In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. A trillion years later, some bored, Doritos munching, Jimmy Buffet worshiping techi created phone apps. Since I am still trying to figure out what all the buttons do on the elevator that takes me up to the 13th floor of my workplace, I am probably not the person a software engineer should go to in considering future innovations.
What ever happened to the days you could throw a dime in a pay phone and ask a real-live person to connect you to your grandma in Texas via collect call? Oh yeah…those days sucked. In the 21st century, you can get ahold of whomever you want, anywhere you want, almost instantly. Problem is, in my case, you still have to somehow convince that other person to actually answer their phone.
The following are Apps that I wish existed:
1) KnewYOU…The New Identity App. Ever get sick of being yourself? Wish you could input just a few basic things about yourself, then let a computer generate a new “online” identity to include a new history? Even a new virtual house and occupation? Of course you do. Pick from a variety of categories to help you: SciFi, Hippiechic, Cartoony, Rednecker, BibleScholar, Mogul Man, RichBitch, BigPhatStar, NewAger, Yoga-guru, etc.
2) FaceBlock…The App for People Blocking. Wouldn’t you love to be able to program your phone to filter the faces and people you are tired of looking at and hearing about on the world-wide web? Maybe an old girlfriend, that annoying politician, and of course celebrities like Kim K. and Justin B., maybe even your mom? Then this is the app for you. Bodyguards need not apply.
3) ConFess…The App for Anonymous Confessions. Need counseling, but don’t have the income to pay a headshrinker? Wish you had someone to gripe to, but don’t want that other person to know who you are? OR Are you someone that enjoys juicy information? Maybe giving advice to others? Sometimes the best secrets are better told than left to fade away unacknowledged. Now, one can tell one’s most outrageous confessions to a person online and both stay anonymous. Why should priests have all the fun?
4) BGone…The App for Stink Guard. Want an invisible shield between you and the smelly, wino guy who just sat next to you on public trans? Need a temporary bubble to avoid that gas that just slipped out of grandma whom you are escorting at Wal-Mart? No worries. Unless, that is, its you that forgot to wear Right Guard today.
5) Q-zone…The App for Silence. Tired of traffic noise and the jerk next to you screaming into his cell phone? While other apps help guide you to the closest sushi place, this app guides you to the closest and quietest public places in an instant. Maybe that hidden park on Washington Street? Or the café that sits empty with no one to bother you. In a world of noise, silence is a priceless commodity.
6) PimpMyHide…The App for Instant Makeovers. Ever wonder what other people would do to you if they had the chance to make you over completely? With this program assisted application, random strangers remake a virtual you. Pick from various styles of clothes, accessories, and hairstyles. Then you choose what you think you would want to aspire to look like. Personality not included.
7) CareBare…The App for Avoiding Family. Barely interested in what you wife is endlessly texting you over the phone? Bored with grandma’s conversation about her new hip? Wish your parents would stop checking up on you via text? Then this app is for you. Program it to automatically generate phrases and responses to keep family happy, and to keep you out of their loopy conversations. Choose from several settings: Gossip mode, crisis sympathy, general update, etc. Be all that you can be…be smart, be daring…be BARELY THERE.
8) P-Track…The App for Tracking Pets. Wouldn’t you ever like to find out where Pumpkin and Mr. Whiskers wanders off to when you are away at work for hours? Want to find out where your pain in the *#@ dog goes when he keeps getting out of the back yard? Now with a simple tiny sticker you can place on a pet collar and the assistance of an app, you can be you’re own pet stalker. Also available in Lying Teenager and Cheating Spouse versions.
9) Save-A Drunk…The App for Saving Alcohol and Alcoholics. Have you reached rock bottom and just can’t drink another drop of alcohol? Need to sober up? Want to donate your liquor collection to someone who will graciously take it off your hands? Then this app might just connect you to the right alcohol lover who will take that box of wine from you to start you on your way towards sobriety. Let someone “Sponsor” you into being booze-free. A.A. endorsed of course!
10) KillerAPP…The App to End Apps. Are you addicted to apps? Need to spend less time on your smart phone and more time, ahem…doing everything else? If you want to consider an app to break the app obsession, consider this one. Virtual guru-voice activated to wean you away from technology, this app can give you back your life. Just don’t expect it to happen overnight. WARNING: surgeon general has found that substances on this app may cause cancer, low birth weight, depression, and cerebral lethargy.
Conspiracy theories aren’t what they used to be. Thanks to WikiLeaks, hidden “truths” become just everyday news, lost and mixed in with what may be “fact” and what may be “fantasy”. What used to shock us about the powers that be, don’t seem to move us toward much change in our political system nowadays. Its as though we expect our government and the wealthy elite to behave in the worst possible ways, keeping us entertained like some cheap reality show.
I, myself, have grown so cynical and desensitized by media and television that it didn’t surprise me to hear what Edward Snowden “leaked” (Hello, Washington? Are you listening? Got Milk?). I’ve grown so bored with most of the schemes that certain government agencies and powerful people have been up to, I decided to “enhance” some of these controversial “truths” connected to certain conspiracy theories. Basically, I decided to really “fictionalize” (labeled as my “Favored Fiction”) these truths in a way that would make us question…what is really “fact”…and what is really “fiction”? You decide.
Truth?: In relation to NASA’s “Project Blue Beam”, a 3D hologram of the Virgin Mary was projected in an African sky.
Favored Fiction: In relation to NASA’s “Project Blue Beam”, a 3D hologram of Sarah Palin in a moose’s outfit was projected over Moscow’s sky to hypnotize Vladimir Putin.
