overhaul / undertow

Saturday, November 30, 2002

somehow I feel the last entry was too personal or too much. It's honest. So I feel like I should leave it up there. But I (a) hate being treated as though I am fragile, and (b) don't want to have people get the impression I'm whining to get sympathy. So I may pull it. I'll likely edit it, at the least. But since I'm torn, and since today is such a weird day--my first day of feeling sort of okay, and I've been surprised by an avalanche of moodiness and sadness--I figure now isn't a good time to make decisions about what to trim and what to leave, or if even to say anything at all. So I'm leaving it for now, but it may change.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Hello all.

Er. Sorry, I've been sick.

I have this rare thingie called Sponge Medullary Kidney Syndrome. It means that when your kidneys were developing they formed with little microscopic spaces in the tissue. These spaces retain acid longer than they should; the acid solidifies and forms kidney stones. Therefore I'll be dealing with these things for the rest of my life. woo wee.

I pass one and sometimes more every few months. My body has become used to it--it's amazing what the body can do. I don't even feel them most times, which is incredibly lucky, or else--given the frequency with which they occur--I'd be effectively disabled, landing in the hospital every few months. As it is this is only the third time I've had to go since 1996 when I was diagnosed with it. But I did end up in the hospital; I passed about five stones but more are still in me. They can't do an ultrasound to shatter and remove them because I am also, coincidentally (to my great irritation) anemic. I am always fucking anemic. I do just fine, thankyouverymuch. Can we just get on with the damn ultrasound already?

So I have the next few days to pop as many iron pills and eat as many steaks as I can (ugh--I don't mind a good steak, but it has to be good to make it worth it--I just don't eat much red meat) so we can get on with the stupid thing.

I sound irritated and cranky, and I am, but underneath it all I'm really about to cry. This last week was hell. I could barely stand. In order to walk I found it easier to bend double at the waist. Every breath hurt. Five minutes would seem like an hour; I'd pass long blocks of time (once I was in the hospital) by just requesting demerol shots so I could escape and sleep. It was...words fail me.

It was very intensely awful suffering.

I see why some people become monstrous after enduring horrific suffering, because feeling terrible pain for long periods of time is an extraordinary thing. It alchemizes a small bit of your soul into something inhuman. A small bit of my blood turned to iron. It's not a good thing, not an "if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger" kind of thing. I feel kind of less...human. Less brilliantly alive. Maybe I will get that feeling back with a few more magical life experiences under my belt.

I walk out of the hospital exhausted and grateful to hear the sound of a fountain, to smell the rain in the air. But what I felt, what I went through, has been a subtraction from me, a removal, and will never be restored.

It makes me sad.

I'm very happy to be alive, though.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Hi, this is Jake, posting on Michele's behalf while she is in Valley internet exile.

She's at her parents' place. She is fine, will be back in a few days.

- Jake.

Friday, November 22, 2002

it's the weekend! it's the weekend! sweet mother of god, it's the weekend!!! Oh the joy!

say you love her with crack


A lovely gift for all occasions, comes in many different varieties to choose from.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

your tax dollars at work


Holy fucking shit.

just a look
could make me think it might be worth
the effort just to see the look
it kills me half to death
just a word
can make me feel there's nothing worth
the trouble just to hear the word
it kills me
I don't believe in love
and I want to believe.
Keep loving me to death.

-the pernice brothers

[shotgun] blast from the past

Well, I feel a lot better today than I did last night. Jeez. Sometimes I go thru the worst spots. It never makes much sense to me.

Got an email today. Someone remind me not to check my emails while at work.

It was from an old flame. He hasn't written since we broke it off. He called me a few times but we never had anything to say to each other. When he called I wouldn't return his calls.

No, I am not a callous bitch. This man dangled me on for about six, seven months of unadulterated emotional-rollercoaster hell. I was in love. He liked to kiss me when we were drunk. I'd think it was the earth moving under my feet. He manipulated me, broke my heart, met a nice girl and decided she was his girlfriend. I decided I couldn't be around him and stay stable one more second.

This email told me that his band had cut some demos and did I want to hear them? Did I have an email account he could mail them to, as they were a certain amount of megs large?

I feel as though someone's punched me in the gut.

If I *were* to write back, I'd say, "Hi. Fuck off. If you want the radio station to play your stupid songs, mail them to the damn station. Not me. Sincerely, Michele."

'Cause I guess that's really the only reason he's writing, is 'cos he thinks I might play the music on my show. He used to come in with me, back when we were friends, and we'd co-deejay the show.

It was fun.

I don't think I'm going to write back.

I am fine. It's like walking along the side of the road, and a random car swerves by and shots are fired. You duck, you wait a bit, you keep walking.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

something has come loose in my brain and is rattling around again .


undone ?

no, I have not had anything to drink, thankyouverymuch.

I'm just in the worst mood. Not "bad mood" as in foul mood, or surly mood, or temperamental.

I just feel like I'm about to (a)puke, or (b)cry, or (c)stare at the ceiling for hours with a worried expression on my face for reasons i cannot comprehend.

and no, it is not "that time of the month."


I haven't had a tv for years, but I wish I had one now. It is such a lovely distraction.

I'm fine, really I am, and there is nothing much to say about it. It comes from nowhere. When it's gone it goes back to nowhere. It is caused by nothing specific and is eased by nothing specific. there is no surefire cause and no silver bullet. I just oscillate wildly. I'll be fine tomorrow.

jeeeebus fecking christ

God. I have reached an unholy level of boredom.

It's not that I have nothing to do. I have a lot to do. Like long division is a lot to do. A lot to do, and no one can give you a good reason why.

118 pages of formatting edits, with different changes on every fucking line....someone please shoot me.

Sorry, I know I'm whining. Never fun on a blog.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Just before leaving work I hear someone in the office kitchen go in and clatter coins into the vending machine. The sound of a packaged item falling, the clunk of the little door on the bottom, and then the most ferocious noise of this mystery person attacking the plastic wrapper, ripping and tearing into whatever innocuous modular food item was inside.

It occurs to me that we humans are domesticated.

