Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Greetings

apologies to all the friends who sent me the holidays cards displayed above. i’m sorry i didn’t reciprocate your thoughtfulness by sending you a proper card in return. next year for sure. instead, please accept this virtual holiday card from my silly little website. and please have a merry new year and a happy holiday and i hope santa brought you that Wii you wanted and i hope you ate a whole lot and spent quality time getting drunk with loved ones and all that other jazz that usual accompanies holiday cards. i wish you all of that.

i’d like to extend these warm wishes to all the thoughtless folks who didn’t send me a card but still read this site regularly. i guess you’re allowed some good tidings as well, so please take them. and please know that i’m thinking fondly about all of you lately, daydreaming about the terrific 2009 that awaits you — one filled with steady paychecks, home-cooked meals, personal satisfaction and plenty of orgasms. happy holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

One-Hit Wonders: December 2008

remember the new feature alert that appeared last month, the one where i listed a bunch of internet search terms that pulled up my blog, sometimes inexplicably, courtesy of the google analytics i installed, the ones that let me know that you’re reading this while sitting at work procrastinating instead of doing the job your boss is paying you for, you lazy fuck. yeah, those. i’ve decided that those terms really need to be broken out into their own monthly post. so without further adieu, i present to you this month’s One-Hit Wonders:

  • milla jovovich breathing in your sleep español

  • milla is gay

  • free pictures of madly drinking lactating milky breasts

  • hypnotic voodoo mistress

  • what does mispucha mean?

  • pinko skeletal animals


  • im swollen and throbbing right above my big toe

  • my coworkers belittle my appearance

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Recession Depression

i’m convinced that this recession is the new black or at least the new election, maybe even the new Sarah Palin. it’s become one of those inescapable, overexposed topics that spits in your eye and pisses on your leg all day long. the feeling is similar to the campaign fatigue i had earlier this year, where i would turn on the radio or load up the Times to find endless stories on swing state voters and Katie Couric interviews and Obama’s terrorist ties, now replaced with foreclosures and layoffs and bailouts.

and hey, let’s make sure to examine every angle of this topic and interview an unemployed worker in each of the 50 states to see how they’re handling being out of work, and let’s interview every grandmother who’s lost her retirement in the market crash and is now facing foreclosure. let’s ask her how she’s managing the high blood pressure she can no longer afford medicine for. to balance things out, we can throw in a feel-good story on how you can stretch your pennies by making crafts this christmas instead of buying that flat-screen you really want.

come on, media people. is there no other news happening in the world? aren’t there Nobel prizes being awarded this month or some medical breakthroughs to report? how about just a cat being rescued from a tree or photos of the new baby panda at the zoo? i know journalism is known for its “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality, but when the whole damn news hour is a bloodbath, i begin to wonder why i should get out of bed each morning knowing that my day will be filled with dismembered limbs instead of rainbows.

i know i can just turn the news off, and rest assured that the radio station my alarm wakes me with every morning has now been set to mexican ranchero music rather than NPR. Mo and i have also found an awfully fantastic eighties station that we blast on sunday afternoons as we tool around the house, baking bread in our own uninspired attempt to follow the penny-stretching crowd.

yet i still can’t escape the bad news bears. they were out en masse at my company’s christmas party the other week. they looked a lot like my coworkers and stood huddled in corners, whispering about the bad economy like it was some secret, asking strange questions like, “think this party will have half as many people here next year?” someone even asked me what i would do if i got laid off. “well,” i replied, “this is just my first guess, but i’d probably look for another job.”

i know it’s serious stuff out there, folks, and that grandmas are losing their homes and i might even lose mine if things get really bad (though i would rather sell ass on the corner before i allowed myself to lose my house — not my own ass because i doubt anyone would buy it, but someone else’s ass, as i’ve always thought i would make a good pimp), but i don’t need daily reminders of how much worse things are getting.

if they get much worse, that’s ok. not like i didn’t see it coming. and if i get laid off — and i have no reason to believe that i will — that’s also ok because i’ve been laid off before, twice in a row actually. the first layoff was from the dot-com disaster eToys. it was right after christmas, early 2001 during the days of “dot com death toll” headlines. the CEO, a harvard MBA, called a company-wide meeting to announce that Toys"R"Us had made more money than we did during the holidays, which meant leaving our Aeron chairs, unlimited Snapples and free weekly massages behind because the entire company was folding in a month. i went home and cried that day. a year later, i was laid off from The Hollywood Reporter. i went home and cried some more.

