Los Angeles

Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?

If anyone knows me at all, they know that I own the entire Monkees tv series on VHS that I spent a ridiculous fortune on when I was dumb and broke and 20. Not only that, I own their tv special 33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee AND two copies of their masterpiece movie, Head PLUS a whole bunch of embarrassing stuff they did in the 80s. All of it on VHS tapes that I still own and will not part with even though can’t even watch them because I haven’t owned a VCR in 15 years. Sorry, Marie Kondo, but they do kind of bring me joy. I think. Not as much as if could actually watch them…

The Monkees was my favorite show on television, being rerun on MTV everyday after school at 4pm. I didn’t know they were reruns and I was planning to move to some beach in Southern California and marry a 19 year old Davy Jones. And while all my friends were obsessed with Madonna and Michael Jackson, I was learning the dance moves to She Hangs Out (probably around the same time Axl Rose was) and my sister, Julie and our neighbor, Kelly and I would go out and perform the Monkees’ dances for no one using the wooden frame of the house being built next door to us as our grand stage. In fairness, this was the 80s and no one seemed really that concerned about a bunch of preteen girls at a construction site dancing to The Monkees on unsecured plywood resting precariously 15 feet above a concrete basement hole. With rusty nails.

Best summer on record.

July 7, 1987. I was 10 years old for another week and a half and in my second concert experience ever, The Monkees (minus Mike) descended upon Red Rocks Amphitheatre and my mind was BLOWN, not only because Weird Al opened the show, not only because they rolled out in a bed, but a lot because Davy wasn’t 19. Like, WHAT???? I had been lied to!

My obsession for the Monkees didn’t die, but my marital plans changed a smidge when I discovered the Coreys and I started writing variations of “Amy Haim” in glitter gel pens on all my Pee Chee folders. (Spoiler alert: That “marriage” didn’t work out so well either).

Okay, skip ahead 10 years, I own about half of my above-mentioned Monkees’ tapes. It was a subscription service so I spent a literal fortune and got sent to collection several times over, ruining my credit because I was broke and subscription services don’t care if you pay them or not. They will send you to collections, ruining your life in overdraft fees but will continue sending you tapes. Thank god. Anyway, in the middle of all of this financial ruin, I packed up everything I had (mostly just Monkees tapes) into the back of an ’85 CRX and moved to Los Angeles, California where I see an ad in the local paper that they need audience members for a video shoot mini-concert of the Monkees at Universal CityWalk. “No Pay, but you get to attend the mini-concert and potentially be seen on camera”. Heck yes! 20 year old me and about 50 other people that were at least twice my age stood in the hot sun while Micky told jokes and Mike still wasn’t there and they played 2 songs over and over and over again and then they were done. And it was AWESOME.

I met another Monkees’ friend, Vanessa and once a week for the next 20 years we would get together and gossip and eat Jack and the Box and binge Monkees’ episodes. And once we went and saw a showing of Head at El Capitan Theatre (I think?) and Micky Dolenz was there and for some reason I can’t remember if we met him or not. You’d think I would remember this, we were so close to him and he was in a white hat and I just can’t remember. It must be stress induced amnesia or something.

And then Davy died and I cried for like a week. Probably longer. My heart was broken and then I got irrationally angry at Mike Nesmith when he decided that maybe now he would like to rejoin the band. Too late, Mike. (Insert “Atta boy, Mike” gif). And I never went to see the Monkees in concert again.

At that point, I thought I had emotionally detached from anything current that came from The Monkees, finally. And then I went on twitter today and saw “Peter Tork” trending and my stomach sank. And my heart broke again.

So today I’m going to just listen to Monkees’ songs all day and watch my Monkees’ dvds (I only have the first season, which is upsetting and I need to fix that) and, I don’t know, cry and be completely unproductive.

Maybe I’ll fire up a dance routine.

RIP Peter.

NaNoWriMo: The Halfway point?

Today is the 20th. Way past midway at this point and I might hit 25,000 words of the 50,000 word goal today. I mean I should, but I’m in a slump of epic proportions. 

Did I mention that I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year??? I am. 

Okay, see, I’ve been “writing a book” since I don’t know, forever. It’s changed form and content over the years but the main character is the same. The voice is telling the same basic story. And everyone I know has encouraged me to friggin’ finish already. I was manhandled into NaNoWriMo this year, which I’ve been scared to participate in for ages because I didn’t know how the whole thing worked and I thought I was writing in public and the thought of a rough draft out in the word for everyone to read makes me want to hide in a cave forever and hope everyone forgets they ever knew me. BUT! It’s not like that. At all. And I’m so happy that I’m doing it. HOWEVER, I’m struggling to hit goal. I’m in my head too much and instead of contributing to my word count over there, I’m here whining about it in a blog post.

But this is the actual plan. I’m going to blog about the nonsense in my head, get it all out here so that I can go into my novel clear headed and maybe encouraged or something. I don’t know. Also it will hold me accountable if I’m blasting my embarrassing word counts here which as of this very minute is 24,373 words. Ugh. 

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How are you doing? Are you keeping up with your word counts? Are you suffering from a block because your story is supposed to be “satire/humor” and it’s the most boring story ever told? Like mine? 

If you want to be NaNo buddies, find me here

I think my life is maybe just a Paulie Shore movie.

Hi. I have been quite absent from this blog and I have no excuse. Well, moving across 3 states over the summer. That’s an excuse. Also, I’m lazy.

