Monday, July 30, 2007

good news, nothing to worry about

We just talked to both of Uma's doctors. John already sent the latest news out to his email list, so I'm going to cut and paste his update:

hi everyone,

dr. shevienk just came out, he's the neurosurgeon
here, and he said the 'neck remnant' of the aneurysm
has actually gotten smaller than it was in the
previous angiogram of feb. 16th. it is actually too
small for more coils and that it is probably too small
to clip as that might easily damage the main artery
the aneurysm protrudes from. so......he is 'without a
doubt' comfortable with waiting another six months for
another look. he said this is 'good news', the fact
that it has not gotten any bigger in the last six

just wanted to let you know - this will be on-going
but we will breathe a bit easier now.

with my whole heart i thank you for your prayers and
thoughts. thank you.

we will probably go home in a few hours!



at the hospital right now

John just sent this out, and I thought I'd post it:

hi everyone,

we arrived at the hospital at 7:30 this morning and it's now
10:20 am. they just took her into the interventional
radiology room. i'm here with erik and marie. we all
met the doctor, dr. alexander. he has done
more aneurysm coiling than anyone in the country and
he talked with us about what some of the options and
risks are.

he said that the fact that she has been previously
coiled makes the clipping surgery more complicated -
it can make it more difficult to attach the clip. he
also pointed out that clipping isn't always permanent
and that they use a polymer coated coil
that speeds up the scarring/healing/clotting process.
we all feel really comfortable with him and with this
whole facility. it's so different than anywhere else
we've been.

there is a five per cent risk factor, statistically,
for complications such as: bleeding, allergic reaction
to the dye used in the angiogram, stroke, bad reaction
to the anesthesia, etc.'s not risk free, but
little in a hospital is. please pray and send love.

it should take between 1.5 and 3 hours and they'll
probably have to keep her over night for observation.

all my prayers, all my love to uma.

more later,


Sunday, July 29, 2007

latest Uma update from John (7/29), and a TASK FOR MONDAY


Hello everyone,

Uma and I are sitting in a doctors office wating for
her pre-op tests. It’s friday.

She was approved for medi-cal earlier this month and I
remembered that, at one point, in NY, we had contacted
Dr. Wouter Shevienk, the director of the Maxine Dunitz
Neurosurgical Institute and he agreed to accept her as
a patient provided she was a qualified medi-cal
person. So....on Wednesday I called and asked if she
could see him. They set up an appointment for
yesterday, Thursday, and decided, after reviewing
films and charts from NY, that she needs another
angiogram to verify the efficacy of the coils clotting
her aneurysm.

Today we are having tests done to make sure she’s ok
physically to have the angiogram and, possibly, more
coiling on Monday. On Monday, there are three
possibilities - 1) that she would not have any
problems and go home 2) that she would have a problem
that can be fixed by coiling and they would do that
then 3) that she would have problem that cannot
permanently be resolved through coiling and would
require “clipping”, which would be done at a later

Coiling is the placement of microscopic platinum coils
in the “dome” of the aneurysm to assist the body in,
usually, a permanent clot. This is done through a
femoral artery catheter and is not considered a
surgical or invasive procedure. This is what they did
for her in NY. The risks of this procedure are that
coils can loosen up, allowing blood to flow again into
the dome of the aneurysm or that the cois can actually
slip out of the dome and into the blood vessel which
can cause an inappropriate clot or stroke. These
things are unlikely but they do happen. Coils are not
always a permanent solution to an aneurysm and require
that she get checked regularly thoughout the year.

Clipping is an invasive surgery. They cut into her
cranium, locate the aneurysm and clip the “neck” of it
with a tiny titanium clip. This is considered a
permanent fix to the aneurysm if done without
complications in the surgery. The risks involved in
clipping are the same with any cranial surgery as well
as problems with the invasive quality of the
procedure. Any time you stick things in the brain you
can have swelling, vasospasm, stroke, memory loss,
speech problems, blurred vision, headaches, infection,
paralysis, etc. These complications are lessened by
the fact that she is not in the middle of her
aneurysm breaking. It’s not an emergency.

She just went in for the chest x-ray. Earlier this
morning she had the other normal tests and she’s ok to

I was up last night, unable to sleep, thinking about
the options here. The idea that we could have a
permanent fix is very attractive. The idea that she
could possibly be set back in her speech or physical
therapy due to complications of clipping is
heartbreaking. She has come so far and I don’t want to
see any of that amazing work compromised.

It’s now sunday morning. I think I was avoiding
finishing this email because there is a part of me
that, honestly, doesn’t want to face more
hospitalization for her. I thought it enough that she
would be in intensive rehab for more than a year. This
latest has brought back a lot of resentment on the
part of the doctors in NY. Why they never bothered to
tell us about this I don’t know. Maybe tomorrow, after
her angiogram, we’ll find out why they never told us
about it. Though it doesn’t always help to look back
on things, I wonder where we would be in our lives now
if hadn’t been looking through her chart and found
this report about the remnant of aneurysm. But as long
as we have to face this, then we might as well face
the whole picture which includes how we’ll view, in
ten years, whatever hardship she’s about to endure. If
surgery, exluding complications, then we have reason
to breathe a bit easier in terms of recurrance. Also,
and I hope I haven’t said this about other situations,
I believe we are in really good hands. Cedars Sinai
and these physicians have an excellent reputation.
That and my informed questions and proper responses to
the answers are what we can do, physically, to help

And now I want to ask all of you to pray for and think
of her tomorrow, Monday morning. We check in at 7:30am
and, at some point later, they take her back. People
are always reminding me to take care of myself. I’ve
found that this is often a spiritual thing, even if
I’m just going for a run to keep my first heart attack
at arms length. I’m thinking that one great prayer is
the one where you take extra good care of yourself (on
Monday morning) in honor of Uma and, of course,
yourself. Do something beautiful for yourself or
because of yourself and send that love past Uma on the
way to its final destination.
For what it’s worth, I
truly believe all the people who helped in this way
saved her life. I believe in it and I believe in you.
Thank you.

Recently Erik sent an email with video links to people
who donated to Uma. I don’t think he’ll mind if I send
the link to everyone. So here they are....

Also, I’ve set up a myspace page for Uma that is
including photos and video of her progress so far. As
often as I can, I will update this.

Thank you for Monday.



uma thanks

I sent out a long email thanking all of the people who made donations to help pay for the air ambulance that brought Uma home in March, and I want to post that email below. Also, Uma has to go in for an angiogram on Monday, and there's a possibility that she might need to have her aneurysm coiled again, or clipped. There's more info about that at the bottom of this post, but please think some good thoughts for Uma on Monday. Say a prayer, light a candle, do what you do. Maybe I'll send out a specific task on Monday morning.

Okay, here's the email:

We're sending this email to all of the incredibly generous people who've made donations to The Uma Fund. (As well as all of the people who have helped in so many other ways—with your prayers, your research, your food, your visits…) All of your support has been so incredible, so inspiring, so awesome--so we want to thank you.

We cannot say those words enough. With all of our hearts: thank you.

This email of thanks is long overdue. I've been meaning to send it out for months, but I guess things happen when they're meant to happen. The other day I asked Uma if she'd like to thank all of you herself—via video—and her eyes lit up. "Yes." She is very aware of all of the love and support you've given her, and she wants to express that. She wants to thank you for all of your prayers, your love, your support. At the end of this email, I've posted five short videos of her expressing these thoughts to you in her own words.

A quick health update: Uma's doing really well. On March 12, she was transferred via air ambulance (thanks to your donations) from St. Vincent's in NYC to Rancho Los Amigos in California, to begin her rehabilitation and therapy. At that time, she wasn't able to speak at all and she had very little movement in the right side of her body. On April 17, she was discharged from Rancho to go home with her fiance, John. At that time, she was able to walk with a cane and speak some words (mostly just "yes" and "no," and a few other phrases). Since coming home, she's been on a rigorous therapy schedule—she has speech and physical therapy for several hours every day. Again, this would not have been possible without the donations you made. The out-of-pocket bills for therapy are about $600 a week—Uma and John have been able to pay these bills with the extra money that was raised for the air ambulance. So thank you for that.

Uma still has a long road of therapy ahead of her, but she is determined to continue working until she gets all of her speech and movement back. You can see for yourself how well she's doing in the videos below. (We filmed five videos and I think Uma's a little bit embarrassed by them—she sees herself struggling for the right words and she wishes that she could say EVERYTHING she wants to say RIGHT NOW—but she's making steady progress in the right direction and I think you will see in these videos how far she's come.)

Okay, enough of my blabbing. These videos are from Uma, to you.