and while i do remember those times sucking immensely, the days of crying and weeks of feeling like a loser, i also remember not having to sell any ass. i remember the world not ending.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

That Time of the Year

lately, i’ve been feeling kinda blue, kinda blah. it’s the normal holiday season stuff where i pop my head out of the trenches, look around and think to myself, “how’d the end of the year get here so fast? why didn’t i do x, y and z like i had planned?” some days i feel as though i’m far too behind to ever catch up to where i should be right now. other days i feel as though my expectations are ridiculous and i should stop whatever i’m doing and find some friends to laugh with while drinking wine and being merry.

i try to tell myself that life is too short and also still long, so i shouldn’t stress over the fact that i haven’t begun writing The Great American Novel or made enough money to retire by 35. i remind myself that, yay, you bought a house this year! yay, your dogs are sweet and well behaved (sorta). yay, you have good friends and family, and love in your life. i try to count my blessings and imagine how much worse things could be and maybe will be in the future. i try to imagine the alternative — a life lived in Russia, eating snow for thanksgiving and growing a third eye from the Chernobyl explosion in the eighties.

but still, there’s an ick and an ache, a melancholy that says things could be better, i could do better. i could be working harder, writing every night, taking classes, exercising daily, keeping the house cleaner. i could be dreaming up the next great invention, or at least perfecting my burrito recipe. i could do more volunteer work, make that any volunteer work, and resist the urge to sleep all day when there are languages to be learned and dreams to be realized. i could be, would be, should be doing everything i can to quit being so damn average.

holidays really drive it home, reminding me of the x, y and z missing from my list of accomplishments. i know, i bought a house this year and that should warrant some backslapping, but it’s not much comfort because i know i won’t be buying a house next year or the year after. as exhilarating as it was to reach that milestone, it created a vacancy, too. and it’s not like buying a house is some extraordinary accomplishment that landed me the cover of Time magazine as its Person of the Year.

maybe i need a long-term goal to focus on, something that will evoke tunnel vision instead of melancholy, providing me with a sense of purpose instead of the stability that makes me restless. or perhaps i need a long vacation to help me restore perspective — i could visit my three-eyed cousins in Russia. a day at the spa would also be good; i could use a little pampering. or maybe i just need a really rich piece of cheesecake.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I’m All Growed Up!

holidays at my house: i hosted thanksgiving this year like a real grown-up person with a house that can host holidays. i wrestled away the honor from both my mom and sister, who seemed all too eager to pass it onto me. this was my first time doing such a thing and i surprised myself with how badly i wanted to host the holiday — a wholly stressful experience i wish NOT to repeat next year — but since this was the inaugural thanksgiving in the new house, i was hellbent on creating a happy family memory inside it.

the good crystal: thankfully, Mo had his mother’s china stored in boxes in the basement, saving us from having to eat off paper plates. but because we don’t really have a dining area — with most dining taking place on the deck — my pops bought us a foldable table, which we supplemented with bright yellow chairs from Ikea. with a few maneuvers and a striped purple tablecloth, we had a dining room in the center of the living room.

my pops! he performed his usual holiday activity of sitting on the couch and watching a football game while asking intermittently, “is food wready yet? hungry man ovur here.”

my moms! she was there, too, hounding me with her digital camera.

i put her to work: making the rosemary roasted potatoes.

my sister! she was busy making her buttery garlic shrimp and stir-fried asparagus. i stayed busy sorta supervising and savoring the chaos that usually ensues when my family gets together. you’d be surprised how much noise three jewish women in a kitchen can make. and this time we were in my kitchen making noise while preparing the feast, and that felt pretty cool.

my nephew! i can’t believe i used to change this kid’s diaper. Derek’s 7 now, smiley and cute as hell.

the cousins! they played beautifully and shared all their toys.

dinner’s ready: for thanksgivings with my family, there are a few things you can count on: 1) there will be vodka on the table (note the bottle of Level I in the background); 2) there will be no turkey on the table (we all hate it); 3) there will be russian cold cuts, cheese, and smoked sausage and fish plates on the table (because that’s how we roll in the old world).

the “turkey”: my folks brought over cooked meat from an armenian deli near their house. inside that hollowed-out super loaf of bread are about 12 pounds of pork chops, grilled chicken and beef kabobs. this meant we had an abundance of food (another thing you can count on), and i was instructed not to prepare the stuffed chicken, wild rice and butternut squash i had sitting in the fridge. that was cooked a few nights later when Mo and i had friends over to consume what was left of the meat pile.

i made the salad: tossed with delectable homemade dressing! ok, it was just oil and vinegar, but still.

