Monday, January 31, 2005

These are the People in My Neighborhood....

It’s not every day that you see a six foot two, two hundred fifty pound woman walking down the street in a bright pink pant suit wearing a long auburn wig…inside out. That’s right. Wig inside out and tilted a little bit down and over the eyes. The expression on her bright and smiling face said that she was having a good hair day, felt confident and looked fetching. Well. She did make me smile when I went by. So I guess she served her greater purpose, which was to make people smile, thereby brightening their day.

This brings me to a subject near and dear to my heart...and that is the culture of “characters” that inhabit the more urban parts of this fair city. Yes, they exist in every major city in the country, but we seem to have a disproportionate amount of them here due to the good weather and the particular rejection style of the entertainment industry. It’s one of the reasons I live by choice in a more urban area of the city. There’s always something going on and when it happens, it usually happens there first. Living in a more “gentrified” outer suburb of Los Angeles is something that I have tried and never warmed to. Mainly because I can't stand the term "gentrified." I lived in rose lined, pretty Pasadena for a few years and was able to see the San Gabriel Mountains a total of 5 times during that period, and then only after a heavy rain – even though they were about twenty blocks away. I figure if I’m going to live in filth at least be honest about it and move back into the city. Being able to walk out of your building to see a large, colorful woman wearing an inside out wig; a Hollywood exec picking up a 15 year old hooker in his Beemer; watching the neighborhood Tweakers make their way home squinting with pain from the glare of the morning sun after a weekend crystal meth binge in a dark room; noticing that the pretty 20 something girl at the end of the block who is prone to depression has had her face inexplicably tattooed with some sort of Maori design... can be more jam packed with comedy or tragedy than anything you’ll see on the teeVee. Unless you watch the commercials.

There is a delightful cast of characters that can be found on the avenues, streets and at the numerous Starbucks of L.A. proper – with the notable exception of a woman in suburban South Pasadena who eats avocadoes all day while simultaneously having secret whispered yet animated conversations with her left hand -

For example, there is “The Creature,” as she is cruelly nicknamed by people with jobs, but I prefer to refer to her as The Woman With the Really Tall Shoes...this woman seemingly floats down La Brea Avenue in a ground length black caftan, wears her hair in a severe top knot that puts Cindy Loo—Who to shame, wears bright circles of rouge high upon her cheeks and custom made platform shoes that are seven inches high. She slowly makes her way up and down La Brea, speaking to no one, deep in thought...floating. She’s fabulous.

Then there’s a man of indeterminate age, somewhere between 55 and 120, stoop shouldered, wizened, terribly thin, with overly tanned skin that has become shoe leather. He likes to walk down Wilshire Boulevard wearing nothing but a leopard print thong. This I could live my entire life without seeing and be the better for it.

There’s a guy at my gym who is tattooed over all areas of his body not covered by clothing – and I’m thinking that he is tattooed on those areas covered by clothing as well, since the guy that did the two that I have said that he has tattooed some “privates” in his day...which just fills me with scary visuals that know no bounds...anyway, his bald head is covered with tiny and dainty flowering vines. I wonder what kind of work he does.

One of my all time favorite characters is a guy at Venice Beach who rolls around on skates while playing an electric guitar that he has a special battery pack amplifier for...if he catches your eye, he will follow you for several yards, composing a song right on the spot...just for you. He delights in your embarrassment. It was better though before he got the guitar, because in years past it was a ukulele, which has far more embarrassment potential. To be serenaded with, I mean.

There are so many more than those I’ve mentioned and there’s always a little tragedy that goes along with being a character. That is, at some point in time the individual made a decision to completely retreat from the world – or the world retreated from them. The Hollywood history books are rife with the forgotten or rejected that threw themselves off the Hollywood sign, or killed themselves in some other fashion after their fall from Hollywood grace. For some reason a bizarrely large number of those people lived on Woodrow Wilson Drive. You will never find me living on Woodrow Wilson Drive for any reason because of that fact alone. I doubt I’d even go to a dinner party there. When I speak of the Hollywood forgotten, there is one woman in particular that I find rather haunting. She is an elderly woman, of the homeless variety, who can be found wandering around downtown or thereabouts, with an Oscar in a paper bag that by all accounts is hers. I’d like to know her story.