Truth?: The U.S. military used a secret unit of “controlled remote viewers” to help capture Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega.
Favored Fiction: The U. S. military used a secret unit of “controlled remote viewers” to locate the best place to grab sushi while in Afghanistan.
Truth?: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding Norway’s global seed vault to preserve various seeds in case of a possible global environmental apocalypse.
Favored Fiction: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding Norway’s global seed vault to preserve various cannabis seeds to turn future earthlings into Cheech and Chong zombies.
Truth?: The Catholic Church hid certain Nazi officers post WWII.
Favored Fiction: The Catholic Church hid certain Nazi officers post WWII in order for kinky bishops to use them in bondage role-plays.
Truth?: Bradley Manning leaked video of U.S. soldiers killing innocent Iraqi civilians and two war journalists.
Favored Fiction: Bradley Manning leaked video of Osama Bin Laden living in Thailand as a transvestite hairdresser.
Truth?: MK Ultra, a top-secret CIA experimental project in mind control used prisoners, mental patients, children, prostitutes, and lower-income minorities as guinea pigs.
Favored Fiction: MK Ultra, a top-secret CIA experimental project in mind control used politicians as guinea pigs, hypnotizing them into thinking they descended from a dying breed of anal-retentive aliens from the planet Uranus.
Truth?: The HAARP Project, located in Alaska, is a U.S. funded scientific experiment which is capable of manipulating the weather.
Favored Fiction: The HAARP Project, located in Alaska, is a U.S. funded scientific experiment which is capable of creating a mini lightening storm that can directly hover over Dick Cheney’s head.
Truth?: U.S. drones fly over residential areas in Pakistan to “gather” intelligence information in counter-terrorism.
Favored Fiction: U.S. drones fly over residential areas in Pakistan to play “Where’s Waldo”, killing boredom.
Truth?: Certain technically-savvy members of the Heaven’s Gate Cult helped developed one of the very first computer programs, called PROMIS, that had “spying” capabilities which was highly sought-after software.
Favored Fiction: Certain technically-savvy members of the Heaven’s Gate Cult helped develop one of the very first internet billionaires, called Mark Zuckerberg, a love child created and left behind prior to their mass suicide.
I’m a rotten blogger; I rarely read other people’s blogs. I guess you can call me the anti-blog blogger. If I have by chance read your blog, it’s because I was either attracted by the bright colors, you had something new to say and GOT TO THE POINT (unlike this post), or I was just interested in keeping my pupils fit by doing eyeball calisthenics. Ok, I admit, I may have also typed in keywords like “hot naked men” or “hot men who like stupid women” and hit on your blog.
But really, why do I avoid reading most blogs? I’m either annoyed that I haven’t written a brilliant post that someone else has already written first, OR I am tired of the fact that I constantly see the same words used in their same old context, in the same old boring ways. Even “cliché” is a cliché! Why can’t more people invent new words with new meanings like those that are added into the Urban Dictionary? Why not recycle those over-used, tired puppies lined up in our American Heritage Dictionary? YES, LETS RECYCLE!!! The following are ten new words or phrases along with their definitions I propose to add to the Urban Dictionary.
1) Chinese cheesy- something silly that doesn’t really exist.
Sample sentence: My god, did you see that UFO with the Bedazzled rims…thats Chinese cheesy!
2) hangman- an impotent male
Sample sentence: I am so sick of my husband being a hangman, I think I’ll have to get knocked up by the cable guy.
3) air conditioner- a cool talkin’ person
Sample sentence: Jay-Z is just an air conditioner, especially when he’s hanging with Obama.
4) flat-top- a level-headed person
Sample sentence: There are no flat-tops in the Kardashian family.
5) bacon- a well prepared cop
Sample sentence: Don’t speed down the Santa Monica Freeway ‘cuz there’s bacon everywhere.
6) pencil pusher- a pushy person who tries to make you buy his/her point of view
Sample sentence: The whole Bush-Cheney Administration was made up of assholes and pencil pushers.
7) Virginia slim- an east coast anorexic
Sample sentence: I ain’t no Virginia slim, I’m a meat and potato eatin’ Texan that blesses his stomach by keeping it full like the good Lord intended.
8) nursing nun- a non-practicing virgin
Sample sentence: So what if I’m a nursing nun, so was Mary, the mother of Jesus, at some point!
9) garlic mouthwash- a rotten kiss
Sample sentence: Don’t feel bad that you gave her a garlic mouthwash, she’s been cheating on you with your best buddy on the football team anyhow.
10) cocktail- a lady’s rear-end or a homosexual male
Sample sentence: Check out that big cocktail in the neon-pink tights; its blinding my eyes.
Why didn’t that tipsy Venice Beach fortune-teller predict that I would be pissing in the same restroom Jim Morrison had? And she sure didn’t foresee me shopping at the same record store Ray Manzarek frequented on Sunset Blvd. I should have known better in the City of Night. Welcome to my L.A. Woman Tour. In honor of Ray Manzarek (keyboardist and founding member of the Doors) who passed away this week in Germany at the age of 74, I’d like to share my personal odyssey with the Doors and their ghosts. Thankfully I got the opportunity to hear Ray play live when he toured with the Doors of the 21st Century with Robby Krieger. Unlike other old rockers I have seen (UH, the Rolling somethings) Manzarek’s playing was never off pitch. He could still take you on that musical journey.