yes, dad, the food is ready: “is vodtka on table?”

then we ate: and laughed and rejoiced and toasted to many things, including the house. my pops got particularly sentimental (after a few shots), saying how proud he was of his baby girl (me!) and how happy he felt to be eating thanksgiving in my house. i told him i was happy, too, and that i couldn’t have done it without his support. with that, a holiday memory was created and the house hosted it beautifully.

meanwhile: my nephew was still playing with the dogs, stopping to ask intermittently, “is dessert ready? i’d like some ice cream, please!”

it was ready: four-flavor cheesecake, apple pie a la mode and the best flan in the whole damn universe, bought from a highland park bakery. it was deliciously sinful, and because i didn’t want to offend the house i made sure to sample everything.

Mo said yes to cheesecake: and the flan, too.

we look nothing alike: my darling sister, Tatyana, had never been to the house before and decided that her housewarming gift would be washing all the dishes after dinner. because she tortured me regularly during our childhood, i made sure to add a few extra dishes to the stack. just kidding! i helped dry them.

Juice on the loose: the holiday meal ended the same way all other meals at the house end — with Juice surveying every inch of the floor in search of food crumbs. beyond that, the leftovers were split three ways, goodbyes were exchanged and i marveled for a moment at hosting my first thanksgiving before proceeding to collapse, exhausted, into bed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bang Bang!

after our gay escapades, Mo and i joined mr. straight-against-hate himself, Dave Williams, for a day at the firing range, where we shot some semi-automatic handguns. we thought ourselves mighty well-rounded for supporting both gay and gun rights in the same weekend, hoping that legalizing gay marriage would take us one step closer to being able to marry our guns, which is the only reason to support gay marriage anyway.

this was my second time at the range and i’m sad to report that my aim sucked harder than it did the first time. what did improve was my comfort with having a loaded gun in my hand, which caused all sorts of liberal guilt last time, all of which i managed to transcend this time by simply not giving a fuck. in fact, i liked it, looked forward to it, wanted to feel that cold steel in my hand so i could go bang bang all over the target. and when it was done, after i had blasted my paper intruder to shreds and assuaged my homicidal tendencies, Mo and i had burgers and beer. then we got matching flame tattoos and mullet haircuts. in short, it was a fantastic day.

another fantastic day came in the form of a day trip to san diego. Mo and i went on a three brewery tour (Green Flash Brewing, Ale Smith & Stone), finishing off our tour with dinner at the Stone Brewery, and coming home with five growlers filled with the season’s greatest microbrews. we also spent some time at gorgeous Balboa Park, where we walked hand-in-hand through the park’s cactus and rose gardens, discussing all the landscaping we don’t have money to do, but picking out the plants we would like to see in our fictional garden should we win the lottery next year.

work has been a bit worrisome lately. not only has my company fallen prey to a lousy earnings year like every other company around the world, one of my more steady freelance clients took the monthly work they outsourced to me back in-house. other freelance work has also slowed to a trickle in recent months. bright side is that i have picked up a couple new clients, though the work they’ve been giving me has been spotty. sadly, this will amount to a thrifty holiday season and a yard still full of dirt.

new feature alert! i think mentioned before how i installed google’s analytics to my blog’s back-end and now have insight into all the crazy search terms that are pulling up milla times. please allow me to share this month’s highlights: milla jojovich nipples; milla jovovich big nipples; milla jovovich eating with both hands; american spirits and cat poop; secretary spread exercises; back brace orgasm; prepuberty personal hygiene; tits hanging out of a hammock. (the last one is my personal favorite.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gay for a Day

Heteros for Homos: LA had a big No on 8 protest at City Hall this past weekend. part of me feels that this display of solidarity is too little too late, as the voters have already passed the proposition and we now need to wait for the courts to undo it, but i didn’t want to miss the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with so many hot, shirtless men so i attended anyway.

Burt and Ernie were gay? this was news to me. i mean, i knew about Vanity Smurf, but Burt and Ernie? what about Kermit and Ms. Piggy? were they legit or was she just his fag hag?

burn, baby, burn: if hell is just an underground disco inferno, i don’t know that going there single is a bad prospect. just sayin.

worst sign ever: someone took his childhood fairy tales a little too seriously.

seriously, though: this is shepard fairey’s contribution to the anti-8 movement. this is a movement that is very near and dear to me because some of my best friends are in fact gay and in long-term, loving relationships that should be afforded equal recognition and protection under the law. to deny them this is discrimination. it’s unconstitutional. it’s unfair. i don’t think jesus would approve.

