march 2002

click here for permalink March 25, 2002

Well, well, well... as we push our overflowing plates away and rise from the table like turkey-stuffed extended family at Thanksgiving, we heave a collective sigh of relief that it's over for yet another year.

It's amazing that all those pre-Oscar award shows, glittery and hyped as they've become now that basic cable dutifully beams every last one of them into our homes for two months straight, still manage to leave us with a sense of celebrity-starved anticipation that only the real Academy Awards can satisfy.

And satisfy they do... I can't remember the last time I turned off the post-Oscar wrap-up without the slightly nauseous feeling you'd get as a kid after gorging yourself on half your pillowcase full of Halloween candy, despite your mother's warnings to pace yourself.

Yes, actually, I can. It was March 2000 and we were smiling warmly in the wake of richly deserved wins by Kevin Spacey, Hillary Swank and Michael Caine, whose eloquence elevated the humble acceptance speach to an art form, and wondering what the hell the deal was with Angelina Jolie and her brother, Jamie.

That bloated feeling of uneasy relief as we turned our eyes away from last night's spectacle was punctuated rather well during The View's "after party" when their fashion critic flashed a photo of Gwyneth Paltrow's hideous breast-baring gown and said simply, and humorlessly, "this is unforgivable."

Over at Salon, their most delightfully vitriolic editorialist, Cintra Wilson, weighs in with her post-Oscar impressions in what has to be the funniest, and most painful, celebrity weak-spot exposing award show wrap-up you'll read this year.

For me, getting through her diatribe on Halle's historic win was a little like eating a chocolate truffle through the tin foil wrapper — but I couldn't stop reading and, if I weren't hampered with this damned conscience, I'd wish I wrote it.

click here for permalink March 24, 2002

The big night is upon us and it's a gorgeous, warm day here in "Hollywood North." Perfect for lazily sipping vodka tonics, waiting for the red carpet arrivals to begin... well, that and...

... a small pile of errands that I planned to do yesterday but had to put off after a visit to my favorite vintage store yielded two IKEA-sized bags of kick-ass clothes that couldn't wait another minute to be in my closet.

The store owner, who knows me well, was holding up a hooded, black, dreadlock-looking wool jacket as I walked through the door; right away, he had my full attention and I remained there in the entryway for 45 minutes as he piled my new wardrobe across an antique gold velvet chair.

"Everything there," — he waved to a cashier, indicating the teetering stack of pants, jackets, shirts, sweaters and a long scarf to match the jacket that had lured me in. "A dollar apiece."

I sputtered, almost literally, in disbelief. Before I could say anything, another cashier emerged from the back room and, in what I can only call the luckiest coincidence I've had this year, handed the owner a long, black fur coat and asked if it was supposed to be on display.

The owner held it up to the sunlight coming in the front door, inspecting it for damage. "It's really nice — this was in the back?" I don't think I was actually whimpering — but he did turn to me at that moment to catch the covetous glare I was giving the coat; he reached out to hand it to me.

Pointing to a minute flaw in the lapel, almost entirely hidden by the fur next to it, he said "see there?" I did, but I also saw that there was nothing near as cool on the coat rack across the room.

I put it on and stood posing, P.Diddy style, in the candy-apple red, kid's room vanity table mirror to right of the door — two guys from the stockroom walked past and stopped to comment on how "me" it was. Lucky guess — they didn't know me.

"Heh, I know!" I grinned, shoving my hands into pefectly intact, lint-free pockets, something I thought was against the natural laws that govern vintage clothing... "Uh... I mean, thank you..."

"Okay," I gestured to the pile, which was folded neatly into two large, whole wheat colored shopping bags at my feet, "and the coat... maybe..."

"Five dollars for the coat," he said, "and five for the hat." I hadn't decided about the black velvet Johnny Cash hat that sat looking crisp and new, and very Johhny, on the back of the velvet chair. "For the Boyfriend," I smiled, "Done deal."

I had planned on going to the library, the grocery store, the drugstore and some other places on my way home but instead I bee-lined home for a fashion show and an evening of exhausting hand-washing.

