Monday, January 25, 2010

let the sun shine

Well, it's not exactly sunshine-y outside, but it's less pouring rain-y than it was last week, so I'll take it. Although I'm happy that more showers are headed our way tomorrow, because, let's face it: SoCal needs all the rain we can get. Although we also need to figure out a way to trap this water, make it clean, and then use it while we're in a drought. But I digress.

I wanted to say thanks for everyone's very cool and incredibly supportive comments on my last couple posts - my 2009 post was a little bit brutally honest and I was really worried that my 2010 post was going to scare the crap out of most of you. And then, of course, there was my Haiti/suicide post, which I'm sure livened up everyone's day. So I'm letting the sun shine back in for this post because even though a lot of us get the January blues, there's still plenty of love and laughter to go around.

There's also some really good news too - if any of you had a chance to vote for the first online suicide prevention network in Chase's Community giveaway, it came in third place and won $100,000! They also now have over 7,000 volunteers who want to help make I'mAlive a reality. Writing that post about my acquaintance's suicide was tough - but I got through it, and a lot of that was because of all of your incredibly kind and brave comments. You guys all rock.

On a more personal blog note, I am very grateful to announce that I won a blog giveaway hosted by the adorable Carissa over at The Lovely Dove. She's been blogging for just over a year (and I just got to meet her in person at the SoCal Blogger's Brunch, so I feel twice as blessed) and to celebrate she gave away a beautiful desktop calendar, a cute little journal, and a very cool handwoven bracelet that I'm pretty sure I'm never going to take off. You can check out the stuff here and please, if you get a chance, do stop by Carissa's and say hi. And tell her I sent you :)

And finally - the beautiful Jo over at Jo Knows gave me the Happy 101 award -

it looks like this:

...and the mission, should I choose to accept it, is to pass it along to three other bloggers and write ten things that make me happy. And since we're all kind of fighting off the January Sucks, I thought I'd make a happiness advice list so that everyone can try these Get Happy tips.

1) Have an impromptu picnic - grab your favorite food to-go and eat it in in a grassy park with your socks and shoes off. Don't put on your Ipod, that's cheating. Just enjoy the sunshine and people watch in the park.

2) Smile at five complete strangers for no other reason than the fact that we're all in this together. If they scowl instead of smile, rest assured that three hours later they will feel like an idiot for not smiling back.

3) Celebrate Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day - it's today, Monday, January 25th, and no, I'm not making that up - by pouncing on some bubble wrap that you have lying around and popping it until you feel better about life. Or until you run out, whichever happens first.

4) Buy your friend, roommate, girlfriend, boyfriend, mom, dad, favorite sibling or mortal enemy flowers for no reason at all, and have them sent to the office to brighten his or her entire week.

5) Loan a friend a book you think they'd like. Tell them why.

6) Let someone have the right of way while driving. Even if you're 100 percent sure you had the right of way and that the person you let in might be a total idiot. Let them in anyways. Then breathe deeply.

7) Blow bubbles. I promise you that blowing bubbles with a $1 bottle of bubble solution is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get happy.

8) If you feel safe enough to do so, buy a homeless person coffee and a muffin. It's what I do instead of giving cash (which I usually don't have anyways) and homeless people appreciate the human interaction, even if they can't always show it.

9) Forgive someone. Even if they don't deserve it. YOU deserve it. And no, you don't have to tell them.

10) Go to the dog park. Bring dog treats and watch your popularity skyrocket. (Just make sure the owners are cool with you spoiling their dogs' appetites!)

And I pass along this award to three of the most upbeat people I know:

Gwen, over at Confessions of a Control Freak;

Irenicineri, over at Harmonious Grub; and

Eeeno, over at Eeeno's World.

I adore all three of these girls for their upbeat perspectives on life and how awesomely kick-ass they are in their own ways. (Come to think of it, two of them know martial arts and a third probably boxes like a pro. Coincidence? Probably not.)

So here's to a shinier Monday, everyone!

photo credit: I found it here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I could explain to you what my goals are for 2010 (NOT resolutions - I'm not a "resolution" person either, the logic being that if I want to change my life I can do it any damn time I please and who needs resolutions that I'm just gonna break after five minutes, anyways?) but I thought instead I'd just tell you about a dream I had and you'll all get it anyways. My dreams are so freakin' obvious that a freshman in college who sat in the back row of Psych 101 and doodled while paying half attention would be able to tell you what my dreams mean. Freud would be bored out of his mind.

