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.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I don't know how to explain this, so I'll launch right into it:

Last night at Roy's house- after I had gone into work, told my boss I needed time off and why, told Sofia ( my boss at my other job) I needed time off and why, told HB to go get my hours and why he should-- I borrowed money from him and bought a plane ticket home. I called Sandy and told him I was coming. He insisted I NOT,and was so admant about it we got into an extended discussion about why. He didn't seem to see the urgency about why, and stated that he should never have called me, that he didn't really even remember what we talked about, and that he'd been really drunk. I couldn't even get him to agree to have LUNCH with me or a cup of coffee, if I was flying all the way home! He just kept saying "It's fine, I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to be bothered, Jessica, I really, really must refuse. I will not see you. " I got pretty upset, to say the least. he just kept repeating that over and over again, and how he SHOULDN'T have called, etc.

While it's not unlike Sandy to be intractable and difficult, this is not the person I know. He explained it away by saying he's had it with everyone always asking how he's doing. I said, "Well, you sound awful and you're not acting like you, and maybe it's from concern. " He said he felt like everyone's concern was a burden and an indictment about how he wasn't capable of handling anything on his own, and disrespectful. I listened to this rant for awhile, and then he went off on how it's all about everyone else, he's been such a nice guy for too long and no one ever want to be good to him, so why should be bother anymore? I said, "San, I'm trying to be here for you now. " I guess I wasn't offering to be there in the way he wanted, ( which was to be left alone by EVERYONE right now), so he said AGAIN how he should NEVER have called.

Finally, kinda lost it, and I said that I didn't understand why he WOULDN'T have called, why I wouldn't need to know about this sort of thing, and that for being drunk, he had been quite a wreck anyway, understandable after what he'd been through . All he said was, "There's nothing wrong. There's no problem." I thought this was a scary amount of denial OR a ploy to get me not to come. After another few go 'rounds like this, he and him refusing to even allow me to meet him for lunch or even for COFFEE, I started to cry and then he said, "You keep telling me all about what I've been through. It's nothing, Jessica! It's not a big deal!!"

I decided to try and break through. I asked,"Sandy, where is Sanja?" and he answered , "In Scotland. Why are you asking?" I said, "She's not dead?" "DEAD?!?! WHAT?"

He remembers nothing of the story he told me last night. Nothing. Not a thing. And claims it was all fiction. And then went into a panic about what the hell happened to him. Did someone slip something into his drink? He'd been pretty drunk and he'd really only intended to yell at me -- about the message I left him 3 or 4 months ago saying, "Sandy, if you've moved to Glasgow and not gotten in contact, I'm gonna be pretty upset. " (Remember that he was going to go to move to be with Sanja and was waiting out his visa, but things were getting tense with her and so on the last he and I spoke. He still wanted me to come and visit-- he was going to send a ticket-- but then he disappeared for 7 months. I had left several messages for him that were worried, and no answer. Finally I left that one, and then he called two nights ago. If he hadn't I had planned to call his dad and ask what had happened in a few days). He said we ended up talking for awhile but he had no idea about what, and when I told him, he freaked out.

I said, "So you can see why I wanted to come there so badly."He said, "Of course. Yes, now I get it!"
I said, "Sandy, I just took a week off of work and bought a non-refundable plane ticket. $400 I don't have. "
He said, "I know, I know, I know. Im sorry."
I said, "Now, I'm still coming home, and we can sort this out. Will you at least do me the favor of meeting me for coffee at least?"

Him: Absolutely not. I can't.I dont want to be bothered right now. I'm still in the same place I was in when you called before you told me all of this-- I don't want to see anyone. I'm working 100 hrs a week because the lady who owns the bar is sick, and I'm sick ( with a cold), and I'm burnt. I just want to be left alone.
Me: WHAT???? YOu can't be bothered? You just put me through one of the most horrible 24 hours of my life, and now its not true, and while I am also worried as to what could have happened to you,you're saying you don't even wanna see me? Not to mention I go 7 months without hearing from you, thinking you'd moved to Europe, and the best you got is that " No, I wasn't in this terrible incident, but I just got busy and stressed out"???
Him: That's not the point, Jessica! The point is-- what the hell happened to me???
Me: Well that's one of many points, all of which are highly relevant here.

And it all went downhill from there. It ended by Roy hearing my crying and sayng, "Honey, I think you need to stop now" because we were arguing in circles. So I said, "Shannon, I have to go." And hung up . I texted him that he owes me $400 (+my mailing addy). And that he should let me know what happened, if he figured it out. Now I owe Roy $400. Roy doesn't care, bless him, and sat and talked to me for an hour. He said, "It's possible that he really did have something happen to him, Jessie. But for him to not even want to meet wth you after all you've been through now? That's just OFF. Not only that, it's wrong. Something is wrong. Are you sure he's not ON drugs?"

Frankly,I don't know. And there's no way to find out for sure. I don't know what's been going on for 7 fucking months, and as a more suspiscious friend put it, there was not a damned thing in the news ( she had checked around, Googled it, everything. My father and R confirmed the same. ). No news reports and no proof. Nothing.

It's almost irrelevant now what happened. I just have a friend who first of all, didn't contact me for an unbelievable amount of time when I was set to go see him before he left for Scotland for good, THEN when he does, is so wasted he tells me this whopper that sets me off in a tailspin, costs me a helluva a price tag, and then STILL has not word one to say about it in terms of what it has cost our friendship. I'd like to think I'll be getting $400 in the mail, but I'm not counting on it. I'd like to think it will all come around in the end, but I am not counting on that either.