It all began with a weekend “getaway” in the summer of 2005. I drove up to Venice Beach from San Diego to stay at a beach hostel. I had often done this in the past with the intention to write and get “inspired”. Funny how this often requires hours of drinking and getting caught up trying to get rid of some pug-ugly guy who is hoping to get into my pants. Anyhow, the weekend was supposed to be just like all the others for me in Venice. But for some reason, this particular trip seemed to be one in which hidden hands were guiding me in directions that often included some connection to the Doors, especially Jim Morrison. At first, I passed it off as sheer coincidences. But by the end of my stay in Venice Beach, I began to feel a little freaked out, but mostly privileged to be the one to have been “guided” by some ghostly doors of perception.
Initially, I wanted to eat at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood to see where artists Wallace Berman and Ed Keinholtz got their grub (a little tip I got from my art history teacher in college…its an art snob thing). While there, I befriended the waitress who happened to be from San Diego herself who was a singer in a band called the Paper Dolls. The waitress shared about how Janis Joplin spent her last night at the restaurant. At that moment “Roadhouse Blues” by the Doors played over the speakers. “Oh, and Jim Morrison used to drink here too,” she added. Cool, I thought, doesn’t surprise me. I mean the guy did drink everywhere from here to Amsterdam right?
She suggested I walk down to see the Chateau Marmont where Morrison is said to have fallen from his balcony and broken ribs. I did so, more out of awe that the old, ridiculous structure was still standing there instead of a 7-Eleven store. Ok, so Marilyn Monroe probably screwed someone there, and John Belushi had his last puke there. Honestly, I’ve never been one to care what actors did in their free time. It just reminds me how uneventful my life is between picking at my face and writing crappy blogs. Since I was in the neighborhood, I figured I would take a stroll down Sunset Blvd to see the Viper Room and the Whisky A Go-Go.
Everyone knows the Whisky’s history as a mecca for rock history,(including the fact that the Doors played there in their early days) so I won’t bore u with it. But it was the Tower Records store just down the street that drew me in. I was going up to the cash register to pay for my Johnny Cash CD when the kid (probably some Euro-tourist) in front of me asked the cashier in broken-English, “So do you get famous people who shop here?”
The cashier who looked lively as taxidermy said quite unexcitedly, “Uh, yeh, Ray Manzarek from the Doors comes in here sometimes.”
Interesting I thought. I would have liked to have asked the cashier what Ray Manzarek purchased, but I didn’t. I was too afraid I would hear something stupid like..”Oh, he never actually buys anything. He just asks for change for the parking meters.” By now, my own car probably was getting ticketed.
Walking around West Hollywood, I grew tired and bored with myself. This happens quite often especially when I breathe, which is why I am often open to talking to street vagabonds.
“Hey, girl, where you goin’?” one of the gutter crows asked as I walked past. His name was Sonny. He was seated at a bus stop next to Emmanuel his side kick. Neither were waiting for the bus.
“I don’t know. I’m just looking for a new poem I guess,” I answered. Like the typical nerd I am, I really didn’t have any place in mind at the moment.
“OH, so you’re a poet eh? Why don’t u share a poem,” Sonny suggested.
“You say it like you don’t believe I am one. Here look, I’m carrying a notebook and a pen. All poets do,” I pointed out pulling out my goods.
“Relax girl, relax. I believe you. This town is full of poets. You’ve got Charles Bukowski…Jim Morrison, HEY, in fact I saw Morrison being carried out of Barney’s Beanery one night drunk as a skunk. You like the Doors?” Sonny continued.
These Doors coincidences were just starting to get a little strange.
“Yeh, right, you saw Morrison. AND?” I continued starting to feel annoyed that he would think I was as stupid as I looked, and starting to know he was probably right. Maybe Sonny did witness such an event, I mean it takes a wino to know a wino right?
His buddy who was previously just sitting and grinning finally spoke up saying, “Oh, girl, you don’t know old Sonny. He’s seen everything. That was his scene. My name’s Emmanuel by the way,” he said holding out his hand. I shook it reluctantly.
“So what other places did you supposedly see Morrison?” I asked half mockingly.
“Well, I didn’t see him anywhere else, but I know he used to stay at the Alta Cienega Motel just up the way. Its owned by some Indian guy who still rents out the room Morrison lived in. People leave graffiti and writing on the wall in that room now. You should go check it out. It’s also close to the Benvenuto Cafe. The Doors recorded L.A. Woman in that building before it was a cafe. I wouldn’t eat there though. Its overpriced.”
“Hey, where are you staying?” Emmanuel asked.
“OH, I’m staying in Venice Beach. Why?” I inquired.
“Go to the Townhouse. It’s a bar Jim went to a lot. Its been there in Venice forever,” Emmanuel added grinning like a Cheshire cat.
I thanked them both and headed down to check out both the Alta Cienega Motel and the Benevento Cafe to take pictures. After coming home from this odd weekend, I did a bit of research and found that what Sonny had told me about the motel and the cafe had been true. Morrison stayed in this particular motel due to being in close location to the Doors headquarters, the recording studio, his favorite bars, and his girlfriend Pamela’s residence.
As far as the Cafe (now CLOSED), legend has it that the L.A. Woman album was recorded in the building years before it was a cheesy Italian restaurant. The L.A. Woman song itself was sung in a downstairs restroom for its acoustic sound quality. The Doors at the time would never imagine it would be their last album together before Morrison’s death in Paris, France. Nor would they think rigatoni would take the place of rock music in that little haunt.
