It was a bad day in a great city.

It's 3am and I can't sleep. I ate shit on the stairs while catching the L train today. I fell face forward like a big, dumb log. Tripped on my own pants. Another casuality of fashion. The lady behind me gasped. A man awkwardly reached for my hand to help me up but both my hands were stubbornly stuffed in my pockets. I never even took them out to break my fall from grace; just two defensive little fists full of keys and a lip stain I had been anxiously fidgeting with for an hour. I used to fidget with my actual lips when I was bothered by something. It was a terrible habit that often lead to a bloody mouth. Now I just fidget with lip coloring devices that make it look like I have a bloody mouth. I'm sure there is a metaphor there somewhere and I'm also sure I was very distracted when I ate shit on the stairs. For the life of me, I couldn't seem to get my hands out of my pockets to get back up again. My thoughts drifted to a guy I briefly dated that always tried to hold my hand when I just wanted the freedom to hold my coffee cup. Miraculously I managed to get up with both hands STILL shoved in my coat without the help from anybody. I kept moving with my head held high. I'm always falling down. I never feel my body. I never want help.

I'm so clumsy. I'm so defensive. I'm so dignified.

It was a bad day in a great city.

A couple sat across from me on the train and I couldn't tell if they had been together for four months and the honeymoon period wore off or if it was four years. The woman had the sort of cadaverous stare you get after a lifetime of living the wrong narrative as the wrong protagonist but have no idea how to burn down the library. Her companion was on a laptop with too many stickers; each one presumably masking some insecurity he wasn't dealing with. His stickers were stupid and he had the stupidest expression on his stupid face. A pained neanderthal manchild deep in thought about how to word a tweet while the whole world passed him by. He furiously typed away with his mouth wide open while she aimlessly looked around with the widest eyes I've ever seen. She never blinked. He never breathed through his nose. She looked dead. He looked dumb. I bet he snored. I bet she cried. The only indication of intimacy between the two of them was that the side of their legs were touching. I felt sorry for them both. I hated them. I've been them.

Bored. Lonely. Tweeting to strangers to fill an endless hole. Trapped. Oblivious. Dead eyed. Wide eyed. Hungry. Dumb.

Thinking I'm connected to someone but it was just a knot we couldn't untangle.

It was a bad day in a great city.

I'm living alone for the first time in my entire life in a city I've dreamed about since I was a little girl. Five months ago I lived in a tiny room with an amazing roommate in a city-I-never-dreamed-about-but-liked-anyway. In that city-I-never-dreamed-about-but-liked-anyway I had a band, friends, a crush on a neighbor to get over a longing for an ex, and a job at a record store. It was fine. It was typical. I was broke. I ate tacos. I drank beers outside. I wrote songs. I smoked joints. I had an apartment infested with roaches. They used to crawl on me in my sleep and I got in the habit of sleeping with a hammer so I could kill them. I don't normally kill things but I hated them. They had boundary issues and triggered grotesque feelings I had about the time I was a little girl staying on my grandparent's farm in Nebraska. Bugs were crawling all over me in my sleep but nobody believed me. Nobody heard me. The next evening my parents finally saw what I was talking about and my horrified mother had us sleep in the van. My dad didn't join us and fell back asleep in the house. Maybe he didn't hear her. I don't know what I hate more now. Bugs or not being heard. In this new bugs-crawling-all-over-me scenario, my roommate and I heard each other and dealt with it together. We used humor and bleach as a coping mechanism. Eventually I bought a bed frame and taped the bottom of the legs with double stick tape to deter anything from crawling on me in my sleep. It seemed to work. Looking back on the experience now, I was living in my own personal hell but I called it heaven for some reason. How could it be hell? It was the city of angels and there were so many lemon trees. When life gives you lemon trees, make lemonade.

I've never seen a bug in my new place. There are also no lemon trees on my street or crushes on any neighbors. I did recently have my first out of town visitor. We cried in every single room in my new apartment. I felt both accomplished for being at a place in life where I had so many different rooms to cry in while also feeling incredibly frustrated for being at a place in life with so much to cry about. I appreciated the company, nonetheless, but my eyes look so tired from the experience. 

There were no bugs. There were no lemons. But I was heard. 

It was a bad day in a great city.

I ordered a purple velvet couch and the UPS people stole it... or lost it... or lied about it. It's still unclear. I had to file an investigation and ended up getting a lot of pillows to sit on. I was refunded my money and chose to keep sitting on pillows. I actually prefer it. Furniture is bondage and I'm probably not at a place in life to be embracing couch ownership, even when said couch looks like a velvet kissed coffin. It seems fitting that I would associate my first piece of grown up furniture with death. 

I did end up buying a shitty ikea record shelf. I almost died assembling it. 

It was a bad day in a great city.

I live in one of the most exciting places in the world and today I bought Draino. Even typing that bored me. I didn't need it. Upon closer inspection, a lid was stuck in my sink and not a lifetime of hair drama. I pulled the lid out with scissors and also a rubber band. It was really simple and now my sink functions. I don't know why I made it so complicated. I had been brushing my teeth in the shower and washing my hair in the kitchen for a month. I even went out of my way to buy the Draino but was so distracted by the normalcy of this purchase that I had to make it dramatic. I used my card instead of the cash I had JUST pulled out specifically for the Draino and then I had to transfer the funds back into my account so a phone bill charge would go through. There was a lot of math over Draino. A lot of heartache. Mistakes were made. I didn't even need it. Typical Automne.

It was a bad day in a great city.

There are so many steps here that lead to streets with the names of old lovers I've wronged in some way. I think of all of them when I turn corners to walk on new streets with names that mean nothing to me. I wonder why so many streets are named after men. Currently I live on the same street as my ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. I used to stare at a framed picture of her that hung up on his wall. She was really beautiful and meant a lot to him. I often wonder how weird it must be for him. In a city of this size, his exes from two different worlds are neighbors. Such a strange thing. While the street isn't named after any of us, my phone often auto corrects the name to “Nimrod Street”. It seems fitting. Biblical, even. I wonder if the three of us will ever go hunting.


