyes bleed. but on most days, i friggin love it. i really do. i can get a serious hard-on from taking a white page with 12-point, times new roman font and marking it up silly with my red pen. it's a satisfaction that rivals orgasm, like "who's your momma, bitch?" we all want to be the authority on something, and copy editing gives me the ultimate power of the pen, which provides a great veto power. (unless you have to work with pain-in-the-ass writers who think you're worthless because you're correcting their copy, which they think is so damn flawless even though it's crap. but if you got a writer who's open, it's cool.)

it's a glamorous profession, i tell ya. but i should also tell ya that while i'm a fabulous editor, i am a horrible grammarian. i couldn't tell ya why or how a modifier dangles, only that it does dangle like that fleshy, dangling thing in the back of your mouth (also known as an 'uvula.') i also couldn't make a strong case for splitting infinitives or explain the difference between comparatives and superlatives, because i don't know what those things are. all i know is what sounds right to me and that intuition has helped me fake a career in copy editing for the past ten years. but it's always nice to match labels with instincts so i looked forward to this conference as an opportunity to deepen my understanding of my own skill set, which at times feels foreign to me.

unfortunately, that didn't happen at this conference, as i found the instructor pompous and the material remedial. plus, i left early and had my usual bad attitude going on. i did, however, learn a handful of interesting things worth sharing and here they are:

-- writing is full of awful redundencies, so think again before you use the terms: 'lone gunman,' 'safe haven,' and 'whether or not.'
-- 'cement' is wet; 'concrete' is dry.
-- a 'dove' is a beautiful, white bird; use 'dived' as the past tense of 'dive.'
-- 'between' compares two things, while 'among' generally refers to more than two.
-- 'oral' concerns the mouth; 'verbal' deals with words.
-- an 'initialism' is a term like TLC and FBI, where each of the letters is spoken as a letter; an 'acronym' is pronounceable as a word, like NAFTA or NASA.
-- 'begging the question' is actually a term for philosophers that assumes that the premise of an argument assumes the very thing the argument is trying to prove. for example, the question "Have you stopped taking bribes?" begs the questions because the speaker assumes the person was taking bribes. most people use this term when they really mean 'raise the question.'
-- the difference between farther and further can be remembered with this handy mnemonic: the 'a' in 'farther' refers to 'actual' distance; further refers to figurative distance.
-- you 'convince' people of your viewpoint before 'persuading' them into action.
-- the road is 'winding'; the wind is 'windy.'
-- don't ever use 'ironic' when you mean 'coincidental' even though every one else does.

i'll confess that i never even heard the term 'initialism' before attending the conference, so that knowledge alone might have been worth the $12 all-day parking fee at the airport Marriott. i still cannot explain the difference between nonrestrictive and restrictive clauses -- the key to the exciting 'that' vs. 'which' debate -- but maybe next year i'll sit through the whole thing.

i did, however, adore my fellow attendees. all these bookish hair-splitters sitting around celebrating their anal retentiveness. and me, the rebel librarian, with her nose piercing and funky purple shirt. but never did i feel out of place. the whole scene reminded me of that Blind Melon video from several years back, with the girl dancing around in a bee outfit. at first, everyone looks at her askew, but she knows the secret -- she's not crazy, just misunderstood. and that's what copy editors feel like sometimes: dancing bees with bent antennae. writers may hate to hear our buzz, but we turn their crappy copy into golden honey. we make it digestible and sweet.

so it was a blessing to find this conference. it was like entering that park in the video, the one with the tall green grass where other dancers dressed like bees buzz freely and dance without shame. it was awesome to be able to turn to the person beside you and say, "don't you hate it when people say 'the man that' instead of 'the man who'?" only the hear the person say, "oh, i know! that drives me crazy, too. but what's worse is when people confuse 'your' and 'you're.'"

the shame, the shame, people -- and you know who you are.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Party Photos, Part II

party people: still partying.

notice his double fisting: Alex and Abel went into the stable to fetch a pail of vodka. a minute later, i created this fable and, and, and -- ah, fuck it, i'm out of rhyme.

dave and his finger: i'm guessing he used it to tease that pompadour he was sporting the whole night. i believe someone at the party referred to it as "John Larroquette hair."

avi and his two fingers: peace is best achieved at 2 in the morning after a few screwdrivers.

another cute couple: Jason and Katie make cutesy poopsey for the camera.

if you haven't figured it out (you might be retarded): Momo and i reconciled soon after i posted the big, dramatic breakup entry. and nowadays, things are terrific.

bitches brawl: i put my money on juice.

yet another cute couple: zee and nick sitting in a hammick, with a love so sweet it might make you sick.

that finger again: oh where will it land and why was it up so high?

no one likes a quitter: which is precisely why i'm still smoking (socially). Ann, Raidis and Damien join me in my debauchery on the couch.

two beauts: Juice and Zee share a calm moment after the roughhousing.

two breasts brains are better than one: Momo and I did some collaborating on how to fix our communication misfires, and we figured that i should wear low-cut tops to keep him distracted and he should create new commentator characters for this blog to keep me entertained. with that in place, i've resumed the bowl-of-jello state i was in when we first got together. in short: i'm in love; i can't help it; he is a star.