I'm mortified. Absolutely embarrassed beyond humilated. AND out a week of work, AND eventually, $400. And a piece of my sanity.

Obviously, I'm not going home. I called my parents to explain to them what had happened and that I hadn't made a decision about coming home or not-- I had wanted to intercede with Shannon and see what the hell was REALLY wrong that he would a.) behave like this and/or b.) refuse to see me, see if I could talk to his family,and see what THEY thought, etc. But I was torn about the decision-- I'm so anxious, shakey and exhausted I haven't been able to function properly for over 48 hours, not to mention: I have no contact info for his family, I suspect it would only get uglier with Shannon,and my gut was just begging me to stay here. Then, once my father got on the phone , he absolutely hit it when he heard this whole story. My dad, as I have repeatedly said, does NOT handle drama or emotional issues well, and his first defense is to get pissed. Well, cue him about snapping my head off for being so foolish and getting so fucking mad at Shannon, and I just started yelling back....ugh. I so inherited his temper, and while when I was younger I was always too intimidated to get into it with him, NOW I am not. And I wasn't in a place to hear the sighing and the recrimination; as if I wasn't doing that to myself already?

In the end, though, we reasoned it out: if I went home now, I'd likely be really only worse than I am right now. I'd be more upset, more disappointed, and foisting more stress on everyone around me. He suggested that I call the airline and try to get a partial refund to pay Rick back, and if that doesn't work, to put it aside to come home for MYSELF when I want to. It felt better to me than the other option ( of going) and while NOTHING feels right right now, I decided to commit to it, since it was safe and a healthier choice.

As for everything else, well.....I am so totally humiliated. I know friends will be kind, but what will I tell work, for the love of god? I can't get my shifts back, but I do know that I need a few days off anyway. I guess I'll call and explain that he refused to see me, is mentally unstable and if they need me to cover anything at the end of the week, to let me know.

But overall, I'm just bushwacked. I'm really, really fucked up over this. And tired of my life being a magnet for addicts and liars and weirdos. I shouldn't believe outrageous stories- I got it. But please rememeber I have known this man since he was 15, and I've seen him through everything. His family is absolutely above reproach, and untill this point, I've trusted him like MY own family. And there was no reason to not to believe him-- I mean, in retrospect, it sounds so crazy, right? But in my life, truth has often been more fucked up than I could ever make fiction-- and no, I'm not exaggerating for dramatic effect--and I live in the Weirdness Capital of the US, so I see jacked up things all the time.

I don't know, I suppose my imagination is bigger than life, and my compassion is far to easy to procure. I haven't decided. I suspect the shrink and I will be working this one out for awhile. So try to spare me any finger wagging, and I will apologize for any angst this caused you along the way.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just to keep this on track, timewise, and to set up for future posts, I'll briefly comment on the holiday and then move on to the bulk of what's on my mind:

I had a great Thanksgiving. After being worried and feeling pathetic that I'd likely be spending it alone, an old friend of mine from back in the day came out of nowhere and called me. I haven't seen this man in over 20 years; when I say "back in the day", I mean REALLY back in the day. I met Cary when I was 15 years old! He was always so cool and slick, and up to all kinds of mischief, and if you were lucky, you'd get to be there when it happened. He threw the best parties, and some of my best memories are of those parties and of seeing his rockabilly band play on Saturday nights and dancing like crazy.

He called me and said, " I didn't think you'd remember me. But I messaged you anyway." I said, "Are you kidding? I thought you'd think, 'Oh, who is this little girl ( he's 6 years older)? Do I know her?' " He laughed and said, "Well, we didn't get to speak or hang much, but I know who you are! I know all about you! Do you still have that dimple in your cheek when you smile?" I flushed like a schoolgirl, I swear it. "How do you remember that?? I.....I don't know! I...." I couldn't even answer. 20 years later and it's like I'm 15 again. But in a good way.

Anyway, he lives in LA and just got divorced, and had no Thanksgiving plans. So I offered to cook and invited him over. SO, he did, with his roommate Sally. He's as charming and as sparkly and silly and adorable as he used to be, for the record. We had a grand time eating, watching "Iron Man" and having the kind of holiday that it should be, which is full of fun, laughter, lots of food, and relaxation. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

AND today, there was Black Friday to be faced, but it went better than I expected. While a roller-coaster stream of customers appeared in a super-busy-now-we're-not-okay-now-we-are-again kind of way, it was very managable and people for the most part were friendly. There was free cake and pie in the breakroom and we got out of work early because management had scheduled for such a rush of sales they had a glut of employees closing the store. I can't complain, I really can't. First time for everything, eh?

Then I came home and was settling in, and the phone rang. In a matter of a few minutes, everything turned on its head. Life, I suppose, is just that fast and unpredictable, but I swear I just don't know if I'll ever get used to it. It seems to me it was never like this before this....this era in my personal history. Maybe it's always like this: a roller-stream of up/down/up/down in ever-surprising and shocking ways for everyone. I don't think so, but then again, I don't know what else to think these days. Honestly, I don't. NO hyperbole. No hyperbole needed. I just....really don't know.
So here it is. It speaks for itself. I don't have much to say at this point. I can't really know what to say or do.

I can't even believe this, but it happened. And very overwhelmed.

My friend Sandy is 26. He's like a little brother to me. My own brother is 28, and I adore him, and it's sort of funny that Sandy is younger than both of us and fits right into the spot chronologically and in my heart where a little brother would go. I met him when he was all of 15 and too bright for his school and his family, even though they tried. With his dad's permission I became his mentor and stuck around to see him get through so much shit -- a suicide attempt at 17, a hospitalization, a drug addiction, finally getting it together to get a good job, and recently, apply to Oxford Law and GET IN-- and as an adult now, we're close like blood. I can't explain it, but I guess I just tried.