It was a bad day in a great city.

I haven't spoken to a good friend in a while. I'm not even sure if we still are good friends. We just kind of blew away from each other during a storm. Enough time has past where I've settled into our new indifference but sometimes I think about her. This is life, I remind myself. Sometimes you lose things in storms.

It was a bad day in a great city.

I associate romance and intimacy with invisibility. I hate how strongly I can feel. I hate how my feelings become bigger than who I am. I disappear in them. It always starts off like a fire and I either end up disfigured but still alive... or I become ashes blowing away. I know it doesn't have to be that way. People have nice fires that never burn them alive or burn everything down. Not everybody panics and calls Smokey The Bear to sort shit out. I'm not those people. I've been to their dinner parties and crashed on their couches and cried at their weddings and got drunk with them in bars but I'm not those people.

When I'm not creating or connecting, I feel like I don't exist. I'm bad at watching movies because I always want to make them. I'm bad at going to shows because I want to be performing. I'm bad at dinner. I'm bad at small talk. I'm even bad at vacations. I've practiced meditation and being in the moment but sometimes it feels like my whole existence is just proving I'm alive instead of just being alive. I hate to say it but after a certain point, most relationships make me feel dead inside. It's rare for a person to give me the same joy I get after writing a good song or creating a piece of art. There is no bigger high. I've been trying to change my philosophy on this. I am trying to look at relationships as another form of art and connection that keeps evolving and not an institution I'm sentenced to. I'm trying to make better choices. I'm trying to find the balance. Sometimes I love eating alone in my kitchen. Sometimes I hate sleeping alone in my bedroom.

It was a bad day in a great city.

I googled people born on my birthday and found a photo entitled “the most beautiful suicide”. In 1947, a woman named Evelyn McHale jumped to her death from the Empire State Building and gracefully landed on a limousine. A photographer captured the image. She looked calm. White gloves. Pearls. No sign of trauma. Legs crossed. Arm raised. Well dressed. Dignified. Not clumsy.

How Virgo.

When they removed the body, it was another story. She completely liquified.

How Virgo.

She left this note:

“I don’t want anyone in or out of my family to see any part of me. Could you destroy my body by cremation? I beg of you and my family – don’t have any service for me or remembrance for me. My fiance asked me to marry him in June. I don’t think I would make a good wife for anybody. He is much better off without me. Tell my father, I have too many of my mother’s tendencies.”

Her sister identified her body and she was cremated. There is no grave... but I guess the internet has become a sort of grave for such things. This picture haunts me. It's relatable and horrifying. 

It's also so beautiful.


Yesterday I heard about another person dying. It's been happening a lot lately. I guess it always has. My first crush when I was a little girl died in a car accident when I was a teenager. Shortly following that, a lot of my mother's friends kept dropping off. Sometimes cancer. Sometimes heart attacks. My brother had a friend that hung himself. My grandfather died on my birthday. My grandmother died on the anniversary of my best friend's death. Even my name translates to “beautiful season of death”. Sometimes I feel like my whole life is shaped by death. Maybe that's why I'm obsessed with living. Every week, another death in a different city. Motorcycle accident, cancer, suicide, heroin...


Last week a lady that was my age threw herself in front of the subway and stopped the trains for 4 hours. The conductor said, “It's not an emergency. All trains are being stopped because they need to... remove something from the tracks.”

So callous. We all knew what that meant. We got off the train. I walked for too long in impossible shoes but it was such a beautiful day out. Somebody had to clean up the remains of a human being... underground... but above ground the sun was shining, my feet were killing me, but I could feel spring blowing on the nape of my neck. People grabbed beers. Texted friends. Hailed cabs. Changed directions. Changed plans. I watched a mother explain to her confused daughter that they were going to walk home that day because the weather was so nice. She seemed like a good parent. That little girl didn't need to know about death just yet. I smiled at both of them.

It was a beautiful day in a great city.




Charlie Brown's Fuck Toy

One minute you are at the top of your game. You're rereading the "Denial Of Death." You're finishing projects before they are due. Both of your legs are shaved. You are alive. You're going to master Spanish on your 15 minute breaks. Or French. Or both. Fuck it. Italian. You're going to master Italian. Che grande! You just recorded three new songs and made videos for each one. You are engaging in seedy agri-centric rapport with your witty neighbor and doing Google image searches for drills. How random. Che bello! Your hair is doing that effortless 70's porn star feather thing. You cheered your mother up. You love your friends. You're corresponding with your younger cousin again. Your tax refund came early so you can find the perfect bear suit. You're starting a series of comedic "How To" videos with your friend. YOU ARE ON FIRE. You drew 17 pictures over the weekend. You have flowers in your hair and cheese in the fridge. You are writing again. You're eating grapes. You're wearing fabrics that look like silky whispers. You are Venus. You have everything you need. Sure there are those mysterious and humanizing dizzy spells, heart murmurs and anxiety attacks but you swear you'll make that doctor's appointment soon enough. It's only been six years. YOU'RE FINE. Just revel in the moment. Eat another grape. Tell it to your therapist. Appreciate the fact that you haven't cried in the shower once this week.