We're living in captivity, and we're the ones who've put ourselves there.

Every day I feel muscles I used to use every day atrophy while I sit in this wobbly office chair. I feel like I should be leaping from rock to rock on a wooded hillside somewhere cool and crisp, scrabbling with my overlarge boots at dark earth and golden leaves, grabbing on to something sturdy as the earth rolls over itself into nighttime, and then I sit and watch stars slide across the sky.

Am I just getting older? Is my vitality seeping from me, a slow loss of blood over a distance?

I think I need a vacation.

nature takes its course

Spider update:

It is with great regret that I report the unfortunate passing of The Spider. I felt kinda crappy doing it. I mean, she was HUUUUGE. A very impressive black widow [how did she get in here, all the way up to my 2nd-storey office? amazing], fully grown, her abdomen, touched with red, about the size of the fist joint of my pinkie finger; the tips of her legs extending, attenuated, to sharp black needles. Growing up in the West San Fernando Valley, where these things abound, and in my backyard (which was very big--it's a long story why it's so big, for another time) which was full of perfectly cozy places for widows to take up residence--big piles of wood, loads of brick and stone (dad is a bricklayer and stone mason, quite the artisan and perfectionist) and a stand of eucalyptus, constantly shedding bark and leaves, dating back to the 20's when the city was founded (it was called Owensmouth then, to lure new citizens, as though it was some lush river land--when it was, in truth, a dry and dusty place)--well, at any rate, dad taught me early on how to recognize their webs (thick, strong, tight and snapping, in corners as opposed to across open spaces, and constructed with no rhyme or reason, unlike the usual glass-shatter-pattern of most spiderwebs). And how to recognize their profile even if they were too immature to have gone black yet. And to know that when they DO go black you better be careful.

But still I felt bad. Such an amazing display of nature's intelligent design, so sublime and terrifying--how can soemthing so small inspire such primal responses on the part of humans? I got at least two pleas for "clemency for the spider," both from men. My [female] roommate wished me luck in killing it. I think women have a much more visceral, kill-that-fucking-thing-now-for-chrissakes response to spiders because of evolution. A spider that big could kill an infant. Think about it. Primeval female humanoids prolly were smacking the things dead all the time, in an effort to safeguard their young.

Poor thing, though. Too bad she couldn't be free and in a safe place for her--like in my old backyard, where we'd often leave them be in they were out of my, and the dogs', reach.

My friend Kat collects 'em live (she's also getting her degree in forensic science--now there's a woman) and transplants them to safe places where they can live out their lives unmolested and fulfill their formidable role in the food chain, reducing the bug population. Which I heartily appreciate.

Too bad I couldn't can her in a jar and take her to Kat, but it was just too awkward a situation for me to do that.

Death has now visited my offices.


Sunday, November 17, 2002

from the "just 'cos it's old and from east of Istanbul doesn't mean it's good for you" files...

I've read a few books on ayurveda now. I was quite interested in it.

I have come to the illuminating (and very well articulated: here goes:) conclusion that it is a crock of shit.

Acupuncture helped me with asthma attacks, and reiki helped me with my juvenile arthritis, and Chinese herbs helped me get over kidney problems, so I am not dismissing ayurveda 'cos of some antipathy towards Eastern treatments--I prefer them when possible, as I've taken enough medicines, both over-the-counter and prescription, from hardcore immunosupressants (for the arthritis, but later I found out they also were given to cancer patients as part of chemo treatments) to painkillers ranging from simple knock-you-outs to wonderful floaty rides on purple clouds--I've taken enough medicines and pills to knock a horse dead. I would like to reduce my need for 'em, and eastern medicine tends to treat the source of the problem more wholistically, so that's often quite a stretch better.

Ayurveda does point up some good ideas: the notion of the diurnal rhythms of the body, encouraging awareness of the biorhythms; an appreciation for differing body types and different physical / emotional constitutions; the beneficial effects of yoga; and it's recommendation for not drinking very cold drinks has only helped me.

But this ghee thing? They've gotta be kidding. What kinda special crack were those ancient gurus smoking back there in the Indus Valley?

Ghee is clarified butter, and I am supposed to do everything with it short of, well, you know (although maybe if I'd read an "Ayurveda for Women" type book, it would have told me to do that too). Put it in your nose, for better breathing! Your eyes, to "moisturize your eyes"! Hell, roll around in it! Swallow a tablespoon or more before breakfast (how much you are told to swallow depends on the ayurvedic diagnosis of your body type)!

Um, I'm sorry, but if you really expect me to believe that butter with all the water cooked out of it (and thus clarified) is the universal panacea, you've got another think coming.

Perhaps it's time to be intelligent. Ayurveda was invented around a time when basic nutritional needs were hardly ever met. Like, 5000 years ago. And color me cynical, but exactly how good has India's record on public health been since then? 5000 years ago maybe your eyes were dry, 'cause the last water you'd had was at a polluted well south of the Indus river two weeks ago, and so smearing butter in your eyes probably sounded pretty damn good. But now? Us Americans are dying from overeating. OVEREATING. Not malnutrition. Everything I eat at a dinner out has been sauteed, simmered, and slopped with butter. Life is different.

The one good thing I'm taking from reading up on ayurveda is that all things should be done in moderation.

Including steak dinners and...butter .


affirmative action for morons

I like the internet, don’t get me wrong.

I was concerned about one thing, though--I just felt it might not be that democratic a realm, you know? Here’s the crux of the problem: you have to HAVE internet access and the education to utilize a computer to even begin to move around in the online world. And it takes even more know-how, aptitude, and time to express your opinion and make your voice heard.

Basically, I was concerned that the net might become a world off-limits to all except the overeducated, the computer-savvy, the top ten percent or so.

Luckily, however, I was wrong!!!

This is great. What with the cruising around I’ve had the discretionary time to do lately, I’ve discovered that my fears of the 'Net being an elitist playground, with a college degree required for admittance, were unfounded! It’s true—the web is indeed democratic. It includes all people! Even that most unfortunate demographic, The Dumb.

