Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines Day In The City

We went to a drive-in showing of Harold & Maude. That's enough, right there: best way to spend Valentine's Day, period. It was held atop a parking structure in downtown LA, hosted by Angel City Drive-In. There was a fella in a cute little candy striper outfit roller skating around, delivering hot dogs, soda pop and popcorn, and dudes with all kinds of holes in their faces, drinking bottles of bud and directing cars on where to park. Everyone was happy that it was Valentines Day, for nothing other than the sake of celebrating... anything. It was nostalgic and romantic and engaging and new (and much cheaper than the 3D animated movie I saw this afternoon). Oh, AND there was a short film that ran before the feature began, entitled Big Pussy. Yep, stricty the facts here, folks. It was pretty funny. And it was a fantastic night of good people & great movie viewing. I intend to continue attending this splendid gathering.

Time Stands Still

John & I went to a play at the Geffen Playhouse last week, called Time Stands Still (clever title for this blog entry, no?). Metromix, the wonderful guide to local entertainment that it is, awarded me tickets to the play during the week of dress rehearsal. I hadn't intended to write a full review, so I won't :). I will say that it was a lovely yet raw play about human life & the various courses it can take, earthly suffering, and all the beauty that can be found in & between (I charge 10 cents/word). I highly recommend attending a showing if you get the chance.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Book Review: Breakfast of Champions

I finally finished reading Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions after about two and a half months. It should have been a very quick read, but the book just didn't command my attention. I've never read any Vonnegut before, so naturally I was excited to see what was in store for me. I was rather disappointed, I must say. I will offer that this could be partly attributable to the fact that the book I read immediately prior to this one, Jitterbug Perfume, instantly assumed the title of "best book I've ever read"; it's hard to follow that up. Sure, B-fast of Champs had me laughing at times, wincing at others, and occasionally admiring Vonnegut's boldness of statements and strange plot twists (for example, he writes himself into the book, as himself, the author amidst the story he is telling) - which, to be fair, are reactions that are better than apathy. But all in all, this book of alleged profound social commentary just wasn't all that engaging; it wasn't until the very end that anything interesting started happening.

All that being said, I'm not going to give up on Vonnegut. I've never read his more famous books, so I'll give him another chance. But for now, next up in my queue is Voltiare's Candide. John recommended/lent this one to me as it is one of his favorite books and, due my my fondness of Jitterbug Perfume, he thought Candide would offer similarly exciting adventures. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In the seventh grade Sister Viviana resentfully called me a "simpleton" in front of the whole class because my boisterous laughter had disrupted her lesson. When she asked me what was so funny I claimed that there was no reason for my noticeably amused reaction, so she implied that I must be dimwitted.

She taught me the meaning of the word that day and for some reason I've never forgotten it. Whenever I think of that term, I think of that experience.

Someone may think me a simpleton now as I sit on my balcony, staring at the sky, with seemingly no reason for the huge grin that is plastered across my face.

I'm just so incredibly content with everything right now - you could call me whatever you want and I wouldn't care.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The BBQ Tragedy

The night had settled into the bosom of comfortable intent;
As one wall of barriers descended,
another wall, strong and sturdy as ever, was forgotten.
The cement was still warm under the roots of our seats
but a chill floated through the air and about our bodies,
as Apollo died behind the hills of afternoon heat.
The feast fueled on and the guests laughed merrily,
drinking of juices aged in wooden barrels,
liquids that had lived a full lifetime already.
This was the afterlife - a confused limbo,
awaiting the fates of condemnation or exaltation.
As people sang and swayed into lush gardens of the night,
others sat and stewed, unlearning what they knew to be true.
With bursts of noise the friends banded together,
remembering the reasons for their loyal companionship,
while Dionysus smiled upon them.
Among the others, silent as regret,
enemies were secretly pledged;
as guests filtered out and the laughter abruptly died,
demons began to writhe.

I wonder if eternity exists and if fates can be changed,
or if this life is just one long delay.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

More letters from my senators

I'm really glad Diane and I are together in this crazy thing called life; she really seems like a loyal comrade to have on my side. Today I received the following letter from her. Must go write a personal thank you note now for keeping me abreast of the current happenings and to invite her and Babs to my BBQ tomorrow. Hope they can make it.


Dear Ms. Gocke:

Thank you for writing with your support for H.R. 2831, the "Ledbetter Fair Pay Act." I appreciate hearing from you.

I disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, and I voted in support of the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act." Employers should not be allowed to discriminate in pay indefinitely, without repercussions, simply because an employee does not discover the discrepancy within six months. Discrimination in any form should not be tolerated, and this bill would restore the law to its original intent.

It is very disappointing that some Senate Republicans decided to block the Ledbetter bill from moving forward. However, I am hopeful that we will have another chance to enact the legislation. Please know that I will continue to support this bill if it is brought up for debate again.

