Thursday, April 15, 2010

So the bunny is having hop-time.  My love-affair with tumblr is continuing, if anything the embrasure of yet another internet platform when the world beckons outside the window - I say, fie, world, I have the internet. 

I had a very strange night the other night. It started in that oh-so gleeful outside word.  It started out quite innocuously with getting my car back - finally.  Then we went to lezchat (lesbian chat at the LA LGBT Center).  We've been going for a few weeks, and it's fun and social, a nice way to meet other lesbians in a fun and non-bar way.  We went out for dinner with the group afterwards, then met up with Omar.

Efrem Zimbelist Jr. 8x10 Original 77 Sunset Strip TV Photo #WS1759We ended up at a straight bar on the Sunset Strip.  He lives over there, and we were looking for cheap drinks.  It really became clear how much I had begun to identify as a much the presence of Ron Jeremy in a corner, skinny skinny booby blondes in platforms, men right out of the Jersey Shore, I really felt like I was at a casting for Tool Academy or somesuch VH1 reality moment. 

We definitely found it tough to get a drink. After waiting for about ten minutes while others were served, I finally pulled out my old school bar mannerisms and smiled coquettishly at the bartender.  That worked.  We got gin and tonics and settled into a back booth.

Later, when I got home, I found myself just a little too wound up to get to sleep.  I attributed it to the iced coffees I'd downed at dinner, or all the walking around we'd done, or the adrenalin when the kareoke hostess in the first bar started picking on me and I scuttled backwards like a starfish.

Hours passed.  The internet got less exciting.  Katie fell asleep.  I got less coherent.  I could not sleep.  I redid the tumblr.  I celebrated at 4 am when Stephen was featured on cute boys with cats. See here.  Super-awesome, no???  I was so manic, so pathetic, so ridiculously bored yet excited by the minimal, the was all in all just like I would be if I was on all sorts of illicit druggy drugs except I was not.  All I can attribute it to was that I had switched medications to wellbutrin and topamax that week, and those are both powerful stimulants.  Powerful stuff.  I was up till 11 am the next day.  My god!!!!

Finally, finally, on Katie's urgings, I slept.  I slept until about 9 am the next day, and I was so glad to finally get some rest.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Well, the medication switcharoo seems to have been successful.  I traded in lexapro for wellbutrin, lamictal for topamax, and left the abilify and ativan as they were.  After a week of this I have noticeably more energy, I'm more alert, I need far less caffeine, and I'm losing weight.  I squeezed into a pair of pants that had not fit me on the Reno trip.  Yay and hurray.

This week Stephen had his "Toon town frottage cottage housewarming," an afternoon mad hatter garden party that was just acres of fun.  Damien took a truly career killing and heeelarious facebook album which I shall not link to, but post my favorite picture from:
Damien, new friend, talented photographer, and all-around swell guy.  This photo really captures me and katie in wuv wuv wuv before all of the chaos broke lose.

I really wish I had taken more pictures of this party, the view of downtown spread out below, the table spread with wine and flowers, the sangria, the costumes...well. oh well.  I tend to bring my camera to social events, and then get inebriated, put it in my purse and totally forget about it while I romp around.  Oh well.

Anyway, my car is back from stolenville, which I am extremely happy about.  I'm supposed to pick it up today, as soon as someone (Stephen, hopefully) wakes up and can drive me over there.

The internet is a strange place.  I've been exploring tumblr, which is so seductive, with it's hi-res photo capacity and chatty hipster interface.  See below.  This photo was taken on the footbridge that runs from my cul-de-sac over the 101.  I emphatically did not write that, nor do I know who did.

But, in the realm of poorly thought out meme blogs, or tumblrs, if you must, I woke up one morning with this idea:  It still needs quite a bit of work, and I'm thinking of dropping the cupcake factor, as I just don't think cupcakes are that great.  But, hey.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Feeling a bit better today.  I went to see my psychiatrist and got a pill switcheroo.  Off with the lexapro and lamictal, on with the wellbutrin and topamax.  I am feeling pleased and hopeful.  Preliminary internet research predicts drastic weight loss, I'm so, so ready.

It's a hot night in echo park and downtown shimmers from the window, silver and orange skyscrapers tipped with red lights.  The ground is darker than the sky, the freeways hustles always.  The cat and rabbit are flopped, waiting, waiting for the evening to cool and the fan to end its squeaking.