the pro-8 protestors: i don’t believe in organized religion any more than i believe in santa claus, so the argument that being gay is some abomination in the bible is pretty laughable to me, especially when you consider that the bible also advises against borrowing with interest and eating shellfish, two things christians seem not to be putting on the ballot. to cherry pick homosexuality as the mother of all sins implies that fundamentalist christians are not only super hypocritical, they are super uncomfortable with gay sex.

newsflash: gay sex is natural and has been documented in countless species across the animal kingdom. but of course if you’re one of those folks who thinks sarah palin is smart and creationism is king, then it won’t matter. to you, homosexuality will always be an immoral, correctable choice. to you i say sorry, we can’t be friends.

to my gay friends: i got your back.

even chickens get it: what made the passage of Prop 8 more insulting was the fact that Prop 2 passed the very same day. that was the measure that granted chickens raised for slaughter a roomier cage.

forget the chickens: i don’t think it’s fair to blame the mormon church for its fundraising or the African-Americans who voted 2 to 1 in favor of the proposition. truth is that the No on 8 folks ran a sloppy campaign that did little to reassure undecided voters that gay marriage wouldn’t harm their children. in order to win over that support, gay folks will just have to put their shirts back on and make some new friends in the communities that voted against them.

needs more color: she totally half-stepped it.

Mo was there: though he seemed more interested in the architecture than in the shirtless men. here he is staring down the CalTrans building on Main and 1st, designed by Morphosis.

architectural intermission: this is one of my favorite buildings in downtown LA. i have a window cube at work and can see it perfectly from my desk, and let me tell you, at night when it’s lit up, it’s sexy as hell.

sexy by day, too: LA’s Department of Transportation never looked so good.

back at the protest: we met up with friends Corey and Dave, also a straight and secure in their sexuality couple, to march with the crowd. Corey didn’t half-step her sign.

took a wrong turn at the sports bar: nor did Dave half-step his.

i half-stepped mine: i must confess that i didn’t create my sign’s profundity. it was handed to me by an outgoing protestor. but if i had created my own sign (which i will next time), it would have read, “Gay marriage makes for good TV. Ask me how!”

to see more of my photos from the protest, check my flickr account. for more on the fight against prop 8, visit Join the Impact.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


i was having trouble sleeping for weeks leading up the election, petrified that it would be lost or stolen like past elections or a winning lottery ticket you had to wait to cash in. like everyone else around me, i had been following this election like a sport, glued to my computer, the refresh button overused as i searched for more stories to read, more polls to follow, more videos to watch.

even when i was disgusted by the campaigning, my obsession didn’t wane. at night, on the occasion i could sleep, i would dream about it, both nightmares and fantasies imagining the what ifs. i even had some wet dreams about the irresistibly sexy Obama, whose baby i’m aching to have. i also got in the habit of calling Mo “Morack,” telling him he should call me Michelle and we should rename our two female dogs, Juice and Pinko, after the Obama girls. Morack disagreed, and instead hung a framed Shepard Fairey Obama poster in the office.

i’m embarrassed to admit this, but i was a big Hillary supporter during the primaries. i preferred her to Obama because of her experience and because her election would have brought Bill back to the white house. i wanted to see both of them in there again, re-establishing the feel-good 1990s. i felt pretty good back then in my pre-9/11 college world, learning about life and this new thing called email.

but now i see that those days and that dynasty are past. the future needs something better, something different. i also see that Hillary could have never pulled off a win the way Obama did. for all the talk of Obama’s ability to transcend race, motivating people of all stripes to stand in line waiting for hours to cast their vote for him, the polarizing Hillary could never transcend herself. she simply wasn’t likable enough. she was missing the Clinton charisma gene that both Bill and Obama have in spades. it’s the same gene that Dubya and Sarah Palin have, the one that makes people flock to them for their ordinariness and relatability. i liked Hillary alright, but she wasn’t inspiring. she wasn’t transformational. she wasn’t Obama.

i didn’t like Sarah Palin, though i will miss her. she was the source of so much comic relief during this tense election cycle that her absence will leave a tangible void. part of me would like to see her return in 2012, if only for the SNL skits to resurface, but the bigger part of me would like to see her fall into the abyss she’s been skating around for months, never to be seen or heard from again. because for all the progress Hillary’s campaign made for women in politics, Sarah Barracuda’s weak intellect and hot legs took us about a mile back.