The next minute you wake up and cry in the shower because you miss your dog and want to time travel back to Portland to throw the ball to him a few more times. His little paws would get so muddy. Your hair is filthy now. You think you have a cavity. YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A CAVITY. You are house sitting on the west side and haven't had a real conversation with anybody in days. You lost your joint. You feel hung over but haven't been drunk since December. You stopped to smell the flowers but you also stopped to punch one of those grand opening balloons FOR NO REASON. You sent an angry text to your ex because you were triggered by a squirrel video. That didn't go so well. You've had classier moments. You are petty and impulsive. You drank too much coffee and walked 15 blocks too far because you're subconsciously trying to get away from yourself. Your feet hurt. EVERYTHING HURTS. All of your ideas are stupid. You come on too strong. You're a terrible writer. Why are you sharing your writing again? Your drawings are ridiculous. Nobody is going to buy that book. Why did you wear such a short dress today? This isn't a ZZ Top video and you don't like anybody at your work in a ZZ Top video kind of way. What do you want? Nobody is calling you. Nobody is fucking you. Nobody is thinking about you. People are driving like assholes. Why is everybody such an idiot on this side of L.A.? Who makes these billboards? That's a terrible movie premise. Oh wait. That's a Syphilis PSA. Why is everyone wearing cologne? Why is everyone so exhausting? Bunch of philistines! Simpletons! Ding dongs! You are so hungry but food sounds terrible. Is that another fucking Yogurtland? You want to move to the woods. You are sick of garbage. You are sick of yourself. You are pretty sure your ulcer is back. You are trying your best. You want to cry on somebody's shoulder but you have no idea what you're crying about. You also want them to cry with you. You feel guilty for feeling so doomed all the time because you have things infinitely better than most.

Your heart is always beating. You heart is always breaking. You walked too far again.

Denoting something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered.

"What was so addictive and compelling about your previous relationship?"
"He would get lost with me."
"Can you be lost alone?"

This question has been haunting me all weekend.
Can I be lost alone?

When I was a kid I really loved that "Court Of The Crimson King" song. It came on late at night during a family vacation. It was so dramatic. The timing on the drums, those melancholic ahhhhhhhhhs, the gratuitous flute, and the despair in that Mellotron felt gigantic to me. I remember being in the back seat, windows down, skies clear, and so many stars in the sky. I was mesmerized by this feeling of escapism it gave me; how I felt profoundly alone but completely whole. It sounds cheesy but that song felt like my secret and I wanted to exist in that moment indefinitely. I'm sure the station got changed somewhere during the flute solo and I was ripped out of my astral prog wonderland by Lionel Richie stopping by to say hello... or to dance on the ceiling.... or to run with the night.... or whatever it was that sonic cockblocker was doing that summer. I'm sure I was appalled that everyone in my family wasn't as moved as I was by a Mellotron and a good chorus. ARE YOU HEARING THIS? DO YOU FEEL THAT? ARE YOU FEELING WHAT I'M FEELING? I NEED TO FEEL THIS WITH SOMEBODY! Maybe my brother did but I'm certain we probably started fighting about something stupid. I'm sure a lot of dreary, real world things came between me and that perfect moment. I don't remember much of anything from that vacation except that song and being so lost in a feeling that I transcended space, time, my body and myself. I have been spending every moment since that family vacation trying to recapture that feeling.

Can I be lost alone?

Over the years I've tried to feed my need for escapism through music, psychedelics, painting, filmmaking, meditation, walking, drawing, dreaming, drinking, Buddhism, dancing, tarot, star gazing, books, travel, science, mysticism, marijuana, goth clubs, astrology, bands, philosophy, activism, writing, comedies, tragedies, men, MDMA, caffeine, sleeping pills, sex, Jungian psychotherapy, and actual escape. Some of these attempts have been more successful than others but I am nowhere closer to a feeling of peace than I was at 13 or 19 or 23 or 27 or 30 or 39 or even 10 years old; a little girl in a car transcending time and space. Maybe 10 was the last time I knew anything.

Can I be lost alone?

I used to have a boss in his 70's that I would talk to in the employee break room. I was always fond of his sharp wit but when I asked him one Monday how his weekend was, he very matter of factly proclaimed, "I was just diagnosed with cancer. Have to eat raw peppers now."  Shocked, I offered my condolences and asked him how he was doing. He took a bite out of the pepper and told me that life was meaningless. I found the resignation and certainty in his voice oddly comforting.
LIFE.IS.MEANINGLESS. Chew.Chew.Chew.Chew.Swallow.Die.
MEANINGLESS. FUCKING meaningless. I have to eat peppers now because of the cancer.
There was something so goofy and human about him eating that pepper.  It wasn't going to save him. It really was the LEAST he could do but I could tell he wasn't ready to stop fighting for his meaningless life. When fighting with human beings becomes tedious, there is nothing like a spirited fight with cancer at his age. Even Hitchens couldn't outwit it.

Can I be lost alone?

On New Year's Eve, I ate the worst burrito of my life and drew pictures of Nick Cave eating infinitely more promising foods for a book being published later this year. People kept inviting me to things but I stubbornly stayed home. New years is for idiots and couples, I reminded myself. I lost track of time until I heard the fireworks and celebrating outside. People were probably kissing, falling in love, drinking, dancing, and being idiots and fucking couples out there. I was sober and my room was eerily silent. A feeling of profound loneliness consumed me. I thought back to the NYE I spent with my ex husband where we drunkenly and playfully threw drinks at each other. It rained on us that night, like it did every night in Portland. Did all that rain cause us to grow too much? To grow apart? The grass may have been greener there due to precipitation but I wonder if our relationship would have lasted longer in a drier climate. Like a cactus. I thought about a NYE I spent with my ex boyfriend. We drank whiskey and watched old Led Zeppelin videos. He paused a German performance of "Dazed and Confused" to kiss me at midnight. I remember thinking what a romantic gesture that was. I left for Los Angeles the following day. That was the last time I was kissed by anyone on New Year's Eve.
It's a night for idiots and couples, I reminded myself again.

Can I be lost alone?

My roommate has been out of town for a while. I keep worrying about choking on a piece of food and nobody noticing that I'm dead. I have no pets and my correspondence with friends and loved ones is pretty sporadic. Until my roommate returns, I've been chewing really carefully and having a bigger Facebook presence so a sudden absence would be more noticeable. It seems more practical than morbid.

Can I be lost alone?

My ex managed to give me that same intoxicating feeling of escapism I had as a ten year old girl hearing her favorite song. He was also the first person that would change the station during the good part and pull me back into a dreary netherworld. I'll never understand why.  