Thank you again for writing. I hope you will continue writing on issues important to you. Should you have any further thoughts or comments to share, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. staff at (202) 224-3841.

Best regards.

Sincerely yours, Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's Aliiiive!!!

My blog, that is. It hasn't died. Not without a fight.

I've been very busy lately, what can I say? I go through phases; sometimes I'm hyper creative, other times I'm more into my social life, and still others I am on fitness kicks. Whatever the case, I'm always trying to be active. These days I've been hiking nearly everyday of the week (weekends don't count), which has monopolized my time. Traveling is also a favorite pastime, and although I feel like everyone says that... I really mean it.

So this past Memorial Day weekend I went traveling with my honey, John. For those of you who haven't met him:

The doctors still haven't figured out what's wrong with him... but they're working diligently to determine the source of the problem and they feel confident that, in time, they will find a cure.

We arrived in Cambria late on Friday night and stayed in the most adorable little B&B all weekend. The Bridge Street Inn was incredibly charming, complete with the sweetest Burmese Mountain Dog/teddy bear, Max. All the other travelers who were staying there were friendly and interesting, with plenty of exciting experiences and knowledgeable tips to go around.

On Saturday we had grand plans of going on a hike and visiting some hot springs, but wouldn't you know it, the highway you must take to the hot springs leads straight through Paso Robles wine country... and we never made it out. But that was fine too. So we spent Saturday visiting 4 or 5 wineries before swaggering back to the B&B where John made us dinner.

On Sunday we got to know our vacation base town a little better by walking around and checking out all the local shops. Cambria has plenty of little (and big) antique shops, gardens & galleries to get lost in. We grabbed a beer and caught a performance by the local band of middle aged hippies, Rough House. In the evening we went on a tour of the Hearst Castle. It was amazing, obviously. Afterwards we watched the sun set over ocean (which I took an extensive photo journal of) and went out to a fabulous dinner.

On Monday we headed up to Big Sur for a hike. This leg of the trip really made an impression on me. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and I'm so happy we made it happen (since we had discussed a hike everyday but didn't get around to it until the end of the trip). God, the views were amazing and the hills looked like ones you'd see on a tropical island. On our way back to Cambria we stopped at a resort that had a good vista and noticed that the band playing on the restaurant patio was none other than our old pals, Rough House. On our way out of town we hit up two more wineries, ate dinner in San Luis Obispo, and drove through the Dutch town of Solvang before heading home.

Oh, by the way: I took 400 pictures during this trip - I know, it's pretty ridiculous. Regardless, you can view them here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I've been a bad, bad blogger

I've abandoned a blog for a couple weeks now. I've certainly had no shortage of reminders either; I never realize how devout my readers are until I haven't written for while. You know what else? My devout readers are brutal - man do they know how to lay into me. They use a military style of reasoning (if you can call it that), wherein they break me down with criticism about how horrible I am at maintaining my blog, in hopes that motivation will sprout from their rotten, withered seeds. Nah, I'm just messin' with ya, Luie & Juanothan. If it weren't for your harsh reminders, I may have put off writing an entry for another whole day. So thanks.

But in reality, this entry is a total cop-out; I don't have anything in particular to say. Instead, I will post some videos from last weekend, when I babysat my kin. I promised Jonathan that I'd make a video of my nieces for him, since he is always so interested in them (which I love). So that's the explanation for the first one. The explanation for the second one is that Oliver is freakin' adorable, and also that I can't figure out how to turn the video right-side-up. Enjoy:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Are you interested in what I did this weekend?

Well, it's officially Summer here in Southern California - pay no mind to the fact that it's still April. It's been in the 90's here recently so I'm trading in the jeans for Summer dresses. Summer is definitely my favorite season, being that I hail from a part of a country that celebrates the season so extensively.

I spent the day at the beach yesterday - my first real beach day of the season. I've hung out with my family a few times at the beach already this year, but yesterday was a true beach day: laying out in the sun for hours, playing in the waves, and exploring tide pools. I would do that everyday if I could.

On Saturday was my nieces' fourth birthday party. You guessed correctly: I took a load of pictures, all of which you can view right here. I'm thinking about renaming this blog "Ode to Celeste & Elise" since most of my subject matter focuses on them. Anyway, it was a dinosaur themed birthday party and it was SO MUCH FUN (I mean, for kids, of course...). My sister organized a dinosaur egg hunt, for which she drew huge dinosaur footprints in chalk around the yard and hid eggs with mini dinosaur puzzles inside. My favorite part, however, was watching the children beat the crap out of a T-Rex pinata... but you be the judge:

(I love how when it's Charlie's (in the green shirt) turn, he hands his bag to Elise to hold and she just takes it without asking any questions.)

