Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sunrise, Sunset

i really feel like i'm 19 years old most of the time. like my ID is a fake ID and i'm engaging in underaging drinking when i hit up a bar or club with my friends. so imagine my dismay when i turned 29 last week. that's so close to 30, which is so close to 40, which is so close to death. luckily, i had some very good friends around to ease my uneasy 29-year-old soul. here are some photo highlights from the party.

it's my party: and i'll let my tits hang out if i want to.

my number one fan: i know y'all have probably never heard this before, but i really dig my dog.

it was the best punchline i've heard in ages: too bad i can't remember it. (thanks for coming out, pauly.)

Jok rocks! he is really one of the coolest and smartest people i've ever met.

juan juan juan: he always says that i'm him in a wig (because we're so alike). thanks, juancho, for letting me stay at your friends' houses whenever i'm in spain and for terrific post-party conversation. besos.

yes, there were girls there, too: raidis and ann hanging out in the hammock.

party people: partying.

the secret's out: for those regular readers of my blog and its comments, i present to you the mysterious "chris knight," who looks suspiciously like this guy, marlin, i went to high school with.

no hard feelings: nope, none whatsoever. in fact, we've been quite the fiery item lately. but more on that at another time.

i'm such a hippocrite: i say that my life isn't about wild orgies and lesbianism, and here i post a picture of me kissing one of my girlfriends.

can you blame me? Zee is smokin hot. and super cool and smart and kind. plus, she has the sexiest voice.

Nick knows all that: that explains that smile. them two make a terrific couple and terrific friends.

i'm getting weepy: and, apparently, i'm running out of new ways to express my love for my friends. they just rock. period.

there was still no orgy: i swear! thanks, robin, for the wet one.

join us next year: for the party celebrating the second time i turn 29.

Monday, June 20, 2005

In the Bedroom

it occured to me recently that people might think i'm a slut. i had heard some rumblings and misinformed comments from various friends. for example, at a party in venice a month or so ago, a friend joked that i would probably end the night by taking a stranger home. granted, the jokester was more a peripheral friend and not someone who knew me well, but it still irked me, because i'm not the type of girl who takes home strangers. there have been other moments as well when people have made remarks about my chastity and, of course, all roads lead to this blog, where my harem has often assumed the spotlight.

perhaps it's sounded sexier than it is, or maybe people assume there's more to it than i've disclosed (there is), but the conclusions one may jump to after reading my ramblings can be misinformed. i don't care so much about how strangers perceive me, but i do value the opinions of my friends, so i feel compelled to set the record straight about my sex life.

and the truth is it hasn't been about hanging from the chandeliers and wild orgies. i can actually be quite shy when i'm getting to know someone physically. the idea of getting naked with a stranger is frightful. i've never been one for one-night stands because it simply isn't gratifying. i can't imagine many women are satisfied by a one-nighter where a smelly guy gets in, gets off, gets up, gets dressed and gets out. no, thank you. men have a physiological guarantee that serves them well, but women's bodies need time to flower. good sex is borne of experience with one person's body. practice makes the difference. and before the practicing begins, i need to develop a connection through conversation and emotional intimacy. and after the practicing ends, i need cuddle time and pillow talk. it goes beyond the booty call.

there's been only two men whom i've found that with -- the only two men i've let into my bedroom since i got out of my big relationship a year and a half ago. but why the polyamory? why not stick to one and have a boyfriend? truthfully, i would love to just stick to one and have a boyfriend, but neither can fill that role for me. the whys of this are complicated and personal, and probably have more to do with me being incredibly picky than it does with any shortcoming on their parts. so in the meantime, the duplicity works, because, physically, what one won't do, the other will; what one can't do, the other can. at its best, i've been a very satisfied girl. if that makes me a slut, then so be it. but i'm a selective slut. (but if i were a man in these same circumstances, i would be such a stud.)

let's move to the present and get to a very important harem update: yogaman is out, and has been for close to a month. this has caused crazy deja vu, but things are working in reverse this time. when O left initially, he went to pursue a relationship with a new girl, leaving just yogaman in the picture. O's now back for round two. now yogaman left to pursue a relationship with a new girl, leaving just O in the picture. but i'm fairly sure that yogaman will circle back eventually, too, because, like O, he knows my secret -- my mojo has a gravitational pull.

