Saturday, September 27, 2008

CMJ melody fair

My friend Michelle has been nominated by The College Music Journal as one of the top 5 programmers of the year!

Yay for cool and successful friends!

She sent out a mass emailing today asking everyone to go to her website and click on her "Follow Me" button to help her win a trip to New York.

It seems so arbitrary that the winner would be selected by web traffic and not the amount of actual listeners or how many bands that DJ discovered. It's like some sort of horrible junior high school election where it's all on popularity and not on talent.

But web traffic is more accurately measured than, say, the Nielson ratings that govern what we all get to watch on television.

All of a sudden I feel old.

But I went to her Myspace page and voted for her as my nice act of the day.

Sometimes being nice has instantaneous rewards.

Parachute by Shugo Tokumaru, the featured song on her Myspace page is a really good song!


September 25, 2008

Miss Freecycle, who took about 50 moving boxes off my hands back in July, stopped by with a demo for her boyfriend's band. I passed it along to my friend Fred, who is the intrepid host of the show Demolisten on KXLU. I don't know if he'll play the demo on his show, or even like the music, but, you know, you gotta support your local music scene somehow...

Monday, September 22, 2008

My New Computer

This is the maiden document of my new computer. I hadn't replaced my laptop until now for financial reasons and moral reasons. The financial reasons are obvious--I've been broke for forever. Since I only replace my computer, oh, every seven years on average, I always end up spending the maximum amount of money on all the latest bells and whistles to keep it current/relevant/working for that much longer. My last computer was the trusty Macintosh G4 Titanium. I ordered it while Steve Jobs was still demonstrating its features and benefits on the webcast. I was the first person to have this model in Hollywood. I'm also the last person to have this model in Hollywood.

My old laptop bit the dirt over a year ago, taking with it 17,000 email addresses and copious amounts of other pertinent data that makes my life run a little easier. "Oh well," you sigh, "This is why you always back up your info to an external hard drive." My external drive died the same week as my old laptop, taking with it about 10,000 songs in my itunes library and all my backed up data. I got most of my documents back. And, I can get the music back. I just won't get the three weeks that I spent importing all those albums into my itunes back. After the Great Crash of 2007 I got my old laptop running again, but without any special extras. And by special extras I mean a mouse and the ability to print documents from the computer.

It's been a trying year technologically to put it mildly.

And it doesn't help that my computer savvy stops circa 2002.

But, as I've told myself since 1992, this next year will be the year that I become computer literate.

The first big test of my new laptop and my new technorati aspirations will be to finally edit the wedding video of my friends Ted and Sue. They only got married last July, so etiquette-wise I'm only, um 3 months overdue on delivering the video (which is my wedding present to them). Oops.

DSL2 told me months ago that he'd teach me how to use iMovie to cut the wedding video, which will be a documentary cinematic feat on par with THE SORROW AND THE PITY I'm sure, and burn the hundreds of copies of the completed film for all the relatives who are anxiously awaiting photo documentation of the event. So I called him over the weekend to see if I could still take him up on the offer of a one-on-one tutorial. He is. Yay for friends keeping way overdue promises of help.

He asked me what my plans were for my old laptop. I told him that I was going to look for a charity that could part it out or use it to raise money for education. "How much do you want for it if I want to buy it?" he asked. "How about free?" I said. DSL2 is so pleased. He's a DJ and has been wary of bringing his laptop to clubs for obvious reasons. Now he'll have a free computer he can load his music onto and not have to worry about theft or spilled drinks and I can keep my old computer out of the landfill that much longer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hollywood is a Bad Dad

This week was shaping up to be a great week. I had a fantastic meeting with a financier on Monday and yesterday delivered such a perfect pitch to ecstatic studio executives, that the writer and I were giddy for hours after the meeting.

Today, I got the paperwork from the financier. They are 1.5 million dollars short on what they talked about in the room. And the studio passed on the perfect pitch because, "It was just too smart."

God forbid anything be too smart.