Walking in the door, arms loaded with heavy bags — none of which contained a single item on My List — I could barely contain the spastic excitement to show off my kill of the day to Mr. Pink... in whom, it bears mentioning, I am singularly blessed...

Very few girls (and even fewer men) are lucky enough to have a guy who can really appreciate what a quintessential chick weekend this is turning out to be; singing Sarah McLaughlin and Jewel songs after dinner with friends, side-stepping random bits of vintage on every flat surface for 24 hours (first for show, then for drying flat, then for choosing Oscar party outfits) and, last but not least, active participation in the Oscar party itself... AKA, the chick Superbowl.

With a name like Mr. Pink, I'm surprised? ... No, but I thought I'd set the Velveeta in motion by throwing out an acceptance speach of my own... Baby, you're the Best Actor in a Starring Role, the Best Supporting Actor, by a landslide, the hairstylist to the stars (good thing or we'd both have died that night!) and many of those boring of technical awards that will, as always, be presented in a private, off-screen ceremony.

Goodnight everybody!

click here for permalink March 22, 2002

I did NOT make this up — why would I? It's too random; my horoscope for today actually says, "A scandal concerning a celebrity whom you admire could be spread all over the newspapers today."

It goes on to advise, "This might throw you for a loop, and you might even suffer a little disillusionment. Withhold judgment for the time being, however. Much of what you hear may be traced to gossip or misinformation. Shocking though it may be, you'll want to hear the celebrity's side of it," ...oh, but I think I have.

Damn it, Astrocenter — get OUT of my HEAD!!

Oh, it's not that bad! I'm not disillusioned, per se... I mean, I'm... concerned... heh, and I think admire might be too strong a word to describe my feelings for Pammy. I think she's gorgeous and I love her semi-conscious/semi-accidental talent for side-stepping, surmounting and mocking — all the while mass marketing — her uber-bimbo image.

But she's not, like, my idol or mentor or anything, for god's sake. Who do I admire? I haven't really thought about it in a while... Limiting it to those presently alive, I'd say Richard Branson (oops, make that Sir Richard Branson) is high on my list.

And... Christina Hefner. Heh... I know, it's not like she had to interview for the job or anything, but I like the way she stepped in without reservation when Dad offered up the throne.

Oliver Stone; I like him even more since I found out that he's a Virgo with Scorpio rising just like me. That goes a long way towards explaining why he was such a fanatic about defending his intentions in the furor that arose over "Natural Born Killers." He took every opportunity to respond to accusations that the film promoted violence with its "gratuitousness," lack of moral judgment and general over-the-topness. At the time, I completely empathized with his compulsion to defend his creation — and now I know why.

Camille Paglia, Dennis Miller, Ralph Nader... I'm sure there are more but I'd better cut this short or the Pinklog could easily devolve into a high tech repository for yet another collection of my infamous lists. Neurotic list-making is, apparently, one of the habits cultivated by the most successful and "effective" people. For me it's, on one hand, meditative... if my brain is spinning out but I can't derive anything creative from the static, I write lists of random crap. It seems to help.

On the other hand, there's the "Memento" factor; quite often, if I don't immediately write down a thought — from "buy milk" to "write essay comparing social impact of Marquis de Sade with that of 80s shock-hack Bret Easton Ellis" — I stand a good chance of losing said thought to the next random one that comes along to demand my attention (deficit) — then again, maybe there really is a brain cell fairy... she never leaves me any change, though.

click here for permalink March 21, 2002

Happy Anniversary to me, Happy Anniversary to me... two weeks late, actually; my first post was dated March 5th but, if memory serves — and I doubt it does — we launched a bit after that...

Well, I may be two weeks late in remembering to pat myself on the web log for a year online but I am, after all, wishing myself many happy returns here (what the hell does that term mean, anyway?) and, while I'm at it, happy third anniversary to Alice, my inspiration and, not incidentally, the multi-talented — and very generous — designer of

Well, damn... aside from that, I haven't a whole hell of a lot to say today. Maybe — in celebration of the anniversary, you know — I think I'll devote today's entry to babbling about a few of the sites I've gotten sucked into reading lately.

