It’s Been a While…

… but I’m here now. Actually, I’ve been here on and off for the past month, writing behind the scenes, mostly hoarding drafts with a social relevance that passes long before I’ve the nerve to publish them. 

It all got me thinking, though, about how the hot topic, buzz-worthy style of writing or ingesting information really isn’t my bag. I mean, there’s a reason why not everyone loves every new film, television show, or single that drops — a fair amount of it is garbage (and you know it’s true).

That said, there are topics that I and others find to be socially relevant as respects the times in which we currently live, including the reactions, interactions, and overall absorption of ideas and information experienced on a daily basis. An account of life experienced nearly 18 years in to a new century is pretty freaking socially relevant, and will likely be considered as much as it eventually becomes a historical point of reference. 

So what exactly have I been up to? I’ve been figuring out my story, checking off a laundry list of weighty personal concerns — friendship, family, mortality, anxiety, financial security, life potential, the future — ever-revolving topics that don’t really fly well in polite conversation. Honestly, I haven’t been too fun to hang out with.

But I have been learning a lot in taking a good look at my life and where exactly I want to take it — which has involved reminders to think outside of myself. It hasn’t been easy; it’s in our biological make up to be selfish, if merely out of the need for self-preservation. Yet, for the sake of friendships and relationships of all kinds, it’s kind of a hard requirement to find that delicate  balance between being a self-respecting, free-thinking agent and doing whatever it takes to not die alone.

Is it brave to do so? I don’t know — perhaps. Shifting perspective, addressing emotions and not squelching them, showing up; that’s just living life, isn’t it? Brave, I don’t know. It just is what it is.

What else is going on? I’ve taken some time to make more room to read, listen, and reference a word’s etymology about 10 times a day. I’ve also been spinning Tove Lo’s latest album Blue Lips non-stop since its November 17th release, which may or may not be healthy. Been having some bizarre, ultraviolent dreams that take at least 10 minutes at a time to transfer to paper. And currently, I’m a few steps across the bridge between Thanksgiving and Christmas where it’s a little too early to be holly jolly and a little too late to still be eating leftovers.

So yes, it has been quite a while. I’m here now, though.

Photo via opensourceway.com

Advertisements

Short Horror Stories About Adulting (Happy Halloween)

If you want to be scarred for life, read on. Imagine this if you dare:

  • Leaving the house without the following: (a) driver’s license, (b) shoes, (c) eyebrow pencil, (d) enough gas in the tank, or (e) all the above.
  • Waking up happy it’s Friday but it’s only Tuesday.
  • Relieved that it’s payday but nope, that’s next week.
  • Neglecting to clean out the coffeemaker from three weeks ago and discovering a scene not unlike a science project.
  • Having to make three Target runs in a week.
  • Losing a contact lens in your eye socket while driving.
  • Having your only ponytail holder snap in the middle of the work day.
  • Chucking your cell phone and building access badge in the mail chute instead of the mail.
  • Forgetting to take your birth control pills for three days, thereby throwing your figure, complexion, mood and digestive system into the pits of hormonal hell.
  • Falling into the toilet at Gold Coast Bar.
  • Getting into an elevator when you’re late for work to have someone jam their arm between the closing doors and let 10 people on who — naturally — select a minimum of five stops between the lobby and your floor.
  • When the server at Sunday brunch takes 15 minutes to get your check, and another 15 minutes to process your payment, when all you want to do is go home and nap off a hangover.

      I think that’s it. Happy Halloween, everyone!

      I’m a Size Queen

      I was in the stationary and notebook aisle at Target yesterday and decided that I needed yet another notebook to write in. Because I’m usually on the go and prefer the convenience of taking down ideas at a moment’s notice, I figured opting for the 4″ x 6″ ruled and spiraled assignment book would be the easy solution.

      But I’ve been down this road. Too many times have I purchased something compact for convenience only to feel claustrophobic and choked out on each page after page. My psychological reflex doesn’t allow me to see the forest for the trees as a result.