Can I be lost alone?

I was given a "Law of Attraction" book a year ago. You're supposed to visualize what you desire in a lover (or anything) and somehow the laws of attraction would bring it to you. I could only take it so seriously. On a scrap of paper full of crass dick doodles, drawings of bears and a math equation, the following requirements were sloppily (and presumably drunkenly) written.
"Just don't make me cry on my birthday and return a text... but if I were to be greedy... kindness and wisdom. Intellectual curiosity. Passionate sex. Witty rapport. Dark humor. Romance. Mutual respect. The element of surprise. Attraction. Desire. A treehouse in the woods surrounded by fairy lights. Someone who will get lost with me."
Instead of a soulmate being dropped at my door, I discovered that the universe is actually a cat because all I saw were dead birds that week. My grandma also died. No clue if she saw her life as meaningless in her last moments but she certainly added meaning to mine.

Can I be lost alone?

I have a terrible sense of direction. On my 40th birthday, a best friend of mine gave me this compass with a picture of France on the other side of it. The two of us have had this long lasting inside joke about something a teenage girl once said on Maury or Oprah or whatever trash show we were watching. It was about high school drop outs and one of the girls claimed she didn't need to pursue any further education to be a model. She knew everything. Enraged, an audience member challenged her but the girl rebutted with, "I can count my money. I know were France is."  It was enough.

Can I be lost alone?

It is absurd that I want to be lost with someone else, that I even keep trying. Why do I romanticize the idea of two fumbling idiots with no answers and no compass trying to find some sort of meaning together? Didn't my old boss teach me anything? Do I really need to keep eating these relationship peppers? I have a fucking ulcer. Besides, it's hard enough on my own. Haven't I had enough heartbreak? Do I really need to be a greedy grabber and have MORE failed relationships? Do I want ALL the failed relationships in my tummy? GET INSIDE OF ME FAILED RELATIONSHIP! I WANT TO CONSUME YOU!!!! MY TUMMY IS BURNING AND SO FULL. ME SO HUNGRY AND GREEDY. NOM NOM NOM NOM. UH OHHHHHH. NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM. COME BACK! NOM NOM NOM NOM. Do I really need another person to figure out this maze with? Honestly, I don't even know if I want to figure out the maze. I've spent so many years with men that are trying to show off their sense of direction when all I've ever wanted was to get more lost. Show me the wild weeds and your favorite hiding spot. I don't give a shit about your map. It's your parents' map anyway.

Can I be lost alone?

I already am.

The San Francisco Art Asylum

The film department seduced me. There was something about the math involved in animation that spoke to my inner nerd. I enjoyed the counting. The sleepless nights.  Lighting a scene. Making up characters. Creating a world. Having an outlet for my ADD. Most of all, I enjoyed the magic behind it. Okay, I know magic is a cheesy, overused word - but how else can I describe it? It IS magic. There’s nothing like getting a reel back from the lab, locking yourself in the viewing room, and watching it for the first time on the big screen. You can spend an entire semester on three minutes of film but it’s always worth it in the end.

As magical as animation made me feel, there was a dark side to being a film major.

Film students.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I was inspired and amused by a few creative geniuses in the department. They made the critiquing experience bearable. They were also not the majority. The majority talked too much, took themselves way too seriously, and bored me to death with their silent experimental films. Popular themes involved eggs and the breaking of eggs.  Trees and the breaking of branches. Feet running. Girls swinging. Time-lapse odes to China Town. Girls putting lipstick on.  Shattered glass. Water. Bath tubs. Boyfriends. Pills.

After two years, I got pretty sick of watching seventeen-minute experimental films about eggs. I was also sick of spending valuable class time discussing eggs. During the darker hours (ahem. critique week) I would indulge myself in complex math problems about how each minute was costing me $27.  This was a rough estimate. I had a scholarship -- but it’s the principle of the matter.

So I left the film department, loaded my pipe, and decided to start painting again. I found sanctuary in its fetid bosom.  Painters don’t talk about painting. They listen to their headphones and keep to themselves. This is what I like to believe, anyway. I decided to take my favorite professor’s class. He sounded like molasses, wore scarves, played jazz, and gave the students plenty of creative freedom to do their own thing.  This backfired, of course.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet my painting class.

There was Creepy Fetus Girl. I didn’t like her. Not one bit. She would only paint on those crappy little canvases you buy at cheap art stores.  I don’t think she ever made a piece larger than 11x15.  This didn’t bother me so much.  I couldn't imagine her shitty little paintings taking up a whole wall. They looked like abortions - and by abortions, I MEAN abortions.

Like actual abortions.

Each piece had a poorly drawn fetus in the middle of the canvas.  It would be crudely outlined in black and grotesquely out of proportion.  These fetuses had tremendous hands and Popeye arms.  As if all of this wasn’t unsettling enough, she covered the rest of the canvas with a bubbly text that read, "I am not here. I am not here" over and over again. Under different circumstances, these “paintings” would have been a tremendous asset to the Right-to-Life community.

During critiques, Creepy Fetus Girl was prone to crying fits if somebody gave her helpful suggestions.

“How about using a ruler to make the text more even.”

“Maybe you should cut out some pictures of fetuses and bring them to class to look at. I’m pretty sure fetus hands are smaller than that.”

“Are you a New Genres major?”

“This is the Advanced Painting class, right?”

Not everyone hated her work. She had an ally that would almost always jump to her defense.

“Guys!  Leave her alone! You have no idea what the deeper meaning is!”

Deeper meaning? I’m sorry. I thought her “deeper meaning” was not to abort freakish babies with Popeye arms and enormous hands. Do you mean to tell me that Creepy Fetus Girl is trying to address larger political issues with these poorly executed eyesores? Is Creepy Fetus Girl trying to blow our minds with her own story of love and loss?  Does she need a hug? Should we start the revolution? Pro Life? Pro Choice? I’m confused. Is she telling us to eat more spinach?