On Friday night was Mike's birthday (well, at midnight, at least). I had a fabulously fun time and I think he did too. A handful of friends met over at my apartment for a drink before we headed out. The best part about it was that each friend who was there came from a different walk of my life - they each showed up individually but we united to raise hell as one. I had Lyssa, my friend from childhood; Camilla, representing my high school years; Emily, from college in Colorado; Mike, from post-college friend of friends; and John, from LBC and you know what I mean ;). I loved so much to have all these different people convene for a celebratory night. And Mike is probably laughing as he's reading this, because the night was supposed to be about him (and it was!!) but it just happened to be all of MY friends.

So this post wasn't very insightful or anything, but that's what I've been up to! I'm reading Breakfast of Champions by Vonnegut, which hasn't been too inspiring, despite how great I've always heard Vonnegut is. I've also been hiking nearly everyday, which IS inspiring, but renders me too exhausted to apply that inspiration to any form of creativity, go figure. Maybe I'll draw or write something soon that I can post.

Until then, tata!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Letter to the Senator

I recently began supporting the ACLU. Sure, it may have been a result of being accosted by volunteers on the street (I'm such a sucker and can never say 'no'). But the fact that I have since actively participated in its pursuit of justice makes the 'how' and 'why' of my membership irrelevant (so I tell myself).

Anyway, I sent an email to Senator Barbara Boxer as part of a petition and I received the following response email today. Am I to assume that this is a generic, mass distributed response? Moreover, is it naive of me to hope that it isn't? Cuz I really want to believe that she actually agrees with me, personally, for some odd reason.


Dear Ms. Gocke:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for legislation to reverse a recent Supreme Court decision on pay discrimination. I appreciate hearing from you, and I agree with you. I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of S.1843, the Fair Pay Restoration Act.

As you may know, on May 29, 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc. that workers can file suit for wage discrimination only within 180 days of the original discriminatory act. This outrageous decision undermines basic protection for workers against pay discrimination.

S.1843 seeks to correct the Court's decision. This bill would clarify current law by explicitly stating that workers can sue for pay discrimination any time they are issued a paycheck, no matter when the discrimination actually began.

A bill similar to S.1843 recently passed the House of Representatives. Please know that I will work to ensure that this legislation passes Congress and is signed into law.

Again, thank you for writing to me. Rest assured, I will keep fighting to eliminate pay discrimination.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Daily Conversations... and the ranting that follows.

Pet Peeve #147: the expression "it's all in your head"

Sure, I've used the expression. Maybe I only have a problem with certain expressions as a result of having a problem with the people (other than me) who use them. Regardless...

Of course it's "all in your head." This expression does nothing but state the obvious. Everything in existence is "all in your head." That's where thoughts come from. How could a single occurrence in this world be one thing or another if there were no 'heads' to characterize them as such.

I just heard someone say, "I'm hungry," to which another person smugly responded, "it's all in your head," as if that assessment of the situation was rocket science. You're hungry? Well sure, that is in fact "all in your head," because certain biological reactions are sending chemical messages to your brain, telling your brain that it should be experiencing hunger. Couldn't you say that if a person didn't have functionality of the brain, then they'd never be hungry? One's comprehension of any situation is "all in your head." Such an expression, which does nothing but identify a basic understanding, is simply redundant.

So I'm thoroughly unimpressed when one person rudely says to another, "it's all in your head," as though the statement provides some deeply enlightened perspective from which to view a situation (unless, of course, I'm the one saying it) - no shit, thoughts and feelings are "all in your head".

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race press/practice day

My PR agency had another press day for the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race yesterday. It was quite a departure from the press weekend we had in Lancaster, being that there were 70 media outlets to manage, as opposed to the 8 or so that we had exclusively covering that first press day. Plus, yesterday's press/practice day actually took place at the Long Beach track where the celebrities will be racing in a week and a half, on Grand Prix weekend. It was a new experience for both the people racing and my PR team, who has never worked this annual event in the past. Here's a picture of me being important:

Yes, I was intentionally posing like that and yes, there is a whole photo shoot of me in various staged positions. However, it really is kind of a power trip to be using a headset all day. I'm not quite sure why, but it made me feel very important and necessary.

The area was swarming with press and everywhere you turned there was a camera (including my own, apparently... pictures are HERE). It was definitely a chaotic environment, but in a good, invigorating way. I was very pleasantly surprised and had a lot of fun, much like a couple weekends ago in Lancaster. It's these on-site, high energy events that make my job worthwhile. We now have two more press days to go, April 18 & 19, for the actual race. Despite what a headache all the prep work has been, I'm really enjoying each time it culminates, and I don't really want it to end in a week and a half.

In the late afternoon, after I was relieved of my duties, I left Long Beach and headed over to my sister's house in Hermosa Beach. She and my bro-in-law, Jimmy, got a puppy on Sunday - her first ever. He's a lab mix and we all agree that there are likely some pit bull genes scattered somewhere throughout that little body. He smells like you would hope every baby animal would smell and has such a sweet disposition. His name is Tiger... after Tiger Woods... because that's how much Jimmy likes golf. (Tiger is Jimmy's ultimate man-crush, with Kobe coming in a close 2nd.)

