Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne, and all that crap

So it's thirtyseven minutes past ten out here on the left coast, and I"ve been reading the New Year's Auf's from those on the East. Doesn't seem like 2007 was a particularly good year--for anyone. I, on the other hand, despite the fact that my twenty year marriage went belly up and I've been unemployed for longer than I expected and the value of my house went down and my car blew another tire doesn't seem like such a bad year to me, in retrospect (and I'm sober as all shit). I don't know whether I'm too full of Prozac or that mad bout with death five years ago really had a lasting effect, but I'm just seeing stuff that happens as stuff that happens. Nothing more; nothing less. And so I'm excited about 2008. It seems to me to be the first time I'm really in charge of me. Which means--wow! learning what me wants. Now that is a new and different tack.

So I'm going to bed and tomorrow will dawn, tra la tra la. I'll hie over to Knitique for the annual New Year's Knitting Extravaganza, which begins at six a.m. I don't expect I'll be one of those waiting for Danielle et al to unlock the door. But I'll traipse in around eight or so, and I'll knit some and wander through the store and buy more yarn and books and maybe a thingie to learn to spin. I am still working on my bag of goodies from last year's sale--but I'm also almost done with several projects that have been hanging around for, oh, nine or ten years, so I'm entitled, as all the knitters will atttest.

Goodnight and god bless (small g and large G), in whatever way you think best. I'll see you all anon and anon and anon.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

In which I am called...

The siren call of Blog 365 is whining in my ear. Do it. Do it. Blog every day for a year, no matter what.

The hell you say, I say to the siren. Don't you remember NaBloPoMo of '07? You never made it past day six.

But the siren will not be silenced. Your motives in NaBloPoMo ’07 were impure; that is why you failed.

The siren, albeit he/she/it sounds an awful lot like Yoda is right. I did NaBloPoMo ‘07 not because I wanted to see if I could blog every day for a month—I’d already done that in ’06—but because (a) everyone else was doing it; (b) I wanted to be part of everyone else; (c) I had some idea it might improve my stats and thereby and fore my income (not to mention my ego), or (d) all of the above.

So what’s different now, Big Guy, I ask the siren. Who answers thusly:

I am not a guy, you silly twit. I am you, your inner voice, and if you are female, then so, thusly, am I.

And I sayeth: What’s different with Blog 365 is that it scares the shit out of you. To do something every day for a year

Oh, no, I can’t I can’t. I can’t manage that kind of consistency. You know I can’t. I’ll fall down on the job. I’ll fuck up. I’ll get blocked and depressed and pissed off with the world.

Probably. But you know and I know that if you don’t work through this now, you never will. And at your age, my dear, how many chances will you have left. Not to mention that at your age, my dear, who the hell cares.

So now the siren is doing Rhett Butler, but frankly, he-she-it is right. I have a don’t-know-where-it-comes-from sense that this is a challenge I have to take on . I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I don’t know how bloodied and bowed—or triumphant—I’ll be at the end, but I’m signing on the dotted line, as it were. You’ll see something (or other) from me every day for the next year, this I swear.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Day In The Life of a Dog with a Bone

This is my contribution to the "How Much Do I Indulge My Dog?" sweepstakes. Molly, poor woefully deprived creature that she is, has never had a bone to gnaw on in her life. Yes, she's had so-called treats that are shaped like a bone. And she nightly gets a Greenie, which is, actually, shaped like a toothbrush. But a real, straight from the animal (by way of my cooking) bone to call her own? Nope, never--poor thing. I felt her pain, however, and yesterday after cooking up the most delicious bean soup using the bone from last week's kosher Christmas ham, I remedied that sad lack.

My initial intention was to maintain the integrity of my living room, and thus, I took the bone and the dog outside. At first she merely sniffed at the thing, but soon her doggie instincts came out full force (not to mention her gluttony; the thing was loaded with meat), and she took it in her mouth (which was no mean feat, considering the size of the thing), and she trotted the front door. Where she stood expectantly, because--wah, wah, wah, it was coooooolld outside and sorta wet and you know how I feel about getting wet.

I do, I do, Molly my love. And what careth I about the integrity of my living room, not to mention the state of my lime green love seat when your pleasure is involved.

For those of you less into video than stills, I offer A Day in the Life of a Dog with a Bone in pictures:

Longshot of dog on sofa snarfing bone.

CU to dog on sofa snarfing bone

CU to dog on sofa showing off somewhat-snarfed bone

CU on what remains of bone after it has been snarfed dry.