but it's been tough, suddenly being without someone who's been around for a year. i miss him terribly. but if there's one thing i've learned about love and life, it's that the way i'm feeling now is not representative of the way i'll always feel. besides, it wouldn't be fair of me to try to make a mess of his new opportunity. our relationship and breakup were already so protracted that it made sense to make a clean break. given the deja vu, i do wonder whether this is one of those instances where the universe is trying to teach me the same lesson twice. i'm not sure what that lesson could be.

so now O is the last man standing. but our visits are infrequent, averaging two to three times a month. i don't think either of us are compelled to increase their frequency. my best bet would be to add someone new to the rotation, but i have no viable options at the present, nor do i have time to lay the groundwork for something like that. i thought of perhaps trying to find a girl to add to the mix, then i realized that i'm not a lesbian. and i'm not really bisexual either. the last time i was with a girl physically -- a girl O and i shared over a year ago -- i realized in the midst of it that i wasn't all that aroused. plus, chicks can cause nonstop drama.

so i guess i'll just float here until someone new arrives. it'd be great if it were someone who could be my boyfriend, but he'd have to be pretty damn spectacular to wear that crown. my standards aren't coming down anytime soon.

according to my tarot, however, he's already here. i had another weird class last week where i drew the same card at the beginning and end of the lesson. the card was The Emperor, a powerful man who is masterful, with his shit together. i couldn't pinpoint whom the card was referencing, so my teacher craig had me draw some additional cards to clarify. i drew three more cards, one for the past, present and future. the card in the past position was the Ace of Swords, a card of a new beginning cut from a place of truth. the present card was the King of Pentacles, a hardworking man with money, and the future card was the Nine of Cups, the card of wish fulfillment. "you already know this man," craig says. "something very real will happen with him very soon, and you'll get what you want out of it."

stay tuned.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Accidental Employee/Psychic

when i haven't been taking pictures lately, i've been working -- A LOT. not sure what happened to change the flavor of my job so drastically. perhaps my coworkers noticed that i was twiddling thumbs and surfing the net most of the day or maybe they saw my untapped genius, because now my nose has been put to the grindstone. i'm now immersed in this crazy project my team at work has to deliver. it's a great 'office space' story: impossible deadlines imposed by the big cheeses upstairs who have no idea how much work is involved in a project of this scope, undermanned and overburdened employees, and oh, make sure the end result is flawless because we work in finance and managing other people's money is serious business.

so suddenly my boss came to me and said, "milla, we need you to do production on this project." i wasn't even sure what that meant, but of course i agreed, because the new girl needs to be the can-do girl. so now i'm doing production (whatever that is) in addition to my usual job as an editor -- two jobs, party people. and still only one salary. the result is one-stressed out new girl. now i'm running meetings and putting together documents, working in spreadsheets. it's, like, a real job and stuff. the good news is that i haven't fucked up (yet), but each day presents another opportunity for it. some days it's like walking into a shit storm. sometimes all at once, my phone will be ringing, email is pinging, people walking into my office, and pages i need to grab off the printer before running into another meeting where i should be saying something meaningful. many times i've felt ready to jump out that 49th floor window. it's overwhelming, exhausting and thoroughly gratifying.

after all this effort, i feel fully invested in seeing this project through to completion. i'm onboard, man. i love my team; we bond by commiserating. and with my responsibilities more varied, my work has become more creative. i get to do some problem-solving, brainstorming and other fun corporate things. the flipside is feeling rundown, putting in overtime and having panicky dreams about work. and this will probably last well into the fall, which is when the project is due (provided we make our deadline).

when all this madness began a few weeks ago, i had been toying with the idea of taking a class. i asked myself, what have i always wanted to learn? it was clear: the tarot -- cus i'm a metaphysical bitch like that. i had studied the tarot on my own a few years back so i'm familiar with the cards and the practice, but i knew only a class could drive it all home. so i did a little web search and found a dude in LA who teaches the tarot to small groups out of his house in hollywood.

i had to miss the first week's lesson because of my new york trip, so the teacher met with me separately to go over what was covered during that week. (lesson one, aptly, was about The Fool card.) i hit it off with Craig right away and spent a good while talking to him about life, spirituality, purpose, etc. i found him to be very terrific and knew i would take much away from the class, which i have. but don't all start bugging me about a reading just yet. i've only been to 3 out of 12 classes, so i'm far from being a pro. (plus, i already have a throng of other peeps who've been baggering me for a reading, so they get first dibs.)

