Thursday, July 31, 2003
DISPOSABLE INTANGIBLE INCORRIGIBLE
I hate it when people say that something is "sort of like an insurance policy." Meaning, it's sort of like spending an ungodly chunk of your income betting that some intangible disaster will occur, but at least when everything else falls apart you'll still be able to afford a few days at a casino/spa/resort/whorehouse to drink and screw away your sorrows? Fuck insurance policies!
That said, I'm well insured. Health, which I pay for myself, being self-employed. I don't need to tell you that health insurance is mind-bogglingly expensive, and it keeps going up and up since I'm so goddamn sick and old I can hardly move (see also: in the prime of life, never had that many serious health troubles, extremely grateful for it). But my favorite trick was when they changed my plan entirely, added a $1500 deductible, and kept charging me the same amount. Thus, I pay $400 every 3 months, but when I got my mole removed, it still cost me $850.
Oh sweet Jesus, I did not mean to complain about the cost of things in this post. I really must be old and crusty and I don't even know it. Maybe I'm actually 82 and living alone in an old split-level home in Springfield, Ohio, and this whole "LA writer rabbit" is just an extended hallucination incited by an overdose of Geritol, Metamucil, and the stale miniature marshmallows I resorted to eating when I ran out of food and forgot the number for Meals on Wheels.
OK, now I'm depressing myself. Better eat some more radioactive marshmallows...
The point is, I detest the phrase "it's like an insurance policy." And, to be honest, I didn't even realize it until today. I just drink some fucking strong coffee and all the little irritations I repress in order to keep friends and lovers around flood to the surface and I feed them to you, friends of the rabbit, because you love me (or hate me, that's OK, too) (if you hate me, though, you should know that you only hate me because I'm beautiful - don't worry, that's why I hate myself, too) for who I am, unlike my friends and lovers, who love me because I'm pleasant and fun to be with when I'm not feeling temperamental or irritated or sluggish or alienated or nitpicky or false or confused or irrational or unnaturally pissed off by something extremely tiny. Woe is me, I'm so much easier to love on the page! On the page, it's all fun and games! Somehow the heavy shit just doesn't pop in person.
And don't tell me to integrate the page with the person. I do it, from time to time. But the sad fact is that here and now, in the restrained limiting narrow adult world, hemmed in by the enforced cheer and regimented optimism of American culture, there is not a lot of room for irritational moods or whimsy or overreacting or obsessiveness or rambling or verbose asides or mania or self-abnegation or a litany of withering insults or even lucidity.
Besides, you start down that road to constant, live, unfettered self-expression, and the next thing you know you're rambling on, left and right, one free-wheeling monologue after another, and I've found that people don't really enjoy that shit unless they're at work, reading my blog as an escape from the stultifying, mortifying, codified torture chamber in which they toil, or at my house, drinking my alcohol. Or maybe I don't really like it unless I'm at my house, drinking my alcohol. Yes, with other people over. Jesus, shut up, you.
Anyway, I've gone down that self-involved path and it's just unbelievably tedious for everyone involved, most of all, me. Because once I start, it's difficult for me to back the intellect up and, say, fry up some fish or go for a walk. This is the trouble I had with my ex, Jake. We both intellectualized everything so much (not in an intellectual way, mind you - no no no!) and we talked and talked and talked and eventually all we did was sit on the couch and talk. I mean, you might as well be two brains in a tank at that point.
And sometimes I do feel too much like a brain in a tank. Feed it coffee. Watch it type. Brain no like phone. Brain like computer. TV. TiVo. Brain have headache. No wonder the idea that I'm just some old woman in Ohio hallucinating all of this doesn't seem like that much of a stretch.
But at least I have the motherfucking page, right? That's why I'm a goddamn artiste, she grumbled, staring out across the desiccated yellow lawn in front of her ranch-style home. Her sprinklers stopped functioning back in '65, a few years after her husband Lou passed away. "Lou had a greenthumb, as green as anything!" she'd tell neighbors when they suggested she get a gardener. "Not me! Ooohhh no. I'd just as soon stay indoors, where it's so cool with the air on! In the afternoon, it's nice to just stay cool and watch my stories. Sometimes I have a dip of ice cream when it's really - "
"We have a great boy, comes around every other week," Helen from across the street offered, picking at her cuticles. That Marilyn at Bonsoir Nails was going to have a fit if she kept that up.
