Friday, December 28, 2007

tizzy


I.

Couldn't sleep last night. If I had, the zombies woulda got me. Slept fever-sleep with the covers pulled over my head.

Our collective unconscious is losing hope, feels like. Our dreams are of apocalypse, and there be tygers where we least expect them.

My mind has been full of weird questions today - about whether the world will end with a bang or a whimper, about the rising scream of Pakistan, about the cooking of red snapper, about Big Sisters and zombie survival strategies and whether to snap up a new couch before the end of the tax year. I'm glad I started the day in a cradle of yoga before I let my mind off its leash in this perilous landscape of musings.

II.

Ode To My New MacBook Pro, Purchased Today For An Eye-Rolling Sum And That Was Even With The Questionable Academic Discount, Thank You Very Much

O Mac, enshrouded in your glassy orange sleeve,
Your chitt'ring installations scored this day
Which I had thought that I would spend bereaved
Of that sweet Dell whose company I part
My dear beloved's iPhone hath seduced
My damn'd inconstant impishness of favour
And, linings of my pockets thus reduced,
I set about the sweetness of this labour
For now 'tis time for taking buddy photos
And truffle-hunting iTunes for a treat
And Pollocking with scads of silly icons
Before I limp off, struck numb by the seat.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

every little thing is gonna be alright


'I Am Legend' just kicked my ASS. I am slain. Friggin' A.

Monday, December 24, 2007

giddyap


When I get to feeling like that, there's only one place I want to go. So I went.

I was so worked up, sweating through an enochlophobic fever, pinched in on all sides by the battle around me - self-respect versus pie-in-the-sky romanticism versus incredulity versus despair - I could hardly make it to the gates. But once I did, it was okay - the too-many-speed-bumps and the gentle hummocks in the offhand pavement rocking me gently through my final approach. Sssssh, sweetie. Shhhhhhhh.

I hadn't worn the right shoes, which I realized the moment I popped the drivers' side door and my cheap flats skidded a bit on the muddy concrete. It was okay, though. I wasn't here to do business. The sweet alfalfa air swung around me like a coat as I rifled to the bottom of the trunk for the crumpled plastic bag of sugar cubes. I was happy that I'd never removed it. I stuffed some into my jeans pocket and picked my way over the little creek that was sending a fleet of maple-leaf boats whizzing toward the dressage yard.

And there everybody was, concentrating on their evening cubos - Devious Angel, Star, Merlin. The still air, which sat so cold and quiet on the stable blankets, was ruffled occasionally by the sound of hard breath, a shuffling circle, short conversations carried on in whinny.

Everybody knew why I was there. Everybody knew. As I walked along, nose after nose was thrust out against me. But my truest friend was Corazzo, a dove-eyelashed Arabian who pressed his nose to mine, then allowed me to rest my forehead deeply against his as I lay my hand on his taut, warm neck. After a long moment had passed, he gamely nipped on my peacoat buttons and pushed me around until I giggled. I happily doled him out a sugar cube and a kiss for his kindnesses.

I know why I feel so at peace here. I'm a horse, pure and simple. It's in the habits of my body; in the workings of my spirit. I weep and wither when I'm kept at stable; I only find balance in the space between the liberal application of strokings, kind words, and the threat of the crop; blinders make me safer to myself and everyone around me. To the right master I'm as loyal as I am fiercely capricious to the wrong one; I'm strong and I'm solid but I'm spooky, too; and most of all - I need to know that you know what you're doing and where you're going or I will bite and buck and run.

Friday, December 07, 2007

things i did today


1. Printed 200 pictures of snow
2. Bought the world's biggest gummi bear and shipped it priority overnight to myself
3. Ate drunken goat cheese to the booming soundtrack of Chicago's I'm Sorry
4. Called my grandma
5. Watched Andrew Bird spin harmonic gold within the ornate womb of the downtown Orpheum

Monday, November 26, 2007

painted lady


I.

A year and a half, and we're finally nesting. It feels good! From the first swath of smoky bluish-greenish-grey that spilled out behind Eric's meticulously-applied roller, we knew that important changes were stirring.

II.

We watched The Pillow Book last night. I hadn't seen it for ten years - and it was amazing how different the film was from this perspective.

Most of all, it was refreshing to be reminded that not all movies have to cling to a singsongy three-act structure; that some movies are as exhilarating in their earnestness as they are flummoxing in execution.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

alas, poor dell - i knew him well


I.

Some have wondered why it's taken me so long to realize that my relationship is fundamentally flawed. They're becoming more and more vocal about it; it's as though they were too polite to talk about it at first, but have been emboldened by my obvious frustration.