As you may or may not know, I’m writing a book. I’m not sure how much I plan on talking about it yet because I don’t want to jinx it, and I’m battling that voice that is very loudly yelling at me that I’m a fraud and nobody likes me. That’s a fun demon with which to co-pilot this trainwreck. So I’m trying to overcome that voice by writing really bad blog posts. I’m sure that won’t make it all worse. Like at all.

So, a couple of months ago, I moved away from the love of my life, Los Angeles back to my hometown of Denver. It’s a bit of a lot of baggage to unpack. I went from feeling like Link (Brendan Fraser) in Encino Man where I’m the weird but super loved new guy to being Crawl (Paulie Shore) in Son-in-Law when he falls in pig poops at the farm and everyone hates him and he’s barely wearing pants. It has been a good move and my family seems to love it and it will be a great thing for our future. However, no matter how many movies, holiday-themed or not I’ve seen on this subject of moving home, I wasn’t prepared.  Sweet Home Alabama taught me nothing.

While there are a LOT of things (people) I’m glad to be away from, there is SOOOOO much more that hurts my heart to have left. Like a bunch of my favorite people. And I’m struggling to get my creativity back. I feel like I’ve fallen back into a vacuum.

Los Angeles has this reputation of being a vacuous wasteland of plastic beauty, soul-less egos, debauchery, and drugs, and gang members harassing old ladies. And while that does all exist, it is a city so rich in personality and friendships, and lost people and found people. And everyone you meet has something they want to share. And they want to support you in your nonsense and you want to support theirs. And they all hug hello. And whether sincere or not, everybody wants to be your friend and share a bottle or 7 of wine with you over gossip and dreams.

I don’t know if I’m going to find that here. People in Colorado are very polite yet reserved and no one wants none of my antics.

And I am, once again, an outsider looking in.

My oldest son came home from school the other day and says, “Kids just don’t think I’m that funny here,” and then he shrugged and went upstairs to play Fortnite.

God, kid I KNOW, RIGHT?

I sound very dramatic. I realize this. I’m going to go have a glass of wine by myself and try to get back to writing the book.

And in case you were wondering, sobbing it out on the internet didn’t shut the mean voice up at all.

And I do love living in Colorado. I’m just going to drop in weird on everybody like Mork from Ork and make them love me.

Maybe this is the same mentality I need to conjure when I’m writing.

Nanu Nanu.

Los Angeles.

“You’ll never run out of things to do in this city. Believe me,  I’ve lived here over 50 years.”

Her Classic Red lips spoke in between yellowed teeth and drags of her cigarette.  The tiny old woman with her wiry, yet styled platinum hair, dark eyebrows, fake eyelashes, sunken nose, and sage advice walked us through an empty apartment in The Valley stopping when she opened a door exposing a huge hole in the ceiling of one of the bedroom closets. The popcorn texture around the hole bled from brown to yellow.  

“Oh. That hole is being fixed next week. What brings you girls to Los Angeles? Actresses?”

This is the first time in my life that I had ever been to L.A. 

It’s been nearly 21 years to the day of this encounter, and I can confidently tell you that the David Lynch side character lady was correct. Los Angeles is massive. And magic. She didn’t tell me that, but I know that’s what she meant.

That brings us to Tree People.

I went to Tree People yesterday. It’s this amazing hiking trail in like, Beverly Hills maybe? off Coldwater Canyon and Mulholland Drive. This place is FOUR miles away from me and I didn’t even know it existed until recently. You are in the middle of seemingly nowhere and YET you can see all of the valley. It’s absolutely…peaceful. 

Except I was hiking and there were bugs around and my kids were walking real close to the edges of cliffs so there might have also been some complaining. But it was peaceful complaining. Everyone we passed was talking to their hiking buddy/on their phone about the last show they worked on and how much they loved/hated the main actor/actress/director on the show. FYI, be nicer if you’re any one of these.

This is when, maybe? my life has been changed, blessed, though I didn’t realize it at the time.  I think that I may have hiked past Lady Gaga. I’m not kidding. She was very dressed down, white tank top, dark sweats, walking a dog and I don’t even know if she has a dog. I was yelling at kids at the time.  I tried to keep my conversation going, unhickuped with Book Friend, who was also there,  because I didn’t want to stare at her or expose that I know who she was, so I can’t be 100% sure it was her, but hear me out, it was her. I searched her name on Twitter to see if she’s even in LA and she’s trending. Also, probably in LA. I’m weirded out that people on twitter know this. 

“Oh my god!”, I think, “She was spotted by TMZ while hiking with some dog! I’m part of her trend!!!” Not quite. 

Apparently, it was her birthday yesterday. I still haven’t accurately located Gaga, which is fine, but I DID find out it was her birthday so I’m forced to assume that, if not her on the trails, then she’s a witch materializing in front of people so they google her. – It’s a birthday ruse. I was visited by Gaga. 

Sadly, she was NOT hiking in Louboutin’s. If it was even her, but I’ll tell you I was upset when I googled and found out that that was a thing that I could possibly have witnessed.

So whether Gaga was in LA, hiking on her birthday or not, I was visited by her astral projection on her birthday so I’m forced to believe that Lady Gaga is of supernatural skill if I was not blessed by Gaga, herself.

I also re-fell in love with LA, as if I needed another reason. I did drive on Mulholland Drive which is always a strange drive, and I reaffirmed the truths of my probable guardian angel, Old Lady Lynch Character. Also, the Essence of Gaga came to me on her birthday.

Los Angeles is as magical and weird as the first time I stepped foot in it, creepy apartments and all. The platinum blondes have blessed me.