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...?”