There are problems I just can't resolve, no matter now hard I try - and they're getting impossible to ignore, popping up with greater and greater frequency, demanding attention I just can't spare.

Also, I'm changing! My needs are changing; simply put, I need more. Right now, I need the comfort and security of real compatibility. And better-looking wouldn't hurt.

So I've decided to end it.

And all I can say is: Merry Christmas, me.

While I'm at it, I think I'll get a little religion, too.

II.

I love my videos - I do - but honestly, this is as informed a State-Of-The-Union treatise as you'll ever need.

Monday, November 12, 2007

happy talk


I.

"You got to have a dream/If you don't have a dream,/how you gonna make your dream come true?"

If you weren't raised on these things, the above is my favourite snippet from a song in the musical South Pacific. It's performed in pecking, brittle pidgin English, and delivered in a silly caracaturish fashion that belies its razor-sharp meaning to anyone who's ever wanted to do some profound-but-maybe-a-little-undefined thing. It's playing over and over in my head this morning.

II.

I enjoyed my gloomy-skied weekend more than I had any real right to. After the initial hurdle of coordinating Saturday's media judging, it was sweetly idle. It was a meditation, really - loosening my grip on the day just enough to give up on Having A Weekend, sink into Bear's arms and recharge. Really delicious.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

office space



I remember the first time I walked into one of these offices - so stark, so modern-for-the-sake-of-modernity. So empty - long, bare tables with simple lights and lonely wall plugs. There is no "officey" warmth here. There are no family pictures. There are no stuffed animals; no indoor plants; no cheery pegboards.

I remember wondering if anyone could really feel at home here, among the polished concrete floors and woundingly sharp angles.

As I grew into this business, I went to more and more of the same place.

Now, I realize - the soul's in the people, not the place, and the constant surges of new blood (all practiced at the art of being The New Person In The Office) makes working in these empty shells as interesting as watching clouds in a stark blue sky.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

all souls'


I was thinking a lot today. Musing. I was primarily doing this because there wasn't a whole lot more I could manage, curled up in a little hung-over ball with a bottle of Advil on the bed next to me and a pillow pulled over my head.

I was thinking about costumes. My costume. My mask.

Inside, I am now and have always been a quiet, withdrawn creature who finds it difficult to connect with people. Trust comes slowly if it comes at all.

Outside, I've cobbled together an open-arms gregariousness in order to make myself palatable to the world - a tapdancer-with-vaseline-on-her-teeth cheeriness that I've begun to roll my own eyes at. Of course the underlying self elbows her way in occasionally, evidencing herself in the startling effeciency of my relationship cutoffs and my moments of unflappable flightiness.

My inside bits have been winning. I've tucked deep down, seeing noone but my Bear outside of working hours. When he's working and I'm not, I seek out the most solitary of activities to fill the time - a twelve-mile hike; a chair in the corner of the library walled off by a pile of books; a nap.

I wonder if it's LA. I wonder if it's growing up. I wonder if it's being secure with my homelife. I wonder what it is.

At any rate, I'm wondering...does anybody out there (patient and stalwart Bear excepted) actually know and like me, and not just the me I've made?

Friday, October 26, 2007

creak


Y'know when you've been working so hard for the past few days that your body doesn't want to quit? An object in motion remains in motion, and so on.

This week has been intense - though I have deep appreciation for these shorter jobs that teach me just how much stuff I can do; that show me the absolute limit of the number of things I can accomplish in a small period of time. I was multitasking so intently on this one that I actually had a genuine flash of desire at one point to have an IV so I wouldn't have to use my mouth for anything other than talk. I simply couple not spare the time for bites. (As of today, my voice is gone.)

On set yesterday, other than the natural continuance of the conspiracy of apocalypses that has haunted us since the onset, we had a little bit of magic. One take of the performance was so powerful that, when the last note rang out, the room burst into spontaneous applause and one girl cried. This never happens. It was one of those moments that reminds me - ah, yes. THIS is why I do this.

Monday, October 15, 2007

from your first cigarette to your last dying day


I.

I started out the morning ever-so-early, scooting to Venice at the asscrack of morning to extract my precious mobile office from ground zero of my first-ever job quittage.

It felt good to get the hell out. But it felt strange and sweet to be so angry about it. So adversarial. So bellicose. I was called "the Big Bad Wolf," and I felt like it...all moral courage and ethical brimstone; all sharp teeth and hellion. I felt the ashes of King Niall rising up sweet and warlike in my veins.