Yes, folks, I’ve found to my great relief that the 'Net is an inclusive land, open to all. Thank heavens! Inane opinions, uneducated ranting, pseudointellectual blather, uninformed attempts at journalism, wholly biased accounts, and, perhaps most astounding of all, completely unintelligible sentence structure exist—even ABOUND!!!—on the Internet.

Well phew! Good to know. You can bet I’m wiping a bead of sweat off my brow as we speak.

For example:

"How many more people must die, how many more planes crashed into civilian buildings before you finally get it? Useless browbeating and 'reverse patriotism' just might be the death knell for 'inside' 5th column enemy consorts or as we call it in the big city.."THE ENEMY" you align yourself with so casually... it's not the president stupid, it's the Islamofascists. Your wandering beknighted economic paradigms of strawmanship belie the malfeasance of your ability to use a keyboard... btw how much do color coded keyboards run these days? try this out... our leader is taking us against overt threats of very real threat from a dubious and well funded faceless uniformless enemy, and you and your like may speak against the enemy but at the same time try every means by which to discredit the leadership...May a predator be your friend, and a black helicopter your cruising buddy... I want to fly it." (from the comment section of a fellow blogger, in "rebuttal" to said person's anti-war stance)

…can anyone tell me what he’s saying? Is there anyone out there who can explain what he’s getting at? I sure can’t, but I want to be open-minded—I refuse to be limited. It's time to realize that the society and language of The Dumb is just as valid as other cultures, and the Net is on the vanguard edge of this new movement. I think it's time we all agreed that being dumb isn’t a choice—it’s a disease, just like alcoholism! I mean, so often it's not their fault, it's inherited, you know? We need to embrace new ideas, new ways to be more compassionate and understanding—yet firm, of course—with The Dumb.

A lot of people say we should ship ‘em all to an island, but hello people, that’s so barbaric. They did that with lepers in, like, the eighteenth century. It's time to evolve. Let's operate on a new paradigm, here: one of understanding, appreciation, and brotherhood with The Dumb. And, thank heavens, the Internet is the perfect place to start!

Brave new world indeed.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Well Jacksonville's a city with a hopeless streetlight
Seems like you're lucky if it ever changes red to green.
I was born in an abundance of inherited sadness
with 50-cent picture frames bought at a five and dime.

Sit around, dream away the place I’m from
used to feel so much,
now I just feel numb
could go out tonight, but I ain’t sure what for
call a friend or two
I don’t know anymore...
Sit and listen to the rain
Gonna ride down to the river where it runs
gonna watch tv,
pray for decent reruns
sit around and dream away what I’ve become
used to feel so much,
now I just feel dumb

I’ll never understand this emptiness,
I’ll never really try to understand, I guess

lyrics by whiskeytown

i.s.o. people willing to have too much fun making asses of themselves...

So I've been told SantaCon is seeking additional Santas. Scroll down to my entry from a few days ago, below the food rant, to read about it and check out all the links. If you're interested, email Santa Deb at debfrog@earthlink.net . We've got a fourth double-decker bus. BYOB. hahaha....

Thursday, November 14, 2002

actually, I don't hate these things...as long as they don't promise me I'll DIE if I don't forward it...

From: Tana Stanbra - Kung Fu Entertainment
Subject: you hate these e mails

Welcome to the next edition of getting to know your friends. What you're supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire email and paste it onto a new mail that you'll send. Change all of the answers so they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know *INCLUDING* the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you'll learn a lot of little known facts about your friends. It's fun and easy. You might be surprised with some of the things you learn about people you think you know... Don't feel bad in taking a little extra time to respond.

1. IF YOU COULD BUILD A HOUSE ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD IT BE? For daily living, the hills near Griffith Park, to see downtown and the beach all at once. For getaways (ha), northern Italy and Monterey, California.

2. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING? My black jeans, black boots, a really comfy stretchy black shirt, and my growing hat collection (current fave is the big furry Russian officer hat with earflaps); for sheer campy slut value (I only wear these things in Vegas, at Halloween, or to wacky art openings), a stretchy see-thru too-tight white dress with black velvet flowers and red velvet straps; a real vintage Chinese brocade dress; a metallic blue pleather tube top; and my really tight black pencil skirt with side slits. Yeah, so I'm a clotheshorse.

3. FAVORITE PHYSICAL FEATURE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX? hair and a sturdy nose. No joke. And of course a personality and sense of humor forceful enough to count as a physical feature.

4. WHAT'S THE LAST CD THAT YOU BOUGHT? All at once I got Interpol, Black Heart Procession, and Pavement. Next accession will be Hot Hot Heat and New Pornographers.

5. WHERE'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO BE? Traveling, anywhere. Um, I hate planes though.

6. WHERE'S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE PLACE TO BE? anywhere with people I feel alienated and estranged from.



9. WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE IN THE MORNING? Variable, depending on alcohol consumption, how late I was up reading the night before, etc.

10. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE? all of them. I like to cook. But what kind of 'tarded question is this? I like the "Hello Kitty Waffler," an aquisition of my roommate's. "Waffler"--does that mean Hello Kitty has difficulty making decisions?

11. WHAT MAKES YOU REALLY ANGRY? Assholes driving SUV's, sexism, and...unflatteringly for me...anyone who treats me like I'm stupid or, even worse, like I'm wrong.

12. IF YOU COULD PLAY ANY INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? guitar. But I have zero patience for learning.

13. FAVORITE COLOR? For clothes, black; not in that The Smiths "'cause black is how I feel on the inside," way, but just 'cause it's always flattering and seems nicer. For home, all colors, particularly bright ones. I dislike pastels. And my hair is tangerine-orange.

14. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SPORTS CAR OR SUV? Sports car. Don't get me going on SUV's.

15. DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE AFTERLIFE? No clue. I'm agnostic.

16. FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK? Harry badass fucking Potter. I also loved reading Bradbury's Dandelion Wine and McKinley's The Hero and the Crown (which ruined me for mundane real life) when I was a kid, but they're more like books for young adults.

17. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON? Fall; altho in LA that includes Winter. Spring smells great, but I don't like the heat.