Lately I hadn't heard from him in an exceptionally long time. This was weird, and I began to get worried. After awhile I got mad-- what was that little shit doing that was so important he wouldn't return my calls? It got so bad that this weekend-- his birthday-- I was going to call his dad and insist he get on him to fucking CALL me. As the last I heard from him in April, his plan was to move to Glasgow to be with his fiancee ( she'd been in STL on a fellowship at Barnes/Jewish hospital; she's a Ph.D biochemist; they met at the pub he works at and fell in love. Her fellowship ended and she had to go.). I was to fly to see him before he left and then....nothing. I was so pissed.....

So when he called tonight, the first thing I said was, "Where have you been, motherfucker? Where are you now????" We argued and he said, "You want to know?? Huh? I'll tell you."
It all came out in spurts. I had to coax him at times. I had to cajole and wait in silence, but over an hour, he managed to get it all out. In horrible, vivid detail which I will spare you, but the story is this:

His fiancee, Sanja, came to visit. Sandy's visa was taking so long to get proccessed to he could come and join her, she decided to take a break and come to see him. They were out one night at his pub with 4 friends, and they were on their way home, laughing and talking like any other night. Sandy lives within walking distance, so they were all out in the street, making their way to the house. It was a good night.

A car pulled up, full of guys. It didn't just drive by, it stopped. And before Sandy and his friends could even blink, there were bullets flying everywhere. His friends were killed instantly with gruesome precision, and Sandy was hit 14 times. 3 times in his head. Sanja was hit only once, but it was enough to do the job. She died in his arms. Worse enough, she had just told him she was pregnant that night, and Sandy, the one who never wanted kids, was over the moon. Instead of it ending like the story it should have been, he ended up watching his friends die and losing his love, and walking ( !!!) to the ambulance for an extended stay ( 3 months) in the hospital. ( I'm so fucking pissed his dad didn't call me. San says to leave him be. But I really am so angry....)

Sanja's parent flew over from Dublin to collect their girl. They never liked Sandy. He was just a "barman" to them, one who had no future and who fought like an animal ( Sandy has several belts from UFC.). When her dad walked into his hospital room, he punched Sandy right there, while he was laying in his bed, repeatedly. Six times, I'm told. Sandy reacted without thinking, and as large as he is ( he's about 6" and over 210 lbs), did some serious damage. The defensive attack took out dad's eye completely ( as in: nothing in that socket anymore). Needless to say, security was involved, and there isn't any reconciling that.

Sanja's last wish was that her ashes be scattered in Tanzania, where rhinos herd and live ( she loved them and had "adopted" one the year before. She had also done some work in Africa during her Ph.D and had grown to love the country.). It was in her living trust, and as it turned out, mom and dad didn't get to be involved at all. Sandy just went. He took a helicopter to a herd, and asked to be let down. He told the pilot "If they stampede, let me go. I just don't want to fight it. " By all rights, it should have happened. The herd, ironically, was headed by a mama and a baby cub, surrounded by several other rhinos. Instead of being threatened, they stood and watched him, only watching him, as he scattered the ashes at the mama and cub's feet. He said he cried and bowed to them in thanks for their allowing him to be in their presence, and the baby cub looked him in the eye. He got on the helicopter and went straight home. No stay. No anything. Just mission accomplished.

He called me today, 3 days later.

He's a mess. A fucking mess. He's got 8 bullets so close to his spine the doctors won't take them out. He's in pain, and because of his history with addiction, he's refusing all narcotics. He's gone back to work in order to get some semblence of control back. When I talked to him, he would pull away from the phone to cry. I cried too, so grateful that he'd been spared. But he doesn't want to live. He says he wants to be with Sanja and the baby, and is filled with pain and rage. I told him "You're allowed anything at this point. No one will judge whatever you do or need to do next. How can we?" He said he feels like he's lost his soul and turned vicious. I said he's lost his sense of meaning and this is how he's expressing that, and that that was okay, too. But that I would hold open the possibility for him to someday not be in this vicious hateful place and find a better, more peaceful place. I would hold it open for him because he couldn't hold it as a possibility for himself.

He listened. And he cried. And finally, I asked him what he wanted. I asked him , do you want me to come? He mumbled unintelligbly. Do you want to be alone, do you want me to stay away? I'll do whatever you want. WHATEVER, San. Okay? Whatever you want. Do you want to call me in a couple of months after this is less fresh? Do you want me to hang up the phone now and let you go and hide and I'll catch you on the flip side?

Nothing was clear in what he answered. There weren't even words there. Finally I asked again, "Sandy. Do you want me to come? I can come. I WILL come. " Something came out like "mmmhmm." I said, "I'm coming. Okay?" And then he said, "I have to go." And hung up. It was like he'd been reduced to this pile of....numbness and stunted speech. I have never heard anything like that from him. I have never heard anything like that, anywhere, period.

I'm so worried I'm practically sick to my stomach. I can't bear that some animal tried to kill my boy. MY GUY. ( Additionally, I am enraged at Sanja's dad-- I cannot even express the anger I feel. If I saw him, I'd....I don't hit people. I don't get violent. I don't believe in it and it's not a choice I really support. But I feel it in me like bile-- I would haul off and hit that man so hard I'd probably break a thumb-- I don't really know how to throw a punch, LOL. For the love of god, hitting a boy and blaming him for the loss of your daughter in senseless killing, while he's got 8 bullets in his spine, and 1 just dug freshly out his skull?!? Despicable. ) I got down on my knees in my kitchen after the call and sobbed and thanked God that he'd been spared, and begged that he would survive this tragedy, and asked for the means to go home. I have to go home.I have to see him. I have to put my hands on him and know that he's safe.