I think it's because it's so close to Samhain. The dead are walking with my feet; toying with my tongue. My ancestors were the last pagan warlords - the last pagan kings and lovers of a misty land, and as the distillation of their blood, they are thick in me. They've taken to clambering over me in my moments of release, wherever they may find it, and to have occasion to express through such justified fury? Ecstasy.

Additional proof? I'm blogging naked. Sorry! Skyclad.

Back to the matter at hand.

It's hard, in this business. Probably, it's hard in every business. But when you're freelance and fancy-free, it's hard to know how many dealbreakers is one too many. How many things have you let slide? How many matters have you knowingly overlooked with the understanding that your power lasts for ten days or so and then vanishes like the proverbial pumpkin-carriage? How complicit are YOU?

When do you deny your name? When do you say, "Take this complicity and shove it, along with the money and any potential gain. Take it back. I'm happy waiting a couple more months for my new couch."

I just did. King Niall is one proud great[to the eleventh power]-grandpa.

II.

We saw a massive tarantula ambling across the street during our weekend collecting cellar-fodder in Santa Barbara. Awesome.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

the death of makeover-mania


I read a blog today, just by chance, and it really struck a chord with me.

Here's the question it brought up in my mind - where lies the line between self-bettering and self-battering? At what point is it perfectly okay to say, "This is aight. This is me. I'm okay." At what point is that sentiment just lazy?

America is obsessed with self-betterment, but America's version of it is consumption-based - and, on the subject of the body, based on consumption-denial. However, it's hard to quantitatively define between list (a), The Changes I Want To Make In Order To Be Better, and list (b), The Changes That Have Been Repeatedly Insisted To Me By Forces Who Would Like Me To Purchase Their Product And/Or Service.

Meditation time.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

not a day for the tough stuff


The air smells like giving up. Wait - strike that. The air smells like releasing what doesn't work, and returning to a smarter, less frenetic, more honest state of being.

When we woke this morning, I had the sudden sense that today was a day for farmers' markets - perhaps even farm-visiting - and wide open spaces, and walking under trees. For blankets and jackets in the great big world; specifically and profoundly, not for offices. I pushed the thought aside and made the long trek to this loft in Venice, because sick days do not exist in my line. I paused at a stoplight on the way over and, whimmishly, reclined my chair to watch the clouds overhead. Several beeps later, I realized I'd dozed off. Whoops.

Monday, October 08, 2007

eggshell


I.

It's time to paint. It's time to nest. It's time to take this perpetual skybox for the metaphorical Los Angeles home game and make it amazing.

II.

What a weekend. This is the stuff weekends were made to be; were conjured out of moon-based, pasted-on linear measurements to provide for us. It was a heart-pounding solo hike in flawless weather, accompanied by a freshly-synced iPod. It was Teddybears STKHLM, The Shout Out Louds, Justice and Bloc Party, filling up the streets two blocks from the house. It was motorcycle grad school, whizzing up the hill I've waited two thousand miles to tackle at magical speeds, the freshness of early-fall wind seeping through my leathers to tickle electric skin. It was loading up on bottles at CWC, chowing voraciously on startlingly delicious Blue Hen tofu, and finally enjoying a real, live evening at home without anybody accidentally falling asleep in the middle of a sentence.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

fun-size happiness


1. The building manager replaced all our appliances with fresh-from-the-box, still-gotta-peel-the-plastic-off, factory-shiny new stuff! Oven, microwave, fridge, and dishwash. Everything. I heart our house.

2. My job means that sometimes I have to tour amazing hilltop houses and dig my feet into beachsand in the interests of the work.

3. The British call tech scouts "tech reccies" (short for "technical reconnaissance".)

4. I left the house in perfect order this morning - which means, of course, that it will be in perfect order when I return and I don't have to frown about the trash being full in the bin or the bed unmade. I'm saving a smile for later.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

dogpaddle


I'm keeping my head above water, which is good. I'm not sputtering, which feels nice.

Problem is, I don't like the feeling of just swinging my legs in eggbeaters under my body. I wanna swim. I want to feel the water sliding over my back, and my hands cutting deep and pulling hard, and the giddy flipper-sounds of my feet behind me. Even if it means breathing a little seawater.

I've been exhibiting these little spikes of fear, lately. I don't feel fear like this when I'm moving forward, no matter how scary the situations I'm moving through. It's mortal fear - fear of intertia and staleness.

And Bear, you're right. Fantasyland can be a dangerous place, once you stop just visiting and start camping out there - and then homesteading.

Friday, September 21, 2007

ch-ch-ch-changes



Because it lost a few dress sizes in data (thanks, Blogger), my blog got a new outfit today. If you were previously linked-to and care to be again, let me know.