18. WHAT'S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE HOUSEHOLD CHORE Um...all of them? Just ask my roommate.

19. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? To travel anywhere instantaneously.

20. IF YOU HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT IS IT? Naw. I can't settle on any imagery I'd be sure I'd like long enough--my tastes change too often.

21. CAN YOU JUGGLE? No, but I can use a sword like that girl in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

22. THE ONE PERSON FROM YOUR PAST YOU WISH YOU COULD GO BACK AND TALK TO? Gosh, I have three. My grandparents on my dad's side, and my old Drama teacher from high school, John Fennell. He committed suicide a few years ago.


24. WHAT'S IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CAR? Junk I gotta take to goodwill, my beloved 10-disc cd changer, tire chains and jumper cables, a shitty first aid kit, and some clothes.

25. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SUSHI OR HAMBURGER? Sushi. I don't eat fast food.


27. WHO'S LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? also irrelevant.

28. WHO DID YOU RECEIVE THIS FROM? Darling Tana. Usually I get these from Kelsey, so this is cool. Thanks!

being domestic is fun when done once a year

tonight's menu:

crostini tuscan style with brie (yeah, fusion. whatevah.)
-There's only one right way to make crostini / bruschetta. (Which, by the way, is pronounced broo-skeh-tah. and you thought you were bein' all Euro by saying it like "bruSHEtta." It's weird, but in Italian the "che" is pronounced "keh,"--that is, hard, not soft--while the sound we pronounce in the US as "che" (think Guevara) is spelled c'e`. Insane Italians. Gotta love 'em....)
So anyways, there's only one right way, as is the case with much Italian cooking. Cut a tiny oblong thingy of heavy-duty bread (the tuscans make their bread without salt, like the etruscans before them. So their bread ends up...well, not bland per se, but tasting like bread and not salt, not savory.
Cut each round about a third of an inch thick. Then rub a crushed or sliced-open clove of garlic--or two--over the top of each round. The garlic juice should get into the bread--sniff real quick to check (whoo!). If yer bread falls apart as you do this, your bread is not badass enough. Go find a better loaf. I'm talking gnaw-thru-the-crust-to-the-warm-yet-resistant "to the tooth"-on-the-inside kinda bread. Al dente bread.
Once you rub on the garlic, slob a little olive oil over the top of each round. Yeah, slob it. It doesn't have to be perfect. I pour a little in my cupped palm, then smudge it on with the fingers on my other hand. Hey, it does the job. Then toast it. Watch close--you want it crispy in the outside, kinda soft still on the inside. Doesn't have to be brown, or even golden too much, altho it'll prolly turn a nice golden anyhoo. Mmmmm. Then I put the rounds on a plate and glopped the brie on after they had cooled a bit. Brie is served close to room temp (I believe) and you can eat the rind. I didn't think you could, but I recently was told by a cheffy type that you can, and I'll be damned if the stuff ain't tasty.

next on the menu: Brussels sprouts, steamed in water with garlic, salt & pepper, garlic, and rice wine vinegar (yeah). Oh, did I mention garlic? The vinegar cuts the astringency of the sprouts, making 'em edible and even savory, which is weird but works.
If you don't like these things it's 'cos you haven't had fresh, well-cooked ones. I got mine fresh from from whole foods market. Don't buy frozen unless you really, really like 'em. You know they're done when you can stick your fork in easily. No one wants to stab at their vegetables. Eating veggies is enough of a bitch. We shouldn't make it any harder.
Then I tossed 'em in a sauce made from, among other thingies, capers, balsamic vinger (only a little--the better it is, the less you need; it ain't like white vinegar--but maybe you like a lot, so add it to taste), olive oil, and, um, garlic again. Yum. Being from some Tyrolian lineage, I threw in the tiniest bit of nutmeg. Weird, but it does good stuff for everything, sweet and savory alike. It's good on meat dishes too.

And then: baked apples and pears stuffed with brie, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and brown sugar, served with a sweetened reduction of sangiovese red wine (sangoivese is a tuscan red grape used in most (I believe) chiantis and northern reds. In its absence, use a shiraz, NOT a merlot--too sweet) and, most importantly, balsamic vinegar (balsamic vinegar adds a richness and depth to sweet dishes you normally would not think to pair with vinegar. When I was in Italy, the big thing was to serve a bigass bowl of the best, sweetest, most luscious strawberries ever and then splash it with balsamic vinegar. It made the flawless even better. Give it a try--just the littlest bit of the vinegar will go along way--when it's good, it's as rare, precious, and impactful as gold. Go for it and buy the good stuff, kinda expensive, but from Italy--try to get the kind both made AND bottled in Italy.) I used the brown sugar liberally and sprinkled it over the fruit too, along with a concoction simmered from corn syrup cut with water, ground ginger, and allspice (poured over). Bake it at around 400 or so. I donno how long--just 'til you can stick it with a fork and it feels soft enough that you could eat it without a knife. It took me a while, but better to bake it slowly at a low temp, allowing the juices to steam the fruit from inside, than to burn the things. I don't remember how I made the red wine / balsamic reduction, but there was sugar and corn syrup involved again, and a hella lotta liquor. Mmmmm. That'll provide a nice bite to cut the sweetness of the fruit, cheese, and sugar. If you don't want to bother with reducing the sauce, just splash a little bit of balsamic vinegar over the fruit and its juices before you serve it.

Yeah, I know I didn't make a "main dish" but i didn't eat any of this stuff anyway, not yet... something about smelling it for hours fills you up. I cook to relax. It's a zen activity for me. I don't have the cash or the wearwithall to attend cooking school like some other bloggers out there, but I don't mind so much, not right now. I cook by smell. You can tell if things go together that way. ;)

I put the Brussels sprouts in a tupperware and left the baked fruit and their sauce to cool on the stove. I'll prolly eat them tomorrow, and will feed them to my friends and my roommate (who is my friend too, yay for Tana, the New Job Girl!!!).

Food is fun.

Cooking seems to modulate me into the realm of the maneageable. Rah!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

ho ho...ho!