i’m also sad that my fellow Californians passed Proposition 8, effectively outlawing gay marriage and ruining my opportunity to pitch to cable networks reality shows like “Gay Divorce Court” and “Groomzilla.” thanks, California. you suck. not only did you ruin my chance to be a hollywood asshole, you ruined my post-election day euphoria. thanks also for allowing me the opportunity to say for the first time in my adult life that i’m proud to be an american but ashamed to be a californian. usually, the inverse is true.

but back in good news land, Obama is still our president, or will be soon enough. part of me feels bad for him, because who really wants the task of navigating through this lousy time in our country’s history? the pressure alone would overwhelm anyone. add to that the fact that the world is watching us again with renewed interest, expecting him to be flawless and swift in undoing the past eight years of damage.

to that end, i wish him luck and support, and a bit of worry. after all, i’m jewish and i worry about everything. plus, he is unproven as a leader and the crises before him are huge. but i have every confidence in the world that he will deliver in the way that overachievers tend to deliver. Obama seems exceptional in that way.

to be honest, he’s the kind of person i would secretly, slightly hate, the one who makes hard work look effortless and always says the right thing at the right time. he’s the type to never look sweaty, only virtuous and self-possessed, with a magnetism that generates an adoring fan base that will follow him into a burning building if he says that it will be ok. i’m part of that fan base now. and as much as i’d like to break free, as much as i’d like to know better than to be so taken with a politician, i’m as hypnotized as the sheep beside me. he’s just that good.

so if you’re reading this, soon-to-be president Obama, i would like to say a few things. first off, i’d be thrilled to have your baby or at least live out some of my sexier dreams about you. also, you spent two years at Occidental College, which is right by my house. i’m sorry that it was too hard for you and you had to transfer to the Ivy League Columbia, where the curriculum is so much easier, but at least you and i lived in the same neighborhood. i know it was at different times but that’s not important.

what is important is that you don’t ruin the country (anymore) or disappoint me and the scores of others who have been inspired by your dedication, discipline and humility. i’ve spent eight years with low morale, feeling defenseless and expecting to be lied to by a government motivated more by self-interest than by ethics. but you have renewed my faith in democracy and my celebration of my country as something limitless and fantastic.

thank you for making me a proud american again, an immigrant american who came here with my family at age 3, hopeful for the opportunity to achieve the american dream that makes this place so magical in the eyes of so many around the world. the same world that’s celebrating you now as we are, unified by optimism for the future, by hope.

your victory is a victory for my white immigrant family as much as it is for blacks, asians, latinos, persians, disenfranchised democrats, jews, muslims, gays and anyone else who is part of that growing demographic of “other” americans who saw ourselves in you. your election has affirmed us, reminding us that yes, we, too, can overcome the insurmountable to achieve the impossible, because you just did.

(take note, California.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hubba Hubba

Mo got a headshot. ain’t he the cutest?? of course i think he is and of course i’m totally objective. it was Mo’s birthday recently and we’re coming up on our 3.5 year anniversary of being a couple. i’m telling you this to justify my posting a photo of him that i think is hot. consider it timely.

y’all are watching his Archinect Travels series, right? the short films on architecture that Mo shot, produced, edited, wrote the script and score for, that showcase his mad creative talent? better get on it if you’re not, because they’ll enrich your life. i’ll be making an appearance soon in the Chicago episodes.

beyond that, i wanted to take this opportunity to wish Mo a happy birthday, a happy early anniversary and a big thank you to all the work he’s put into our house. not only has he made every executive decision on the design, he installed the entire kitchen, which was no easy feat. so thank you, Mo, for dealing with the house, with me and with the dogs, all of which are better off because of you. we love you relentlessly.

and thank you also for being an exceptional architect, standout designer, fantastic chef, grill master extraordinaire, renowned cactus gardener and backsplash wizard, funny as hell — especially with your impersonations and sadistic humor that make me giggle like a hyena — and thanks also for being so hot in the sack.

ok, i’m sure we all need to get a napkin to wipe our tears and clean the barf off our keyboards, but love sometimes warrants that reaction. i hope it warrants some reactions from Mo, too, some of which i’ll likely try to elicit in the coming months with a sentence that begins, “remember when i wrote that loving blog post about you...?”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Don’t Know

because of my job in the wide world of finance, people sometimes assume that i have insight into where the market is going. they think that i might know what makes for a good investment, one that will surely make their riches grow overnight. they think that financial knowledge is transferred through osmosis, maybe by sitting on the same toilet seat as an investment analyst, and that even the janitor who works the night shift probably has some good stock tips. to that i usually reply, “are you fucking stupid?”