stare at this picture: there's just something about it -- polly the anachronism in her bright dress, chad with his raised eyebrow as if he knows some special secret, and corey's beautiful face as the apex. just kinda weird, but i dig it.

still going: dave's finger seems to have lost much of its momentum as it races up his nose and into his brain.

honey, not right now: but definitely later.

i'll have what he's having: like a cherub, that face.

make it a double: or even a triple.

think she likes him? Raidis and Damien actually went to prom together when all of us were in high school. class of '94, represent!

ice cracks your teeth: but in this photo it's harmless.

pet the pompadour: Dave and his finger finally came to rest on the porch, where they remained at rest for a good hour while his gorgeous wife Corey was inside getting hit on by a twentysomething. when i asked Dave if i could bring him anything while he sat on the porch, his reply was, "it's all your fault."

limeye: you can hear the ocean if you put it up to your ear.

this could be his album cover: Jason kicks it in the hammock.

game over (with spooky juice eyes in the background): thanks for playing, Dave (and love you much, please don't kill me for this).

the money shot: speaks for itself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Still Partying Like I Used To

i had a party over the weekend. just because i could. i won't allow one stinkin hangover to bury me and my youth, so i threw something together very last moment and the people came. and they consumed alcohol and socialized and stayed very late. one of them even threw up on my porch. with that, it felt like a proper party and i had a terrific time playing hostess. here are some visual souvenirs. this part I of II.

bow to your hostess: i said bow, bitches!

this is my good friend (and hairstylist), Stevie: here you see him demonstrating the effectiveness of the nicotine patch.

The Milla Times salutes one of its newest commentators, Wade: visit him and his blog at juniorbird.com.

the bitches i bow to: Ann and Raidis being their radiant selves. i am the missing filipino triplet in this shot.

mr. laca: Chad is rad, dood, with a killer musik collection.

friendly beaver trailer park: Tim and his 40 have the kind of fun that only a man and his 40 can have at a Saturday night sausage fest hosted by a girl he went to high school with.

ditto the above: but apply it to Damien and his 40.

the triumvirate: ditto, now with Deo and his 40 (at left). by night's end we had the following stats: one 40 finished; one almost finished and the last one (a quarter remaining) kicked over accidentally by the partygoer who upchucked on the porch.

blue cups: other alkie was a-flowin as well, mostly of the vodka variety.

make my funk the p-funk: Polly won the best-dressed award in her cute retro thing.

the best smile award: went to my old college buddy Abel, who now runs the ultracool Livity Outernational clothing line.

avatar: me and the Avi-ster, my old grad school buddy whom I TAed a class with. (leave a comment someday, whiggah.)

three-headed monster: high-school mainstays Ann, Raidis and Damien doing their collective impression of The Blob on my couch.

pour out a little liquor for your homies: high school hunks Momo, with his whiskey, Deo and Damien make a toast to the host(ess) -- me!

why are they wearing the same shirt? Momo satisfies his munchies with Cherry Garcia while Damien visits the happy place in his head.

the night's lone tragedy: Dave was trashed fratboy-style -- and it was totally endearing. really.

more photos forthcoming.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Can't Party Like I Used To

years ago, i received one of those "You Know You're Old When..." e-mails, and one of the criteria that ages you was when the words "i can't party like i used to" replace "man, i think i drank too much last night." another criterion was when you realize you prefer VH1 over MTV. check and check.

my body hated me on sunday, especially my head, which was gripped by a killer headache. i didn't mean to drown it in so much red wine the prior night. i want to say that i never poured myself a single drink and that my glass miraculously refreshed itself the whole night through, but i doubt that's true. i also want to say that i never bummed the cigarettes that compounded my hangover the next day, that they magically flew into my mouth and lit themselves and the only way i could wrestle free was by smoking them down to their butts, but that's probably not true either. the truth is: it was my evil twin sister. yeah, it was that bitch. i can't take her anywhere. man, i should be able to do better than that.

ah, fuck it. i got smashed saturday night -- me. i did some party hopping. ended up at juan's fabulous fete downtown. he had a pinata. he also had a bunch of beautiful people there, most of whom i didn't know. i did get to know his stash of red wine very well, however. we got to know each other so well that it spilled itself all over my crisp white shirt, which i promptly removed -- very clever ploy, that sneaky bottle. then i began dancing around like an idiot in the black tank top i had on underneath. i think i started quite the flirtation with a sexy asian girl on the dance floor who was dressed like a pirate in black capris and a striped shirt. i asked her if i messed up my party dates and it was really halloween (i'm smooth, ain't i?). she said no, that she had come from a theme party and that no one else was in costume so why would it be halloween? i countered with the brilliant: "i like your tattoo."

the straight women in the world can be thankful i wasn't born a straight man. i would be the 40-year-old virgin with absolutely no game. the one who would assault them with trite lines. and with my luck i'd probably also be born with sweaty palms. talking to women is as complicated as performing brain surgery -- one misstep causes paralysis. talking to men, however, is as simple as window shopping, where there's always that option to buy.

