Month: December 2006

100 Things I Learned in 2006, Part II

couch on wheels
For all you OCD types who felt out of whack with a lopsided list, here’s the back 50:

  1. Back up your files.
  2. Getting to Empty is more of a process than an event.
  3. An ongoing process.
  4. That goes on and on.
  5. I should not even bother trying on a garment which is not charcoal, burgundy, pumpkin or that one shade of blue that works with my eyes.
  6. Antibiotics wreak at least as much havoc as they prevent.
  7. Indiana south of Indianapolis is startlingly beautiful.
  8. And frequently, hilarious.
  9. Furniture is more excellent on wheels.
  10. I was high on crack thinking I could write a 750 word column in one hour.
  11. After 45, even skinny people put on weight.
  12. “More fun” is a great prescription for personal happiness.
  13. It sounds obvious, but it isn’t.
  14. The Secret is another good place to start.
  15. I really missed gyros.
  16. My favorite couplet in any song ever is one I wrote myself.
  17. This makes me either more talented or more vain than I’m prepared to deal with just yet.
  18. I should quit worrying about when Sean will can my slacker ass and just blog, already.
  19. The second-most important thing after bringing the tape recorder is remembering to turn it on.
  20. There’s almost no funk that can withstand the O-magazine/epsom-salt bath/Play Misty for Me trifecta
  21. Life is more fun with a label maker.
  22. I can be hot when I’m 50.
  23. And 60.
  24. And 70.
  25. Kindred spirits show up in places you’d least expect them to.
  26. Doing Best Year Yet is hard.
  27. People reveal more than they think by the things they complain about.
  28. Disneyland is more fun when you bring kids.
  29. Even if you don’t get to go on the coolest rides.
  30. And you lose one of the kids.
  31. Never take Santa Monica or Melrose back to Silver Lake when you are trying to prove a point about shortcuts.
  32. More than any kind of theater, I love a really good musical.
  33. This is a really good musical.
  34. When it comes to books, my eyes will always be bigger than my stomach.
  35. Burning incense makes me feel rich.
  36. My drinking days are probably numbered.
  37. You don’t know how depressed you are until you suddenly aren’t.
  38. The best DVDs to own are Saturday Afternoon Hangover movies.
  39. The next-best are TV shows.
  40. The greatest luxury no one realizes is time spent alone.
  41. I just don’t like almond butter.
  42. Or The Big Lebowski.
  43. Or San Diego.
  44. When it comes to taking care of my own health, I have been the world’s greatest asshole.
  45. People like stories.
  46. It’s never going to be easy.
  47. It’s always going to be interesting.
  48. Those Entertainment coupon books are a ripoff.
  49. If I can do it, anyone can.
  50. This means you…

May your 2007 bring you your heart’s desire, and may your heart’s desire bring the world greater peace and happiness.


New around these parts? Blow off my other lists? Here’s your chance to catch up:




100 Things I Learned in 2006, Part I

In what has become sort of a tradition here at communicatrix, we bring you the year in reverse…or perverse…or something like that. Because after all, what is the point of having a whole, entire year if you can’t heave it up at the end and enjoy it again from the beginning?