Anyways, I had the following dream a few weeks ago, (before the thunderstorms hit SoCal) and I'm not making up a single detail, I promise. (Spoiler alert - sorry if some of the images are a little bit graphic. My dreams are very dark and disturbing and bloody.)

I dreamed that I was standing on a wooden float in the middle of the water, like what they had back at the summer camp I used to go in Maine every summer, shivering in the cold in my bathing suit. It was storming, with huge rolling black waves washing over the float and over my feet. The wooden square swayed dangerously with the waves and I, like just about everyone else on the plank, struggled to keep my balance. The sky was dark and angry, lightening cracked every so often and I could make out the shapes of sharks in the water, darting back and forth like large silver and black bullets waiting to strike.

There was someone in charge. He had a whistle and clipboard and he stood on the tiny wooden island with us, telling us that in order to become certified lifeguards we had to jump in the water and save people from the storm and from the sharks. One by one people jumped in.

As it got closer to my turn, I looked down at my legs. They were covered in cuts and blood was running down them, spilling onto my feet and the salty, wet wood beneath me. I kept wiping the blood off from the cuts, hoping that underneath scabs were forming, kept trying to put cloth and band-aids on the wounds after I cleaned them, but my legs kept bleeding. The cuts were not healing. I was not healing. There was just too much that had already happened.

It was finally my turn. The head lifeguard looked at me. I looked at him, terrified out of my mind, blood running down my knees.

I'm sorry, I said. But I'm not going to do this.

The man in charge looked flabbergasted.

I have to learn how to swim first, I said. I have to learn how to swim by myself before I can become a lifeguard.

And what was once a tiny wooden platform out in the middle of the ocean with no other land in sight suddenly connected to land. I walked past the rest of the group of huddled and freezing cold lifeguards-in-training and pulled Benni out of the crowd.

You're coming with me, I said. You don't know how to swim either.

And off we went onto dry land and safer shores. When I looked down at my legs again, there was no sign of the cuts, no blood, no sign of the past. I was clean and new, and I was finally putting my self first.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


...frankly, sucked. A lot. I'll be honest here, kids: true to Phoenix-like form, I set my life on fire in January of 2009 and then spent the rest of the year watching everything I had loved and everything I'd put so much hard work into burn down to the ground. I grieved, night after night, for what I missed, until it morphed into what I remembered missing, and then one day I woke up and I started to forget to miss what I was once so sure I could not live without. If that makes any sense.

I will always make it hard on myself. Always. I'm that girl. I don't settle, I look, everywhere, sometimes I keep looking after I've found what it was I was looking for, and I don't accept complacency in my own life. I yearn for it, sure, I long and pine to be the person who lets the lies stick to the bottom of the floor and builds a brick house on top and never checks on the foundation again. But that is not me. I cannot do those things. I am not that person.

But I will tell you that I know this much is true: I start fires, it's a fact, I start them everywhere I go and I just can't help it, because the fire is inside me and it's not going anywhere; but like my blog moniker, I also rise up from the fire and ashes and smoke, brand new, reinvented and bold, and I stand validated in the choices that I've made, for the reasons I made them. And I truly do not regret a single thing about 2009, nor would I change any of it. Because I'm flying above it all now, and let me tell you: the view is gorgeous from above.

Anyways, so here's my little list of the best of 2009 because, looking back, there were quite a few good things too:

Best album: "It's Blitz" by the Yeah Yeah Yeah's

Best song: "Two Weeks" by Grizzly Bear, off the Veckatimest album

Best official music video - Oren Lavie's "Her Morning Elegance"

Best fan-made music video - "Two Weeks," sung by Grizzly Bear, animated by Gabe Askew - one of the most amazing music videos I've ever seen. Not only is the animation stunning, the video shows both how hard and how lovely it is to be in a relationship.

Best film: 500 Days of Summer

Best 3D film: Well, we saw this coming: Avatar

Best CGI film: (and best over-all film moment): Up. If you haven't seen it, rent it. The first fifteen minutes, using no dialogue, tell the beginning, middle and almost-end of a beautiful love story. You will cry.

Best classic animation film: The Princess and the Frog. Besides the charming songs, good old-fashioned fantastic animation and some bold choices with the plot, can I get a Hell IT'S ABOUT TIME for a Disney leading lady to be African-American AND to have an interracial romance?

Best Stop-Animation film: It's a tie between Neil Gaiman's Coraline and Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Both looked fantastic and were fairly dark animated films.

Best TV show finale: Battlestar Galactica. So say we all.