Later that evening, since my crappy hostel happened to be located on the same street as the Townhouse Cocktails dive bar on Windward Avenue, I decided to check out the place Emmanuel had suggested. It was a dump… just the way I like my drinking establishments. It was busy, so packed, that I couldn’t get access to the woman’s restroom with a line long enough to rival the Great Wall of China. No one seemed to be going in or coming out of the mens restroom. After four beers and an impatient buzz, I dove into the men’s pisser caring less what or who I saw. My bladder was about to burst like a pinata at an orphanage. Shockingly, no one was inside. The toilets were old-fashion looking with pull chains. It was as though I was sitting on the same shitter Jim Morrison might have peed in. Quite fascinating until I heard the voice of a male entering the restroom. Oh well, this is L.A. He should know anything goes. But the stranger was too busy making friends with a urinal to notice my ridiculous exit. This called for a drink. I made my way closer to the bartender.
Next thing I know I am asking a guy next to me if he could get the bartender’s attention since he seemed to know him.
“OH sure. Are you here by yourself?” the young, tall guy asked.
“Yep, but I’m good at keeping myself company,” I responded feeling quite stupid.
Eventually he introduced me to his girlfriend and a few of his other buddies drinking next to him. One named Joel ended up befriending me. All of them were Venice locals. I figured Joel wouldn’t be such a threat when he informed me that he was a male nurse. By the end of the night, I was sure I was gona need someone to nurse my hangover anyway.
“Hey, why don’t you come over with us. We’re gona grab some beers and head on to our place. It’s not far. It’s just up Speedway. Don’t worry, the girls will be there too. You’re safe,” Joel suggested. Typical nurse, looking out for me, though fear was something that didn’t come to mind when I was juiced up. I thought it a great idea since I was starting to lose my buzz due to flapping my jaws too much with the male nurse.
Joel was right. He and his male roommate lived very near… on 18th and Speedway just down the alley. Walking up to their rented beach flat, my heart stopped just for a second in the same way Medusa probably could have turned me to stone. Directly across the street from Joel’s pad was Venice Beach’s famous mural of the Lizard King himself. What? Ok, I thought, Jim, this is getting quite eerie now, especially here late at night with that full moon above you. What was with your ghost following me?
In a way, I knew it was impossible to escape the dead singer since this was the place he lived and strolled so often. But it was when Joel took me up to the roof of the flat to show me the strand of Venice’s beach at night with the flush-face of that pearly, white moon hanging like an empty plate overhead that I caught some wind of magic. Watching the silvery waves shimmer, feeling the breeze, and seeing how bright that distant celestial body was, I felt I got a glimpse of Jim Morrison’s inner and outer world. A mystical energy awoke something profound in me. I was in tune with the invisible forces around me. I realized at that moment how and where Jim got his inspiration for songs like “Moonlight Drive”. It was as though I could feel Jim there next to me. AND NO…despite it being Venice Beach…and a “party”…I don’t and didn’t do drugs. As you can probably tell, I’m wacky enough sober, thank you very much. It was such a magical experience, I kept it to myself to prevent it from being dismissed by cynics. But after hearing of Ray Manzarek’s death this week, I was moved to share it. It was Manzarek’s not Morrison’s idea to form the Doors. Jim just went along for the ride as he did with so many other things in those times.
By the end of the night, the couch that was nailed to Joel’s livingroom ceiling began to start tripping me out (yes, he had a couch nailed upside down from his ceiling). I walked back to my hostel just a bit down the way, still feeling a mystical presence looking just over my shoulder under the glow of the moon.
The next day, Sunday, I had breakfast at the Venice Bistro located just next to the Cadillac Hotel on the boardwalk. The Cadillac Hotel was where I usually always stayed. I don’t recall why I had not that particular trip. Maybe my favorite room was booked. Anyhow, as I looked up at the board of musical events that were set to play at the Venice Bistro that night, I could see that strange door of perception open up again. Peace Frog was set to play, a local Doors tribute band. And as I was nursing my hangover with my glass of orange juice and open journal contemplating my next poem, it all made sense. It was just as Jim would have liked it.
NOTE: All photographs are taken by yours truly (as if you couldn’t already tell by their illustrious framing). The one of Jim Morrison’s motel room graffiti was taken by someone on the internet whom I can’t name, so sue me. All photographs of people you see in each shot were used without them knowing, so forget u saw them here. Amen
Hello fellow Earthlings. As a homage to the up and coming Earth Day, I thought it would be nice to try to inspire people NOT to do what I do, which is accumulate mounds of junk. Here is a new installment of “What’s in My Closet?”
I know what you are thinking…. no I am not one of those vinyl record collecting fanatics. I only own records by: U2, Gershwin, Bo Diddley, Hank Williams, Led Zeppelin, Disney’s Mary Poppins, The Rolling Stones, Tony Bennet, George Jones, Peter Paul and Mary, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, The Bee Gees, Madonna, Richard Pryor, Strawberry Shortcake…Ok, maybe I do have a problem.But how could I pass up giving away this gem with songs like “Doing the Pigeon” and the “La La La” song?
I honestly don’t remember where I got these shoes. I might have snagged them from a drunk girl who was passed out at a 1950′s Flashback Retro Party. I can tell you they are made in Germany by the tag on the soles and that drag queens constantly ask me where I bought them.
Ok, so I’m as country western as a cup of noodles, so what…Taylor Swift gets away with this nonsense every day. She shouldn’t get to have all the fun. If it makes you feel better, I only wear these boots when I go out to eat at Denny’s where old people don’t give a damn.
I bought this plush hanger as a set from a thrift store. I thought that it would make me feel as glamorous as Elizabeth Taylor or Zsa Zsa Gabor. Well folks, SURPRISE, it didn’t work. Now I know why they were in the thrift store in the first place. Goodwill my butt!