      Plus, in all honestly, I get bored. Experience has shown me that if something doesn’t work, then go with your gut and try something else. So I moved on to the 7.5″ x 10.5″ college ruled notebook and decided to go with that. My reasoning is that the wider plain of paper that I write on, hopefully the better I will see ideas, characters, and environments take form.

      All this to say that I didn’t end up buying either, because I remembered that I’ve plenty of notebooks from college begging to be used. The plan this weekend is to dig them out and make more than friendly with them.

      Save a tree, save a life.

      Writing 101 in a Digital World

      Sometimes I forget that you don’t need an internet connection to write.

      Yesterday I had some time to write before meeting a friend for dinner, and conveniently had my laptop with me. However, I experienced slight panic for a moment when I realized that there wasn’t a WiFi connection to hook up to.

      That’s pretty bad.

      I grew up in the late 80s, early 90s. My family had a telephone attached to the wall. We didn’t even have a TV for a time. I know that one doesn’t need a computer or smartphone to write — a pencil or pen and paper will more than do the job (even a brow pencil… true story.)

      Yet lately I’ve found writing sessions to be fueled in part by the need to immediately publish something — in line with the philosophy of a tree falling in the forest, I guess you could say. However unintentional, having such a mindset — a reflex of powering up to write down — has definitely impacted how often I write, greatly inhibiting my range of artistic motion.

      In my defense, technological convenience is something we’ve so grown used being there to the point that the physical act of writing can feel like supplementary behavior until one can get to the perfect moment in which to fully flesh out an idea.

      But if our world was to enter apocalyptic status today, right now, there’d be nothing to connect to, no immediate spread of ideas. All works online would cease to exist. If we were lucky, some publications would have survived any fires, floods, blasts. But we’d truly have to rebuild and create a future on a physical, tangible foundation with our selves doing the thinking, not our beloved machines.

      I used to think that being in front of a computer was my perfect sit-down moment — and it still is, in most ways. However, it might be time to redefine the line in the sand, with a pencil or pen and paper, and whatever’s swimming inside. No tabs open, and nothing to reference except for, perhaps, a physical thesaurus, encyclopedia, or other source of study. Back to basics, in the interest of preservation.

      LA Weekly’s Best of L.A. 2017 — West Hollywood Re-Deux

      Screenshot_20171010-112938

      LA Weekly just came out with their annual Best of L.A. issue, which I picked up by happenstance on Friday night. As a native of this awesomely diverse and sprawling city,  I can’t wait to flip through even more, as there are some really interesting places profiled: a Romanian restaurant in Highland Park, a body-positive gym in Mount Washington, late-night Thai food in East Hollywood (as well as a magic-themed bar), veggie soul food in Leimert Park, a history museum in the west Valley, and countless others.

      I was, however, quite thrown off when I reached the section for West Hollywood — a literal half-page-and-a-column about the following: a boxing gym, a marijuana dispensary, a new restaurant, and The Chapel aka The Abbey lite. Also included was a brief note from an expert that mentioned the aquatic center and mural on the back of the library, but nothing that really stood out.

      West Hollywood featured in LA Weekly’s “Best of LA 2017”.

      Hmm.

      Like… really? That’s all that LA Weekly could come up with?

      Thanks to the Sunset Strip, I’ve never really been a stranger to Weho — any time between 2006 and 2010, you could find me taking the 218 over the long and windy Laurel Canyon pass then the 2 west, just to get lost in a show at the Viper Room or the Roxy. My diminutive, reserved Lake Balboan self was eyeballs deep in dreamland every time, and I just loved it.

      After making the move in 2012, I can truly say that it’s one of those unique cities where everyone can be who they want to be. It’s also very walkable– it isn’t out of the ordinary for me to park my car after work on  Friday evening and not get back into until Monday morning. It’s a small town in a big city, a real community of people from all walks and income brackets — real folks who work, live, volunteer, and create here.

