Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Top Procrastination Activities Right Now:

1. Staring in hypnotic state of alter-consciousness at the photos on the new Beyonce CD. She's so perfect it's almost certain she recently visited the caramel planet where they dip you in warm liquid caramel and then dust you in gold powder, then freeze you. i heard about that place once when i was visiting the baggy zit planet.

2. blog

3. that's about it.

4. maybe take a shower

5. more Big Red

6. shit i forgot to return the videos

7. i'm out of tangerine altoid sours

8. my dog is twitching in his sleep

9. i got to got to got to work

ok bye for real. stop buggin me. i'm trying to work, yo.

This just in: "Gigli Focus Groups Demand New Ending In Which Both Affleck And Lopez Die."

Shim-Sham Pamela:

So I saw The Pirate Movie last night. (You have to call it The Pirate Movie. Or, A Pirate Movie.)

They should have called it Keef vs. Rob Zombie in the Cavern of Endless, Pointless Swordfights.

I mean, what's the point of dueling someone who's got a curse of immortality? I just don't get it.

That's like trying to read that really long novel by that guy (Infinite Chest?) in the middle of a Beatles concert. A) You'll never succeed, 2) You'll wonder later, what was I thinking?

But hey, it's a mooby, right, and who am I to try and understand.

So here's the little irony of the movie: It's definitely the kind of movie that should be seen on the big screen, but it's also definitely the kind of movie you should wait until it's $2.50 at Video Hut to see.

It's really slow. Like, Boris Karloff as the Mummy-slow. Plus, it's really long. The most exciting thing for me was the totally hot guy that was sitting next to me. I should have just jumped him. Ah, opportunity, missed again.

It's too hot to eat. have you noticed? Too hot and too muggy. All I ate today was corn on the cob and Gatorade. Sloopy will only eat apples and corn. Too hot!

My White Stripes ticket arrived today. That concert better be good, because i paid 50 bucks for a nosebleed seat.

I have to actually work today, and it's already five. Shit. I ran errands all day and still haven't started working. That's what you get when you get up at 11. Nuts.



PS: Here's some additions to the Running List of Things That Are Good:

1. Tangerine Altoid Sours (try and eat just one!)

2. The New Beverly Cinema

3. St. Vincent De Paul thrift store

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Hi You Fat Budgies!

(i know i've used that before but too bad)

I'd rather someone yell at me or insult me than insinuate judgment tidily, with pursed lips.

And if you can insult me and make me laugh at the same time, you get a gold star.

So please: keep your comments outraged, passionate, violent, funny, tasteless. Judge me, hang me, but do it out loud. Please don't purse your lips. i just can't abide it. And if you're gonna kick ass, have the balls to show your face. (Anonymous commenters are retards.)



ps: of course this isn't referring to anyone here

Monday, July 28, 2003

Wonder Drug:

I know I'm aways yakkin on about Minnesota and Minneapolis, but here's some more. So I'm walking out of the Arco Tower downtown tonight (that's where the Y is) and the sky is deep gray blue and cloudy, it's humid and warm and the air smells like warm toast. I prolly never told you this but Minneapolis smells like warm toast a lot of the time--and like Vitamin E oil. It's something to do with the farming/cereal thing, I think. They have like 25 cereal companies there, like Pillsbury and General Mills and Betty Crocker and all this. So then I am driving home and big fat wet plops of rain start hitting the windshield. A summer rainstorm in L.A.? That shit never happpens. Real rain, too, not that misty shit. Then lightning and thunder to boot! Not the impressive scary kind you get in you-know-where, but still and nonetheless, a real storm.

It made me happy because I am going to Minneapolis in two weeks, so I didn't have to get missy and nostalgic. It's still drizzling now, tapping the leaves on the pepper trees and the path outside my door. I live with my front door wide open because I live in a little hideaway with pepper trees. I don't want to brag but I have my perfect home now.

It's rainy and quiet tonight, and I have a friend who's snoozing away in his bed in his little place, and that thought makes me happy. It's nice to snooze when there's a gentle rain outside.

Like I said I don't want to brag, but it so cool to have my own place. I have a basket next to the toilet with Archie's comics, and anytime I go to the bathroom, which is like 10 times a day, I can read a comic.

I have my own kitchen with my own things everywhere, painted lavender, just like I like it.

I have flowers all over from the wedding, and fairy lights, and a front porch light, and a fragrant lavender rose bush outside my door. I'm also growing lavender and bouganvilla, and i just started some morning glory seedlings to grow on the trellis outside my door.

My dog never pees or poops inside anymore, because he has a doggy door and he's a genius.

My living room is pale minty green, like an easter egg. And I have a plush baby-blue armchair/rocking chair from 1971 that I got for ten bucks at St. Vinnie's.

I wish my bedroom were finished, but I've been waiting till the front area was under control. I hope that my bedroom will end up being the jewel in the little tiara. My plan is to paint the walls a lavender-tinged baby blue, and to use deep rose as the accent color.