The usual debate between the sexes would ensue.

Cunt vs. cock.

Ad nauseam.

If Creepy Fetus Girl was kidding with all of this, if she really could draw, than she was a GENIUS.  A FUCKING GENIUS. Unfortunately, I don’t think this was the case.  She was crying for help.

It was difficult to hear Creepy Fetus Girl’s cries for help over her archenemy’s racket.  We'll just call him Sir Dickhead McDickencocker. While Creepy Fetus Girl quietly begged for our attention, Sir Dickhead McDickencocker grabbed a megaphone and told us how it was. She cried. He pounded. I found myself torn as to whom I disliked more. In hindsight, I think I have to go with Sir Dickencocker. At least Creepy Fetus Girl was quiet. Dick sounded like he had microphones attached to all of his limbs - giving one the impression that the chains dangling from his pants were in Dolby Stereo.  Don’t guys know that chains are vagina repellent? Lose the fussy chains, my friend. You sound like a Yorkie running in the park. Anyway, Dick did gun collages. Of course. What else could he possibly do?

These collages were done on wood.  He hammered nails in them, too.  Dick just had to penetrate something.

Pound. Pound. Pound. Pound away, Dick.  Pound away.  Go listen to some :Wumpscut:  and think about more phallic imagery you can use in your work. Pound the wood because there is no pussy to pound. Pound away,  you angry.white.male!  Pound. Pound. Pound. Why so angry, Angry.White.Male?

The usual debate between the sexes would ensue.

Cunt vs. cock.

Ad nauseam.

With all this pounding going on, it was hard for me to focus on the lady that would just paint canvasses pea green, the obligatory dumb girl that painted with her menstrual blood, or the New Genres major that didn’t paint at all.  I did occasionally marvel at that one guy that painted exact replicas of Michelangelo’s subjects (if his subjects had Popeye arms. I can only presume he was making a statement about the Fetus Girl.

The crème de la crop, however, had to be Little Goth Boy.  I liked this kid because he took his crippling social anxieties to the next level. Instead of developing a boring speech impediment or writing bad poetry, he utilized a stuffed monkey to handle the daunting task of communication. The monkey’s name was Oliver and it’s uncertain how many years this monkey-middle-man was used as a communication device. All that is known is that Oliver had seen better days. Little Goth Boy dressed him up in black, gave him a Mohawk, some facial piercings, and decided that Oliver should sound like a pre-pubescent Muppet with a head cold. Everything was done through Oliver, even the most boring of small talk.

“Um, Can you pass me the turpentine?”

Oliver uses its mud-caked monkey arm to slide the turpentine over. “Thereeeeeeeyougo!”

“How was your weekend?”

Oliver thoughtfully discusses poignant events that happened. “I almost fell out of a second story window. Uh-ohhhhh! Spaghetti-O’s!”

As strange as this all might sound, we never questioned this behavior. Oliver became a beloved addition to the art community. It’s even rumored that the monkey may have had a hand in getting Little Goth Boy a girlfriend - a noble act that cost Oliver dearly. Once Little Goth Boy finally got laid, he was no longer in need of Oliver’s services. On one fateful evening, poor little Oliver was accidentally left in a cab and Little Goth Boy discovered his own voice - an incoherent whisper. Everyone was pretty bummed to hear about Oliver’s misfortune, but he had served his purpose well. I can only hope that he’s living the high life in stuffed monkey heaven. If anything, he must be so relieved to be out of the San Francisco Art Aslyum. I know I am.

Perhaps I’m being too judgmental. What about my own artistic endeavors, you ask? Why am I any better than those that I mock? I’m not.  Honestly, I don’t know what I was doing in art school either. I should have been a lawyer. I should have been a journalist. I have many regrets. To furthur prove that I was just as big of a joke as everyone else, here is a list of every piece of shit I tried to get away with "in the name of art”.  I was praised as a genius. I cringe at the memories.

  1. Doll porn.  Got an A+.
  2. Whipped up a last-minute fluorescent chastity belt sculpture. It was a tacky monstrosity. I even glued an email from a douche bag that owed me money on it. The piece was desperate and I knew it. I might as well have been drawing Popeye armed fetuses. It was so bad that my antagonist (a douche bag that made 200-page books filled with drawings of his penis) had the audacity to call “bullshit” on my bullshit.  It was another war of the sexes. Cunts vs. cocks. Ad nauseam.
  3. Orchestrated and filmed a spin-the-bottle game to capture “awkward first kisses”.  Oliver was in it.  Sadly, nobody wanted to kiss a dirty monkey but they had to. The bottle is law.
  4. Created a fake teen website. Suggested that Claire Danes had herpes. Gave tips for anorexia.
  5. Put bows, flowers, and plastic birds in my hair for a year straight. Had many situations on the Muni.
  6. Made a 10-minute fashion video about what the Goth kids were wearing while I was in Tokyo.  Bunny ears and eye patches were RED HOT that year.
  7. Filmed and hung out with the fanatics waiting to see the new Star Wars movie.
  8. Made a three-foot ice cream cone sculpture from stolen traffic cones.
  9. Made a "sexy" music video about all the dirty things my friend and I wanted to do to Jarvis Cocker and Ian Astbury.
  10. Troll porn.
  11. Followed the Cure for the summer.  Went to Australia. Documented every detail. Nobody in my class cared that Robert Smith’s aunt told Sasha and I “You can sleep when you’re dead.”
  12. Turned a tree into a tree. Blew their fucking minds.
  13. Grief porn.
  14. Tried to start a  “make-out-not-war” demonstration with a 10-foot bottle to spin. Was late for the demonstration but ended up on page 5 in the Chronicle anyway.
  15. Moved to London.  Lost the plot.