I have to be there, help him. Hold him and sit with him, even without talking. I have to. I just DO. I cannot explain the need to do so, or the urgency behind it. In some ways, I feel selfish in it. It's not just for him, its for me, too. Is that bad? Is that in his best interests? I prayed and prayed: Please, God. Please, Goddess. I'm turning this over to you. Take care of him. Offer his fiancee and his child safe passage into their next resting place. Help me to know what to that is best. If it is to go, then help me to get there. If it's not, help me to know what to do. Help me get it done.

I don't have two nickels to rub together. I'm going to have beg, borrow and...well, not steal, just put my pride aside and beg and borrow if I want to get there. I suppose I will know that going is what's needed if the means are presented. I don't have much else to measure it by.

I don't know what tragedy can possibly be defined that is in any way more defined by this. I just don't know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Smells Like (Undead) Teen Spirit: "Twilight"--The Movie

(Warning: this post contains lots and lots of spoilers. But then again, why are you seeing this movie if you haven't read the book? Like, duh. ::eye roll, gum chomp::)


Okay, so, like, you know.....I went this afternoon, and managed to get in probably the last singular non-teen showing of this film for the weekend ( seriously, it wasn't even crowded, there were about 6 tweeny girls in there with mom). I was summarily spared any noise when I didn't want it, save a few random squeals for Edward when he first showed ( can I call it or what? I had that predicted the moment I found out there would be a film) and James as well ( that surprised me. Y'all are gonna go "ssquee!" for the Bad Guy just 'cause he's hot? No. Totally uncool.). There were some odd giggling noises at some sections I thought were NOT funny, but then....whaddya gonna do. I got lucky, reallllllllllllly lucky.
So here's my take:


1.) It was tough to watch.
It was tough to watch because I totally knew what was going to go down, and very little of it was a surprise. When a film that's based on a book I know already fails to keep me riveted, I consider that poor filmmaking. ( EX: Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet" comes to mind; everyone knows the story, but you're on the edge of your seat the whole time, AND the thing is in Shakespeare's words. Damn, that was tough to pull off, but Baz did it!) I really think the director was probably between a rock and a hard place on that one: everyone wanted to see the book translated properly, and were trying so hard to be true. Still, people felt that way about "Harry Potter" and those movies were/are excellent. I know those are kids' books that deal with slightly less complex themes ( I said SLIGHTLY; don't get your knickers in a twist. The inspiration for "Twilight" according to the author, was "Wuthering Heights". THAT kind of content never makes its way into Harry's world.) , but this isn't the first book that had a film made in its astonishingly successful wake, and it won't be the last. While I admit that that's a hard act to follow in any case, I felt this was unexceptional. It had its moments, but perhaps in someone else's hands it would have been more deft. I don't know.

2.) Both my friend Cherry and I hated, hated, hated Kristen Stewart.
She LOOKED perfect, but her lackluster performance simply didn't match with Rob Pattinson's. She has a lot of tics as an actress ( blinking, sketchy eye movements-- all of which undermine her veracity on screen. When you blink or fail to keep eye contact on screen, it throws away the strength of your lines. Fact. ). That COULD have been overlooked had she in any way looked like Edward was indeeed the Love of Her Life. But she just didn't. Hardly ever. And her voice-overs were so one-note, there were points where I wanted to shake her and say, "Sweetie, he's the dead one here, so WTF?" Ugh. I found her distracting and infuriating, mostly because....


1.) Rob Pattinson IS Edward.
He just HAD it. Every face, every line reading, every expression, and angst, and his love and passion and love for her just bled through everything. ( My Only Bitch-- SPOILER!!--: the first scene when she walks into Bio, he covers his nose like he's going to hurl, and that was too unintentionally hilarious. I was like, "Oh noooo. I hope the director told you to do that and you didn't choose that on your own, because subtletly? Not happening! Wrong!" ) Even though Kristen kills every connection they might have had as actors onscreen with her craptastically flat delivery of important lines like "I know you won't hurt me" and "Stupid lamb", which is truly sad, her committment in the kissing scenes redeem her, and they were HOT. (He'd be a pretty hard monster to resist on a good day, I gotta say. ) I loved him before I saw the movie, and I love him even more now, because he clearly did the work ( actor-prep-work) and works his ass off in the film.
I'm happy to say that Edward was....absolutely perfectly Edward. And you'll completely fall in love with him all over again. He's that lovely. There were points where I was sitting there tearing up a little because he had this look on his face that just breaks you in two, because you see this struggle through this immense beauty and love. He's the beating undead heart of that film, and they cast it perfectly. I can't wait to see what Mr. Pattinson does next.

2.) The Cullens on the whole were great.
I love Alice! She's just like Alice should be- tiny and ballerina-like, and Esme is eternally maternal and kind, also just as it should be. Carlisle is indeed his paternal soap-opera doctor perfect and Emmett this big hulking teddy bear, too. Rosalie's probably the only one who doesn't look *quite* right to me, even though she reads perfectly and her characterization is dead-on ( no pun intended). She's supposed to be this smokin' hottie, and Oh well. Jasper looked a little weirded out most of the time, which is true to the character, but frankly, that read on screen like he'd just crapped his pants ( Cherry's words! LOL! I don't know-- maybe if a delicious-smelling human came walking into your vampire home, you WOULD crap your pants. It's a tough call, I suppose.). Again, oh well. It's not big enough to get too ruffled over it, since all in all, the depiction of the family was excellent. The house ( the grad caps--(SPOILER)--: "we matriculate alot. It's sort of a family joke."-- had me cracking up), the clothes, the trying to make her food, baseball, everything. Awesome.