It's that time of year again. Crowds mob the streets. Everybody drinks a little too much. Adults make asses of themselves, dressing in furry red suits. Large, annoying groups huddle together to sing songs at hapless and terrified passerby.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. SantaCon 2002 has arrived.

Here's a 1999 LA Weekly article describing it:

In December 1994, the Cacophony Society — a coalition of artists and techies with a yen for alcohol and public pranks — decided to celebrate the season by getting sauced and marauding around nighttime San Francisco in Santa costumes. The idea has since gone national, with Cacophony chapters from Portland to New York City staging their own Santa Rampages, Santa Cruizes, Santasms, even, in Portland, a Santafada.

L.A.’s third annual SantaCon ’99 began in earnest last Saturday morning, when an estimated 150 participants rendezvoused at Los Feliz’s venerable House of Pies. All manner of Santas were in attendance: Boy Santas, Girl Santas, Santas wearing gas masks, sexy miniskirted Santas and bare-chested Scottish Santas in white-fringed kilts. There were also a few elves, and, inexplicably, a guy in a bear suit. When the assembled finally embarked for the subway station at Sunset and Vermont, bristling with carefully concealed intoxicants and repeatedly chanting the single word "HO!" with loud and almost frightening intensity, the red-suited army stretched the length of a city block.

"We’ve endured pious holiday entertainment for too long," agreed Santa Ho, organizer of this year’s Con. "It’s time to desanitize Christmas."

Most participants were less ontological about SantaCon. The point for them: Any environment, when filled with Santas, becomes inherently hilarious. SantaCon ’99, then, was essentially a series of variations on a single non sequitur joke. Hundreds of drunken Santas in the subway! Hundreds of drunken Santas at the Biltmore Hotel! Hundreds of drunken Santas ice skating! Hundreds of drunken Santas dancing with toothless junkies in a slum bar!

What was surprising is how funny that one joke could be, and for how long. And situations that come up along the way sometimes provided for unplanned moments of true satire. While plastering the trees outside City Hall with wrapping paper, garlands and ornaments ("Deck the Hall!" the Santas screamed), several enterprising Cacophonists lavished the same attention on the shopping carts of the homeless.

For their part, the homeless — and most "civilians" lucky enough to be conducting their daily business along the SantaCon route — seemed to enjoy the spectacle. Kids, especially, screamed with delight at the sight of so many potential gift-bearers, and the Santas rewarded them with candy canes, small bottles of ketchup or slices of processed cheese. The almost universal good will showed SantaConventioners continued into the Biltmore’s Grand Avenue Sports Bar, even when the ladies bathroom became ground zero for dozens of pot-smoking Santas of both sexes, and a few naughty Kringles started looting crystal bowls and cases of microbrew from the kitchen.

Sometimes we get in trouble, but usually SantaCon just causes random anarchy.

For hilarious photos, look here.

I will be there this year, a SantaCon virgin. Always a fan of getting loaded in the morning and, well, painting the town red (yeah, I know, bad pun), I decided this event seemed made just for me! Thanks, Vanessa, for encouraging me to go.

Look for us--200 drunk Santas in three double-decker busses, or just wandering in large frightening groups--on December 14!

Monday, November 11, 2002

writing late at night, feeling depressed...

I think of when I brought the puppy home. I bought it out of shocked sympathy, for ten dollars, from a junkie on the corner of Santa Monica and Vermont in the parking lot of a burrito stand at two in the morning. And my friend and I walked to the car, hoisting the little thing up into the passenger seat, and I stared down suddenly horrified—what had I DONE?!?

Was I insane? My apartment building didn’t even allow dogs. I didn’t even have the time to walk it or care for it—and I had no yard for it to play in. But I couldn’t leave it there, at two in the morning, its hopeful little tail wagging as it stared up at me. Such a little tiny dog. I had nothing for it. I left it in the car in the supermarket parking lot (it was three a.m.), overcareful to crack a window, worried I might have it open too far so inched the glass back up again—bought a dozen things the puppy didn’t really need and three it probably did; brought the little thing home, it was so silent in the passengers’ seat, its huge eyes fixed on me. So small. Brought it inside, where it trotted gamely onto my pile of dirty laundry, turned in a circle three times, and flopped down, its exhausted eyes closing.

I’d saved it. It was safe. But was it? Did I know what to do? The survival ratio of my plants thus far was about 45-55---55% deaths. How could I take care of a dog? Inside, I panicked. I was terrified by this limp little furry thing. Had I bought all the right accoutrements?

It began to snore.

My heart melted. I felt fierce. I wouldn’t let anyone hurt my little puppy. I would take care of its every need. I even felt an extension of this protective urge spreading outward to myself—I had to sleep well, eat well, stay healthy to make sure that I could be in good condition to care for this little thing, this dependent creature. It would be the most pampered pup in the western hemisphere. I woke in the middle of the night no less than six times to stare intently at it—was it ok? Was it breathing? Yes, and loudly. Snozzzzzz. At five a.m. I woke abruptly to name it Wally. It was like a visitation, an intuition--I had no doubts. Neither did Wally—he snuzzled himself into a tighter ball, thin whiplike tail near his ginger-colored muzzle, and sighed in his sleep.

I think of what it must be to be a parent. I taught for ten years so I know about discipline, and I know when to be tender; when to be firm and when to give hugs. How to explain the unexplainable to a five-year-old. When to listen closely and what can be tuned out. When they are manipulating me and when they are really being candid. I also know when to call their parents if I am at a loss.

What will happen to me? Will I ever have kids? Will I ever WANT children? And if I don’t, what will become of me? Every woman’s fear, the demon of meaning she must battle—who am I if not, in the end, a mother? Surely still valuable, and still of equal worth (right?), but what am I even called?

The future is so blank and inscrutable, sometimes I think I’d pay a crackpot psychic just to put my heart at ease.

As for the dog, I gifted it to my parents the next day. I called my mom at work. I told her I had to see her—something important, but I tried to keep it breezy, so she wouldn’t worry or ask too many questions. I met her at her office at the end of her workday. The puppy curled up in the front seat of my car.