You can take the girl out of high school... heheh. Actually, my comic book collection started when I was ten and picked up issue #21 of (okay, I was TEN!) Dazzler; The X-Men, Daredevil and innumerable X-spin-offs were to follow. Unfortunately, the salary of an art school student slash Victoria's Secret spritzer girl wasn't sufficient to support my comic book habit and the collection stalled by the end of my first semester in college.

However, my fetish for comic and sci-fi/fantasy art never faded — and that I can get for free! One of the best sites for finding tons of fantasy art (and "erotic" art — you've been warned) is Another is Maudragon, a french web site that updates every few days with enormous scans of some of the best fantasy art around. Go to the "Scans" section and you won't have to worry about translating.

24 Frames per Second is the place to find the kind of high-minded social commentary and obsessively intricate deconstructions that almost make actually seeing some of the best films ever made ubiquitous. For me, the world became a fraction more hospitable after I discovered this site and, of course, Hey! It's only cheating if you use the information for evil.

And, to satisfy all your retro-kitsch, trippin'-down-memory-lane needs, there's Yesterdayland. Now, when those employee lounge roundtable "hey, remember Snorks? Remember Jem and the Holograms? Remember Marrs Needs Women?" conversations start to get stale and repetitive, you've got a deep well from which to draw new material — a veritable mother load of memorabilia and pre-millennial minutiae.

click here for permalink March 20, 2002

Hey, y'all... I need you to meditate on something for me, if you can spare the force of your collective thoughts for a moment. You'll be karmically repaid tenfold — if you meditate hard enough.

'Kay, here's what you do — imagine the scene as time-lapse photography footage, in exquisitely detailed slow motion — visualize a thin, gold-white tree branch that's been broken in two. It's drifting in space, circling slowly away from a moment of cellular violence. Now reverse the projector; watch the shattered branch freeze in time before reversing on its axis of entropy.

See the odd, awkward angle of a second ago slowly begin to right itself; two fractured halves stiffen with purpose, straining to regain unity. Entangled fibers flex and pull sinuously away from the knotted center — reaching, stretching, straightening, slowly becoming firm and smooth. And finally, they are whole, intact and crackling with kinetic energy.

The branch, radiant with renewed life, draws irresistibly at the hovering splinters that swirl and collect around it. As if magnetically charged, the delicate fragments arc and glide to the surface, filling tiny fissures seamlessly. Once in place, they knit and fuse, becoming a pulsing, electrified network of living fibers. Finally, all evidence of fracture has been eradicated — all evidence of pain erased from molecular memory.

Thanks, everyone! And trust me — my karma card is ALL paid up, so... I'm good for it.

Earlier today...

Less than a week till the Oscars and I know I'm not going to see any more of the nominees between now and Sunday. I should have at least seen Lord of the Rings, for sort of obvious reasons...

Out of all the nominees, I managed to see Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones' Diary and Memento — and only one of those really stands a chance in hell of winning anything. It's pathetic, but in recent years I'm lucky if I can drag my sorry ass to a movie theater three times in one year.

Well, okay... I also saw Zoolander but, well, you know... And, come to think of it, I only saw two of the aforementioned nominees in the theater. The thing is, I want to have seen all these movies but I really have no desire to actually sit through most of them.

I mean, I'm sure that In the Bedroom and A Beautiful Mind are brilliant movies but I only have the attention span and emotional fortitude to endure so many lengthy, thought-provoking, heart-wrenching dramas per year and they just didn't make the cut for 2001. To be honest, I was still getting over Cast Away.

It's that very weakness that caused me to wait ten or twenty years between the theatrical releases and my eventual, reluctant viewings of Schindler's List, Philadelphia, Nell, Awakenings, The Piano and The Deer Hunter, to name just a very few.

So! Never one to feel sorry for myself for too long without looking for a loophole, I have found the perfect solution — and this goes out to a certain nit picker who couldn't resist badgering me for criticizing movies without having seen them — to paraphrase a true classic, "You ask for miracles... I give you..."

