Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I just watched PIE IN THE SKY: THE BRIGID BERLIN STORY. Watching this put me in touch with the depression I have been fighting off for the last month. Now I am tired and worn out. Despite the vast differences in our backgrounds I could really relate to this woman. The addiction personality (mostly hers was food, but also drugs) her refusal to sugar coat or hide bad behaviour (I think a hallmark of families like hers), even her creativity. But here I become really depressed because of course, she really did a lot of ground breaking things, and while I plan to do some boob painting, she invented it! And can a "trip book" be done when one is sober? Is there hope that blogging will one day be as revolutionary as she was with her polaroids and tape recordings?

Plus she hung out with Andy Warhol and all of those famous New York artists. I mostly hang out with the dog at home and crazy bums at Starbucks. At the end of the film she mentions that it is just as well that she never had children. And the main theme of her life seems to be her struggle with her mother. I felt bad for her because I realized that she was still judging herself the way her mother judged her, in her mother's context, and from her mother's life. Even after everything she had done to rebel and having had her Warhol films come out from the underground (her mother actually went to see CHELSEA GIRLS in a theatre! With disastorous results, of course!). All of that and she still couldn't find a context for her life. A context that was supportive. She never broke with her background or created new core beliefs.

I wonder if any of us ever finds a context for our lives? Are there people that are born into an environment that nurtures them? They grow and thrive and recreate that environment and hopefully they have children that fit into their life as well. Maybe these people do not have problems that warp them or make them want to take drugs or runaway or eat 16 key lime pies in one day. Or does everyone cram the damage deep down inside and some just do a better job at hiding it than others?

I don't think I was born damaged, but I think it began so early in my life-- simply by how at odds my nature was with my early environment-- that most of my life has been trying to heal my eternally wounded inner Fisher King. Constantly bleeding, and constantly questing, and constantly fighting. There must be a way to truly heal.

I have been thinking alot about what I want from the next forty years and I have so many conflicting desires! Watching Ms. Berlin I realized that part of it was that I have lived so many different lives. I ran from the husband and kids and the dog so hard and so fast and so far away that it is (mostly) gone forever. Especially now that I want it. There are certain choices that cannot be reversed, that have unalterable consequences. I am trying to learn to accept this.

And I did have a lot of adventures, but I was always in so much pain and so angry and anxious that I could never really appreciate anything good when it happened to me. There was always fear. And alot of "good" things that have come to me have come in evil packages. And I never did the big things that I said I was going to do. The things that I said were the reasons I didn't want a "normal life." I remain unpublished, and worse, right now, I have nothing that I want published. Nothing written that I am happy about. Ms. Berlin, for all her struggles, does have her art and her career.

Who am I? Who have I been? Where am I going? What do I need to thrive? Is it possible to find a life that fufills all the parts of me? The old and the new? The damaged, the repaired, the broken, and especially, the new growth?

I have never felt like there was a path for me to follow. Very few stories or real people have mirrored my life. I get inspiration from a lot of sources, but rarely do I find someone or some character where I think "she is so like me." I always feel like the outsider.

I found these pictures that represent the parts of me that I think I need to integrate and really listen too. Over the next few days I am going to try to find out what they need to have a fufilling and wonderful life. I need to validate them and see all the parts of me good and bad.







I already know that I need a red umbrella. I need to do more cartwheels and nonsense laughing. I need a more active social life and I need to begin writing again seriously. But there are some other things I need too, and I can't tell what they are yet.



And I need a vacation. Seriously. I need to go somewhere beautiful and quiet and no rush hour traffic or smog or shopping malls! With lots of interesting people and fun things to do. (Or is that interesting things and fun people to do? hehehe ;o)


Ah, Magenta, that is exactly what I was thinking!


** Another children's author I liked a lot.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I wasn't sure if the hummingbirds were feeding at the feeder now that the tree has lost all of its flowers. (And leaves!) The other day I was outside raking, and I saw the female come to the tree. I was right under the feeder, and she flew away when she saw me. Then, yesterday morning early, I went outside to feed the birds (mostly sparrows, doves and a few finches) and I heard that distinct buzzing sound. She was feeding on the feeder! She is always a sure sign of joy and the presence of {Flying Sphaghetti Monster/Goddess/God/Universe/Higher Power of your choice} in my life.

I think I've been doing very well at not freaking out or getting overwhelmed. Both are my natural inclinations! (I don't have small children, though! That makes the stress of the season much easier, I believe!) I've managed to stay calm in all of the traffic, or the store not having what I need, or not having the money to buy all the gifts I would like to. I have been able to focus in on what is enjoyable and try to magnify that. I am trying to accept all of my limitations (money, time, energy, etc) and to be content and satisfied regardless.

I am a little tired of people telling me that there is "no point." I am going to get my tree tomorrow, and it doesn't seem pointless to me. My Christmas memories are of the tree being decorated on Christmas Eve, and staying up for Church, and then coming home very late and very sleepy, but not too sleepy for my mother or grandmother's cocoa with miniature marshmallows. We gave gifts on Christmas morning, but we kept Christmas until Epiphany.

To me, Christmas begins too early and leaves too abruptly nowadays. I feel it has lost it's Mystical magic in all of the rush.

I am behind in blogging and checking in on everyone's blogs! But tomorrow is another day! Tomorrow is up early for errands and then to Trader Joes and the supermarket for Christmas Day dinner supplies, and then home to clean, decorate the tree and wrap the few presents I was able to purchase. And get caught up on all the blogs and what everyone in my blogosphere has been doing!

I do love reading about everyone else's lives and interests! Those of you on my sidebar have really increased my appreciation of the beauty and diversity of people on the planet! Reading all these blogs makes me feel like the whole world is filled with awesome, creative, unique and talented people! YOU ALL ROCK!!!

Sometimes I feel as if I am constantly fighting off negative thoughts, expectations and feelings, but at other times, like today, I realise that there is always some sort of struggle, something we must overcome in ourselves, and that the trick is to just lean into it without getting frustrated. Because there will always be something to stress about! But there will always be something to rejoice about to! There will always be a sign, and there will always be beauty! There really are so many moments to enjoy in each day! And always some suprise, some mundane miracle! Like my hummingbird sighting!


PS-- yes, drinking...But not much, mostly just wooed by the Christmas lights and music...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005





Monday, December 19, 2005


Every year, the desire to wear a Santa hat emerges before the Christmas decorations have been dug out of storage. (This includes the many years that "storage" referred to the garage or back of the hall closet, and not Public Storage!) For this reason, every year I end up buying a new Santa hat.

So this year I decided to make it a custom. Make it official, it looks like you are endorsing it. Suddenly, it doesn't look like procrastination or lack of organization. Call it a "tradition" and suddenly it looks like you meant to do it every year for the last five years!

My new Santa hat has sparkly red sequins and is sexy. I like it very much and it was only $3. See? My people really were Scottish! I can squeeze change from a penny!

On Friday I saw the SOUTH PARK Christmas special for the first time. I cannot believe that I was not stoned or tripping and I was watching talking poop! Holy sh--I mean, OMG! Anyhow, other than feeling slightly nauseous through many parts of it, I laughed my ass off! ("Oh-- this is why people have cable tv!") And I learned a very important lesson: Christmas is about commercialization! Forget all this spiritual, getting together crap! Buy some damn presents!!! And give them to someone!

Ever since I got tagged for that year in review, I have been looking at my shopping purchases. Surely I have purchased things that were not food or clothing that have brought me great joy?

So the other night I was at the drugstore to buy stuff like drano and toothpaste and hair colour (I worship at the altar of Our Lady of Loreal once a month-- she is a demanding but ultimately benevolent Goddess) and I bought this little bird ornament that has a touch sensor and a recording of the bird song.

Okay, so let's just be clear that as a HUGE Xena fan, I am aware that I am a giant geek and completely unacceptable among respectable society, but I LOVE THESE LITTLE ORNAMENTS!!! They are so cute and they make realistic bird songs! I wish I could find more of them!

Okay, nothing makes me happier than seeing a new bird species in my backyard! A day when I see a hummingbird is a great day! A day when I see a hawk is mystical!!!

Alot has been happening over the last few days. Things that I don't like, but also some things that let me know my Angels are watching over me. I am becoming such an expert miner of coal that Jean Richie should rise from the grave and write a song about me!

So often, when we don't have what we want, we think the answer lies in the object of our desire. And really, to have what we want we must learn to give effortlessly. All things are connected, and all things have their complement. To give effortlessly of whatever is asked of you to is to recieve the greatest gifts of all.

I always feel that as strong as magic at Christmas. The giving of things, and the love that we have for each other. The light. The newborn babe and the reborn sun.

The Solstice, and Christmas, and Channakuh, are all about light in the darkness.

"Darkness cannot exist with Light, but Light can exist in the Darkness!"

The Holiday Spirit hit me today, and I have begun hanging lights and wrapping presents! I have determined that this would be a beautiful Christmas, and so it is becoming!!!!

Some gifts may have to be given after the New Year, and oh no! Where is my Holiday poem? I may be a bit behind! Perhaps I shall have to extend the season to Epiphany, or January 6th!!! Don't we all do this these days? It's such a mad rush to get things done, especially when there are so many things to enjoy about the Season!

