Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Managed to make it through this Mercury Retrograde relatively unscathed ( but not without a story or two, see other posts), or so I thought....

Last week I went on a job interview at the Hollywood Bowl Museum. Yes, they have a museum. It's small, but they take it seriously, and they called me in after I submitted my resume. The curator, even though she had already hired someone else, hired me on the spot. "This could actually work out well for us," she said, " since we need more than just a few shifts covered." I was ecstatic. My GAWD- a job in a field I am actually trained and educated to work in? And they're paying me? AND I get freeeeee tickets? Sign me up!

She mentioned they had to do a background check. "Just a formality. Because sometimes children come into the museum," she said. Knowing I have no criminal history, I figured it would be a snap. She gave me the forms to fill out and I signed at the x. No big thing, and I should have that back in about 3 days, she said.

The weekend- last weekend- comes and goes, and I'm waiting to hear from her. Finally, yesterday, I just called to see how much longer they expected it to be. "Didn't you get an email?" she asked. "The LA Philharmonic ( the parent company to the Bowl) says you don't meet their hiring requirements. They'll be sending you a copy of your check in the mail shortly." Flabbergasted, I put the phone down and racked my brain. No crime sprees I can recall, no complaints filed against me by anyone, ever, that I know of, not even a ticket in the last 5 years. My license plates are expired, I think. Could that be it?

Ah, but no. I received said report today, and what was flagged was my credit. Yes, you read it. My credit history. Which happens to suck, by the way, but has never, NEVER kept me from getting a JOB. I don't work in banking, you see. I don't shift large sums of money around from one place to another electronically, nor have I ever been licensed to drive an armored car. The most complicated thing I have ever done involving ( somewhat) sizable cash was counting down the register at The Flower Shop. Woo.

There was a letter attached to the report from the Philharmonic, saying that if I had anything to contest about the nature of it or my interests in being hired by them, I should contact them within 5 days. I was on the damned phone in less than 10 minutes. I got some chickie in HR on the phone and proceeded to ask her WHY, since as a receptionist, my contact with money at the Museum would be next to nothing, my credit report was beng used against me in hiring ( the Bowl DOES have a gift shop, but it's in a whole other building, and is a whole other venture. There is a small tray of little pencils and doo-dads in the lobby that I might--MIGHT-- sell should anyone come in. I was informed when I was hired that selling anything was really so rare that I would be having a big day if $5 passed my desk). She explained that since I would TECHNICALLY be handling money POSSIBLY they automatically disqualified me for the job. So I flat out asked her, "Listen, uh, Shelly? Shelly. Right. How locked in stone are these 'automatic' qualifications? Is there anyone I can talk to who might be able to help? Because you have to concede....this is a bit ridiculous. I have excellent references and I have never had a problem before about something like this." Shelly said I could call her boss, the head of HR on Monday and plead my case to her. She did, however, let me know that other background checks were pending for other candidates. I thanked her for the information and politely hung up.

And then I frickin' HIT the ceiling.

I don't mean to get off on a rant here, but... what the FUCK has this country come to when someone can't get a JOB because of their debts? Would it not make sense that oh, you know, they might want to WORK to pay them off? Do I have to be spotless in order to work now, never having even accrued a bounced check in order to get a job at ohhhh, I dunno, Macys or soemthing?? Do employers really think that I am going to risk losing a job that keeps a roof over my head over a few $20s I might be able to sneak past the security cameras? Or has the world just gone to hell in a handbasket so severely that I, a lowly plebian on the management totem pole, could not possibly BEGIN to understand?
I mean, okay. If I were in charge of development, or even, say, applying to be an Administrative Assistant for a company this large ( which, I might add, isn't even a PRIVATE company, it's a NOT-FOR-PROFIT) and would thereby have access to files that had to do with financials, or sensitive matters of that nature, it would behoove them to know if I was in debt. Who knows? I could pull an ill-advised, unsophistocated version of "Oceans 11" or something with my meth-addict boyfriend and rob them blind. Or, I could slowly filter money away a penny or two at a time like in "Office Space". I get it. I do.

But let's FACE it, here. First of all, this job doesn't even pay $10 an hour. It doesn't even require me to be standing up most of the time. And when it gets really slow, the curator lets people READ. Unless there's an event at the Bowl, hardly anyone comes in there, and even so, the gift shop is RIGHT NEXT DOOR and they'd likely walk into it to shop, as it is clealy labelled and has a far greater selection of items. I'm certain weeks could pass and I wouldn't be selling anything. 'Cause you know what? THAT'S NOT MY JOB!!!! My job is to welcome patrons, forward calls, neaten up occasionally, and when asked to, give a tour or two. That's the job, that's what they hired me to do, and that's the story, Larry.