This little guy really makes me want my own puppy:

La Luz de HeyZues

I joined Marissa and Ethan at the La Luz de Jesus art gallery on Friday night for a look at the artwork of Yumiko Kayukawa. I took pictures of some of the pieces that I really liked, which you can find HERE. This one might be my favorite, despite it being one of her simplest compositions:

The subject matter of most of Kayukawa's paintings was a young Japanese woman, who bore an uncanny resemblance to the artist, pictured with various animals. It wasn't the type of artwork I would put in my house, for the most part (except for the one pictured above), but I definitely enjoyed viewing it at the gallery.

The gallery was nestled in the nook of a massive art, literature & knickknack gift shop; the inverse of the usual gallery/gift shop spatial realtionship. Being that there was so much to look at in the gift shop and I had very little time to peruse, I probably only got through about 10% of it. I'd like to go back at some point when I have more time to wander around.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Welcome to the Gocke Home

On a Friday afternoon fourteen years ago, when I was ten years old, my friend DeAna DiMeo and I arrived at my house after getting out of school early for a half day. At St. Brendan's elementary school and junior high, every first Friday of the month was a half day. Naturally, aside from weekends, these Fridays were the most treasured days of the school year. All any kid could ever think about on these days was getting home while the sun was high enough in the sky that they could relish in playing outside all afternoon, as if they had cheated the system or something.

That Friday, however, when I arrived home I saw my father's car in the driveway. Before my father retired he was lawyer and thus worked long hours; he was never home at this time of day, or generally any time before 7pm. But his car wasn't the only strange image that my brain was ambushed by that afternoon. As the carpool driver pulled up to my house, I simultaneously processed the fact that there was a 'for sale' sign on my front lawn.

No mention of this had been made to me, and my father surely knew such a blow would be devastating. I stared in disbelief as we exited the car. DeAna was pretty silent as we walked up my driveway and saw my father emerge from the front door. I think she may have asked, "did you know about this?" Who knows if I responded; my eyes were fixated on my father walking to meet us side by side with the ominous placard.

He explained that he knew this would be hard for me, but the time has come to sell my childhood home. It just didn't make sense to have such a big house for so few people. He could see the upset swallowing my face and escorted us inside, presumably to avoid public embarrassment among neighbors who he assumed were peering through their blinds, hoping to spot a juicy reaction of lament.

Fast forward fourteen years. I have a good job, but a job that doesn't cover my basic cost of living, nonetheless. (Public Relations is the type of job that you have to pay your dues in before you can expect to rake in any real bucks) I found myself in a bind over the weekend, a bind that I hadn't experienced in over two years, since being a poor college student. After some long thought and serious compromising of my pride, I called my father yesterday. I explained to him that I can't make rent this month and will have zero cash to live on for the next two weeks, until I get my next pay check. (This is after applying for a credit card and frantically following the phrase "make money quickly" all over the Internet, wherever it would lead me, mind you)

I took some guff about parking tickets and the irresponsibility of getting my car towed, and then endured some disappointed sentiments about how I should be pursuing another career more actively. After his peace had been spoken, my father agreed to directly deposit a chunk of money that should cover the rent I was short of and ideally carry me through the next two weeks. As was common in my childhood for all agreements between me and my father, a contract requiring my signature will likely follow in the near future.

So my financial worries were put at bay for the rest of the evening... until this morning. Just as moment ago, as I was walking into work, my cell phone rang. It was my father. He cut to the chase and explained that he went to the bank this morning to transfer the money but as it turns out, he doesn't have the money available to lend. This didn't completely surprise me since I know that he's put his life's savings into the beach house that he is currently remodeling. "I'm sorry, but I can't help you out. You're just going to have to figure this one out on your own." A twinge of resentment shot through my brain as it occurred to me that he may be trying to teach me a lesson via some good old fashioned tough love.

I sighed an anxiety ridden breath and told him, "thank you anyway." But much like the time fourteen years ago, when I first lost my sense of security and home, a moment of clarity shone through my foggy head, as my father gleefully shouted, "April Fools!!"

Yes folks, welcome to the Springtime of my childhood. Over the years my father has gone to great lengths to instill fear and uncertainty in his children on this single day of the year. There's no doubt in my mind that this is merely a way to relive the days of his youth when he was a hooligan, playing mischievous pranks on people - god help us if I'm wrong and he actually just takes sick pleasure in our defeat. (The fact that my father had told me yesterday to be sure to answer my phone if he calls today makes me wonder how premeditated this prank actually was; had he been formulating his plan the whole time I was spilling my woes to him?)