Video #1 (56 seconds long)

Video #2 (7 seconds long)

Video #3 (37 seconds long)

Video #4 (44 seconds long)

Video #5 (1 minute, 42 seconds long)

With thanks and love,

Uma, John, and Erik

P.S. – Uma is scheduled to have another angiogram on Monday. It turns out, when they coiled her original aneurysm in February, a portion of the aneurysm that should have been contained within the coil basically broke through and has been bulging out ever since. The doctors in New York failed to mention this incredibly important piece of information to the doctors in California, but thankfully John was looking over her medical charts and he saw this for himself. On Monday, Uma's new doctor is going to look at this portion of the aneurysm and decide to treat it in one of three ways: (1) if it's really small, nothing will need to be done; or (2) if it's slightly bigger, it might need to be coiled, which is the same procedure that was done in New York—it's not incredibly uncommon, but it IS an invasive procedure--they would do this on Monday during the angiogram; or (3) if it's really bulging out, this portion of the aneurysm might need to be "clipped," which is a fairly big procedure and would be scheduled for another date. ("Clipping" the aneurysm would require shaving Uma's head again and making an incision into her skull to get directly at the aneurysm--something that's not required in the coil procedure.) In all of the above three scenarios, Uma is going to have to spend a few days in the hospital. She's kind of nervous because this is the first time she's had to go in for a procedure since she's been conscious of what's been going on with her brain. So please send her good thoughts and keep her in your prayers. Thank you...

p.p.s. If you know anyone who might not have been able to donate in March, but would still like to make a donation, we are still trying to raise money for Uma's therapy. Our funds will last for several more months, but we expect that Uma will need therapy for at least a full year. Donations can be made via paypal HERE.

p.p.p.s. THANK YOU!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

July 19, 1994

I skipped a page of my diary because it was a poem and this poem is so hideously bad, but it's not hideously bad in a fun-to-share way. It's just bad in a boring way. The title of the poem was "Dreams from the Sky Fall Down" and if anyone wants to read it, I'll post it, but seriously: it's, like, so lame it hurts. And like I said, not in a good way.

So, anyway. Skipping ahead. This next diary entry is a list of goals. I'm just going to post the list without any comments and then afterwards I'll let you know how I did on achieving said goals. It's a short list.

July 19, 1994


(1) To have my headshot taken by July 19, 1995

(2) To do all that I can and make a differance (sic) at NHHS with my job as ASB Recognition Commisioner (sic).

(3) To become a candystriper and help out as much as possible.

(4) To continue to exercise and work out for my health and looks.

(5) To keep in touch with Lane and Jesse and Gina while they're at college.

(6) To fulfill these goals!


(1) I did not achieve this goal. I didn't have my first set of headshots taken until my sophomore year of college. Then I had another set of headshots taken my senior year of college. Then I gave up acting. Lotta good the headshots did. Speaking of which, I still have a box filled with about three thousand copies of my last headshot. I'm not joking. This box of headshots is in the storage unit above my parking space in my garage. I would love to get rid of them. So if you, like, want an autographed headshot, just hit me up with your mailing address via email and I'll totally send it to you. It'll be your own little "My Year Of New Things" keepsake.

(2) I have so many things to say about this one. First of all, "ASB Recognition Commisioner" is such a random position. It sounds like the pity job they gave to the kid with the least votes for some other more prestigious ASB position. (Which might have been the case.) Also, vowing to "do all that I can" is kind of aiming the bar low. It's not like I wanted to do "my best." No, this goal is begging to be left incomplete so that I can say, "oh well, that was all I could do." Thirdly, I don't remember being on ASB at all; the only thing I remember about this entire position was posing for the Yearbook photo--which was probably the most important ASB-related moment of the entire year anyway because the only reason I joined ASB was so that I could put it on my college applications. Lastly, what the fuck is a "recognition commisioner"???

(3) I totally completed this goal. I was a candystriper for six months. And I think I was pretty helpful during my candystriping days. (Jesse, didn't we candystripe together for a little while before you went off to college? Was I any good?)

(4) My favorite part about this goal is the whole "to continue to" part because it implies that I've been exercising and I want to keep at it, when in reality this goal should have read "to start to exercise." Needless to say, I never started. My other favorite part about this goal is that I admitted that I wanted to exercise to look good. This goal was a bust.

(5) I totally ROCKED this goal and am still friends with Lane, Jesse, and Gina, so this goal makes me happy.

(6) Two out of five ain't bad!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 18, 1994

Okay, here's another entry from my recently unearthed high school diary. This entry is fairly short and almost completely ridiculous, so I'm not going to make any comments about it. I think its ridiculousness speaks for itself pretty loudly. (Um, the fact that I quoted Arrested Development a couple of entries after quoting the movie Cliffhanger? And my last cryptic line about virginity? Classic future biographer material.)

July 18, 1994

My cousin Jessica might skip 6th grade and go on to 7th. Wow. She really is very mature for her age and she must be very intelligent also. I hope that the move proves to be challenging and fulfilling for her. I believe that she can do it. I'm a proud cousin.

The Arrested Development song (which I can't think of the title right now) says "It takes two to make a life and also to take one." I am pro-choice, but if I ever got a girl pregnant and she was considering abortion, I would hope that she would talk to me about it and let me be there for her. I would respect her choice. This, of course, depends on the situation, but if she made this decision, I hope that I would be there for her.

No need worrying about this right now. I am, after all, still a virgin. That doesn't mean I haven't experienced anything...

Friday, July 20, 2007

uma july 18th

JOHN'S LATEST UPDATE, from the 18th:

hi everyone,

i’m sitting in the speech therapy office with uma and
her therapist. they’re looking at flashcards of
various objeccts and people and uma’s job is to name
them. sometimes she needs a bit of cue-ing, sometimes
a lot, sometimes none.

yesterday we went to ucla to pick up the cd roms of
her angiogram films and afterwards went to will rogers
park in the palisades to do speech work and take a
hike. we came home after a side trip to starbucks and
did arm and hand exercises and then sat in our little

some really nice things happened yesterday regarding
her speech. when we were walking back to the car after
the hike, she said, “what time is it?”, where usually
she would do an end run clear around the needed words.
and then, post-pool, she looked in the refrigerator
and said, “what are we doing tonight?” asking about
dinner. this morning, at the time we normally put in
her contact lenses she said, in an accent stright
from the ‘hood, “come awone!” (come on!) and smiled. i
said, “what?” and she said, “t-contax” and i replied,
in a broad english accent, “well said my friend” and
she says, in an equally broad english accent, “thank
you”. we both laugh.

the other day i was on our front porch looking through
the 2 inch thick medical chart from new york and found
something. it’s a report from the radiologist during
her second angiogram. this was when they were checking
on the coil and this caused her vasospasm/stroke for
which they administered angioplasty to re-open the
blood vessels. upon looking at the original aneurysm
they found a “neck” portion of it that was still
bulging. the original aneurysm was 1.5 mm, which they
coiled. this “neck” is 1.2 mm. they did not proceed
with coiling this because “of the swelling and
vasospasm” they felt it was unwise to proceed with
this. i understand why they wouldn’t have done
another coiling at that time. uma was in pretty
fragile condition at the time. what i don’t understand
is that no one in new york ever told us about this. i
was left with a familiar feeling - that they just sort
of gave up on her and wanted her gone from there. it
reminded me of the hour before we put her on a
stretched on the way to the air ambulance and dr.
hirschfeld said, “by the way, you’ll probably want to
revise that shunt.” so i’ve benn thinking about this
for the last two weeks. we have a neurosurgical
consult at usc the first week in august and i’ll bring
this to the attention of the doctor. also, she has
just been approved for medi-cal and the head
neurosugeon at cedars sinai had, at one point, agreed
to take her as a patient provided she was medi-cal
approved. i’m going to contact him, too, and see if we
can get her in there. i want a more direct and
personal relationship with a neurosurgeon for her.

this almost always brings me around to realizing that
there is only this one single moment in time.....ever.
the curse of knowing that there is a possible future
so easily leads to wanting to change that future. the
best i can do is try to prepare for it as best i can,
try to make sure she gets the best help, assist her
in her recovery and then have a long series of good
moments that we string together to make a past worth
remembering. i never want to look back at any of this
and wish i had done something more (or less). staying
in the present is the best help for that.

anyway - if you felt good praying for or thinking
about her, if it brought you a good feeling or a deep
one, or even if it made you cry and feel worried (!),
if it made you feel more human or part of the real
things in it again. she needs you. i
really believe all have helped to bring
her here.

and thank you for that. ( i can’t figure out how to
put all the feeling i have into those two words).

more soon.



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 17, 1994

Gina, you get your first diary mention today! I’m trying to remember when we dated—I think it was in the middle of my sophomore year? I feel like we broke up on Valentine’s Day, but maybe I’m making that up. Anyway, let’s pretend that we DID in fact break up on Valentine’s day, which would mean I wrote this five months after we broke up. And, apparently, you really broke my big straight heart—I was still trying to get over you.