The last couple of days have been stewing with mirror-house oddness. I got a call late on Wednesday, during the final moments of wrap on the last job, to start an unenviable new project (honestly, the least-enviable of unenviables) early the next morning. I went in the next morning to discover that it'd been cancelled - not altogether a shock - and decided to throw a bag together to enjoy the last warm moments at Joshua Tree with Bear before the fall rush rips us out of our little coccoon. We were spared a wet night, but were treated to a rather majestic electrical storm this morning.

I've got many things clanging around in my head. I will revisit this when their revelry has died down.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

signoff from the far, salty side of the world


Bouncing over the Twentynine Palms moonscape in the hushed moments before the sun rolled itself out from over the Iron Mountains, it felt like an adventure.

Crunching over great drifts of salt, which looked and sounded for all the world like snow...in hundred-and-eight degree weather...it felt like a trippy fever-dream.

Sitting down to the rest of my work three hours ago, it felt like mental housecleaning.

Tucking into this crackly hotel bed will feel really, really good for the moment or two I'm conscious enough to register such things.

Good night.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

harrying


I've wanted to punch someone all day. I know I shouldn't let work frustrations take hold of my weekend, but it would be nice to play dentist with a screwdriver and a mallet when I'm in this charming mood.

In other news, we met two complete charmers at Hidden Springs. It's been a long time since I've been convinced to be social, and now I'm all excited to meet a load of new people on three shitty runs they've done before. If I can finagle a way to make one of the LA runs in the upcoming week(s), I sure will.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

mph



Today was a golden day. We woke at dawn, hopping onto the bikes to see the sun rise over Placerita Canyon and then whizzing down through the curves for a well-deserved breakfast. We're beginning to inaugurate a Saturday-morning habit of this particular corner diner, in which we always catch sass from a waitress who doesn't so much as take an order but assigns an order on our behalves. Miraculously, she always orders right (blueberry buckwheat pancakes and a steaming mug of English Breakfast tea, thankyouverymuch.)

From there, we parked the bikes and high-tailed it to the farmer's market, where we inched our way through the bounty to accrue a bone-cracking load of redolent vegetables. It's going to be an exciting week at our house at dinnertime.

Once home, we left the bag scattered for a long while to crawl in for a nap, waking up to discover the cat snoring and sprawled over our legs, late-afternoon sun spilling over our backs. There was nothing for it but to throw our gear back on and head back out - this time, cutting through Big Tujunga Canyon.

I've understood this from the first moment I threw a leg over the back of the R1 - you can not understand speed until your full body is exposed to it. On a bike, speed is like sunlight; you're bathed in it, every cell saturated by it, in a way that warms you to the center of yourself. Speed moves over you as you swim upstream through a river of air, defining your relationship to the stone and wood and metal that either sits motionless as you pass or drifts through the current beside you. Speed makes you dynamic and meditative, and speed shapes your body to the bike, and here you're not riding but running - running faster and faster, so fast that your legs have become wheels, and you can stop anytime you want to but you don't want to because it's only in this river of speed that you truly feel that you can breathe. And from the time you learn to swim here, this breath is the breath only breath that will truly fill you.

The speed rushes past your helmet and in through the slitted vents in your leathers and under cotton until it finds your skin, wrapping tight around you until you feel your own exquisite nakedness and know that this speed owns you completely; that even when you're lying perfectly still in the moments before you sleep, you'll remember how it touched the small of your back when you tucked under the wind, and how it fluttered in your stomach when you went through that corner a touch too hot, and how it filled your sails and bouoyed you giddily past a standstill world. You should wear earplugs, but you don't because then you wouldn't hear her singing to you; you should obey the posted rules, but you don't because you're chasing her.

Now iTunes has decided to sing 'Mr. Tambourine Man' to me and there's a satiny Chardonnay sitting half-consumed on the endtable. My bones are still shivering from sweetness, and there's so much sweetness yet to come.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

mcmansion economics and a brown world


Staring out the window yesterday as we chugged through the Bel Air part of Sunset, I became fascinated by the scene at the roadside. It was bus stop upon bus stop, populated by the nannies and housecleaners and laundresses that allow the artifice of that neighborhood to function.

Am I the only person in the world that believes that needing a staff to take care of your personal space signifies an imbalance in your life? It seems to me that if you need a housekeeper, you have too big a house.

There are so many damn 4000'+ square-foot houses in L.A. with one or two people living in them - just think of the unnecessary carbon footprint that represents in cooling, heating, water, supplies, electric power...it adds up quickly and inarguably.