Other April Fools Day jokes he's used were good, but never measured up to the 'for sale' sign. A couple years ago, when he had a girlfriend, they 'went to Vegas to elope.' Other times there were serious medical injuries. But most often these pranks of his failed since, ultimately, my father created a monster. One of us would answer the other's call only to realize that we were battling to get our respective pranks out first. As was the case with the 'elope' prank, we both scurried to set up our back stories. He obviously didn't buy it when I told him that I arrived home to find he'd been robbed and his coveted big screen TV was gone.

And what's worse is that I've let this filter over into other relationships in my life. I've told new boyfriends that I'm actually in a serious relationship, which I'd been hiding. I've told friends I was in the emergency room, and roommates that their cats were missing. Who the hell am I? Whoever I am, my father has made me not right in the head come this particular day of the year.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Magellan's Retirement

Straining to look past the angry shouts of a weathered family,
I spot a resting globe
on the other side of a window's gaping mouth, as it clamors of domestic upset.
In the background of the globe a man is escorting a wheelchair across the room.
It is uncertain if the chair is occupied,
or who exactly is doing the shouting.

But as I wonder what use, in lives past, my neighbors have made of this globe,
what memories are stored in this tiny world,
what places the owners could point to as destinations conquered,
I hear a door slam
and car tires hastily setting out on their own travels,
as a wounded soldier departs for a new destination.

It makes me wonder if that globe is up on a shelf for a reason,
if it's dusty and lonely,
faded and bruised,
and if the solemn household, now void of shouting,
views the globe as anything more than just a dark silhouette,
idly fixed on a shelf in front of a telling window.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Follow-up to Jitterbug Perfume

I finished Jitterbug Perfume last night. I could go on and on about the book, but instead, I'll just go on. I've never been so moved by words. I've always loved writing - have been seriously practicing since age 10 or so - and yet I was unaware of just how affected I could really be by the art. The tears flowed last night, mostly from the overwhelming beauty my mind was digesting, as I sat out on my balcony at sunset, reading. I could have finished the book off on my lunch break at work, but I didn't see fit a bustling & abrasive Hollywood Blvd. for reading those final 30 pages.

After I finished reading (as well as a few times at sections breaks) I just sat, thinking. In fact, I felt I didn't have words for awhile as my brain recapped the final farewell imagery. I think it was the best alone time I've had in awhile, if not ever; to just sit and be, after feeling so moved, as I watched the wispy clouds on the horizon turn from white, to yellow & orange, to bright pink, and then finally grey.

I want to sing praises of the book to everyone I know, but in talking about it with just a few people, I've been informed of the social stigma of the book - that it is regarded as rather cliche and associated with an intellectual pretentiousness of youths who take themselves too seriously. If you know me, you know that I definitely don't take myself very seriously. But still it disappoints me that I feel inhibited by the judgement and criticism that steals away some desire to express my marvel with this book, to everyone I know.

I spoke to someone from Seattle last night who rolled her eyes and with a sigh stated, "oh, everyone in Seattle reads Tom Robbins," as if simply mentioning the author is passe. That disappointed me - I expect that a fantastic piece of literature should be appreciated for what it is, and not shadowed by counter efforts of people who desperately want not to seem trendy...

I transcend trend :-)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

No, I am not religious. But I was raised Catholic and my father does claim that he still goes to church (the jury is still out on whether or not I believe him). For my family, at this point in most of our lives, Easter is more of an excuse to spend time together and eat a lovely meal. We don't talk about Jesus rising from the dead. Although, if we did, I would have a few things to say about it (have you seen Zeitgeist yet?).

My dad arrived just in time to tell the kids that the Easter bunny had left a special surprise outside. We walked out side to see three stuffed animals - a bunny, a duckie, and a lamb(...y?) - spread out in an arch on the front lawn. It was interesting to see which stuffed animal each kid ran to when given an option like that. By default, Oliver got the lamb.

My sister made a deLIGHTful brunch of mini ham frittatas, apricot almond bread rolls, and fresh fruit. I guess no one gave her the memo that I eat like a beast (as if this hasn't been the case the entire time I've known her). Ultimately, I think she was doing us all a favor by keeping the meal from being too heavy. I was surprisingly full by the end.

So of course, I more than thoroughly documented the day's events. Unfortunately, being that I am the one doing the documenting, I'm not actually in any of the fun family pictures. The afternoon ended with my dad getting super pumped on Wii. Watching him box was priceless, especially because he got more 'into it' than anyone else. My family surprises me more often than I'd expect - although I suppose if you're 'expecting' it, then it isn't really a surprise.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Poem

I wrote this around Halloween, but of what year I am unsure. I often write poems in various notebooks, sandwiched between a chunk of blank pages, only to completely forget about having written them. Then, sometimes years later, I stumble across the content and have no clue what I was writing about. I thought I was pretty diligent about dating my materials, but I guess I thought wrong. As usual, it's vague and cryptic...


Perhaps it was something about the night of facades
that had everyone masquerading as someone they are not.
Perhaps it was my state of mind,
cluttered with intoxication,
that brought out my anger in it's purest form.
In vino veritas... perhaps I was following my gut,
no matter how juvenile the manifestation.