I'm trying to stay calm and not even think about it, because when I do, I feel like I'm going to burst a blood vessel. In my head, maybe. I do plan on calling the Head HR Babe over there at America's esteemed Los Angeles Philharmonic and very calmly and rationally discussing the matter with her, although I seriously doubt it will make a difference. The job has likely been already filled by someone else by now and whether I like it or not, this fight is probably null and void. However, I am pissed enough to start something because this is just WRONG. As Bob Dole used to say, YOU know it, I know it and the AMERICAN people know it. And I have just about had my fill.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I wrote this email to someone who is courting me ( see previous post!) , and in whom I have great interest. We had gotten into an argument, he thought I was being irrational, and said the THING I mention in the letter. I'm pretty sure I have a good sense of this guy's character, and I know it was said in anger, so I chose to let it ride. .Still I felt the need to make a few well-placed statements about mental illness to see what he said. He responded that he knew so little about it, he felt like it wasn't right for him to comment, and that he would look to me for education on it. Good answer, I must say. Not bad.

Still, it's always such a struggle to decide when and how to "reveal" this kind of fact about yourself; stigmas do still exist, and sometimes I really feel like I have to grapple for my right to be treated with equal personhood when someone finds out. I have to say, most people take it well, but I do notice they look at your differently, and sometimes, things get filtered through the "well, she's ON medication" lens, which really isn't fair. I know that if I could rank the Top 5 Topics that I hear at DBSA meetings, How And When and If To Disclose is always way near the top. It sometimes is followed by the subtopic But I Don't Think They'll Really Understand, especially when it comes to intimate relationships.

So this is my response to him, making sure my position and boundaries are clear.



Well, I was rooting around for a bias, I will admit.
I'm very, very touchy about ths subject, and you made a comment at me when we were arguing about "pushing more meds at you and telling you to piss off." I know you were angry. And I'm not trying to bait you into a fight. But THAT kind of statement is reflective of the exact kind of ignorance and intolerance I cannot stand. It's just not cool with me, nor will it ever be.

I suppose I just wanted to say my piece about it. It's a big part of my life ( not the illness, but the work about it)- I sit on a board for people with depression and bipolar disorders , ( ) and I'm supposed to (if Nicole ever gets me in there! ) start speaking for NAMI ( National Alliance For The Mentally Ill). I don't believe in stigma, I don't believe in judging someone's whole personhood in light of their having an illness. You wouldn't do that if someone were diabetic or had heart disease. No one would dare. But because it has to do with the mind, the mood, there is an assumption that it's okay, or at least understandable. Because people with mental illnesses....they're just crazy. Can't do a thing, not of any use, and certainly aren't stable enough to have well-rounded opinions,perceptions, thoughts or ideas.

I have a list somewhere around here of all the famous writers, poets, inventors, artists, musicians, politicians, world movers and shakers who all had diagnosable mental illnesses. Who went on to do amazing things and didn't end up tragically. Not to mention the> scores of people I see every week at meetings who have families and jobs and lives and friends and live well. It's not always easy- you have to take extra care of yourself, especially of your emotional life ( one of the reasons I'm so cautious with you, sometimes) so as to not add any undue stress on a brain that needs extra help making the right chemicals to fight off stress. Just like you have to count your blood sugar if you're diabetic. But people I do it. I do it. I have two degrees and live a very fine life, and I plan to continue to.

Sometimes my parents get overly cautious with me, like I should be living in a convent or something; if I call and I'm upset, they immediately assume it's the Big Slide Downhill starting to begin. Um, no. I'm just having a bad day, like people do. They're always on me to move back to Illinois where "its less stressful". I'll admit to anyone who asks that I hate LA and it IS too stressful, I think. But I manage. And like I tell my mom, " listen, what am I gonna do? Stay there my whole frickin' life and never DO anything because I have an illness? That's hardly living." They're parents, I suppose. They worry.

My friend R asked me once how I tell the difference between a bad day and the Beginning of Awful, and can I tell? The answer is YES, and I do it just like a doctor would. If I feel like crap for more than a week about something not all that major, that's not a good sign. And it *feels* different. In my head. THAT sounds crazy, I know, but trust me, it does. If I'm just in a snit or a funk, I may mope around and feel reallly, really badly, but if it's the disease, it starts in different ways, RIGHT away, and I have a very strong logical voice in my head that goes, "wait. That's not a reasonable reaction to that event," or "hey, it's not true that you're worthless or your life isn't worth living, why is that even in your consciousness?"