if i had those answers, i certainly wouldn’t still be working. i’d be retired, lounging with my off-shore accounts in tahiti while a cabana boy with soccer thighs peeled me grapes and fanned my pasty skin. if i had those answers, i wouldn’t be sitting in a cube farm, pretending to work between youtube videos while counting down the minutes until the clock hits 5pm.

so please stop bothering me with your money questions because i don’t know of any secret investments that will make you a millionaire. and please stop asking me what i do with my own money because i barely have any — i just bought a house, remember? plus, i wouldn’t want to give you any bad financial advice and then feel responsible for your life savings going down the drain. so quit asking me, mom and dad!!

but seriously, i don’t know what the hell is going on anymore than the next person despite my job in finance. but because of my job in finance, i do know that all investments carry a certain degree of risk. i know this because my new role in my company’s compliance department centers on ensuring that the fine print no one but me reads on financial documents says what it needs to say. and if you ever bother to read it, you’d be shocked to find out that it reads, “All investments carry a certain degree of risk. You may lose money.”

ok, so you may lose money. you probably have lost money. i know i have, but since i’m not planning to retire anytime soon, those losses seem more imaginary than real. sadly, i have also lost money on some shorter-term investments i had, losses that very much feel real, but staring at risk language all day helped cushion that blow.

still, i’m not worried. i’m not particularly euphoric either, but i’ve promised myself that i won’t worry until i have a reason to. and as long as i still have a job, i don’t have a reason to worry. of course, i’d be silly to say that my job is totally secure in this climate — or any climate really. but i’ll take comfort in my boss’ assurance that my new spot in the compliance department means i’m a regulator now, and regulators are the new black. people actually want us around to piss on their parade.

as for the lost money, i’m going to rely on that old cliche that if you love something, set it free; if it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. no, that sucks. maybe evaporated earnings are like spilled milk - not worth crying over. that’s a bit better. better still is that all investments carry a certain degree of risk, so you may lose money. and i did.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Conversation Chronicles: Monday Night Television

me: what are you watching?

Mo: it’s this documentary on the second world war.

me: oh. ok, i’m going to go lie down in bed and read.

Mo: why don’t you watch some of it with me?

me: i don’t really like watching that type of thing.

Mo: why not?

narrator voice booms from the tv set: ...the nazis stepped up their cruelty and used increasingly sadistic measures in their quest to exterminate the jews.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Campaign Fatigue

i’ve had a long-standing policy to never discuss politics here, but i’m thinking i should move away from that stance, if for no other reason than to share the terrific things i’m finding on the internets during this current election season, viewable here and here and here.

beyond cracking me up and making me watch SNL for the first time in years, this election is also making me sick. i know it’s important and the weight of the free world hangs in the balance and all that jazz, and of course i plan to vote in november, but the politicking from both sides is just nauseating.

the mudslinging, the partisanship, the misinformation — it’s too much. not to get all rodney kingish, but can’t we all just get along? can’t we all just stick to the issues for the few undecideds left in the country and move the election to tomorrow? then we can inaugurate the new president by thanksgiving, check out who he puts in his cabinet and carry on, hoping for the best.

call me a sourpuss, but i love watching campaigning as much as i love standing in line at an amusement park surrounded by screaming toddlers. i can’t endure any more TV commercials and the seemingly insane news stories that come out daily. since when does the tiniest thing warrant a “gate” a la “lipstick-on-a-pig-gate”?

i’m not pointing the finger solely at the republicans, because the democrats have been just as guilty of the nonsense. i know a lot of nice republicans, including my parents, who don’t believe that the world is only 5,000 years old. they, like most republicans, are decent, hard-working folks annoyed that their party’s ideology has been hijacked by fundamental christians who’ve reduced it to a culture war obsessed with god, gays and guns.

i also know a lot of nice democrats who are nothing like some of the democrats i met when i lived in san francisco — the kind of fascist liberals who think that anyone driving an SUV or carrying a plastic water bottle is an evildoer who should be reformed. to me, that’s the same type of fascism championed by fundamentalists who only allow for their interpretation of the mighty word of god. it’s two sides of the same ugly coin.

personally, my politics center on clichés like “live and let live” and “do unto others as you’d have done unto you.” i support people’s rights to live their lives as they please, be it conservative or liberal. the way i figure, if you’re not into abortion, then don’t have one. if you’re not into gay marriage, then don’t be in one. but don’t make that decision for others. similarly, i will support your right to believe in creationism, despite how stupid i think it is. i will also support your right to have as many guns as you want. because it’s not my place to tell you how to live or what to think any more than it’s your place to tell me.