And now, thinking back on all the accusations,
it occurs to me that they are really just obvious projections of my own internal fears and self-realizations.

Unsure of where to go from here,
I could sink to the bottom of the ocean, cement tugging at my ankles, while this whole storm blows over.
And I'd be perfectly fine with that.
In fact, I wouldn't mind staying there for awhile.

Saved for the morning after

And a great night it was.

(despite poor lighting for taking photos)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sea Wolf

I'm going to see Sea Wolf at The Music Box, Henry Fonda Theatre tonight and I could not be more excited. If you follow my blog, you can probably understand what I'm talking about; I draw pictures of the man and listen to his album on a daily basis. I had been harrassing Karen to get me a ticket for over a month - most recently last week - but wouldn't you know it, the day of the concert arrived and I had completely forgotten about it (in true Stephanie style). Then I received an IM from Karen saying, "sorry, but I couldn't get you a ticket." I said "no worries" and sprinted down the street in my highest of heels, to the theatre box office. NOT SOLD OUT!! This made my day. He is opening for Nada Surf, who I really don't know at all - I think they have a couple songs I'd recognize. Regardless, it shall be a good night!

Jitterbug Perfume

Several of you already know this because I have spoken about it ad nauseum, in person already... I am reading the book Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins and it is the best book I can ever remember reading. I was talking to one Ms. Mary Spring, who has read it, and she coined the book "life changing." It wasn't until the next time I sat down to read that I realized how on point she was in saying that. The book really has changed my life. My thoughts are consumed by it throughout my daily activities and many of my actions have even been unknowingly altered to reflect the themes and messages of the book. It is so beautifully written amidst being raw and intense. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy; only good can come of it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Yael Naim Concert Review

Karen and I went to see Yael Naim perform at the Hotel Cafe last night. I love the Hotel Cafe because it is such an intimate and warm setting. But despite it's quaint size, we did more listening than 'seeing' because there was a healthy size crowd there. Most people would recognize Yael Naim from her recently famed song "New Soul" which was used in a Macbook commercial. But I'd do yourself a favor and watch the fantastical music video, for I think it will surely bring a smile to your face.

I can't praise her performance enough. She has such an exquisite voice. Based on her range, it sounds as though she's been classically trained. At times her voice sounds sweet and melodic, at times haunting and vigorous, but always sensual and consuming. She was accompanied by a three man band: a drummer, a bass player, and a synth player who really impressed during the sole song he played on the piano. Yael jumped back and forth between guitar and piano. They kept their sound simple; the only loud, abrupt notes that the piano and drums hit were very strategically placed. All in all, it felt like I was at an intimate French jazz performance in an underground club, in what city around the world I'm not sure.

The highlight of her set, for me, was a cover song that I didn't even recognize until Karen enlightened me. She introduced the song by saying, "because we like to make music and surround ourselves with friends, I am going to play a song that isn't my own, but I am borrowing it from a friend." (in that sort of broken english) It wasn't until she started playing the song that I realized this sweet, unassuming chanteuse has a bit of a sarcastic side. She began playing the song "Toxic" by Britney Spears, and it was just amazing. I had no clue what a great song it is musically, since the original version is masked with such poppy cheesiness. Her myspace page houses her cover, but doesn't do it justice; the live performance of it had so much more gusto than the recorded version.

The concert was fantastic and I highly recommend seeing her live if you have the opportunity.

On anoother note, I "discovered" a new artist that I really like: Alice Smith. She is playing at Hotel Cafe on Staurday night, but I can't go because I will be out of town for work, so I'm a little disappointed. She'll be back here in LA in a couple weeks, playing The Wiltern, but I would have enjoyed this upcoming location more. I came across her music in a rerun of Entourage this past Friday night. Her song "Dream" came on towards the end of the show and I was so taken by it that I immediately googled the lyrics I was hearing. She's got a soulful, jazzy - and dare I say - even a little poppy sound to her music.

So there are a couple new (to me) music crushes I have. Hopefully you check them out and enjoy what you hear!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Upright Citizen's Brigade

I went to the Upright Citizens Brigade for the first time on Saturday night and it was fantastic. My cheeks and stomach were both in pain from all the laughter they endured. Of the three different themed shows that night, we attended number 2, the 10pm show, called "Match Game," in which people from the audience are chosen to be contestants. At first I was apprehensive about the possibility of be chosen at random, but once I saw what actually goes on, I wished I had been picked (especially because contestants have the chance to win $100). The host, Jimmy Pardo, was so on point with his retorts and celebrity panelist, Paul F. Tompkins, was hilarious in his spontaneity and exuberance. Those were my two favorite performers, but all the celebrity panelists were great:

Scott Aukerman
Oscar Nunez ("of The Office")
Matt Walsh
Andy Daly
Danielle Kroenig

It was especially fun that the woman panelist is married to the host, Pardo; it made for some explicitly awkward inside jokes.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Now Hiring: Professional Audience Member

Did I mention that my job has great perks? Today I received an open invitation from a writer at E! Entertainment's "The Soup" to attend live tapings whenever I want. I HAVE been to a live taping of the show before, and it was loads of fun. The contact who hooked it up, however, was not my own, thus making that occasion an isolated incident. Well, now I have my own 'in'. And I definitely intend to collect. I told the writer that presenting me with such an offer is risky, as I may establish permanent residency in the audience. He didn't seem scared.