If I could tell the world just ONE thing it would be that: that unless you're psychotic, having had an actual break with reality and are truly,truly delusional, ( in which case it becomes impossible to find any shred of stability to cling to- but that's rare- I've seen even schizophrenics hold on with remarkable dignity), people with illnesses have a core to them that is ALWAYS sane. It's always there. It gets hard to reach and hold on to when you're sick. But you're never so lost that there's no string back to the front of the labrynth, or so ill that you don't understand the basic tenets of reality, of what's going on. Crazy is NOT what people think it is.

And our culture likes to pretend that they're so removed from it, that people like "us" are so differerent, when in fact it's astonishing how quick a slip through the looking glass can occur. They are us, we are them. WE are ALL human, and this is a side of humanness.

You sent me ( an article about his para-military job) because as you said, if we end up in anything serious, it will be a part of my life. This will be a part of yours. If that makes you hit the dirt and start running, okay, but I'm not ashamed of this.

It is what it is and it is a part of me. But it is not, and never will be the whole of me, just like your work will never be the whole of you.

Again, not spoiling for a fight.

Sometimes I think our job in this life is to stand in our own truth without shame for ourselves, and without inflicting shame upon others. A tough place to stand, but a worthy effort to try, don't you think? Surely only peace can come of that. And that's my only goal, I swear. Not spoiling for a fight, on any scale. There's enough of that go around already.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I just got done watching "Frida"- the movie Salma Hayek made about the life of Frida Kahlo ( one of my favorite artists ever). I remember seeing it my first two weeks in Los Angeles. I remember it well because it was Thanksgiving day, and I knew no one except Jeannie, who was going with Irv to dine at his then-big-wig-boss' house. I figured I'd be okay, I'd find somewhere nice to eat and then go to a movie. I don't like big family shindigs anyway, since they are often fraught with drama and bordem, intermittently, so I felt I was getting off pretty easy. And I've made a habit out of cutting out early on holidays and going to the movies for years, since it's a good day to go. Less crowds. Nice quiet. You know, good viewing conditions.

I could not have been more wrong. I didn't factor in how freaked out I would be when I got here- I just figured it was going to be one more thing that Jessica could handle, one more obstacle to face. But it was very different from that- it was like landing in a foreign country, hostile to newcomers, and all my careful preparation didn't matter a bit. The experience of adjustment was not what I expected, at all. But that was all detailed in another blog, long ago and far away....
So I tried to find decent food, only to discover that there wasn't any to be had. Not like I was looking for. I ended up eating a sad, kinda crappy open-faced turkey sandwich with gravy at House of Pies in Los Feliz ( they DID have pie, thank god!). Down the street was this little indie movie theatre, a hop and a skip from Fred's 62 ( an excellent place to eat, but not on Thanksgiving, apparently!). I had wanted to see "Frida" because not only is she one of my favorite artists, the movie was directed by Julie Taymor, the theatrical mastermind behind such visually stunning shows as "The Lion King". I figured if anyone knew how to handle a movie about an artist like Frida, it would be her.

I don't know what it was at the time; maybe my sad and homesick mood, or maybe my preconceived ideas about the movie itself, but I remember being disappointed and even bluer coming out of it than I had been coming in. I left and went home and cried.

Over time, though, I've found that images from the movie have stuck with me, and that's usually a sign that I'm still pondering it on some level, that it had enough resonance to be at least worthwhile as a film even if I didn't like it. Lately, I'd actually been thinking about this scene where Frida, at about 15, is in a horrific train crash that leaves her spine and pelvis impaled with a steel rod, comprimising her health and mobility forever after. ( It's notable, though, that during her days bedridden in a body cast, she learns to pass her time by painting thus creating her own future out of tragedy).
The whole scene is shot in slow motion, and I can't really describe it in detail, as that would take too long. But right before the train crashes into the side of a building, Frida is playing with some gold leaf a painter had been showing her, in a paper cone. A brilliant blue finch flies into the leaf, leaving its wings and feathers tinted with the gold, and as Frida looks up to see why the bird is out of its cage, it's then she sees that the train is crashing. It does so, leaving her bloody and trapped on its floor, gold leaf falling down around her like ash.

I had been thinking about that bird. That image. What a brilliant way to show that part of the story, and then I woke up today and found the movie on IFC, inexplicably. So I watched it again, and wow. It's funny how different a film can catch you at different times in your life. This time I loved it. Thought it perfect in every way. And I bemoaned the fact it was passed over at that year's Oscars, when it was so superior to almost everything there. I remember it was just after we'd invaded Iraq, so there wasn't this big red carpet, and I remember "The Hours" winning all these awards, when THAT movie just blew from the get-go. And I remember Salma looking like she might cry when she lost the few awards it was up for.
I later read that it took her 8 years to get that picture made. And when she was on "Inside the Actor's Studio" not so long ago, James Lipton asked her what she would have done with the Oscar had she gotten it. She teared up again and said she would have taken it to The Blue House ( Frida's home, which is painted blue and is now a museum) , in Mexico, and left it there for her.