i had made my purchase earlier, so i shuffled across the living room dance floor toward my mystery date and away from the sultry pirate. i figure by then she had grown sick of my insistence that i should be the one wearing her rhinestone-encrusted eye patch. yep, i'm nothing if not smooth. mystery date shakes his head at me and sips his whiskey on the rocks. through my blurry vision he looks a lot like Momo. he drives me home, throws some covers over me and lets himself out. i think it was close to 4am. i awaken the next day with killer headache and raccoon eyes.

sunday held a day of suffering. no amount of water or B vitamins or juice suspended the grossness entirely. and the litany of other quick fixes i found when i googled "hangover cure" were too much for my bloodshot eyes to focus on. so i spent the day mostly bed bound, in my baby blue jammies, eating spinach soup and watching the second season of Ali G on DVD. i can't party like i used to.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Where I'd Rather Be

this is actually where i would be -- hawaii -- had i not been my glorious retarded self. i was offered a last-minute opportunity to fly out to hawaii by my flight-attendant friend kiana, who flew in last week and was awaiting my arrival. she's got buddy passes for flying standy, which means get to the airport early and stand the fuck by for an available flight. my best chance, she said, was the friday 8:30am flight out of LAX, the flight plenty of bozos miss because they oversleep, leaving many empty seats to be snatched up by standbyers like me.

"get there early," kiana advised. so what do i do? i get there late, and miss my check-in cutoff time by about four minutes. i became the bozo i was trying to beat. i also became quite flustered and nearly belligerent with the clerk who couldn't seem to comprehend why i should get special treatment.

"you missed your check-in. go see about getting on the next flight out," the clerk says and points at a long-ass line with her acrylic nails. "no way am i standing in that line. i need to get on the 8:30 flight or else i won't make it out at all today, so i need to talk to someone who can help me go through security and get to the gate," i tell her with great confidence. "you missed your check-in," she replies, unimpressed.

not one to be deterred, i bypass this clerk because, of course, i know more about flight policies than she does and i will allow no woman with a bad attitude and acrylic nails to ruin my one shot at a weekend in hawaii. i find another clerk and explain that i didn't really miss my check-in because it was only by four minutes, so it's too negligible to consider "missed." and i go on and on about how i don't have time to go on and on because i really need to be at that gate, so just let me through to the gate and help me get to the head of the security line because it's far too long a line for me to stand in right now because i'm running late and need to just get on the plane already, because i am a non-paying customer flying standy on a buddy pass, and don't you know who i am? i am a legend in my own mind, so you should really give me a break.

next thing i know, i'm standing in the long-ass line clerk one pointed me toward with those acrylic nails. an hour later i'm at the front with a new clerk who seems to have painted on her eyebrows with a sharpie pen. (why are these airport clerks so ghetto?) "the next flight is at 12:30pm. it's oversold and there's already a wait list for standby. you will be 31st on the standby list." i turn around to leave.

the weekend didn't end up too bad. i spent some of it at resfest, had dinner with my girlfriends and went to the gym, where i sat in the steam room. it's been humid in hawaii so it was similar. well, not really.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Mundane in the Membrane

nothing like indulging in a little housecleaning on a saturday night to remind you that you're young and alive. i'd like to claim that this was all intentional, that i had refused an invitation to have dinner with the queen of england to instead stay in and scrub my tub, but that's not the case. nothing was happening for me tonight. i guess i could have found something if i really wanted to but my tub needed the scrub. and i got on my knees, clorox residue across my dark shirt, sweat on my brow, kanye blasting in the background. i got to work. i also took a broom to all the spiderwebs in the corners, of which there were too many. i often wake with new spider bites on my body and even see those damn daddy long-legged bastards cruising the bathroom walls when i'm in the shower, taunting me. then there was the dust, the dog hair, the dishes -- all spict and spanned. i was quite the domestic goddess.

it's been all sorts of mundane lately. still, i'm not as well rested as i'd like to be, as i could be. i've been freelance editing up a storm, which (in my mind) justifies all the superfluous clothes shopping i've been indulging in. there have also been plenty of visits with my trusty old boyfriend gym, which justifies all the superfluous eating i've been indulging in. there have also been social indulgences, including a pretentious publishing party in hollywood, a trip to the greek theatre to see Tori Amos (awesome), and a trip to the egyptian theatre to see Sidestepper (also awesome). plus the season premiere of my favorite show, "america's next top model." for not being a lesbian, i will say that tyra is smokin' hot. she's got a great weave. but the show really becomes its finest after the girls winnow down and become catty bitches to each other. i know, it takes very little to amuse me.

otherwise, work is work. life is life. and i'm not minding the mundane too much. sure, i could use a vacation and i'd like to find that bag of money, but i'll make do with my clean house and lackluster saturday night. the colder weather is nice. LA had its first big rain of the season last week, which meant that my car finally took a bath and i had a nice, clear view from the 49th floor the day after. soup season is finally here -- way better than summer salad season.

i reckon that fall will hold lots more mundanity for me, but that's just fine. all the entropy did not go to waste. it's made me appreciate the calm. my mental/emotional states are just fine as well. i feel so earthbound lately. and as boring as it all may sound, it's ok. (for now.)