Now if I could only get him to hire me...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I know this SNL episode aired over a week ago, but aside from JWR, I don't know that any of my readers watch SNL. I felt it is my duty, as a woman, to post this sketch.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Long-winded update

What a couple of weeks it has been. I've had a lot going on, which pleases me beyond words.

First, I want to mention that I'm still feeling the creative flow these days, and that feeling of motivation alone makes everyday a little bit better than usual. I'm starting to feel a significant pull towards changing my career goals. While that might not necessarily sound proactive, I've established that, for me, change is usually all about momentum. I was really discouraged by not placing in the writing contest I recently entered, but in hindsight, the act of entering was a monumental step in a direction I'd like to head. Hopefully this snowball will gain some traction as I keep the faith in myself alive.

A few entries back I chronicled my recent run-in with the law. I refer to the incident that way so I can feel like a bad ass, since obviously, getting your car towed is nothing thrilling.

Other exciting events include a Cat Power concert on Friday night. Karen and I were supposed to go together but she came down with a flu. Because her tickets were actually press passes she couldn't simply hand them over to me, she had to give them to a coworker. But since I've been on an independence kick lately, I decided to go to the sold out show by myself. As it turns out, I'm quite pleased that everything worked out the way it did. I met some new people and I'm pretty certain I made at least one new friend. Plus, the show was fantastic. She played very few songs that I knew, mostly new material, but I really wouldn't have had it any other way. It was great.

I've been spending a lot of time with my family lately, which I love. My dad's house is coming along quite nicely. I've been enjoying the beautiful weather down at the beach, getting excited for our newly remodeled beach house! As always, you can check out pictures from my weekend on my Flickr account (link to the left). This week they're kind of boring photos of the house progress. The ones I took at Cat Power did not show up because they don't allow flash photography. Also, the ones of my nieces and nephew are all starting to all look the same and I don't want to wear my readers out on their cuteness. So peruse if you feel so inclined.

I think that's about all I've got on the update front. I'm feeling inspired by friends like Marissa, whom I've been joining out at art galleries once a week or so these days, Mike, who is always working on side projects to further his writing (and now acting) endeavors, and Katie, who has her eye the prize and recently interviewed for a much desired position at KCRW. So thanks guys, keep up the good work.

Oh, and... yay life!

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Nature of Observation

Leaning forward,
he plowed like a freight train
down the sidewalk.
It looked as though
he might have taken off into the air,
had he not been so distracted by the street.

Alone, Together. (not like The Strokes song)

I'm sure there will be several editing processes to this poem, but for now... here a first draft:

It had been years since the once familiar pair
basked in each other’s company.
The seasons crept on as green leaves turned varying shades of yellow and red,
fell to the floor, and fed the earth as soggy brown lumps of compost.
Their hair had grown long,
as it was when they were children,
but their faces hadn't aged.
And their words spoke of vast changes in spirit and soul,
though the voices ultimately sounded the same.

Perhaps it was a familiar scent that made it feel okay
that they were the same people inside as always;
the scent of a memory that reminds you of home,
whether realized or not.
But before long, the stench of cigarettes invaded her clothing
as she smoked as though she had never quit,
and picked up where she left off
with other bad habits she thought she had kicked.

Buried deep in a lifetime of circumstance,
it felt good to give in to those things she had been conditioned for,
and something about denying herself attention made her feel like a better person,
one who was there for another, despite her own interpersonal needs.
But being the skeptic that she is,
she wondered how long the high of self-deprivation would last this time.

It occurred to her that they were both lonely.
To one, the mere presence of another body,
to listen to all her self-involved ramblings,
was exactly what was needed.
To the other, forfeiting the coddling and reciprocation she came to find herself in need of,
in order to feel the comfort of a presence within which she did not feel judged,
was well worth the sacrifice.

And so they sat,
alone, together,
as a whole that had never been halved,
the ties not severed.
And something about the changing weather,
which always caused the same effect,
felt better than contradictory and less like a storm,
as the universe calmed its chaos
so that an imperfect reality may reign again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I just got into work. It's 11:30am. I came from picking my car up at the impound.