It is becoming the most beautiful Christmas ever! I feel great hope for everyone and that the war might end soon! And I am sending this feeling with Holiday Wishes to All!!!


Saturday, December 10, 2005


(My job is nothing like this...That's Christy Canyon, btw.)

My friend and her boyfriend rearranged their condo and they didn't have anywhere to put their third television. They watch a lot of television, but only in the living room and bedroom, where the other two are. So they sold it to me for $20. (This is how I acquire most of my belongings. Or by helping people move.)

Since my friends have all heard my rants against television, and wonder greatly at my ability to live without cable, she questioned what I was going to do with a second television?

"Put it in the bedroom to watch porn, of course," I answered.

She laughed and yelled to her boyfriend, "Don't worry, honey, it's going to a good home! They are going to use it to watch porn!"

"Oh that's good," he commented. "Now I know it won't be lonely. That's all I ever watched on it." (It was his television from before they moved in together.)

Mind you, they also borrowed my TOE STORY dvd (Tiffany Minx, the queen of blow jobs in my book, regardless of the other things she's known for) and just will not return it!!! They are both kinksters and I love them for it. Especially since they both appear soooo vanilla on the surface.

So I when I got home last night I noticed that the Man of the House had set it up in the bedroom. I turned it on to see if he'd just moved things or actually set up the VCR. (On my list is a DVD player for the bedroom!) I turned on the VCR and found not only had he hooked it up, but obviously he'd tested it.

And my oh my, what an interesting test tape it was.

The old man has some porn that is from the late seventies and early eighties. I think he's had these tapes this long too! But most of them have John Stagliano on them, and we both knew a porn distributor who used to work with Stagliano, by then AKA HIV postive Buttman.

So maybe that is how the old man ended up with these tapes.

One of them has John Holmes, no shit!!!

All the chicks have bush (some of them have never shaved, I kid you not!), and the fake tits are enough to ruin some of the shots. I mean these are really ugly silicone titties and they are all too big for the women that wear them. But Holy G-Spot, Batman! They actually show the men.

The men are good looking, and they are all hard. And they all really look like they know what they are doing, if you know what I mean. (When I watch American porn I feel like the men are just to severe with She Who Will Not Be Ignored, or the clit. I don't need to be mashed down and moved around, which is what it looks like. Use some skill. Jeez, what's they point otherwise? Firm, but gentle, boys.)

Well, anyhow, I'd started on a bottle of Chardonnay that was leftover from Thanksgiving. I prefer red wine but we didn't have any, and I swear white wine makes you drunk quicker. Plus I hadn't eaten. (Although at some point in the evening I did, but I don't remember it, I just saw the remains on the counter this morning.) I went from 0 to 60 in about five minutes.

I remember the old man calling to see what I was doing and I said "Watching this old porn tape. And you should come home. Like, NOW!"

"Uh, yeah, let me finish my beer," he answered and hung up on me.

Two seconds later he was home.

Then he was really really really really really happy.

Me, too. But, man, was I hungover this morning!


Thursday, December 08, 2005


December 8, 1980. I don't remember what I was doing, when John Lennon was shot. That was a time in my life where I was usually on at least two substances, not including constant nicotine and pot smoking.

This was before my conversion to The High Anarchy Church of Punk Rock and British Ska. Later I would add to my calendar that this was the day Darby Crash of the Germs died, but from partying too much (and frankly, no one was surprised). I liked the Beatles alot (who doesn't?) but I wasn't a huge, huge fan. I was really into Lennon's art and lifestyle and persona, though. Not just his music, but his books of writing and poetry and drawings. (I liked Yoko's installation too, and their cool relationship and all of the stuff they did.)

I liked people who were creative, and only Bowie was above Lennon on my list of artists I admired.

I went to the Memorial with two girls from school. I hardly ever attended school, and I am hazy on what grade I was in or what school I was attending. I believe that I was still in Junior High. I do know that this was roughly six months after I had returned from California. And I do know that even though I had been a runaway for all but a few weeks of the previous school year, the school had passed me, because I was trouble and they wanted me out of there.

I do remember that my mom's boyfriend, who was also the former minister of my grandmother's church and a poet himself, gave us a ride to the Memorial held in our largest park. We couldn't believe how many people were there. Many people were smoking pot openly. There was no organization, people just got up and said whatever they were feeling. I don't recall the police being there at all. I don't even remember how all of us knew when and where to show up.

I remember crying during the silent vigil, and as everyone dispersed we all began singing HEY JUDE. You could hear the whole crowd carrying away bits of the tune, dispersing it like a spirit across the city, out of car windows, from the back of pick-up trucks, at the full bus stops.

We bummed a ride from some guys with a big truck who were giving a lot of people rides and who had weed to share. We sang HEY JUDE and smoked pot til we reached the highway. It was so cold and we were in the open truck bed, so we all huddled together til we got back on the street. Then we sang more songs, but I don't remember which ones.

I don't know why, but for some reason I actually went home afterwards, which was unusual for me if there were boys and marijuana around. But I had the Lennon-truck drop me off at home, and when I went inside my mom was playing her RUBBER SOUL album and crying too.

What world do you Imagine? People living life in peace? Nothing to kill or die for? No religion, too? (Personally, I got no problem with religion: Jesus, Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Buddha, but I do dream of peace. )

I declare today INTERNATIONAL IMAGINE DAY. Go on and dream. Imagine. Visualize. Create.

Merry Christmas, War is over if you want it!!


Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I was writing a long report on all the "events" of the week. But I couldn't finish it, and I was jotting down this bit, and thought, "well, it seems to work on it's own." So here it is. I am fine, but on the bus and very busy at work. No time to really read or write blogs!

I don't want to merely cling to the tightrope of life, grasping my way across it, eyes clenched in terror, dreading the inevitable fall.

I don't want to fling myself across it, like a child on the school monkey bars. Hand over hand, shouting, laughing, and taunting the other children. Boasting of my ablilities without awareness beyond a skinned knee or bruised palm.

I don't want to walk across it carefully, balancing with both arms, enjoying the rush of the rocking and those small but managable slips in balance.

No, for me there must be some art. And for there to be some art, there must be some risk. There must be an awareness of the danger of the fall, but complete trust in my own balance.

Perhaps the only way to achieve the beauty of the tightrope artist is to let go and just let the rope and the winds and the height mold me into a perfect somersault, a daring backflip, a ballarina arabesque on the edge of a thread.

To have faith that by yielding a wee bit to the sway, I will find my balance again, and beauty will be restored.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005


If there were some sort of permit for adulthood I think I would have failed it. I think a great many people would have.

"Yeah, he's got the house and the wife, but he keeps failing the test."

"She got promoted at her job and she's having another baby, but she can't even get through the written test."

Probably some people would pass but then there would be no outward sign.

"Yeah, he passed the test for his adulthood permit, but now he's working at Burger King. I don't get it."


Thursday, November 03, 2005


This afternoon I was sitting outside at Starbucks during my lunch break. It was such a beautiful day, and working in an office has really made me lonely for the clouds and the birds and the Rosebush!

A wind was stirring all around me, sending napkins flying and ruffling the pages of books. I saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. Like a strong spirit or angel. I felt like something beautiful was going to happen. Something that would touch me and change the world. Or that would change my world, if nothing else.

There was a bum approaching. He was asking the girl sitting at the other table if she had any change. He said something to her like, "I bet if you had a hundred bucks you'd give it to me." She shrugged and said she was sorry, she didn't have anything to give.

How sad it is, for all of us, to have nothing to give when someone asks us. Wouldn't it be nice to always have something to give?

It was such a beautiful, free moment-- such a sunny afternoon-- that I just wanted him to move on. I didn't want to miss whatever beauty had come my way. But, first of all, a lady had asked me for change when I was going into Subway. I told her I'd give her some on the way out. But she'd been gone by the time I'd finished eating.

Secondly, both Odin and Jesus are said to wander among us as beggars. Odin especially. (I mentioned the Teutonic Gods this morning, in my my other blog. And it was Odin who'd lingered in my mind.) I have a strong policy of always giving change--or at least patience-- to bums. It's better karma than genuine kindness.

He asked me if I had change, and I said sure. I got some quarters out. I was really just being vain with myself, that I was giving him money even though I am totally broke.

When things are going very, very badly is when we are given the opportunity to learn true faith. Maybe you need to learn that all interactions have value, whether the values are monetary or not.

"You are a beautiful lady," the bum said, his eyes frazzled with weariness and fractured with cataracts and sorrow. "I bet you are a teacher or an artist."

His words and insight shocked me, but I did my best not to let it show. A recognition of who I really am, or, at the very least, how I see myself. (A writer is an artist.)

I was gracious. Of course I could accept his compliments! He was just a dirty bum! No one whose opinion could sway me.

He took the change I handed him. "My name is John," he told me, smiling.

"Good luck, John. " I looked back at my book to let him know that our interaction was over. I was dismissing him.

He just stood there. He didn't walk away.

Reluctantly I looked back up.

He smiled at me with a steady gaze and confidence. "You are true lady," he complimented me.

I smiled patiently. "Thank you."

"Your mother brought you up right," he continued. "You don't talk to strangers."