Now that my stuff's unpacked, it doesn't really seem like I have so goddamn much junk. A lot of the knickknacks that seemed like bullshit to move are now in their new places, and making the place pretty and real. If you like an object, stick to your guns, and don't let anyone tell you you're a no-good packrat. If you like anything, or anyone, don't let anyone else tell you you're fucked-up. When they find their proper place, it'll all make sense on the outside, and people will see what you had in your heart. A lot of people thought I was weird for getting Sloopy because he was so sick and oozy and skinny and smelly and tired. But now he's dry and warm and fleshy and happy, and he doesn't smell at all and he goes potty outside. He fits in here. He thrives here. He even fits in with the decor, soft white fur lying on a little rug, or nosing around the garden stealing strawberries.

I'm not saying my life is perfect, or that it all might not fall apart tomorrow. That's kind of a given. Chaos, entropy, and all. I'm just saying I'm enjoying the act of trying to keep it all together, spinning around some gravitational center I can't see but can feel inside. It's inspiring to make things grow, to pull up weeds and make a space for flowers and tomatoes. I was in Emmanuelle's garden the other day and she has done so much work to make things grow, I felt all inspired. She's built a real office for herself, for her work, and she's decorated her house and made it a proper place to make some life happen. In order to make magical things happen, and to make things, and create and make art and express love, you have to do a lot of concrete, hands-on work. In order to bring the unmanifest mystery into the time-space plane, you have to do some pushing. If you want to write a novel that expresses the divine, you need a desk, and a kitchen, and a bathroom; you need to make food and get sleep. I like hanging out in that threshhold between this world and the infinite. That's what V. Woolf was all about, and in the movie The Hours, the poet character moans that his poetry can never capture the infinity within--in the process of becoming real, poetry loses all its poetry. He saw this as tragic, as cause for suicide. But I think it's just a given. It's the cross everyone bears, it's the common denominator. I know that no art is ever as beautiful as the vision that inspired it. But I take that as an exciting thing. I mean, if Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is merely an echo of how it sounded in his head, well, just imagine the celestial miracle he must have witnessed!


Pirate Pete

Baby Carrots:

Monday: It's a new week, a new day, a new morning and afternoon, a new chance to do all the things I want to do. Thank you Life for the chance to be alive and figure out how to do all the things i want to do. Figuring out how to do them all is the hardest part, for me.

Like today: I need to write a draft of a 2,000-word piece I've been putting off for five months.

I need to work out or go to yoga.

I need to eat.

Plus a whole lot more.

I have a couch now in my new place and it's so pretty I'm actually afraid to sit on it.

On Friday night, Axel and I listened to a shitload of new cds i got in the mail, and the one we both liked best was by Holly Golightly, the English chick Jack White was in love with before he got in love with Renee Zellweger (which is still something I'm sort of in denial about).

He had a very sexy and pretty and talented rock 'n' roll girlfriend already, Marcie from the Von Bondies and the Slumber Party. She was the sort of girl who's just sooooo much cooler than me that I can't even attempt to emulate her. (Some girls are role models because they're sort of kindred souls--for me, that would be Drew Barrymore, Emmanuelle, Hillary et al.) But this girl was more of an ice-queen sort, and that's just not something I'm capable of, much as I admire it in others.

Anyway, I feel really weird now about Jack, even weirder than before. I'm sure you've heard how he was driving a Porsche with Renee Zellweger in Detroit and he crashed and fractured his left index finger. It must have been horrifying to him: It was a compound fracture (ew!).

Anyway, I wonder now if the White Stripes' rise to fame and glory, wealth, MTV, V2 and movie star GFs wasn't perhaps, after all, a gravitation toward the values of hair metal, hip-hop, and all the other stuff Jack White claims to hate.

I don't know: I am wondering.

I am always confused when I meet celebrities who act all downhome just-folks, as if they don't care about fame and money, yet just happen to end up dating supermodels or movie stars.

I thought Marcie was cool. I thought Meg was cool. Holly Golightly is cool. I like her record, "She Is None Other," a lot. It's genuinely inspiring to me as a chick, because I can't find too many chick songwriters who turn me on.

Maybe after he got famous he freaked out and couldn't handle the task of realigning his identity in the world or something. Maybe he needed someone older and more famous to help him figure it out.

Or maybe it just made him feel real cool when she sat next to him in the Porsche.

My dog can't stop eating baby carrots. I've just fed him 10 and he shows no sign of slowing down. Veggies are his passion. His idea of big juicy bone is a big old broccoli stalk. His idea of steak is a chunk of cheese. And his idea of orgasms is a bowl of plain yogurt.



Darling Doodads:

Shit man. This was another big fat weekend, that's for sure. Steve Coulter, magic drummer for Tsar, got married to Heather, and Jeff Solomon, the bassist, did the ceremony.