1.) $$$ and ??? I think that perhaps poor director Catherine Harwicke didn't get enough footage,and definitely had a budget that was way too tight, since it seemed like many, many things got condensed down . It's clear she had to make some difficult choices in where to spend her money; anything that required CGI was going to cost big, even though so little of it was used, for example. That's fine, but unfortunately, it means less filming time which she has stated in interviews she lost a great many days to anyway due to weather complications ( apparently, it really DOES rain/snow/sleet in The Olympic Peninsula as much as Meyer suggests in the book.). Because it really is time=money in filmmaking, this meant that other important story anchors, like Bella's conversations with Edward that cement their relationship, and her friendship with Jacob that becomes so pivotal in later installments (thank goodness for Tyler Lautner ; he brought a lot to his screen time.) fal by the wayside. In this sense, I find more things wrong with the film than right with it and that makes me sad. Alas.

2.) Edward's "reveal" was, to me, not dazzling enough.
I know Catherine said they had ALOT of problems with how this should look, and there were alot of things they tried and cast aside. Given that, they probably came up with a reasonable solution, one that was interesting enough and not so fantasy-like it wouldn't be unreal. But it wasnt as brilliantly beautiful as that moment deserved to be, at all. This is supposed to be the moment where Bella sees the "real" Edward, for the monster that he is, only to find that he's truly an amazing creature of nature instead. --(SPOILER)-- What we get on film is this strange CGI sheen-like haze over the surface of Pattinson's skin, so yeah, he looked sparkly, but also.....kinda sweaty. With maybe some MAC glitter paint mixed in..... and unfortunately, that scene's set up is condensed into several other big events ( like Bella's announcement of her discoveries and his confirmation of her suspiscions) , most of which, yeah, SHOULD seam together as a screenplay nicely.....but doesnt. It all happens a bit too quickly, and this segment in particular comes at you without much build up, which felt very off. To me, anyway. --(END SPOILER)

3.) Too much teen drama?
Cherry said she felt the film was very angsty, too much so. I don't agree so much, because let's face it- Edward is kind of a downer kind of guy, and having a BF who's undead can really kill your mood. However, I wish, again, that more happiness in their being together could have been conveyed. Cherry also mentioned that she felt it was more feeling than substance, and that I would concur. Which would be fine with me, as the book works on that level as well, but as a film it makes for problems. A great deal of attention is given to getting certain things--primarily the way things appear-- absolutely correct, and leaves some things-- like how we're meant emotionally connect with this world through this very visual medium-- more to chance. This could be more of #1, but overall, it just leaves things uneven.

4.) Finally, I don't like James with a ponytail. I just don't. They should have left Cam Gigandet's hair buzzed short like it is in real life, and THEN he'd have been the perfect James. Cam does a great job at being menacing, and it's technically, a minor detail, but it made a serious difference in how seriously I could take him. THAT'S not a good thing, Makeup and Hair Dept.! What were you thinking?

At the end of the day, I'll probably see it again in a week or two, to a.) go look at Robert Pattinson some more and b.) reassess my take on it. This time I was so busy holding my breath and examining everything, perhaps my first impressions weren't the best. We'll see....but I did have a good girlicious day with Cherry and getting excited over the whole thing. Ah, youth....wasted on the young ( even if they do get to live forever).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So I'm in the dentist's chair today for a routine cleaning/checkup.He takes xrays, he looks at them, he comes back. He says, "Your #19 tooth has a weird shadow on it. I think I need to send you back to the endodontist." Mind you, this is one of the 5 teeth I had root canaled/crowned this spring. I'm practically out of the chair, "WHAT!?!?! Am I going to lose that tooth?" He assured me I wasn't going to lose my tooth. Okay.

THen he starts cleaning my teeth and I tell him one of my front two veneers is loose. He checks it, and says, "that's not your veneer. That's your TOOTH. " "My tooth." "Yes. I think it's your gum. Bite your teeth together."

Can you guess where this is going? Oh, go ahead, give it a whirl.

"There's too much pressure on your bite. Your top teeth are right on top of your bottom teeth. In fact, blah blah blah ( to nurse) and send her out to see the orthodontist, please. And the periodontist, because that tooth needs to be stabilized."

I about had a coronary. I had been informed by the endo earlier this year that he didn't like my bite either and that over time, I could expect my bottom teeth to crack from the pressure. HE'S the one who originally noted my whole mouth going south from that awful surgery debacle ( with the compazine/muscle seizing, etc that I detailed in some other thread....). NOW the dentist is on about it since it is moving at a rate of speed that no one expected, and I now have appointments with no less than 3 different specialists to try and save the sinking ship.

So naturally, I am pretty upset. I call my dad, because my insurance? Won't cover the ortho. He is seriously cheesed. That's not anything new, but this next part is: he says, "Oh Jesus Christ. We need to just sue that bastard and get it over wth." Pretty serious stuff for a man who won't get up to get his own beer when he's watching tv.

And now it's official. I've been dithering about it, but I dither no more. I cannot fathom the cost out of pocket to fix all of this all because that asshole had to go have turkey with his grandma and leave me in the hospital with a bunch of fucking interns who didn't know the difference between a drug reaction and an anxiety attack. And what am I going to do as an actor if I'm missing my front tooth?!?!? Excuse me? NO. That's it, I'm done, and the shit is about to hit the fan.