He was smiling with a strange, knowing smile. I felt self-conscious. What was he smiling about? I am always too revealing-- and I don't just mean my cleavage-- even when I think I am being reserved. What had he seen? What had he noticed?

Who was he?

Odin had two crows, Huggen and Munin, that flew around the world every day gathering news and information for him. I looked around on the street and up in the sky. All I saw were pigeons. If the God of the Runes and Ruler of Valhalla was lurking about, he was very unimpressive--what with the traffic and road construction and all of the smog and cigarette smoke.

"Thank you, Lady," the bum said, taking his leave and bowing to me slightly.

No crows, true, but still a gift from the Divine. An angel speaking to me through another.

The winds whispered all around me. You saw him. So he was able to see you. Sometimes, all we want is for another to see us. To acknowledge us. To look us in the eye and give us what we are asking for with no recriminations and no obligations.

When I looked at him, I looked for God in him. And I believe that often, how we see the world effects it. I looked for the Divine in him, and I saw a part of him that no one looked at.

I wrote about THE SIXTH SENSE but one thing I didn't mention is how rarely we really see each other-- or our world. Sight is the most important sense. We measure the whole rational, scientific, empirical universe through our sense of sight. (Think about it.)

Most people don't even notice the spirits of the living-- how would they ever percieve the spirits of the dead? Can you imagine sight strong enough to see the Divine Spirit of the people you have to work with everyday? (That really annoying guy that always has bad breath? The girl that always assigns you the worst tasks on the group projects?)

Right now, no matter how bad or how frustrating things are for you, you are being asked to give. You are being asked to find what is beautiful in the world and look only for it. To look for Jesus in the drunk and Aphrodite in the prostitute.

Lakshmi is holding out the offering plate, and Buddha wants your beer cans. Everyone wants and desires and needs. But, I think, right now, we are being asked to give. Whatever we can. Spare change, a laugh, a hug, or maybe just looking the other way when someone stumbles.

Maybe just giving up one moment of your lunch break and the blue sky and freedom to talk to someone that is rarely listened to, but might have something important to say.

That bum was so far down that a dollar's worth of quarters and simple politeness made him feel validated. And I have so seriously lost sight of who I am that I needed a random encounter with a stranger to shake me out of numb complacency.

"An artist? A lady? Your mother raised you right?" An old ghost with cold eyes mocked me.

But another part of me said "Yes! An artist! A teacher! You were raised RIGHT! Really!" And she laughed and spun in circles around me.

In a comment Swift One said not to complicate things unnecessarily. If motion generates heat and energy, don't create a thousand angels to explain the motion. (I am paraphrasing and interpreting.And not to single him out or say his comment was "wrong", but just to say that I was inspired by it. That it had me thinking.)

I believe that around every molecule there is an angel whose only purpose and job is to whisper "grow, grow, live, live." I believe that especially when we are telling a story or singing a song or writing a poem, or making art, that there must be angel around every word, every breath, every heartbeat. Every molecule must murmur "grow, grow, live, live."

We are the storytellers and the story. We are the hero and the villain. We are the beggar and the lady. And wouldn't anyone give themselves a legion of Angels for each breath? A God to bless each afternoon? A passing Spirit to whisper our dreams and remind us of who we really are?

Because if we are all things, and we give those things to ourselves, we give them to everyone. To all of us.

And if we agree, and if we listen, then we whisper back "yes, yes, love, love."


Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I made people laugh tonight at Trader Joe's. The lady ahead of me was buying some Charles Shaw Merlot, and she complained that they didn't have the Chardonnay.

I had left the line to get my own Cabernet Sauvignon ("life is a cabernet, old chum") and when I came back one of the cashiers was saying "Boy, we sure sell alot of that. It's so economical." (It's two dollars a bottle, hence it's nickname.)

I said, "Yeah, and it doesn't stain your teeth permanently like other cheap wines."

Everyone laughed loudly and with great enjoyment. Both cashiers kept joking with me and laughing through the rest of my transaction. The rest of the day was pretty tedious, so it was nice to make a splash and come home smiling.

Mmmm.... and now I'm at home and I can drink some wine and go to bed... Maybe I will watch DIVA again before I send it back...


Tuesday, November 01, 2005


(EDIT:  Please do not steal this for your film school final thesis.  Especially if you are in Los Angeles.  You will be found out, trust me.)

If you think I spend too much time pondering Godzilla's representation of U.S./Japanese relations, or just too much going into things altogether, I warn you, this one was quite tricky even for me. However, if you liked my Harville Hendrix post, I think you will like this one.

I’ve seen THE SIXTH SENSE numerous times. Like many people, I went to see it a few times when it was out in theatres. And every time I have seen it since, I see something else. A new angle to it.

The movie opens with the grown man, Dr. Malcolm Crowe. He is finally getting the recognition that he deserves for all the work that he does. And this man's work is helping to heal children. He has a beautiful, adoring wife that he loves very much, and she loves him, but oh—what was that? She feels second fiddle. She is glad for his recognition because now, finally, he can focus on other aspects of their life together, which probably means their relationship, and more specifically, her.

We follow them to the bedroom where the lovely wife begins a charming strip tease for the object of her affections. This is going to be a night of supreme lovemaking. But someone has broken in. Someone has shattered glass and made a mess in the bedroom. Someone that has no regard for this night or this fine moment-- this turning point toward a bright and prosperous future for the grown man.

It is another man, a young one. A man at another turning point, an earlier one, and a very crucial one. And we know that it is a turning point that Dr. Crowe survived. He went from youth to maturity and arrived (not without hard work and sacrifice, but arrived nonetheless) to this lovely spot in his life. But we have no hopes for the young man, Vincent Grey, who has broken in. Perhaps he is eighteen or perhaps twenty one. Whatever age it is for Grey it is one of torture, and there is no brightness or looking forward in him. He is already a ghost, living only in the past.

Dr. Crowe failed to help Grey as a child. Perhaps the Doctor’s failure came when the Doctor was Grey’s age, or perhaps a bit older. But it has been awhile, and Grey has grown from a child to a man. A wounded, aching man. And he blames Dr. Crowe for not healing him. And what do we humans do, to the one who fails us? We hurt him back. Grey shoots Crowe. And since the Doctor was the only hope Grey had, and it was a hope that died before the bullet was fired, Grey shoots himself.

And now our only hope, our only salvation, lies in the man as a child, and that is a difficult journey indeed. Crowe must find a way to go back and heal Grey (or his own Younger Self, as the case maybe). He must heal the boy who killed him and all of his dreams. He must forgive him and the only way to do that is to see through the child's eyes. And surely Cole would have grown to be Vincent Grey, we can surmise later in the film, after we have learned more about Cole, the man as a child. (A writer suspects that he won't, however. There is a clue about their destinies in their names. Cole and Crowe are alliterative and share their first initial. That is a writer's secret.)

(And I wonder if there wouldn't be some sort of connection to the whole metaphysical idea of the controlling younger self, ego middle self, and God-head/Observer higher self? Where middle self, the ego, must be destroyed so that our true inner nature can emerge, that is, our inner selfish child, so that we can balance with completely unselfish higher self. I have even heard this described as the first, third and sixth or seventh chakra, for those of you that may be interested in that sort of thing.)

Like the audience during the first viewing, Crowe doesn’t know that he is dead. (He doesn't even realize that he is a shaman.) He refuses to see it. In order for the shaman/doctor/healer to make the journey into the past and change it, he must pass through the land of the dead. He must leave behind this world thoroughly, and in this viewing of the movie (story) I saw that metaphor very clearly.

Time only exists in this world, as a measured rate of decay. All cultures that have glimpsed, recorded or prophesized about "the other side" report that there is no time. There is eternity, but that is not the same as "time." And Crowe has lost track of time. He is always late. This owes a debt to other horror films as well, such as CARNIVAL OF SOULS (one inspiration for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD). The dead do not live by time. (Another nice touch in the film was Cole's father's watch, which is broken and no longer tells time. The watch was abandoned and left behind in a drawer. No longer needed.)

Shamans would piggy-back on an animal spirit sacrifice, or even a human sacrifice. And the grown man, Crowe, follows Grey's spirit into the land of the dead. Back to the roots of Grey’s psychosis, and if all three men represent the same archetype, as I understood it during this viewing of the story, back to the child. (And an interesting twist here, that the Shaman's journey is reversed for the child. The dead come to him.)

The child! Usually I identified with the boy when watching this, as many do. We all suffered in childhood. And even if you were just a tiny bit “different”, or if you moved around a lot, or were a minority, or had a physical feature or a funny last name, you probably did suffer some isolation and loneliness, because the schoolyard can be more terrifying than any horror movie or ghost.

Painful childhood memories make even the well-adjusted adult shiver. But what if your “difference” was truly horrifying and completely outside of your control? (And isn't almost everything in any child's world outside of his/her control?) In the movie the child, Cole, sees ghosts-- hideous tortured ghosts bearing the marks of their suffering and deaths. No child should have to see these things. And, worse, they can manipulate his reality. They can lie in wait for him, move things, cause problems for him, torture him. He can’t share the horror with anyone, not even his loving but uncomprehending mother.