  1. I could live happily elsewhere.
  2. I probably won’t anytime soon.
  3. Deadwood is the best cocksucking sonofabitch show ever.
  4. Coaching works.
  5. Lawns are overrated.
  6. The bargain matinée at the Century City 15 rules.
  7. If you want people to become really alarmed on your behalf, tell them you’re planning to shave your head.
  8. I love the acorn squash at Houston’s with a fervor that borders on the unnatural.
  9. Good coffee mugs are as hard to find as good handbags and unicorns.
  10. I enjoy looking anyway.
  11. All of those people who said I would outgrow my lust for high heeled footwear were right.
  12. Damn them.
  13. Rolos will be the television of 2007.
  14. If forced to come up with an earthly description of heaven, I’d pick flashlights, a slow shutter and good company on a starlit deck.
  15. A well-cooked pot roast runs a close second.
  16. Especially when it is cooked for you, with love, on a chilly Sunday evening.
  17. Toastmasters is the shit.
  18. UPS is apparently an acronym for Unflaggingly Poor Shipping.
  19. There may be something to this whole networking thing.
  20. Ditto conferences.
  21. I have a little problem recognizing the obvious.
  22. When playing games with children under 12, you have to let them win occasionally.
  23. Even if you don’t want to.
  24. Which I never do.
  25. Noise is to me as dust was to Julianne Moore in that Todd Haynes movie.
  26. It is worth it to pay the extra freight for heavy card stock.
  27. Those cherry Larabars are really, really good.
  28. Eventually, if you eat enough of them, they taste like soylent green.
  29. I absolutely, positively love getting up in front of a bunch of people and talking.
  30. Acting, not so much.
  31. Just because you paid a crapload of money for a couch is no reason to keep it around.
  32. Alison Bechdel is a genius.
  33. My jealous streak, while lying dormant for years at a time, is capable of erupting at a moment’s notice.
  34. Fortunately, it now scares the bejeezus out of me.
  35. My parking luck will never catch up to my used leather jacket luck.
  36. I like the idea of being a gardener better than the actual gardening.
  37. My significant others will always be somewhat horrified by the rest of the club.
  38. Being disorganized is my spiritual governor the way Crohn’s is my physical one.
  39. Starbucks sucks.
  40. Its suckage increases in direct proportion to the distance between it and other coffee alternatives.
  41. This makes it suckier beyond suckiest suckiness.
  42. Forget the hounds, release the fleas.
  43. With the right partner, sex actually gets better after the 18-month mark.
  44. This gives me hitherto unimaginable hope for the future.
  45. If things continue in the current direction, I may drive less than 6,000 miles next year.
  46. The Wall Street Journal is a surprisingly engaging read.
  47. You can still recycle VHS tapes.
  48. I don’t look quite as butch with short hair as I thought I would.
  49. The BF looks even better with long hair than I thought he would.
  50. Fucker.


Can’t wait for more communicatrix listy goodness? Come late to the party? Never fear! Memory lane be here:



5 things you didn’t know about me(me)


I think this is the first time I’ve been tagged for one of those meme thingys. (Thanks, Jessica. No, really, thanks a lot: I had completely lost the will to blog, and you’ve jogged me out of it, which in addition to being really cool, also rhymes.)

I have participated in memes, back before I understood blogging protocol forbade participation sans tagging, but they don’t count then, do they?

Even if this is not the first time I’ve been tagged, I’m sure this is the first one I found out about, and that only thanks to Google alerts, I’m afraid I’ve been as terrible at keeping up with the rest of you as I’ve been with keeping the blog.

At any rate, this ain’t no easy meme for a tell-it-all blabbermouth like me. The whole point of communicatrix, The Blog, and I know, some of you are shaking your heads slowly in disbelief that there actually is a point, is to lay my truth out there in the wee, vain hope that it might help someone else find his. Or, for those of you who stare your damn truth in the face 24/7/365 (366 on leap year), that I might make you laugh and forget it for a few moments.

My point is, what haven’t I told you people? Seriously. Sure, there are a (very) few items which must needs remain unspoken for modesty’s sake, other people’s modesty, not my own. (As if!) But stay that way they must. And I’m sure there are thousands of items which are eminently share-worthy, only I can’t think of them now that I’m put on the spot. So if these five seem lame, well, blame it on the excessive drinking and drug-taking of my early years. Or my current years. The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.

1. I have not balanced my checkbook in over 15 years.
2. My favorite food is stone crab with butter.
3. I am terrified to spend the night at The BF’s when he is not here.
4. I have parachuted out of an airplane. Twice.
5. I fold my underwear.

God. I am even more simultaneously boring and weird than I thought I was.


P.S. Since you’re supposed to tag someone, I’m tagging Erik, partly because he is my favorite new blogger of 2006 so far*, partly because he shares my love of lists, and partly just because!