Yet again, it all boils down to personal choices. We all have to see our personal choices as individual votes - am I for a livable planet, or am I against it because what I'm craving right now matters more?

Monday, July 16, 2007

life is a highway


...and I'm gonna ride it until - well - about 4:45 AM.

I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it. I'd spent the night before in wakefulness, wringing my hands, thinking about what stuff can happen when one's body is hurtling along at freeway speeds on a machine you're not *quite* used to manipulating - and which still feels as though it has a malicious mind of its own, sometimes. It wasn't fear of other traffic on the road - hell, we left before dawn. It was more about my on-again-off-again friendship with Mr. Throttle, and his general air of disrespect for Ms. Clutch (we're all three in counseling - with Bear moderating - right now.)

They say everybody goes through this period, but I felt silly and conspicuous anyway - especially when I was so worked up as to be trying to shift with the rear brake lever to leave the parking lot. This two-wheels is not, my friends, as easy as it looks.

To make a long story short, I made it out there, though in a talking-to-self-in-helmet, lip-biting, maybe-half-a-yellowbellied-tear sort of way. And I did okay. And it was exciting, and I beat the fear pretty soundly.

Later in the day, we scooted up to Newcomb's Ranch to watch MotoGP with the rest of the folks, and my noob experience in the morning made the beautiful mysteries of top-tier ridership even more beautiful. When it goes wrong, it goes very, very wrong - but when everyone's keeping the shiny side up and the rubber side down, it's watching synchronized swimming through the soup of air that feeds us one and all. And I finally cheered for the silly Oakie as he brilliantly salmon-swam through the ranks to take a heap of places by sheer force. You're alright, kid. You done good.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

keep it simple, stupid


I.

I have - by far - the sexiest, awesomest boyfriend ever conceived. He's so good, I'm jealous of myself sometimes.

II.

I have the bike. She is MINE! Mwa ha ha ha ha.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

i want my bottle


I would be very curious to observe myself under pressure. Am I overconciliatory? Patronizing? Overtly hand-wringing? Didactic? Or do I seem all cucumber-cool and sane-alicious, even though there's a small nuclear device detonating in my emotional core? Gee, that'd be swell.

I know I'm not as cool as I'd like to be. I take it personally. I care.

I inherited the 'caring' thing form my parents. In medicine for a heap of decades, my dad has done an amazing job of caring for and about people. I remember driving up to a glass-etcher in Napa, years ago, to pick up the glass mugs he designed and commissioned for the medical group he was leading at the time. "Our Job Is To Care," they said - the simple, yet hauntingly adroit mission statement he'd put forward for the group. I stared at that motto every morning as a gulped my orange juice out of one of them. Honestly, I can't think of a better way to phrase his approach to medicine (and to life as a whole, at that.) He cares so deeply about the people he leads and the people he treats, he appears in my eyes to be a living manifestation of namaste. I got matching 'give-a-crap' DNA from my mom - she has an oil-tanker-sized heart. She's full to bursting of a love generally only read about in religious texts, and she shares it without qualm. (Ask me to tell you about the rats sometime, if you're dubious.) The upshot is this: I can't not care. It's a physical impossibility, even though I wish I didn't. I care about my job, and whether people feel well-treated and respected. I want to help folks that are having a tough time of it. I want to make it better.

I get the nagging feeling, however, that my caring appears as a weakness in my line of work.

Pifflesticks. I can only be me.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

the list of things i never thought i'd love, but madly do


- bragging about my standout, grade-a, gold-star flossing habits to my duly impressed dentist
- cleaning house
- the way i feel with no caffeine in my body whatsoever, ever
- choosing "waaaaait for it" instead of "do you take VISA?"
- monogamy
- the never-predictable ebb-and-flow of freelance work
- a filing cabinet for widows and young professionals
- succulents
- motorcycles
- deepak chopra
- being exactly, unashamedly, unabashedly me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

and the livin' is easy


I.

I like my perch.

Cerb and I are sitting in a pool of late-afternoon sun, looking out at the world through the glass walls of the solarium. You can view the very circulation system of the city from these windows - it's Los Angeles reimagined as an animated film about the body.

The roads wound tightly around below us flow with red-blood-cell cars and white-blood-cell emergency vehicles, surging down artery-freeways and chugging along cappilary-surface-streets, effeciently depositing people and things into the office buildings, construction sites, schools, and stores that fill the space between the accessways. From these big windows, the whole system is on fascinating display. It's a tireless source of interest, watching the rhythm of this funny organism we're living in; you can set a watch to the flow of freeways...if there are people pouring in or out or around the surrounding buildings...the shape and opacity of the gauzy haze-blanket that falls over the faraway crest.