Best TV show: Dollhouse (rest in peace)

Best Book: City of Thieves by David Benioff

And a few shiny moments from my personal life during 2009:

Best concert: Well, I DID get to see Flogging Molly twice this year, and I did get to see Metallica for the first time..but nothing compared to seeing the composer of the tv show Battlestar Galactica, Bear McCreary, perform all the music from the show with his orchestra...and then having Katee Sackhoff (the character Starbuck) come up on stage for a little piano duet. Hands down possibly the best concert I've ever been to.

Best job I booked: The PetSmart print ad. Eleven hours of playing with puppies in the parks. For which I also got paid. (Those are my feet, right next to Sadie the Basset Hound!)

My best friend Stacey giving birth and texting through most of it.

Hell Froze Over (the web-series I'm in) winning its first award at the New York Television Festival

Having an amazing Halloween night in West Hollywood

Fighting my speeding ticket and winning - take that, Whittier PD

Canoed seventeen miles down the Colorado River. Didn't cry once.

Finally saw New York during Christmas time

Enjoyed the best New Year's Eve I've ever had

That's all,'s to a much more kick-ass 2010!

Monday, January 18, 2010

a hole in the world

So I was all set to blog on Thursday about all my highlights of 2009... and then I woke up to the news about Haiti and everything else seemed a little trivial. It just kind of blows my mind... I go to sleep on a Wednesday night in a large, comfy bed that I mostly take for granted and I wake up Thursday morning and some time in between there's 100,000 less people on this planet. And a 100,000 more that will die from their untreated injuries.

And then you have American Evangelical Pat Robertson, who claims, as an inarguable fact, that Haiti once made a pact with the devil to be free of being the slaves of the French, and therefore the earthquake was just one more sign that "they had it coming." A woman named Lilly Cole from Minneapolis wrote a brilliant letter to Pat Robertson (pretending she was writing from Satan's point of view) that you sort of owe it to yourself to read but here's how I would have responded:

Um, Pat? I've met Christians. Lots of 'em, in fact. And you, sir, are no Christian. Where there's hatred, prejudice, ignorance, racism, and moral superiority, I can assure you: no God, of ANY faith, can exist in such a barren, dead land. Just trust me on this one, k?

And I know that by now we all know where to donate for Haiti relief, but if you haven't yet, and you've got like five or ten bucks and two minutes, it could change someone's life. Maybe even yours.

Donate here.

Also, on Thursday, because when it rains it pours (not unlike our rainy LA day today), I found out that someone I knew and worked with had taken his own life back in June of 2009.

This is somewhat difficult to process and talk about, not because we were super-close; in fact, it's harder to talk about because, quite frankly, this guy was not an amazing person. Or maybe he was, underneath all the pain and self-destruction - I don't know. I'll never know. He'll never know either.

Back in 2007 I co-produced, stage-managed, and assistant-directed a production of Much Ado About Nothing over in Studio City. We all knew, we all saw it - we saw how much talent and charisma this guy had, how charming he was. We also saw the self-made cuts going all the way up his arms and the temper that would flare during rehearsals. And one night, he showed up to rehearsal completely wasted, tried to throw someone through a window, tried to fight his co-stars and ended up getting squished into the sidewalk by two guy friends of mine while screaming and half throwing up. While his face was being mashed into the sidewalk, he saw me and started calling my name. I am extraordinarily nervous and wary around incredibly drunk people but I ambled over, leaned over to hear what he had to say, and promptly got knocked on my ass as he grabbed me and yanked, hard. His face was promptly put straight back into the sidewalk.

I let down my guard that night, and I never, ever do that. But I did. And when he called the next morning, having awoken in jail (I had to call the police to file a report since there was property damage with the broken window), he said he had no memory of anything that had happened. He apologized, probably waiting for me to give the expected that's okay, it happens to everyone response, but I didn't give it to him.

I hope you get some help, is what I said. Because it was true. And if I'd said that what he'd done was okay I would have been lying. And I don't really lie. I kind of suck at it. And now I wonder how many other people said to him, I hope you get some help as opposed to hey man, it's cool, we all have nights like that sometimes.

He and I never spoke again, and now he's been gone for over six months. He never did get help, and now the rest of us are left here wondering about the man he could have become. I'm sure he would have been great.

Anyways, one of my favorite ad-free websites, PostSecret, does a lot to raise awareness and funding for suicide hot-lines. They're trying to win 1,000,000 (to be awarded by Chase Bank) to create the very first online suicide prevention network. If you've ever been affected by suicide, or know someone who has, and you have a minute to do something about it, you can vote using the links from PostSecret, or you can vote here, on the TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms) website. Easiest way to save a life.

