Dinner Tonight: Gateway to Eckhart Tolle Town

There have been times when negativity twisted me until I was doubled over in paroxysms of self hatred. Tonight is not one of those times, for tonight I made a quesadilla with the best bacon money can buy, white cheddar, and thinly sliced apples. I cooked the quesadilla in the glistening grease left by The Best Bacon Money Can Buy, then coated the whole thing in sweet jalapeno sauce with a loving, almost motherly hand. In cooking this meal, I have taken the first steps on a shamanic journey to higher consciousness, and finally have an inkling of the "divinity within" I've heard so much about.

The divinity within is sitting like a rock in my stomach.


Taking Initiative

Maybe soon I will do something with my life. I was just waiting until I got really, really pretty. Now my pimples are starting to get wrinkles; I can see that this day is not going to come.


Interdepartmental Romance

I get migraines. The brain of a migraineur is extremely sensitive to any differences in routine, and even small changes can trigger an attack. For instance, getting up an hour later than usual might trigger a migraine for some. Yesterday at work, an attractive patient asked me out. He wrote "lunch?" on one of his business cards and pushed it over the lip of my desk. I politely declined, and then blushed profusely for half an hour after he left. Usually, the kind of men who try to pick up on me are unwashed, plainly drunk, and trying to get a free ride on Amtrak. I was pretty tickled to garner interest from someone who was both physically attractive and obviously employed-- I am not accustomed. Too tickled I guess, for I got a migraine later that day. This incident points to a grim future. Can I look forward to becoming physically ill when good looking professionals look at me for longer than 30 seconds?

I'm not actually looking to change my current romance situation, but sometimes during the work day I daydream about an interdepartmental romance, like my coworker has. She put in her work order to have a nest of bees removed from the building and 3 years later there's a rock on her finger from the man who showed up to poison them. Daydreaming this way helps pass a time that is mostly spent talking about clearance forms, printing out clearance forms, searching for clearance forms, talking about clearance forms, and boiling the clearance forms into a lumpy, nutritionally void porridge which we then eat.


Key Largo

My Grandma Nina died in the summer of 2005. We all gathered at AJ Nicoletti Funeral Parlor on a white hot August day in the Sacramento Valley, and were milling around hopelessly whilst awaiting an official cue from the funeral director. Though muddled by grief, I was dimly aware of soft music playing. It was mainly indistinct, inoffensively bland piano, but somehow an instrumental version of that Bertie Higgins song "Key Largo" got into the rotation. I caught the attention of my cousin, thinking this was a funny oversight, and we had some laughter over the cheeziness of the lyrics (which I of course knew). What a stupid song-- a song I'd heard years before, sitting in my grandparents' kitchen while they read the paper, drank weak coffee, and listened to AM 1320, KCTC, Your Music and Memories Station. Then I started to cry.

This song came up on the side bar when I was browsing youtube for similarly stupid songs. Now I'm remembering my Grandma and playing back the funeral and the days surrounding it in my head like a movie. I get a certain sense of relief knowing that I can attach my grief forever to this song, and not The Pina Colada Song, which could have just as easily played in the funeral parlor without much notice.


Ficitional Name Available

As I child I didn't understand how it worked. Not only did I think it would be relatively simple to go from my stucco box in Sacramento to a glamorous world of evening gowns, butlers, and limousines, but I believed I was destined for it. Adulthood would somehow ignore my origins completely and transform me into a venomous, wealthy temptress with unrivaled beauty and a collection of jewels. In fourth grade, I thought up a name that would better suit my entrance into the Danielle Steele-ish world of dark sophistication in which I would surely move one day. It was Veronica Ludlow. Sadly, adulthood finds me downwardly mobile and looking exactly the same as I did as a child, but with a hook nose. Plus, the more I think about it, Veronica Ludlow is not so much a name for rich beauty as a weird girl at school. She's really nice but you never want to go over to her house because it smells like fish and all the furniture is covered in dog hair and all she wants to talk about are gnomes.

This name is now up for grabs. It might best be used by a children's author who needs a name for the protagonist in a story she's writing about a girl who helps a horse in distress.


Apartment Hunting Follies for the Unemployable and the Ludicrously Hairy

I'm considering going to Grad School, or at least lying about being a Grad Student so that landlords with the quiet apartments with washing machines will rent to me. I never thought of The Graduate Student as a pillar of respectability the way the Davis landlord does. When my thoughts turn to grad school, as it has been lately, it is out of a pit of desperation that these thoughts arise. I assume that actual grad students were similarly just one breakdown shy of sticking their heads in the oven but applied to a grad school instead-- unstable types-- not someone you want inhabiting your precious, cheap clapboard tinderbox Davis duplex. And yet, the hushed, reverential tone so obvious even in Craigslist ads with the "ideal for grad students and researchers" specification conjurs an image of a monkish figure, working in religious silence by the flickering light of an oil lamp. His face is beautiful and saintly, the ecstasy and the agony of his studies giving him strength of purpose and a strange glow from within like Charleton Heston in a biblical epic.