But first, I decided to finish telling my New York Stories:

July 17, 1994:

New York. New Years. 4:00 a.m. All of us kids, about 12 of us, were in one room, celebrating. A couple of people, I’m not sure who, thought it would be fun to dump cups of water on the strangers walking by, through the hotel window. (This doesn’t sound like something I would have done, so I don’t think I was trying to pass the blame onto someone else—but I think the whole “I’m not sure who” thing was a lie, I think I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble. After all, what if the people on the sidewalk sued the 12 of us and my diary was seized as evidence? I’m just saying I was savvy. My future biographers did not need to know the names of the guilty water throwers.) They got this man on the head and he looked up and pointed at us, angry. Everyone got away from the window, their nerves shaken from his glare. (I was soooooo dramatic!) About 10 minutes later, maybe even sooner, there was a knock on our door. Hotel security! They told us a man was standing outside with a gun claiming that we had dumped water on him. We deinied and the man gave us a warning and left. Five minutes later, we all left that room to sleep in other rooms, shooken (sic) with the idea of a man pointing a gun towards our window. (The funny thing is, I remember this night vividly. I remember the security guard yelling at us to settle down. I remember leaving that room, afraid that the wet man was going to start sniping us through the window. We were in New York City and we felt like we were LIVING for the first time, and our lives were so important and OF COURSE men were waving guns at us from down below. Because we were sixteen and we felt like everything we did was done in Capital Letters, you know? Just. So. Dramatic.) It was a thrilling experience, which I can say only after the fact, now that I am home, safe and sound. (See, biographers! Some hapless wet man allegedly pointed a gun at all of us kids from several stories below, AND I WAS THRILLED. That’s how cool I was, biographers.) But despite this, New York was really a passage for me. It was the first time that I had ever somewhat fended for myself—paying for all of my meals, working out my schedule and transportation, and taking care of myself. The chaperons really didn’t do much, if I had been missing it might have taken them a few days to realize, so I was really on my own. (I felt SO ADULT it’s killing me.) (Mostly it’s killing me because I’m about to turn 30, and my inner about-to-turn 30 monologue sounds SO SIMILAR.) I love New York and I vow to live there for at least one year of my life.

(Gina, get ready, I’m about to start talking about you.)

I want to date someone who isn’t interested in committment (sic). I want no committment (sic) right now. I just want to be able to date and not worry about anything. If something special happens, then that’s great. But my last two relationships were too intense. I let myself fall too deep with Gina that I was blind. I knew that we weren’t made for each other and I never wanted a “forever” thing, but when she broke up with me I was caught completely off guard. I wasn’t ready for it. Now I want to date around, see more than one person, and not let things get too serious for awhile. (I love that I thought we were SOOOOO serious, Gina. Um, if I remember correctly, I don’t think we ever had a “serious” “relationship” conversation ever! All we did was hang out with our friends and occasionally make out in the back of Rayline’s truck.)

(And here’s my favorite out-of-nowhere topic transition, the gayest of them all.)

I want to learn how to disco! Night fever, night fever…

(Okay, this next paragraph is weird. And I think it gives a really clear picture of what kind of kid I was, just the fact that THIS is something I would write in my DIARY.)

I’m going to play a game of free word association: Disco – dance – lights – dark – death – life – sex – babies – youth – kids – innocent – free – virgin – sex – love – strength – weakness – fall – crush – death – rise – set – sun – yellow – flower – bee – honey – food – water – rain – wet – clean – shower – morning – sleep – live – die – heaven – hell – Devil – God – clouds – mystic – power – awesome – wonder – dream – reality – movies – actors – people – consume – mass – population – control – need – sick – help – heal – live.

(I don’t know what this string of words says about sixteen-year-old Erik, but it makes me feel incredibly boring, and I wish that sixteen-year-old Erik would just come out of the closet and get laid already.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July 16, 1994

I just realized how great it was that the internet was invented because now I don’t have to wait until I’m dead to share my high school diaries with the world. My future biographers can start their biographing NOW.

In today’s installment of Erik Patterson Thought He Was Really Profound When He Was Sixteen, I share my thoughts on capital punishment, the movie Heart and Souls, and the first time I ever got drunk.

July 16, 1994

“You kill a few men and you’re a murderer. You kill a million and you’re a conquerer. Go figure.” – John Lithgow in the movie Cliffhanger.

This is an interesting summation of how our society views killing. In my mind, either way you are a murderer. (Wow, Erik, you were brilliant. Way to go with the hard-hitting analysis. Oh, but wait, you continue.)

Capital punishment? I am against it. I feel that if we feel the need to murder someone to punish them for murder, we are only stooping down to their level. The “eye for an eye” belief is bullshit. Besides, what kind of a punishment is death. A lifeliess life that is forever spent in jail is a much better punishment. Also, I don’t believe in Hell. (Hello, topic shift. I really just went from one random topic to the next in my diary, didn’t I? I think I was just trying to log as much data as possible, to help those future biographers.) Wherever souls go when someone dies – they all go to the same place. If someone killed a loved one of mine, I sure as hell wouldn’t want them to join my loved one in Heaven, or wherever souls go. (Okay, but Erik, if you don’t believe in Hell, then being as “sure as hell” isn’t really very sure, is it?)

“Heart and Souls” was a really great movie. (I’m trying to understand the logic of this particular topic shift, and I think it’s a stream-of-conscious thing; like, I was just talking about souls and so now I’ll talk about the movie “Heart and Souls.” I was a weird kid.) It just touched me where I needed to be touched (no comment) and I guess I saw it numerous times. The idea of walking down a public street singing “Walk Like A Man” is so freeing and fulfilling. Since seeing the movie, Lindsay and I break into this song often. It is always a great release. (I kind of find this “Heart and Souls” paragraph more embarrassing and humiliating than any of the other diary bits and pieces so far. I don’t know why I find this paragraph so particularly embarrassing, but I do.)

I suppose that I should tell my New York story while it is still sort of fresh in my head. (And also because I apparently have ADD in my diary and can’t seem to focus on any one topic for more than a paragraph.)

Over Christmas vacation, I went to New York with Drama--Jesse, Lindsay, Justin, Nicky, Keri, Jamie, Lolita, Julia, etc. It was a thrilling experience to finally experience Broadway plays. The first night, I saw Blood Brothers with Gwen. The theatre was small, comfortable. Before the curtain rose, my stomach was turning, I was so excited. Anyway, I saw eleven shows in one week. One highlight was New Years Even Night. I went to see Les Miserables and after the show, the whole cast came out and sang “Auld Lang Sine.” It was neat. One major 1st that happened in New York, though, was the first time I ever got drunk. It was the first--and to this day, the last--time I ever drank, also. Tuesday night, a few days before New Years Eve, we were all going to see a show, I can’t remember which one—no, wait. It was Laughter on the 23rd Floor, by Neil Simon. After the show, we waited at the stage door and met Nathan Lane and John Slattery. Anyway, before the show, I saw Paul. He came with us too, he was my director for our production Noises Off. Well, Paul and I were waiting to go to the show and he was going to the hotel bar—I went with him. Since I was in there, I thought I’d try to order a drink—I got a Gin and Tonic. We were sitting at the bar drinking and eating pretzels and the bartender didn’t say anything! Mind you—I’m 16-years-old, but I guess I look old for my age. Everyone always tells me that and it was proving to be true. Well, I had never drank before and it gave me a little bit of a headache that I had throughout the entire show. After the show, the whole group of us went to this Piano Bar called “Don’t Tell Mama’s.” It is a great place where the waitresses sing to you during the evening and anyone who wants to can go and sing too. That’s why we went there, for the singing. Most of the kids were getting things like Coke to drink and the chaperones didn’t notice what some of us others were getting. Since it worked at the hotel bar, I thought that I would try getting drinks here, too. I don’t remember what I was ordering, but by around 2:00 a.m. I had had about 5 different drinks and the only people left in the bar from our group was me, Nicky, Keri, and Paul. I had about 2 more drinks with them until the waitress told us it was closing time at a little bit past 3:00 a.m. It was time to pay and I paid with a travellors (sic) check! Well, she needed to see I.D. to use a travellors (sic) check so I got out the $20 fake I.D. card that I had bought that afternoon and everything was fine. Either she didn’t notice or she didn’t care that there was a differant (sic) name on the I.D. than the check! Anyway, even though I had had quite a few drinks, I only felt a buzz. I thought that if I had gone this far, then I wanted to get completely drunk—this wasn’t enough. So we asked where the nearest bar was that might still be open. The bartender said that there was another one around the corner, so we walked over there. Well, we got there and outside the door, Keri and Nicky said that they wanted to go back to the hotel and they left. Paul and I went into the bar and sat at the bar. We ordered drinks and not until I was on my second one--there--did I realize that it was a gay bar! There were only two other people in there. Luckily, when one of them tried to come on to me, Paul started talking to him and saved me. (!!!) Well, the bar was closing. It was now about 4:30 a.m. and we were told we had to go. I paid and when I got up, it all hit me, I could barely stand up straight (maybe it’s because you were in a gay bar! Thank god Paul saved you!) and I wobbled out of the bar. I was drunk. Paul and I were about 8 blocks away from the hotel and we are very lucky that we made it back alive. I can’t believe how stupid we were. Two drunks, walking 8 blocks to a hotel, alone, at 4:30 a.m. in New York City. Outside the hotel lobby, Paul almost got into a fight with a bum. Once I got to my room, I could not stop giggling. I noticed that someone was sleeping in my bed—rules weren’t strict and we could sleep in any room we wanted to, so I went next door and Jamie let me sleep in her room. After I stopped giggling, I passed out. The next day, I was thoroughly embarrassed. I had a headache, and I haven’t had a drink since. Well, that’s my drinking story. New York was a great learning experience. Maybe I’ll write more about it later.

