Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful...

For having a great job, my health, my family and most recently...my most awesome car.

For all the wonderful souls whom I've met in my life, that accept me despite all my quirks, faux pas, marching out of time to my own drummer and bad hair days.

For the perspective to know what's important to fight for, and what's trivial radio static.

For having an incredible support system of friends and family.

For my ability to recognize toxic people, and more important for the wisdom to be able to walk away with no need for the last word, to right wrongs, fix misconceptions, and yet wish no ill will despite having endured their despicable behavior.

For my beautiful, wonderful cats and the love and laughs that they bring to me. As well as to my friends, family, neighbors and to passersby who say "Look!" and "Awww," when they see them looking out my window. I'm happy they provide a smile for you.

For having a fiercely independent spirit that pushes me forward when walking against the wind.

For my awesome friends, part of my California family, who had me over to Thanksgiving dinner this evening.

For my blog readers who send me the most incredible emails and share their own lives with me, make me laugh, think and remember how much we all have in common.

For the generous souls who donated to help Oliver, some, who have left this world since then.

For old friends who found me and got in touch through the wonders of the Internet.

For my creativity, sense of humor, ability to wonder and the gift to express them.

And, for my own hard-earned peace and belief in myself that steadies my course when doubt makes me waver.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

For all of you asking how Oliver is doing...

What a lush!

Any questions?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday night, Shannon and I went to Nolan's, our neighborhood Irish pub, to welcome in the weekend. Nolan's is a great watering hole, as we know the owners, have gotten to know some of the patrons and always enjoy the eclectic group of people that come in there, both local and not. A lot of the people from the studios come in, and you'll be talking with someone and learn they're the stunt coordinator for "Flash Point," or that a provocatively-dressed cougar prowling the joint with her friends is Kristin Dunst's mother. Other times, you're talking to a traveling businessman who's just passing through and enjoying being a party to the local Los Angeles flavor. That is, in between times when his gaze softens and focuses far off, and you wonder if he's shifted to missing home and his family. It's a place where for the most part, people let their guards down and don't have to wear the front of their professions. Industry big shots mingle with coffee baristas, musicians laugh it up with accountants, writers like me and photographers like Shannon have used complete strangers to play jokes on one another. The latest, Shannon told a woman to approach me and gush over my writing. She did a damn good job, because I was totally confused and convinced that she had read something I wrote somewhere. I only find out about most people's work because it comes up after we've been talking a while. There's normally a really good vibe and people don't come there to puff out their chests like peacocks, looking for trouble.

Last night wasn't one of those nights.

It was around midnight and I had just started sipping my second lemon drop, the drink I order on Friday nights because the bartender who works that night makes them particularly well. I'd just put P.I.L.'s "Rise" on the juke, and while talking to Shannon, saw a flurry movement over his left shoulder near the kitchen bar. It took me a couple seconds to realize that it was a scuffle, and that the two men grappling weren't joking. "Oh my God, a fight!" I said to Shannon, who turned to see it just as all hell broke loose. Fists flew, beer was thrown, people ran toward the melee, and shouted. Then, it was two on one.

Shannon had run toward them, thinking that it was Dennis, one of the owners being attacked and went over to help. Dennis is a big guy who can handle his own, but he was recently injured when taking down a drug-addled man who had entered the bar during the day a few months back and began throwing things. His injuries consisted of a torn pectoral muscle and required surgery from which he's still recovering.

Because I'd seen it start, I knew that it wasn't Dennis and screamed his name along with the bartenders. Nolan's is two floors, and Dennis had gone up to the second floor. Hearing us, he ran down and broke it up. Several men grabbed the aggressor, who had crazy eyes brimming with rage, and blocked him as he tried to go at the guy again. The group shoved him backwards through the hallway and out the back door as a woman screamed at him all the way out, repeatedly calling him an asshole just for good measure.

And yeah, he was an asshole. In an act of supreme maturity and impulse control, he decided to throw wadded up napkins at a woman he didn't know. Another man, a regular, asked him what he was doing, and was answered with a flying fist. He fought him off until the douche nozzle's friend decided to help his compensating-for-his-micro-penis buddy, making it two on one. Brave souls, those two jerk-offs. I'm sure they're still feeling the echoes of pride from that night.

For about fifteen minutes after, I was nervous that someone was going to return with a gun. I can't help it. My mind just goes there. I looked at where I was in the room and scoped out places to hide were the person to return and start firing off shots. With this economy, people are high strung. And, this person already had proven himself to be a whack. Shannon and a beer-soaked man we were talking to weren't worried. But, I don't put craziness past anyone these days, especially when I'd heard what caused the fight. I'd already found my spot, a tiny place between the bar and jukebox, right behind where I was sitting.

Just in case.

But, like I said, that is rare there. I've seen my share of bar and nightclub fights, having worked in them as a coat check girl while a college student in New York. They are all usually started by some self-esteem challenged asshole who feels they have something to prove.