The rental offerings available to a couple comprised of one undergraduate and one unemployed whatever-I-am are predictably nonexistent. I keep thinking of that fable about the grasshopper who frittered away the summer with enjoyable frolicking while the ants spent every free moment storing food away for the winter. Then the ants get the satisfaction of saying " I told you so" as the grasshopper shivers in the cold of the winter, not a crumb to be found. Whatever. I hate that fable.

Tonight, in response to a craigslist ad for a pretty ideal sounding apartment, I unwittingly called a distant relation who I forgot rented properties in Davis. When she realized to whom she was speaking, she expressed some reluctance to show me the apartment for several reasons, the biggest one being my "heavily bearded" boyfriend might clog up the plumbing. As a concession, she suggested that he might wash his hair in some kind of laundry basin out back. I can't help but think that this conversation could have been avoided, if only I had a masters degree.


2007 Memories: Trysha

Three or four years ago I drew a hideous comic for my friend about an old, ugly prostitute named Trysha. It was very poorly drawn. Today I found some "notes" I'd made for future Trysha adventures and for the sake of the children I'm not going to draw them. Here they are:

Trysha meets a degenerate when she's coming out of Planned Parenthood, where the clinician turned her away as a lost cause. He pretends to be her daughter's ex boyfriend so he can get into her house and use the shower. He steals the VCR when Trysha falls asleep doing an improvised pole dance which she dubs "Night of the Iguana."

What follows is the an actual Trysha comic, which I share in the spirit of keeping the internet as the best forum to showcase bad choices.


Hypothetical Garage Sale

My parents have been talking a lot recently about cleaning out various storage areas, ie the garage, my entire bedroom, etc. I can't help but notice an at times hopeful, at times accusatory glance cast my way when they broach this topic. Granted, I admit to storing a fair amount of childhood detritus in their home, but all of my things are heirlooms and very, very tasteful. Why must I come home and start this process for them by throwing out my (still quite precious) belongings? Some of the things they seem to be having a hard time removing are ridiculous. Why wasn't the old toilet taken away after the installation of the new one? It's got its own special spot in the garage like it's a piece of arcane camping equipment. While I guess I've seen worse things at thrift stores, the idea of donating these burdensome, tasteless or useless items seems almost cruel. A garage sale is out of the question (think of us sitting there on the lawn in fold out chairs, the erstwhile family toilet mere feet away with "as is" sticker looking every bit like a pimple on the flush handle). Can you imagine the flyers?


-PLASTIC NIGHTSTAND WITH WOOD GRAIN FINISH! (wood grain paper peeling off in spots, drawers rotten or broken)
-CERAMIC HUMINGBIRDS CANDLE CADDY- curious expressions suggest interest in votive!
-HOME DECOR: POSTERS IN COLORED PLASTIC FRAMES! we never cared for them much- from drugstores



Kiss of the Spider Woman: Toys (and Men) From My Childhood

I'm 80% sure I just fractured my pelvis due to some bicycle clumsiness. My first thought was "will this turn arthritic when I'm old?" my second thought was "have I damaged my internal organs?" and my third thought was, "what of those toys of yesteryear?" Since I foolishly chose not to COBRA my Kaiser coverage when I had the chance, I'm going to ignore those first two thoughts until the pain becomes excruciating. Meanwhile, waltz with me down memory lane to a time when the internet was just for looking up the tacky crap you had as a kid. Share in the spoils of my search!

Popples! Were they insects? I pretended to be into them to gain favor with my cousin, Dominick, who seemed to like them. I had Popples party favors for my 4th birthday, probably due to my competitive and jealous nature that was already rearing its ugly head at that tenderest of ages. "Now I have the most Poppleses!"

Dominick and I both had Nosy Bears because our family members got wise to my insane jealousy after the Popples affair. He had the one with the basketball court in its nose and I had the one with the hypnotic swirl. Dominick is a CPA living in the bay area and I'm unemployed and blogging in my underwear with some dislocated body parts with a box fan blowing . When will the endless comparing end and when will the healing begin? It starts with me, I know it starts with me. Ok, next toy!

Lucky Lemon Lion and Peppermint Kitty from the Yum Yum series. Got these for my fifth birthday, that summer when the house was infested with fleas. The lion was overpoweringly lemon scented. It was hard to play with these two friends together, as the artificial peppermint and lemon scents did not mix well. I should mention that my next-door neighbor, Bobby, got the Peppermint Kitty as well--seems I had ensnared another man in my jealous games-- a wicked spider woman am I!