July 15, 1994

I figure it’s time for another installment of my recently unearthed (and insanely profound) high school diary. In today’s episode, I wax rhapsodic about my brother Josh’s first foray into acting (if I’m doing the math right, he was eight when I wrote this) and I pontificate about O.J. Simpson’s fate.

July 15, 1994

Today I saw Josh perform a scene and a song for a class. Is this a beginning? As much as I hope it is, pity he who goes into acting for a living, for I know there isn’t much out there to make a living off of in ratio to the number of actors out there.

(Holy crap, I cannot believe what a tool I was. Um, “pity he”????)

Today was long and exhausting and I am going to curse myself tomorrow for not going to be early.

(And that’s all I said about that. I have no idea what was so long and exhausting about that July day in 1994—apparently I had much more important matters to discuss in my diary. Read on.)

I saw someone selling t-shirts that had O.J. Simpson’s face and in bold letters said “NOT GUILTY.” This supports my conviction that it will be impossible to find an impartial jury. Who is to blame but the media? They have made the O.J. case into a media frenzi (sic) that resembles more circus than integrity. Because of the media, no one in the U.S. has been left without an opinion on whether O.J. is guilty or innocent. And unless O.J. makes a confession, we never will know. (I think I was trying to sound really smart by inverting the “never” and the “will” in that sentence.) But everyone has made up in their mind a decision about his guilt/innocence. I would not call someone who wore an “O.J. NOT GUILTY” shirt impartial and I do not see how O.J could possibly have a fair trial. I am afraid that the media has made a mockery of this case and because of this I fear that O.J. will go free, whether he is guilty or not. No—I am not impartial either. I believe O.J. to be guilty. (Why am I talking like that??? “I believe O.J. to be guilty”???? Seriously, I was such a tool.) Could the media frenzi (sic) surrounding this case elimanate (sic) all form of justice from our legal system? Maybe I’m so upset by this because I feel the media drawing me in, too.

(Now get ready for a quick topic shift. What I find most absurd about these diary entries is that you can just smell how important I thought they were. It’s so obvious that I wasn’t writing for myself, but for a future biographer. I am genuinely mortified by the next paragraph and for a moment I considered skipping it altogether, but whatever, pushing on.)

Whore. Usually such a derogative word, but when used towards a good friend it is the most freeing and exhilarating word to use. It connotates a sense of teasing and trust in the other person for it is used in the most friendly context. I discovered this when I went out with my friends and we discovered that if we were ever frustrated our frustration was gone if we only called each other “fucking whores.” We all knew that we were joking and these words are actually very fun to say. Fucking whore. (Maybe Isaiah Washington had a similar attitude towards the word faggot and that’s why he didn’t really get the whole brouhaha?) It’s such a release. Our society puts such harsh criticism against such “dirty” words. And isn’t forbidden fruit the sweetest. (Oh my god.) In my circle of friends, “fucking whore” has become a term of affection. (Jesse? Lane? Gina? Do you remember this at all? Or was I writing COMPLETELY out of my ass here?)

(And now for another complete tonal shift.)

The Drovers is an excellent band. Try to find their CD, they must have one. (Who the fucking whore am I talking to??? Am I telling my biographers to buy the CD??? Because I know that I already had it and that whole “they must have one” thing was just me feigning ignorance.) I heard them play for the first time with my Grandpa and Joanne at the Golen Globe Awards—at the after-party, no less! (Who talks like this?) A kind man gave us his tickets after we were through ogling stars. (“A kind man”—I sound like I’m a peasant boy in 18th century London.) They were like no band I’ve ever heard before, they have their own distinctive sound, very Irish. Well, they were in the movie Blink, too. Their music was the only good thing about the movie. I’m determined to find their CD. (I swear, I already had it. I know I did. I was such a diary liar.) I am also determined to hear Violent Femmes live in concert. They are so amazing. Most likely my favorite group. (Notice how I wasn’t willing to fully commit to them as my favorite group? Just a feeble most likely. I was a doof.)


I'm too tired to transcribe the next entry tonight, but it's a good one and I'll post it soon--it's all about the first time I got drunk, when I was 15. Good stuff.

(I just noticed the date of this entry and realized that it's basically from EXACTLY thirteen years ago. Thank God for age.)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

latest Uma update from John (7/12/07)

FROM JOHN (7/12/07):

hello again everyone,

i've been busy! but i've been thinking about how all
of you prayed and thought and meditated and walked and
vandalized and wrote and donated and called and
visited and cooked and cleaned and walked and
tried.....and i feel like i really need to tell you
all what's going on with uma on a regular basis.

life is very strange compared with what i've been lead
to believe it 'should' be. it is what it is i guess
and you react as best you can to what is in front of
you. for a long time i thought the adjustments to our
new life together would be more difficult for me than
for her but the more aware uma becomes of her
situation and the more she can actually do the more
she is prone to being depressed or resigned to her
current abilities. getting her to do things for her
own therapy on a self-motivated basis is not so easy.
the great thing about her is that, if you do give her
a task, she will do it all the way and won't stop
until she can do it right. when i said this was going
to be a long, long recovery i truly meant every word.

today was the last day for a while that our home-based
physical therapist (robbin, the associate professor at
usc) will come over. she is due to deliver her second
child on july 20th know....time for a
break. i've recorded a lot of video to use as
reference for our home program. i feel confident now,
after 2 months, that i can duplicate the exercises.
part of this confidence comes from the fact that uma
doing so well and can respond to commands and
understand the reasoning behind subtle changes in,
say, position or muscle/movement emphasis.
we continue to go to a hospital-based speech and
physical therapist each three times a week.

a typical day is - get up about 8. uma dresses herself
while i make breakfast. we eat, usually while watching
a tv show she likes (dawson's creek or something like
that). i put in her contact lenses for her (but she
has to say, "contacts" before i do it and this is a
very hard word for her right now) and tie her shoes.
she gathers up her purse and we go to glendale for
therapy. there she spends a couple of hours back to
back with speech and physical therapy. both therapists
are very happy with her progress.

much of the speech therapy revolves around reading and
comprehension. there are flash cards with pictures to
name-many of which she can name already without any
cue-ing- and very short stories to read and answer
questions about. she can't actually read aloud nor can
she yet say any of the words individually that she
sees on paper but she somehow gathers the meaning of a
sentence and can refer back to it when answering
written questions about the content of the story. she
'says' she feels like it's cheating because she gets
to look at the story text while answering the
questions but, in the end, it's all reading and
understanding and that's what we want. but that shows
her spirit - she wants to do it right.

physical therapy usually begins with the stairstepper
- up to 85 pounds the other day - for ten minutes. the
last time she did the stair stepper she held on to the
railing with both (yes, both) hands. no tape, no
cloth, no assisting. this happened on a day when she
also made a lot of headway in the 'weight-bearing'
positions they want her right arm to be in. the more
weight her arm/hand can bear, the more it will wake
the brain up in that area......then she will walk
sideways, backwards, up and down a small staircase, hamstring lifts with ankle weights or
repeatedly lift her right leg out and balance - lots
of different leg excercises. then there is right arm
stuff including massage and movement. (i'm hoping to
get together a myspace page detailing a lot of this
activity and uploading videos of her progress - she
said that would be ok with her). last evening in our
tiny little pool she was sitting on a lawn chair and
raised her right arm up on it's own to land on the
armrest, and, with help from her left hand, spread her
right fingers out and over the edge of the armrest.
this is the first time she's done anything like this
herself. that she'd be interested in it, think of it,
and be able to do it is a great sign and is also a way
to bear weight.