On Saturday night, I was driving home through Hollywood after dinner and a movie with my friend Jan, and inadvertently drove into a huge club fight that had continued outside. There were over a 100 people running, screaming, shouting at each other and breathing heavy. Several cop cars had just arrived, parked akimbo on the street, sidewalk and anywhere else they could find a spot. I slowly inched forward with traffic through the chaos, when a police woman flashed her light at me and told me to turn right.

"It's not safe here ma'am, turn right."

I did as I was told, leaving the warring humanity behind me. As I drove through the cool night, I rolled down the windows and turned up the heat. I edged up the knob so I could just hear the music above the hiss of the road, breathed in deeply and exhaled.

Monday, November 09, 2009

So much has happened in the past few weeks that instead of writing several small posts like I told myself I would, I've let my detailing of events on this blog back up like documents in a print cue for a printer that's run out of paper. So, I'm sitting in Starbucks, wrapped in a shawl that my sister brought me back from Kuwait City, and I'm going to try to do the best that I can.

In short, I learned I was having a harder time than I thought in dealing with the death of a friend, bought a new car, had a wonderful reunion dinner with old roommates and great friends, am getting "friended" like mad from my grade school friends on Facebook, (you diligent little things you!), my mom came to visit, I'm still enjoying the job, especially this last weekend when we put on an awesome show with The Crystal Method. Oh yes we did.

That about sum it up?

First, for those of you who asked about the replacement, excuse me... there is no replacement for my beloved Honda Civic, but the car that I now drive, I bought a 2008 Volvo C30 T5S. It's silver, sleek, fast and apparently pretty unique. I get complimented on it more than I ever imagined, followed with being told that it's the first one like it they've ever seen. Even now, when I walked into Starbucks, one of the workers whom I'm friendly with told me she loved my Volvo and mentioned seeing it in Twilight. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that.

Yes, I drive Edward Cullen's (the vampire played by Robert Pattinson) Volvo from Twilight.

Shut up.

Anyway, aside from being the vampire's car of choice, it is a unique looking car and for lack of a better word, I just fucking love it. I've caught many people eyeing it as I drive by or see them from inside Starbucks checking it out in the parking lot. Who knew? I knew that I loved it, but it's always fun when a car you drive gets a reaction like that. Especially in a town that's pretty jaded when it comes to cars. And, I'm over the moon about the incredible deal I got on it. Unheard of. It was diligence, patience, research, great timing and luck that I got this car for the price that I did. And, having just gone through the Volvo site and seeing the cost of the features and packages it has, I really scored. It had been barely driven, was a trade-in at a Toyota dealer, less than a year old from purchase and is in perfect condition. Every time that I have to drive somewhere, I look forward to driving it because it's a fun, fast sporty car with awesome handling. Here are some pics I took of it.

My new car!

My new car!

The week before last, my mom came to visit and we had a great time. We ate out, talked, enjoyed the Halloween decor and costumes in Toluca Lake and then in bawdy and um...ballsy West Hollywood, had a drink with Shannon at Nolan's and just hung out. My mom had before tagged Shannon as having an "outlaw" persona, so he was kind enough to wear an L.A. Penitentiary orange shirt when we went out. One of the things she said she noticed was that I seemed to be in a good "place." She said she could hear it in my voice, and see it in my demeanor and being, if that makes sense. And yes, I guess I am. It's something I've as well noticed over the last few months, during moments of reflection, that my baseline feels good. And, I have a fine-tuned barometer for what's important and what isn't. This is not to say that I don't have my down moments. I'm not immune to feeling the pull of depression on some days. However, I've noticed that the arms that try to yank me toward the abyss have lost a lot of their strength, and I'm able to pull free with far less effort.

On Saturday, our group hosted a show in Los Angeles. First, at Bedrock Studios in Echo Park we partnered with College Battle of the Bands, then later, we put on a "secret show" at Echoplex with The Crystal Method. In checking their site, I see that they have a mention about it there. It was a great event on both fronts, and during the TCM show, I had one of those proud moments of being a part of it, much like the one I had while working on "The Wire." I felt it as Shannon and I danced with the crowd that moved as if commanded to do so by the wicked beats of "Divided By Night," the song from TCM's new CD which they opened with. LA Weekly wrote an article about the event with lots of pics, too.

If any of you want to be apprised of other secret shows in other cities as well as LA, email me directly and I'll send you the links to our Twitter and Facebook pages. Our last event was in Brooklyn with Morningwood. I just love them too, and it was great. Fun to meet all these people and see them in action, and the people at Bedrock Studios were absolutely wonderful, accommodating and helpful. That place is just awesome, and exactly what a creative conglomerate should be. The owners were extremely cool and had previously created the studios that had given the grunge scene a launching pad in Seattle. However, they were humble, sweet, funny and didn't flaunt it. They were musicians themselves who just loved music and those who create it. My boss does a fantastic job of creating these events, as they are his brainchild. We even had the coveted Kogi truck there. Yum Yum.

Okay, it's getting late. Or, early depending how you look at it. I'll keep trying for more frequent and short, controlled bursts when it comes to blogging. I can dream, can't I?