The premise of this toy is ridiculous and many hysterical explanations can be found elsewhere on the internet. I had the Purr Tender that was disguised as a bunny and the smaller Purr Tenders that Burger King came out with as well. My mother got rid of the big Purr Tender along with some other treasures while I was minding my own business at school one abysmal day in 1992. I've spent every day since then slowly morphing into the perfect revenge: an unemployed, immature 26 year old woman-child with visible armpit hair. Moving on...

Sweetie Kitties--scented purple cats with Barbie hair! Hey, it's not any worse than My Little Ponies, unless the cloying aroma of fake lilac does, in fact, make it worse. There is surprisingly little info about these on the web-- might have to take this one into Deep territory. I had a whole collection of these...and so did Bobby. We had the exact same cats but I would say something like, "yourzis tail is not as brushably soft as minezis." Bobby grew up to be a real problem-- trouble in school, fist fights-- you name it. Was it always in his nature or was it the kiss of the spider woman? I will never know.

Little Miss Makeup. Did I have every toy on the market from 1988 to 1994? I'd like to think that toys were just way cheaper then and turn a blind eye to the possibility that I was spoiled.

Fashion Star Fillies. I didn't think much of this flamboyant blue horse at the time, probably because I got it as a gift and not because I begged for it after seeing it on tv or at another kid's house. I feel a sudden weird impulse to fill my apartment with them now, though. Or maybe wear one as a necklace to a party. Look at me look at me look at me!

Please note: the above listed are just the toys that I don't have anymore. There are roughly 50 remaining toys and stuffed animals waiting in the closet of my childhood bedroom from that garishly colored, artificially scented time. Is it any wonder that I developed psychological issues then that continue to pick up speed?

I leave you, intrepid readers, with a parting shot of Bobby and I at the Funderland amusement park in Sacramento. That little car was no doubt a hotbed of manipulations.

Special thanks to the similarly deranged people behind katrina's toy blog and Ghost of the Doll for jogging my memory.


Thirtysomething? Perpetual Adolescence?

Is anyone else out there returning home early from the latest noise show, not because it sucked (well, I guess it's better than dub step) but because you need to continue watching Thirtysomething on Netflix Instant Watch? Either I'm doing that thing where I find a way to isolate myself so that I can complain about how lonely I am, or I'm on to something here!

If you haven't watched it, now is the perfect time to get totally absorbed. The styling is so now--now in that 1988 way-- more chambray button ups, well-made oxfords, and pastel southwestern thick knits than you can shake an American Apparel catalog at. I've even been lusting after a set of dishes that hope brought out in episode 11. I came for the style, but I stayed for the emotionally fraught communication. Man can these people emote! Never has television heard so much frustrated sighing, or seen so many tight-lipped looks of disapproval.

One criticism I have of the show is that it seems to imply an inherent flaw in single women-- they are emotionally unsteady or otherwise damaged in some way-- and that's why they are unable to find decent men. It also implies that if only they were to find decent men, life would suddenly be fixed and secure. The protestations that "it isn't really so easy," coming from Hope, the show's key married woman, are weak, considering that she is rewarded with constant physical affection, a house of her own, and a beautiful collection of earrings. Though maybe this is more of a selling point than a criticism, because who doesn't half love that feeling of having your blood boil over a perceived injustice?

If I still haven't sold you on Thirtysomething, then behold Melissa's math equations coat that I covet fiercely, and tell me you don't want to get in on this.

I'll be watching until I run out of seasons, or until I get a job (whichever comes sooner.) Consider joining so that this doesn't become some weird "no one understands my shows" mopefest.

Up next: Northern Exposure. Stay tuned.


Suggestions For Your Jug Band

To those of you who make your earnings by busking: are you worried that the early American roots/jug band music you've perfected is becoming too hack? Maybe you just haven't taken it to the absolute limits of frustration yet. Take your signature song about a hobo boiling his own shoe and going blind drinking rot gut whiskey, and consider adding an eefing and hambonin' routine! I'm sure you'll find it to be the perfect addition to your set. Bonus: it will make you look really, really poor, and as you know, looking poor is ideal when you are asking for money. Good luck!


Breaking the Loop

I have experienced a shift in perspective on living in San Francisco. It came with the gradual trickle-in of a few friends, the anticipated arrival of spring, and a potent cocktail of melatonin and 5-htp giving my receptors a warm fuzzy. The fierce loathing and paranoid anxiety died down and what was left behind was bland exhaustion. Newfound "positive" attitude notwithstanding, an opportunity to jump ship came; watch my cannonball!