perhaps i’m idealistic, but i think most people would prefer to be left the hell alone to believe and behave however they want, and would agree to leave others alone so they may do the same. it’s that 10% of extremists on both sides of the spectrum that ruin it for the rest of us. if we did away with them, the remaining 80% could figure out how to work together and would probably agree on wanting a cleaner planet, a more efficient government, safer streets, fewer taxes, better schools and affordable health care. the details on how to achieve this would be debated, and should be debated, but as long as we maintain focus on the problems instead of the parties, we should be ok.

but if we have to have political parties, can we at least add some more to the mix? let’s add one that represents the moderates, the middle-left and the middle-right. the fringe 10% can also form their own political parties, where they can commingle with like-minded loons who’ll never question their party’s platform.

the uber-right party could be called the Evangelicals, whose animal could be the snake — not because they are venomous but to represent the original sin, of course. they can sit around cooking up workshops for converting the gays while talking about how silly fossils are, bibles in hand, ready to thump the dissenters.

the ultra-left party could be called the Communists. if they had a sense of humor, they could make their party animal a pig, which they can ceremoniously slaughter at their conventions. their meetings would probably include a lot of people wearing birkenstocks or maybe uniforms and combat boots. they can sit around lambasting religion while extolling the virtues of communism, pointing to the many great examples of its success throughout history. they can point to my motherland, the former Soviet Union.

but hey, that’s just me. and i make no claim to know anything about politics, which is why i never write about it here. there are other websites that do it better, websites i tend to avoid so i don’t have to read a chorus of loony commentators repeating what amounts to “my sports team is better than your sports team, so suck it.”

thankfully, the two teams will have their superbowl in just a few more weeks, putting the campaigning to an end. then i won’t have to turn on the TV and hear an angry feminist who refuses to vote for obama because clinton couldn’t get enough delegates on her side to become the democratic nominee, and i won’t have to witness an old lady clutching her bible while talking about the gay agenda and how obama is a scary muslim.

at least not for another four years.

Friday, October 10, 2008

To Be Filed Under ‘That’s Never Happened Before’

late last week, Juice threw up in the middle of the night. her throwing up has certainly happened before, many times before, usually after she’s eaten grass or chewed up a stick that she found in the yard, all of which reappear in her puddle of vomit, letting me know just what my furry baby was dumb enough to consume.

but this consumed item was something else, something i never want to see again because seeing it again in her pile of vomit would mean i have to clean it up again, and cleaning it up the first time was traumatic enough and brought me to the edge of vomiting myself.

now, i’ve cleaned up A LOT of dog vomit in my many years of being a dog owner, and i’m not complaining about having to do it. it’s the cost of doing business with a dog. they vomit. they poop. i clean it. and i’ve seen many odd objects in both dog stool and vomit, including dental floss, tennis balls, rib bones and a Scrabble tile.

but this was something else. this was something so mortifying that just the thought of it will give you shivers and evoke a huge “ewwww” when i tell you. are you ready? you sure you’re ready? wait for it. wait for it.............. cat poop.

yes, CAT POOP. or, as Juice likes to call it, Almond Roca. i like to call it Thoroughly Disgusting. it’s one thing for her to eat it, which is disgusting on its own, but imagine her upchucking it all over your nice bamboo floors in the middle of the night. then imagine having to walk over in a sleepy stupor, the odor forcing you awake and quickening your understanding of the situation. first came the denial, like noooo, could it be? that’s not right, no way. is that REALLY what those chunks are? really?

yes, that’s what they were. half a paper towel roll and some dry heaves later, i was convinced. my dog had eaten cat shit. then she threw it up, in the middle of the night. a true clusterfuck that could have only been made worse by Juice adding some piss to the puddle. that would have made for the ultimate triumvirate of bodily fluids.

cleanup was a struggle. i waffled between hurrying the fuck up and paralysis by nausea. there was real volume there, both liquid and solid. the smell alone nearly killed me, and Juice kept walking by all sad, sick and apologetic, trying to tongue my face as i balanced on my knees, hand outstretched in cleaning motion with my body as far away from the puddle as possible. Mo was no help either, barricaded in the bedroom, saying, “i’m sorry, but i just can’t do it.”

so i did it. and it was disgusting. thanks a lot, Juice. you bitch.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


a good friend and former coworker of mine lost his baby boy this week. the kid was not even a year old. he underwent chemo for an otherwise untreatable tumor and died of toxic shock three weeks later, leaving behind two devastated parents and a twin brother who won’t remember him. his name was Braeden Bond and he was 10 months old.