As I got out of my car, she got out of hers, where she’d been waiting. She came over to me with an intense look of concern and some curious sternness to her features.

“Michele…are you…pregnant?!?” she whispered.

I gawped and stared, and then cracked up right there. “No, no, no!...but, ah, I have a dog.”

I told her the story; she looked into the car and saw the puppy. If it had been human it would have smiled hopefully. It sat up straight and eager.

“Oooohhhh no, dear, honey, he IS cute, but we can’t take him, we have Gunther.”

Gunther was my parents’ black lab.

“Well, I can’t keep him, I don’t have a yard and he can’t stay in my apartment—I’m gone all day long.”

“Well, honey, you’ll just have to find an agency to take him in. We can’t keep him.”

I panicked quietly for the second time in 24 hours. I couldn’t give my dog away to some…agency! My parents were supposed to keep him! This wasn’t going as planned.

I had a flash of inspiration. “Okay, I’ll find a place to take him. Okay. But can I just have you guys look after him for a day or two? I have to find a place.”

Mom looked concerned but her expression softened a bit when she looked at Wally. He cocked his head perkily to the side; one soft fuzzy ginger ear flopped, the other stood gaily erect. He was a damn Puppy Chow commercial.

“Well, ok. Your father’s just gonna love this one,” she said, dryly, her voice acid but her expression slightly amused. She looked sideways at the little dog.

Wally stayed at their house for the next two nights. I did not look for a place. No agencies. I simply waited.

Two days later I went over to see them. The dog was curled up on my mom’s lap, watching tv with them. As I stood there she leaned over and fed him a bit of chicken off her plate. Oh dear.

They still have him, a year and a half later; he and Gunther play together all day long.

Having established, unnecessarily, that my parents can indeed care for and keep alive a sentient being, I'd also like to submit that the lemon tree I bought four years ago is still alive. Sadly, drooping, dropsied and cockeyed, but alive.

Yay. Is this progress?


...four hours later I wrote this; I'd been reading a book on travel, and it took me back to my time in Italy, and somehow, for some reason,
it only deepened the way I'd been feeling earlier, that flitting of melancholy around the edges of your thoughts suddenly diving in to the center, invading.

Some nights I wish I had had a brother or sister.

Those are the nights I feel so fucking lonely. The earth could swallow me up—would anybody know?

I want the whole world to know, to care if I suddenly drop, the earth beneath my feet falling away. It doesn’t feel good—doesn’t feel just—to think that three, maybe five people would know. Maybe a few more would hear about it within a week. They’d be stunned, three or four would be very unhappy for a while, but they would all go on with their lives.

This seems unfair.

Not that I want people to be miserable, but simply I am upset—it seems unfair--that I am not more. I am not bigger. None of us are. We’re little motes of dust. Poof—one is gone, and the others shift about and we go on.

I am usually one to downplay my needs or go second best or think less of myself. But I can’t here: I live every moment in myself. How can I be myself, and no one else feel that? No one else see just a glimpse of this intensity, this rushing feeling in my heart as the days go by, the ten million words my mind speaks, as I pass each day, each scene seen from within my eyes, describing it and thinking about it—the Greek chorus in my head, that ocean of feeling held so tightly in my chest, in my stomach?

I see the silhouettes of the leaves outside my window, moving in a light breeze. It is midnight. I can’t stop crying. And I sound tiny and young like I’m crying the way I did when I was a little girl. I don’t understand how I am not still a little girl. Twenty-five now, but so few years have passed. An equal number more could pass in an instant and leave me on the threshold of being an old woman.

And of those three or five people right now, who would still be there, when I am fifty? My parents will not be. And they are all I have; so far, they’re the only thing that’s stuck around. Everyone else feels so temporally bound, so changeable, so untrustable, I could take off round the world—I might as well, there is nothing here for me. I do not want that to be true—I want things in my life that are permanent—but I cannot trust. Everything has changed, these last ten years. My life is not safe. Daddy is not down the hall if I need him, mom isn’t right there if I get sick. And I think I am sick now. The doctor says my blood count and hemoglobin are half what they should be. That sounds scary. I am always pale, but tonight I look in the mirror and I am white as a sheet. I look ill. I feel nauseated. When I saw the doctor last he looked sharply at me and asked for contact information for my other doctors, the specialists.

I am scared. I think I am always scared.

If I had a sister, or a brother, I might feel less alone, but I have no one, no one, no one. No one permanent. I have several very good friends, many acquaintances. I have a boyfriend. I love him very much. But I’ve seen time take every single one of these things from me in the past, over and over again.

We are up against the awful truth, I guess it is, that nothing lasts. And I am raging against this as though it ought to be different, as though it were even possible to be different.

I want to move home. I want my parents to take care of me—that would make them happy--, and I can take care of them too, and save up my extra money that I won’t be spending on rent—save it to give to them and buy them the trips and houses and things I’ve always wanted to give them, a way of saying thank you, thank you, thank you.

I snort and wipe sloppy tears all over my face. They fall on the fitted sheet and disappear into the bed. Now they’re on the keyboard. And I re-read this and as always feel impossibly stupid. And as always, I feel narcissistic, tiny, childish and dumb. Even if I could make that gigantic yawp into the wilderness, to scream that I’m here, no one would care—not the way I care--but me. It doesn’t matter.

Blog away, silly girl, blog away.

Friday, November 08, 2002

yes I am tinkering with the site.


epiphany overhaul playlist . 11/08/02 .

/ | | \ ....