Friday, September 16, 2005

To Write

i've been battling a strange case of bloggers block for the past few days. haven't been motivated to post or, rather, haven't been motivated to spend adequate time constructing a post. judging by the end product, it's probably surprising to hear how much time i waste building these damn entries, but it can take hours, sometimes up to day to finish one. i'll write shit, leave it, read it, reread it, rewrite it, give it a rest and then come back to it. and even after all that, i'll still reread old posts and come up with better ways to phrase things. i know, it's such a great greek tragedy -- what a cross us bloggers bear. sometimes i think we write more for ourselves than our audiences, but if that were true then i wouldn't give as much a shit about how this thing read.

when i was in school, my english teachers would always tell me, "milla, you have such a fluid writing style." i couldn't appreciate that then as much as i do now. i think that's because my connotations of "fluid" were dumbly associated with things like bodily fluids, things like piss. that was before i discovered the joys of such fluids as wine, coffee and vodka. in any case, i think my writing style today is still pretty fluid, though (hopefully) less flowery. reading over my oldest ramblings can induce nausea. even reading over my more recent ramblings can do the same: "[the moon rises] big and yellow over the horizon like the eye of g-d." who the hell am i kidding?

i've been dipping into this fabulous new book of poetry i bought recently -- Teen Angst: A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry. as you might have guessed, this is a compilation of teenage "poetry." this book has reduced me to tears and nearly a self-wetting, it's made me laugh so hard. inspired, i dug up my old "poetry" and was horrified at the doozies i could have added to this. if there is a volume 2, i am so submitting.

poetry is just mostly bad in general. even old-school poems from the great cannonized masters could be considered bad by today's standards. lots of them seem so treacly to me now. not that i hate poetry by any means. i have my faves, certainly. but it's so subjective and, unlike "good" writing which can appeal to a lowest common denominator, "good" poetry and poets must carve out their own fanbase, similar to musical acts. it's just not that universal unless, of course, we're talking about The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock or The Hollow Men. ah, t.s. eliot.

but when we're talking about less universal stuff like This is Just to Say, which i love, but i know my fellow blogger and buddy KT doesn't, then no one really wins. it becomes too "arguable." and although any type of art should arguably be one way or another, when we're talking about taste and preference and style, no objective, sound conclusions can be drawn -- or should be drawn. (but when we're talking about country music, we can uniformly conclude that it sucks. no arguments needed. though we can appreciate it for its comedic value.)

so i don't write poetry (anymore) because i don't think i could ever truly gauge my own "poetry's" worth. this probably sounds like a crummy reason, and probably is a crummy reason, but i can't get past it. truthfully, it's probably because writing good poetry is too hard and i'm too lazy to try. i can take a hard look at the prose i've written and see what's worked and what hasn't and reach some conclusions that work for me, but poetry is a wild animal. you can think it's been tamed and trained and you have it all under control, then one day it'll turn on you and drag you offstage by your neck, like it did that guy from the vegas tiger show. and then you're fucked and lying in the hospital almost paralyzed with a doozy to submit to the Teen Angst book.

wait, i'm mixing metaphors. seems i don't have this prose thing tamed and trained either. so let me just fall back on some platitudes: writing is a process, it's a journey, just like life. but that's bullshit, too, because writing is more about an end product, whereas life's end product is death. so nevermind.

where was i going with this again? oh, yeah. poetry is weird. the end.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Summer 2005 Roundup

with the labor day holiday marking the unofficial end of summer, i felt compelled to offer a recap of what's sure to go down as one of the most impactful summers i've ever had. last summer was largely characterized by inactivity; i was quite high after finishing grad school and spent my days in freelancer purgatory. my greatest objective then was to rest, so i rested. and i was very good at it.

in contrast, the summer before that was quite the ass-kicker. i began it with a six-week radio internship in London and then hopped on the eurail for a 15-city european tour that lasted three weeks. quite simply, that was awesome -- i'm sure there's a more creative way to convey that, but "awesome" will have to work. that summer was also meaningful in that it spawned this here bloggy, whose original purpose was to fulfill a class requirement. that summer was time and money well spent and i would repeat it in a heartbeat.

this summer was also full of activity, though i doubt i'd repeat it. first off, i generally hate LA summers because they are way too fucking hot. my pasty genes prefer moonshine to sunbeams, and my wardrobe sense loves to accessorize outfits with hats, scarves and cool jackets. this is why fall is my favorite season. there are only so many ways one can dress up a tank top. i will confess, however, that this summer hasn't been too extreme in terms of heat.

this summer's extremes have been more emotionally based. one could assume that mixing euphoric highs with ungodly lows would have a canceling effect, returning the feeler to a happy baseline. but i don't think i had a single neutral moment. elation has been followed by despondency followed by joy followed by melancholy. clarity and confusion have comingled. it's been downright bipolar.