Hollywood is like the dad who keeps leaving your mom in a lurch, and just when you're getting used to living without him, he shows up at the door, all contrite and bearing presents. It's the ultimate intermittent reinforcer. Just when you're totally fed up with the casual cruelty, the unreturned phone calls, and the glacial pace that projects move forward, you'll have a really good day, where everything seems to go your way and all those bad feelings from before are swept from your brain...until the next project falls to pieces before your eyes.


My father's tombstone will read: "She doesn't throw like a girl."

And for the record, I don't kick my butt when I run either.

Today I donated my baseball glove to charity. The post office is sponsoring a drive for baseball equipment to donate to kids in the third world. I'd had my Bobby Bonds baseball glove for 30 years. It was one of my oldest possessions. While I loved playing baseball as a kid, I hadn't played a game since filling in on an intramural team in college. I'd held onto the glove for so long because of sentimental value. It reminded me all the times my father would put down whatever else he was doing and play catch with me in the backyard. And, although I remember always having to plead with him a little to come outside and throw a baseball back and forth across the lawn with me, I know that to this day he brags to his friends about my pitching prowess.

I'm sure if I asked him, my dad would play catch with me in one hot second. If only to see if I can still throw a mean slider. And because I know this about him, I felt safe with my decision to give up my beloved glove to some other kid who perhaps needs the chance to feel what a father's love feels like.

My father doesn't really care if I succeed in Hollywood or not. He just wants me to be happy. I'm very lucky to have a father who totally believes that I am the most interesting, smartest and prettiest girl ever...except for my sister who is equally interesting, smart and pretty, of course. I reap the benefits of having a dad who really believes that girls are the greatest every single day. It means that I'm not afraid to argue with men. It means that I never have to play the pussy card and use my "feminine wiles" to get my way. (Because once you play that card, you never ever get to play another). It means that my self-esteem does not come from whether or not the men I have to work with actually like me--even though generally they do, and for all the above reasons.

It's good to be a daddy's girl.

Thanks Daddy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Feeding Cats

While Mr. and Mrs. TNT are vacationing, I'm feeding their old neighbor's cat, Yellowtail.

I'm hoping Yellowtail is not named after the cheap wine, because if he is, then my friends are even bigger drunks than I thought.

The old neighbor, and original owner of Yellowtail, hung himself in the backyard with a garden hose last year. Mrs. Old Neighbor promptly moved out, leaving the cat behind for Mr. and Mrs. TNT to deal with...even though they have two cat-hating dogs.

I haven't seen Yellowtail in the three days I've gone over. Today, his fancy food was untouched in his dish.

I'm hoping for his sake, he's found new, dog-free owners who really love him. Even though he's a cat, I feel like he's had enough heartache for the year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who Moved the Cheese?

I had a disturbing phone call with one of my girlfriends today. Her stalker is back. My friend is in heavy nesting phase, prepping for her upcoming surgery. She's been home more than usual but was out all day last Tuesday. When she returned to her home, she got the creeping sensation that someone (and she knew exactly who that someone is) had been in her apartment while she was out. She chalked it up to stress and silliness until last night when she was preparing dinner and was unable to find the enormous bag of cheese she'd just purchased the week before in the refrigerator. She was sure she hadn't already eaten it. She would have remembered eating two pounds of shredded cheddar. She searched the entire apartment hoping that she'd left a bag of groceries in her trunk or hadn't fully unpacked all her tote bag. No dice. Someone had been in her apartment and had helped himself to a snack.

She called the police today to report the incident. She was nervous before the lone police officer arrived to take her statement. She's complained before about her stalker and had the cops not believe her. We went over the timeline of events together to make sure that she hadn't forgotten any details and to make sure that she didn't sound like an insane person. Yes, she's preparing for a surgery. No, she's not on any medications that might explain her nervousness over missing groceries. Yes the cheese is inconsequential, but this is the straw the camel's back. Yes, I've confronted him. No, he hasn't left me alone as requested. Yes, I want you to talk to him. No, I never had sex with him.