II.

There's a red sparking shiraz chilling in the fridge, and fresh-made, toothsome english-muffin bread. I'm thrilling to the prospect of getting up to my elbows in the rich bounty of a southern California summer; though I'm quite enthusiastic about exploring the pantheon of restaurants that graces our environs, I've been habitually handing over more than my rent each month to the retaurant industry. It's time to get back to farmers' markets and bread-making and - for I will certainly devise some way to do it - growing my own herbs in these big, sunny windows. It's time for stone fruits and honey-drizzled goat cheese, and my signature sangria, and the creamy, green crispness of a handmade shrimp-avocado-endive salad.

III.

I feel ready for a lot of things. I'm ready to start checking off my list - and now, I've got the legs under me to tackle it rightly.

Friday, May 18, 2007

and whether pigs have wings


I.

I've rolled directly from one commercial to another. I don't mind the short order at all - every step closer to the bike feels good, though it feels odd to be juggling a pair of huge car jobs like they don't mean a thang. Which they don't, really, in the big scheme.

I'm working in a very interesting place this time. It's a meticulously scrubbed cavern of concrete and glass that looks like it's been infected with a Dr. Seuss virus - fifteen-foot palm trees the size of a thumb that come regularly up through the eat-offable floor, and a series of birchy treetrunks around the lunch table that soar twenty feet to the ceiling, only to end in...tiny busts. Of luminaries. Tiny busts of luminaries. And a tiny, working television at the top of one.

II.

Kombucha feels amazing. Amazing. At Bear's excellent suggestion, I've been subbing it out for coffee whenever I crave the latter, and I'm so pleased with the result - it's like tastebud yoga, and it gives me the tingles from head to toe (like I've replaced my blood with race gas.)

I was driving to work with a bottle this morning (I'm on the westside this week, so it's a solid hour on the road), marveling at the sensation this stuff causes. It's almost as though I can feel it healing every part of me that bears healing - everything zings. Plus, it tastes...well, good. Really, really interesting and really, really good - once you get past the fireworks the first sip tends to cause.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

the black-spidey parade


Um.

So we went out to see Spiderman 3 last night. It pretty much amounts to this.

Watching Tobey shake his itsy-bitsy little moneymaker like a gigolo on crystal meth was not unfunny, but I was hoping for a little more than action-porn...especially considering how fun and involving the first two were.

Let's not make a four. Please? Thank you.

Monday, May 07, 2007

estate vintage


My legs were bruised and sore from kicking a disinterested horse - and Bear's were tired from his own long day of riding - but it was far too beautiful a day to stay home. After weeks of living under a grey-brown curtain, I finally came to the the top of my hiking hill to see Catalina's long green back rising out of the water...and such a thing bears celebration.

So we met up in Eagle Rock for a pair of coffees and a quick wander down to the hip little wine purveyor down the street, where we mused for a minute over a taster of tempranillo and browsed for a suitable bottle. I've been jonesing to try some of the newer dry rieslings, so we picked up an Austian bottle - a 2003 Johann Donabaum (Wachauer Federspiel).

Now, I'm usually a butter-my-bread Chard kinda girl when it comes to whites. I generally like 'em cuddly and malolactic - more of a lazy-late-autumn style, full of baked fruit smells and afternoon colours. In my few forays into crisp minerality, I've discovered more misses than hits; after all, it's a short road from subtle to insipid, and a difficult line to walk.

This one? Whoa.

It was mountain spring water coming over warm summer rocks, distilled. It was handfuls of clover and a sundress just pulled down from the backyard clothesline. It was sharp with new growth and lemon-bright.

It was awesome.

We finished the bottle perched on a rock wall under a canopy of old trees on the old Cobb Estate grounds, chatting up the steady parade of dog-walkers as they tromped by.

It's a wonder that life can be so unrelentingly sweet.

Friday, April 27, 2007

us, year one


I.

I want to say so much, but I don't know where to start.

About screaming through a gritted smile, hurtling headlong down a tropical road on a clunky, lurching scooter. About the sunset view from the pineapple fields, as seen from behind the chestnut withers of Mr. Kurt Russell. About the insouciant butteriness of fresh-caught ahi, perched on a pillow of coconut rice. About following your flippers into a sea full of laughing spinner dolphins and pufferfish and humuhumunukunukuapua'a. About waiting to see our souls, but getting to see much more. About the mysterious appearence of the Dalai Lama. About baby goats.