I wish I could tell you about the wedding, but the problem is that I was walking all over Occidental College trying to find it. Oops. That sucked. I heard it was lovely and Solomon knocked it out of the park. He certainly looked like the guy you want marrying you: In a white tux with black shirt and white tie, dark sunglasses, he was God and Satan at once, with a lot of rock sprinkled on top. So now he's transcended his former superheroism: Not only can he lay tile floors, conceive babies. sing falsetto harmonies and bake cornbread, he can also marry people by the power vested in him and the Great State of California.

Heather looked like Lady Guinevere. Like a princess.

So I found the wedding as the couple were making their exit from the ceremony. I felt like a cross between an asshole and an idiot. But also I felt that Providence had worked against me in particular: I was fingered that day as the person who would get horribly lost trying to find the wedding.

I did however get there just in time for a desperately needed drink, and to scope out the many fantastic outfits the girls (and some of the guys) had come up with. Everyone looked really hot and healthy and American. Our friends are a really good-looking bunch.

I was proud of my brother, who really busted some ass on the dancefloor, and of Matt, who tried to put the moves on most of his male friends during George Michael's "Freedom."

Some of our friends are happily married, some are recently broken up, some are longtime bachelors; some are newly in love, some are newly confused, some are hanging out somewhere along the misery continuum; some have been in love with the same person for years, some are ambiguous and mysterious. It's great.

Today I rescued a stray kitten who wanted to give and receive love and sleep in the palm of my hand. She was black and I named her Spooky. I took her to the Eagle Rock emergency vet and they did a bunch of tests because she was very sick. I liked her a lot and I wanted her to be my new special creature at my cottage. My cottage kind of needs a cat, eventually. A cottage without a cat is like a song without a bridge.

It turned out Spooky was sick with leukemia and aids. I had to sign a form for her to be killed. Poor baby stray kitty cat, never hurt anyone, just wanted to sleep and nurse and cuddle and purr like crazy crazy. That cat was a pure conduit of the affection and sweetness of the Creation. Baby Spooky died today.

It happens every day, right? Nothing new.

Well fuck that. It shouldn't be normal.

Anyway, I have to run now because I still have work-writing to do tonight. Eeeeeeeek.



Friday, July 25, 2003

So I like a song called "Frontin'" by someone named Pharrel and it has Jay-Z rapping on it. It's sooooo classic. For anyone who grew up hearing disco, Curtis Mayfield etc. it's real sweet. It's even got harmonies the Beach Boys would like. Plus it's got funny romantic lyrics. It's so sweet and yummy like candy making the colors in my house brighter. Then they mixed it with a really crazy song by Jay-Z that borrowed from Rick James (Give It To Me) and had hilarious lyrics that I found truly inspiring. There's a way to write about pop culture without getting bogged down in it. That's what I want to do.

I am listening to hip-hop radio today. I think I like the Beat better than Power 106. I am not into hip-hop at all. I am doing it because I have to for my top-secret project.

Sorry for the little break. I think I wrote so much on the blog last week that I ran out of anything to say. Plus I have been busy with painting my house and unpacking, gardening, couch-hunting, working, and having fun that I have been kind of stressed. When I get stressed I can't blog. I feel like, shit, there's so much to talk about, so much going on, and so much I can't tell you.

My friend stoked me Saturday night with a cd of The Idle Race's complete recordings. The Idle Race was Jeff Lynne's band before the Move, before ELO. It's pretty cool. Tremendous Kinks influence, which isn't so evident in ELO, of course.

I'm happy and so full of love it scares me.

I better go eat. If I don't eat I'll get even more scared and confused and sad-happy.



Tuesday, July 22, 2003


good morning mango man. seems like i've got eleventy things to do today and already it's past two. time is such a weird bitch. i want to tell you about music and summer and rooftops, and especially that crazy electricity thing i've just discovered, but i have to save my life. rick springfield and tsar are my soundtrack. more very very soon, prolly, when the sun goes down.

how's by you?



Saturday, July 19, 2003

Hey hey Intergalactic Robot Peacekeepers

I found out last night that the Blondes record doesn't come out till August 15. That's cool. So I'm not behind the curve. rock on.

I just watched "The Day the Earth Stood Still." It's so great. Very hippie, in its way. Very Jewish, even a little bit commie, in a good way. Can't go into detail because I have a lot of work to finish before like 6 p.m.

But one more thing. I have another handy invention for the ladies (or the gentlemen)--who might think I'm crazy. Oh well.

If you have a frown crease between your eyebrows from thinking so damn hard all the time, plus staring into the sun trying to decipher the mystery of light, have I got a product for you. No injections or nothing. It's the silliest thing but I like it. Whenever I feel like I've been frowning too much I use this product at night and in the morning my frown lines are all gone.

It's called Frownies.

I do all my frowning in my sleep so this is the best time to use it. I find that it makes me feel more relaxed, too.