A set of heart-shaped cookie cutters. I keep these suckers in my closet because you never know when you need a last-minute 99cent regift to someone you detest. Oh, and mom, if you are reading this, you shoulda known better to have bought these for me since you know I burn everything I bake.
An etching based on Gerard Terborch‘s 1670 painting “The Music Lesson”. Probably worth some money cuz its a stamped etching not a print, but there it sits in my closet accumulating dust along with old issues of MAD Magazine. Well, at least I am exposing the arts to the otherwise ignored cockroach.
Killer Dyke Hat. Although I have no interest in women below the waist, I admit I do wear hats that make me look like I do when I go jogging or when I just want to ooze man repellent. Usually, you can assume this is what happens after having kids and surviving years of monogamous marriage.
Speaking of man hating, I worship my Makonde body mask. Technically, this mask is not in my closet. It hangs on a wall. I use this mask to test people who visit my home. If they show an interest in it or love it (asking me about the culture it came from), I usually will get along with that person splendidly. If they think that it’s a carved image of me pregnant, they are probably not too intelligent. If they show indifference, they are probably lacking a soul or personality to have any opinion. If they show disgust, most likely it will be a man I end up foolishly getting romantically involved with. While my ex-husband suggested I hang it above the fireplace (he was hoping it would accidently fall into the fire), I now hang it proudly atop my love nest. Men come and go, but ART LIVES ON!
Ann Taylor Unlucky Power Suit. This was the first suit I ever got “dismissed from a job position” in. I kept it in case there is ever a job I WANT to get fired from. NOTE: Blazer may appear larger and itcher than actual object.
While it may be of no surpise to you that your’s truly would have a stash of beer cold and ready on days that need to be flushed down the toilet, I admit I am sometimes ashamed of stocking up on this form of redneck Viagra. The polar caps are melting, the Amazon is being cut down to accomodate Amazon.com books, and gorillas are still too nice to fight back poachers. Oh well, happy Earth Day. Drink up.
***For past installments of “What’s in My Closet?”, click on the side history bar.****
Anyone who has been unemployed knows that too much free time is actually silly putty in the devil’s hands. For the last two months that I, myself, have been seeking work, I have been stretched and bent out of shape so much, I might as well have walked into a kiln to make a piece of pottery out of myself. If a Chinese emperor could make terracotta life-size figures, why can’t I? But now that I will be starting a new position on Monday, I have been wondering if there wasn’t a better way I could have used all that free time I had while looking for a work. The following are occupations I could have considered while I was professionally unemployed.
1) N.P.C.L. Coach: Professional coach to senior citizens in the N.P.C.L. (National Power Chair League). Now that power chairs has taken over the elderly world by storm, its time to take it to the next level with power chair racing. Like Nike says , “Just Do It.”
2) Dumpster Diving Consultant: Give trash pickers and plastic bottle collectors insider tips on where to find the most plentiful dumpsters. Get free cigarettes, 7-11 coffee, or a swig off the old whisky bottle.
3) Buddhist Barber: Be one with the universe. Be the guru of buzz cuts. While mastering one haircut, you can’t go wrong. Comes in styles: shaved, and extra shaven.
4) Pet P.I.: Wondering where Fifi goes in the middle of the day? Would you like to find out what nasty cat got your Persian feline pregnant? Become a Pet Private Investigator. Dogs not apply.
5) Elderly Chauffeur: Take grandma on that outing she’s been dying to go to like Saks, 31 Flavors, or your friendly neighborhood strip club. Specializing in senior citizen accommodations such as gripe consulting, diabetes management, and retirement enhancement.
6) Guinness Book of World Record Breaker: Devote yourself to breaking records. Create the worlds largest wad of recycled gum. Or maybe graffiti the most wannabes taggers on the street in a day (yes, and I do mean graffiti the graffitists). Break the record for breaking the most records.
7) Craigslist Killer Hitman: Find the sickos on Craigslist that are killing and raping for sport. Do your community a favor by cleaning up our streets. Tell them that karma is bitch.
8) Taco Shop Salsa Critic: Taste test various free salsas handed out at the hundreds of taco shops around your city. Pitch your reviews of them to Food Network. Write a book about your ratings and opinions. Make sure to have TUMS handy and toilet readily available at all times.
9) Professional Pinterest Sabotager: Tired of seeing perfection? Why not pin postings of the sick and miserable on that beauty obsessed website? Start with a picture of your hairy armpit and work your way towards that maggot-laced roadkill you drove past earlier in the day. A perfectly PERFECT way to waste time.
10) Cheater Decoy: Are you suspecting that your boyfriend/girlfriend is a slut? Do you think he/she would sleep with any kind of person that would hit on him/her the moment you turn your back? Hire yourself out as a Cheater Decoy. Test out how far certain significant others would go if they had the opportunity to cheat. Intercourse compensation not included.
Dear Audience of Three (minus my cousin in Kansas and someone named Anonymous):
I know what you are thinking…”Amanda, where have you been? The blogosphere isn’t the same without you.” Ok, that’s not what you are really thinking. I just got needy a-la-Kardashian for a moment there. But like I told my mom after dismissing my cancer diagnosis a couple of years ago, “Don’t worry. Bad weeds never die.” I am still here …using my hiatus from this blog in the most productive ways possible: driving around town to find a store that sells Twinkies, Googling words in Russian, selling jewelry I got for free…oh, and I am writing a book.
Since the book is a memoir, I have had to figure out why I even warrant a 200 page plus book about my life. What have I accomplished? Ok, lets not go there. Rephrase: What am I good at? The following is a list of things I can honestly say will give me the audacity to push for a book all about me, me, and more me. Ugh, I already need a vacation from myself thinking about it.