      It really is a special place, full of culture, color, flavor, life, and pride, with something most always going on, and someone most always glad to see or get to know you.

      So I’ve decided to do my own “Best of West Hollywood” feature –not from the perspective from a trust-fund hipster, but from a former Valley girl and aspiring writer who works a 9:30-to-7 near LAX.

      Best Ramen Place: Daikokuya
      Not that I’m complaining, but I used to have to drive all the way to Little Tokyo, then Little Osaka on Sawtelle to get my spicy miso ramen fix. So now having Daikokuya available within walking distance just makes life all sorts of shiny (especially following a night of 2-for-1 drink specials on Santa Monica Blvd). Not only ramen, but they serve up some awesome rice bowls — shredded pork with ginger, teriyaki chicken, eel, oh my — with miso soup and cabbage salad with a dressing worth the caloric indiscretion. Every time.

      Best Sit-Down Pizzeria: Dough
      The name says it all — the dough makes the pizza. There really is something that just makes it taste so damned good. Do they fly in cases of Poland Spring water from New York, or utilize a water filtration process similar to Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.? I don’t know but what I do know is that it is so delicious every single time. Single slices are priced from $2.50 (cheese) to $3.99 (BLT), and there are innovative menu selections and  specials every day of the week. My personal favorite special is Monday’s buy one get one pizza special, and $0.99 pizza slices with the purchase of a drink on Wednesdays.

      Best Happy Hour: Cecconi’s (Tuesday to Saturday from 4 to 7pm, enjoy food and cocktails priced from $4 to $7!) and St. Felix (daily from 4 to 8pm; Sundays start at 2! Just. So. Good. Just go. Go.)

      Best Frozen Yogurt: Yogurt Stop
      The prospect if dessert is worthy of a smile in itself, but throw in flavor names such as Bottoms Up Banana, Salted Caramel Booty, Milk My Harvey Chocolate, and Original Weho Tart John Duran, and you’ll be guaranteed at least a yelp of amusement. Plus, their vegan flavors — including coconut, almond; watermelon sorbet — actually taste like and have a non-imitation consistency.

      Best Car Wash: Santa Palm Car Wash
      I could go to the gas station closer to my office, or anywhere on the way home from wherever I may be headed — but I always end up at the local car wash on the corner of Palm and Santa Monica Blvd. You just feel where your dollar is going — into local business versus dime-a-dozen machinery. Newly remodeled and located across the street from Yogurt Stop and sharing geographical real estate with LA Buns hot dog and hamburger stand, its service with a smile is in actuality.

      Best Disco FriesKitchen 24
      Somewhere in between poutine and heaven falls an order of disco fries. Fun story: one night I was attempting to make my way back home after a liquor-ish maiden voyage to FUBAR and I had the drunken munchies. I walked by Kitchen 24 and dropped in to request the K24 Breakfast Sandwich and disco fries, the former of which I devoured on the rest of the walk home. The latter, however, my boyfriend ate the following morning as I slept off the booze. I forgave him eventually.

      Best Gay Bar: Flaming Saddles 
      Now, I personally can get into regular old country, but this isn’t regular old country. It is West Hollywood country, honey — a.k.a. attractive men in tight denim, boots, and hats, sometimes dancing on tables. Not that there’s anything wrong with a posh, scene-y vibe, but if you’re going for hella fun, go for the cowboy. Always the cowboy. (Runner-up: Micky’s.)

      Honorable mentions —
      Best Bottomless Mimosa Brunch: Jack n’ Jill’s Too, Marco’s Trattoria
      Best New Place for Alternative Tacos: Tocaya Organica
      Best Pet Supply Store: Collar & Leash
      Best Tucked-Away Hotels:  Le Montrose, Le Petit Ermitage
      Best Restaurants (That I’ve Been To): The Granville, Sandbox on Melrose
      And finally, Restaurants/Shops/Places That I Hope to Visit Soon: Pono Kitchen + Bar, The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker, Salt & Straw

      Ah… see? Much better.