it started out terrific enough with a trip to new york over memorial day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. it was great to see my east coast peeps, but that trip was hardly a vacation and it also had some tense moments. then came my birthday and subsequent party at the end of june -- probably the summer's apex when i felt most rock star.

then love came to town, causing a head-on collision with my car. a hit and run that left me with whiplash. i'm still quite concussed (and embroiled). death came, too, and left its imprint in a way i had never before known. the sting of angela's suicide still grips me daily. it's made me reexamine old paradigms; i've had to throw out the useless ones. they haven't been replaced, nor shall they be. not everything passes, i've come to realize. i'll stay lost in the nuance for quite some time.

the day of angela's funeral i was on my cell phone with my doctor. between the burial and memorial, i sat on the curb in front of a stranger's house in some neighborhood up in the hills where i was getting faulty reception and no shade. the sun was baking me in my black garb. it had been a week since the biopsy; the results would be in. "doctor, i hope you have good news for me because i've spent my friday at a funeral," i said to her.

"it's not cancer," she said.

oh, those three little words -- far better than "i love you" or "you're a winner" or "you lost weight!" it's. not. cancer. i exhale. i'm trembling. my cervix had been under suspicion after a preliminary test found abnormal cells. but it's not cancer, but it could be eventually. i'll need to monitor it. still, my heart leaps, then descends again as i walk into the memorial to find photographs of my dead friend. these extremes, sometimes within the same hour. moments that make you want to escape your own skin.

that same night, i join my family to celebrate my parents' 36th anniversary with a dinner cruise through marina del rey. i try to enjoy the evening, spending most of it engrossed by my 4-year-old nephew, who brushes my cheek gently when he wants my attention. between courses i head to the ship's deck for a moment to myself. fittingly, a full moon hangs overhead. i feel it mocking me after such a day. it rises big and yellow over the horizon like the eye of g-d. i can't help but stare. i find an empty deck chair and allow the breeze to lap at me as i sit there, like a piece of wood. my nephew appears beside me and climbs into my lap, collapsing his body against my chest. i wrap my arms around him and kiss the top of his head. the ship keeps trudging through the marina as we sit quietly, the gentle waves breaking underneath us. it was the day's perfect moment.


yes, this summer is going down in the record books. love, death, disease, and a sprinkling of tarot and mysticism. my heart softening and hardening. brevity, gravity, entropy. my will strengthening and breaking. it's been too much at times and i don't have the hindsight i need to sum up the lessons i've learned. not yet anyway.

nowadays, however, i'm just peachy. my long labor day weekend was largely spent hibernating. i slept in and managed to catch lunch and a massage with my mom on saturday. i finished up a couple books and became better acquainted with my nifty new computer. i settled on a 14-inch G4 iBook, whose specs were almost identical to that of apple's overpriced Powerbooks. i wish my ivory iBook had the sexy aluminum casing, yes, but it has a gig of ram and it's way fast.

i, however, am going to be way slow. my objective for the remainder of the year is to reduce stress. i've already bought some cute scarves for fall and i have the most terrific mustard jacket i bought while i was in new york. i've been aching to wear it. i've quit smoking and have begun taking a (cancer-fighting) B vitamin complex daily. i have a stack of books i plan to read, CDs i plan to hear and recipes i want to try. i'm going to plan a few trips out of town and hit the gym more. i never thought i'd look so forward to the mundane, but stabilizing will serve me well right now. and serving myself is about all i want to do.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Out With a Whimper

it came in with such a bang. i swear i heard trumpets. the parade was underway, with all its fantasy and wonderment. but then came the stormy weather. nature doesn't relent and history tends to repeat. which is why i found myself in quite the familiar environ the other night, when i sat alone in my living room at 1 a.m. on a monday night. i had a glass of red wine in my hand. the boy i loved had left an hour earlier. we had had chinese food and he told me he couldn't be with me anymore because he could never see himself married to me, so he didn't want to invest time and effort in the relationship.

i'm calm and dry-eyed. hysterics won't do me any good. practice has taught me to make friends with my reality. and if there's one thing i know, it's breakups. i do them more often and better than anyone else. i could teach the class. i know that the quicker they are the better, and i recognize the point where conversation should cease and saying everything on your mind becomes futile, an exercise in vanity. once he closed that door behind him, i locked it from the inside, and then sat for a long time. i was sad, but moreso amused. this is how my life is. this is how things go.

why: same why as every single time before -- just not the right people for each other. there was a good while when that didn't seem to be the case. we had two months of bliss, where i would awaken to love notes on my dry-erase board and he would be greeted with fresh flowers upon my visits. we'd hold hands while we walked and spoon each other through the night. lots of phone calls, long conversations, steamy nights. and then... i don't know. the bubble burst. arguments ensued and escalated. they'd last hours at times. then would come a short reprieve where we would try to clamor our way back into the bliss, but something had died, was amiss. then the clouds returned, another storm. the romance soured, the arguments kept coming. the new love was in ruins. unsalvagable, the only option was to walk away.