"Welp, since Lou passed, I can hardly afford to - You know, I'll get out there today, I have this sprinkler my nephew used to love, it's out in the carport somewhere..."
"Now, you've been sayin' that, sweetie, but the neighborhood association isn't having it. Why not call my boy? Have him come over. It's just a back-up, in case you don't get to it, sort of like an insurance policy... "
"Sort of... like a... what?" The old woman had a glazed look on her face.
"Like an insur -" The door slammed in Helen's face. She stood on the stoop for a few minutes, staring at the dried Christmas wreath on the old woman's door, wondering if Larry Agnew wasn't right at the association's last meeting, when he said that woman was losing her mind and should be locked up, that she was a menace and a threat, scaring kids off her driveway and then stealing their Big Wheels. What was she doing with all those Big Wheels? Larry implored, pounding his hand on the table in front of the association's executive board, and until now, Helen thought he was being a little melodramatic about the whole thing. Then she heard the rock music, and that strange, low voice, mumbling about a special pillow...
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
IT'S NOT THE GODDAMN HEAT ALREADY
It's humid in LA today, which I don't need to tell you is fucked up. Part of the bargain here is that it's hot, yes, but never humid. If I wanted humid I'd be sweating my imaginary nuts off in the wild green hinterlands of North Carolina. If I wanted humid I wouldn't live in a massive fucking smoggy city where real estate is so expensive you can't even afford to buy a house that's collapsing in a crappy part of town. If I wanted humid, I would move to Durham and buy a big mansion so that I could write novels and grow old with my sweetie just like Michael Peterson was about to, before he allegedly, supposedly bashed her head in with a fireplace poker.
It better not stay humid for very long.
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
LUNATIC FRINGE: NOW, WITH MORE POWER!
"Under the discarded plan, traders bullish on a biological attack on Israel, say, or bearish on the chances of a North Korean missile strike would have had the opportunity to bet on the likelihood of such events on a new Internet site established by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency." The New York Times, 7/29/03
Apparently the Pentagon has joined in the fun of "Flaunt Your Faults" Day.
Monday, July 28, 2003
A FAULT-FINDING MISSION
Today is a good day to list your faults.
Why? Because faults are like fat asses. The more you try to hide them, the more obvious they are to everyone around you. It's not a good idea to keep your faults tied up under the bed, or shoved into some musty corner of the closet. You shouldn't squeeze them under the floorboards or roll a huge rock over them, either. Faults need cool, fresh air to breathe. Otherwise, they suffocate, panic, and turn over the big rock, and the next thing you know, you're doing life without parole for the murder of the woman in front of you in line at the Coffee Bean who kept flipping her ponytail in your face.
Your faults can be your friends! Who knows you better than they do? They see you at your weakest moments, but they still love you for who... well, they stick around, at least, waiting for their next moment to shine.
"That's not really me!" you say. "I'm not usually so angry or demanding. I'm usually much more easy-going than that. I'm just under a lot of stress right now, this week has been crazy..."
Who do you think you're fooling with that bullshit? And how do you think your faults feel when you disown them, Judas? They're there for you when times are tough, but you won't even acknowledge them in public!
Today is a good day to welcome your faults into the sunshine! Give them some fresh air! Celebrate them for what they are - troublesome traits that make other people dislike you! It's time to give your faults credit for scaring off new friends while alienating the old! it's time to give your faults the respect they deserve for standing in the way of progress, for shielding you from real change, for warding off opportunities left and right.
Just think of where you might be without your faults: sitting by some pool in Belize, sipping on a fruity cocktail, chatting with your manager about the concept for your next book and whether or not it's time to announce your engagement to international financier Richard du Fromage.
One of my faults is that I don't usually like international financiers. This is very selfish of me, since, if I dated international financiers, I could take my friends and family on luxury cruises in the Mediterranean.
I do like cheese. That's also a fault.
Another fault is that I like making alphabetical lists.
RABBIT'S ALPHABET OF FAULTS!
Check out the rabbit's worst traits! And you thought you were lame!
