Some Action

Around 3am I woke up to sounds in the house. Seemed like a great deal of motion. I checked the baby monitor, but all was normal with her. The sound continued, getting louder downstairs. I had no power in my limbs. I was completely drained, but the sound was getting closer to the baby side of the house, and my biological imperative to protect my young was overpowering my sleep deprived listlessness.

I wrapped up in my robe, and crept downstairs. I heard the sounds above me as I crossed the dining room. Burglars? Goblins?

My senses became alert and instinctual. I took on feline expressions as I padded towards my daughter’s nursery. The sound grew louder in the hall outside her room. I gathered her up and walked back into the middle of the house. The scuttling seemed to transverse the roof, and ended up in my studio. Now the noise was coming from my bathroom. Loud.

I crept back upstairs, and woke Bear.

“Bear. Bear!”

“ *snuck, sniffle* wha?”

“There’s something in my studio bathroom.”

“Huh?”

“Something in my studio bathroom. It’s an animal or something.”

“Shit.”

Bear wrestled himself out of bed, and staggered into consciousness. At the top of the stairs he could hear the commotion from my studio. We tiptoed down the stairs. Bear, followed by me, with Sonatine in my arms – a tiny family parade, or hunting party. We stood in a clump outside the doors of my studio, listening to the weird tossing and scratching sounds. Bear motioned for us to back away. Bravely, like our hunter-gatherer ancestors (albeit in an Elvis t-shirt), he pushed open the doors, and entered the darkness towards the direction of the sound.

Reacting to mental images of my husband crashing out of my studio, covered with scratch marks and possibly feral dogs, I made haste to the kitchen.  I opened up the armory, A.K.A. the broom closet, and extracted a broom and a Swiffer. I also had the option of a plunger, but I thought it prudent to consider length. I returned to the lair of battle, armed for the sake of my progeny and my man. There I stood, warrior queen. Slung with our single heir, and the weapons of our fortress. I decided I would give Bear the broom, and I the Swiffer. I also unlocked the front door in case it was a “save the women and children” situation, and I had to run out the front, trailing woodland creatures and cleaning supplies in my wake, leaving my husband in the dining room, prostrate, covered in feces and rodent fur.  I was prepared for both contingencies.

I heard Bear coming toward the doors. I was ready. I whispered hot and loud, “So??”

“Not in there.”

“Huh?”

“Coming from the roof.”

“…the roof?”

“Yeah. I’m going back to bed.”

I was happy about the lack of wild dogs, but I’ll admit, a little let down. I’d sort of been expecting some action. Oh well.

Bear went back upstairs, and I went back to the nursery to put Sonatine back to sleep. I’d just begun to bounce her, when I heard Bear’s searing, whispered, scream from the stairs.

“RAYA! RAYA!”

I rounded the corner.

“What?!”

“Get up here! Now!”

Oh lord. It was true, we were being attacked. Our walls were being breached. It was dogs. It was goblins.

I followed Bears’ shadow into our room, and around to the bathroom. He pointed out the window. Oh God. What was it.

Squeezing my baby tightly, I leaned over the moonlit bathtub, to peer out the window… and there it was, the carnal truth.

Two Raccoons. Fucking on our roof.

Bear turned to me, “Thereya go.”

So there was some action that night after all.

 Fucking Raccoons

Fucking Raccoons

And here are some fucking Raccoons. Not our fucking Raccoons, these are some fucking internet Raccoons. They're Fucking Raccoons.

My very coherent, not drunk at all (one glass, whatever), thoughts on Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" Video:

( after seeing an onslaught of tweets and Facebookings on the subject, I decided to give it a look-see. These were the immediate drippings from my head-sponge)

Ok.

First off, Those nails were impractical for the handling of large hammers. Second, when doing construction work, boots alone are not enough for proper safety - although the tiny tank and undies certainly offer free range of movement and good ventilation. I assume the lipstick was flame retardant and SPF 30 or above?

True analysis:

As for proper wrecking ball etiquette/best riding practices, nudity is not common any longer. Nude wrecking ball riding was abandoned in 1896 after a Mrs. Betty Smythson of Cincinnati suffered what was referred to at the time as "the pink twerk" (no doubt the inspiration for Miley's other musical exploration) which was the colloquial term for clitoral injury.

 Betty-Smythson

Betty-Smythson

Mrs.Betty Smythson, "ball rider," in her

Cincinnati home, 1895

After the unfortunate ride of Mrs. Smythson, wrecking ball saddles or "Ball huggers" were instituted into common use and considered standard (although true standardization was not instituted until 1900, when the production of wrecking balls intended for riding was taken over by the Ford Motor Co.) Clitoral guards, or "vag-vests," became somewhat of a fashion statement and status symbol for upper class women who could afford the luxurious accouterments of the Wrecking Ball set.