Establishing shot of dog reclining on three pillows after successfully snarfing bone.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Don't Delete, Pass It On--and Remember!

I usually do delete when I get Pass It On emails. But this one, this one I thought was worth the effort. I remember how our soldiers were treated during and after Viet Nam. That, more even than the war itself, was shameful. Whatever you think about Iraq and our role there, you must remember that these are our kids fighting over there, not some enemy spawn of the Bush Administration. Look at that last photo of the soldiers sleeping on the road by the tanks. See how they sleep? I bet the mother of that one who's got his hand between his knees would tell you, "That's exactly how he slept in his crib."

This is a ribbon for soldiers fighting in Iraq . Pass it on to everyone and pray.


Bed a little lumpy...

Toss and turn any...

Wish the heat was higher...

Maybe the a/c wasn't on...

Had to go to the john..

Need a drink of water...




Scroll down

Yes. It is like that!

Count your blessings, pray for them,

Talk to your Creator

the next time

the other car cuts you off and you must hit the brakes,
or you have to park a little further from Walmart than you want to be,
or you're served slightly warm food at the restaurant,
or you're sitting and cursing the traffic in front of you,

or the shower runs out of hot water,

Think of them...

Protecting your freedom!

DO NOT DELETE-PLS PASS ON -Message from Iraq

The proud warriors of Baker Company wanted to do something to pay tribute To our fallen comrades So since we are part of the only Marine Infantry Battalion left in Iraq the one way that we could think of doing that is By taking a picture of Baker Company saying the way we feel. It would be awesome if you could find a way to share this with our fellow countrymen. I
was wondering if there was any way to get this into your papers to let the world know that "WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN" and are proud to serve our country." Semper Fi
1stSgt Dave Jobe

The attached photo was forwarded from one of the last U.S. Marine companies in Iraq . They would like to have it passed to as many people as possible, to let the folks back home know that they remember why they're there and that they remember those who've been lost.

Send this to 13 people in the next 15 minutes. Go.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Flotsam and Christmas

I don't know if several days break is what I've been giving myself. I don't think it is the beginning of the end. More, I want to really get at why I'm doing ByJane, the "good" reasons and the "ill". I've erased that last phrase several times, because I don't like the opposition of good and ill. But it keeps coming back into my head, and I think it's because in some ways the "ill" reasons are those that I consider parts of my psyche that I would rather not exist. In other words, shit that I do.

One majorly (as they say) reason I've done (tense intentional) ByJane is because I want to play with the big guys, the A-listers. Not because I particularly like them (some I do; some--eh) or because I have anything really in common with them, thirty- and forty-something mommybloggers that they are. I want to play with the big guys because, pure and simple, that will signal to all and sundry, not the least of which is moi, that I have great worth. This is so obviously "ill" that I need say no more.

Another reason, which is nestled right in tight with the one above, is that I want to make money writing. Now I could, as I have done before, work to do it the traditional way: query, article, rewrite, revise rewrite, revise revised rewrite, wait for pay. Can you tell what fond memories I have of freelancing? So one would think I would do most anything to avoid it. Yes, one would. Unless one knew my uber-contrary ways.

Here are the things that I have been told/asked to do on my blog so as to make it PAY: (1) Focus on just one topic. I am constitutionally incapable of doing this. I have ADD for chrissake, people; my focus is in the best of times scattered. And besides, I don't wanna. And besides that, shouldn't the sharpness of my prose make up for the lack of focus? I mean, some days I reread what I've written and I think, hot damn, that's good. I wait for the world to beat a path to my door and...and...and...I'm still waiting. Then I think, hey , maybe it's not so good, maybe I'm fooling myself, maybe I've lost It. And then I'm all depressed and sad and who wants to write cheery things in that state of mind.

(2) Write about the breakup of my marriage. Do you have any idea how my stats went up when I first broke the news? Not to mention that I got a contract to write about divorce for a site that either never got going or is swinging without me. Because, frankly, I'm not so good at putting that ironic twist on someone else's, my soontobex's, psyche. I figure he's entitled to do his thing without my commenting on it and drawing the world's attention to it and creating subtle jokes and cynical snipes about it. And since all of that is one half of the story, I sorta can't write about the breakup of my marriage. Even if it would pay handsomely to do so. And maybe, even, make me an A-lister (because even I realize that Divorce is a focus, a single subject, that elusive grail). Not writing about it also means that some days what is on my mind is a great big ole elephant in the blog. A subtle beige one, with floppy ears. About which I will say no more because who wants to write cheery things in that state of mind.