*The BF may start a blog before January and his children descend upon us, so I reserve my final vote for Favorite Blog until December 31 at 11:59pm. After that, Erik, it’s all you…

UPDATE: Apparently, I was tagged by Tim Donnelly, over to the Aquent blog, a day after posting this here thing here. Which means (a) I am much beloved even if (b) I am not much read. (Giant aside: can I have your job when you tire of it, please?)
Photo by marjo0o via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Resolved for 2007

deck chairs

Jenny has said she’s not one for resolutions, and I’m with her: pulling “gonnas” out of your ass, as in “I’m gonna quit smoking” or “I’m gonna get in shape” or “I’m gonna quit pulling things out of my ass”, is a recipe for feelings of personal failure and severe depression in the cold, holiday-free months of the new year. She prefers a “theme”, such as “revival” or “more love” or “less putting of things in quotation marks.” (Oh, wait, that’s mine.)

I do like and believe in making plans, it appeals to the listmaker in me, and will probably take another, more serious crack at the Best Year Yet, “values-based” goal-setting system, for 2007. But before I even get to BYY, which I have actually SCHEDULED on the CALENDAR (December 23rd, you’re on yer own that night, The BF), I came up with a theme for next year: Expand and Focus.

While I realize this seems like a contradiction in terms, I like it for precisely that reason: it’s like a zen koan, and it’s custom-made for overachieving type-As like me. Why? Because it will slow me the fuck down, that’s why. You try being an overachieving type-A for 45 years. Hell, try it for a week. If you’re unused to it, I can almost guarantee you’ll suffer adrenal burnout in 72 hours.

Of course, I may still pick “Slow Down” or even “Slow the Fuck Down” as my 2007 mantra, but it has such negative connotations for me now, I feel glum just typing it. In contrast, I feel good about the sort of limitless possibility attached to “Expand and Focus”. Also, I can monkey with this sort of stuff indefinitely, until things reach such a disastrous state of disarray, it becomes like deck chair rearranging on the Titanic. And believe you me, I’ll keep shuffling those things till there’s no deck left to shuffle on.

Still, some of you out there know me pretty well by now. Perhaps you have an even better deck chair arrangement to suggest…


Photo by nickherber via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

Why I love craigslist (and The BF)

ugly rug

So about three years ago I bought this couch: Big. Red. Room-dominating. Expensive as hell. (What can I say? I was going through a phase about shedding my infernal cheapness. And fuckery. So you see.)

Anyway, it was/is a magnificent couch in its way, but it had no business being in my smallish, mid-century apartment. And as my lifestyle changed, acting replaced by design and its attendant computer sprawl, random fuckery replaced by The BF, it actually became sort of a nuisance as well as an anachronism.

After an unsuccessful attempt to dump the behemoth on my sister’s boyfriend (not literally, he’s nice!), I turned to the master of fuckery, er, craigslist, The BF.

In the two years I’ve known him, The BF has successfully converted a staggering array of used, half-used and unused items to cold, hard cash via eBay and craigslist. Within ten days, he had moved The Behemoth to his place (no mean feat, given the crazy number of stairs involved), put it on wheels (don’t ask), and sold it for cash money (from the buyer) and a Taylor’s steak dinner (from me).

Part of The BF’s high success rate with selling is patience. Selling used goods, like undertaking large-scale home improvement projects or raising children, requires a tolerance for tedium I lack in spades. Not only is The BF not afraid of tearing down an interior wall or making babies or selling used crap, he does it all with panache. Such photos! Such an exquisite sense for pricing! And mainly, such a gift with item descriptions.

Here, for example, is his most recent listing:

Ugly Rug Cheap! 5×8 Pottery Barn Rug All wool – $20

That’s right, you can have this incredibly ugly rug for only twenty bucks! It’s all wool, I don’t even want to think about how much we paid for it originally, but it can be yours for only $20 if you call before I take it down to Goodwill or Out of the Closet.

It’s 5×8, check out the picture of the label, it really is a pottery barn carpet and was decent at one time. It does have some stains which may or may not come out – I don’t want to find out. Personally, I’ve never liked this rug but my wife thought it was OK for the back room, but that’s another story. Now we have another rug and you can have this one for your project room, or garage, or whatever.