....then we would come home, i'd make lunch, we eat,
usually i do the dishes and then we begin a routine
that takes up about 25 minutes an hour each hour until
dinner. this routine varys from hour to hour but
includes speech therapy from her work book - reading,
alphabet flash cards (she can do A, B and C
consistently so far), pointing to objects in the room,
mimicing me while i say, "poe, toe, boe, woe, no, low,
so, zoe, koe" etc. - some of these are easier than
others for her. it also includes upper and lower
extremity stretching and range-of-motion, standing and
seated calf and toe raises, isolated quadricep and
hamstring exercises using the wall and a basketball (
look for the video.....soon i hope), exercises for
external rotation of her arm, wrist movement, pushing
and pulling with various devices (arm stuff), etc.
then, every other day we drive down to the fern dell
at the bottom of griffith park and walk up to the
observatory and back - takes about an hour....come
home, hop in the little pool and talk.....she takes a
shower, i cook dinner, we eat and, pretty soon, she's
asleep. and the days go on like this. i'm taking a
lot of time off work the next few months so we can
intesify her regimen. she's ready, i can feel it. the
catch is that, the more she can do, the more she
realizes what she can't do. but, also, the more she
can do, the more she wants to work.

with days and evenings like this ( add in work,
cleaning the house, grocery shopping, laundry) and
you can see why it's been so long since i've written.
i'm sorry about that but i just get so tired at night
which is about the only time i can do it.

she can answer the phone now and have a bit of
conversation, too so, those of you who have her
number, give her a call and maybe ask her when you can
see her if you want. that would be great.

all my love,


Friday, July 13, 2007

12 of 12, July 2007

I should have posted this yesterday, but I didn't have internet access yesterday. I haven't participated in Chad's 12 of 12 project in many, many months, and I finally decided to get back in the game. Here goes.

#1: Highland Park, 8:46 a.m.

I just woke up. The night before, I'd had a fever of 101. I was all loopy and shit. (I'm still trying to get over a cold, but at least the fever's gone, thank the lord.) Anyway, taking the above photo was the first thing I did when I woke up and I wasn't happy about it. I am not a morning person. And 8:46 a.m. is early for me.

#2: L.A.X., 11:36 a.m.

Despite the fact that I woke up at the crack of dawn (I'm telling you, 8:46 is really early), I was still late to meet my mom for our planned carpool to the airport, so she was really paranoid about whether or not we were going to catch our plane or not (she'll scoff at the notion that she was "really paraniod," but it's true). In the above photo, we're about to go through security. The woman standing in front of my mom was, like, 4 feet and not an inch taller. I wanted to stow her in my suitcase and take her home with me.

#3: L.A.X., 11:38 a.m.

It only took two minutes to get through security, so now we have plenty of time to kill. I am fairly certain that my mom took extra time putting her shoes back on (above photo) so that it wouldn't seem like we had so much time to kill.

Bonus photo, "hotness," L.A.X., 11:52 a.m.

I was wandering, aimlessly, looking for something to eat before getting on the plane, when suddenly, I see a man enter the corridor and I freeze. I'm not even exaggerating for effect, I literally froze in my tracks. I think my jaw might have dropped, but I won't say that it did because I can't tell for sure because I pretty much lost all control of my body. Hell, I might have been floating and I wouldn't have even known it because the man who entered the corridor was Leland Palmer. Now, okay, yes, now that I'm at the home of my cousins Sue and Alan, I realize that Leland Palmer is a fictional character from the television show Twin Peaks and that he was portrayed by an actor named Ray Wise. Yes, I know that with every logical fiber in my body. But if I was stuck on a desert island and God told me he'd give me a TV set with one condition, that I'm only allowed to watch one television series and I can watch it as much as I want but seriously I'm never gonna get to watch another series so I'd better choose wisely, I would choose Twin Peaks. And my love for the show is really unabated, i.e. I get so annoyed when people say "Oh, yeah, that show was great in it's first season, but the second season sucked," because, okay, sure, some of the second season sucked--okay, maybe chunks of it did--but if the only thing you see in the second season is suckage, well, I'm sorry, but you're really missing out, because the second season has at least twenty brilliant moments. What am I saying??? MORE than twenty brilliant moments. (Every scene with David Lynch as Agent Gordon Cole, Piper Laurie's big reveal moment in the prison, the "Don't go back to Missoula, Montana" scene, that diner scene between Major Briggs and Bobby when Major Briggs tells Bobby about the dream he had and Bobby realizes that his dad loves him and he breaks down and cries...I could go on, but I won't.) The only storyline that's completely bad, IMHO, is the one with James and that blondie who tried to set him up for the murder of her husband, and that storyline isn't bad because of James Marshall's terrible acting (which actually WORKS most of the time BECAUSE of its badness, and I could go on and on about why, but I won't), no, that storyline's bad because it's the only storyline in the entire series that takes place OUTSIDE of Twin Peaks and suddenly melodramatic soapyness that's essential to the show started to feel out of place. And one of the best peices of the Twin Peaks puzzle is Ray Wise. I know that the actors have said that they didn't know the answer to the question "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" until the killer was finally revealed on the show, but if you go back and watch the show again from the beginning, Ray Wise knew. He had to have known! Watch the dream sequence in episode three, and then watch every single scene that Ray Wise is in, because it all points to him, but it's so subtle and Ray Wise is so brilliant and sad that you don't see it coming at all. With each episode, he builds to madness. But it takes, like, 14 episodes for him to get there, so it's a looooong build. And he teeters on the brink of absurdity without ever for one second losing the core emotional truth that he is a father who just lost his daughter in the most horrible way. It's such a good acting job that he is completely and utterly real in my head, and when I saw Ray Wise walking towards me, I swear to you: I held my breath. (On a side note, he's extremely handsome in person, and he looks completely un-crazy. I, on the other hand, probably looked bonkers, standing there, frozen, holding my breath, trying not to look like I'd noticed him while simultaneously STARING.) I didn't want to freak him out, and also I wanted to respect the fact that he's just trying to be a normal dude at the airport, so I didn't take my camera out of my pocket until he'd already walked upstairs on his way to the private airport bar. That small speck of a head you see in the above photo is him, walking away. Seeing Ray Wise was thrilling, and starstriking, and completely hot.

#4: Mid-air, 4:38 p.m.

How beautiful is that sky? I was enjoying the view. Until...

#5: Mid-air, 4:59 p.m.

...we started experiencing turbulance. And when I say "turbulance," I mean it felt like the airplane had been plucked out of the sky by the hand of God and he was shaking it to see if anyone was inside. I've never been scared in the air before, but for a few minutes there: I was scared. My mom was scared too, and she said that she was scared, and I didn't think it would do the two of us any good for BOTH of us to be scared, so I pretended like I wasn't scared and I took this photo to be like, "ha, ha, look at us, we're having fun on an airplane," but now that I'm safe and sound and on the ground, I can admit that I was out of my wits.

When the plane landed, all of the passengers erupted into applause--that's how scary the turbulance was. True story.

#6: Ronald Reagon Washington National Airport, Washington D.C., 8:29 p.m.

Never have I been so glad to see a non-descript airport tunnel. We're in Washington D.C. now, so I've added three hours to my camera's timestamps to account for East Coast time.

#7: Washington D.C., 9:03 p.m.

My cousins Sue and Ellie picked us up at the airport. I tried to get a good photo of the Washinton Monument as we drove past it, but this was the best one I got.

#8: Washington D.C., 9:04 p.m.

And then I tried to get a good photo of the Lincoln Memorial as we were driving towards it, but this is the best one I got. Despite the shoddy photos (we were driving, after all), it was beautiful.

#9: Chevy Chase, Maryland, 9:27 p.m.

Arriving at the home of Sue, Alan, Ellie, and Scott. Family reunion time.

#10: Sue and Alan's living room, 9:56 p.m.

That's my mom, my step-grandma, and my great-aunt Muriel.

#11: Sue and Alan's kitchen, 10:46 p.m.

That's Granny Joanny teaching Uncle Bobby and cousins Steffani and Taylor how to do that twisting-your-middle-fingers-through-your-hands trick. You know the one.

#12: Basement make-shift bedroom, 12:10 a.m.

The end of a long day. I was about to collapse. My cousin Taylor snapped this photo in the mirror, just before her mom yelled for her to go brush her teeth.

I just took two Tylenol PM

Am I the only one who just realized that we have the power to vote for who's going to be on the next season of The Real World, and we only have four more days to get our vote on??? And seriously, is everyone else out there as excited about this as I am? We have to use our power wisely and vote in crazy-ass people who are gonna be good drama on the Challenges.

(If you're not obsessed with MTV, then this post probably reads like another language to you, and I apologize for that.) (I almost wrote "and I apologize to that.") (Which would have been a weird thing to say, but I kind of like it.) (Not that it makes any sense.)