Although Cyrus was somewhat lambasted for her "sparkly onesie" from the VMAs, it is important to understand that it was not, in fact, a "onesie" but a historically accurate "vag-vest" of excellent quality.

A 19th Century doctor attends to a woman suffering

the "Pink twerk"

Lastly, the handling and licking of the hammer, though clearly an homage to cold war propaganda communist murals, seemed a bit blatant, but not to be hasty on judgement, it is probable Miss Cyrus meant the gesture as a public service hint for Tetanus awareness, reminding us all to stay on top of our booster shots.

.

and...Good night.

The Clash And The Glow

Today was one of those "Hollywood the street" meets "Hollywood the industry" moments, which actually doesn't happen very often - most Hollywoodness doesn't happen in Hollywood proper.

This morning, Bear and I went to a ceremony for Producer, Gale Anne Hurd, who was getting her own star on the walk of fame. A Big deal! And just in case her name is unfamiliar to you, Gale has produced little indie films like The Terminator, Terminator 2 and Aliens – she’s also been a major door breaker for many professional industry women who have since followed her. Anyway, we were there because Gale also produces a little known, niche, genre show called The Walking Dead, which Bear scores, and to which I have contributed vocally.

So everyone was gathered right on the street, in front of a place called Napoleon’s, next to a moveable stage. When we joined the blob of humanity gathered around the presentation area, it felt like the line for a really slow ride. The low demeanors of the “behind-the-scenes” crowd, clashed with the fundamental glitz of the zip code. There was a memorabilia shop across the street selling shiny fake Oscars and bright pink cameras, just paces away from these people who had actual ones. These were some of the most influential people in the business, but you would never know it if they weren’t the ones behind the red velvet ropes.

In contrast to the famous image, Hollywood is created in woolly sweaters in front of greasy computer monitors. Hollywood is created in old t-shirts and bad hair days. Hollywood is created in sweat pants, business casual slacks, college hoodies, low-heel pumps, and forever 21 on forever 39 year olds. Glamour is in the mind.

So back on the sidewalk, under the Jacaranda trees, I figure we were the thick bottom slice of a publicity sandwich, with a side dish of celebrities off to one side. The speeches were insightful, Gale talked about her family’s humble beginnings, and her own struggle to success in the business – it was truly sincere. She wore a necklace of sparkly stars around her neck, which was tastefully ironic, and genuinely chic. I dug it. She thanked the fans, and people who have always had her back, her friends and her family, but during the course of this heartfelt talk, at least five bright red Tour buses grundled by, and one garbage truck dude caught sight of the Walking Dead cast and yelled “woo hoo!” as his truck rattled on. That’s the clash I’m talking about. I think someone tipped off the local Hollywood tour buses, because they started coming by the site every three minutes. Seriously, these big fuck-off double decker red buses, with cyclopses hanging out, blinking their adjustable eyes and flashing, chattering, waving to each other "it's James Cameron!" which it was, never mind that he was trying to talk.

After the ceremony we went inside, and the climate changed. It was more than the God-sent rush of air conditioning; it was the whole atmosphere. The world settled back into the normal concerns and distractions. There were hors d'oeuvres, and lemonade, and remembering to hold your drink in your left hand so you could shake hands with your right. There were compliments to start a conversation, which lead to laughter, or went nowhere. There was wondering if I could have a conversation with this person outside of work, and discovering that I could, or I couldn’t. Once we were off the boulevard, Hollywood the industry, the metaphor, the clutch of misfits, could gather and talk and bitch, and just be people. And the glamour returned to the inside, to incubate, to fuss, to go home and renew in the glow behind woolly sweaters.

A Sad and Happy Story

I talked to my dad today, and he told me that the other day he was riding a bus in Santa Monica.When the bus came to his stop, he got up and walked towards the front. The bus was crowded, a lot of people busy in their minds and in their own worlds. Smooth frail technology, poked and tapped by greasy homosapien hands, white plastic veins channeling digital sound in cartilage holes in hairy fleshy tunnels through labyrinthine bones to red stretching veins on dense thinking matter, releasing the eyes to roll carelessly over the landscape of heads with eyes rolling carelessly, hands doing nothing, ankles swollen and some twitching in black torn converse with faded silver marker sketches of boyfriend's names, gum turned black on the bottom, black from what used to be pink, stretched over dense stinking matter like veins. A lot of people in their own worlds.