so we walked calmly away with promises to continue the friendship, promises we'll likely honor, eventually. no regrets, hard feelings or messiness. two months isn't two years. it's not the end of the world and he's not the last man on earth. i will perservere as always and gain strength. no man will bury me. i know this with great certainty.

but still, the sadness comes to nest. the knowledge that i humiliated myself (again) on this blog, where our relationship originated. the thought that the more he got to know me, the less he liked me. the fear that i'll always be alone and that love for me will be one disappointing relationship after the next -- that i'll always be That Girl, the unlucky-in-love girl who could never get it right because she was too difficult, too opinionated, too much of a "pitbull," as Momo once called me.

this is pathetic. i do realize this. bear with me and mock me later when i can laugh with you. come, perspective -- don't fail me. sleep will help. hermitism. i draw tarot cards and keep drawing the ace of swords again and again -- the card of a new beginning cut from a place of truth. i listen to one of my favorite songs again and again -- "the truth" by handsome boy modeling school. the truth is that he was right that we shouldn't be together. i don't question that. the truth is that i will certainly meet more new people in the course of my life. the truth is that we tried and we failed. these things happen, to me as much as to anyone else.

i'm not big on fairytales of The One. the divorce rate makes that laughable. he might come, but shit, he might not. i can find contentment surrounding myself with dogs and my girlfriends and good food, music and books. if that's my lot in life, alright. it could certainly be worse. but i'm human and i want what we all do -- a love that's real and meaningful, one i can cherish and honor.

what i've learned: that love has to be all or nothing -- Mr. Almost Right will not substitute for Mr. Right. that love has to be unconditional and unqualified. i am not watering it down, nor will i compromise my standards or rewire myself for anyone. i'm too old and smart to waste time stuffing a round peg in a square hole.

i've learned that the best relationships are relatively self-sustaining and don't require constant work. i've learned that the flipside to intensity is drama, that reality corrodes fantasy, that love alone cannot make a relationship functional. i've learned that not all men are simple, that arguments can produce insight and that my love is worthy and my heart still beats.

i want to stay awakened and alive. this relationship flooded me with emotion, and i'm thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with my old self, even the unpleasant parts like the little masochist i thought i put to bed years ago. she's still around, lingering, languishing in the misery, letting it snake around her. i'm not sure how to handle her, but i'll work on it.

what's next: i'm glad to get off this ride, because it's been fucking exhausting. i couldn't sustain it for much longer -- having this student boyfriend with his vampire hours. it felt like college again, sitting on a guy's blue futon until midnight on a thursday, smoking out while bob marley played in the background.

i clock in at 8 am, and i am useless without adequate rest. it's still all very sad, yes, but it's a dull ache that's tempered with relief. it will dissipate with time as it has too many times before. i need to attend to my own life. i should also move to the westside because i have too many exes cluttered in hollywood. momo lives a block away from pablo who lives a mile away from yogaman. i'm sure i'll run into all of them at a starbucks eventually. it'll be neat if it were all at once and they all had new girls on their arms. i'd be wearing sweats and no makeup. that would rock.

on second thought, forget the westside. i could never live there and dating a fratty brentwood yuppie doesn't appeal to me on any level. i like hollywood boys best.

i feel myself hardening. i can't help it. my mushy center has congealed overnight. my mistrust of men deepens and i can add another carry-on to my relationship baggage, which is beginning to occupy the entire cargo area of the plane. expect no new love affairs anytime soon. the detached girl is back. i should take a vow of celibacy, as i've tried to before, but being that i have the libido of a teenage boy and a paralyzing fear of being alone, i'm sure someone will materialize sooner rather than later. and i probably won't give a shit about him. and i'll continue to carry on about it here, because i know it's amusing and i must enjoy making a spectacle of myself. masochistic exhibitionist. that's how my life is. that's how it goes.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Still Going

funny how time refuses to stop for you and accomodate your need for more of it. i was telling zee that i feel like a soccer mom lately, minus the kids and soccer. but lately there always seems to be a place to go, a task to do, a fire to put out. sitting down only complicates matters. sitting down causes that fire underneath me to intensify, so the idea of getting rest remains just that -- an idea.

this weekend i shall finally rest, i told myself. this weekend my only task will be taking care of myself, i told myself. but instead: this week my computer had a meltdown. and i'm thinking, what a fucking upstager! that meltdown was supposed to be mine. but NO, my iBook had to get all dramatic and blow out its motherboard. i had hoped it was something simple like the power button. i took it to the computer hospital and spent the day worrying about it like it was a child, awaiting the diagnosis from the geeks at maclandia. the verdict: upwards of $600 in repairs, because no, it's no longer under warranty and no, your motherboard was different from the one apple recently recalled.

so there will be no rest this weekend. there will be a weekend spent shopping for a new computer, as salvaging the one i have seems dumber than going for an upgrade. a G4 powerbook, i'm thinking. oh yeah, baby, titanium. oh shit, expense.