I already called the lawyers office. I am not a litigious person; I think the judicial system is tangled up enough without me throwing my hat into the ring. Plus everything costs money to get it up and running, and where's the justice in THAT? But I am still staring down the barrell of a mistake Dr. Turkeylover made when I was 23, and I'm almost 40 now. That's just insane to me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Granted, I have rampant PMS right now, so a sentimental AT & T commercial could set me to crying, but I was in my car tonight, and I heard this ( you have to click on the little player on the lower right hand corner) and good grief if I didn't start bawling! I just thought, "OMG and praise Whomever, he's gotten himself back and we all get the benefit."

After the awfulness of his last album with poorly written, laconic, and annoyingly "these are all about my new wife"-cheese-centric songs that were also clearly befuddled by his substance issues, Mr. Urban finally sounds like himself again. His lovely, clear-toned, spirit-and-love-infused melodically-rich self.

For all of us who thought, "Oh for the love of GAWD, he's gone and married a big movie star and it's all downhill from here", who watched as rehab took a loooooong time and the rest was all pretty much negligible and/or predictable, we can finally *exhale*.

And all is right with the world. Surely this has to be a good sign. One would hope.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just to follow up, nothing of note happened in particular. I worked in Kids, yes I did, and I threw a very quiet fit, yes I did. New scheduling manager Jay was about ready to swallow his tongue when I calmly walked up to him and said, "I really, really REALLY don't want to go back there. Not today. I hate working in Kids, and this is the third shift in a row you've got me doing it. I said I'd comply and be helpful, and I will. I'm happy to work there during the week, but I will NOT be working in there on the weekends. You're going to have to find someone else to do that. So. You can either switch me out with someone else this evening, --as you have 4 men on the floor doing nothing but putting books away--or I will be leaving. You can write me up, you can give me a verbal warning, you can even send me home yourself. I'm going to go back there pick things up a bit while you think about it."

Apparently he was under the impression I liked working in Kids. Hmm. HOW? I'll tell you how: Dil, that's how. Anyway, Jay begged me to work back there for the rest of the night, promising me plenty of breaks if I needed them, and promising me I wouldn't get stuck back there more than twice a week during the week ( when I can at least count on school-based bedtime schedules to offer some repreive around 9pm).

I got this next week's schedule. I have at least 5-8 less hours than usual. And you know what?

I'm tired.

HB and I were having some chat ( yes, really. I am an actual person. Were you aware? I am! At this point, I'm going with the "head injury" versus "recent blow job" theory WRT his friendliness towards me) on Monday eve about something random at work and he said, "Oh well, it doesn't matter. I'm outta here." I replied, "Are you just saying that, or do you have a plan?" He explained that there was no explicit plan ( like he didn't have another job lined up or anything, nor had he given his notice, etc.), but that, "I promised myself I'd be out of STL by the time I was 30. Okay, I did that. I also promised myself I'd be out of this stupid job by then, too." I commented, "So....that gives you....5 months ( birthday in March)?" He answered, "Right. What am I doing, I mean really??Living with two 23 year-olds who get up every day, and get high all day--and I mean ALLLLLL day--, working here, and...??? No. Not gonna work. I just can't do it." I glumly noted that while indeed, his situation was far worse ( hey, listen, I don't live with two 23 year-old chronics who deal out of MY apartment when they're not at their other jobs and the so on and so forth of his string of luck lately in other areas), I in fact was ten years older than he, and damn, did that sound like what I woke up every day and thought myself. He commented that he wasn't "saying anything for anyone else, just....myself," and I said, I know he meant it that way, but I was now way on a downer, since here I thinking about MYself comparatively, here I AM with two degrees and blah blah blah, and he said, "Well, exactly, that's what I mean."

DAAAAAAYUM, that was a depressing conversation, (if only unintentionally). Because the rest of the night, I just thought, you know what? I've been THINKING the same things as he has for the last.....oh, YEAR? And my god, why am I fighting so hard to keep a job I fucking hate at this point because after all, all I do lately is pick up after spoiled, screaming children who are poorly parented when I'm there, for about half of what I'm worth on the open market ( corporate-wise)? I used to like my job. Some days I still do. Some days I actually deal with people who want books, and want to talk about books, and most days, I really love my coworkers and my ASMs. But this is NOT worth all the goddamned stress I've been under about it and with it and for it for the last 5 months. The pay is for shit, my Store Manager is a certified asshole, and Christmas is coming, and in retail, that's hardly The Most Wonderful Time of the ( F**king)Year.

Then later on, my pal Davis and I are in the breakroom, and he asks, "How's Kids tonight?" ( His adorable GF Betty is the Lead back there....a position she was shoved into after they eliminated her parallel one in another department. She is less than thrilled.) I explain how much I hate it, and what HB and I had been talking about. Davis is an actor too, and he says, "I know. I don't know what to do. It's like....if you're an actor, you have to have your days open, so, you need some flexibility. I have a degree in Computer Science, and sometimes I can get freelance jobs during the day, and yeah, it keeps me afloat. But not often enough. And I could get paid alot to go work in corporate, but that's a 9-5 right there, and.....well, I need to have that time open. It just sucks." I tell him about my sweet, sweet pending situation with the UU people ( !!!!!!) and he was like, "Oh, man, that would be so awesome. Well, it would have been. " We both sigh and go back to work.

When I went home that night my right eye was twitching so hard I had to lay still for a good 30 minutes to get it to stop.