You're So Fat You Broke The Family Tree

Last summer I was at a friend's bachelorette party and we all went to a bar to have drinks. Like most female gatherings, the subject of body image came up and one of the thinner girls started complaining about her weight. The usual game of "What are you talking about? You're skinny. I'm fat"  took place.  By the way, NOBODY at this table could be considered fat.  Some of the girls at the table could easily be part time models. Things got weird when the girl that started the conversation motioned to the part time model girls and said, "OMG! You two have nothing to talk about, now me and.... (motions to the rest of us) ..... we can talk." I was shocked.  I wasn't even participating in this ridiculous conversation and now I was being told that I should be talking about my supposed freakish weight.  Say, what?  In the girl's defense, she was very drunk.  In my defense, my BMI is very normal.  I'm not a pinup girl or a super model. I'm just average.  Cut me some slack. It's taken me years to achieve "average."

I was a fat baby.  I'm not just saying that so people will look at my baby pictures and say, "OMG! You weren't  fat. You were skinny. OMG! " Seriously, people. I was a FAT baby. You have no idea. I attribute this to being 20 days (are you friggen kidding me, mom?) late. They couldn't even fit those baby bracelet things on my fat, baby leg. I think I weighed in at 10 pounds or something.  Maybe it was 12 pounds?  I don't remember.  It must be all the fat in my brain.  Anyway, I could have been twins.  My poor mother.  It's like she gave birth to a toddler. She has these great baby book journals that I periodically read when I go home for Christmas. Judging from her archives, I slept a lot and the nurses loooooooved me because I was so sturdy and agreeable.  I even laughed and rolled my baby eyes at a much smaller baby that was being fussy. My first life lesson - if you're fat, you better be charming and have a good sense of humor... especially around skinny bitches.  What can I say? I'm a quick learner.

My baby fat remained with me for years. When the Sears catalogs would come, I'd have to get my stuff from the Pretty Plus section. Totally mortifying. Those clothes sucked.

When I was 9, my mom put me on a diet. It was hard juggling my busy 4th grade schedule with a diet/fitness routine.  As a result, my Duran Duran scrap-booking suffered.  My second life lesson was that you can't possibly do it all unless you cut out sleep.  I became a night owl.  I know more about late night television in the 80's than Youtube ever will. I can still remember some of the Johnny Carson monologues.

My baby fat was stubborn and continued on during my awkward preteen years. Junior High was particularly brutal.  Junior High is when the masochistic nurses do those check ups and announce your weight to a gym class full of bitchy girls.  Do they still do that? If they do, I'm going to make it my mission to get them to stop.  It's terrible.  Clearly, all of this body image stuff was making me angry and rebellious so I got into punk and wore a lot of unflattering band shirts.  As if I didn't have enough going against me, I was also tall for my age and towered over every single boy I came in contact with. Turns out, guys HATE amazons in over-sized Cure shirts.  They just hate them.

Like all fatties, I decided to get a crush on some pint sized child named Randy McCoy. He probably came up to my chin. He was in love with a very plain and skinny blonde with no sense of humor. My third life lesson was that being clever doesn't compete with being thin, blonde and conventionally attractive.  That's the only way I can explain Gwyneth Paltrow's career.

I'd like to say that it all changed in High School but I was still rocking that baby fat... not as much, though. It wasn't debilitating or anything.  Honestly, when I look at old pictures, it's hardly as bad as I thought it was. I looked like Lydia Lunch. I had friends. I had dates.  I did well in school.  People liked me. I had a boyfriend.  My fourth life lesson was that the right kind of people will always love you for who you are.  Friends don't care about your cellulite -- and if they do, they're not your friends.  Still, I had no idea what it was like to not think about my weight every second of the day... especially when all my friends were stick thin. In their defense, they hated their bodies and constantly complained about not having boobs.  Whatever. I would have traded in my double D rack for their legs any day. I just wanted to wear mini-skirts.  Just one mini-skirt.  Just once.

This was all 80 feminist theory classes, thirteen hair colors,  two countries, seven cities, eight lovers, dozens of adventures and thousands of kisses ago. My identification as being "the fat girl" is ancient history.  I closed that page,  tore the photos out of all the albums and blocked it out years ago.

Until now.

Lately I've been revisiting and thinking about girls' unhealthy obsessions with weight.  It has me thinking about all the fun I missed out on as a kid. The reason I don't know how to swim is because I was too scared to wear a bathing suit when I was younger.  Seriously. That's f*cked up.  Even now that I'm older and wiser, I find it hard to listen to friends casually suggest that skinny is better.  I think smarter is better. I think funny is better.  Man, if I didn't work so hard at being funny and smart all of the time, maybe I'd have some extra hours to work on being skinny but it just doesn't interest me.  I don't care how much better my clothes would hang.  I'd rather make you laugh than make you look.


"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

~Albert Einstein

"I got all the time that I need to kill."

~The Beastie Boys

My boss man recently decided that we all had to start using a time clock. Before we were on the honor system-- going about the work week in a very casual, almost Scandinavian fashion. True, people may or may not have been flubbing their hours. Whatever. Who am I to judge? Everyone got their work done. Why must we be inconvenienced by the technicalities of the when's and the how long's it took to complete said work? What does it matter? Why must I have yet another thing to log in and out of each day? Why are Americans so obsessed with details and seconds? What does an extra ten minutes here and there really mean? Can't we all get paid by the job and not by the hour? Clearly the introduction of the time clock is making me trip out about the heaviness of time and the bullshit of work even more than usual.

Much like capitalism, time is just one of those things I've never been able to get a handle on.  I even briefly took a course at my liberal arts school that explored "time and space." In this class -----inhale-------we mulled over the religious, scientific, and philosophical aspects of time--------exhale----- What is time? A number of repetitions? Counting? Periodic motions? A sequence of events? Linear intervals in space? What's space? If space is infinite, how can there be linear anything? How can we even measure such a thing? What's infinity, man? Existential meltdowns would ensue as great scholars and inquisitive stoners would try to come up with some sort of universal definition. Ironically enough, not one person in this class wore a watch but we all managed to show up for a "limited period of intervals in space" each week.