      World Mental Health Day 

      This post was inspired by the shortness and sweetness of this blog post, (which I found to be incredibly beautiful, poignant, and full of courage. Thank you.)

      We all have a story, and creative platforms such as music and lyrics, film and television, theater and spoken word allow such discourse regarding the most tangled up parts of ourselves. For all else, perhaps, there’s this.

      Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed that it can feel like I’m screaming inside, that I hope so much that I am still calm on the outside.

      I feel, very strongly. The peaks and highs are fantastic, the lows are horrible, and the sparks are powerful at best. Always in need of harnessing.

      I constantly worry about whether or not I’ve done the right thing. There have been instances where I’ve been physically incapacitated in doing so.

      I think about death a lot, mainly about how one day we, too, will be gone, and not many people will be aware of the difference. It keeps me in check, but mostly, it has me on an even albeit downward-facing keel.

      I have been recovering from eating disorders for 17 years and probably will never recover completely. However, I have made major improvements and tend to operate with logic more than impulse. I do hope to recover in the physical aspect, and realize that will take more mental recovery as well. Never one without the other. 

      I am very much obsessive compulsive. Rituals and numbers and the ability to escape are important to me. I have rationalized some fears in relation to the disorder, but sometimes, it’s black hole central. Talking myself down is never fun, but at least I can. 

      I rarely get sick in the traditional sense,  but there have been times where facing the outside world and being functional just wasn’t going to happen so… mental health day for the win. (I’ve only taken one this year.)

      I have found that holding myself accountable in a personal journal or check-in via the mirror has helped me iron out some things. I don’t intend to be on medication but I definitely would like to enter therapy, hopefully by year’s end.

      I’d like to think that I’m crazy enough to work.

      That’s all.

      The Problem with Needing to Be the First to Report the News

      “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” — the new and now longstanding credo du époque. 

      What happened to actually reporting the news?  Pressure from conglomerates happened. Ratings, sensationalism, virality happened. The internet and social media happened, and I’d argue that we’re all to blame in some way, simply by demand and consumption. 

      With the internet being the world’s main and largest source of information, and social media making it available and accessible by the literal second, it is a bit tough to escape the matrix — but tough doesn’t have to be impossible. 

      On Monday, October 2nd, reports flooded in early in the day that legendary singer, songwriter, and musician Tom Petty was taken to the hospital in a state of unconsciousness following cardiac arrest. His condition was updated to having been taken off of life support, to dying. This was reported by hundreds of verified online publications, until it was acknowledged that confirmation had, in fact, not been obtained. 

      Following a statement from the LAPD denying their prior confirmation, reports were quickly retracted to Petty clinging to life until his spokesperson released a statement hours later that he had passed away at 8:40 pm PST.

      This need to be the first to report breaking news is now regularly causing once-reputable news outlets to shoot themselves in the foot while it’s still their mouth, while other websites — essentially RSS or reblog feeds — pick up the story and further spread the contamination. 

      Was this the LAPD’s fault, or was it the fault of the new school of journalism? Was it our fault as the public for how easily we’ve adapted to wildfire? 

      I would answer: all of the above.

      As a result, Petty’s final hours were tinged by the unfair and unwarranted stress of infringed upon privacy, personally experienced by his family, friends, and bandmates. Fans around the world were either propped up by false hope, or thrust into a position of waiting for him to die. There was no good publicity to be garnered from it — just a media circus. Just vultures circling around, waiting to strike. 

      It begs reminding that it is the job of journalism to report and document the news through an unbiased lens, with integrity to the profession. It a position worthy of dignity and respect, one with huge responsibility. It is far more than cents-per-word or exposure-only employment. And, it is not at all about the journalist. Journalism is our history in motion.

      In forgetting this, devastating events surrounding the first two days of October 2017 have fallen under the pay-per-click umbrella, where “everyone is a journalist”, at an ultimate cost to the subject. 

      We should all be ashamed.