So...while I continue to nosily watch the goings on, wonder at the back stories and comment on the lives of my various neighbors, I’ll continue to be furious at the meager offerings of the television set and prefer the comic yet sordid entertainment and mystery of my own 'hood, reveling in the sights, smells and filth that make up that place I call Home.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Foreplay WHO?

The LEVITRA chick just pisses me off. Yes, I know she’s an actress. Yes, I know she was probably strapped for cash and has already made about 40k off the insipid commercial that manages to make all women look like idiots. I know she’s just an actress doing her job. She still pisses me off and I want to boycott every product that is handled by the ad agency that does those commercials. As soon as I can find out who the ad agency is. Anyone? First, aside from the ad making women look like sex starved morons who had no IDEA that a 4 hour erection could be so damn satisfying - as opposed to chafing...if we REALLY had that great of an orgasm, we wouldn’t be awake to talk about it. We’d be passed out, unconscious, gone. We’d wake up later wondering what happened and not quite sure we remember our middle name. That’s how it works - not from a 4 hour woody, but from a partner that actually knows what they're doing. That woman is simply a representative of fakers everywhere. Secondly, a real woman would never gloat. High school boys and men who have been used to paying for it will gloat. A real woman would simply go about her business until the next time she gets knocked unconscious by the great whammy O. A woman having the great whammy O doesn’t need to gloat, or smile coyly at the camera like they have FINALLY been made to feel like a natural woman, mmhmmm...and we all know that the first time THAT happened that it was probably on a date with ourselves.

I’ve got to get TIVO. Today’s commercials are going to drive me to excessive amounts of street heroine.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Yeesh, It's HOT in here!, I’m minding my own business, eating my lunch at my mandatory-by-law-un-paid-half-hour-lunch break, when all of a sudden in the middle of a bite of my delicious stuffed pepper from Trader Joes while listening to another fabulously hilarious anecdote by Halstead...IT HITS...a strange overly warm feeling came over me. No, it wasn’t an orgasm, (which would be highly unlikely at any time or for any reason between the hallowed walls of the cubicle farm where I work, not to mention the very thought of the lengths one would have to go to in order to ATTEMPT to feel sexy in that overly flourescent and oppressive environment is just gross)...and it certainly wasn’t the Holy Spirit. It was more like what a Niacin flush feels like if any of you have ever done that. I used to do them a lot back in the 80’s when I would try to detox myself off something - not sure what I was detoxing over, it could have been anything. It was the 80’s. Anyway, this was kind of like that, except that it hit much more rapidly and without the warning skin itchiness that precedes a Niacin flush...No, this was like being hit by a Hot Bomb that exploded from the inside of the inner core of my being and generated out in about a nano-second. Jane, one of the social-workers, was sitting across the table from me when it hit. She looked at me and cocked her head to one side.

She knew.

“Okay, wow, boy, having a hot flash,” I said.

“Yes, you certainly are,” said Jane.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen – it’s not enough that living in Los Angeles ensures that you are unemployable after age 40 (kind of L.A.’s version of a "Logan’s Run" Utopia, where if it was legal they’d just put us to death), but along with the gradual refining that comes with age – a line here, a gray hair there, a few more minutes on the treadmill and a couple more lunges and crunches needed than there used to, it’s not enough to be attempting to age gracefully in the town listed at #1 on the Ageism scale...when you can have THIS!

Menopause in Los Angeles.

Sounds like the title to a country and western song doesn’t it? Or a punk band.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Tamales, Worms and Germ Therapy

I was watching a commercial for some sort of household cleaning product, where the pretty, yet bland mother answers the door pleasantly to a child there for “play date” with Junior. The child rushes in to play with a VERY high end model train set owned by Junior. Pretty soon the child sneezes, and the pretty, yet bland mother LOOKS CONCERNED. We, the viewing public, see computer-generated snot germs float from the sneeze onto one of the toy trains. No worry! Pretty, yet bland mom is there with her cleaning product to kill those snot germs on the spot!!!!

Ever notice how the kids from the cleanest and most sterile homes are always sick?