Well, after watching it tonight, I just wanted to cry along with her. It's too bad. But I hope she rests easy knowing she did a wonderful tribute to this artist's life, and did her work justice, and did something SHE herself can be proud of for the rest of her life. If she does nothing else as an actress, she can know she made that movie, and sleep soundly, in my opinion.

I don't know why I'm going on about this. I guess with the onslaught of "summer movies" in full go mode, I just get a bit irritated at what actually gets made and what doesn't. A movie like this one takes 8 YEARS to get made and then a movie like "Superman" or "Little Man" or "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" is churned out in matter of rhetorical minutes. Who fucking decided that? Someone out there is writing the next "Good Will Hunting" and what's getting pushed through the studios as a priority? "Garfield 2". Oh yeah. We could not have lived without "Garfield 2".
And note, when a movie like "Good Will Hunting" gets made, everyone on the planet suddenly says, "Oh, I was behind that from the get-go, " and tries to take responsibility for its success in order to further their own career. ( I 'm not lobbying here for "Good Will Hunting" or anything BTW - even though it's a great movie- it's just a good example of How Things Work Around Here. I use it as an example of that in conversation all the time.)

At any rate, I could go on and on forever- and I often do!- with this kind of ranting, but I'll cut it short this time. Why? Because I have other, even more surreal news than even Frida's paintings.

I think I met a boy. Well, he's 40, so technically, he's a man. And man he is, not a boy at all.

His name is Anthony, and he's brilliant and well read. He loves art and music and film, and is obsessive about them all as I am. He's handsome and sexy as hell, and he's both strong and gentle in the same breath. We've been talking for almost a month now, and it's never boring or dull. In fact, at times, it gets quite heated and even debate worthy. Not a dull moment. He's just so great.

He's also in a Global Hotspot Not To Be Named Here, working for the US State Department. Since this is a public blog, I'd rather not go into details about what he does, but let's just say if you're in Said Hotspot, you want him watching your back.
I met him on MySpace, my most loathed of stupid internet clique-boards, believe it or not. He wrote me after seeing my profile. And since then, it's been a flurry of emails, 4 or 5 a day, talking about everything, anything, in all manner of ways.

I adore him. He adores me. It's this strange kismet of a connection we have, wandering into each other like we did, and somehow, having an innate understanding of each other. I get what he does because I grew up in a family of people in the military, or working for para-military organizations. He's an artist too, so he gets how hard it is to live this life ( he did for awhile here before he got offered this job, and he took it because the pay is not to be believed).

And he won't be home for another two weeks. He'll be home for a month, then back in Hotspot for another 3. Then home in December, and then if he should choose, off to some other Dangerous Place ( he was thinking about Darfur, but I about threw a holy-rolling fit. I told him I can take him going damned near anywhere else other than a country in the middle of a brutal, bloody 15-year-long genocide where guerilla warfare and butchering people in the middle of the jungle is part of the day-to-day. That's just a whole other level of risk I can't see taking, when he could go a million other rotten-yet-slightly-less-terrifying places. Sad that you have to weigh it all like that, but you do. I don't know if I've convinced him of anything, but I do know he's rethinking it....).

When he gets home, I get to meet him in person, to see if this man I've slowly been falling for over the internet is indeed the man I've made him out to be. I'm excited to see, but I'm also so pricklingly aware of all of the pitfalls.

Internet dating is so fucked up, it's hard to even begin HOW. First of all, it's just fraught with projection and fantasy, since the person isn't really in front of you. Quite easy to assign them qualities they don't have, in the good and the bad column. You invest so much of yourself and your heart into it, and what do you know? You know what they write, and if you're lucky, you know what they look like ( I've been that lucky so far) and then it's all a mystery. In the beginning of any relationship we emphasize the positives as greatly outweighing he negatives anyway, punctuating what we want or need to hear. In this format, it's exceptionally easy to do so to an almost ridiculous extent.

Then there's the email thing: it's hard sometimes, without tone or non-verbals to fully communicate complex things. WE've already had two major misunderstandings, all based on that very fact. It's hard to overcome this condition even when you have a 3-D reality of that person to hang your memory on, a "sense" of them from having met them in person. Without it, it's unbelievably difficult to mediate.