Until an asshole spoke up.

My dad was about 3 steps from the door when he accidentally brushed his elbow against a young man. "Hey! Don't F--king touch me!" My dad turned around. The young man continued. "Don't F--cking touch me, I hate you people." "What?" "I said I hate you mother F--ckers! Don't touch me!" My dad is an imposing figure. 6'3" with a studied, fixed glare he can turn on with disarming grace. It's not a threat, just a look. The young man continued with anger and epithets I will not repeat here, but my dad did not meet him on that level. He responded, "Hey man, let it go. Just let it go." He wouldn't let it go. "No man, I hate you n--gars. Don't touch me." And with the special magic, the special uniquely American spark that can only be brought forth with the utterance of "the N word," The mass of semi-conscious carbon based life, linked and bound with semi-conscious silicone based life - woke up. Another young man stepped in. "Hey let it go man, he said to let it go, so just back off ." The first young man would not back off, he continued with the hateful shouts, but the second man wound not back down either. By this time my dad was off the bus, watching through the open front door - other passengers had begun to leave, having become uncomfortable with the heated scene, not usually witnessed in hippie-liberal Santa Monica, CA. "What's wrong with you man, leave him alone!" "What the hell's wrong with you, I hate those people!" A crowd started gathering around the front door of the bus, locals - other African American people who had witnessed the start of it all - watching two young, white men fight both sides of the oldest American battle. (possibly the second oldest, considering Native Americans, but that's a different bus ride) Other people on the bus started backing up the second young man, the one who was defending my father's side. Eventually, the driver threw the troublemaker off the bus, right out the side door, and the other young man exited the front, where most of the crowd was. Dad didn't tell me where the troublemaker went, but he was out of the picture. When the second young man came off the bus, my dad said he put his hand on his shoulder. "Thank you, really man. I was fine to walk away, you didn't have to step in there - but that was really cool." I'm sure it'd been 50 years since my dad had experienced such blatant hatred, but the word he used to describe the experience as whole was "beautiful." Beautiful that a man from a different race would take such a strong stance on behalf of a man he didn't know. Beautiful that he could've said nothing, but he chose to speak up. After my dad told me that story, I was shaken - - in my lifetime racism has been a thing I read about in history books, I've never experienced it as described here, but these are changing times in my country, and with growth comes growing pains.

This is sad story about a young man who had so much anger within himself, he had to turn the anger outward towards a man he didn't know.

This is a sad story about a country filled with people who have so much anger within themselves, they have to turn the anger towards people they don 't know.

This is a happy story about a young man who had so much strength and insight, he stood up for a man he didn't even know.

This is a happy story about a country with the strength, insight, bravery and wisdom to wake up - through the numbing taps and clicks, the digital bump and grind of media, the gusts of fumes we bullet through in air conditioning and satellite maps, the din of rhetoric in dim blue light - - to wake up, and stand for each other.

A Trip to Spain, Pt.7: Hasta luego

Our hotel wall in Madrid is wallpapered on the far right side with a giant photograph of the New York skyline, overlaid with the lyrics to "New York, New York." This is odd for traveling Americans. In 7 hours we'll be in NY, with a 7 hour layover 'till we get on our plane to LA. The wallpaper is a reminder that this room marks the end of our Spanish odyssey.

Last night, with the wind of the breath of the new at my back, I entered my first gothic catheral. I, not a Catholic, did not expect to be overtaken, but the Holy Mother...or The Dove...or the soul of  an infinity of vespers came to me...and pulled me into a knowingness.

 me-in-church-1

me-in-church-1

It is alive, you see. This is what they do not tell you.

The arches, white - not like marble, not like, pearl, not like chalk , but for all the world like bones - reach their zenith out of their own volition. They feed off our inspiration, and circulate the light. The architecture is the bones, and we...we...are the holy spirit.

 arch-mashup

arch-mashup

I do not mean this to read as blasphemy, or presumptuous, this is what came through to me, startling my corneas through the stained glass of Almudena Cathedral.

I take this will me.Gracias España.

And last night, in the Lobby of Hotel Mercure, Madrid, we said goodbye to David (in what I'm sure was his very coolest Superman T-Shirt), Sergio, Óscar, David (de Barcelona),Fernando y Agustin . No - not goodbye, "Hasta Luego" (see you later), because these 10 days, through this sleepless journey, we have found a family overseas. Music lovers. Film lovers. Life lovers. Nerds.

We will not allow us to become strangers to each other again. El proximo año. Rock on, guys.

 balcony-

balcony-