Last night was really horrible, the death of Athena just triggered this horrible depression, and I kind of went off the deep end.  They are together again now, and it is time for me to move on. I can, I should, I just really should hose off and move the empty cage, fold it up in the closet so I don't have to look at it and see death.

I'm hoping that the new antidepressants lift me up a bit.  There's only so much one can block things and blind things.  Last night I was staring the perceived emptiness of my life square in the face, and it took ambien, ativan, a good nights sleep and some quality time with my dear girlfriend to really put me to rights.

My life is not empty.  It was, I think, the feeling after finishing two fairly all-consuming (and again narcissistic) projects, that of redoing my website with the tumblr platform and embedding my blog with amazon tags (hi, amazon) and enhancing the links and pics and whatnot.  As I'm on SSDI, I have to assign myself projects or else I go batshit. 

An old writing teacher at CalArts used to talk about my thesis as an effort to fill the void with anything and everything, whether drugs, sex, rampant socializing, boozing it up, etc...  Now in my newly cleaned up life, there are far fewer things I am willing to throw into that void.  I seem to have latched on to the internet as a way to fill that, the emptiness of living, free time mangement, etc...

That's an equation I can accept.  I remember the old devil's bargain a friend and I made, pinky-swore, that we'd rather be drug addicts than fat. I'm done with drugs, and trying to be done with fat.  What next?  Veganism? ScientologyReikiMaster Cleanse?  Oh hell no.

I'm lashing my wagon to pills.  please, get me over this pass.
Admittedly it's only a few hours since I discovered her, but I'm still wrapped up in this sledgehammer of depression.  I live my life centered around...what?  The internet?  My god.  This is why I usually drink when I'm depressed, but i don't have my car yet and thus can't go buy liquor.  I went and looked at it today in the shop where it's being fixed, and it looked fine. I'm supposed to get it back in a few days, it's been a few days for about a week now, and MAMA WANTS A DRINK.

I'm not sure why I self-reference as mama.  Mama who?  My rat babies are dead.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

For Liza and Athena.

The cage is empty now.  Little A, little Athena, named by my old roommate Sarah, passed away today.  It was a hot day, a taste of sick in my mouth, the vibrations of the air conditioner.  Athena was sickly from the beginning, sweet but wild, a skittish rat with a cough when we brought her home, and thought she wouldn't live.

She outlived her sister, Liza, who passed on March 28.  Ten days.  I imagine her ten days, her polka-dot shoebox empty by half, the fur-friend and companion gone.  Without company, without someone to groom and scamper with, to cuddle with on cold nights and speak whatever inscrutable rat scribbles to.  It must have been lonely.  It must have seemed hopeless.

Perhaps she is happier now.  I was looking at earlier posts in a completely narcissistic and time-squandering effort to properly tag things, and saw a picture of her in happier times.  She was so cute and energetic, she loved to try and jump out of the old cage, and she loved to scamper around the North Hollywood apartment.

The turning point was when we moved to Waco and got the kitten.  I admit I turned away from my little ratties a little bit, I was scared to let them run around and get lost in the small, cluttered house.  Athena turned mean for awhile and began to bite.  I felt for her, it must have been hard to go from free running favorites to a less favored place. Then we moved again to the Treehouse and I realized they must need more attention.

I blame myself a bit, I do.  Rats don't live for very long.  I'm reminded of  the end of Bladerunner when he says, "It's too bad she won't live." 

RIP Athena Lambert, 2008-2010.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Here is an essay that I wrote a few months ago about riot grrl and zines and their effect on my life.  It's a bit of an explanation of my current mess.  There is hope that it will be in a book of essays on riot grrl edited by Jane Graham.

I remember the early nineties very clearly. What drove me then was a sense of voicelessness, and a sense that I must motivate to have my voice heard. As a teenager, in the pre-internet era, all we had to go on was mass media and whatever scraps of subculture we could find. Elusive zines slipped into bags in record stores I’d begged my mom to drive me to. Late nights poring over 120 Minutes on MTV in search of a band that resonated. When my friend mail-ordered Bikini Kill’s Revolution Grrrl Style Now in 1992, our proto-feminist consciousness exploded. Wheatpasting the high school, covering our binders with stickers and slogans, putting out our first zines, “Hot Lunch,” “Gun Moll,” Bedtime Stories for Trivial Teens,” and “Backcomb Backtalk.” What coalesced was a sense of agency, that we were part of a rising cultural movement, and that we could use that collective voice to speak out against what wronged us. To make, and remake, a world we’d rather live in.