It's got scene-by-scene summaries of all the latest movies, Cliff Notes-style, with photos accompanying each entry... and, of course, spoilers! It's ingenious! I'm so happy! Oh, and I'm all about giving credit where credit is due, so I'd like to thank the aforementioned nit picker for inspiring me to new heights of wantonly critical, non-movie watching and enabling me to jettison any last vestiges of hesitation I might have had about spouting my uninformed opinions to all who will read them.

Thank you and, might I add, got you.

click here for permalink March 19, 2002

La la la la... in the lane, snow is glistening... a beautiful sight... La la la la... walking in a winter wonderland... What? It's two days till the official start of Spring, you say? Reeeally...

Well, you coulda fooled me cause it's been dumping fucking SNOW on Vancouver for the last two days! WHAT the FUCK??!! Yesterday, it was coming down so heavily at times that the view out my window was solid white. I demand a left-field, El Nino-esque explanation for this!

Not that I mind, really; it does beat the hell out of walking in the rain... and I don't drive, so it's not an inconvenience, per se, just really fucking weird. Honestly, I think that this polar shift, or whatever it is, is making me angry at myself for not buying that awesome fake fur coat I found on sale a month ago while playing "wing man" to a friend while she shopped.

I justified not spending the money by pointing out the seemingly obvious; winter was over and I would probably only get to wear the thing once before relegating it to the closet for nine months. It was, now that I think about it, right in the middle of that ONE WEEK in February that always tricks us, here in the Northwest, into thinking it's Spring...

You know the week I'm talking about... it gets all warm and sunny and you think, February/March — big diff! And you see guys in parks with frisbees wearing shorts and women in suits eating their lunch outside with their sleeves all rolled up exposing winter-white arms to the welcome rays of the sun...

Why do I always forget about that week? It's never an early start to Spring! It's ALWAYS followed by torrential rains, gale-force winds and, now — as if we needed the ante upped here in the weather-related suicide zone — SNOW!!

Damn, that was a nice coat...

click here for permalink March 15, 2002

There must be some sort of biological alarm clock going off nearby. For starters, all of my single friends have suddenly started — or abruptly stopped — searching for a soul mate...

It's eerie because there's no age-specific rhyme or reason to the recent revolutions and reforms going on in most of my friends' lives. At least they're not all suddenly having babies!

But they are planning for it... with or without the aforementioned soul mate... Some of the most die hard nomads are incorporating their own businesses while the hypochondriac prescription junkies are tossing their antibiotics and embracing holistic health plans.

My friend Liz has heard a biological alarm of her own and shares the gist of it in this public service announcement... which got me thinking about my role in all of this. I'm not even slightly feeling maternal, or pressured to grow up myself, for that matter. I'm worried about my metabolism and the ugly things I've heard it can do around my age... but not worried enough to, like, work out or anything...

But, as Liz says at the end of the link in the last paragraph, I have been giving a whole lot of motherly/sisterly advice... even, somewhat fittingly, to my own mother. I guess the only concession I've made so far, to the biological fog horn going off in the neighborhood, has been fulfilling an urge I've had since I was eleven.

About a month ago I bleached the living hell out of my hair... I love it. And, for the first time since I was eleven, I don't give a damn about the damage or the roots or the dire consequences that would result from leaving it on ten minutes too long... so I guess the Barbie Dream Roadster can't be far behind.

click here for permalink March 11, 2002

Here's an exercise in tertiary self-examination: unpack, purchase or stumble upon a favorite author from your past, or new ruminations by said author on works from his past, and observe the delicate balancing act your memory performs as it assimilates the information into your time-altered mind.

Nothing stimulates the brain in quite the same way. It's unlike, for example, the spontaneous time-shifting effect of hearing your favorite song from 10th grade on the radio or walking through a cloud of that powerful perfume of a long-lost love, the familiar fragrance catapulting you back through time, if only for an instant. No, it's nothing like that.

The written words that once deeply touched your malleable psyche altered your thought patterns forever, whether you purposely re-patterned them in homage to the writer or carried them blindly into adulthood like a dormant virus, unaware that you'd been infected, until you find yourself, years later, face-to-face with its source.