Oh yeah, and one more beauty tip for your skin. If you take Udo's Perfected Oil Blend and Udo's Choice powder, not only will you be getting all the weird omega-gamma-ramma-lammadingdong super fancy oils you're supposed to get, plus lots of weird enzymes and vitamins and stuff, but your skin will go all soft and dewy. I'm not kidding. They're expensive but I think they're the healthiest thing in my diet. Like even when I eat crap all day long and smoke, I can take them in some juice and feel like I'm not going to get sick. You can get them at Whole Foods.

The End.



Friday, July 18, 2003

Boy, do I feel like a jerk. A really good local album came out and I didn't even make a peep about it. It's by The Blondes, and it's fun power-pop rock with lots of great guitars and harmonies, and it is summery and fun and sexy, and most of all, it's SOLID. I mean, it's a real album, you know? It's called "Swedish Heat," for some reason, which is kind of like a Swedish band calling themselves Sahara Hotnights. Oh well.

The self-appointed president of my imaginary fanclub asked what my top five albums are and I flubbed a list of 20 and got confused and gave up...

I've tried again. Here they are at this very moment, subject to change forever, not really in order.

1. T Rex, "Electric Warrior"

2. The Zombies, "Oddessey and Oracle"

3. led zeppelin, "HOuses of the Holy"

4. Stupid Gurl, "How She Boogalooed It"

5. Tsar's new album with no title

6. The Beatles, "Abbey Road"

My criteria are: Which record do I listen to the most? (zombies) which are bottomless rabbit holes? (Zeppelin, beatles, zombies) which is dearest to my heart? (stupid gurl) which is going to be my new favorite album next year? (tsar) and which is pure magic? (T rex)


It's a strange Minnesota day here in Los Angeles. Dark, muggy, warm, rainy summer day. I have the lights on in my cottage because it's so dark.

I woke up in a rotten mood, thinking dreadful thoughts about evil things. Some days you just wake up wrong, and you feel capable of cruelty, and of saying things you've not said to people you're mad at. So I decided to eat some food and have coffee before making any phone calls. I have burned bridges with editors in the past in this mood, when for some reason I decided I'd better tell them the many ways their publications sucked. Oops! Even though I was right, nobody likes a Cassandra.

I am making coffee and about to transcribe an interview with the Calvin Klein underwear model.



Thursday, July 17, 2003

oy, mate

wanna thank readers who backed up my Irish-Beatles theory and provided kool links. I wonder what the Gallaghers think about the issue? I'm sure they'd agree, them being micks and all too. Now, I should specify right about now: I really mean Lennon/McCartney most of all when I talk about Irishness. My theory is that Ringo is Jewish (which wouldn't be so crazy according to one of the links) and Harrison.... no theory there much. looks French to me.

Heard the new Rooney on KROQ yesterday and it was great. Loved it. (I know it's been out ages but hey I'm retarded.) America's cutest band also makes good music. It's weird when a band with all the creepy Hollywood connections and machinery, perfect coiffs and artificially hip wardrobes are actually not horrible.

Speaking of good local cute boys with new records, Patrick Park's new LP came out Tuesday. He's the one I wrote about a while back because when I first saw him play at the Hotel Cafe I cried tears of shock at how pretty. (The music, silly! He didn't look very good then at all.)

The record is called "Loneliness Knows My Name" (bummer, dude!) and it's on Hollywood.

That's all good, but, you know, Hollywood Records is going to get really exciting when Tsar's kray-zee new record comes out. But that's not for like ten years or something so if you wanna hear it you'll have to bribe me for a burn... I don't accept most major credit cards but I do accept:

1. Sephora gift certificates

2. Vicodin

3. cash

4. Sanrio gift certificates


FCC Update: I just got this email today form MoveOn, the awesome organization that made it easy for me to get pissed off and scream a little--and be heard, apparently.

"75 television executives from network affiliates descended on Capitol Hill yesterday to prevent the House appropriations committee from voting for a partial rollback of the FCC rule changes.

Because of you and thousands of others, Congress did something unprecedented yesterday. Republican committee member Frank Wolf urged his colleagues to vote their conscience, and stand up to the lobbyists. And they did just that, delivering a 40-25 vote against big media.

Conservative columnist William Safire wrote in today's New York Times: 'Here is what made this happen: Take the force of right-wingers upholding community standards who are determined to defend local control of the public airwaves; combine that with the force of lefties eager to maintain diversity of opinion in local media; add in the independent voters' mistrust of media manipulation; then let all these people have access to their representatives by e-mail and fax, and voila! Congress awakens to slap down the power grab.'"

I guess by right-wingers he means the NRA. Yeah, this issue has benefitted from the kind of multipartisan coalition-building that we desperately need these days, on every issue, to protect our embattled civil liberties. I like MoveOn because they're NOT Democrats. I hate the Democrats. OK bye love.