the rats in my yard are still going, too. but the best news about them is that they are really mice. juice helped clue me in to this fact when she caught and killed one of the little critters. i found him all stiff and punctured one morning and considered putting his head on a stake to serve as a warning to the rest of the mice bastards living in the hedge. i shoveled him into the trash instead and have since reconsidered the whole poisoning-them thing, lest my dog decide to chew up any more. reading up on ultrasonic rodent repellents has found that they don't work, if message boards can be trusted. so i've basically done nothing to address the problem because -- as the wisdom of 29 years on this planet have taught me -- ignoring a growing problem is the best way to solve it.

there's been other bullshit going on. still heartbroken over Angela. a health scare i'm not ready to discuss. disagreements with Momo. my skin looks bad. i'm sleep-deprived, malnourished and unfocused. i've been having these George Costanza the-whole-universe-is-against-me type moments.

i'd like some good news, please. i'd like happiness to return and i'd like to quit sounding so pathetic. but at this point i'd settle for a piece of cheesecake.

the one worthwhile thing has been Juice's Oscar-worthy performance in Momo's irrationally intense short film about dodgeball that he made for his film class. give it a whirl. it's truly something else. then visit Momo's blog to tell him if you like it. then send me a cheesecake. or, better yet, a bottle of wine.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Angela Phipps Towle -- 1973-2005

copied verbatim from her funeral program:

Angela Marie Phipps was born in Burbank on December 21, 1973 -- the eldest daughter of Robert and Diana Phipps. Just 14 months older than her sister Michelle, the two were good friends and playmates from the start, a relationship that grew stronger through the years.

Growing up, Angela consistently baffled people with her announcements in mid-December that "I'm 8 now, but I'll be 10 next year." With her birthday late in the year, this was of course possible, but she loved to watch intelligent adults struggle with the concept.

Angela was creative and extraordinarily loving. She connected deeply with others, gave her full attention to people when she spoke with them, and always gave the warmest of hugs. Her charm and manner made it so that people just did not want to say no to her.

Music and dance were important throughout her life; starting with her first ballet, piano and singing lessons at age 5. She grew up performing in musical theater workshops, sang with her choir behind REO Speedwagon on the Goonies movie soundtrack, and co-starred in her high school production of Grease. After high school, her love of music and dance continued on a more personal level and were often deep methods of expression for her.

She was a voracious reader from a very young age. Her parents encouraged this by allowing her to stay up indefinitely past her bedtime, so long as she was reading. However, during her parents' dinner parties, Angela could often be seen in the corner with a book in her hands -- not actually turning the pages -- as a ruse to stay up and listen to the adult conversation!

Writing played an equally large role in her life. She majored in creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and made her living as a professional writer. She wrote short stories, essays, poetry and journalistic articles. Her first poem was written at age 8, and her first professional writing was published while she was still in high school.

Angela was so full of life that everything interested her. She studied languages, becoming fluent in French. She lived abroad for 5 years, and gained a new perspective on the world through those experiences. She touched people everywhere she went and has close friends in many different countries. She was socially aware, and always enjoyed engaging others in friendly debates -- as a way to learn varied perspectives and further her own causes. Colleagues describe her as "sweetly combative" and cite her "unique way of blending an exceptional gentleness with an utter commitment to her beliefs." Through writing a story on them for The Hollywood Reporter's Philanthropy issue, she discovered Chrysalis, a charity which helps the homeless and disadvantaged prepare for and find jobs. She was moved to volunteer many hours toward their work.

Angela packed more living into 31 years than most people do in 80. She was an amazing lady, adored and beloved by many. We are all better for having known her, and she will be deeply, deeply missed.


i really dug this chick. like -- A LOT. soon after we first met in 2001 we were each others' new best friends and spent countless hours just hanging out without purpose. i wasn't around her much this past year, for which i will feel eternally guilty. i'm not saying that i could have single-handedly changed anything, but i would have liked to have had the opportunity to try. or to just be around her. i don't know.

i thought that going to her funeral the other day would give me some semblance of closure, but i feel like i'm just getting started with my grief. i've been lucky in that i haven't experienced too much loss, so this is new for me. i'm heartbroken, but not in a lovesick kind of way -- it's more lifesick, more wretched.

i lost it when i saw the coffin. i lost it at many points throughout the day, especially at the reception when i was reviewing old photo albums of her. and especially when i spoke to her mother, whom i had been afraid of speaking to for fear of not being able to offer more than my putrid and meaningless "i'm sorry." she was a gracious hostess, making the rounds to meet the hundred or so folks who turned out for her daughter's funeral. i had met her before once or twice but figured she wouldn't remember. "i'm milla," i said as i took her hand. she held on tightly to my hand, as she did to everyone else's while she spoke to them. Angela would have done the same thing.