Okay, the symmetry of these two final sentences is very nice and all, but really leads to the impression that I'm walking around wounded, dragging my limp and shattered ego/heart behind me. Well, t'ain't so, McGee. Generally speaking, I'm pretty up these days. I'm working on stuff and there's movement and life is good. Maybe because I'm working on Stuff. The advantage to having this shrink education (not to mention the wisdom of, ahem, the elders) is that I really can see my Stuff. I can lay it out and go, Ohho so that's what that's about...Hmmmm, very interesting. And then I think, oh, great for the blog. And then I think, why do I have to turn my every insight into a blog post? Am I living my life to live it--or to blog it?

And that brings me right back to the Original Ill--blogging as a manifestation of an untoward ego need.

Wooow! who said that?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

There must be an odd miasma of Non-Bloggeratude floating around the neighborhood, because my back yard fence sharer has just posted a "gone fishing...don't know if I'll be back" notice on her blog. And ya know, I feel mighty similar. Somehow lately this blogging thing has gotten, I dunno, stale, boring, puny and purposeless.

I'm not sure why. Even more, I'm not sure I care.

I seem to have been (past tense, you'll note) spending an inordinate amount of time reading and commenting and writing and commenting. To the exclusion of things that might improve my life and state of mind more. Like decorating my bathroom. Ironing my cotton shirts. Fixing up my art studio. Making my writing office a cozy, inspirational nest.

I'm not reading any more blogs where I don't feel it's a two-way connection. I'm resigning my voyeurship rights to those blogs, well-done though they may be, that are group gropes. Pioneer Woman, you're history to me; I will no longer allow you to depress me with your too-perfect life. Mommy-bloggers, unless I know you personally, forget it; your kid's snot is your affair, s'not mine. A-listers, if you have over fifteen commenters, don't look to me to be the sixteenth. My attention span is not such that I can even get through them all and when I do, jesus! someone has already made that pithy comment that ByJane is known for.

My blog's third--or is it fourth (my how time flies, etc etc etc)--was the day before yesterday. I guess it's not inappropriate that I'm asking myself: why am I still doing this? And the answer is, I don't know, but I'm thinking long and hard on it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hand of God

I love taking these West-facing photos. They never fail to come out all dramatic and evocative and just plain wild. Even when they're taken, as this one was, with a camera phone.

There's a texture about the sky in this shot that reminds me of watered silk, moire--and I can almost feel it between my fingers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Am A Slut For A Party

Just invite me, and I'll go unimaginable distances. Like last weekend when I drove 368 miles to LA Daddy's birthday party. It was so worth it. If you go to his site, you'll see the photos he took. I didn't take any photos because--because I just didn't. Even though I took my camera to LA. And I had my cell phone camera with me. But, well, I'm just not one of those people that wants to memorialize every event. Sometimes one just has to let one's memory do the job.

If you go to that site, you'll see the back of my head in the next-to-the-last photo. Isn't my haircut great? I spent several days before my trip polishing up that old investigative reporter's elbow so I could find the wonder woman who has cut my hair in LA. Christina Cesna ("as in the plane") and she's at Fabric in BH. And I love her. Because she makes me a reasonable facsimile of presentable.

At the party, I talked's the obligatory listing of fellow bloggers:
Whit, who is first this time because he was forgotten last time, even though he let me slip and slide down the hill and I broke my crown and didn't get home in one piece;
Kevin & his trusty mate, Will, who is a gentleman, even if he's in love with Kevin, who did end up ass over heels on the way to the hot tub when all and sundry were going for that final final drip through;
the lovely Kim who was svelte in a garment cunningly decorated for her by her oldest son, who surely will be on some Bravo reality show so remarkable was his ability to get the chocolate splotches just so;
Neilochka, known throughout the blogosphere as the consort of the lovely Sophia;
not to forget--ha!--Liz who really is goddessy everyday; and the kettlerattler
and the faithful mates, Trish and Karen and Will, and...and...and...
my publicist and my lawyer and my greengrocer, without whom none of this would have been worth the price of a bag of Boston Bibb not to mention those three stalks of celery that have been dogging my steps, stalking me you might say....and...and...and...--!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Heigh Ho, etc....

...tis off to LA I go. For--eyes right, please--LA Daddy's 40th birthday party. Will report from the front if not before.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Flotsam and Jetsam...