OMG: I totally forgot to tell you about the amazing experience I had Tuesday night. I went over to Kim's to watch a Teevo of Drew Barrymore being interviewed on the Actors' Studio show. But first we watched the most incredible show I've seen in years: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I am in love.

I'm sure you've heard all about it, but basically, five gay men take a totally schlubby straight guy and give him a complete life-makeover: His home, his wardrobe, hair/face, entertaining, everything. They teach him how to be a host and how to look great. They take years off people's appearance without making them look gay. It's lovely. It's not like the scary religious retards think: They don't want to make straight people gay; they just want to make them better straight people! They are Fairy Godmothers!

I have for a while maintained that the essential greatness of Femininity is the Makeover Principle: Many women understand about the regenerative, spiritual quality of getting a makeover. (Which is why so many chick-flicks revolve around makeovers--Grease, Clueless, Pretty In Pink, Never Been Kissed--like, every Drew Barrymore movie, etc.) But dummy me, I never really realized this was totally a gay thing too. Anyway, so now this, maybe the most powerful aspect of the Yin side of the Force, is being celebrated in all its fabulousness on TV. I guess the show got really smashing ratings.

It's about time that there was a show where gay people taught others how to do it right. You know: How to live graciously, with style, kind to yourself, tough with yourself.

I want a gay makeover now. I have a lot of straight man in me, I think, judging by the state of my cottage today.

I can't believe how far we have come in just ten years. I can't believe how far we have come in forty years. Can you imagine if you could take a time machine back to the Stonewall bar, right before the painful important riot, and tell the guys there that one day in forty years there would be popular TV shows about gay men being fabulous?

But the show isn't about politics or any of that--it's terribly, wonderfully bourgeois and much more interested in throw blankets and olives than "gay rights." It assumed gay rights and moves on to the subject at hand: life itself.

i got to run....



So what is this? You only write comments when I'm miserable? Are you foul-weather readers?

Is it boring when I'm undepressed?

Anyway, this evening on a whim I stopped by my old neighborhood where I grew up, Koreatown, the original Koreatown, which used to be just a few blocks of Olympic Blvd. between Crenshaw and Wilton. Anyway I dropped in on the Manions. I have mentioned the Manions to you before: They are a great, grandiose, multigeneraltional Irish clan who have lived on Third Avenue for sixty years (at least) and over the course of years have owned, among themselves, maybe five houses on the block. The nuclear family consists of the mom, dad, and five children--one brother and four sisters. The sisters all live now in the house where I lived for the first 19 years of my life. Their brother lives across the street with his wife. Their parents live two doors down. I have known these people since I was born, and the brother also was an iconic teacher at Immaculate Heart (as was his wife for a time). All the girls went to IH, too--one was an IH nun for a while (I think), one worked there... I think even their mother went there. The roots of Third Avenue and Immaculate Heart grow down so deep you can't even see them.

The Manions represent everything you think L.A. stands against: family, history, community, neighbors. You can stop by Third Avenue any day, any hour, pull up a chair in a kitchen, and talk... for hours. Expect whiskey. Expect laughter and whispers and tales of madness, crime, and love. And I do mean madness: For some reason the east side of the block was a hotspot of schizophrenia, suicide, accidental shootings, weird religion, mysterious death.

The Manions are the greatest community-builders I've ever seen. Growing up I practically lived at the main house, the one with the pool two doors down. To me, happiness was swimming in their pool while eating a peach. Or nightswimming, gliding along the floor of the pool in silence, with the light from the deep end shining in my eyes like the full moon.

Every summer they held a big 4th of July bash. They used to actually put on a show. They built a real stage in the backyard, had spotlights, and everyone in the family, all the neighborhood kids and several other families would prepare skits. I'm not kidding. I recall weeks of rehearsal though it might have been less. My father and brother did a skit where Ben was a little dummy on my father's lap. We also did a big jitterbug routine--Ben and I were jitterbug partners and we tried to dance like on Happy Days. We had no idea what we were doing and completely forgot the routine once the show began, but we didn't care. We just rocked out. Mike, the son, did a skit with his wife Fran where they sang the song about "Abbadabbadabba Said the Monkey to the Chimp."

Eventually the 4th of July show evolved into an annual toga party. That must have been after "Animal House" came out. I just saw a picture of myself today on their fridge in a toga. I think that picture has been there for 20 years.

They also had the scariest, best haunted house on Halloween. One year my sister Maggie played a dead lady in a coffin who would sit up and scream to scare the kids. She practiced her scream for weeks in advance, too. You could hear her down the block.

One of the sisters, Julie, gave dancing lessons to the three little girls on the block: me, my sister and Carrie Manion. Every weekend we learned Tahitian dancing and ballet. Today they gave me a bunch of photos we took of ourselves in tiny tutus by the pool, posing with baby's breath in our hair.