Initially, I felt some reticence in leaving San Francisco after not quite a year; I thought that maybe I would lose something by a sudden discontinuation of my daily routine (even though my routine filled me with despair and gave me weekly migraines). I was afraid that I hadn't yet learned the lesson, hadn't yet discovered the "reason" for my being in San Francisco, and felt if I left before some oracle divulged it to me then I would be doomed to repeat the cycle of working as a secretary and living in sub par apartments with too many guys on an endless loop. I've been in the new place, a studio I share with just James in Davis, for a little over a week, and can already see that all my reasons for staying in San Francisco as long as I did were motivated by either pride or fear. Oh, and I learned my lesson after all! Of course, it was stupidly simple and I wish I didn't have to have such a crap time in order to get it.
I came up with it myself. It is:


I will miss my SF transplant friends, La Mediteranee, Outerlands, The Painted Bird, Golden Gate Park and The Presidio, but with this move I got myself back-- a worthwhile trade. Maybe some day I will go back once I'm sure there's no danger of me trying to move in with a bunch of 22 year old dudes, work front desk jobs, or otherwise look to punish myself in any way.

Me with Goethe in GG Park in my mom jeans, our last weekend in SF



Many times in my life I have wondered, "what am I doing here?" and "what am I for?" Fighting the initial, negative instinct that I am completely without purpose and I don't belong where I am, I return again and again to the idea that I must be in this particular place at this particular time to help someone-- that my presence is instrumental in aiding someone in a way that I don't yet understand. It is a vanity and a delusion that persists without any kind of evidence. I've learned many times (and forgotten just as many times) that people don't want you to come up with solutions to their problems when they complain about them; they just want you to listen to them. Take it from me-- your overweight friend does not want you to exercise with her, your coworker does not want you to point out that her crippling insomnia is the result of the 2 gallons of diet coke she consumes daily, your OCD friend doesn't want you to calmly explain how things couldn't possibly be as contaminated as they seem. All that concern of mine just warps into something resembling snobbery or self righteousness. I get frustrated that I can do nothing to reset the course of peoples lives, that all I can do is sit there and listen, feeling more impotent all the time.
It's common for me to actually abandon the relationship or the job, as I can't stand the constant reminders of my own impotence and lack of influence, can't listen any longer. It just seems so cruel that we can only help ourselves. It's the hardest thing to do. I wish that I could help other people and that other people could help me. No luck. So what am I doing here? What am I for?

It occurred to me while watching a bald woman spit seeds into a plastic sandwich bag that I was born for no other purpose than to bear witness to the grotesques that I encounter on the muni, in line at the pharmacy at Kaiser, and lurching down the aisles at Safeway. One day, while riding the bus that takes me to work-- the 24 Divisadero-- an elderly Latino man got on the bus. He was wearing a neat little linen suit and a fedora, and carrying an ornate wooden cane. His eyebrows were drawn on cartoonishly thick with what could have only been a black crayon. He was bald under the fedora, but he drew in a hairline with the same smudgy black crayon. His entire face was covered in a thick layer of petroleum jelly. He looked like a wax doll. Looking at the tired and bored expressions on the faces of the other passengers, I realized no one else noticed him. He was there just for my noticing and I was there just to notice him.

I must belong here in this disgusting city and all my wandering is over.



For an embarrassingly long time in my life, I would not go to sleep unless the mirror in my bedroom was covered with a sheet. It's hard to remember how many years this went on--probably well into high school-- as the ritual was as essential as brushing my teeth, and I gave little thought to it other than it had to be done. Failure to perform the mirror covering left me at the mercy of Bloody Mary who, in my version of the legend, needed no provocation to pass through the mirror and seize me. Over time, the evil witch in the mirror has been relegated only to bathroom mirrors, where her potency hasn't really diminished (at 25 I still won't go into a bathroom without first turning on the light, and even then I won't look in the mirror). I was reflecting on this insanity recently, wondering why this remains scary when all other childhood bogeymen have faded away long ago. I realized that, like a lot of people, the things that scare me the most appear when I'm deep inside of myself. Naturally, an evil presence that is activated when I'm looking into a mirror, looking at myself, would be especially real to me.

Last night, in the delirium of migraine, I told my boyfriend that I wished we could go into a spaceship when it was time to go to sleep, where our brains would both be plugged into the same program. That way, we could be together as we slept, instead of him drifting off and me staying awake, alone with my worries that overpower me when no one is around to challenge them.

Reflecting on the Bloody Mary fear and the anxiety of insomnia has left me with a realization that I find troubling: I hate being alone, because I hate the sounds of my own thoughts, and am more afraid of knowing myself than of anything else in this world. I am afraid to pursue my interests, because doing that would leave me alone with myself in the creative act-- I am afraid to spend that kind of time with myself. The longer I spend doing a job I hate, living an a place I don't like, etc, the further away I get from myself, and the harder it makes it to return.

New year's resolution: Cut it out.