        Yes, the rhetoric was strong in those days. Those heady days of living in punk houses with slogans and the ubiquitous stars scrawled in spray paint on the walls, sometimes I miss them. There was a sense that we lived outside of society, when, in fact, we were students at Reed College, and for all of our revolutionary ferver I still studied by candlelight when the electricity went out.

         Punk is made up of paradoxes and so is my current life.

         When I graduated from college, the necessities of earning a living cut me off creatively. I moved to San Francisco where there was employable industry beyond Portland’s strip clubs, and discovered that to keep that pricy apartment I had to work nine to five and Saturdays too. The pain of not writing, not painting, not zinemaking, was eclipsed and dulled by the discovery of seductive nightlife and the drugs that came with it. After being fired again, I took the severance and unemployment and set myself to write a novel about disillusionment. That was to become Jet Set Desolate.

When the bottom fell out on my finances I left San Francisco and went to the CalArts Critical Studies program, a writing program with a theoretical component. There I found a creative community without the strictures of punk dogma. I ended up living in Los Angeles, sharing a guest house with my lesbian partner. Now I feel as if the feminist ethos is still with me, but the punk aspect has been modified for comfortable beds, a clean house, and a more responsible approach.

My lover is a woman, a beautiful girl nine years younger than me who is as enthusiastic about riot grrrl music and zine culture as I once was. Together we made a zine called “Paranoid,” and started a band called Cherry Ames Army Nurse. Throughout my relationship with her I’ve had a renewal of the passion, devotion and D.I.Y. that was missing through the long, lonely years in San Francisco.

I have chosen not to raise a family due to the worsening of my mental illness. I have bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms. Going on federal disability (SSDI) after graduate school, the need to earn a living was diminished, and I became more available for creative projects. I am still an outsider, more so, perhaps, that when it was my entire life ethos and I proclaimed it with my tattoos, spikes and stench. It is no longer a collectively imagined unifying subculture, but the faulty wiring of my brain that keeps me outside.

Now, after several institutionalizations and suitcases of pills, I’ve been designated disabled, and thus live off a small stipend from the government. Over the year that my post-MFA breakdown immobilized me, my first novel was accepted by a publisher. Jet Set Desolate was published by Future Fiction London this September. A poetry book, Lorazepam and the Valley of Skin / 730910-2155 is currently at the printers and should be out soon from valeveil.

What drives me now is different that what drove me then. I now have many more avenues available for self-expression, like blogging, my website, social networking, painting, etc…  I now feel I must work not simply to be heard, but to say something coherent and worthy. The air is aflutter with Tweets, but honing a thesis and saying something precise is far more difficult.

It is also difficult when you are on heavy tranquilizers. My bipolar disorder necessitates a regimen of pills, namely Abilify, Lexapro, Lamictal, and Ativan. The Ativan, (or Lorazepam, it’s generic name) is an anti-convulsant sedative-hypnotic that hinders my productivity and judgment. However, the Ativan is necessary because it stops the voices, the endless nagging, criticizing, hammering away at my mind. I strove so hard to find my voice that now the voices attacking me are constant. They rattle at the edges of my sense telling me what’s wrong with me, and how I am being monitored and investigate for some sort of murky wrongdoing.

What drives me now is more the desire to speak and write and paint and communicate with others despite these hindrances. What drives me now is the desire to have a good and productive life with my partner, despite the turmoil of the past.
Is blogging about tumblr, or twitter, or linkedIn a layer of meta or a level of dorkiness henceforth unplumbed? Well, here goes.  I have been considering joining twitter, but have been severely advised against it by my girlfriend, and friends.  I'm not really sure what the point would be.

I just got an email from, I understand they are trying to make social networking professional, but, y'all, I'm unemployed and fairly unprofessional.  I commend their efforts to rescue us from myspace (or perhaps from awkward networking events).  But, really, I've very little interest in it.

