Sunday, August 22, 2010

Unexpected Inspirations

On my 10 minute break during my barista shift this early morn I stumbled across a newspaper strewn across the back desk.

What is that I said? Paper with words on it? About current events? Well, sort of current. Yesterday's events anyway. I haven't held one of these in a while.

And then, before I could go on any longer teasing the newspaper's continued struggled existence,  I was struck. Headline. BEDBUGS. BEDBUGS BEDBUGS. [that was the gist anyway].

Tid Bit #4666 - Not many people know, except for EVERYONE who was in my life about a 10 months ago. But I had a horrible incident with a bedbug outbreak in my [not so] lovely K-Town apartment right after I moved into [completely ruining my return to LA.] it in August [2009]. I was eaten alive. My building ignored us. I woke up next to a bedbug. The exterminator/inspector came. Claimed he found no proof of bedbugs. I cried. I started ripping off my clothes in a hysterical fit to show him the tell-tale bedbug biting patterns all over every bit of my body [apparently not enough evidence]. I cried more. We finally began the extermination process. Which includes drying [laundry dryer] everything made of cloth in your life. Then bagging it along with everything else you own. Throwing out your mattress. Proceeding to live out of said bags for 6 weeks (3 treatments every 2 weeks) because my building refused to put us up anywhere. Still having to pay rent there even though I spent most of my time staying with friends. And when I had to stay there, STILL being eaten alive. After the 3rd treatment we were recommended/I demanded a 4th [after finding a full grown bedbug on my PILLOW]. And when our building refused to give us any sort of accommodation [refuge] or compensation [I'd estimate damages at approx. $3000 for me & my roommate] we demanded to have our lease broken so we could leave this infested hell hole [what hell would be like. constant torment. always afraid. no way out.] and after much threatening of getting lawyers involved they let us go. They let us walk out of hell. Well stumble. Run & stumble. With only 6 days to get out. Never once letting other people in the building know that about 5 apartments were currently infested & being treated for bedbugs.

I digress. After reading this article. Seeing the pictures. The diagrams. My Vietnam like flashbacks ran spiders [bedbugs] up and down my spine. And when I got home. I cleaned. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned my [not so] new apartment [that I've lived in since November 2009, that's never had bedbugs]. Never had I been so inspired to have the entirety of my life clean. clean. clean. [except for maybe when I had bedbugs].


Later today. Post Cleaning. I saw the Expendables.

I LOVE action movies. And this was Sylvester's homage to what action movies currently lack. 1990s style. And I loved every knife throwing, head removing, shotgun blasted moment.

While walking the [foster] dogs I turn to my boyfriend and say. "I know it was not the intention of the Expendables to make me think. But..." "Uh huh..." he waits expectantly for my ridiculous tirade about, well, anything. "But. They were the best you know. They were the best in the world at what they did. It may not be the best thing to be the best at, but, like, no one is better than them. And that. Is amazing."

To be the best at something. To be able to say you are better than everyone else in the world. To have competitors come knocking only to take them down. To simply have such great a passion about anything to do whatever it takes to be unsurpassable in doing it. That. Whether as an assassin or a psychologist or a president or a dog trainer or an artist or an anything is inspiring.

I truly believe that to be the best at something. THE BEST. Paramount. You have to love whatever it is you are doing. You have to enjoy it. You have to wake up dreaming about it to head out and do it. Love. Passion. Success. Tenacity. Fun. Life. Laughing. They are all intertwined.

So. Who doesn't want to be the best?

Expendables. You didn't mean to. But you sure made me want to be.

[ok. you may have also made me want to learn to box again, but, that's another post...]

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Love the Smell of Libraries.

I have so many books on my bookcase that I have never read.




Unread. Unabsorbed. Unloved. Unopened [since the 1st time I skimmed it pre-purchase].

Books. Knowledge. Stories. Opinions. That I've never had the time taken the time to read.

I consider myself fairly literate. Excelling at English throughout high school. Pursuing & attaining a degree in something [theatre/greek classics] that involved constant reading & viewing of the written word performed. Having a minor major meltdown post-college that involved me consuming copious amounts of books & plays I'd never read and even writing up mini-essays [for myself] as I felt my mind melting so quickly after the end of college, class & required contemplation.

The melt-down came to end [sort of] & with it so did the overwhelming need for me to read. I wish it hadn't. I now put 'READ' on my daily to-do lists. It is often left alone, uncrossed, waiting to be added to tomorrow's list.

When I begin a book & don't finish it I have moments where I think about the characters paused in the passage where I left them. Unable to move forward. Unable to go back. Left wondering why I would leave them. What they had done wrong. Would they ever get to finish the story they were meant to tell?


I am Ridden with Guilt. For fictional characters. For facts. For narratives. For books.

I am fairly literate. But I am not. A favorite activity of mine is wandering into bookstores. I walk the tables. NEW IN PAPERBACK. CLASSICS. MYSTERY. SUMMER MUST READS. ETC. I then stop & count the number of books I've read. If I'm with another person it becomes both a competition [because everything is] & a wonderful conversation starter [try it on a first or second date - you'll learn WONDERS about the person...]. I did this recently & found myself lacking. I would be the person on the date being judged for my lack of literacy. I was sad.

The Pee Wee Scouts would have been disappointed in me.


I had a hard time learning to read when I was a kid. I don't think I even liked it. But in 2nd Grade Mr. Anderson [my favorite teacher of all time] introduced me to THE PEE WEE SCOUTS. I read one and that was it. I read them all before 2nd grade was through. And from there I never stopped. Reading series after series, completing list after list of recommended reading. Graduating 5th grade with a 12th grade reading level. I had become an official reader. A bibliophile.


Unbent binding.  Crisp cut pages. New book smell on novels years old.

They wait patiently. The stories. The thoughts. The characters. The noted moments. More patiently than I with myself. Constantly pushing to be better. To be more literate because "it'll help my work". I think I'm realizing it's the wrong approach. To put that pressure on passion. On that which at such a young age, changed my life. I've ruined it by making it work.

I've begun to think that about a lot of things I've been doing lately. Trying to turn what I loved to do into what I'm paid to do.

It's taken me a beat to realize it but I'm finding if you're not careful it turns what you love to do into another thing on the to do list. That won't get done. That gets moved to tomorrow.

Unread. Unabsorbed. Unloved. Unopened.

That is not what I want my life to be.

Today. I read. For fun.