I can't organize it. It should have been done daily, and wasn't (happily, my time was absorbed in other pursuits), and so this is all left to the diary written succinctly by my tan lines, my paltry collection of snapshots, and my bank statement. That's okay with me.

II.

It's Arbor Day. That means that it's been a year - I've learned so much, and we've grown so much, and again I hardly recognize myself upon reflection.

So we plant our tree - the first of a great, great many - and push on into the next year, and the next, and the next.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

i'm only sleeping


What now?

What next?

How did I get here in the first place?

Sheesh.

I learned my lesson well, not to discuss work here. So I won't. All I know is that I've spent the last week with evil green faeries aplenty, and inappropriateness ad naeseum, and the spectre of my future getting more and more spectral by the moment.

I think we're going to Austin now. Hell, London's too cold anyway. All I know is that we're leaving soon...at least, I think it'll be soon. I hope it'll be soon. Honestly, I have no idea what's up. Everything's in flux. Everything's uncertain. We can't even pretend that we can count on anything but each other anymore, and we're both a bit of a mess.

Maybe mess is good. Wabi-sabi.

But maybe not.

I'm slipping into a hopelessness-born ennui as the subconscious part of myself that decides what to do next begins to tire of chasing its tail. I was going to work overseas in a humanitarian capacity - but wait, I sure can't do that - and I need to break free of this and find something to do that doesn't pour boiling oil over my dignity - but wait, I can't do that either - and I need to move myself physically to a place that doesn't continually suggest that what I'm doing with my life isn't detrimental to mind and body - but I'm stuck here until things sort themselves out...which they won't, as far as I can see...and so there you have it. Stuck, stuck, stuck. And getting fucking bitter about it, thankyouverymuch.

Meh.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I spent much of the day uploading - a cleanup I've been meaning to do for a while.

I realized, along the way, that old photographs are heavy.

How many pounds of stuff do I own? I must lose the weight of extraneous ownership. I will spot-reduce my closets some more.

I start one hell of a freakin' gig tomorrow. I must rest.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

paint it black


I.

I had my first private lesson today. It wasn't much to discuss, but it's another promise kept.

II.

Every once in a while, do you feel your own mortality jump out of the little closet it lives in inside your head and walk around scaring the part of you that's trying to keep your sanity intact?

I don't know if I snapped today because of the rapidly-decaying traffic situation around here (good lord, it feels like they're trying to kill me), or my impending crossing-the-quarter-century-line birthday, or all the talk mom and dad are doing about financial planning for the end of the game. In any case, at an unlogically random point this morning I went into a sort of morbid emotional shutdown, victim of an unshakeable feedback loop about - well - death. What I haven't done, and what I won't ever do, and the infinite tininess of the space my death would leave behind it. It pulled me chokingly deep, the sucking fissure of my own too-much-thinking, and left me gasping for reasons to continue with the day. And it left me lonely - horribly, crushingly lonely - and hollow, and burned. Sitting a trot shook the worst of it out of me - thanks, Nebraska, with your uneven gait and your ready nuzzle - but I'm really just beginning to put myself back together.

Sometimes, I wish I could just laugh, so the world could laugh with me - instead of the alternative.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

snifflenosed and smiling


snifflenosed and smiling
Originally uploaded by annette_oneil.
It's a long climb to the top, so we fill it with Peter Bjorn and John, and some country music, and the smash of pumpkins.

We swish by the two abandoned ski resorts that lie sleeping up here - wrapped in orange netting-fence, ski lift benches rocking discontentedly in the biting breeze. I fantasize about owning one of them. Skiing in winter, horses in summer. Hiking all the time (with snowshoes, occasionally). A pub called The Snowplow. A boutique hotel, with really awesome beds and fluffy iinens and a cigar lounge with big, plush club chairs and a view of - well - the heart-pounding cleft of the Angeles Crest that surely appears over the ridge at the top of this paralyzed lift. Our mascot, Winston. The phantom plans occupy me until the front bumper nudges a snowdrift just off the road.

It's amazing, this peace. This pine-needle air, which brings with it an armful of memories of happiness past, and I'm reliving them here with your fingers running through my red hair.

We are silent. The only sound here is the melting of the trees, making little snowball-fight sounds as the ice releases from high branches and makes its hesitant way to the damp, redolent earth.

happy ira day!


Because every promise I keep to myself heals me.

Because every woman must acknowledge that she is maiden, mother, and crone - that the season will change, as sure as turning leaves, and the wise are not unprepared when fall turns suddenly to winter.

Because black feels better than red.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated


I.