Plus, there's just simple things. He looks good to me, he sounds good to me. But will there be chemistry in person? That's a complicated thing, you know. Phermones and scent and all sorts of primal things come into play. I had a whole conversation with Sassy about that recently, and she told me there's been studies on this very thing done. And I know it to be true: I've loved people, and really wanted things to be "right" between us, but they didn't smell "right" to me ( I know it sounds crazy, but it has nothing to do with soap or cologne, it has to do with skin and sweat and pre-verbal brain function, I swear). And I tried and tried, and still, those relationships failed.

I could go on and on: what if he picks his teeth? Is a slob? My cats hate him? Is mean to waitresses? Drives like a maniac? Makes his "moves" on me a little too fast and a little too "ick" ? So many things go into making something hit it off between two people, it's a wonder they ever do.

And I've been going crazy thinking about all this, while we're engaged in cyber-courtship, albeit of the most sweet and erotic kind. But I gotta tell ya, it's like this giant build up for a FIRST date. I'm patiently trying to guide myself through all that, and trying to get used to the oddity of this situation, and trying to t comfortable as I can with the risk I'm taking by doing this all so strangely. I DO think it's worth it, or else I wouldn't be doing it. I have long since outgrown my need to invite painful protracted drama into my life for its own sake, since it seems to show up on its own.

Still, it's hard; I won't lie. Believe it or not I'm a cautious and sort of fragile person by nature when it comes to these types of things. I see that bird fly by with gold on its wings and I hope that while I'm taken with its marvelous wonder, that the train isn't crashing into the side of a building. I try and pry my eyes away long enough from such amazing beauty to look behind me and see that the vehicle is not slamming into bricks, to make sure my legs are stable on the floor. I'm doing that now, and it's hard and scary and so, so big for me to take even the risk. Oh, but look at that bird. Look at that bird.

Wish me luck. I will report, as I know you expect it, all details pertinent and as neccessary......

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mercury Retrograde is in full swing around here, man, ( and isn't due to leave til the 29th!!) where all manner of mayhem has kept this faithful blogger off-kilter for almost a week now. Gosh, where to begin.

All the stuff has been record-breaking weird, I mean with friends saying stuff like, "Jesus, Jessica, you've GOT to write a script!" I'll get right on that, after I recover from all of it. Or drop dead from shock.

Let's start off with my last new job. I say "last", because I don't have it anymore. ( I know - it's like a motif, isn't it? If I were writing a novel -- or a script!-- it would be quite nifty, but since it's my LIFE, I don't know that I find it all that entertaining). I had it for a day. A DAY. Why? Wheretofore? Well, it's like this: Debra, Jeannie's boss is a really cool lady. I almost went to work for Debra, but at the time she offered me an interview, I was working for Dee and making the bling so I passed on it. I recommended Jeannie, and they're happy as clams. Debra felt badly about the timing of the way things turned out with Dee, though, and has been kind enough to keep me in mind for anything that might come up.
Debra has a friend named Keely, who's an independent filmmaker that lives in Venice ( soooo far on the other side of the hill, it's next to the ocean). Keely desperately needed a personal assistant, as her life was an absolute mess: she had a deadline for Sundance looming on a documentary she's been working on, and she'd just kicked out a psycho ex-roomie who had stolen her production company's tax ID # and was running all over town racking up bills. Additionally, she'd been through her last bout of severe illness and was just back up on her feet from a hospitalization in May. She needed help and was willing to pay for it. This is where I come in.
Keely and I talk and she's great. She is willing to pay me not only my hourly fee, but pay for my gas to drive to Venice a few times a week to do the job. I'm thinking this is great! I got en exciting new job working for an indie filmmaker, for good money, FREE gas, and I can go to the beach every day when I'm done with work. WOO-HOO!!

Uh, no.

My first day of work was-- and I kid you not-- the single worst workday of my entire life. I'm searching my brain for any other day, including when I was a waitress on the graveyard shift at Denny's, that was as bad. Nope. Sorry. Doesn't exist.
It wasn't Keely. It wasn't the work. It wasn't anything to do with anything like that. Because if it were, I could say, "hmmpf. Dammit. Bullshit", and all manner of indignant interjections.
It was Keely's house.