It just freaks my shit out. All of it. All the time. Mostly lately, because of the 40 thing. And you know what? Sometimes I think HB was plunked right down into my life RIGHT in front of me not to torture me with hopeless infatuation but to somehow REMIND me to get motivated in the direction I was supposed to be going in all along, with acting and stuff. I'm serious. All drippy saccharine longing aside ( and maybe that was there to teach me poise around the Truly Fabulously Genetically Blessed People of this world, with whom I would HAVE to be professional if I were to actually be acting, if nothing else), seeing all the shit he has done in his life up til now --granted, he did not take 4 years out for a degree, nor did he spend another 4 years of his early 20s too sick to do anything, so I DO cut myself some slack on the timeline end of things-- lights a fire under my ass like nothing else. Please understand, I begrudge him nothing . Regardless, I get all.....competitive. I'm really, realllllly competitive anyway, but in this town, it goes nowhere since I only roll it back onto myself and feel like crap for not being thinner/prettier/younger, etc. But coming, such as it is, from a man (which sort of takes the pretty/young/emactiated women's issues out of it and brings it back to skills ), it's like, "Hey. HEY. I'm from where YOU are. I know all the people YOU know. I've studied with all the people YOU have. I'm just as good as you are!! I want to do it TOO!! And I can! Watch!"

I haven't felt like that since before I left home 6 years ago. I used to take pride in all the things I could do and feel they were worth something valuable, and then I got here and was summarily informed that there were, in fact, 25,000 other people who could do the same damned things, and where did I get off? I took it to heart. I really, really did. It took awhile before I could even think about maybe TRYING to do something artistic again. And it's taken me this experience to think about myself the way I used to, which was essentially, "Every fall on my face will only make me stronger. I am scared, but I am not intimidated. I have something that is exclusively mine to offer. And it has value."

Wow, I just got a little teary there.

So. I guess my question is: What next? Here I am, Universe. I'm finally ready to do what you asked, and I finally heard what you said. Now you have to show me how not to starve while I make it happen. Do you think you can handle that?

What next?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I'm writing here to note for the record the looming sense of dread I have at going in to work tonight. I just have this sense something's going to happen and I'm not going to be happy about it. I'm not talking about getting stuck in Kids on a Saturday, ( although that would sucks), I'm talking about like, something nasty and interpersonal.

Maybe it's just fear, since the last time I worked I got caught up in some craptacular workplace gossip cycle that made me want to scream, "I GRADUATED from high school, people!!!" It seems At HB's Halloween party last week ( last week? Gawd, it seems like ages ago. I'm so getting old....) he hooked up with some girl we work with. I figured that out that NIGHT, since I noticed some sketchy body language, but I doubt anyone else did, and I didn't say anything. NOTHING. Why would I?
At any rate, I was making conversation with Girl about the party and I asked if she was sober enough to make it home safely ( she was super hammered). She got all pissed off and stormed off and then went off on me about me being all up in her business, basically calling me a nosy bitch without outright saying it. I was flummoxed, since, really, I already figured out her big secret and I was sincerely only making that standard post-party conversation that you might with anyone ( and already HAD with other people!). If there was something that happened, so be it, and I don't want to know the details! I was hella pissed, but I let it go. I didn't want to seem like a nosy bitch by pursuing trying to fix it further.
But HB apparently confided in some idiot at work he thinks is trustworthy, who decided to taunt me with some sort of "I know something. Do you know something?" conversation. I was like, "I don't know anything for sure. Do you want to say something or do you want to keep playing this game???" Of course, the answer was the latter. Forget it, asshole.
It's obvious she's worried it's going to get around, but you know what? I didn't start it. Tell your bed partner to think about who he confides in, and when someone is making casual conversation with you, don't lose your shit. Why? It looks WEIRD, and then people start wondering. And when people start wondering, that's when your privacy isn't so private anymore.

As for me, I took the opportunity to inform Mr. Mouth that if he wanted to spread some gossip or send anything back to HB, that it should be this: Yeah, he's hot. If he had met me a year ago, I wouldn't have cared that he's also a MESS ( a hot mess, LOL-- oh, I crack myself up sometimes--) and probably made efforts to lay him myself. But upon some careful examination, I realize the only thing he's capable of is trying to keep his head above water, not a relationship on the level I want one. So if people-- including himself, who was obviously baiting me, and Girl, who had a defensive reaction ( both of which were probably based in part on thinking I still wanted him for myself)--are thinking I've still got designs on the man, they are wrong. And that next time, I'll hook an RSS feed up to my head so I can give people I work with updates on my internal love life.

And HB, for the record, spent that shift being exceptionally NICE to me, so notably nice I thought he'd been hit in the head by a large object. When I was complaining that evening that I was going to be stuck in the store while election results were coming in, and our new ASM chimed in, he spent the night watching tv and calling the store with results. (Even AFTER I called him "Mr. Existential Crisis" for not caring who won himself, since he couldn't vote in this state. Granted, I'm not sure he understood that/heard me, but he didn't have to make the effort, regardless.) Maybe he's got a man-crush on our new ASM, or was feeling chraitable in general, or getting laid/a blowjob/whatever put him in a better mood for once? Whatever, I was just grateful and thanked him later.

Gawd, the whole thing is stupid and exhausting. Incestuous and childish. Tiresome.

How I feel privately inside, and what I didn't say was that, yeah, I was jealous. For a day. But I was jealous IN PRIVATE, at home, and away from work. And then I thought about it, and thought, well, it's not me who's going to clean up that mess-- and there will be one!-- after an ill-advised tryst. I've been there. And that at least I'm old enough now to know that just because you waaaaaaaaaant something, doesn't mean it's best for you, and you should maybe choose otherwise. While for few minutes there I was like, "What's the MATTER with MEEEEEE????" I realized that , frankly, if I would have been approached thusly, while I would like to think I have enough self-control to resist, I would have been hard-pressed to do so. My ridiculously out-of-porportion crushy-ness and lust haven't gone away. I've just gotten wiser about pursuing them. But that doesn't mean you go walking in the candy factory when you're on a diet, KWIM??!?!? So I'm glad it didn't turn out that way. How awful that would have been. Probably not awful in the moment ( no, I seriously doubt THAT) but in that "I just woke up from a serious binge covered in candy wrappers and am so disappointed in myself" way.