(Remember that thing I posted about Jell-O a couple of days ago? That didn't really make any sense either.)

(It's because I have a terrible cold and between yesterday and today and the day before yesterday, I've literally blown a gallon of snot out of my nose.) (My cousin Ilene gave me a Michael J. Fox movies-on-DVD collection today and it was the greatest early-birthday present ever.) (He is so hot it's out of control.) (Especially in the photo they used for the DVD box cover.) (I defy you to look at that box cover and not think that Michael J. Fox is the definition of hotness.) (Thank you, Ilene. Maybe you didn't give me an available gay man for my birthday, but the Michael J. Fox movies are a close second.)

(Oh, by the way, I'm in Washington D.C. right now, at a family reunion, and this is basically the first time I've been online in two days, and it's weird to be away from the internet for such a long period.) (I mean, okay, I did use my cousin's computer to read a few of my daily blog reads, but besides that, I've been completely off-line, and that's been strange.) (I think maybe I have an addiction to the internet.) (Like, if three hours go by and I haven't checked my email, I feel a little kink in my back.) (Not a literal kink, a metaphorical one.) (Oh my god I can't stop staring at Michael J. Fox.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

orange Jell-O, blue hand

I'm such a bad cook that I don't even know how to make Jell-O correctly, apparently. How do you fuck up making Jell-O? I thought it was going to be the most simple thing to make. And, fine, yes, I made it and it's Jell-O, but there's barely any there. The damned box says it makes enough for four servings, and maybe I'm a pig, but still--there's no way this is supposed to be four servings:

In other, completely non-Jell-O related news, I was driving home from Rite-Aid earlier today, trying to open a plastic container, and using a Bic pen to open said plastic container, and instead of opening the freaking plastic container I broke the fucking pen and spilled blue ink all over my hand, and I've washed my hand, like, seven times, but it's still kinda blue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Team Avril

I don't think she's getting enough support, so I just wanted to put out into the universe that I am on Team Avril. Am I so completely blinded by my love for her poppily infectious summer tune that I can't see what's to all of the people who are on Team Rubinoos the most obvious rip-off ever? Because seriously, I don't think the songs sound even one iota similar. I just don't hear it, I don't get it.

Judge for yourself.

Here's the rocking kick-ass Avril song (and I realize that I'm a punk for thinking Avril's kick-ass) (and not the kind of punk that Avril labels herself as) (the kind of punk that's, like, lame) (more Brewster than Daft) (as in Punky Brewster) (but whatevs cuz that's the way I roll) (I love the song and I'm not ashamed to admit it):

And here's the hum-drum, so-so Rubinoos song that (IMHO) sounds nothing like it:

Weighed all the evidence? Okay, now take this dandy poll:
I'm on:
Team Avril
Team Rubinoos
I refuse to take this poll because I'm a REAL punk.
You said poll.
Free polls from

Gab--speaking of "Mortified," this is for you.

I'm still sorting through boxes in the garage (I'm almost through all of them, but of course there are, like, 700 boxes because I've never thrown anything away in my entire life, so that's why it's taking me forever) and one of the boxes I went through tonight had my high school diary in it. I don't know if anyone else is gonna find this thing funny, but as I read through the book tonight I was in pain from laughing so goddamned much. Like, my stomach physically hurts. This diary is from when I was seventeen and you can tell that I thought I was SO WORLDLY, but the entire book is so sweet and naive I can't stand it. I can tell from the way I worded things that I was writing for an audience--I remember thinking that someday I would become famous and then I would die and then people would scour through all of my diaries to learn more about me (and, of course, use my diaries as source material for my future biographies) and I remember writing my diary FOR THOSE PEOPLE. The people who were gonna study me after my death.

My diary's first entry is sorta like a prologue:

APRIL 18, 1994:

It's Monday. This book was a Christmas present. I'm going to use it as a journal, to express my thoughts, jot down ideas, write down significant instances, memories, or whatever comes to my head. I'm sleeping on the couch bed tonight. We have guests from France, Gaby and Frederick. They're very nice people and I'm getting a chance to practice my French. I'm doing better than I thought I would.

I would love to go to France. I want to go everywhere, see everything. I want to go back to New York. That's a story that I'll save for a later time.

I got my driver's liscence (sic) about 12 days ago. It feels great to get in the car on my own and drive. I'd love to be able to just drive anywhere, and to find someplace new. Just to see as much as possible.


Okay, that was the first entry. I was older than all of the other kids in my class (because I took kindergarten twice), but reading through this diary makes me feel like I was a young 17. So bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and innocent. I'm going to transcribe one more entry (entry #2) and then it's time for bed. (The weird thing about this next entry is that I was talking to my friend Mandy the other day and she mentioned that she was about to drive through Pennsylvania and then we started talking about the Amish and I totally told her the story that I tell in this diary entry. Like, I literally JUST told this story because this moment with this Amish girl was so vivid that it's stuck with me all of these years.) (Oh, and the other thing I love about this next entry is how full of myself I am--for instance, when I'm suddenly like "hello, world, let me tell you why eye contact is important," you can practically smell how profound I thought I was being.)


JULY 14, 1994:

It's summer. I'm at my Dad's house until school starts, which is great because I don't get to see them as often as I'd like to during the school year. I get so busy that I hardly see them at all. I love them a lot. My brothers are great. Josh saw some butterflies mating and he told Patty: "Mom, they're having the S word." He's taking an acting class and they're having a recital tomorrow. It's exciting to see him get into acting because I was his main influence to try it. It feels nice to have someone look up to you. Emulation is great. Matt is into sports, which isn't exactly my forte. He wears is heart on his shoulder and he is really sweet. He's a good kid and I hope that none of that "middle child" stuff gets in the way of him doing what he wants. Then there's Mike, who's the cutest kid you ever set eyes on. He's so cute that he gets away with murder.

Me? I'm the fourth brother, the oldest brother, I want to be a writer, I want to be an actor. I would lie if I said I didn't strive for fame and fortune. I do. Sometimes I'll stay up late at night thinking up my Oscar or Tony acceptance speech (sometimes for writing, sometimes for acting, sometimes for even both!) I want to do it all. One of my major goals in life: To see almost every country in the world. (Adult Erik's note: I like how I said I wanted to see "almost" every country, like, I know I'm never gonna see EVERY one, so let's make a reasonable goal here.) I want to experience every culture, every language there is to experience.

In our "travels," my mom, Joe, and I saw an Amish Community. It was wonderful, free. They don't have any technological interferences that intrude on our lives. Their lives are so simple. I envy them, but realistically I know that I would die without what I have. I would enjoy the simple life for a while and then I would want more. When we were driving through this Amish Community, we drove by this Amish horse-driven carraige. There was this beautiful young Amish girl with her mother, she looked to be about my age. The two of us made eye-contact, and as we passed our eyes remained locked. We both turned around and watched each other disappear, going to separate worlds. I saw in her eyes a longing for more. I could tell that she felt trapped. I wanted to turn around and go rescue her. But I couldn't. Call me sentimental, but the picture of that Amish girl--that beautiful, young Amish girl, is still freash in my mind. Our eyes are forever interlocked, looking deep into each other, wanting what the other has. I would love to speak to her, but I feel as if I already know her, just from that look.

(Oh my god, this is soooooo painful, but it gets worse: here's the part where I go off on the importance of eye contact.)

Eye contact is extremely important to human connection. (See, I told you I was going to talk about how important it is. But wait, I went on.) The eyes are the gateways to the soul. All of our life comes from our eyes. They are so powerful. (I would be less embarrased if this diary--or "journal," as I called it--had been written in elementary school, or even middle school. But no, I was seventeen when I jotted these profoundly profound words down.) Eye contact is very important in acting, which is probably why I'm comfortable with it. (Um, implying that you were SUCH a great actor that you are SO comfortable with eye contact? Oh my god, I was so full of myself!) Sometimes I'll be having a conversation with smoeone and I'll notice them averting my eyes, as if they can't handle it. Without eye contact it is impossible to connect to a person. This is why I hate sunglasses so much. They put a wall in front of that connection. They hide your soul. This has created a conflict in my mind because I have recently become in the need of wearing sunglasses. My contact lenses are sometimes very sensitive to sunlight and I've begun to wear sunglasses for this reason. Fortunately, I only wear them in the car when the sun is bright. Sunglasses are really for people who are afraid to connect. They are the perfect hiding place. I wonder what that says about Jack Nicholson??? (I can't tell if this is a genuine question or if I'm trying to be funny here. Either way, I look like a moron.)