It started in a mess of dolphins. Dolphins everywhere - hundreds of them, all around us, doing a fast-as-can-be stitch through the water as they chippered and yelped and turned their little Loki faces towards us on the boat. I could've sworn they were all smiling. I know I was.

Actually, it didn't start with the dolphins. It started as I made the reservations in the car on the way to the docks, locked in a race against time to snag one of the two hotel rooms left open on the island. The battle won, we segued into a couple of splendid crepes, consumed lazily under a crystal pour of morning sunlight as we watched a street full of dogs and motorcycles and hand-holding and smiles. Only then did we amble over to the boat, and only then did the mess of dolphins emerge.

I'd forgotten the charm of this place - the reminders of places growing longer in memory, like Taboga - Jamaica - Contadora. Painters on the shore....endless variations on the theme of 'golf cart'...the way an island enters you through breath and skin and the beat of your slapping sandals, until you're well under her spell and daydreaming of a life where you never have to leave her. This is every island, condensed and scrubbed and made convenient, but it is still very much of itself.

There are small things I want to inscribe here against my own forgetting - like my flirtation with a little white parrot named Sugar Ray, who literally chased me down the street when I left him behind. He went whizzing by a minute or two later, clutching the center of his owner's bicycle handlebars with his clipped wings spread and beating, screeching with obvious joy. I also want to remember toodling around in a golf cart, waving at the other silly cart-renters, and playing a round of mini-golf under a canopy of old trees, wrapped in the sharp smell of eucalyptus, as little cats chased our golf balls through the course. Then it was time for drinks and live music and my very first oysters - for making friends with locals and walking unevenly through the streets with your strong arm thrown around my shoulders. And then, at breakfast the next morning, getting kicked out of our first restaurant for reasons I still don't quite get. OK - well - maybe I do.

II.

An Open Letter To The Parties That Kicked Us Out Of Busy Bee:

I know you hate me, sweetcheeks, and all I stand for, as I sit here with a stupid souvenir hat on my head and knock back a questionable amalgum of day-glo concoctions with little decorations on. I know you hate me because I've been you, except not in a stained waist-apron over a prodigious gut, clutching menus like shields against those who would ask you to do your job. I was behind a long counter in a room that smelled of wood and winebuckets, watching the men in bowling shirts and their sensible-shod wives tipsily ape television wine experts, break glasses, and mispronounce 'sauvignon'. But what I understood even then that you obviously don't understand now is that those clumsy bumpkins - here and now, yours truly - are the reason you get to be here in the first place. And when I go home and file the photos and put the hat in the closet, you still get to be here. You still get to see this sunset, and dip your feet in this water, and pet the horses and knock a golf ball over the road. So fucking smile a little bit.

Yours In Tourism,
Annette

III.

That said, it was a great trip.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm learning to love the long process of intimacy with this city - this vast outspreading of openwork streets, shooting past the grimacing faces of too many disheveled coin laundries and quickie-marts and perfunctory city parks, with their spotty grass and lonely skateboarders.

It's the repurposing of a space. This street, that you once only knew as the spot the farmer's market sets up on Sunday mornings, is the one you drive to in the morning for a job. You breeze in the mysterious door that you used to see only as the background behind the woman who sold good lettuce.

Maybe it won't be so bad, being here a little while longer. It feels right, and we've only just begun to unfold ourselves into this high-perched space.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It's half past two in the morning, and I'm shooting again.

Lulled by the gentle mechanical shivering of my motorhome perch, I'm watching the lunch tables twitter with workaday chatter. Even though it's at the painful juncture of late and early, everyone here shares a surreal sense of normalcy, bolstered by the standard set of rules we hang these projects on: I arrive, and in six hours I eat. My timecard is there, my tools are here, the trucks are over there.

The second assistant director is singing Led Zeppelin to himself in the client room and shuffling SAG contracts, and I'm nipping at a spoonful of artichoke dip.

It'll be nice to get home.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I swore I'd never golf. Up and down, really. I cursed the argyle; cursed the apparently overphilosophic monologues on the lessons of golf; cursed the conspicuous consumption; cursed the water-hungry, overfertilized greens pumping chemicals into the aquifer.

Oh, how far I've traveled.

Imagine that this sentence would ever emerge from me, and then marvel that it has:

The race at the California Speedway was cancelled due to perilously high winds, so we spent the day at the golf course instead.

Tee hee.

It's a giggle and three quarters, I tell you.

In any case, golf surprised me. Not only did I enjoy it scads more than I was expecting to, but the physicality of it came as a bit of a shock. It hurts! My muscles are actually sore this morning. Trippy, no?