I saw this as a metaphor for the child who lives in a nightmare. Alcoholism, abuse, incest, etc. I really noticed the ghosts this time. The abused wife/mother who commits suicide; the dying daughter, poisoned by a parent-the mother, but easily this metaphor could have represented incest or any other abuse as well; people who were really tortured at the school, standing in for the ghosts of all the children who didn’t fit into the schoolyard hierarchy. Ghosts of those that were hanged when the school was a courthouse (a place of judgement), or when the school caught fire (ignited with rage?), burning and disfiguring at least one woman.

There are the spirits of the fallen soldiers, that Cole weeps for in the churchyard. (Especially the new father, who never got to see his infant daughter, recited to and by Cole as weight and apgar measurements.) Cole mourns the fate of his gender and his manhood. Because men have always fought. Men spill their blood on the battlefield, not in childbirth. All men, regardless of whether they are born into a peaceful world (has there ever been one?), and regardless of whether they have served in the military, all men are haunted by the ghosts of war.

(And this insight owes a real debt to Chairbourne Stranger. Honestly, if you only have time to read a few blogs, bump mine and move his further up the list. Especially if you are American, and regardless of how you feel about the reasons for the war or the Bush regime generally. His blog is raw and honest and powerful and beautifully written.)

The archetype of the soldier: the powerful protector, the defender of all that is good and right, and also the fierce destroyer of that which is evil, is the strongest male archetype there is. Stronger than the archetype of the father, which is the only archetype missing in this movie, save the father of the dead girl. And he has no sons. Cole’s father is gone. M.I.A. A broken watch and glasses without lenses.

The one boy ghost I saw this time—if I have forgotten that there were others, but I don’t think there were—was the boy who walks through Cole's house. “Come on, I’ll show you were my father keeps his gun.” And we know how that boy died without being told. And more importantly, we know that this anonymous ghost-boy’s father also failed him. Even if the father was not guilty of any other crime, he did not protect his son from deadly negligence and lack of caution. (The soldiers are male, but we never see them. We only see Cole interacting with them when his "older self" is present, that is, when Dr. Crowe is present.)

Even God the Father is not a very good protector. (And there is no mention made of what He did to his own son. Regardless of whether Jesus was the saviour of all mankind, as far as being a father goes, Jehovah did not protect His son. In fact, in this light, He sent him here to suffer. I think the cruxification should not be taught until children are old enough to understand all of these horrible things. ) God's protection is weak against the ghosts and the horrors. Cole hides in a church, but even there, the dead find him, even if they are gentle spirits speaking Latin, they are still there, whispering to him and preventing him from being a normal little boy.

And God the Father is not all encompassing, anyhow. God does not walk him home or check under the bed for monsters. And Cole has plenty of monsters after him. And more horrifying, his main source of strength and comfort and nurturing is actually his greatest weakness. The fatherless little boy must protect his all-powerful mother against the evil world he lives in. Because to reveal it to her would be to expose her and leave her vulnerable. In a world of horror--supernatural or familial--the man that the boy needs to become must be honourable to women. He must be a true match, in Freudian terms, for "zee fazzer." Otherwise, he cannot heal his family or redeem himself from his father's broken legacy.

And Crowe himself is still here because he so desperately needs to reconcile with his wife. He needs her to know that it was not, nor has it ever been, that she is second fiddle to his work. But he had hurt, fatherless little boys to save. And if he didn't save them they would kill him and themselves, just as Cole fears the ghosts will kill him. And I suppose this is feminist film theory or something, but I did notice during this viewing, as I think I mentioned before, that the ghosts Cole rescues are female, but the ones he saves, the ones he heals, are males.

(There is a beautiful piece of storytelling in an almost throwaway scene: The teacher that Cole humiliates by dragging the teacher back to his own tortured, stuttering childhood, is able to be a true paternal figure to him later, in getting him the part of Arthur in the school play. The unspoken apology and forgiveness between them, not at all subtle, but still very beautiful and very beautifully filmed as well, as they go up the stairs together, the teacher putting an arm around Cole's costumed shoulders. And then there is a whole other tangent that could be taken, in discussing the use of a "play" as a metaphor for a traumatized and isolated child's healing. For the child to be allowed to be, to be able to be, a child, finally, and play. And there is hope too, that Cole, now freed of the burdens of his father and his brother and his older self, etc., might find a true father figure in the "real" world. Maybe it will be someone that he has lashed out at and hurt, as children are sometimes apt to do those that love and care for them.)

And Crowe needs Cole to save him. Because the therapy is only complete when the child is really heard and believed. We shush the children in ourselves. We don't believe them anymore. We have made them stupid for fearing the monster under the bed. "That wasn't real. I was just a child." And worse, as we grow older we don't want to admit--I think even moreso if we don't come from broken or abusive or obviously dysfunctional homes-- that Daddy's absence, real or emotional, or Mommy's need to have all of the attention, is the reason we are unhappy with our lives or ourselves. We blame our parents, because, really who else is there to blame? We were just kids. But you can't really blame your parents for your weight or your drinking or your kleptomania or your three screwed up marriages. Not really.

Crowe needs to listen to the child. We all must listen to the ghosts of our childhood and our inner child. Crowe is only helpful when he accepts the parameters of Cole's reality and offers an explanation that Cole, the child, can acccept. And Crowe is right. Cole is able to communicate with his ghosts and even save them. And then, when the child is healed-- and all children believe that they are all powerful when they are truly whole-- Cole can save Crowe's marriage, and heal Crowe.

"Talk to her when she is sleeping. Then she will be able to hear you." Because, of course, Crowe is just a ghost. Whether he is the ghost of man who died in the past or the man that Cole will become doesn't matter. He is a ghost, and the only way he will be heard is in dreams, when the conscious mind is sleeping.

(And perhaps here, there is nod to the whole idea that men and women alike believe--deep down, whether it is admited or not-- that our romantic partners, like our parents, should just "know" what we need. They should know how we feel and we should not have to tell them. And when we finally do tell them how we feel-- perhaps it isn't rational, perhaps it is some deep rooted childhood need that is speaking that makes no sense in the waking world, in the daylight--it does makes sense to the dreaming. The heart will understand and hear us. Especially, I think, for men, because they have such a hard time articulating their feelings. The dreaming woman--is she Jung's animus or anima?--will hear you and respond.)

The spirits of the past, like the spirits of the dead, really can't hurt you. They can go bump in the night and give you a good scare, but they can't hurt you. But the little child in all of us doesn't know that. (And the adult has learned all to well that there are many dangers that there is no protection from.) The ghosts of the past will scare us. They will jump out at us even when things are going well.

But all they really want is the same thing everyone wants: to be listened to. To be heard, to be acknowledged. Dead or alive, child or adult, it is the human spirit's greatest need: for there to be an honest acknowledgement of one's true existence. Or perhaps, more importantly, for one's own perception and experience, whether that acknowledgement is for "yea or nay". We all need to be validated and accepted.

"It just went in and out, it doesn't even hurt anymore," the man tells the wife. "I think it's okay now. It just went right through me." But, no, it is too late. He has bled to death, he just wouldn't admit it. She turns him over gently and weeps as the blood spills out of him. She mourns for him because he cannot. He is the stoic protector even as he dies.

But on the other side of town, the boy tells the mother "I'm ready to communicate with you now." He is saved, and he can now save her, too. The ghosts will not come to kill him, and she will not have to mourn him.

(There is another tangent here, that I think about. Men fear humiliation and failure in the eyes of a woman. But women's fear of men is mostly physical: rape, murder, control of property and our bodies, until recently. I always wonder if we are weaker or if they are just more emotionally fragile than they want to admit?)

Yes, Crowe dies, but that's okay with us now because he got the chance to fix things. Death comes to us, and we all accept that on a deep level. What we don't accept is that we may not be able to make everything right and repair the lives of ourselves and our loved ones. I believe that much of the creative urge owes itself to this. Not to "death= beauty" and the artist making peace with death through the creation of some (hopefully) lasting work. But I think sometimes we just want to take the bits and pieces of our lives and sort them into something meaningful. Perhaps in sorting ourselves we will sort another. Maybe we will find something beautiful and inspiring in rearranging the rubble.

The ghosts are still around Cole, but now he has adults who see his reality and have validated his experiences. We can live with anything if it is honest and it is validated by those we love most. And now the ghosts can't hurt him. In fact, he is their saviour.

The man dies. But there is simple metaphor here too. When a man becomes a father, he must leave behind the old wounds and the old arguments. Because he doesn't matter anymore, his son does. And Cole lives, and he will live well and happy, and be able to reassure his mother, and protect her from the ghost of her mother-in deed, he can comfort her, that she is as is good as her mother was. That she has not failed her son. No child, male or female, fatherless or fully parented, wants to be something that his/her parent's fail. The man, Crowe, in giving up his own life, has made way for his son and his younger self to be whatever it is they need to be. He has made the ultimate sacrifice.

Or maybe it was just a movie, and I am thinking too much about my own father, and what I will say to him when I meet him, and how hard it is to forgive him for leaving us. But how very determined I am to do just that.


Sunday, October 30, 2005


Do pictures really speak louder than words? I think so. BTW, Digital Cowgirl, get back to work! You have a show coming up!!! And Sooner, was that you in the backyard last night, or was it the Halloween ghosties?