And happy observed birthday, Dr. King. You were a voice of reason and hope in a time when there wasn't much other noise but the dull screaming of hatred, rising like the tide. May one day we will be able to honor your vision of love and unity.

Monday, January 11, 2010


So I got sick on Wednesday...the kind of sick where you need to sleep for fourteen hours, then you wake up and think, "Wow, that was exhausting. I think I need a nap after all that sleep." So I kind of took the rest of the week off from life.

Now that it's Monday I'm doing slightly better and disgustingly far behind on everything... blogging, reading blogs, eating solid food, paying my bills, push-ups, checking email... you know, the important stuff. So I'll keep this blog post short(er) as I write another promised post and make a small correction to my last post.

As you might note, my last blog post was awarding my guy blogger buds one of the most effeminate blogger awards out there. I was given the award by Kris, who then kindly mentioned as a comment in my post that she'd actually given me TWO awards, the other one being the much more manly Sugar Doll Award.

It looks like this:

So I sort of unintentionally gave all my guy friends two really, really pink awards. Let it never be said that I don't serve up huge heapings of irony with my blog. Anyways, boys, there you go. You're all Sugar Dolls, doesn't that make you feel tough? Hmmm?

Also, I finally get a chance to blog about the Winter SoCal Blogger's Brunch, thrown by this amazing girl. I've mentioned before how awesome I think Dionne is - she does all her own illustrations for her adorable blogs, hosts incredible giveaways with the coolest stuff (I once won a Peacock teacup from her), cooks insanely amazing-looking food and has a heart of pure gold.

Dionne decided to throw a Winter SoCal Blogger's Brunch just after New Year's for some Southern Cali bloggers at one of my favorite cafes in all of LA, then made sure our table was covered in beautiful decorations, provided hand-made notebooks and place settings for us, and gave each of us a huge goody bag of hand-made stuff from a ton of Etsy sellers. (You can see all the cool stuff we got here). My friend Kristy (of "lying bitch" fame) and I went and got to meet some great people - including Carissa, Maggi, and Ashley, three of my new favorite bloggers.

Here's a picture of us:

From left to right: Maggi, Dionne, Me, Carissa, Ashley, and Kristy. Yay!

We all had a blast so all I can really say is thank you, again, Dionne, for hosting such a fantastic event. I look forward to the next one and I'm so glad I added three more SoCal bloggers to my wolf pack! (If you don't know what movie that last line references, don't ask.)

I'll be blogging more throughout the week as I get back on my feet. Have a wonderful Monday!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

first things first...

...the ever awesome Kris over at Behold the Metatron gave me a Kreativ Blogger award. How cool is that?

It looks like this:

Kris resides in New York, has tons of inside tips about the coolest city that never sleeps, and posts recipes involving cheese and pasta that make me drool. I have a feeling that if we met in real life we'd get along famously.

Anyways, the rules are to post ten "interesting" things about myself and then pass along this award to ten other bloggers, so I thought I'd play nice and follow the rules for once. Kris, thank you so much for this - very sweet and kind of you and I'm glad you are enjoying my blog.

1) One of my goals in life, once I get the time and money, is to go back to school and get a Master's degree in Divinity.

2) I was all set to go to school in Santa Cruz (northern California) and study marine biology until I met an actual marine biologist. She said 95% of the job is staring at a computer screen and analyzing data. I said no thanks, I'll go to SeaWorld instead. And while we're at it, I'll get my degree in Acting.

3) I have been working on writing my first feature length film script for over two years now. I'm currently revising my second draft. This is the year I'm going to finish it, if only because I have friends who have sat me down and told me, very firmly, that this is the year I'm going to finish it.

4) I stay friends with my exes. Of the guys I've dated in the past, three of them read this blog, as does the guy I'm currently with. They all suck at leaving me comments (aHEM) but it's okay because I know they adore me. I adore them too.

5) I believe that everyone has at least three minor superpowers. Two of mine are: a) I always know, without having to check and even before fully stepping into one, if a bathroom stall is out of toilet paper. I don't know HOW I developed this power but it freakin' ROCKS. b) I get involved a lot in strangers' lives because people come up to me constantly and just start conversations. My friends don't believe it until they see it, but old people, young people, middle aged people, homeless people, wealthy people... people of all types just come up to me and start talking about whatever is on their minds and I just nod and smile and my friends look at me, like, Does she know this person? No, no I do not know this person. But I'm glad to meet them!