For a while, they also held mass in their living room on Sundays. And at this point I feel as if I've told you all these stories before. Oh well, fuck it. It's worth telling twice.

Mrs. Manion has a raspy, explosive laugh you can hear a mile away. I loved being up in my bathroom and hearing her laughter blasting down the block.

Anyway, one of the older Manions was a Catholic priest, a bit of a radical as I understand, and he would deliver mass in their living room--and since there were quite a few Catholics and recovering Catholics on the block, people came.

When everyone got scared about "The Big One" (whatever happened to The Big One, by the way?), Mrs. Manion started the earthquake-preparation committee for Third Avenue, and they would have block meetings and everything. And when crime started heating up in the Eighties, she started the local Neighborhood Watch committee. She had a police radio in her kitchen and always knew when shit was going down.

The Twin Cities are very community-oriented. It's something I value a lot and always talk about with my Minnesota peeps--Jim Walsh and Suzanne especially. I mean, National Night Out is something they actually DO there. Block party and everything. What's funny is that I realized tonight that the Manions are Minnesotan. And Angeleno. And Irish. And crazy Catholics. And Immaculate Hearters. Peaches Manion, the matriarch with the police radio, grew up in Silverlake, bless her heart. But Pete, her hubby, grew up in St. Paul, and half their family is Minnesotan. A St. Paul Irish boy who landed in L.A. and built a real goddamn community, a block and a family that provided me with the kind of roots most people just don't get here.

You can do it anywhere. All you need is people.

What's really cool is that Jake, my ex-rooommate, also lived on Third Avenue before we met. He lived on the next block down, where his dad moved after they divorced.

We have roots that go down fairly deep too.

(Fashion Leader Pat Whalen lived in our house on Third Avenue for an entire summer with Ben when they were interning at the LA Times [I believe], while the rest of the family was in Minnesota. Anyway, on Saturday night, Pat drunkenly told me he loved me. I said, Pat, you hardly know me. He said, in typical Pat fashion, "And I don't want to know you. I love you because I lived in your house." He slept in my room, I think. This was an Important Summer for Pat.)

But one thing that made me feel badly tonight is that I found out that my screed about Immaculate Heart was inaccurate. Apparently, the nuns never "went back to the fold"--they never took a dime from the Archdiocese after they left, and they never let the Church change their curriculum.

They just wanted to get closer to the Church; they didn't really want to leave. They just wanted to be Catholics in the way they felt was right, like the Catholic Worker soup kitchen on Skid Row--which is probably the one place you can find Jesus in L.A. today, if Jesus is here at all. None of their money went to pay for that big Cathedral downtown.

So I have to make a huge apology. I'm sorry for being wrong. I hate being wrong!

Mrs. Manion has one of those Irish Claddagh rings--the one with the hands holding a heart, with a crown on it. It's one of those proper Irish things I never had, because growing up we never learned about our Irish heritage. Jim Walsh wrote a beautiful essay about giving Claddagh rings to his brothers--basically, wedding rings for brothers. Claddagh rings symbolize love and loyalty and spiritual marriage. Jim married his brothers when he gave them their rings.

It's funny that I never felt like a proper real Irish person growing up, just as I never felt like a "real" Catholic. I always felt like an outsider to those things, looking in. My parents wanted us to be free of our history, I think, whether consciously or not, and they raised us without overt allegiances, rituals, stories. They moved to the farthest reach of the west and raised us alone, far from our families, far from our history, far from our roots. They wanted to be free, I think, and give us a new start. They were Americans to the core.

I probably would have done exactly the same thing. Freedom is more important than history. I honestly believe that, and in that sense, I am American to the core, too. And Californian.

At the same time, you're not really free until you know who you are.

And you don't need a ring to know what it means to be Irish. And though we never learned about Claddagh rings or the potato famine or anything, my parents (and the Manions) taught me what it means to be Irish in the realest way. They taught me just by being themselves: rebellious, intellectual upstarts, comics, romantics, poets, singers, depressives, whiskey-drinkers, failed Catholics, family people, community-builders, neighbors. Writers. They took the best parts of their history and planted those things down into the asphalt of Third Avenue.

I don't like to essentialize people by ethnicity but what can i do? I'm a writer, a cryer and a romantic; I love whiskey and song, I long for community but hate a mob. I'm Irish. I'm Irish!

My friend Jeff, Pat Whalen's little brother, has the classic combination that you see all over Ireland, like my dad: dark hair, blue eyes. He's a singer, too, a romantic, a poet, a cryer, a writer, a comedian, a drinker, an isolationist and the life of the party. I always thought he seemed so Irish, but he insisted he wasn't. Even his last name is Irish, the name of my mother's grandma, but still he said he wasn't Irish. Even his best friend is named Dylan fucking Callaghan, OK? I mean, gimme a break. But a while back he went to a family wedding and everyone was singing Irish songs and carrying on about being Irish, and he discovered that his father's whole family is kelly fucking green-blooded Irishmen. (Patrick Whalen? You're gonna tell me Patrick Whalen is fucking Norwegian?)