I walked into it halfway through my first day, after I was done running errands. Keely and I sat down to talk in her office, and everything is fine. After about half an hour, I have this sense that Something Is Terribly Wrong. I shake it off, thinking maybe that I'm just tired, it's PMS, I need a drink, etc.
After about an hour, I have an almost uncontrollable urge to bolt. Run. GET OUT. That doesn't happen alot to me EVER, ( and when something like that does, it's a little tingly " you should probably leave" sort of thing), so my hackles are up. My little Spidey-Sense intuition is going, and I'm trying hard to figure out what is going on.
After about another 30 minutes, I start feeling like if I don't get out of there, I'm going to throw up. All over the rug, no questions asked. This is about when I decide to start asking questions.
I'm trying to keep my cool and not freak this woman out, because do ya just walk up to new people and say, "hey, I don't mean to sound WEIRD or something, but, um, ya know, I'm kinda psychic and I just thought you should know....". This IS California, ( and that will come in later, so take that as a motif) but hey, some normal people live here too, and they're not easily distinguishable from the nuts and flakes. BUT, earlier that day she had her "healer" come over and work on her, so I know I can at least slide a few 'woo-woo' things in, so I ask her when the last time she's cleansed the house.

Never, she says. Why, do you think I should?
Maybe, I say. I don't want to put anything into your head that isnt there, but I mean, you've suffered alot here. Maybe you need to get some good energy flowing through.
Hmm. She says, Can you feel something?
Well, I say. I have a sensitivity. You don't have to believe in it, though.
What is it? she asks.
I don't know, I say. Why don't you tell me?

( I'm such a good little half-trained therapist, aren't I? Don't suggest, just ask. I should be third-party billing, I swear). This is when she tells me that she recently found out that decades ago, some little girls were raped and murdered there. Oh. Oh. OH.
I'm sitting there thinking, "Is THAT all? NO big then! Let's get back to work! Just excuse me while I go check on something in my car. Don't mind the squealing of tires. " I mean, she SAID it like she was telling me what to go buy at CostCo, and I'm flipping out. What's worse, the second it came out of her mouth, the thought 'they're buried under the house' popped into my head. That's usually a sign to me that it's intution, because while that might make sense after watching a million episodes of "Law and Order", answers to anything, let alone murder cases do not typically just 'pop in' unless it MEANS something. I mean, I don't KNOW how I know these things, I just DO, and I've tried really hard to learn to tell the difference between something intuitve and something logical. Yes, it would be logical that bodies might be buried under the house if some sort of murder took place there. But it's not assured. I'm sure, ( after watching a lot of "Law and Order", thank you), murderers dispose of their victims all sorts of ways. But I knew, I just KNEW that's what the deal was and I told her.

Of course, all manner of drama ensues. I'm on the phone to every witchy, woo-woo, Dionne Warwick-Psychic- Friend I have, asking what there is to be done. I'm on the phone with R, asking him how to get the plot records from the county. And that's when it hits me: I cannot work in that house. I WON'T work in that house. I don't want all that stuff in my head, in my heart, on my personhood when I leave. The kind of energy I would have to personally expend to just try to not FEEL it alone would make me exhausted and sick.
But I go home and try to think it over. I come to the conclusion as I'm speaking with friends about it that there's just no way. I can't fix this problem, which frankly, belongs on a show like "Medium" or something ( and wacky as it sounds, I had a fleeting idea to call the woman that show is based on- I mean, she lives in Arizona, only one state over!), and I am not working in there til it IS fixed. Keely wasn't AGAINST getting it fixed, but let's face it: CAN you fix something like that? Maybe. But I don't know what it takes, short of razing the house and returning alleged bodies to a rightful resting place. I mean, what IS this, and episode of "CSI"? And do I want to get involved?

No freaking way, is what I decided.

So I resigned. The very next morning. And Jeannie, upon hearing this, says, "JESSICA. You have to EXPLAIN to this poor woman WHY. You cannot just ditch her. Her life is really fucked up already, and to her, it will be jsut another good person leaving her. And if you have this gift, you need to ADVISE her accordingly. You were put into her life for a reason. I mean, this IS California. It's not like she's not gonna understand, or call the looney bin on you." ( See, I told you this was going to come up again!). I was none too happy about doing whatver my duty was, but I had to admit she had a point. So I rang Keely up, advised her to a.) hire a shaman ( and gave her a number), b.) do some basic cleansing things to keep herself balanced til she could c.) pack up and get the fuck out.

She took it well. By the time I had called her, she'd started thinking along the same lines herself. She was sad to lose me as an assistant, but there were no hard feelings.

Except, I, of course, was out of a job, yet AGAIN. Debra was sweet enough to recommend me to another friend of hers, so I'm hoping that will pan out, and I have a job interview tomorrow with someone else. But CHEESEANDRICE, what do I put down at the unempolyment office? "Lost job because of haunting"? "House posessed and made me vomit"? COULD IT BE ANY WEIRDER???