6) My idea of hell would be: forced to run on a treadmill at a gym with all glass windows for walls on a busy street corner while watching some obnoxious dating reality show on the high-def television. While Megan Fox cooked cabbage on the treadmill next to mine and read People Magazine out loud. With her voice.

7) I will gladly trap and gently release all spiders that come into the apartment, I have dug my hands into buckets of dirt and come up gleeful with fingers crawling in worms, I will step on cockroaches for other people, if my friends had pet tarantulas I would cuddle and pet them, crickets and grasshoppers amuse me to no end, and if you put me in a mansion with ONE bee or hornet I would lose my freakin' MIND in abject and utter terror.

8) I was born at home, on my own bed, in a small town in New Hampshire.

9) I write poetry. No, I will not make any of you read it. It's trite and emo, much like my Tweets.

10) I have been studying martial arts since I was sixteen. I have a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and have also studied boxing, White Dragon style Kung Fu, and Escrima, which is Filipino sword and knife fighting. I am proficient in nunchucks, escrima sticks, knives, and I'm okay with a bow staff and a handgun. If killer bees take over the planet I'm screwed.

And now for the tagging... just for a change, and because there's not as many male bloggers out there, I'm gonna tag some of my guy blogger buddies. Go check 'em out - all of these guys are smart, funny, creative, and pretty damn cool.

1) First up is my real-life buddy Anthony. He's a talented as hell artist and you should check out what he can draw. This piece of his is my favorite, and if you like Flight of the Conchords, I think you'll like it too.

2) Dave is all sorts of awesome...and his family is a-dor-able. Go say hi!

3) Des always comes up with the best quotes and pictures to get us all thinking. I love his blog and always look forward to seeing what he's gonna come up with next.

4) My favorite librarian since Henry DeTamble is B.Nagel. I don't even think I know his first name but B. is a fantastic writer and can keep up with my sarcasm fairly well. I approve.

5) Jonas is my favorite. But don't tell him, k? :)

6) Scrap Cat and The Mr. Pillow is a bit of a wild-card... he doesn't blog nearly enough for my liking and he's a little unorthodox in his story telling but I think he's fantastic just the same...can't go wrong with a Neil Gaiman fan!

7) Best photographer I know. If you like photography blogs, keep an eye on Mark...he's my roommate's brother and has more talent with a camera than I will ever have in my entire life. Not.Fair.

8) One of the most politically curious and knowledgeable guys I know. And I don't get to see him nearly as often as I'd like to in real life, which bums me out. He gives the best hugs.

9) This guy cracks me up. Particularly this post. Warning: you might die laughing.

10) Oh, and that boy I adore happens to have a blog of his most very own as well. Too bad I can't guilt him into posting more... OH WAIT.

PS I'm sorry, guys, that this award looks all frilly, so feel free to copy and paste Angelina Jolie's half naked body draped all over it. But let's keep it tasteful, okay??

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Eve...belatedly.

I'm way behind on all your blogs so I'm gonna spend the day trying to catch up reading all about your resolutions and news for 2010 and how you guys all spent your New Year's Eve. In the meantime, here's some New Year's pics...the concert was INCREDIBLE and Flogging Molly played for a little over two hours...they started their set at 10:30 pm, took a break at 11:58 pm to ring in the new year with a punk version of Auld Lang Syne, then played for another half hour afterwards. Brilliant. Easily one of the best New Year's celebrations I've ever had.

One of the opening acts, With a Bible and a Gun, a Johnny Cash tribute band. They were amazing and got their start playing in prisons all over the country.

The Flogging Molly pirate ship! YAR!

The crowd was definitely ready for Flogging Molly that night.

Bridget on whistle, lead singer Dave King on guitar. (psst - they're married! And they're so adorable!)

Dave owns the stage.

Oh look, mosh pit! Only saw two major injuries, though, so it was a very polite mosh pit.

During the New Year's countdown break...

One of many, many New Year's Eve smooches.

So much for the afterglow...happy 2010 everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year's Eve celebration...I've got tons to blog about over the next few weeks, including my 2009 highlights, a very special 2009 Heroes and Villains post, a blog award from my favorite New Yorker that I need to pass along, and a SoCal Blogger's Brunch I attended over the weekend that this lovely girl hosted.

So please stay tuned. 2010 is already kicking ass!

PS Benni took all the photos :)
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