That said, while going through the tumblr exercise, I too heart tumblr, it delivered perfectly what I wanted and was free as that tiny twitter bird.  Which is not free.  Perhaps free as the geese and pigeons around the lake.  This metaphor has goen on way too long and isn't working.

Anyway, with this blog it has been a long and peculiar progress, I think it's the social media platform I've stayed with the longest, I recall forgetting I had a blog somewhere in 2007 and then rediscovering it and being so amused.  It's fundamentally mastubatory, sitting here writing into the abyss of the internet for days and days, but isn't that what I used to do in that room in San Francisco, write into the darkness of the night and the abyss of my hard drive hoping someone someday would read and understand.

And I hope it does not go too far into the "abyss-adjacent" (thanks V. Place for that dear phrase) of corporate sponsorship in that I've been going back through and adding amazon tags to things discussed in previous posts.  I feel I must disclose, and apologize as well, and add that I'm not going to just start plugging random things like Twilight.  Which, actually, I just did...aie.....and the dish ran away with the spoon! 

Here's a Mark Ryden video to comfort you from the horror of meta-implosion.

I realize, reading back (now that's a whole fist of mastubatory) that I talk a fair bit about pop culture and products anyway.  I guess it's the old punk in me that's a bit itchy-uncomfortable about the implications of the process. 

My big score of the week was discovering my old punk sweatshirt in my newly recovered car, along with a bunch of old tapes that Katie had bought and stashed there.  She marched off to school wearing it and looking all kinds of adorable.  And, really, punks not dead but it's in a cage covered with blood.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Never have I spent so much time dithering about themes and templates...whether black background or patterned, or white for a more professional look.   Where to put the pages, how to interface with tumblrs naturally blog-centric nature - and here I am trying to wrench it around a different way.  It's a nice interface, I like the high-definition photo quality and the sheer modernity of it.  I love how mentioning modernity makes me think of Clement Greenberg and Disney's tomorrowland.

Speaking of which, K and I had the most wonderful Easter dinner at Gerg's house. Lovely people, lots of deviled eggs, and the opportunity to wear pastel frocks.  Jolly good fun.

All of this dithering with interface has really made me focus on presentation and what is permitted/encouraged by certain themes, what impression they make, like the first step through the door of a party.  Do you wish the eau de myspace?

Either way, I'm quite done with livejournal.  After poking around in the eyeshadowsluts and tmi communities, as well as bipolarsurvival and being rejected by the bad sex community, which I thought was bizarre, the whole thing seemed to be mostly teenagers and early twentisomethings.  The elephant in the room is that I'm 33 and spend my time doing fiddle de dee whatever.

I got in this involved discussion with Stephen the other day about whether or not I was immature.  He said I was, but it was a good thing, while I felt it was somewhat of a bad thing.  Either way, there should be a tumblr along the lines of bea arthur mountains pizza that's a collection of pictures of bunnies, lesbians, and cupcakes.  Here are my submissions:

Sunday, April 04, 2010

It's been a busy Easter day, cooking a lemon meringue pie, working on a new tumblr that is going to supplant my previous site.  From to is a big change and hopefully a good one.  My main reason for this switch is that I got sick of paying yahoo's fees, and while their software was useful, with the advent of bigger screen sizes and whatnot, the site had begun to look a bit out of date.

I've spent the last few days maniacally working on the site, so that I can get it in shape before the switchover.  Hopefully I can keep the domain name and just reroute.

It has indeed been a learning process, as with any new platform.  But I'm fairly pleased with the results.  There are still a few kinks to be worked out what with spacing and the every-obsessional task of choosing the perfect theme.

Friday, April 02, 2010

A try at completing record cover, a la this french blog.

And a couple shots of Alex on our porch.
Fiddle-dee-dee.  I have been fiddling with this blog, in an effort to improve things.  It is my nature to expend large amounts of effort on things that matter to no-one.  Except myself.  I was told by the powers that be that I should disclose - I am now beholden to Adsense and Amazon Associates for my product endorsement and ad displays.

I will still only endorse things that I actually like, read, and have a reason to discuss on this blog.  But it's not that mama needs a new pair of shoes, it's that mama is penniless again, and after a few months at adsense I might be able to buy a potato taco.