"right, milla. i remember you. Angela talked a lot about you." i just stared at her. i tried to contain it, but the hot tears raced up and spilled over in an instant. "i'm sorry," i muttered, embarassed. "i know," she said, "it's tough. it sucks, but we're here now to celebrate her life." i just nodded and breathed a "yeah" while watching the dead girl's mother walk away in a jiffy. she took a moment to compose herself before moving on to the next group of nobodies.

it would have been nice if we were there to celebrate her life, like a birthday, but we weren't. and i'm still so fucking pissed off at Angela for doing this. i'll probably never understand it, and that's probably ok. and i'll always miss her, and that's ok too. and i know that it will all be ok eventually. i understand that. but the now really does suck. it is tough. and sad.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


that sums it up pretty accurately. these past two weeks have been like an I.V. working in the inverse. i find myself less nourished and alive lately. it's akin to going through a meat grinder and coming out unrecognizable and undesirable, yet still congealed, at the other end. i'm fucking exhausted. i have no more thoughts to spare, no more tears to shed, and no more energy to invest in all the crap that's been swirling. i just want to crawl under a rock and wait until the hurricane passes. hopefully it won't blow my roof off. my insurance may have expired. a lapse. collapse?

i'm burying my friend soon. i'm still heartsick -- and pissed at her for doing this. the disbelief has passed and i'm stuck in the anger phase, with one foot in the acceptance door. but it's all been tiresome, this trying to make sense of nonsense. it won't resurrect her, and peace will come with time. so in the meantime, i'm trying to accept and understand, but i'm failing because all i think about is how much i'll miss her.

and i'm spent. and i don't know how to crawl my way into a better place, so i allow myself to be paralyzed by sadness, figuring there's some greater, hidden purpose i'm not privy to yet. but i must be honest: optimism is a pain the ass. i want to tell people to fuck off. i want to tell them exactly what i think of them.

but i can't so i don't. i do my job without pride or prejudice. the alarm goes off like it always has. the mail keeps coming. i endure these weeks and their abject misery, with ex-boyfriend encounters and doctors' appointments. more shit than i care to get into. my pot stirs and emotions escalate and then dissapate, leaving me so drained. so fucking pained.

she's not coming back.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My Friend Angela

you couldn't help but fall in love with her. she had a contagious good energy. she was the type of girl you adored from the start; she didn't have to grow on you. she'd throw her head back when she laughed and she gave hugs often. i don't think she had a bad bone in her body.

i met her when she interviewed me for a copy editor slot for the hollywood reporter's features staff back in 2001. i think both of us knew then that we'd be fast friends because we just had too damn much in common. she hired me that same day. we'd take our afternoon coffee breaks each day around 3pm. she's walk with me to the starbucks across the street, but insisted on getting her own coffee at the ma-and-pa cafe so she could patronize local business. she was a lefty like that -- in the purest of ways. she went to UC santa cruz. she never shaved her legs. she even worked once for Ms. magazine, but left when she realized it didn't meet her idealistic standards. she was a heartfelt liberal with a fiery intellect. full of compassion, those doe eyes of hers, framed by a shiny black bob and cat-rimmed glasses, burned with a childlike wonderment. she was fascinating, and easily fascinated. a great listener.

we worked together for about a year, and hung out often outside of work. we'd have hours-long conversations on my couch, her socked feet always dug in between the couch cushions. her husband, an aspiring filmmaker, shot a short film at the house on spaulding where i lived for two years. he brought in a full crew and she catered the whole thing single-handedly. her cooking was terrific. so were her writing and editing skills. she was published, talented, vivacious, beautiful, always sincere and very loved. i loved her. she was my friend Angela.

i found out the other day that she killed herself. she wrote a few goodbye letters, then hanged herself. just like that. and i really don't get it. i'm bowled over, crushed. i left work early and spent the afternoon crying in bed, trying to understand what could have happened to extinguish such a powerful life force. she could brighten a room with her smile. she touched your arm when she talked to you. she was incredible.

our mutual friend dave says she got sick, fell into an abyssmal depression that she couldn't wriggle free from. he heard that her letters likened this depression to a demon that possessed her. that's why, he says, she didn't return our phone calls or emails this past year. she isolated herself, saying she was too busy, too much going on, and she would catch up with us when things settled down. she divorced her terrific, terrific husband for no good reason. she told me she was meditating and had a vision that they should no longer be married. she told me that she stopped attending the weekly dinner with her close-knit family. she told me that she started seeing a psychologist and wanted her career to be more purposeful. she was doing some soul-searching, she said. i told her i supported her, which i certainly did, but privately i didn't understand all her choices, which seemed out of character. and then no word from her for many months. and now comes this final word.

i feel guilty, like i failed her. dave says not to. he says to remember her warmth and the beautiful soul she was before the disease arrived and ravaged her. i still don't get it. this is not something you do when you're 32 and your possibilities are, essentially, limitless. this is something you might do when you're 16 and stupid, when you can't see beyond your summer vacation. but Angela had everything she needed to make her life work. disease, dave reminds me, took her will to live. zapped. 'mind over matter,' i think to myself, but what the hell do i know? i do know that depression ran in her family. she told me stories of her father's depression and how it taxed her. perhaps that's why she isolated herself -- she understood the burden better than anyone. but if she stayed open, if she accepted help, things might have been different. they would have been different. i'll miss her. my friend Angela.