Someone (Rand?) said that my boobs were the last thing he expected to see on my post. If you ever went drinking with me, or if you were a punk or ska band that toured the Mid-west in the eighties, you'd say "I would've expected your boobs to be the first post!" What can I say? "You can take the bad girl away from the party, but you can never get the party out of the girl." Hehehe...

Still busy (tis the Witching Season, after all) but I will post more from the pen later (no more boobs or boob talk after this, I promise) , but until then, here's the nipples! Yea Nipples!


Sunday, October 23, 2005


Scotland's great monarch was Robert The Bruce; Her great hero was William Wallace; Her great bard was Robert Burns. I suppose Her next greatest royal would be (Catholic) Mary Stewart; hero, (defeated) Bonnie Prince Charlie; and bard? Well, I would choose (irreverant) Ian Anderson.

Tony Scott (on KLOS-- sorry Native Wayne, but it was some long commercial and I switched the station!) was spinning Jethro Tull's AQUALUNG as I drove home tonight, and I was entranced once again by how beautiful and compelling Anderson's songs are.

"If anyone can mix the medaeaval and the modern," Scott mused, "It's Ian Anderson and his band. That was part one," he continued. "In part two we really get into the hypocrisy of religion."

Anderson is rock and roll volume, folk song melodies, Elizabethan orchestrations, and Pagan lyrics. His music is as fierce as a Bruce, brave as a Wallace, and as bawdy and romantic as Burns.

Wondring Aloud

Wondring Aloud,
how we feel today?
Last night set the sunset,
my hand in her hair.
We are our own saviors, as we start,
both our hearts, beating life
Into each other
Wondring aloud,
will the years treat us well?
As she floats in the kitchen,
I am tasting the smell
Of toast as the butter runs,
then she comes,
spilling crumbs,
on the bed
and I shake my head.
Only the giving that makes you,
what you are.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I went to the Queen Mary Shipwreck Sunday night and IT WAS AWESOME!!!! We had so much fun.

I went with my friend "Enigma" (not her real name). She is one of my favourite friends because she is so -- well-- enigmatic. She's a lesbian that sleeps with men, a thirtyish woman who is in one of these Shriners Organizations (NOT the Shriner's-- but I must protect the guilty and keep everyone's top secret identities), plus she reads a lot and knows about weird stuff. She's into politics and I believe that one day she will be Mayor of Los Angeles. When she is mayor, I will be able to blackmail her big time.

Her girlfriend didn't want to go (because she is a scaredy cat, but she had some lame excuse about "work"), so Enigma offered to pay my way. I had been planning to go next weekend. And I was going to call Enigma, so it was just one of those things that worked out perfectly!

When we got there, it started raining. We were miserable because we didn't have an umbrella. We weren't even wearing coats. And then we had to stand in the line for a really long time. They wouldn't even let us in early even though no one was there and it was raining. Then the scariest part of the night was when I had to use the porta-potty. That's probably why I wasn't scared in the mazes at first.

I didn't really expect to get scared. But after we'd gone through all the mazes once, we had a few drinks. Then we were talking about all the real ghosts on the Queen Mary.
Now, this isn't like the Titanic. Most of the people who died on board died of natural causes, or food poisoning, etc. But it's an old ship, and spirits have a way of returning to their familiar "haunts" so there are some ghosts of former sailors and stuff.

(If you don't know what you are seeing/feeling the dead are scary even if they aren't "bad" spirits. It's just a very cold touch. Actually, they still scare me sometimes.)

But mostly I think that after awhile, we just really got into the whole idea of being scared and running and laughing and screaming our heads off. WHAT A RELEASE!!!

I think that these haunted houses really serve a purpose. In addition to the release of tension and pent up anxiety, how often does our society offer the opportunity to walk through the darkness (metaphorical or real) and confront the demons and horrors that pop out at every turn?

I'll tell you, the night before the moon was full, with a lunar eclipse to boot, the Queen Mary Shipwreck was better than a "Persephone in the Underworld" Rite for cleansing ones psyche of the horrors of day to day life.

Looking at the list of sex offenders that live in my neighborhood is truly scary. Hearing about a ten year old stabbing an eight year old to death, that's the scariest thing I've ever heard. Sometimes the news makes me want to go hide under the covers. And sitting at a dead-stop for ten minutes on the freeway? Yes, that is when I really want to just run screaming mad down the street!

I felt like I'd had a "fear" orgasm or something when we left. Like I'd screamed enough to scare all the mental skeletons from their hiding places in the closets and tombs of my mind.

Plus, if you are a guy (or a lesbian) it's a great place to take a girl on a date. Because she will be glued up against you in the really scary parts.

("I hope you appreciate, as lesbian, that I am pushing my entire boob into your arm, just like a real date," I told Enigma as we walked through the super scary Haunted Hull of Horrors. "Oh yeah, I do!" She responded enthusiastically. Then some scary chainsaw guy popped out and we abandoned each other and ran screaming for our lives.)

I highly recommend Queen Mary Shipwreck. It's really expensive though: $30. And drinks are $6 each. We went through Creatures of the Cove In 3-d three times and it just got better each time. The sets were just amazing, and some of the art was really cool. That was best overall.

The best single costume was the mutant hiding behind the oil drum in Haunted Hull of Horrors. Corridors of Carnage was the scariest overall, but Trail of Terror had a really scary very dark section. We went through most of them twice. I would go back next weekend! It is a lot of fun!


Monday, October 17, 2005


I got some emails about my Hilton heiress dream, and I just thought I'd clarify in case anyone else wondered: The tablecloth being paper was the sign that there was a "falseness" or an appearance. Since the family is so obviously wealthy (as all families are, even if it's not always with cash) it seemed strange to dream-me that they didn't use the real thing.

The diaper table represented children and reproduction. The general meaning would be that the outcast often does not want to reproduce him/herself. Specifically for me I think it meant that in "the women's room" --- hidden from larger society but where women interact with each other-- my lack of children is something that trips me up, that I try to make a joke out of, etc. And my spinsterhood does not belong to the poised blonde "sister" of the heiress, but to the outcast.

On a lighter note: I don't usually do these, but I saw this on Digital Cowgirl's site and I decided to waste some time. They were fun and I liked the idea of being defined as a classic movie. I never could get the page with the other leaders/movies to load, so I don't know what I am not:



If you want to try it:

Sunday, October 16, 2005


...Yeah, well, it was a dream I had. I sent it in to my buddy at SLOW WAVE, but I don't know that he is going to be able to break it down into four panels.

In the dream I went on a picnic with the Mom and two sisters and their entourage of servants and assistants (the rich are rarely alone). For some reason the Mom insisted very Martha Stewart-like that we all sit on the red and white checkered table cloth, to make it more like a real picnic. The only problem was, it was a paper tablecover, not a cloth one. That was just the first of many things that would make me feel sorry for my new friends.

After the picnic we were walking through a park I used to go to when I was a little kid. I was trying to look around and see what had changed, but Paris really needed all of my attention for herself. She was very enamoured with me and took my arm in a companionable manner. Eventually she decided to make me a Hilton. Everyone else, even the mom and the sister agreed.

I loved this, because suddenly I was very, very blonde, leggy, and thin. Plus they let me keep most of my boobs (I had way too much to be proportionate, so some had to go, but the mom decided I was to be the buxom Hilton.) And I was rich, of course. But it turns out that the Hilton's had a "hidden sister" and she was given all the unfortunate attributes of mine-- and everyone else in the family's as well. I felt sorry for her, but not sorry enough to ask for all my fat and poverty back.

The fat sister was dressed in crappy grey sweat shirt and baggy pants. Her hair was brown and scraggly. At one point we walked through a public restroom in the park, and someone had left the diaper changer down. The fat sister thought it would be funny to trip and fall over the protruding diaper table and make it crash. Because the Hilton's have so much money they can control time if it's comedic timing. Rather, if it is something they think is going to be funny.

So the fat sister fell very slowly, then there was a pause as she crashed on top of the table, and another pause before the table crashed slowly to the ground. Everyone but me laughed and applauded. I felt horribly embarrassed for the lot of them. Obviously so much wealth had destroyed their sense of humour completely.

So that was my dream. Sigmund, Carl, go ahead and have at it. Is it "zee muzzer and my peniz envy?" or has the "collective celebrity unconscious" seized my weak mind?

I really had no idea what this dream meant until a few days ago. (I think I had this about two weeks ago, so it is still pretty recent, and it was very vivid, so I remembered it clearly.) I thought maybe I wanted more money or to be more blonde and thin (well, I do, but you know what I mean). But I realised yesterday that this is actually about my own family, and all families, and the roles we play within our tribal units.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, wealthy. (At least not in terms of cash, equity or assets.) But I have known a lot of rich kids, and children of celebrities and politicians. For reasons I still don't fully understand, alot of people that I meet who weren't born wealthy think that I was, at least at first meeting. Eventually, if nothing else, my teeth give me away. I have several crooked teeth. They aren't immediately obvious, but they are noticable.

Rich people like me because I treat everyone the same and act pretty much the same regardless of where I am or who is around. (I have come to the conclusion that I am somewhat emotionally autistic. I do not respond the way most people do, and many of my "appropriate responses" are not organic, but memorized. And I am not talking here about the normal and cultural responses that all people must go through. But this is a whole other blog.) This social autism leads to a lot of stuff coming out of my mouth that shouldn't, but that only bothers people who aren't dripping with cash or power. And rebel children of politicians and celebrities embrace my awkward and too revealing moments because they were never allowed to have any of their own.