As I walk up to the podium I must not forget to thank two very important people in my life. First, Diane Doyle. With her Young Conservatory program at SCR, she has provided me with the best learning experience of my life thus far. (I still love Diane. She totally got me out of my shell when I was ten and I probably wouldn't have ever gotten involved in theater if it hadn't been for her.) She is a wonderful teacher, director, person, and she is the reason I became an actor. And second, Terri Foster. Also a wonderful teacher. She made me love learning when I had her for 5th grade and she made me love writing when I had her for 8th grade Honors English. She is the best teacher I've ever experienced learning from. ("Ever experienced learning from"?!?!?? That's sentence doesn't really show a very good grasp on the English language, especially for a sentence that's trying to thank an English teacher for being the best teacher ever.)

(Okay, wait, I know I keep saying that certain parts of this diary entry are my favorite part, but this next paragraph is seriously my favorite paragraph. Remember, I was seventeen.)

Confession: This week I joined a gym and a tanning salon. My dad wanted me too, but I think I'll like them. I want my body to look good. Acting is such a "looks" conscious business that it only helps. I hope that I can stay with it and beef up a bit, but not too much. Just enough for it to look like I'm strong, but that I don't work out. I'm not so sure about tanning, but it IS relaxing and I've always wanted to have a tan, besides that farmers one that I've always had.

I want to learn how to play the piano, too, and the guitar. Two goals.


That's the end of the second entry. I'm going to stop there for now, but I promise you the diary gets way more embarrassing. I go on to talk about girls I like and I shit you not: the diary entry for May 6th, 1995 is all about how "Shirley is the only girl who has ever physically touched my penis." (Apparently other girls had touched my penis in a non-physical way, but Shirley was the only one who had ever touched-it touched-it.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

interview with Rachel Kann, author of "10 for everything"

Okay, so I've been trying to figure out what I want to do with this little corner of the internet that I've carved out for myself with "My Year of New Things," and the plan right now is to forge forward without a plan and to post whatever I wanna post, which I suppose is what I've always been doing. So enough ado about that, and on with the show:

My very good friend Rachel Kann recently had her first collection of fiction published: "10 for everything." If you saw either of my recent productions at Theatre of NOTE--Yellow Flesh/Alabaster Rose, or Red Light, Green Light--you'll remember Rachel from her L.A. Weekly Award winning performance as Rose (pictured below, with Alan Loayza):

She's written a beautiful book and I've been trying to figure out how I could help spread the word (you can purchase a copy of her book here), and I ended up doing an interview with Rachel this morning over IMs. The interview is long and rambly and hopefully entertaining. Enjoy!