1) The ability to wash one mug a day (hung over).
2) Unmaking my bed. (Too bad it’s never due to having intercourse).
3) Winking either eye while intoxicated (at police officers).
4) Finding the sun (at night).
5) Driving old people to hospitals. (Especially when they let me use their handicapped parking permit). WARNING: This does not include helping the elderly in and out of vehicle or otherwise.
6) Jogging with stinky clothes on (and running so fast past people they won’t get a chance to find out).
7) Memorizing stupid commercials (which means I am also good at forgetting awesome ones).
8) Plucking gray hairs off my head (Now that I’ve gone all gray, I can never lose).
9) Picnicking in my car solo (to avoid coworkers and work).
10) Ability to tell the difference between a dwarf and a midget (One had a Disney movie, duh.)
For the last few weeks, I have done some soul searching…looking for my purpose in life, attempting to find out what legacy I may leave behind once I croak on my pop-up air mattress and Sponge Bob sheets. Who would have know it would be in the form of exposing the hidden, multi-million dollar industry surrounding poorly written fortune cookie fortunes. You know which ones I am talking about…ones like the monkey scratch I got last week at a Japanese restaurant with a phrase such as “Let reality be reality” and “Courage conquers all things; it even gives strength to the body.” Nevermind that the Japanese have as much business handing this stuff out at the end of my sushi meal as Roberto’s Taco Shop would, but I admit, I never passed up cracking open that wacky shell to see what one might say. I am sure Einstein did the same.
Doing a bit of research into who exactly writes these bits of slop (and, no its not me), who would have know, its not the Chinese…but underground cliques of WASPY American college students who intern in Chinese academic studies. Ok, so I made that up. Its possible these cheap fortunes are written by Bengali slave kids…. bored lesbian, one-armed Chinese housewives… or Costa Rican Satanists who wish me ill fortune. Who knows. Either way, I have come up with a few terrible fortunes of my own I would hope would be inspirational to the next sashimi-eating dork like myself.
1) You will meet a stranger that will hand you the keys to your future home.
2) Knowledge is better left to students.
3) Your destiny begins with a beer.
4) Love is alive this month in a french kiss.
5) Charity is coming your way, so shop til you drop.
6) Count your blessings, especially in Las Vegas.
7) Beauty rules when happiness fools.
8) Today, you will get to punch someone in the nose.
9) Program your future; reach for the T.V. remote.
10) Forget about tomorrow; it hates you anyway.
11) Take caution with a grain of salt; thats how master chefs are born.
12) Beware of the unknown; it may bring bad breath.
13) Smile, it’s the keyhole to your heart.
14) Lick a dog; it may inspire him.
15) Pray for your sins ‘cuz you know you’ll never be done outdoing them.
16) Try again.
17) Everyday is a new opportunity for oral sex.
18) Wisdom is better unthought.
19) Watch out for bad Mexican food this week.
20)Believe in miracles; get a life.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…and ten minutes ago, I just created a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But this isn’t just any p.b. and j. …this has slices of fresh strawberries fit to snug in the middle like sweet little discoveries. It beats my brother’s sloppy peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich any day (a horrific creation that was probably mistakenly invented by a blind man). So what does any of this have to do with the grand pillars of art history? More than one could imagine.
Why is there even a discipline called Art History? Why do people look at and study objects from so many different time spans and geographical regions? (Believe me, I asked the same thing after writing the millionth paper on some dead artist I will never meet). In this piece, I will attempt to partly answer (because someone will always think of some other point I didn’t mention) this question in a simplified manner. Simplifying may be considered “tricky” and “undisciplined” to “real” scholars. I know there will be people reading this that will want to make the point that the act of looking at art is an art form in itself (hello Professor Rigby, how’s the semester going?)…that its analysis of form and meaning are meant for the few. That you have to know and apply other disciplines like psychoanalysis, philosophy, semiotics, cosmetology (uh, well in rare cases if hair is involved), bowling (no, wait, sorry wrong article), and other far-reaching psycho-Babel.
That you have to wear a French beret and know how to pick out a fake Vermeer (Vermeer is the name of a dead Dutch painter, not the name of a major Scandinavian appliance). But screw that. You don’t have to be Einstein to talk about math…well, in my case, maybe you do…but you get my point. Art is of the people, by the people, and for the people …or was that something we used to have called liberty?. Enough said.
So what propelled Art History from being just some curious knucklehead looking at an object to a whole field that involves experts and time lines and classifications (and dark lecture rooms where you can nap)? Back to my peanut butter and jelly sandwich example. Just as my brother seems to enjoy one type of sandwich, and I another, people study more than one type of object or one type of aesthetic because humans like having a variety of tastes to choose from. It’s not that my brother only likes peanut butter and mayo. He would go for my p.b.and j. in a heartbeat (that and the rest of the fridge too). It’s not any one sandwich type itself. It is the fact that people like knowing there will always be something else we have yet to discover to sink our teeth (and eyes, and hands and..) into. Picture Indiana Jones looking for the Holy Grail just to find that he has to fight off Nazis for it. It’s that hunger, curiosity, and search for a new experience that drove Capitalist societies to thrive on this “consuming”. Thus, it makes sense that the art historical discipline and the art market was born in the Western World and grew bigger with the widening of education, tastes, nationalities, and cultural as well as economic backgrounds.