In fact, the daughter of a famous fifties movie star told me that all celebrity children go through a rebel "grunge" stage. Not grooming or brushing their teeth. Refusing to wear decent clothes or keep themselves or their belongings in good working order. Because they always have to look good for the camera and the fans and so forth. She said there are some who get stuck in it. I know a few of these children, too. They are my dream's fat sister. They have absorbed all of the negative traits of their families.

But not just rich people have the fat sister. I see this in a lot of families. Particularly where one or more parent is in denial about their own shortcomings. How many families have the super groomed mother and the grungy daughter? The overly macho, sports father and the couch potato, mama's boy son? The ineffective, alcholic parent and the care-taking child?

In many ways the fat Hilton sister is more integral to the family than Paris or Nicki. In many ways she loves and cares for the family system more than the functioning and acceptable siblings. Because she wants to heal her family. She wants to balance out what is missing, and conversely, to make sure that the love she recieves is genuine. She refuses to be loved simply for her behaviour, her weight, her grooming, or social acceptablity.

Children always want to heal their parents. The greater the dysfunction, the greater the child's desire, and the more the child will feel responsible. Children are completely self-centered. They believe that everything that happens-- including daddy's drinking or mommy's disease-- is because of something they did. The more that the parents are able to care for the child and teach the child what is an appropriate level of responsibility to accept, the more that the child will be able to heal-- even if the dysfunction in the family remains. (And assuming the dysfunction is something like cancer, and not incest.)

Obviously the more balanced the parents are, the more aware they are of their children's individual personalities and problems, and the more that they are able to set aside , or subdue, their own needs to respond to each child, the better the family will function as a whole and the healthier the children will be. However, an alcholic will not likely come home drunk and explain that they are the weak ones and it's not the child's fault and so forth. The binging/purging bulemic mother is not likely to explain to her anorexic daughter she has her own body images to deal with and it's not her daughter's fault.

In some ways the children of the rich have a harder time resolving their own dysfunction because the quest for money and the acquistion of things is not available as an outlet for their frustration. I see greed as a direct result of some lacking in childhood. Greed is not healthy and a healthy person doesn't hoard.

And the children of the famous have it doubly hard. How does one achieve fame when one was born to it? How is one to distinguish themselves when they were born to such distinguished parents? Perhaps by slipping into totally obscurity and doing nothing with thier lives at all, as one friend of mine has done. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, sent to the finest schools, but makes less than I do and he rarely works steadily. He lives in a dump and drives casts off cars from his parent's estate. (He would not appreciate me pointing this out, and I must admit I write so freely only because I know he isn't reading this.)

On a lesser scale, many of these things did occur in my family even though we weren't wealthy or famous. But my grandmother was a hard act to follow. And my grandfather's chromosome's gave my mother and her siblings their disease. (They have the same illness patterns, but because they are functioning and have never been diagnosed, they are not seen as mentally ill. If you are inside my family system, though, it is obvious.) My grandmother's children waver greatly between an inablility to cope with day to day life, hoarding and "pack-rat"-ing and slovenliness, to overly rigid belief systems and obsessions with cleanliness, money (not things-- money), and thinness.

(My sister and I are, in many ways, my grandmother's second family. She raised us, and I see many of those patterns in both of us, but not as obviously as it occurs in her first children. Also, I have had serious enough problems with depression that I have been tested and diagnosed, and I don't have my mother's physical, chemical imbalance. I believe my sister has also looked into this, but I don't know.)

If my family is represented by my Hilton dream, than I truly am both Paris and the fat sister. (My family is my mother, me and my sister. My grandmother was the other parent, but she has been dead now for ten years.) In different situations and at different times I have been one or the other. I think that this dream was partly my choosing to be more Paris than the overlooked sister in the baggy sweat pants. But I think that I needed to see that all along I had been serving an important function: absorbing the negative or unwanted or unbalanced traits of my family. One thing that really struck me about the dream was how included she was, and when she tried to do something, everyone stopped and applauded her. Even though it was ridiculous, ill-timed, and pathetic.

Having seen this dream clearly though, and especially having seen this because of someone else's family story (a friend was talking about her family's version of the fat sister), I realise that I am now ready to be something wholly new. Not Paris, or Nicki, or the mother, or the fat sister. I don't even want to be in the entourage. I want to be someone I don't know that I've ever had the courage to be before: myself.

Wish me luck. I am kind of a clutz, and I foresee a few stumbles over diaper tables.


Monday, October 10, 2005


My sister came to visit me in 1993. We did a lot of sightseeing, including important stops like having toast at the now closed Ships restaurant, visiting Disneyland and riding the Haunted Mansion ten times in a row, and naturally, a trip to Hollywood Boulevard and Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

As Angelenos know, most of the media and ticket hawkers and surveyers do not want to talk to people who actually live in Los Angeles. So the Japanese reporters who were walking around with pictures of ten or so Japanese men--including one of their Prime Minister--did not want to talk to me once they found out I lived in Los Angeles.

They asked my sister instead which of the men on the page was the Prime Minister? My sister chose, wrongly, and the lady asked why she had chosen that photograph. My sister said something along the lines of "he looks forceful," etc. The lady glanced at me and I smiled and shrugged.

"Do you know?" Asked the reporter politely, but with an undertone that I couldn't possibly know the correct answer.

I nodded, laughing, and pointed to the correct picture without hesitation.

The reporter got very excited and waved the other reporter and the photographer over. They explained to me that they had been out there for hours and no one had been able to correctly identify the Prime Minister of Japan. All three were very interested to hear how I had recognized him?

"I remember him from when our President threw up on him," I responded grimly, trying convey some sense of shame for the bad manners of my President and ignorance of my countrymen.

They laughed so hard the photographer could hardly take my picture. They told me all the details of what newspaper my picture was going to appear in, and how this was going to be quite a highlight and humorous -- "yet kind of sad," my sister interjected, apologetically-- story.

As we left them to go put our hands in Marilyn Monroe's hand prints they were still laughing hysterically and telling the story to curious Japanese tourists that had gathered around them.

Until we left Grauman's groups of Japanese tourists pointed at me and some even took my picture, too. Word travels fast.

And that's how Bush Senior got my picture in a Japanese newspaper.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


In 1992 I had a pretty serious nervous breakdown. I'd been carrying alot of trauma from my past, and also I just did not want to keep living the way I had been. It all worked out for the best, but I would not wish what I went through on anyone. I am always very honest about having been a suicidal wreck because I've found that it helps other people be more honest about their own depressions and breakdowns, which so many of us keep hidden.

I was in therapy, but I was also searching very deeply for the root causes of my beliefs and behaviours. One book that made a deep, deep impression on me, and that I still believe to be "true" all these years later, is Harville Hendrix' book GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT, A Guide for Couples. (I put "true" in quotes because I've found that it's better not to hold on too tightly to any belief. The truth has a funny way of changing as we change. One of my problems back in 1992 was my rigid, uncompromising belief system.)

In a nutshell, you are romantically attracted to people for their "bad" traits as well as their "good." Basically, if you find yourself in relationship after relationship with people that are (in my case) addicts or alcoholics, completely unavailable emotionally, and often convicted felons, well, you can blame Mommy and Daddy for about two minutes, but eventually you have to face up to the fact that there was only one person who was in all of those relationships: you. (One of the reasons why that idiot John Gray is more popular than Hendrix. "Huh? No more Mars/Venus blame game? You mean I am responsible?" Ugh. At least with responsibility their is the opportunity for change, cuz you can't change anyone else, no matter what planet they are from.)

It just goes downhill from there. Your brain stem, the "snake brain" I like to call it, only recognizes six responses to any given human being-- Mommy or a stranger on the street, your beloved or George Clooney-- dominate (fight), submit to, run away from(flight), nurture, be nurtured by, or have sex with. That's it. So to your brain stem, there really is no difference between your parents (or primary caretakers) and your lover. Yeah, sick, I know.

He has you list the qualities of your romantic partners and find the core patterns that link all of them. Was daddy distant towards you when he was upset? Did mommy suffocate you with you affection? Depending on what aspects of yourself you are rejecting, and also which parent's behaviour damaged you more (he is not talking about severe abuse, but just the normal limitations of parenting-- that parents are human and cannot always be perfect for their children), you will choose a man who is ultimately distant when he is angry, or a woman who suffocates you with affection.

Now here's where it starts getting interesting. Especially if you read the book for singles and go through the exercises. KEEPING THE LOVE YOU FIND, A Workbook for Singles. Number one, you need a partner who has those negative traits, because you want to resolve the pains of your childhood. The parts of you that were "wounded." Also, these are probably rejected areas of yourself that you need to reclaim. That you had to disown certain parts of yourself that you have been unconsciously projecting onto your romantic partners. Much of the being "in love" thing is that you feel whole when you are with them. You are not separated in your disowned self or from that which has wounded you.

That "in love" feeling is there to shroud your sight and make you get into a relationship with someone that is exactly what you think you are running from. ("All three of my wives have turned out to be greedy leeches.") As I've mentioned before, I think our purpose in life is to solve our problems. Hendrix agrees with me, at least in love and romance.