DON'T answer that. I don't wanna know.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Soooooo, had a toooootal meltdown last night about lack of job prospects. Then I realized, uh oh. It's that time.

It's time to go look for jobs in retail ( SfX: Screeech of horror in the background)!!!!!

I've been trying to avoid it like the plague, since my fucking back can't take it anymore after working for Satan's Flower Shop and the Christmas Car Wreck. But, as it stands, I just gotta suck it up, and hope Border's or something is hiring, because like it or not, I'm outta money and outta time. I have to have a job by the end of next week, or at the very latest, the end of next month.

It's actually not easy to FIND retail jobs out here, since every immigrant in the world wants them, because they're qualified for that in this country if nothing else. That's not meant to be a slur, it's just an unfortunate fact: just because you were a doctor in Bosnia, doesn't mean you're going to get to be a doctor here. It really sucks for them, and then it sucks for the native-born, too. You wouldn't think there'd be such competiton over crappy jobs but sadly, there is. I'm REALLY hoping maybe Macy's of Bloomingdale's needs to hire some cosmetic counter help ( I have nice skin!! If I can't parlay my education into a $10- $12 hour job, I might as well use that). I could wear a white coat and take home free samples....

Okay. So. Committed to the job hunt. Gonna get me a job next week if it kills me. Gonna keep it untill August is over if it gives me varicose veins. Gonna do it. Yeah! Go team!!

You betcha.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Some controversy on my Phil Spector post:

He DID Produce the Beatles... kind of. When no one knew what to do with the "Get Back" sessions, he was brought in and made what was eventually released as the "Let it Be" album, adding all of the strings and choirs and things that McCartney hated (and has had removed from the most recent release). The other Beatles were sufficiently impressed that he produced all of John Lennon and George Harrison's solo work up to about 1974 -- of course it ended badly in guns and lawsuits when he was producing Lennon's "Rock and Roll" album... He also convinced them to reissue his Christmas album on Apple...


Okay, so he DID ( I'll be sure to let my doc know that, too), but he was still crazier than a loon and defintely killed that girl. However, as a responsible blogger I will amend my post.

R responds:
Oh, he was probably crazy long before that... though he produced at least two of his greatest records during that time ("Instant karma " and "What is Life").. The "Rock and Roll" sessions were, from most reports, quite insane (though the bootlegs of them can be fascinating..) I'm not sure how his defense will go, ..Did I tell you about the article in "Spin" that rather cynically seemed to conclude that 1 )he probably did it but 2) she was no geat loss??? This is not a defense of Spector, by the way.. He is undoubtedly crazy, paranoid, violent. the whole picture... But in his prime he made some amazing records...Does his current case negate the amazing quality of "What is Life" or "Black Pearl" or "This Will Be the Night"...?


No, I didnt say the man was not talented. I think the work he did with Tina Turner alone testifies to that, and his absolutely indisputable gifts to music. But it doesn't give him the right to wave guns around, keep Ronnie Spector locked up in a room and kill that girl, who, while not a big "valuable" star, was somebody's friend, neighbor, daughter. Or to shake down my shrink for drugs.


And the thing is, R's not alone! ( Sorry, R, you know I love you. But you knew it was coming...) If one MORE person says, "Yeah, but he invented the 'Wall of Sound'", I'll smack 'em. I KNOW, okay? I got it. One of my favorite songs is "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys, which he produced. I understand. Still doesn't give you the right to wave guns around and kill people just 'cause. He's a symptom of exactly the kind of thing that happens too much here, which is I'm Famous, So I Get To Do Whatever I Want. He'd been doing that sort of thing ( flaunting firearms, picking up girls, acting like a dick) for YEARS. Did anyone stop him? No. Did anyone SAY anything, like , "hey, Phil, you do that one more time and I'm calling the guys with the straitjackets?" No. Why? Because a.) he's the GREAT PHIL SPECTOR, and b.) this is L.A., and that will actually get you a Get Out of Jail Free card. And now there's a dead woman, and everybody's suddenly saying, "well, he HAS always been a little weird..." HELLO!

Think about it this way: how long was O.J. beating and stalking his wife before he killed her ( and don't argue with me about that, don't even GO there; you know he did it)? A long freakin' time. She divorced him, had restraining orders and ( excuse the pun) the whole nine yards, AND may I simply remind you that this city has the toughest penalities for stalking than ANY OTHER in the country. Yet, he repeatedly got close enough to threaten her, and when she called the police, they let him go. Again, and again, and again. And then he killed her. And he got off ( let's not even get INTO why, or how, or that mess, but suffice it to say he did, period), and NOW has custody of their kids. Is there any other place in the world where that could have happened but here? I've seen some fucked-up stuff, but somehow, I just don't think so, no.