Since I still eat street food whenever humanly possible – and that includes those absolutely phenomenal tamales that people make in their bathtubs and then sell them from food carts around the neighborhood. And guess what? I haven’t had to call in sick from food poisoning since...okay, since ever. If I did, it was because I was hung over and really needed the day off and wasn’t really because of food poisoning, or it was from a three hundred dollar dinner at some place on La Brea. I think George Carlin calls it “germ therapy.” It’s important to have your daily dose of germs, otherwise how do you expect to be inoculated from anything? The flu sucks, dude, eat a tamale!!!!! I think it quite important to live a little. (Except where bugs are concerned but that's a previous rant.)

Which brings me to an absolutely FABOO email that I received today that brought it all back, and I wish to hell I knew who originated it, so they could be properly credited and bowed down to...The email deals with the old days. Since I was born before Calculators hit the market as a big ticket piece of technology to replace the slide rule...I think I can refer to them as such. I invite you to read the following, and maybe some of you will remember this stuff.

"TO THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1940's, 1950's, 1960's and 1970's...

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing and didn't get tested for diabetes.

After that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no internet or internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live in us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little league had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment [rather than have their parents threaten to sue the league]. Imagine that.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They usually sided with the law.

Here’s to those who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!"

wooHOOO! I'm gonna eat me some CAKE!!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Millicent’s Relationship with the Insect World

Okay, so the original Millicent Frastley, before I came skipping along the scene, was a privileged, yet unfortunate child in an Edward Gorey poem who comes to an absolutely horrible end – as children often do in Edward Gorey poems. In the one about Millicent Frastley, she is kidnapped and sacrificed to The Insect God. Pretty, huh? That Edward Gorey was a hoot.

My relationship with the insect world has left me in a state that the experts would refer to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Brought about by Bugs. Oooooh, that last part was a little alliteration. I love those. Anyway, back to bugs. I hate them. Yes, there are good ones that get rid of the bad bugs, but they all can send me pretty much reeling into a screaming state followed by catatonia and occasional moaning. I like lizards (because they eat bugs) and I have no issue with snakes, mice, et al….but bugs are bad. Very, very bad. Said bugs extend to the ocean floor, where the land equivalents of spiders, cockroaches and beetles roam about bottom feeding – or feeding on bottoms, or whatever, namely crab, shrimp and the worst offender…Lobster. I had a bad experience with lobster once where my friends went on a dive and we were to have a great big ole feed. One of the people at the party drowned them in fresh water first so she didn’t have to hear them screaming in the pot of boiling water. Gelatinous mess, probably toxic, I never went back.

Example: (And single most embarrassing moment in my life to this point) – I was eleven years old, and the school that I went to was suffering from an inexplicable infestation of blue bottle flies. I think it was due to the presence of the unholy beast passing herself off as human that taught the 5th grade. Mrs. Iron. Anyway, the school answer to the pestilence was to hang No Pest Strips in all the classrooms. Every day, the boys in the class would count the flies. Dead and Alive. They sang a little song along with their counting, but the ditty is too painful to remember now. The morning of my worst day ever had a fly count of 152. Dead and alive. Ever heard a dying fly? An intermittent buzz, followed by the futile flapping of wings.

Sooooooo, the classroom had some creative project that we were hanging from the ceiling to display for Parent Teacher night. Yours truly was standing on top a file cabinet, attaching the fruits of our labors to the ceiling. My hair at that time was down to my waist. Do you see where this is going? I think you do. Anyway, a mere two strands of hair managed to float up and stick to the No Pest Strip without my knowledge. When I jumped down from the cabinet, I heard a snap, felt something attach to my head...and start to intermittently buzz. Of course the fly paper couldn’t just lie flat on the surface of my hair. No, it had managed to work its way completely into my hair. The boy I had my first crush on was rolling on the floor laughing. I was sent to the principal’s office, who promptly called my mother and told her that she would have to shave my head. Mother came down to the school, hustled me home and through a series of scientific experiments with various solvents – paint thinner, shellac remover, fingernail polish remover, etc….the mess was finally stripped from my hair, leaving it a few shades lighter in the process. That 3M Company definitely knows how to make things stick. I finally made it back to school only to find a paper crown left upon my desk that said, “Queen Klutz.”