Still, that fails to answer the question “What the hell is the point of studying art?” Does art history serve any purpose other than requiring its students to memorize what Manet painted in 1863 (no, not Monet…Manet!) and how art patron Peggy Guggenheim wanted to lay some of the great artists she praised (Duchamp and Pollock to name a couple). Believe me, there were days sitting in darken lecture rooms where my professor would go on for 20 minutes about the meaning behind the shape of a square when I wanted to quit art history and study nursing where I thought I could be of better service in this world. Thankfully for the sake of humanity, I did not get an R.N. degree, otherwise I would just crawl in bed next to my patients hoping to get pampered too.
So here is my very simplified list. Leave a comment and add to it if you’d like.
WARNING! BIAS ALERT! BIAS ALERT! It’s crucial to consider from whose perspective all this art analysing stems from. Now dig in.
1) Studying art historical objects tells us about a certain time, place, and people (at least this is the aim).
How scary is this thought? When art historians in the year 3030 dig up Happy Meal toys, what will they think we were like? That we lived in a world of plastic? (well we kinda do) That we were tiny people? (some of us are for a while anyway) That we must have carried them around as good luck charms? Oh no. Goes to prove, art historians aren’t always right.
2) Art history also widens our appreciation for differing forms, varying aesthetics, and sometimes the cultures that created them.
It’s nice to be able to appreciate graffiti, at least some of it. This wasn’t always the case. The same could be said of Islamic calligraphy which in some places many years ago was considered blasphemous, esp. to Catholic crusaders. Two totally differing manners of communication for totally differing purposes (or not?). Art appreciation encourages tolerance. In some ways its been more successful in its aim in that category than some religious folk have, I am sorry to say.
3) Art historians attempt to give meaning to the meaningless. They attempt to decode what most people would overlook in a painting, an old piece of pottery, or a strange object that may not be easily classifiable or identifiable.
You could say this is a form of professional bullshitting. Like a good salesman, scholars are there. But then I think of a humbling image like Van Gogh’s painting “A Pair of Shoes”. At first, it is what it seems: just a painting of a pair of beaten down, scruffy old boots in drab grays. As you might have guessed it, this painting never sold in the painter’s lifetime. No one would think to see something in such a mundane object at the time, except the visionary (Sir Vincent) himself. The work finally falls upon the luck of someone to decode it, to better promote what the image could be about. One doesn’t have to like the painting. The art historian’s main aim is to help others understand it, to better experience it.
4) Lastly, but what I think is the most important and empowering reason for engaging in the art historical discipline is its ability to cultivate one’s imagination (the crucial faculty to initiate manifestation).
It wasn’t til a couple of months after I graduated with my fu-fu (and career challenging) degree that I realized something (no, not my student debt). I started really looking at things differently…literally. A table wasnt just a table anymore. An otherwise disregarded piece of trash randomly laying on the street began to form itself into an abstract design in my head. It pleased me. It entertained me. Even looking at the shapes and lines in my hands held some sort of fascination (ok, lock her up now…we are losing her). Years of looking at so much art trained my eye to see and analyze the world around me, to consider what shaped it, and how it is always in flux. It made me realize the power of the imagination and the incredible potential man has in creating something that at one point ceased to exist. This creative potential is something that can be applied beyond the plastic arts…into all areas and genres of life: from the way we style our hair, to the way we design our blog, to the way we make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Art History forever gives you the permission to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX, THE CIRCLE, THE TRIANGLE, even beyond forms.
Just don’t ask me to sketch it out for you! I will leave that to the artists.
You’d think a bachelors degree in art history and a job working for the Museum of Photographic Arts of San Diego would have convinced me to get a camera that didn’t come out of a gumball machine. Truth be known, I’m not worthy of a decent camera. I’m too lazy to put any work into taking photos. I snap my pics like I snap my fingers, uno…dos…tres…ok, lets move on. Basically, I just want a record of the essences of the places I visit. The following are images of Beaufort, South Carolina taken by yours truly. And don’t worry, I wont include any of the images I took of my thumb.
This house makes me want to test the paint for lead.
They don’t call it the land of ghostwood for nothing.
Obviously, the pic above is a pub…hmmm
And you thought your bed was hard.
The best town to send your kid trick or treating at night.
The bank that mogul Ted Turner’s dad probably owned at some point. Last I heard, Ted owned an island all to himself somewhere outside Beaufort, S.C.
And last but not least, the shot that would make Alfred Stieglitz puke in his grave…the “slacker” ghost behind the camera. So much for truth in photography!
I awaken to the sound of blue birds singing outside my window while the Parisian sun softly lays its radiance upon my eyes. I look up to see that my lover Cristiano Ronaldo (without the stupid soccer ball) has walked into the room with a pumpkin spice latte and a plate of cherry crepes.
I awaken to the sound of my blue alarm clock squawking at a pitch that would wake the dead in distant China. The sun is blazing thru the blinds, stabbing my crusty eyes. I look up to see my son walk into the room to announce: “Mom, I peed my bed.”
Fantasy: 10 am
I throw on a stylish hat, my size 5 jeans, and a Chloe silk/lace shirt (no bra cuz I’m chic like that) and head down to the Parisian farmers market. I see beautiful bundles of pink peonies, a basket of fresh cranberries, and gorgeous wheels of cheese for sale. I buy them all . I befriend a puppy begging for a snack.
Reality: 10 am
I throw on a faded Wal-Mart shirt (no bra cuz Im ghetto like that), my bleach-stained, Shamu-size sweat pants, and my “I can’t find my winter beanie, so fuck it” bag-lady- hair-hat. I drive to Food 4 Less and see warehouse wooden pallets full of cheap cereal, a shopping basket full of crumpled paper, and a frozen block of Monterey Jack cheese that could be used to build the next Hoover Dam. I befriend a wino at the door begging for spare change.