Plus, Mr. Mouth enligtened me that HB does know of The Crushy-ness ( to which I said, "Oh, and who told him THAT?" I swear, I've learned my lesson about opening my mouth at work. Clearly I was having some sort of seizure that took me back to my 17-year old self and my then-inability to control my impulses. I pondered later that evening the last time I had a crush-- on someone in real life!-- and it was 10 years ago (!) so I also had the insight that a.) I'm obviously seriously out of practice with it and b.) that when that happens, I apparently lose all ability to keep quiet, both of which I should attempt to remember from now on. ). That was at first unsettling to me, but then I thought, "Oh, fuck it." And then I thought, "I was RIGHT. I knew he was trying to blow me off because of that. Trust your gut, Julie." Saying you're an asshole? Not like it was a lie, but obviously, there WAS more to the picture, and perhaps it also included trying to really hard to get me to run in the other direction ( apparently, he told Mr. Mouth that he didn't want to lead me on since he's "a wreck right now and not good for anyone"). That stings, but if that's as good as you can get it, well, what. Ever. Better this way, for everyone, anyhoo.

Everyone should have the grace of understanding when they're not wanted, and move on to people who DO want them. Easier said than done. By a longshot. But I just keep reminding myself of what a very wickedly smart and smart-mouthed teacher once said in class ( appropos of what, I can't recall): "You want to know the first thing you should look for in a partner? They should want the job. If they don't want it and you have to twist yourself around to get their attention or affection, they don't want you, and it's not real."

Never truer words spoken, Dr. M. I really can't contest the veracity of that rhetoric! ( He was my rhetoric teacher. Oh, the irony, I know, LOL!)

It's amazing to me how I get shaken by this kind of stuff. I'm way too sensitive, and I think I need to get a bigger life so it doesn't take up so much of my time.

And I love my job and I love my coworkers, but I gotta realize so many of them are a.) at least ten years younger and b.)living in this tiny snakepit of an environment where all matters of this ilk get sort of blown up and not handled with the greatest of maturity. I'd like to think when I was 27/28/29 I was better off......but not really. And any younger than that, well, we all know what science says about your synaptic function prior to 23 in terms of impulse control and judgement ( it ain't all there). I've realized most of my nicest friends from there are mostly over 30 and if they're not, they're incredibly careful and decent people, and go out of their way to avoid conflict ( but who have also retained the best parts of being young: vibrant and silly and surreal and wills to be weird just for the hell of it). Funny how much we miss our youth before we have a startling moment like this to jog our memories right back into the parts of it we SO do NOT want back, and had outgrown the need for without our even realizing it was happening!

Anyway, if tonight is more of the same, I may just fake a stomach cramp and go home. Or hide in the stacks and not talk to anyone. I really don't have the energy for High School Confidential, Part II.

This post brought to you by My Internal 17-Year Old, and the Disney Channel ( I watched a special on the Jonas Brothers today out of sheer curiousity and am now regretting it.). We now return to regular, grown-up programming. Such as it is or ever was....!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Well, apparently, the nasty twitch in my right eye that has been plaguing me for about two weeks now is gone. With the change in the nation's collective tension, I feel healed. I am HEALED, people!! There's a democrat-- an African-American man who won by a landslide-- as president elect after 8 long years of corruption and greed, and that's not just historic, it's a fucking miracle.

Not that he's Jesus or something, as my friend Laura said today, though it's hard not to put him on a pedestal after this whole last year of campaigning and hell, the last year with Bush in office. We've all been through too much. We need someone fearless and amazing and young and exciting and GREAT. But he will fuck up and make mistakes and make decisions that people don't like, and it will be hard. I just pray we all have the patience to give him a chance to DO something before we all start getting pissed he's not the Answer to Everything.

However, I do think he can help and heal alot of trouble we've been through, over time. Crap, people at least have hope right now and that can't be all bad. Keep that realistic and we're halfway there.

In other, more local news, Prop 8 passed ( I guess more people said yes when they were called than not. Stupid hate mongers.), which has my protective hackles up for all my gays and hella disappointed in Californians. I mean, seriously: I have a Scientology mission-- an outpost for a "religion" that actually meets strident academic standards to be classified as a cult and could be easily considered nothing more than a multi-level marketing scheme-- right down the street from my fucking house and yet, two men who love each other ( or two women ) cannot get married in this state? THIS granola-crunching, whale-hugging, "it's-all-good, man!", spore-and-any-radical-New-Age-nutjob-idea-spawning hippie outpost of a state cannot get it together to show support for people I KNOW have families more happy and normal than alot of straight couples, and it makes me want to throw something. I hated it here before, and I think this just about sealed the deal permanently. (Of course, as the most liberal state in the Union, it's only worse the farther east you go, so I'm not likely to see it better anywhere. I'm just saying that AS the most liberal state in the Union, you'd think we could have done SOMETHING right and contributed more than "The Terminator" as a govenor to make history in politics. But no. So, in a few words, fuck this place, I mean it!).

So with bated breaths we still await the outcome of this election year, both with Obama and with civil rights here in CA ( appeals are being constructed as I type). I hope they both continue their history-making in only the best of ways. I surely do hope.