The Walkmen, "We've Been Had" from everyone who pretended to like me is gone.
Unwound, "We Invent You" from leaves turn inside you.
Interpol, "Obstacle 1" from turn on the bright lights.
Black Heart Procession, "Did You Wonder" from amore del tropico.
The Pernice Brothers, "Flaming Wreck" from the world won't end.
Lush, "Light from a Dead Star" and "Kiss Chase" both from split.
I Am The World Trade Center, "Look Around You" from out of the loop.
The Faint, remix of "The Passives" from blank wave arcade.
Dntel with Ben Gibbard, "The Dream of Evan and Chan" from life is full of possibilities.
...and then the dsl crapped out.

woo wee.

the cursed radio hour

"...there are some special dates to watch that should prove to be especially bright and happy for all Aquarians, no matter what day you were born, or what you do for a living. On the following dates, Mars will stage an important cosmic phone call on your behalf to certain other planets: First, circle Friday, November 8, Saturday, November 9, and Monday, November 11. Each of these days will be terrific, for Mars will work with both Pluto, planet of transformation, and Jupiter, planet of good fortune. Schedule presentations and meetings. Socially, friends will be in a light mood too, so you might want to get together with the gang. If you do, it would be fun...."
-astrology zone, an appealingly thorough (2-3 pages long, altho not long enough to make me believe in it...anymore) astrology website authored by some nice lady named Susan.

Good fortune my arse.

God bless my punkrock halfass radio station.

We moved into our new space and got the dsl up and running a month ago. The dsl has not gone down once.

Until today. During my first show in months. During the show that I told everyFUCKINGbody about.

I also think I'm gonna change my show back to nights. What do you guys say? Let's face it: the afternoon has no soul. You simply can't conduct the Epiphany Overhaul during daylight. It's a task best suited for latenite skies purple with city lights.

Well, we'll try again next week.

What you would have heard had I not gotten cut off:
modest mouse
unbelievable truth
death cab for cutie
dismemberment plan
the fire show
the pixies
the smiths
creeper lagoon
bright eyes
jets to brazil
the weakerthans
and you will know us by the trail of dead

...and any others I could fit in.


well, did you like what you heard? I'll post the truncated set list as soon as I get a chance.

....and we're ...


holy performance anxiety, batman!

Today is the day of my first show back at killradio.org in months, since I began my hiatus for the summer. I am nervous!

Any requests?

One person wrote me saying (I paraphrase) "Er...I donno, um...no Eminem?"

Hee hee hee hoo ha. [pats head.] Don't worry little one, I'm going strictly indie on this one (a few indies owned by majors, but indie nonetheless).

Fuck that "alternative" shit--packaged crap for the masses.

I'm planning on bands you've never heard of, and neither have your cool friends either!!! I hope.

That is, if I can get the board and the mixer to work. Eeeek. Pray I don't fuck this one up.

If you don't mind hearing me quite possibly crash and burn, tune in to killradio.org at 2 pm pacific standard time. I've noticed the volume levels on streaming audio like ours is usually lower than most mp3's, so be prepared to crank it a bit--it won't sound so tinny. Apparently our mics are really loud, tho, so I hope I don't blow y'all out with my voice.

Next week I'm taking it up a notch, bringing in mp3's of live stuff (Ryan Adams covering "Wonderwall" is rad, plus some Johnny Cash covering Hank Williams; also some edgier things like zeni geva (mwahaha) and shellac; and going a bit more experimental with bleeps and glitches; plus some awesome new electro/oldschool rap/turntablism from knifehandchop's "tko from tokyo" and some la dudes like peanut butter wolf maybe); but today is just the hits. I feel a little less nervous that way.

twitchily yours,

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

just what I always wanted:


Dear Snoop Dogg: Thank you for translating my site. Now small suburban white boyzz who spend hours memorizing your lyric sheet so they can talk like you can read my site.


I don't know what to say.


Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Daaamn yo! Our girl's back on the air!*

Finally, after about eight months of delay, I will be back doing my webcast radio show at killradio.org. I am feeling a quickening of the blood, an exhibitionist excitement, and a flooding sense of relief, like finally I can breathe---dj'ing get's into your soul. For some people, I guess. Designing a sine wave of artworks to carry others up and over the invisible topography of day to night, pain to pleasure, the landscape of your own heart as transmitted like blinking distant lights, seen from far at sea...

This show is my lighthouse out to you thru the fog that lies between all discrete and essentially separate souls.

It's called the latenite angelcity epiphany overhaul, and is, I believe, the longest-titled show in the station, but I actually talk very little during the show--the stage fright sticks with you. I donno if I can still call it latenite tho, as it will now be during the day (it used to be wednesdays from 11-1 am, but work now prohibits that--and now I can hit a bar that night like normal people, instead of sitting at the board swigging Stoli inbetween cues.)

The meaning of the words epiphany overhaul are not common knowledge and it's prolly best to visit my other site for ideas about that. If, like me, you were an absolute nerd and enjoyed deconstructing literature themes and disinterring the significance behind cadences, formal structure, and alliterations in prose and poetry, I guess you may figger it out. But don't worry if not: it ain't all that.

Jake is back in town and is doing his killradio show & updating his awesome sociopolitical weblog again too.

So to listen to either of us, visit http://killradio.org/ and click on listen. You prolly already have a player on your computer that'll play us. If not, and you wanna download one fer free, go here: http://killradio.org/static/docs/tools.html. Good list of players.

So, if you want (for some reason) to hear the voice that some asshole in high school yelled at me "sounds like the bitchy goth girl from Roseanne!", well, tune in and hear my highly rarefied and disciminating palate of song choices for y'all. Maybe I'll mumble a few monosyllables.

Sometimes I think it would be so nice.

To have a huge death-star-style entertainment system here in my room--there's a perfect place for it, right where the paintings are that I never ever work on--god, sometimes it's so appealing, I love all that slick technology in perfect black ergonomic plastic and charming retro stylings...

...and most of all to watch tv before work. Something about it is so...soothing. To watch reports on a few of last night's violent overreported crimes, calm and safe in the blue morning light, and the lovely stories about puppies and "women's interest" stories about weight loss and the importance of "self-time" and the evils of stress, and to wait, wait, wait for the weather report as I make my lunch for the day and eat some toast...because lord knows how I could leave the hose without seeing that most soothing of tv reportage, the weather report...