Think that's it? Haha. Here's the real kicker: now that you are armed with this knowledge, you must stop seeking your own wholeness by demanding that your partner change. Huh? Yeah, that's what I thought. "How am I ever going to get me mine I?" (Cricket, the way of the Tao is unclear and a big pain in the ass. ) Well, you just have to have faith, and further, you have to work to change the parts of yourself that all of your partners have complained about in you.

You see, your snake brain also cannot really tell the difference between you and someone else when it comes to your behaviours and actions. Nurture another and it recognizes only nurturing, and being the self-centered "fight, flight or f**k" mo-fu that it is, it takes the nurturing as self-directed. So, by trying to heal another, you heal yourself. And you work on reclaiming lost parts of yourself. I mean, seriously, hasn't every lover you've ever had complained about your temper? No? Well, maybe that's just me again. But you see my point?

He says in the book, if you come from a really screwed up background you will have to work harder at this and accept that you are seriously damaged. I mean, even as screwed up as my childhood was, I was not an incest victim. I cannot imagine that kind of terror or damage. Or what kind of partners that would lead someone too. (He really gets into this more in the second book, I think. But there is a chapter in the first one.)

Also, their is individual temperments. My sister is much healthier and has always had better self esteem than me, and we grew up in the same house. I've known junkies who grew up in stable, loving homes. I've met incest victims who have married and had children and put their past behind them. (Not without struggle or a lot of therapy and searching, but just to illustrate the point that people are different.) Not all temperments are suited for all environments. We each are unique.

Even though I have not had a successful relationship in my life, I have learned so much about myself and why I love who I love from these books. And I have noticed that in "normal" relationships this seems to happen anyhow subconsciously. ("Well, my father was like this, so I am just trying to accept that my husband will always try to duck out of disciplining the children." Or "I can't believe how much my wife is like my mother." Etc.)

It's easier to deal with the familiar. And I think everyone knows what it feels like to let something slide, or give the lover a break from some recurring issue. ("I don't have issues," a friend used to say. "I have subscriptions.") It's nice to be the generous one. And as long as the other partner is just as committed to self-change as you are, then you are set. Because then that person will be doing their best to stay focused on repairing their own damage, which is probably what you want him/her to change anyhow, etc...

Honestly, I've never been able to do this. But I keep trying, and like I said, this theory seems to encompass a lot of "truth." I recommend these books to everyone.


Thursday, October 06, 2005


Maybe everyone has already heard this. My friend Jack told me once that there is a theory among Godzilla fans that the lizard monster born of Hiroshima's fallout actually represents Japanese/U.S. relations. In the first movies Godzilla is a rampaging destroyer, but in later movies Godzilla defends Japan against other monsters. And that further, this change takes place as the U.S. strengthened economic ties with Japan. I've never been able to conduct a scientific study, which would mean a weekend of viewing all (Japanese) Godzilla movies chronologically, and some research on the history of U.S./Japanese relations.

Also, having nothing to do with Godzilla, I found this interesting article and slide show link on another blog. (I've forgotten which one, sorry!) Back in the early eighties I was a big Hip Hop fan, and my favourite DJ's were The Cold Crush Brothers. I've only met one other person in the last 23 years that not only knew who The Cold Crush Brothers were, but also named them as his favourites. (A rep for Tommy Boy Records, but were just talking as fans of Hip Hop.)


These days I couldn't even name a Lauryn Hill single, and I had to ask someone the other day who "Fergie" was, since the photo in the magazine was definitely not the former Duchess. I still think of CCB, Whodini, and The Sugarhill Gang when someone says "Hip Hop." But back in the day I was cutting edge. For one thing, randomly wandering the streets of Manhatten in 1982, I actually saw THE most famous "break dancers": The Rock Steady Crew. (Although after the movement had become bigger than it's original and most famous members, Prince Ken Swift and Crazy Legs, who were off playing themselves in hip hop movies. Alas, once again, born too late...)


It's almost TGIF. Don't forget to stop by Sooners for a weekend martini! Straightjacket specials all weekend! http://beertender.blogster.com/blogApp/?u=Beertender


Monday, October 03, 2005


I've been over on Ron Kane's site, digging through the archives. On one of his posts he shows a picture of himself at age six holding up a Harry Belafonte record. This put me in a nostalgic mood.

About a year before Elvis (America's only King) died there was some sort of giant movie extravaganza on Channel 30. My sister and I loved Elvis movies, and we were huge fans of Ann-Margeret (especially THE SWINGER, where she was a writer! Check it out folks!). So, the prospect of seeing VIVA LAS VEGAS, JAILHOUSE ROCK, GIRL CRAZY and CHANGE OF HABIT ("Elvis is such an awesome actor, ohmigod, he didn't even sing at all! Ohmigod was that Mary Tyler Moore, can you believe her??!!!") ensured that my sister and I weren't going anywhere that Saturday afternoon.

I think that we might have watched the line-up twice, as Channel 30 (a uhf station) was not below showing the same movies over and over all weekend. (We never minded when it was Elvis, Ann-Margeret, or stuff like MAD MONSTER PARTY or scary Hammer Horror films.) Since we HAD to learn all the songs and dances, we probably ate in the living room watching the tiny black and white television set, and went to the bathroom during commercials on a relay system. ("Yell if it comes back on while I'm in there!!")

At some point we decided to buy an Elvis GREATEST HITS record that they kept advertising. I think this was just before The King's fortieth birthday, which would have made me about 8 and my sister 6, or maybe that was 9 and 7, but basically young. Also, we had no money growing up. My father never paid child support and we lived with my mother's mother, whom we called Nonny. (Nonny lived in a really nice neighbourhood, and that's a whole other blog, being poor in a rich neighbourhood, but anyhow, it was the kind of neighbourhood where everyone knew each other. Including the postman.)

The (double!) album was $9.99 plus shipping and handling! We had no idea what "shipping and handling" was. But ten dollars was a HUGE sum of money and a MAJOR investment that we had committed to. Between our saved pennies- and our mother's obliging and unguarded purse-- we were able to come up with all of it. Just barely. And all in small change. Which I promptly put into the first small, white, paper envelope without any written explanation. I don't think we even put a return address on it. In fact, I think we tried to address the first envelope AFTER we'd put the money in it. Hence envelope number two.

The next morning early, before church, I took it up to the mailbox and dropped it in. I hesitated momentarily at the shattering PLINGS! I heard in the otherwise empty mailbox. Huh? What was that? I ran back home to begin waiting for the record. ("Is it here yet? Is it here yet?" )

About a week later my grandmother inexplicably brought home an ELVIS SINGS GOSPEL record. The mailman had done his own investigation of the torn envelope and ten dollars worth of change in the bottom of the mailbox and told Nonny what had happened. She claims that was the album we'd ordered, or at least, that was the one she'd seen advertised on the television. But she'd gone to a chain store to purchase it.

As I've mentioned, my mom is seriously mentally ill. So if she wasn't in the mental hospital she was mostly sleeping when we were kids. Years later, when I told mom this story she laughed and said that Nonny's story was b.s. My mom said that Nonny hated Elvis and had bought that record because it was the only one Nonny would have liked and wanted us listening to. Which we never did, not after the first time we heard it. (Sorry Mr. Presley, your highness, sir.)

After Nonny died I found the record in her collection. I noticed that it had several songs that Mahalia Jackson does as well. Nonny was a big Mahalia Jackson fan... Hmmm... Nonny always was sneaky and devious...

Anyhow, I always laugh when I think about myself, living in my own little world even as a child, dropping all those pennies, nickels and dimes into the mailbox. I'd blame my sister too, but she was already pretty brain damaged from all the coffee made of mud water that my friends and I not only made her drink, but made her pay for... Yeah, she blames me for most of her eating disorders and food allergies...


Monday, September 12, 2005


I was watching the Cockettes documentary, and I kept having these feelings that I'd met them or at least seen the movie before. So, it kept driving me crazy, and I watched the movie about fifteen times, trying to figure out if it was just deja vu or what.

I either did meet them once, or I had a very, very detailed realistic dream that I did. If you have ever been to a party with me where alcohol was served, please read this. Maybe you were there. Maybe you were the one who said, "Hey, c'mere, you will know who these people are. You like John Waters right?" (To which, one of them, I think Jilala, said "Everybody remembers Divine! No one your age knows who we are." In this hallucination or memory or whatever it is, I irritated Jilala alot because I begged to become his apostle and wanted to take a name similar, like "Shelala", which I still think I might, now that I remember all of this.)

Anyhow, so that is how I ended up being introduced to the Cockettes. If I remember correctly it was Jilala, Scrumbly, Sweet Pam, Rumi, Marshall and Fayette. Ralph might have been there, and Kreemah Ritz, but I don't have any memory of direct conversations with either of them.

I remember asking "Sweet" Pam why she was named that, and everyone just shrugged. I was pretty loaded, and flirtatious, and most likely single and looking to score, or at least flirt, and I asked her "Sweet cuz you are so nice, or do you taste all sweet?" I got an appreciative laughter and more than a little banter from that one, which clued me in to the fact that I was among kindred. (Oh my Goddess, had I only known how kindred-- I would have begged to resurrect the group and I doubt I would be here writing this now!)