I knew it.

You know, too, of course, about my theory on the Beatles.

The Beatles were as Irish as Patty's pig, and I know the Beatleologists will prove me right one day.

Like I said, you don't need to know you're Irish to be Irish. It's just something you are. In fact, maybe part of being Irish, or Irish-diasporan, at least now, is about being a mystery to yourself, and slowly watching the broken, scattered pieces of yourself and your history float back together over time, shaping something altogether new and dazzling from those shards that were too tough to break. Music, Love, Words, The Group, and the desperate need to break free. You've got to break free. I think our ancestors would have wanted it that way, and would cheer us on--all of us. My parents, and the lapsed Catholics of Third Avenue. Me, and my brother and sister and our friends. Our history is awful and beautiful, but it's nothing compared to this moment.

And maybe for some people, truly being Irish means fucking getting over being Irish--never getting a Claddagh ring; never hating the English; never writing long blog entries about what it means to be Irish. Just getting on with it. Being you. Letting it go. Rocking out. Kicking ass. Inventing love and inventing your life on your own, the way you like it, because you're free. Finally.



Monday, July 14, 2003

PS: Member how I tried to write today about the group of friends I have? Well, Tony did a much better job of it than me, in the process of paying tribute to Fashion Giant Pat Whalen. Thanks, Tony!

Greetings, Dressie Bessy:

So what can I tell you. Today I interviewed this Australian guy who is a Calvin Klein underwear model-turned actor. I guess his ad campaign was a big deal (emphasis on "big"). I don't know why, but I never notice those kinds of things--big billboards and such. I guess I am so inured to advertising at this point, and to "perfect" people, that I just blow it off. If they really want to catch my attention (which they don't since I'm broke anyway), they should hire someone really weird-looking or very average. Obviously gay men are the main target for a Calvin Klein underwear ad, though.

The editors warned me that he was shockingly good-looking, but it was kind of like when people build up a movie for you too much. I was expecting to be kind of speechless and awkward and to feel suddenly very fat and poor and badly dressed. But I didn't. I mean, sure, when the guy occasionally broke out a real smile, some kind of weird movie-magic lights seemed to flash for an instant and I felt the power of a truly dazzling grin. But he wasn't my type at all--he was super outdoorsy and manly and very tan and blonde and sun-dappled. It was one of the least successful interviews I've ever done. Usually I try to sit down and just have a normal conversation with someone, and it usually flows in a cool way where I don't have to pull out my list of questions--and I usually get extra-good stuff I wasn't expecting. But the guy did nine straight hours of interviews yesterday and he was burnt to a crisp. He's the only person I've ever interviewed who just wanted me to whip out 20 questions, fire away at him and then be done with it. Usually people are like, God, this is so cool, I hate it when people just have a list of questions. But those people really want to talk.

Anyway, I have to work now but I wanted to share some really great advice with the ladies in the house. My friend just turned me onto a website called, where you can mail-order two different kinds of contraceptive sponges--the outlawed-in-America Today sponge and a Canadian one. (Remember the Seinfeld where Elaine bought like 20 cases of the Today sponge before it went off the market, and started judging men on whether they were worth a sponge?)

The sponge is a safe and convenient form of birth control that avoids the hassle and general bummerness of condoms, the danger of IUDs, and the creepiness of the Pill. Apparently the Canadian one is also very absorbent, so you don't have a wet spot situation. Since I am a lesbian nun I of course have no use for such things, but I thought that I should pass along this information.

keep it real,


Sunday, July 13, 2003

Hey Fish Fingers:

what a fucking weekend! Wow. I didn't know they still made good times like that. Who knew?

The Tsar show last night was incredible, as predicted, but somehow more so. It was deliciously energetic, a perfect starburst of superheroism that made everyone in the packed club smile and bounce and feel weirdly happy--people just surrendered to the effervescence without a hint of that grudging vibe you get sometimes from jealous band-guys in the audience. It was inspiring and fun and exciting and all you could do was let the rock love wash over you like a blessing.

My two favorite songs are "Love Explosion" and "Superdeformed." They're super-sexy, man. I mean, wow. They're like sex candy or something.

Anyway, the evening was especially sweet because my tribe was in the house, our tribe, whatever you want to call it, including a few long-lost friends like the majestic Pat Whalen and Debbie Urlik, my oldest best girlfriend. My brother Ben was there, too, and just everybody. I don't write much about it on the blog because I don't want to gloat, but I am really lucky because I have a family of old friends who have known each other since we were all puppies, but who still find each other relentlessly interesting. After all these years we can still get together and party with all the conversational intensity and sexual electricity you'd expect in a group of new-found friends. The party afterwards was like a whole journey in itself, and included all the good stuff: Becherovka and absinthe, love, some weird fights (from a very drunk person nobody knew), homoerotic Pat-and-Os gay love, two Pooh Sticks records played all the way through, a Tsar fan who drove all the way from Canada for the show, loving siblings, mystery and intrigue, and sunrise on a rooftop with a panoramic view of the city.