i met Braeden and his brother Logan earlier this summer at a friend’s barbecue. they were the ultimate cuties — chubby, dressed alike and sucking on their fists. i spent some time playing with the munchkins while catching up with their dad Jeff, whose copy i used to edit when we both worked for this magazine you’ve never heard of. he told me about how great (and hard) fatherhood had been, about the new magazine he was working for and how he hoped his sons would grow up to be sci-fi geeks like him. he said Braeden was the fussy one. less than six months later, he sent the following email to a group of his friends:

“Just before noon Monday morning our son Braeden passed away. For the past three weeks Braeden had been mostly unconscious due to toxic shock from a massive infection that resulted in extensive damage to his liver and kidneys. Our doctors told us that children who undergo this normally either die very shortly afterward or recover quickly, but Braeden stayed in critical condition for three weeks following the initial event, which says to us that were it not for his willpower and stubborn disposition he probably would have passed away weeks ago...”

i don’t know what to say about this beyond that it’s tragic. fucking tragic. i want to say that parents aren’t supposed to outlive their kids and that death is supposed to only happen to the old. i want to say that bad things shouldn’t happen to good people. but i know that’s naive and that the only thing i can do about fucked up shit happening is just accept that it happens and will continue to happen, without trying to make sense of it. so that’s what i’m trying to do.

Braeden is the third person i know who’s died this year. the first i didn’t write about because i was too furious with the way he died. not a suicide, but close enough. his name was James Tabler (pictured left) and i used to party with him back in the day, about seven years ago. James was a good egg, always spirited, kind and with a sunny disposition that charmed everyone who met him. he was part of a rather large crew of weekend warriors i partied with back then, doing things i no longer do today. while his death was also fucking tragic, it was not surprising. he was 28.

the other person i wrote about not too long ago, Alexander Merman, a friend and former boyfriend who was murdered in his Santa Monica condo last March. the picture of us at right was taken at my cousin’s wedding in 1999. i contacted some of his friends after i heard the news a few weeks ago, who invited me to the memorial to mark the six-month anniversary of his death. i went and saw the mother Alex left behind, the mother he called every day. she looked smaller and shorter than i remembered, like she had shrunk. she remembered me as the girl from san francisco and asked me whether i was married. i gave her the flowers i brought her and told her that i loved her. then we both started crying.

forgive me if this blog is sounding too much like the obituary section. i don’t want to be writing this. i don’t want any more reasons to write anything like this again. i understand that death is part of life and all those platitudes, but when a perfectly fine little boy is plucked from the universe, i just have to say enough. so please, enough.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Home-Improvement Chronicles: The Tree Trimming

not a euphemism: i got my tree trimmed the other week. as you can see, it was overgrown and long overdue for a trimming. the neighbor directly north of me complained that it obstructed his view and offered to pay to have the whole thing chopped down, but given that it’s the only mature tree on the property, shading the house from the sun with its strategic westward location, i declined his kind offer and opted to give the lovely Chinese Elm just a little haircut.

low hangers: some of the tree’s spider branches hung so low and so far into the street that SUVs driving down the road routinely got their roofs scratched up.

Mike fixed all that: he’s the tree trimmer extraordinaire recommended by all my neighbors, who sang his praises with glee. i will now add to their chorus and recommend super Mike for all your tree-trimming needs. but don’t bother him with your messy trees in the SFV or Westside as Mike only works the Glendora to Pasadena loop. call him at 626.353.3186.

i hope they’re insured: Mike brought his lovely crew who surprised me with their bladder control by never once asking to use the bathroom inside the house.

a little off the top: the guys spent all day hanging off the tree like wild monkeys, but thankfully never threw poop at me like wild monkeys.

better than pine sol: the best part of the trimming had to be the delicious smell it produced as the branches and leaves were shredded. it smelled like a thousand christmas trees, a lovely alternative to the intense skunk from hell smell that usually permeates the neighborhood.

and then they got sucked into the shredder: it’s a shame, too, because they seemed like really nice guys.

grass, please: i almost asked Mike and crew to distribute some of the shredded leaves all over the front yard to cover up the sad dirt pile that’s currently there.

Pinko on the case: she spent the day supervising from the deck and barking like a rabid animal whenever a branch fell to the ground.

thinning out: i spent the day holding my breath and expecting some kind of disaster, like a branch crashing through the roof or a guy falling out of the tree with chainsaw still ablaze, dismembering his own limbs.

the after shot: the only real disaster was how hot the house became in the afternoon without the overgrown tree to shade it from the setting sun.