You may find yourself staring down at the very origin of your favorite metaphor, affectation or catch-phrase (the one you managed to convince yourself you'd invented yourself, long ago) or you may be bitterly disappointed, weighing the paragon of cleverness and wit you've carried in your mind against the cold, indifferent truth; those words you cherished, the tone you shamelessly appropriated, now... seem so... obvious, so melodramatic... pedantic, droning, pretentious, immature, derivative... the literary icon of your youth shrinks and shrivels before your eyes, leaving nothing but a page of suddenly lifeless words behind.

In the April issue of Details, which revisits "Generation X: Ten Years Later," Douglas Coupland takes a shot at telling the world what it's like to be credited with, or accused of, initiating the zeitgeist that was the catch-phrase "Generation X."

Now, back in the day, I was a huge Coupland fan... I read Generation X while working at my first and only Big, Faceless, Corporate Job. I slacked with impunity and co-opted one of the cuter Couplandisms, referring to my lightless, padded cubicle as the old Veal Fattening Pen.

I read Microserfs and became obsessed with the idea of working for a small, quirky tech company; I spent countless hours sending resumes to dozens of web production houses, ad agencies and software designers. By shear force of will and some fortuitous personality matches, I was finally hired (for a position I knew nothing about) at a cozy 14-person start-up where bare feet and Mattel action figures were just as commonly displayed on people's desks as their latest project's technical specs.

(For the record, within three months, I was co-managing a department and knew not only the job I'd been hired for but three others I'd leapt at the chance to learn when human resources panicked over the loss of yet another programmer or designer.)

Around that time, I read Girlfriend in a Coma (I know, I know) and marvelled at Coupland's ability to convey the emotions of the masses through that familiar, gimmicky, seemingly superficial prose. He captured the sense of spiritual desolation of the late 90s and explored the vast wasteland that was left in the wake of a cultural steamroller — one comprised of parts he helped to create — and found a society full of cynicism without hope, irony without insight, consumerism without conscience, information technology that promised community and education but delivered only trivia and insidious commercialism.

So, it was with no small amount of apprehension that I read the article entitled, ironically, I hope, "My Generation." Perhaps it is impossible to come out on top in this situation; set up as the fall guy for an entire generation you never really set out to speak for; cast as the defendant in a trial over the enfant terrible you wished — before anyone else — that you could banish back into the womb of your unconscious.

In spite of the fact that I know this, reading Coupland's article is a depressing experience; his casually self-referential, smirking tone seems hollow — jaded — his forced familiarity lacks the boldness, therefore charm, of his novels and instead seems both tentative and presumptuous. Basically, he knows it's a bullshit topic and he hopes we know it, too.

The thing about Coupland, though, is that he's got this charm that's almost pathological in its persistence; even writing about his least favorite topic for the billionth time, he's incapable of lapsing into the recycled cynicism considered a Hallmark of the generation he named.

Case in point, halfway down the page, I find this sentence: "I was in East Berlin, in the world's most joyless and soul-destroying secondhand store. I was pondering the..."

Okay, right there... soul-destroying? ...lord knows I love an overwrought metaphor — much more than the next person, probably — but "soul... destroying..?" "Capable of tearing down the cherished illusion of a rewarding afterlife?" Of annihilating the spiritually enigmatic essence of life, leaving you nothing but an empty shell, bereft of meaning or substance? Hm. Well, I've never seen this secondhand store, to be fair...

He goes on, "I was pondering the effects of globalization on secondary currencies while browsing for ironic hand-me-downs, when I found a soiled and frayed grey t-shirt, the iron-on applique letters flaking away like sunburned skin. The words? LET'S GO TEAM GENERATION X"

You know what I mean? Maybe not, and that's okay - it could've just as easily been Irvine Welsh or Martin Amis or Ayn Rand that sparked off my little trip down memory lane. They all have a quality that, for me, is forever lodged in my past and colored with the attending memories, but what makes them endure, for me, is little things like that last paragraph.

Maybe it's kind of like hearing the opening notes of "Take My Breath Away." I no longer swoon with that heady 12-year old girl angst when I do hear it now, but I'm pleased to report that I don't cringe at the memory of the 12-year old girl who once did.

How about a personality test to cleanse the palette? Warning... it's... well, it's different. Have fun!