toward the end of lesson one, and after our great conversation and review of The Fool, he asks me to draw a card. we start and end each lesson by drawing cards, which signify the flavor of our energy at that time. i'm shuffling my cards before i draw one and casually joke, "watch me draw The Tower," the card of destruction and catastrophe. that card has always startled me, as it depicts this brick tower on fire, flames shooting out its windows.

what card do i draw? The Tower. no shit. "wow," Craig says, "look how powerful you are." great, i think to myself, my misfortune is the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy. stranger still is that this has happened before -- many times, in fact. i'll think of a card and then draw it from the deck. during our last lesson, i drew the same card both at the beginning and end of class. that was last thursday when i was especially stressed over work. the card was the Four of Swords, the card of hermitism and repose. i figured i should use the weekend to take it easy, but after the universe told me twice in one night that i really needed to take it easy, i knew i had to listen.

that's really what the tarot does. it doesn't reveal the mysteries of one's life because, truthfully, life really isn't all that mysterious. it simply tells you what you already know but are reluctant to admit. it can often reinforce the obvious. and what's obvious is that humans are willful creatures with psychic energies in play. the position of cosmic elements like the moon and sun affects these energies. consider how the moon affects the tides and imagine what it does to the water in your body. if you study astrology -- and true astrology, not those lame daily horoscopes that don't amount to much -- you'll see that it's a science like any other, with rules, contingencies and proven results that are supported by history.

having said that, i don't belive that astrology and tarot are the ultimate gospel. because we are willful creatures, we are the ultimate gospel for our own lives. not everything is predetermined or 'written in the stars.' that's far too passive an approach. g-d's will is our will. those cosmic elements and psychic energies exist, absolutely, but our actions and reactions to them are our own doing. hopefully we'll react the way we should, so we can keep evolving as individuals, but sometimes you have to learn the same lesson twice. and sometimes you'll never learn it despite how many times the universe tries to teach it to you.

and that's what the tarot has begun teaching me -- to listen intently and patiently. it's a spiritual study. the cards are ordered and tell the story of a life's journey, with all its pitfalls, truimphs and lessons. it's highly relatable, leading to one ultimate truth: the answers are already out there and will reveal themselves in due time. certainly i had heard this concept before, but i never truly subscribed to it because i didn't have the patience. i was too busy rushing through life, pushing through each experience in a frenzy. though i'm still far from being cured of my restlessness, i'm rooting more into the present without becoming overly attached to it (if that makes sense). i'm trying to stay centered and nonjudgmental. i'm planning on doing more yoga and meditation.

soon, you'll find me on the mountaintop sitting in the lotus position, all zenlike, and with a big buddha belly you can rub for good luck. i shall say to you in a strange asian accent, "worry not, young grasshopper, for your time will come." you will roll your eyes at me and say, "milla, get over yourself. let's go to the bar and have a drink." and i will get up and follow.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

NYC Photo Addendum

times square: it is what it is -- and it must be the most quintessential new york feature. or maybe statue of liberty is first, but i didn't go there, so times square it is.

ground zero: not much remains and the area is largely cordoned off now, but i felt compelled to check it out. i didn't know anyone too directly affected by 9/11, and i'm thankful for that, but the sorrowful vibe at ground zero is palpable.

the fun stuff: when i wasn't eating or spending money in new york, i was definitely socializing (which usually entailed eating and spending money). party peeps (from left to right): stephanie, jon-david, moi, alison, nicole and nick.

the two-headed monster: my primary motivation for visiting new york was to see my darling jon, who's was pretty much my best friend since the teacher sat us next to each other in the 8th grade. we just clicked and the teacher couldn't shut us up. we still can't be shut up when we get together. jon is healthy (thank you, G-d) and brilliant as always. and he confesses to tiring of the new york lifestyle, which means he'll be landing on my coast in the next few years.

the three-headed monster: goofy ali will likely kill me for including this shot, but i couldn't resist. the three of us spent plenty of time being goofy back in high school. i took my first toke with these cats when we were all 16. ali would write "bon jovi rules!" all over my pee-chee folders, so i'd write "the cure rules!" all over hers. oh those salad days, how i miss them.

the happy couple: ali went on to marry the wonderful nick, whom she met when they were both undergrads at reed college in portland. i visited ali at reed once soon after she and nick got together and remember thinking then that they were MFEO (made for each other).

another happy couple: jon went on to travel the world as an exchange student and peace corps volunteer before landing in new york to attend columbia for his master's. he met cesar on a weekend trip to mexico and scooped him up. that was nearly three years ago. them two are very cute together and also MFEO.