I felt some things I wouldn't dare put into words. I didn't have to.

Marc Brown hosted in his weird Matrix-loft, and took some priceless pictures of the whole thing (see "Party" link above). Thank you Marc. And thank you Tsar for rocking so fucking hard.



Thursday, July 10, 2003

OK, You Fuckin Champs:

I have been such an asshole. It's hard for me to keep up Le Bloggue when I have a lotsa shits going on in my life and all. So I have decided the way to keep the blog happy, and me happy, and most of all YOU happy, is to do a little interactive bullshit. It's not really bullshit, I just wanted to use that word because it's fun.

As you may know, the biggest drama deal in my life of late has been moving. Big ordeal. Art the Pepper stoked me in the comments section by saying that it took him six months to unpack his boxes after moving. That made me feel so much better about how long it has taken me merely to transport the stuff, much less unpack it. My beloved ex-roommate, the offensively efficient Jake, did all his stuff in two days. It took me one month. And here I sit, in a living room full of crap and boxes and no couch. Yes, it's a living room full of no couch. That's kind of like a fridge full of no food.

So I want to make this fun for everyone by asking you to tell me about your moving nightmares. Surely I'm not the only one to suffer. How long did it take you?

Today I was driving get sushi and passed my friend's house. He was standing out on the porch looking skinny and frayed, and I caught his eye and laughed and felt like a silly girl doing a drive-by, because I kinda sorta was. I stopped and said hi, and it turned out he was moving all HIS shit today to his very keen new pad in Los Feliz. God bless God and thank God and praise his or her name because my friend really really needed to find a cheap happy place to live, and it happened like a miracle for him, and he deserves it. Anyway, he was covered with droplets of sweat and they fell on my bare shoulders as we hugged. Poor guy had to move a fridge, washer and dryer, futon and all this crap in one hot July day and then make it to band practice, and also in the middle of it all have a meeting with his producer and all this. It's the kind of stress that you actually should be happy about, because it's all good stuff--but in the moment it's just gnarly strain.

Everyone is moving, it seems.

I'm just happy that both of us found good places.

I asked if I could help and he said the only thing he needed was a smoke. So I ran across the street to the supermarket and bought smokes and Diet Cokes and ran back and his bass player showed up and we took a moment to relax and smoke. It turned out the bass player had had the worst day he could ever remember having. I guess it was one of those days.

I think that when you run to the supermarket to get a boy cigarettes and Diet Coke on a hot July afternoon, it must mean something.

When I got home I sat in my huge and messy yard under the towering eucalyptus trees and ate my sushi and looked at the moon turning white up in the sky. I had the song "Dancing In the Moonlight" in my head, because they played that today in the bank where I was trapped for an hour in a bank-drama.

This song, with its little-kid piano, made me smile and feel all right. It has the best lyrics ever, baby.

We get it on most every night

when that moon is big and bright

it's a supernatural delight

everybody's dancing in the moonlight

everybody here is out of sight

they don't bark and they don't bite

they keep things loose they keep things tight

everybody's dancing in the moonlight

dancing in the moonlight

everybody's feeling warm and bright

it's such a fine and natural sight

everybody's dancing in the moonlight



Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Hi Monkey Von Hippiefang:

I don't mind if you hate me but I would appreciate some sympathy and patience. I finally today got the last of my crap into my new place and did the whole last-day-sitting-on-the-floor-of-my-empty-old-apartment-crying thing. Maybe men don't do that, but I was feeling very sentimental about the old place. It's great to have a new place, but the old one saw me through difficult times, and then through happy times, and I feel grateful for its walls. Anyway I have 27 things to do today and I really am still overwhelmed with EVERYTHING and everything--work, moving in, errands (endless erands), dog-saving, life, eating and partying. Speaking of which: Tsar is playing again Saturday night at Spaceland and it should be incredible. Just trust me on this one. The band has an amazing album in the can now and lots of reasons to be happy: Solomon just discovered a cache of diamonds and other precious gems under his house; Coulter is kicking ass on the air-hockey circuit; Dan is now learning his seventh ancient language; and Whalen somehow can't stop getting cuter.

I have to go do 45 things now.



Friday, July 04, 2003

Hi You Crazy Ponies:

I am running out the door for a 4th of July trip to a cool dark movie theater. But I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate one of my most incredibly favorite people in the whole world. For some reason today I really need to tell you about how I feel about Drew Barrymore.

I think that at her core Drew Barrymore is lonely and sad. But she works really hard to be happy, and I think this is the noblest thing ever, next to saving people's lives. Tennessee Williams wrote in "Night of the Iguana" something along the lines of: "I most admire people who