She said "Sweet to taste, I guess." Then I met "Scrumbly" and I said "like srumbdiddlyumptious?" And made a comment about how he and "Sweet" were a nice treat together . (Yeah, I was pretty loaded.) Then he said he was gay but that he and Sweet Pam had been married and had a kid. Completely piqued at this point I asked if Sweet Pam had changed him or what. Someone, I think it was Fayette, said that they had all kind of been married to each other. (Throughout the night she and Marshall hissed at each other, and they had mentioned that they had been married, so I think this was a thread of conversation.)

Then I further pissed Jilala off by becoming completely starstruck when they mentioned that they not only had known Divine but knew John Waters very well. Which was too bad, because Jilala was (is) probably one of the most fascinating people I've ever met, even before I saw the movie. I think he just has amazing courage and vision. (I irritate certain personalities, and he was one of them. Oh well.)

Then Fayette said something about Hibiscus, and somehow it came up that his name was George Harris, which is the (partial) name of my uncle. Further, my uncle was gay-- if secretly-- when he was younger, even if he is married with kids now. He caused a big split in my family when my grandmother died by stealing money and locking us out of her estate sale and generally pissing on the rest of the family and our memories of her. So this encounter definitely took place after 1996. Hibiscus died back in the 1980's, but I remember this weird feeling when they said Hibiscus' birth name.

I remember a conversation with Rumi about the origin of his name. I told him I believed that it was a witch name, whether he knew it or not.

And this must have taken place down here, because they were going back to San Francisco the next day.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Last Wednesday this went from being something that I had been planning to go to, if I had the money and someone wanted to go with me, to a really exciting event because -- in case you didn't hear me shouting and jumping up and down-- I won tickets through Indie 103.1, the greatest radio station in the world. (This is Divine Providence. I have never even called a radio station trying to win anything, and I win on the first phone call.)

When I first started going to ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, everyone just dressed up however they wanted, and that changed from week to week. The theatre that hosted the movie used to run a slide show of the audience participants, and I remember one of the pictures was just a line of Franks in green hospital gowns, holding up their pink gloved hands. I was in the slide show briefly, with several other “bra and slip” Janet’s and a few Columbias and Magentas. One of them was the Rustoleum sniffer—surely dead now—that introduced me to the joys of RHPS in drag. (I’d been once before, with my mother for my birthday, and I’d also bought the soundtrack with my birthday money, so I knew most of the songs. Thus, I was saved the embarrassment of the cruel tortures given to “virgins.”)

This was 1980, and the conservative Mid-West. Back then it was normal to get arrested after the movie for indecent exposure. I think that like me, most of the attendees were used to getting arrested for something. The audience was a bastion of budding drag queens, burnouts, freaks, and a lot of girls like me. I attended ROCKY in much the same way I attended school. I mostly showed up to be counted, do the “Time Warp”, then I’d leave and get loaded and try to hook-up, coming back in time for the Floor Show—the Floor Show and the Time Warp being the only two times that the whole audience would pour out of their seats and dance, with the Floor Show being the lesser of two.

That never stopped anyone-- however they were costumed—from dancing like a Transylvanian during “Hot Patootie” while several Eddies, Franks, and shrieking Columbias ran around the aisles. And most regular attendees would act out certain gestures: Brad’s stockinged, twitching leg, Riff Raff’s “Time Warp” dip, Magenta and Riff Raff clasping arms. (No one shouted “Incest is Best” at the Bowl. I didn’t think that one would ever die! But maybe like me, they kept remembering their old responses too late-- seconds after the scene had passed.)

The last time that I went to see RHPS was at the Tenth anniversary, a week or so before I moved out here to Los Angeles. I hadn’t been for awhile, maybe a year or so, and hadn’t been attending religiously every Friday and Saturday for over two years. I remember being horrified that the new crowd had become very regimented, and instead of twenty Franks and Magentas and so forth, there was only one of each, and they were very bossy. The responses had a very rehearsed sound, and in a couple of places I was the only one who shouted certain responses, that only a year before, had still been standard repertoire. The new crowd also acted out the movie, blocking out the lower part of the screen. I was thoroughly annoyed.

This is now S.O.P. for ROCKY. And this was the format of last night’s celebration at the Bowl. The free Indie seats weren’t too far away from the stage. And we were near a group of rowdy Aussie teenagers. (I daresay that the movie is still bigger in Australia than anywhere else.) The only difference between them and the audience of my youth was that almost none of them were dressed up. In fact, there weren’t many people that were dressed up. I thought that the whole audience would be dressed up in some manner!

I had been very worried about my costume. I could hardly go in a bra and slip, and this event brought to my attention how sadly lacking my wardrobe is in glitter, bustiers, and fishnet stockings. I pulled together a Transylvanian-esque outfit: black velvet pants, a black jacket that I normally wear to job interviews, a white shirt with some Mardi Gras beads both for a tie and also in solidarity with Katrina victims. (I really think someone should take this idea and run with it: to sell Mardi Gras beads as a fundraiser for Katrina and also that there is something we can all wear to show our sympathy.)

I put my hair in pigtails and tied party streamers to them. I don’t have any spats, but I pulled white socks out of short boots and I looked okay. I have a little purse made out purple muppet fur that belongs at a rave. I couldn’t get to the optometrist to get contacts, so even though I have lots of funny glasses I could wear, none are prescription and I wanted to actually see the movie. The finishing touch was a tiara and a name tag that said “Princess BJ of Transexual Transylvania.” I think it’s safe to assume that I will be the only Princess among all of those queens. (And yet some old nellie gets pissy and calls me “Duchess” every time I run into him. Probably jealous that he didn’t think of it.)

My friend who is going with me isn’t in costume, something that he laments on the drive there. We are both old and thick and somehow “real life” has absorbed so much of our income and time that we don’t have costumes. How did that happen? How was it that when we were young and had nothing we could go further on a dime than we do now on ten dollars? This is not just inflation.

But nothing can dampen my enthusiasm. I am practically jumping up and down. When I go to the ticket counter I practically shout at the ticket attendant.

“I won tickets!”

“You did? That’s great!” I hear this tone from people a lot. The amused, talking-to-a-kid tone. “Do you have your ID?” He prompts gently. ("Don't get the crazy girl too excited.)

While he’s getting the tickets I tell him I’m Princess BJ and I use my best Transylvanian accent. I hear the girl at the next booth laugh in surprise. His response is still amused, but there is a more adult undertone, and I get an inquisitive, raised eyebrow. “Are you now?" He grins. "Have fun," he adds, winking at me.

My friend is walking up the hill next to me, the floating girl. Neither of us has any money. We pause wistfully at the t-shirts.

“Let’s get buttons!” I can’t stop shouting everything I say.

We each get a $1 button to mark the occasion. I never wear t-shirts anyhow.

A girl asks me if she can take my picture because my outfit looks "so cute." I announce my royalty in my accent, and she takes the picture quickly, giving me the other look I am used to, and thanking me in the other tone, the "oh-my-god-you-are-such-a-freak" tone. The dark side of the ticket attendent's response. I laugh. I am stuck being me every morning when I wake up, and usually for the whole day after. I will be Princess BJ for these few hours, no matter how many people think I am freak!

We are sitting next to a group of teenage girls who are just awed that I have seen the movie over 200 times. I explain that it ran on both Fridays and Saturdays, and that this was twenty five years ago, over a period of four years. I start to explain what "attendance" actually meant, but I realise Mother is sitting behind them, and may not appreciate my waxing rhapsodic about Methaquulone, marijuana, and making out in the ladies room.

The mom has brought everything. I don’t remember ever throwing toilet paper, and I’ve forgotten gloves and a water pistol. I have everything else. The mom generously shares with me everything but a water pistol, which they don’t have enough of either. I take a photograph of all of them together to reciprocate. On the other side are the other two winners, one is a virgin. Embarrassingly, later, during the part when the MC's are looking for virgins, they start out with “if you’ve seen the movie 100 times in a theatre” and then go to 50 and then ten. My friend and I stand there waiting for “more than 200” and realize we look like virgins—too late. Several people are pointing and laughing at us.

When people who are dressed up are invited to come on the stage and compete for a prize, I go anyhow, even though I am not going to win any prizes. I am standing behind a bra and slip Janet with a perfect body, and I can’t even console myself that she has implants. As I get older I wish I had the droop proof warranty, myself. I settle on admiring her and reminiscing. She makes it into the contest, and even though Jane Weidlan looks at me like I am a cockroach, I walk across the stage, smiling and waving and still incredibly excited.

I miss the slide show, and the Meat Loaf video, and the two Tim Curry videos that I still have on vinyl somewhere. But the movie is not worn a bit for all the years that have passed. Tim Curry is still the sexiest man in drag. No man or woman that has ever lived can surpass his comfort and ease in a pair of spike heels. (I see him almost every year at the Burns Night Supper I attend, and I always gush my affection. He always returns it with patient tolerance, but you can almost hear him thinking “God these Rocky fans are as bad as Trekkies!”)

It is still the greatest movie ever made and when it’s over I am fifteen again.

“I pledge allegiance, to the Lips…”

Maybe I will get that outfit tweaked and head down for midnight showing one of these weekends…After all, as far as I know, I am Transsexual Transylvania's only Princess...