so that's the secret: i guess you have to be a rabbi to get a street named after you. i don't know if rabbi yaakov would have liked to be on rivington, though, as that's where all the bars are in the lower east side, and i don't think they served manischewitz wine. luckily for me, they served some mighty fine pinot noir and i enjoyed a friday night pub crawl through this area.

set them free! the first bar in this pub crawl had this cool cavelike interior, with a bunch of bottles trapped near the ceiling as if they were frozen in time.

no stranger to drinking... is john john, who was my partner in crime when i lived in san francisco. he was my phantom roommate and a permanent weekend fixture. we had good times indeed partying like rock stars in both SF and LA. now he's in rhode island waiting for his girlfriend to finish law school so he could move to the left coast again. during the weekend we were both in NYC he became engaged after proposing to his girlie atop the empire state building. awww, isn't that sweetly nauseating? no, really, good luck john john.

ms. zahra bizarra: there is really no one else quite like zahra, and that's probably a good thing. she hates new york, and that's probably also a good thing, as that will drive her back to LA eventually. but for the time being, she's tied to her new york job and to her new york man and to her LA car, as ms. thang will not walk more than four blocks to get anywhere, nor will she take the train. this fact did make sightseeing and shopping very convenient.

hello, firemen! this is just a cool shot to end this photo essay with, methinks. new york was really terrific, but there's no place like home. i do hope, however, that new york will be my home in my next life. but in this life, i'm a california girl to the core.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Wendy Kroy*

that's actually new york spelled backwards (kind of). that's actually where i was over the memorial day holiday. that's where i had been trying to visit for about a year now. well, it's a good thing i waited because good things come to those who wait, or so i hear. in a nutshell, it was great. truly great great great. i took a red-eye last thursday night and arrived into JFK at quarter to six. i managed to navigate the big bad subway all by my lonesome -- and during rush hour, mind you -- to my best friend's apartment in the upper west side. we had a blast traversing the city and woke up hung over nearly every morning. this was only my second visit to new york, so i didn't bother repeating all the touristy things i did during the first visit. instead, i tried to be all badass new yorker with my homies. together, we visited soho, chelsea, hell's kitchen, even brooklyn. i also did A LOT of shopping and A LOT of eating, gaining about five pounds and shedding about $500. but how could i resist the fabulous H&M and Century 21?

i saw a ton of my peeps and met a few new ones. (pictures forthcoming.) besides seeing and staying with my bestest friendest jon-david, i saw zahra, ali, nick, nicole and john john. they played wonderful hosts and i was carted around to all the cool places. and of course, there is no place cooler than new york. it must have the highest concentration of hipsters on the planet. the people there are so beautiful yet organic. the men are absolutely scrumptious. but new york must also have the highest concentration of bums and overpriced places on the planet. my usual medium cappuccino at starbucks that costs me $3.15 in LA cost me $4.77 in soho. you have to really love new york to live there because everything is twice as expensive and three times as difficult. the entire city smells like trash and ass. the trains are loud, streets are congested.

and as much as i like new york, i can't say that i love it. i definitely prefer san francisco. and i prefer the space and comfort i have in LA, where i can find a spacious 1-bedroom guesthouse in a central area with a washer/dryer, yard and dishwasher for an unbeatable $1,150 a month. if i lived in new york, i'd have to earn well into the six figures to live comfortably. perhaps i could have endured a student lifestyle if i had moved to new york instead of san francisco right after i finished college, but as i approach 30, i find myself desirous of nice things. window shopping is depressing. i prefer the smell of jasmine that wafts through my bedroom window via a sunny socal breeze. i need tranquility and stillness.

four full days in new york left me overstimulated. i came home exhausted, craving one more vacation day to just sit on the beach and watch the horizon. i know that much of the hustle bustle was borne of necessity and scarcity of time, as i had to pack in the socializing, but the new york lifestyle of running for trains, incessant cab horns and sidestepping the piles of trash on the sidewalk -- ugh. i came home very ready to enter the alone zone, to hibernate and appreciate, and regroup and relax.

yet i do hope to get back there this fall or winter for more fun with my friends. i did enjoy my time with them immensely. and it was marvelous to vanish from my LA life, if only for a few days. i'm thinkin san francisco or mexico over an extended 4th of july weekend.

*this is actually the name of a character in one of my most favorite movies of all time, 'the last seduction' starring linda fiorentino. in it, she plays a badass manhattanite who changes her name to wendy kroy after she leaves new york. rent the movie if you haven't yet seen it. it's damn good.