Tomorrow, perhaps I’ll tell you the story about the giant potato bugs in the basement.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Rain, Anyone? Part II

How to create one’s own humidity:

1. Drive to work.
2. Witness new and even stronger downpour of rain.
3. Get out of car.
4. Get drenched through to the skin in 30 seconds, despite the yellow plastic rain slicker.
5. Walk into heated office.

This creates steam. Especially that small area that exists between your wet skin and your wet clothing. This makes you sweat. Profusely. So imagine if you will, a drenched cubicle rat in corporate attire with hair plastered to scalp, shoes squishing down the office corridor with steam rising off of every part of said cubicle rat, simultaneously sporting beads of running sweat from the top of the head, down the face.

6. Start to mold.

I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and…..wait, no, that’s not the song I was looking for…..

To add to this comfy, not so fresh feeling, we have been told that due to the Los Angeles weather, the office will be closing early.

7. Walk back to car.
8. Get drenched through to the skin in 30 seconds, despite the yellow plastic rain slicker.
9. Get into car and turn on heat/defrost.
10. Steam up the car.
11. Start to mold again.

I was just text messaged by a friend asking if I want a reservation on the ark if she’s able to get ahold of Noah.

I said yes.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


We all know who they are. They are the Cameron Diaz wannabes that have minds as pure as the driven snow – not violated by a single thought. They are the ones that put women back about 100 years by perpetuating the dumb and helpless blonde stereotype as a means of getting away with whatever it is they want to get away with...traffic tickets, homework assignments, taking out the garbage, jury duty...for those of us of a similar physical type, and there are a lot of us, who actually read, who do our work without expecting someone to do it for us just because we are cute and still have a great ass, who can occasionally use a cordless drill without breaking a nail...the “DUH” population makes it very difficult to refrain from performing an illegal act of assault that involves beating them about the head and shoulders with a current edition of the New York Times or Atlantic Monthly while screaming, STOP WEARING FAKE NIPPLES IN YOUR BRA!!!!!

Or something like that.

For example, I am one of two blonde haired, blue eyed, female students in my Political Science class - POL SC 112: Race, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Difference. Our textbook is Racial and Ethnic Politics in California. Got it?

Day one.

Blondie: “Um, question?”

Professor: “Yes?”

Blondie: “I don’t see anything in this book about Europeans. Will you be discussing white European immigrants to the US?”

Professor: “This course deals with Race, Ethnicity and the politics dealing with people of color or minority as it pertains to the State of California – so no, that really won’t be part of the course.”

Blondie: “Why?”

Professor: “Did you read the course description when you signed up for the class?”

Blondie: “Well, yeah. I just don’t understand why it has to just be about that though.”

Professor: “Perhaps Poli Sci 1 would be an alternate choice for you to this one?”

Blondie: “No, I don’t want to take that one.”

My professor is a patient saint.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Since this middle aged hotty who writes before you decided to go back to school, I have taken a job as a cubicle rat for a non profit human services organization. So I’m a little bit familiar with how they work with respect to whom and how to give in times of crisis, be it local, national, international, etcetera. I won’t say what the organization is that has me surrounded by nubby cloth walls 5 days a week, ever dodging the knarled pointy finger and scoldings of Ursula the Cubicle Witch, or what it’s rated – but let’s just say that the Orangutan Foundation is better rated. That means that the monkeys are rating better than the humans in terms of efficiency and responsible distribution of funds, costs, whatever. Or is an orangutan actually an ape? No matter, ape or monkey, they rate better than where I work. So if you are of a mind to contribute toward aiding the countries devastated by the Tsunamis, there is a great website to go to so that you can make a better informed choice. They will tell you exactly how the money is distributed and how much the CEO is taking home. It’s called Charity Navigator. Check it out. Also, please keep in mind that there are many charitable service organizations that depend on donations in order to stay afloat. For example, to use one organization that is coming to the aid of the victims of the Tsunamis, Doctors Without Borders stated this morning on NPR that they have raised the amount of money they need to properly address the Tsunami crisis, however still need donations to their general fund to deal with tragedies affecting other parts of the globe. They aren’t allowed to divert donations made to Tsunami relief to the general fund for other needs, so donations to the general fund are very much needed.

So check it out, pick one, call someone up and find out where your funds can do the most good. Let Bush continue to rake leaves on his ranch. The rest of us can step up to the plate and get something done.