...which is, as you well know, the crap and crud that floats about in the pristine waters of This Land Is Your Land. It comes from us, we the people, those of us who haven't seen or don't pay attention to this injunction, pressed by your local Good Works people into the concrete above every sewer:

I, however, prefer to use it as a catch all title for the crap and crud that floats about in my mind, as well as all the rest of the stuff that's in there. Such as:
  • So you thought, some of you, that I was writing a legitimate post about Hollywood. Ha! Can you not tell great art when you read it? That is the beginning of the thing I have been working on for quite a while now, and I decided to share it with all five of you. Feel free to comment and critique; I can take it (shure).
  • I love Julianne Hough. She is so incredibly cute. And happy. Do you think she ever has a bad day? She makes me want to start wearing false eyelashes again. And face the world with a Halleluyah glow. And diet. And spend more time doing Pilates. And become a Mormon, because that seems to be something to do with dancing talent, not to mention having huge families.
  • When I find a new blog to read, I put it in my Tryouts folder on my Google Reader. Then if I like it after a while, it goes to My Daily Read folder, which is just at your lower right. I am a picky picky reader. Remember, I've been ruint by years of reading Bad Freshman Comp papers. So not many people get a pass out of the Tryouts. If they're just okay and I read them when I'm hungry for internet communication, then they go into the And I Sometimes Read folder. Yesterday, for the first time ever, a blog made it from Tryouts to Daily Read in less than 24 hours. It's The Daily Coyote, (thanks to Dooce) and I'm in love with him. Go have a look and you will be too.
  • Here's a question for you: what's with all the contests going on in the Blogosphere? Is this not a form of bribery? Read my blog, comment and you'll get entered in the sweepstakes of the century. And some of these contests have HUGE prizes. Like Ree of Confessions of a Pioneer Woman who gave out a $500 Amex card for someone naming a cow she took a picture of. Five hundred dollars! That is not chicken feed--or cow shit, for that matter. Is she just really rich; does ranching pay that much? Or does she get a little payback from the cigarette guys every time she mentions Marlboros? What's the story here? Enquiring minds want to know....

Monday, December 03, 2007

DeMille Dwellings, The Preface

If you made a list of all the different kinds of places to rent in Hollywood you might end up with some sort of architectural history of apartment dwelling in the 20th century. There are your former mansions from the teens and 20s cut down to a rat's nest of one- and two- room flats. The linoleum in them tends to peel up at the corners, and there's a fusty smell about them that one could call Eau de Old Man. In the 30s they built tall apartment buildings, modeled after those on New York's East Side. They’re called The Franklin Arms or The Excelsior, and each of the ten or so stories has two or three grand apartments with dumbwaiters and laundry chutes and that teeny cubby off the kitchen that was the butler's pantry but now more often holds a stacked washer/dryer combo and the dog food. Then there are the motel models, two story horseshoes ringing a central swimming pool. These are circa the 50s and 60s and they smack of Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb starlets lounging poolside in hip hugger 2 piece bathing suits and artfully coiffed platinum hair. The 70s and 80s gave us huge piles, proper apartments with elevators and subterraneum parking for tenants, monuments to uniformity and cheap construction.

And then there’s the likes of DeMille Dwellings, where I live. It’s a clustered hodgepodge of duplexes and triplexes that share a central garden feature--and not much else. It was built in the late twenties and is, depending on who you talk to, either a relic of Hollywood's back-lot working class stiffs or of Hollywood's above-the-line love nests. Considering that some of the former still live here and considering the stories they tell, I suspect both versions are true. That is, DeMille Dwellings did once house the lighting guys and costume girls of the Talkies and they did once entertain Rudy and Charlie and the lovable Fatty himself.

You can't really see the Dwellings from the street. The entrance to it is a brick portico, covered with scraggily ivy and one die-hard San Juan rose bush. Push through that and you're in a courtyard of sorts, part gravel, part grass, part overgrown weeds. The concrete fountain is off to the side a bit. It must have once been stunning, but now it's as tattered and forsaken as an old Hollywood whore. A frieze of mosaics once ran along the inside wall. I think it had something to do with the zodiac because there are still parts of Scorpio and Cancer that can be picked out. Most of the tiles are missing, pried off by--who? Kids? Vandals? Is there a market for used mosaics tiles?

The fountain doesn't work any more, of course. Or maybe it does, but no one has bothered to try it. It has become a gigantic ashtray cum garbage can. People throw their trash in it as if they were pitching pennies at Trevi. In some ways, I itch to clean it up. I have a thing about old things and restoring them and letting them live again. But I don't expect to be here long enough to really care, to get invested enough to be willing to stick my hands, begloved though they be, into the layers of detritus in that fountain.

I live in Number 3 1/4. It’s a studio bungalow squeezed in behind Number 3-1/2. There is no Number 3.