A is for Acrid
B is for Bossy
C is for Careless
D is for Demanding
E is for Egocentric
F is for Frazzled
G is for Grandiose
H is for Hardheaded
I is for Indecisive
J is for Jaundiced
K is for Krabby
L is for Lethargic
M is for Moody
N is for Narcissistic
O is for Obsessive
P is for Pugnacious
Q is for Quick-tempered
R is for Remote
S is for Smug
T is for Taxing
U is for Unforgiving
V is for Vulgar
W is for Withdrawn
X is for Xanthic Acid*
Y is for Yucky
Z is for Zoanthropic
* In case you were wondering, xanthic acid is unstable, oily, and colorless, which pretty much describes me when I'm PMSing.
Join In The Fun!
Now, you, too, can experience the joys and insights afforded by compiling a lengthy list of your worst flaws! Just ask yourself a few of the following questions:
1. Which things about me are the most daunting and horrific?
2. What aspects of my personality qualify me for free professional help?
3. Which of my faults cause others to say, 'What the fuck is her deal?' and 'Is she always like that?' and 'I'm scared! Let's go home!'"
Today, you will set aside your shame and show your faults to the world! Today, one day of your life, your faults will run free and wild! You'll flaunt those faults like a fat ass!
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
ARE YOU CHRONICALLY DISSATISFIED?
Check all that apply.
1. You're pretty good-looking, but you wish you were even better looking.
2. Your girlfriend loves you, but you wish she loved you a lot more.
3. Your job is fine, but you wish you had a better one. It would be nice to have a job you really loved, that didn't feel like work at all.
4. You're making OK money, but you'd really like to make more. You'd really like to be stinking fucking rich, to tell the truth.
5. Your friends are great, but you wish you could have the kinds of friends that are just easy to be around, no matter what, and really smart and understanding. You have a few friends like that, but it would be nice if they lived down the block so you wouldn't have to drive too far to see them.
6. You feel pretty good today, but it's way too hot outside and you need to lose about 5 lbs.
7. OK, maybe more like 10.
8. You feel good about yourself and your life on the whole, you have a lot going for you, things are great. You just need a few things to change in order to be truly happy. Just one or two things, nothing too big. With just a few changes, you'd be happy all the time. No more griping. No complaints at all. Any day now. Any day.
Monday, July 14, 2003
NOW UNDER NEW ANGER MANAGEMENT!
Rabbit like Hulk blog. Rabbit wish Rabbit dumb like Hulk. Then Rabbit think only of snacks, kitty cats. Hulk funny, all feel, no think. Rabbit use too many words. Why? Waste time. Rabbit want to turn giant, smash.
Rabbit jealous of Hulk.
Rabbit also jealous of Hot Button guy, who see movie all day, then drink tequila by pool.
Friday, July 11, 2003
DON'T HATE YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL
We all have those days. You know the ones, where you look in the mirror and say, "Damn it, why do you have to be so goddamn good-looking?" or "You're so hot, you make me fucking sick!"
But it's important not to hate yourself just because you're beautiful. Maybe your face is exquisite. Maybe you have the kind of ass that causes 5-car pile-ups. That doesn't mean you have to get all down on yourself about it.
Look at it this way. Everyone has their own special set of qualities. Just because you look better than anyone you know, that doesn't mean you have it any easier. OK, there was that time you needed a jumpstart, and all you had to do was glimpse at oncoming traffic and seconds later, several hundred pounds of man meat were rushing hither and thither, working themselves into a tizzy just to get your engine running again. So delicious meaty man meatburgers fall all over themselves to serve you, so fucking what? That doesn't mean you should feel angry at yourself, or put yourself down.
You may be one of the most attractive and alluring people you know, but that doesn't mean you're better than everyone else, so why get all depressed about it? Sure, it's true that you are, in fact, better than most people, but they don't know that, right? Most of them don't, anyway.
Don't hate yourself because you're beautiful. It's not your fault you look so goddamn good.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
SOY TO THE WORLD!
Dear Sir or Madame, My friend,
Hope you are successful with your business and show a little interests in our product.
Now I would like to show you our latest design - soybean crochet sweater. We have 5 different designs within this series. All of them have a perfect appearance.
I attach one of them by this email for your look. You can know other 4 designs in our web page.
We can accept your order from several pieces to hundreds of dozen according to your need.
Thanks in advance for your reply.
With Best Regards
Dear Jackson Wang,
As honored as I am to hear from the man responsible for such classics as "Cocaine" and "Lawyers in Love," I'm not interested in having a perfect appearance, therefore the soybean crochet sweater holds very little appeal for me.