To make things even more troubling, this class was taught in San Francisco - a city where January feels like August feels like May feels like October. I lived there for nearly a decade and never knew what time of the year it was. Nobody did. Birthdays were missed/forgotten.  Shows were never when you thought they were going to be. Holidays were a blur.  I never had any idea when Christmas was coming except for the changes in window displays.  When I look back, it just feels like it was 1996 forever. Nobody aged either -- well at least not in the ways our friends on the East Coast aged. Was it because there was no emphasis on seasons passing? Was it our leisurely lifestyle? Was our lifestyle so leisurely because we never knew what time of the year it was? Was it just because everyone was stoned and had nowhere to be? There's no such thing as time when you're going nowhere and doing a whole lot of nothing.

That's another problem I had with time.  I didn't trust the fact that it lost all meaning while under the influence of various drugs. When I was a bit younger, I remember having a terrible mushroom trip one beautiful Saturday afternoon. My boyfriend nearly went crazy because I kept checking the clock in our kitchen every second to make sure that "time was passing." In my drug addled state, time had officially stopped and I was stuck at 4:15 forever. This lasted for approximately five hours but "what are five hours" when "4:15 lasts forever, man."

Umm, one minute, I suppose.

Which brings me to the work week. The worst mushroom trip of all time can not compare to the stubbornness of time when you're stuck at work. Wrist watches might as well be handcuffs, my friends. Time is not on your side when you are an hourly wage slave. I find that Tuesdays can feel like three and a half weeks and 5pm is always a year away. Sure, there are tricks to make the time pass more quickly. There is the Internet and there are funny animal videos on Youtube.  Some may even argue that watches are obsolete and Youtube videos are probably a more accurate time taking device.

"You guys, after I watch these seven wacky cat videos and three freak beat-Italian dance show ones, it will be time for lunch."

There are also ten-minute breaks. In theory, a "break" is supposed to indicate some sort of relief from the monotony of work but it's actually just the gift of time -- our time. It's our boss' way of saying, "Here-you-goooo, have your ten minutes back. Go craaaaazzzzzy." It's like a sip of water in the desert.  It's approximately one cigarette.

That's another thing. I've never been a smoker and have always wondered if everyone decided that ten minutes is the amount of time it takes to finish one cigarette or if it's a bit more mathematical than that. I do know that Europeans take infinitely longer breaks than Americans. Is it because they smoke way more cigarettes? Or can they just smoke more cigarettes because they have more time? Clearly I'm entering dangerous "chicken or the egg" territory. Also, now that less people are smoking, I'm starting to get mildly concerned that the ten minute break is slowly becoming obsolete.

Another thing that boggles my mind is how we've mathematically broken up the 24 hour day into these eight-hour intervals.  It's suggested that you sleep for 8 hours, work for 8 hours, and then have 8 hours of your "free" time.  3x8 = 24.  DONE and done. You guys, this formula sucks.  People always end up cutting into their sleep time to get stuff done on their "free" time. We need more sleep, all kinds of  free time,  and waaaaaay less work. It's so obvious. Why fight it? Why do people roll their eyes when I propose that a 10 hour work week makes  more sense than a 40-hour one?  How do people get anything done when they're working for 40 hours?  And what about the people like me that work and then come home and work on other stuff? I have zero "free" time. Almost everyone I know is walking around completely miserable,  hating their jobs, and making elaborate to-do lists because there's never any "free" time -- especially if you're involved in the arts.  The arts don't pay the rent.  Why is rent so expensive? Why is this the norm? Why do we require so much work to make so much income to pay for so much unnecessary bullshit?

When I was in Junior High, I remember learning about various economic systems in my government class. The day we learned about socialism was particularly exciting for me and I couldn't figure out why it was frowned upon.  I mean, here was this system that transcended commodity production and wage labor -- a system based on treating everyone fairly and distributing the wealth evenly.  I raised my hand to ask Mr. Buzzkill what the deal was.  Seriously, I failed to see the harm in any of those things. You know what that grumpy Republican screamed at me? How "it could never work-ism" and how "somebody always deserves to make more money-ism" and "communism" and "hipppies taking advantage of the system-ism" and "fascism" and "dream on-ism" and "OMG! the horrors of RUSSIA-ism" and "blablabla-ism."  He may have even scribbled my name down. The dude was clearly pissed that I would dare to question our capitalist ways. He found our current model of exploiting the work force to be far superior.  I never raised my hand again in that class. Whatever. I was reading a lot of Thoreau in English that year and discovering punk rock. He just sounded like a bitter old man to my tiny little revolutionary ears.

Ever since that day, I hear nothing but bitter old men yelling in my "revolutionary" ears -- bitter old men with time clocks and numbers.  Why are they all so attached to this failure of a system?  I often wonder why it is so "revolutionary" to think my way? It really isn't. This is basic stuff, people. Why are people like me looked down on for wanting to work less and have less? For simplifying our lives? For making music and creating art just for the sake of doing it? Why are we called lazy? Do you have any idea how time consuming it is to make things? We're not watching television and getting fat, my friends. We're producing stuff and thinking about things.  WE are the American dream.  We're not slackers expecting a handout. We're dreamers. Movers. Shakers. Why do people frown on us because we'd rather make music than make babies?  Why is one thing better than the other? Why does everything have to revolve around a conservative view of "family" and not a more liberal view of "community". Why does it always have to be about the old ways? The money? The bottom line?  What's wrong with sharing? What's wrong with believing in a better world? What's wrong with believing in each other? We're not all assholes. This isn't utopian/hippie bullshit nor is it impossible.  I just think that there are better ways to live our lives and I could care less about the money, man. Money comes and goes but there is no possession that I value more than my time.

And it's time for a revolution.

From Sesame Street To Main Street

Dear "Other" America,

What did we ever do to you? Where exactly are you getting this notion that certain states are more American than others? How certain people are more American.  How certain places are more "real." Is this a contest? What do we win? A Wal-Mart gift card, obesity and a Bible? Why do you keep talking about "taking back the country."  You already have most of it, you greedy jerks.