I've been stalked twice in my life. My first stalker was the teenage son of a family friend. He followed me around from age 10 to age 15. The fact that he was a pedophile in training didn't seem to register with anyone. My second stalker was a fellow college student. He spent five years following me around, calling me 40 times a day and generally making me feel unsafe.

The worst thing about being stalked is that you can never, ever relax. Walking, anywhere, alone could have serious consequences. Any wrong number or hang up becomes fodder for worry. The second worst thing about being stalked is the reaction you get from the people who are closest to you. A fair percentage of friends will give you their opinion that you brought whatever fresh hell onto yourself. Even if that fresh hell began with you letting a classmate cut in line at the movies and that's what started his five year long fantasy that you were in a relationship with him. And, there's always those people who just think you're crazy. Those three flat tires you got over the course of one month is just a coincidence. Anyone could have left that gift wrapped porno mag on your doorstep. Stop being so dramatic.

The sucky thing about my friend's situation is that there's nothing that she or the cops can do until her stalker physically assaults her. He can break into her house as much as he wants as long as he doesn't take non-edible evidence that can be traced. He can tell her that "He watched her sleep and she never woke up" or that "He can get any key made because he's a building manager so it doesn't matter that she changes her lock" and the cops can't do anything about it. And there's nothing I can do but treat her like she's totally sane and believe her completely. Even if it's a story involving missing cheese.

I'll believe her and listen to her for as long as it takes for her stalker to go away. And I know from experience that could take years.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So Help Me

I wouldn't call myself a particularly self-aware person. I admit: I am deeply shallow. One of the reasons why I decided to do this experiment in niceness for one calendar year is to see if I can do a better job of being a human being.

So lately, I've been reading a lot of self-help books. Which, wow, SO pathetic and sad.

I'm currently reading David Allen's best-selling book GETTING THINGS DONE: THE ART OF STRESS-FREE PRODUCTIVITY.

Which I checked out from the library.

And is now two days overdue.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Today I got my Psychic Friend a job helping me out today at my friend's store as a shopgirl. I had to pick her up at our usual spot--a cuban coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard, and drive her to the store. A native New Yorker, she still doesn't know how to drive, even though she's lived in Los Angeles since 1973. She bought me coffee and a croissant, even though I insisted that wasn't necessary, as a thank you for the work and the ride.

While yesterday was insanely busy, today the store was dead. My friend, the store owner, let us go after two and a half hours and gave us $25 for our trouble. Not quite the $100 either of us were expecting. I felt terrible that I'd gotten my Psychic Friend out of bed early on a Saturday morning for such lousy cash. She, on the other hand, was thrilled that she'd gotten paid period.

We stopped back at Dinky Manor to pick more figs off the nasty rash tree in my yard. She's already processed the first delivery of figs and had some jars to give to me in trade for the free fruit.

On the drive back to her home I took her to lunch. I still felt terrible about not coming through with a full day's work for her AND she bought me breakfast.

Back at her house she loaded me down with FIFTEEN jars. She gave me five jars of fig preserve and ten different varieties of chutney, relish, jam, and sauce in exchange for the fresh figs.

I feel like I'm totally getting the better end of the deal, but she is more than happy to be my canning factory if I supply the jars, lids, and can source the free fruit. Canning and feeding her friends are two of her favorite things to do, and nothing would make her happier than a steady supply of fresh, free, homegrown fruit. She thinks that I'm getting the short end of the stick with this arrangement.

This is turning out to be one of the better deals I've made in my lifetime.

So, once I get my act together (which will hopefully happen by the end of October since that's Mr. Foxypant's purge-a-thon stay-cation month) I'm going to scope out the neighborhood for fruit options. I've already grokked a couple homes that have fallen fruit all over their yards. I'm going to approach them with the, "I will give you a couple jars of jam in exchange for access to your fruit which is falling off the tree," scenario and see how that goes.

I'd like my future gift closet to be more pantry and less stuff, because there's something really primal and basic about the pleasure I get from sharing food. It just feels right.