From my own experience, I know what a treasure trove of fascinating characters craigslist can be. (I found mine via the fuckery pages, but whatever.) And you don’t have to go to Rants & Raves or Best Of to find them: they’ll come to you, if you say the magic words. Which The BF knows by heart, it would seem. Hence, the following exchange, reprinted exactly as it transpired (email addresses and CL legalese redacted):

Sent: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 7:03 PM
Subject: Ugly Rug Cheap! 5×8 Pottery Barn Rug All wool – $20

you are funny


On Dec 3, 2006, at 7:09 PM, wrote:

too bad I can’t make a living at it.


—–Original Message—–
Sent: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 7:17 PM
Subject: Re: Ugly Rug Cheap! 5×8 Pottery Barn Rug All wool – $20

have you tried organizing it in that way and going for it?


On Dec 3, 2006, at 10:00 PM, wrote:

are you my subconscious? why are you e-mailing me instead of appearing as the virgin mary like you usually do?


—–Original Message—–
Sent: Sun, 3 Dec:51 PM
Subject: Re: Ugly Rug Cheap! 5×8 Pottery Barn Rug All wool – $20

I am a virtual virgin reaching to you at Christmas
I am the ghost of christmas 40 years from now
when you didn’t go for your dreams



On Dec 4, 2006, at 12:44 AM, wrote:

so I guess this means you don’t want my rug?


—–Original Message—–
Sent: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 8:24 AM
Subject: Re: Ugly Rug Cheap! 5×8 Pottery Barn Rug All wool – $20

never did
was taken in by the truthful/meaness of the word ‘ugly’
had to read it


On Dec 4, 2006, at 9:43 AM, wrote:

Thanks for writing! I’m not being sarcastic. At least I don’t think I’m being sarcastic. It’s hard to tell.

You are right, of course – it’s very common to not do something out of fear, and easy to make excuses. At the end of the day, however, the only regrets I have are those of omission, not commission. I’ve never said “gee, i wish I hadn’t done that” but I’ve often said “gee, I wish I had done this when I had the chance”.

You’re sure you don’t want the rug?


—–Original Message—–
Sent: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 9:52 AM
Subject: Re: Ugly Rug Cheap! 5×8 Pottery Barn Rug All wool – $20

give the rug to a poor person- some woman out of a shelter with kids who’s living with blankets on the floor- someone who can’t even afford to buy something at goodwill
at the end of the day i do say “I wish I hadn’t done that” so lucky for you
I have made some supremely bad choices that i now pay for dearly-
the humor I see in your paragraph was the kind that the writers on Everybody Loves Raymond’ used over and over again- after all- the whole show was a one trick pony- the stupid no nothing husband and the brilliant wife-
alot of humor is that- your one observation about the rug and the room and the wife were enough for a two part sitcom
you know that
it’s the work
either you do it or you don’t
either you want it or you don’t
nobody who makes it is weak

When I think of leaving L.A. these days, it’s only for a place that has a reasonably active craigslist. I mean, where else can you sell your shit, have a philosophical discussion and be insulted all in the same email exchange?


P.S. The rug is still for sale.

the communicatrix elsewhere: How to tell if your New Year’s resolution should be ‘find new career’

kfed on csi

I know that as an aspiring actor, my favorite articles were (in order of desirability):

  1. pieces crammed full of proven, immediately actionable information from industry insiders
  2. interviews with industry insiders full of tips, even if tips were couched in “useless” prose (i.e., extracting said tidbits was up to me);
  3. interviews with industry insiders that were flat-out entertaining
  4. interviews with industry insiders that sucked ass
  5. tedious reflections on the meaning of acting ‘crafted’ by self-important blowhards

I think last month’s column fell into category 5, which is why, unlike my masterful, definitely-category-1 series on how to approach commercial auditioning (here and here), I did not link to it. On the other hand, as I believe the kids said several years ago, “What’s your damage, Heather?“, I’m on month 4, still finding my way through the wilderness.

On the other-other hand, I’ve been at this blog for over two years now and I still walk smack into trees for looking at the forest.

So read “Five reasons NOT to be an actor…and one reason to jump all over it.” Or don’t. I’m fairly sure the world will continue to spin on its axis, regardless…