I know what you're thinking, Jackson. Very predictable jokes, a poor showing indeed. What can I tell you? I'm "running on empty" as it were, beleaguered and broken after working through the weekend. No, Jackson, I didn't say "Everybody's working for the weekend!" although I know you always felt a little threatened by Loverboy. I worked through the weekend - I'm including Friday as part of the weekend, since it was, technically, a holiday - and yet I still have two deadlines today. How does it work out that way? Sometimes, the more work you do, the more work you have to do.
But I'm not complaining, Jackson. I mean, I like my work. I'm sure you can relate, those late nights you stayed up making sweaters that are perfect in appearance and writing songs like "Tender is the Night." But sometimes, I want to stop and relax. Usually, that sometimes rolls around just as the deadlines are piling up, but I have to push on, Jackson Wang, push forward! I mean, everyone I know, everywhere I go, people need some reason to believe. I don't know about anyone but me. If it takes all night, that'll be all right, as long as I can get my editor to smile instead of getting peeved.
Looking out at the wheels rushing by on the road, I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels, Toad. Sometimes I feel like you did that morning you woke up, and it turns out you slept through a whole season, and Frog had to come and rip all the extra months off your calendar. Remember that? I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through. Looking into their eyes I see them running, too. Maybe we're all doing way too much cocaine or something.
Yeah, I wish. All I know is that, from now on, I'm expressing all my thoughts and feelings through '70s-era song lyrics. Like my mom always used to say, if you don't have anything nice from a 1970s song to say, then don't say it at all.
Take it easy.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
MAKE-BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Let's all pretend for a moment that we matter, that we hold the key to some special truth, available only to us through our ideas and talents, that we could walk proudly through the world knowing that we held in our hearts something spectacular and brilliant and original, if we chose to do so.
But we don't do that, do we? Instead, we choose to let dry contacts, sweaty pits, lingering doubts, malingering doubts, lost to-do lists, dustbunnies, unanswered emails, oily skin, imperfect, saggy furniture, unread books, people who begrudge us our victories, people who find us tiresome and obnoxious rather than alluring and special (and Lord, we really can't blame them when it comes right down to it), yellowing plants, sticking keys, self-abnegation, the feeling that we're falling behind in our work, guilt for not updating the blog, suspicions that if we're feeling good we must be repressing a lot of hideous, explosive feelings that are bound to burst to the surface at the least convenient juncture, unmailed bills, stale bread, and unsightly body hair get in the way of our potential.
Speak for yourself, endlessly bitching rodent!
I'm actually in a great mood, listening to Pinback's "Blue Screen Life" which, after loving Three Mile Pilot for years, I didn't know about until recently and is easily one of the best albums I've heard in so very long.
So I'm not feeling that bogged down. In fact, I'm feeling so light and easy that I can see clearly (now, the rain is gone) how absurd it is not to wake up in the morning with a strong, firm commitment to embrace your chosen illusions. Why do we ever allow ourselves to get so distracted by reality?
(Note that I didn't write "get distracted by reality TV." That's an entirely different subject altogether. Reality TV can be a buoyant, life-affirming distraction, in my diseased opinion.)
Why do we let stray gray hairs and fetid trash block us from the warm glow of our delusional overconfidence and magical thinking? I was reading this interview with Pall Jenkins of Three Mile Pilot and it made me remember a time when I wrote songs the way he described. I would just open myself up to whatever was floating around in the room (not the old cobwebs or the exhaust - the other stuff), and I'd start singing strange words that meant something eventually. The key was to wait for that mood, and then open up even more than that, and to turn off the judgment.
My best writing comes from the same place, which a weird thing for someone employed as a TV critic to write. Someone wrote me once and said, "Why do you have to take a stand? Keep your feelings out of this!" Why the fuck would I want to do that? If I have an emotional response to something, whether it's "Iron Chef" or "Dead Like Me" or "Paradise Hotel", why the fuck shouldn't I write about it? The alternative is so incredibly dull, and besides, why would anyone care what some critic thinks? Why would anyone care about judgments? What's interesting is a person's emotions, their experience. Thought might play some small part, but if it's not led by emotion, it's just "Blowhard with a Vengeance."
How do the high-minded and the yogis stay focused on the larger picture through their senses instead of their minds, opening up to their potential, to their talents and gifts, to their responsibilities, without fear of being crushed by terrible beauty of all there is in the world? How do they not stand barefoot in the kitchen eating cold pizza and thinking about how they really need to sweep the floor?