I completely slept through my alarm today. After groggily rolling over to look at the clock, I sprang out of bed like I had received an adrenalin shot to the heart when my eyes beheld the time 9:30... because that meant I was already a half hour late for work. Luckily, my bosses aren't coming into the office today, so my tardiness would squeak by unnoticed. I proceeded with an abridged version of my morning routine, which only afforded me three songs on my current 'wake up' soundtrack (also known as Leaves in the River).

I was out the door by 9:50. The day had been going great so far: it was already 75 degrees by 10am, there wasn't a cloud in sight, I was dressed in my casual (comfortable) clothes since my bosses aren't coming into the office, I was having a good hair day, and let's face it, I got an extra 1.5 hours of sleep. I rounded the corner onto the residential street behind my apartment building, where I park my car every night. I'll give you one try to guess what wasn't there that should have been.

I stopped dead in my tracks when, instead of my car, I saw an orange cone with a sign, in the gutter in front of the second house in. I've seen this cone before. I walked over to that lonely chunk of the block where no cars dare trespass. Turns out the house is having some sort of extermination done and no one is allowed to park in front of it this whole week. I placed a call and caught a friend right as she was leaving for work, and being that she works for her parents, her schedule is flexible.

At the impound I forked over $187, which did not include the $50 ticket that was on my windshield. After I'd signed all the paperwork and was directed across the street to the wrong lot, a spirited man wearing a nametag that said "Ben" hopped on his walkie talkie and tracked down my car. We chatted as he escorted me to the correct lot. "What'd they get you for?" he asked. I explained the situation - that because the gutters on that block often overflow with water, the residents put cones near the curb to alert people of the hazard zone, so I didn't think twice when I saw the cone last night. We proceeded to share some mutual complaints about the system.

As we approached my car he looked down at my paperwork. "Looks like you just missed us," he observed. I stretched my neck to see what he was referring to. "Says here we towed you at 9:28am."

9:28am. I'd be $237 dollars richer if I hadn't slept through my alarm today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oh man

I have so much work to do today and I'm not working nearly as diligently as I should be. Would you believe it, I'm actually getting requests (read: demands) for new blog entries. This is the day I've always dreamed about... in my least ambitious dreams.

Fret not, I haven't abandoned my blog (I'm sure that by now all my 10 readers have gnawed all their finger nails off in worry). I just haven't had a lot of time - or rather, motivation - to write lately. So, just thought I'd say...

Hi everybody!!
(a la Dr. Nick)

That is all.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

When it rains, it pours

Man, am I having a horrible day so far. Don't you just love entries that start out like that? As if my morning hadn't been going poorly enough, I just found out that I didn't place in the writing competition I entered. Which is, of course, to say that I've lost all hope in my writing abilities and feel utterly talentless in life. I know, I know - it was the first competition I ever entered, I wrote it in an hour, there are tons of great writers in LA, blah blah blah. Still. The way I feel right now, Stephanie = failure. In more senses than I care to share.

It's a shame because I had such a fun weekend. Highlights included, but were not limited to: art gallery with marissa followed by dancing, lunch and a boat ride with the fam, Katie's birthday celebrations, Shark and Will being in town (any CO friends reading this?), driving range with Emily, Monopoly Marathons with Karen & Emily, finally seeing No Country For Old Men.

You can catch pictures of a small portion of these activities by clicking here.

Here's a sneak peak:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bull by the horns?

I'm entering a writing contest. Submissions are due tonight at midnight. I feel like I shouldn't even mention it beforehand, in case I don't place. So I'm compromising by writing about it, but keeping the details vague, or... nonexistant. If I place, I find out this Tuesday.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Well i'm too old to lose, baby, I'm too young to win.

I've officially and frighteningly just found my first gray hair. I'm tempted to just leave it there. I don't feel anymore stressed lately than the usual levels so I wonder what caused such a thing to happen. Could it have to do with one's diet at all? I'd like prevent this from happening again.

Friday, February 8, 2008

If bending is the only way to fit into a certain space
then I wonder
if just maybe
the space wasn't meant to be filled


I think, maybe, I'd like to go back to school to study Psychology.

New York, New York

Lauren got to go see a live taping of The Whitest Kids U'Know last night. Lucky b*tch. At the end of the show they all sang along and danced together to the Dinosaur Rap. You should YouTube it - my blog is starting to look like Kenny B. Loggins' with all these video posts. You should also visit Kenny B. Loggins if you haven't yet, there's a link in my sidebar.

Aww, who am I kidding? I've got to entice folks to visit my blog somehow, right? Here's the video. It's pretty silly, but so am I:

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Three Wise Men

Did anyone happen to watch The Colbert Report last night? If so, I'm sure you immensely enjoyed the special guest appearances as much as I did. Any set that houses Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and Conan O'Brien at the same time is alright by me. Here's the clip, in case you missed these three funny men challenging each other to a battle royale by beating up a desk with their shoes and belts:

Plus, in my pursuit of that clip I came across the encore showing which took place on Conan's show. Get "ready to rumble"....