So, as this fine celebration of our Independence comes to a close ( cue patriotic music here), let me just urge all you fine Americans out there to be free of illusions about celebrity being something meaningful in and of itself. Free yourself from delusions about exceptional talent and gifts making people pleasant, functional or even sane in their personal lives. Free yourself from thinking that the justice system actually works equally for those who don't have money or clout. And finally, as you slug that last bit of Budwiser at the bottom of your can, and throw your kids' ice-cream cone wrapper into the trash, remember: nobody gets to wave guns around and kill people in this Great Country, unless we ship them out of here on a Blackhawk to do it.

Thank you, and good-night.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I swear half the fun of going into Master P's office is the stories he tells. Screw getting the drugs ( although they ARE good), he's always got a slew of tales to tell about the 30 years of psychiatry he's done in L.A. And if you can't get some good "crazy" stories outta this town, you're not leaving your house.

One example: Master P is in his office in the 80's. In walks this guy, says he's got ADD. No records, no past medical files. Master P sees him, assesses him briefly, gives him a script with NO refill, and says, "next time you gotta have your records faxed in." Fairly straightforward above-board action. A month or so passes (standard med-check time), guy comes back in. No records, no files. Wants a refill on the ADD drugs ( which, in case you don't know, is effectively just a fancy form of speed at this point in pharmaceutical history). Doc says, no deal, I told you, blah blah blah. This guy suddenly says, "Hey, doc. Come on. Hook me up. You like girls? I can get you girls. What kind do you like? Hotel in Vegas, on the house, all weekend, I'll get you any girls you want. Just hook me up." Turns out the dude was a mafioso, and you can infer the rest from there. ( Master P kicked him out, though, just for the record).

Second story: I don't remember how I got on this topic.... oh yeah. Al Gore. (Why were we talking about Al Gore? Oh yeah, Medicare, and all it's new permutations in plans. I said, "no worries, by the time you learn them all, they will all change," which led to a discussion in politics, etc.etc...) I said, "Come on, you don't think Al Gore is campaigning with his new movie? I do. Not that I care, I love Al Gore." Master P says, "Oh, NO. I'll never forgive him for that whole deal with the rating the music." Me: "That was TIPPER. " Him: "Oh and you think she would have gotten a floor to comment if Al hadn't been in the SENATE?" Okay, gotta concede on that one. I go on to tell him a funny story about when I worked in music (which was around that hullaballoo) and we got in trouble for hanging up a poster of Jane's Addiction's "Ritual de lo Habitual" cover, which features a sculpture of Perry Farrell in bed with two women, half naked. At any rate, when I'm setting up the story, I ask, ( since he's 50 or so) "Do you know who Jane's Addiction is?" To my great surprise, he says, "Of course. Those guys used to come into my office and pump me for drugs all the time. Och. What a pain in the ass they were, lemee tell ya...." ( This makes my silly story about hanging little peices of the First Amendment over Perry's thingie to get around the censorship pale in comparison.)

Then he tells me that Phil Spector used to be one of his clients and had his girlfriend call up Master P and wrangle him down for drugs on a regular basis. His comments on that were, "he used to tell me he used to produce the Beatles, and..." Me: "He never produced the Beatles! George Martin produced the Beatles!" Him: "Well, he had some delusions about producing 'Abbey Road'. Anyway, is that any reason I should give him whatever he wants, carte blanche? I don't think so. I don't care what the man has done. He has to come to the frickin' office like everyone else!!!" ( He also commented that he's fairly certain that Phil killed that girl in his house two years ago - he's on trial for it now-because, "the man is just NUTS, okay? And god forbid I would still be his doctor NOW, because if they can't get him off on this charge, they always go after whomever is within striking distance. First up is always the psychiatrist , if there is one, for negligence. I shudder to think.")

Apparently being a psychiatrist in this town is a scary, scary thing. As he summed it up, " that's why I'm happy to be over the hill ( in the Valley) taking care of regular people. I had to get out of there. After awhile, that shit just gets insane, and gets to you. "

Well, I for one am glad he's here. He's a brilliant doctor and a super-cool dude. I left that day thinking that he could be in Beverly Hills billing at $250. an hour working with the rich, off-the-charts nuts and overly-developed sense of entitlement folks. Instead he works with the poor, crazy and needy. We're lucky, and that's pretty darn cool. Plus, the stories are always good for a laugh when you're in there feeling like the whole world is gonna end. Reassuring to think that even the rich and famous can't make their lives work, either, sometimes, isn't it?