Sometimes it seems so appealing to just kinda let go, and to crave a house on a tree-lined street as my be-all-and-end-all...the hungry desire for cutting-edge fashions from minimalist west-Melrose boutiques (ah, Fornarina, and Miu Miu, how I adore thy shoes, thy urban-space-age fusions), and a sleek job in a "creative office" where I can click around importantly in expensive high-heels and have one-to-one meetings all day in a skylit corner office, discussing thigns like "synergy" and laughing uproariously, with my own assistant who has shocking purple hair and for some inexplicable reason, a nasal New York accent along with her eyebrow ring...and to be able to buy things online, no muss no fuss, whenever I wanted...and to choose the "next-day" shipping option...Pilates classes, my personal Ayurveda instructor telling me how I should eat more plums because of my constitution....

aaaargh. Save me from the effects of pop culture and the pressures for contemporary "success"...

Still, sometimes morning tv sounds so damn nice...

Monday, November 04, 2002

Jesus hates your crass consumerism too!

Click here for the manifestos: http://www.jesushatesyour.com/...
...and here for some pics of the shirts (none of which include--alas--the rumored "jesus hates your s.u.v." shirt screened over a Cadillac-logo-emblazoned t-shirt): http://www.jesushatesyour.com/shirtpics.html

Far be it for me to endorse what is (probably another overpriced) co-option and repackaging of the punk-rock, d.i.y. aesthetic and activist chic, but daaaamn yo, these things look fucking awesome. I want the s.u.v. one, if it's a dark color.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

...so this means...absolutely nothing, then!

I found this article at MSN News or something. I hate studies like this--isn't there some joke about the Institute for the Research of Incredibly Obvious Things?
I certainly hope my tax dollars didn't fund this.
My issue is not with the actual study, but with the way the results are reported. The margin of error in many studies of this sort is pretty damn big.

Genetic Link to Lupus Identified:
Flawed Gene May Put Some People at Risk
By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD
WebMD Medical News

Oct. 28, 2002 -- People with a certain genetic flaw may be more likely than others to develop lupus. Although researchers have suspected a genetic link to lupus existed, a new study has pinpointed one gene.

Researchers studied more than 2,500 people with lupus and found that people with the disease were more than two to three times as likely to have a particular variant of a gene called PDCD1.

Lupus is a disease of the immune system that causes fatigue, joint pain and swelling, and sensitivity to sunlight. More serious cases may also cause damage to the kidneys, heart, and nervous system.

Estimates vary, but lupus is thought to affect about one in every 2,000 people in Western countries and most commonly strikes young women between the ages of 15 and 40.

However, the abnormal gene is associated with only some people with lupus -- 12% of European and 7% of Mexican lupus patients have this lupus gene. Researchers found this gene in only 2% to 5% of people without the disease.

Study researcher Marta Alaracón-Riquelme of the University of Uppsala in Sweden says this gene is already known to affect the ability of the immune system to recognize its own cells from others, and any alteration of the gene might contribute to the exaggerated immune response that is found in lupus.


What the fuck? 12% of patients, tops, may have this gene? The difference between people without lupus who have the gene and people with lupus who have this gene could be as close as two percentage points? What the fuck does this tell me? "Well, miss, you appear to have this awful disease, and there's also this wacky, like, twelve percent chance you have this weirdo gene, too! Isn't that special?!?" I have a better fucking chance of being born with three wisdom teeth or longer second toes or hanging earlobes than I do of having this stupid gene. (I actually do have only three wisdom teeth--wack. I hear it means you're more genetically evolved. Rah! Finally, proof!)

This study bugs me more than usual 'cos I was almost diagnosed as having lupus. For six months when I was about 19 or 20 they didn't know if I had rheumatoid arthritis or lupus--both autoimmune diseases that strike primarily young women--and for those six months myself, my family, and my friends hung swaying in this awful airless space, feeling a noose tightening around my neck, terrified.

After about seven, eight months they decided I had RA--I guess it's a slippery slope between the two illnesses--and I have been enormously lucky that it has been in remission for the better part of the last six years. Both illnesses involve your body mistaking itself for an allergen, in a way, and attacking itself. Lucky for me, it's just my joints, and martial arts and yoga have helped me stay strong and not have any real damage yet--yay. People with lupus get it everywhere, in all their organs. I am so so so so fucking thankful.

The two or three times it's popped out of remission sucked. It usually hits me in my knees--one time I woke up in the middle of the night to find it had gone full-blown, my knees swelling up to the size and appearance of canned hams--yuk. And in the feet, which really blows, 'cos, well, you need those, you know? There were a few months when I couldn't walk around UCLA (I was in school at the time) without hurting with every step. I gritted my teeth and refused to get a handicapped placard, even though I could barely climb stairs (pulled myself up with my hands) or walk; getting that little tag on your car might be a bitchen' coup for someone who hates parking lots, but for someone like me who's both a stubborn bastard and genuinely ill, it's an admission of something I wasn't ready to admit. I would walk on the grass whenever I could--it hurt less. I think I singlehandedly raised the stock value of athletic-insole manufacturers. Yay for Dr. Scholl's.

But all in all, except for those few periods, it hasn't been a problem--just a nagging worry in the back of my head, a reminder to keep moving keep moving keep moving every fucking minute--'cos quite seriously, I have no idea when I might wake up another night and find myself blown up and achy like a sickly balloon. As for now, I am the queen of flexibility, and I can take the stairs two at a time. I learned to use a Chinese sword in kung fu and I can do this neato stuff with it, like the women in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I am pretty darn healthy and able. I am learning to eat fire at Wednesday night workshops, with a friend of mine who does fire-spinning.

There is a book by Tom Robbins called Jitterbug Perfume. It begins in the dark ages, and is the story of a man who lives for centuries. He is a king, but flees his homeland when he realizes that he isn't bound by fate--he can do anything he pleases. On his journey he meets a wise man, who whispers a secret to him, laughing the whole while--"The world is round!"

"Round? You're kidding!" says the king.

The sage giggles and says he is very very serious.

And so the king goes off, walking around the whole damn world. And every time he thinks he can't do something, or can't keep going, he just sings to himself: "The world is round, round, round!"

He walks around the world until 1990 or so, when the rest of the story unfolds.

As for me, I just keep reminding myself, the world is round, and I can walk around the whole damn thing.

Ok, I feel better now. Phew.