Fantasy: 12 noon
I arrive home to my Parisian loft just in time to meet my friends Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow at the door. Mario begins to prepare a paella as Gwyneth and I chat while making a pistachio gelato. We pour ourselves glasses of white wine that Paps (that’s my nickname for Gwen cuz we’re down like that) brought back from her trip thru Napa Valley. Mario cracks us up while he makes jokes about Martha Stewart.
Reality: 12 noon
I arrive home (to my parents house..boo hoo), just in time to see my half-naked brother (picture a 37 yr old fat, hairy Buddha minus the compassion with a towel around his waist) already using the kitchen. I tell him to hurry up, as he leaves egg yolk and salt all over the stove and counter. I kick myself (yes, I take my back of my heel and actually do this) for not buying a bottle of wine at Food 4 Less which i need desperately at this point. I get grossed out by the mess he leaves behind and go to Jack in the Crack instead for lunch. On the way, I curse Martha Stewart and all her spare kitchens.
I am relaxing on the grass in Luxembourg Gardens. I get an amazing idea for a poem that comes out even more brilliant than a full moon. I am approached by a gorgeous, green-eyed male visiting from Barcelona asking me what I am writing. We chat and are fascinated with one another. He asks me if I would like to fly with him over Paris tonite in his private plane. I say “What time?”
I am TRYING to write a poem in a ghetto park, but the jack hammers in the distance and the red ants crawling on my picnic blanket are distracting me. An ugly Mexican man asks me where the nearest restroom is in Spanish. I lie and tell him, “Sorry, no speako Espanol.” I give up writing and think to myself “What time is it?”
I get a call from my publishers in New York as a courtesy reminder about my book signing event in London next week. I am briefed that Prince Harry would like to meet me personally at his country estate for a private “reading” of my latest book titled “Alice in Wonderland” (Ahem, remember, this is a fantasy boys and girls).
I get a call from my mother reminding me to take out the trash for her (she hurt her leg). I see a picture of Prince Harry on the front page of a magazine I “borrowed” from the dentist office (revenge for the outrageous price they charge for a crown) in the recycle paper pile. I listen to Alice in Chains on my Ipod.
I am at an important “business” dinner with Bill and Melinda Gates at their secret château just outside Paris. They are wanting to discuss with me the donation they are planning to give to my nonprofit organization Art 4 Life which sets up art camps around the world for children and adults recovering from cancer.
I am at an unimportant boring dinner with me, myself, and I at home. I am drinking a $3 bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle out of a mug (cuz Im too tired to wash the wine glasses I dirtied throughout the week). I think about art, surviving cancer, and whether or not Bill and Melinda Gates will ever run out of money.
I am flying over Paris at night (yes, me at the yoke aka “steering wheel”) with my new Spanish “friend”. As I bank the plane (sorry, aviation lingo here), I can see that he is ready to take our evening to the next level. FLASH FORWARD: All I feel are soft lips against my neck and a fire kindling within me (use your own imagination here…Im too depressed to imagine something I can’t have).
I am driving in El Cajon at night alone. As I get to my bank to withdraw some cash from the ATM, I am feeling ready to go to sleep. FLASH FORWARD: All I feel is a mosquito against my neck and a stinging sensation within me. I’m in bed and can’t fall asleep. I wish I had a “comfort man”. Instead, I decide to put up another stupid blog post.
I am asleep in Paris… dreaming about life in California.
I am snoring in California… dreaming about life in Paris.
“It’s because they watch too much Star Trek,” my mom would claim. “They only try to copy what they see on TV.”
Do you think scientists were the ones that came up with the standard bra, the paperclip, or even the first Apple computer? Artists and everyday knuckleheads can take credit for most of the initial ideas of inventions you see around you. It all starts with an idea (usually one during a long night of drinking). In allegiance to these all night drinkers, I have my own ideas as to what needs to be invented next.
- Waterproof solar-powered laptop with attachable drink holder. Maybe this shit is already invented. I want to be able to spill my beer on it and not worry. Furthermore, I’m just sick of going to the park to get some sun and fresh air and having my laptop die after just 10 minutes into writing these stupid posts. Doesn’t a writer have a right to write right?
- Banana peeler. Again, maybe they have industrial size machines that do this. I need a gadget at home that can do it perfectly. You would think that after graduating from college and learning how to tie my shoes that I would be able to open a banana without getting a bunch of white goo all over me. Well, think again. I dread peeling bananas so much now, I hand it to my 11 yr old son to do it for me.
- Beans that don’t make you fart.Get to work all you biochemist majors in college that used to tell me that taking Ecstasy was part of your bio research. Get in there and alter the pinto bean. As a chic of Mexican origin, you can only imagine what good this would do for me and my people. Oh, and lay off the Ecstasy when you do this.
- “Car wash” for hands. I know this sounds lazy as hell, but I am proposing a machine or something where you can stick your hands into, it washes, drys and massages your hands with lotion. Maybe the Japanese already have this and have even moved onto versions for washing ones hair and feet. If they do, GET WITH IT AMERICA. We put a man on the moon, so why can’t most Americans wash their hands???
- Bullshit Eco Car. You know how there is always someone in your car that can’t shut up? Could be a spouse, a kid, some fat radio commentator, or yourself cursing traffic? Why not invent a car that runs off that motor mouth? Then we can tell the Middle East to go screw itself with its oil. Finally, Rush Limbaugh would have some real purpose in this world.