And do you honestly believe that your America is the real America. Rully? That's funny because I've been to your America before and it beats up my friends, doesn't pay very well, hates other races, hasn't gotten off the couch in 52 years and bashes my gay brothers & sisters. Is your America what our founding fathers had in mind? The United States of Ignorant-Doughy-Hypocrites? Or should I say Hipo-crites, you high-fructose corn syrup guzzling weirdos.  If it is, maybe I am anti-American. Guilty as charged, Bill O. I hate YOUR America.
Before I go off on your America some more, I'd like to tell you a little about MY America.

I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. Even as a little girl, I felt a little trapped and underwhelmed by it. I'd like to say that it was because I was a child genius that could see right through the tree laden facade -- but now I truly know I must have been brainwashed by the "liberal elite media" masterminds behind Sesame Street and the Electric Company. I don't know about Sesame Street these days -- but Sesame Street in the seventies was a pretty wild ride. Set to a groovy soundtrack, these furry, radical lefties taught me the value of sharing my toys and embracing other cultures. They also showed me the alphabet and how to ask for water in Spanish. Yeah, that's right.


En Español!

AND these Muppets all rode the subway together!!! It ain't easy being green.

You know what else? These pro-immigration socialists lived in New York City! That's right,  small town America. These shows took place in New York City. I know. How dare these "big city, elitist, lefty, Marxist Muppet terrorists" show your children how to master the delicate art of "cooperation." The nerve.

Needless to say, these shows had a huge influence on me.  Simply put, New York was what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was obsessed with it. Every creative writing assignment I wrote in grade school took place in New York. I remember telling all of my teachers about my New York dream. You know what those narrow minded compulsive liars said to me?
"People get stabbed on the streets there and nobody helps."
"All New Yorkers are rude."
"Garbage is all over the streets."
"You're always stepping on dead people."

Always stepping on dead people? Really?

I wasn't buying it. These people had never even been outside of Des Moines. What did they know about New York? Besides, I'd seen enough Electric Company episodes to realize that New York was a multi-cultural wonderland with friendly people, groovy music and a million ways to say "hello." My teachers were all wrong.

In my wide eyes, anything could happen in New York. Like many immigrants before me, New York was MY American dream. It's where I wanted to flee to avoid the persecution and ridicule from the other America I was living in. You know, the "real" America. Your America. The America that bullies. The America that everybody hates. The America that voted for President Bush. TWICE!

Sadly I didn't end up in New York. I ended up someplace even more un-American. A little place called San Francisco.

To give you an idea of the horror and confusion "real" Americans feel toward San Francisco, here's an example:
An idiot male once made a "joke" to my poor mother about how I better be careful "not to catch AIDS from a doorknob there."
Let me get this straight.  People in New York are stepping on the dead while people in San Francisco are catching AIDS from doorknobs?


Is this seriously what the sick, delusional freakazoids from other America have to say about my America. I'm sorry, but how dare these people put down any of us! How dare they use their religions to justify hate and ignorance! How dare they call themselves real Americans! How dare these racist and uneducated hicks brag about their values. What values? I don't see the value in not opening up a book that isn't the Bible. I don't see the value of never leaving your small town. I don't see the value of making crass generalizations about a world you've never experienced. I especially don't see any value in judging others because they don't share your skin tone or worship your God. By the way, it's not your God. Just how this isn't your America. It's OUR America and I think it's big enough for the both of us. If you don't agree, maybe we need better education, a civil war and more Sesame Street episodes until you get it right.

In the meantime, I have hope that we can drum together - even though your drumming sounds like shit.

Any Volunteers?

Last night was my first "dog obedience" class. We were supposed to leave our little beasts at home for the first night. I assumed this was because we were going to be told fascinating little secrets about dog psychology and mind control -- Coast To Coast style. Instead, it was two hours of unenthusiastic group silence as the trainer blew our fucking minds with questions ranging from "What is a good pup?"  to "Why is it important to have a dog listen to you?"
While the group gave blank stares, I pretended to show a genuine interest in why the clicker has proven to be a worthy training device in teaching goldfish how to jump through hoops. Things went from slightly uncomfortable to totally mortifying when the trainer asked for a volunteer. An uneasy silence made it clear that there were no heroes in this bunch. I knew I would have to take one home for the team and reluctantly stepped up... for what, I didn't know.
The trainer told me to go in another room while the group figured out what task I should do. Apparently I was supposed to figure out what was expected of me by listening to the groups clicking prowess. Confusing? Pretty much. Degrading? Most definitely.
When I return to the room, there were toys all over the floor. I'm neurotic so I start to pick them up. When nobody clicks, I figure out that maybe I should be doing something else... like going home or asking for my money back. I bend over to pick a plastic frog up and some clickers go off but it wasn't in unison. I pick up more toys and hear nothing but the sweet sound of dignity composing a Dear John Letter to me. Ten minutes pass and I'm sick of this little game. I ask the group if they want me to "roll over or something".
Excruciating silence... not even a giggle.
Desperately I start picking up toys again and clickers are being hit with reckless abandonment. Assuming that I've done my part, I return to my seat awaiting my treat. The trainer says (in a i'm talking to a bad lil' pup' voice) "We're not done with youuuu!" Sigh. This is my cross to carry so I walk back to the scattered toys and pick up some hot wheels. The trainer clicks and proudly exclaims "Yay! You got it!"
Umm, they were the only toys left on the floor.
I sit back down while she tells a story about doing this with a toddler. He was faced with the infinitely more complex task of throwing a certain ball over a wall. He did this effortlessly in about two minutes.
Dog Supplies - $258
Obedience classes -$135
Proving once and for all that I'm not only inferior to a dog and dimmer than a goldfish BUT a four year old could beat me at a game of wits. - PRICELESS -