Erik (10:28:54 AM): can i just start this interview by saying how much i love your book?
Erik (10:29:01 AM): LOVE IT
Rachel (10:29:16 AM): of course. because i love compliments as much as you love my book!
Rachel (10:29:22 AM): THANK YOU
Erik (10:29:35 AM): i feel like a total fanboy right now, talking to one of my idols. seriously.
Rachel (10:29:47 AM): that seriously means so much because there are very VERY few writers i admire as much as you
Rachel (10:29:59 AM): this is a fucking circle jerk
Erik (10:30:06 AM): i know, okay, starting the interview for real.
Rachel (10:30:16 AM): ok
Erik (10:32:21 AM): but I want to start the interview with a couple more circle jerky “i love you” things that i just have to say
Erik (10:32:26 AM): Beginning:
Rachel (10:32:32 AM): ok
Erik (10:33:09 AM): I'm so impressed by how effortlessly (from my pov) you've transitioned from poetry to fiction. your stories are still so poetic, but they have such a strong narrative drive too.
Erik (10:33:23 AM): Reminds me of writers like toni morrison and sandra cisneros
Rachel (10:33:32 AM): thanks so much
Rachel (10:33:45 AM): that is ridiculously flattering.
Erik (10:34:16 AM): but true. when did you start writing fiction? have you been doing it on the downlow forever, or did you start with these stories?
Rachel (10:35:58 AM): its very very recent. its been exactly one and a half years since i wrote my first short story
(barring high school creative writing class)the first short story i ever wrote is "disappearing".here's how it all happened:
Rachel (10:36:35 AM): i received a community access scholarship from PEN West to take 3 classes at UCLA extension.
Rachel (10:36:55 AM): I have never taken any writing classes before that!
Erik (10:37:02 AM): (that's crazy!)
Rachel (10:37:12 AM): you have to take the classes one trimester at a time, 3 in a row
Rachel (10:38:00 AM): (i could never afford the luxury of a writing class...believe me, it wasn't by choice! in college, i did not even know i wanted to write yet!)
Rachel (10:38:33 AM): ok, so FIRST...i took poetry class...i figured i should...being that i had already been a poet for like, 10 freaking years!
Rachel (10:39:28 AM): it was a great experience...but when it came to register for class number 2, i started thinking...hmm...this is a great opportunity to try something NEW...and my new year's resolution was to do things that scared the crap out of me, as long as there was no clear and present danger
Rachel (10:39:43 AM): not unlike "my year of new things"!
Erik (10:40:17 AM): (hey, it's ain't a bad resolution. we should all keep doing things we're afraid of. it's the only way to grow.)
Rachel (10:40:28 AM): so...i have always LOVED reading fiction, esp short stories, but had been terrified of writing just seemed so LONG
Rachel (10:40:45 AM): (its the best resolution ever! are u kidding??)
Rachel (10:40:59 AM): and dialogue scared the crap out of me too
Rachel (10:41:09 AM): so i decided to take a short story class next
Rachel (10:41:14 AM): and dig this...
Rachel (10:41:39 AM): i hadn't read any of the teachers stuff yet at UCLA ex who were teaching that semester
Rachel (10:41:55 AM): so i started trolling around the sites and blogs of the teachers
Rachel (10:42:06 AM): and i found....tod goldberg
Rachel (10:42:19 AM): who had a special section of his blog called...
Rachel (10:42:25 AM): wait for it...
Rachel (10:42:32 AM): JEWS EATING PORK
Rachel (10:42:37 AM): it's amazing
Erik (10:42:34 AM): brilliant
Erik (10:42:35 AM): so YOU
Rachel (10:43:04 AM): its all pics of jew friends of his caught in the act, pics of them with ribs and bacon and shit
Rachel (10:43:12 AM): i signed up immediately
Erik (10:43:12 AM): i was just gonna ask if it was literally what it says it is
Rachel (10:43:37 AM): and then when i got there, to his class, i realized he was a total rock star
Erik (10:43:34 AM): are there a pic of you on his site now??? of you eating pork??? (and what are you eating?)
Rachel (10:44:09 AM): there were people there on the waiting list and all these hot girls dressed all cute working that angle, and it was like, an advanced class i had lied to get into
Rachel (10:44:51 AM): (i have not yet had the opportunity to eat pork with tod while he had a camera...a girl can dream...)
Rachel (10:44:55 AM): anyway
Erik (10:45:07 AM): (yes, anyway, enough about pork, back to the topic)
Rachel (10:45:16 AM): so after the first night of class, i was like "dude, i think i might be outta my league"
Rachel (10:45:44 AM): and i totally fessed up that i had never written fiction before
Rachel (10:45:55 AM): and lied to get in his class
Rachel (10:46:09 AM): and he was like, "no stay in class, just let me know if u need help"
Rachel (10:46:21 AM): and he was amazing, and totally supportive, and HILARIOUS
Rachel (10:46:54 AM): and by the way, i finally read his work, and i can not recommend his short story collection "simplify" highly enough
Rachel (10:47:04 AM): it is hilarious and dark and twisted
Rachel (10:47:15 AM): so yeah, anyway
Rachel (10:47:43 AM): it was in his class that i wrote "disappearing" which is in "10 for everything"
Rachel (10:48:20 AM): why did i decide to write my first short story ever in 2nd person? because i am like that!
Rachel (10:48:39 AM): i have centered a lot of my work around breaking rules. it’s so fun.
Rachel (10:50:38 AM): and then that story won a james kirkwood award last year from UCLA. it was nominated by Rob Roberge, my next short story teacher, who Tod recommended i study with next, and is also AMAZING and i can not stay enough good things about. He also is dark and twisted and people should check out "More Than They Could Chew" by him. It’s great.
Erik (10:51:15 AM): re: your comment about writing it in 2nd person--what's wonderful about your voice in that story is that it's almost like the narrator is URGING Nita (the story's protagonist) into action
Rachel (10:51:38 AM): So luckily i had these two amazing supportive teachers in a row, who got my sensibilties, and i think it is good karma, a re-balancing from all the asinine teacgers i have previously had in my life, growing up in san luis obispo
Rachel (10:52:11 AM): yes. i really liked it. for me, it was a distancing technique that helped me feel less vulnerable.
Rachel (10:53:02 AM): coming from poetry, writing in the "i" as someone else felt alarming. like i kept wanting to put disclaimers saying "i didn't really DO this, its just made-up fiction, everyone!"
Erik (10:53:08 AM): ha
Rachel (10:53:31 AM): so it was a nice way to ease myself in...and feel contrarian and punk rock for breaking a rule
Rachel (10:54:07 AM): so yeah, nearly ALL the stories, except a very few were written in tod or rob classes
Erik (10:54:36 AM): that must have felt strange to wrap yourself in someone else's skin after writing poetry for so long and being so intensely PERSONAL in your writing.
Rachel (10:54:55 AM): it felt AMAZING
Rachel (10:55:07 AM): especially writing in first person as a man
Erik (10:55:26 AM): not that the short stories aren't personal, but to go from the "i" to all of these different of the things i love about the book so much is that you really DO capture all of these different voices so well. ESPECIALLY the men
Rachel (10:56:07 AM): the second story i ever wrote, also in tod's class was "the historian" and i will say this...i definitely always thought poetry had to be the most therapeutic form of writing
Rachel (10:56:13 AM): NO FUCKING way
Rachel (10:56:19 AM): fiction, baby
Rachel (10:56:37 AM): getting in someone's head and trying to figure out what makes them tick
Rachel (10:56:41 AM): it’s great
Rachel (10:56:48 AM): i thought of you often
Rachel (10:57:01 AM): as you are one of my favorite playwrights ever
Erik (10:57:13 AM): THANK YOU, but this interview is not about me
Rachel (10:57:22 AM): and creating a character in your head, giving them dialogue, and then hearing someone else speak it
Rachel (10:57:27 AM): crazy!
Rachel (10:57:32 AM): brilliant
Erik (10:58:30 AM): but back to the thing about it being therapeutic, it totally IS because you get to use and abuse all of your relationships, everything that you don't GET or UNDERSTAND about the people you love, you can put it into fiction, and then it isn't them anymore, but you can still work through the shit you have with them
Erik (10:58:34 AM): if that makes any sense
Rachel(10:59:12 AM): of course it makes perfect sense
Rachel (11:00:04 AM): something i always did as a poet was kind of dissociate myself while writing a highly personal thing and then a few years LATER be like, yeah, that was my shit
Rachel (11:00:12 AM): or DO as a poet
Rachel (11:00:24 AM): i know i am doing it, it just helps
Rachel (11:00:28 AM): but FICTION
Rachel (11:00:35 AM): i can just make it ALL up
Rachel (11:00:57 AM): because the emotional kernel is the same. we all go through the same shit, ya know?
Erik (11:00:55 AM): yes, you have that freedom
Rachel (11:01:08 AM): i love it
Erik (11:01:07 AM): yes, you start with the emotional kernel and then you can just dig in
Erik (11:01:09 AM): That day when we had lunch at the 101 and you showed me your book for the first time, when I read a few of your stories out loud, it was exciting because you have a natural ear for dialogue--and i think that comes from all of your years as a spoken word poet. the dialogue feels like how people speak. it IS how people speak.
Rachel (11:01:41 AM): it's wild how terrified i was of writing dialogue for so long
Erik (11:01:46 AM): Have you performed any of these stories? Have you read them at shows?
Rachel (11:02:10 AM): hearing people read my dialogue aloud is orgasmically fun. it’s the best thing ever.
Rachel (11:02:19 AM): yes! here is how that started.
Rachel (11:02:40 AM): a year and a few months ago, i had a show at beyond baroque at about 7pm.
Rachel (11:03:40 AM): i was at a bbq, and a lil' buzzed, and totally forgot i had a show! i remembered and got there in time, but as i do my poetry memorized, that just did not seem like the best idea. and i had some of my short stories in the car with me from class.
Rachel (11:03:49 AM): and i just said "fuck it"
Rachel (11:03:55 AM): and read some fiction
Rachel (11:04:08 AM): and it went over great, and i really enjoyed it
Rachel (11:04:12 AM): and...
Rachel (11:04:15 AM): AND
Rachel (11:04:31 AM): an angel in my life, miss julia bemiss, was in the audience.
Rachel (11:06:18 AM): and she really enjoyed it. and she told marie lecrivain, also an angel in my life, who happens to be from Sybaritic Press, and she came to a bunch of my next shows, and after seeing me read like, 6 stories or so, at show after show, offered me a book deal! so that is how "10 for everything" came to be. so thank goodness i got buzzed and read short stories aloud.
Erik (11:06:40 AM): thank goodness for alcohol!
Erik (11:06:44 AM): speaking of which...
Erik (11:06:53 AM): (you'll appreciate this segue)
Erik (11:07:27 AM): i've noticed (and you've mentioned to me) that every story in your book has a "featured alcholic beverage," if you will
Rachel (11:07:50 AM):'s crazy!
Erik (11:07:47 AM): which i think is so funny
Rachel (11:07:56 AM): very nice segue
Rachel (11:08:01 AM): me too!
Rachel (11:08:24 AM): especially because i really don't drink, like, hardly at all! but my characters sure do!
Erik (11:08:26 AM): and then I was listening to Pretty Talk earlier today (one of my favorite poems of yours) and i noticed the "bacardi, ramone, and coke" reference
Rachel (11:08:39 AM): and you will appreciate THIS segue
Rachel (11:08:58 AM): its bacardi LIMON
Rachel (11:09:02 AM): hahahahahahah
Erik (11:09:06 AM): see, i am SUCH a bad drinker
Rachel (11:09:12 AM): please keep this ALL in
Erik (11:09:15 AM): i've always thought that you said RAMONE
Rachel (11:09:21 AM): this has to stay in the interview
Erik (11:09:25 AM): and I thought that was some sort of alcohol
Erik (11:09:27 AM): I SWEAR
Rachel (11:09:38 AM): hahahahahahaah
Erik (11:09:54 AM): i thought it was three beverages, Bacardi, Ramone, and Coke
Erik (11:10:02 AM): thank god i've never tried to order it!
Rachel (11:12:56 AM): anyway, yeah, my characters often drink. and so i was thinking for the book release, i wanted it to be able to feature all the booze from the story. and a bar seemed too hectic for drinking i am having a massive book release backyard party at my friend jen swain's beautiful yard, and we will have southern comfort and sunkist, bacardi wine coolers, sangria, etc etc...all the story drinks will be there. its gonna be august 4th, and people should check for upcoming deets about that as they get firmed up. but its definitely august 4th, its definitely gonna be a blast, its definitely gonna be hours long with lots of music and bands and fun.
Erik (11:15:04 AM): ok, that's brilliant, i will totally be there, and i'll probably get drunk off my ass. i wanted to ask you if that was a conscious thing, the drink references? A lot of the characters in your stories are trying NOT to be vulnerable, or to let the cracks in their armor show...and we all kind of revert to our truest, basest selves when we i think it's perfect that you've explored the moments when these people end up at their emotionally weakest/vulnerable.
Rachel (11:18:35 AM): yes. it was totally not intentional...but it's how my fucked up characters get vulnerable. you got it. not always, but often enough! i drank like FISH in high school, and pretty much got it out of my system then. thank god. and i also bartended and cocktail waitressed for years. so its part of my consciousness. p.s. there will air mattresses in the yard at the party so people can rest and sober up before they drive. HOLLER! JEN SWAIN ROCKS! i also want to give props to eric from the band idiot brother who will be playing at the party and planning the event with me and jen.
Erik (11:19:13 AM): speaking of high school...
Rachel (11:19:26 AM): hahahaha
Erik (11:19:40 AM): what was it like growing up in san luis obispo and how did it influence you as a writer?
Rachel (11:20:24 AM): growing up in san luis obispo was stifling to say the least
Rachel (11:20:39 AM): i can appreciate it now for its beauty etc
Rachel (11:20:43 AM): and i had fun
Rachel (11:20:48 AM): but shit man
Erik (11:21:04 AM): you had to fucking get out
Rachel (11:21:18 AM): let's just in small towns are WAY more out of control than in normal towns
Rachel (11:21:24 AM): and also
Rachel (11:21:35 AM): here are some highlights that make my point
Rachel (11:22:26 AM): i got kicked out of honors science my freshman year, because my teacher and i got in a fight about whether life could exist on other planets. and the fucker brought up GOD
Rachel (11:23:03 AM): the football team at my school spit on the AIDS quilt when it came to visit our school, at their coaches behest
Erik (11:23:11 AM): holy crap
Rachel (11:23:16 AM): i used to have swastikas carved in my desk
Rachel (11:23:23 AM): etc etc etc
Rachel (11:23:28 AM): hahaha
Erik (11:23:36 AM): like i said, you had to fucking get out
Erik (11:23:49 AM): AND you totally just made this interview so depressing.
Rachel (11:24:02 AM): i recommend "i want to be a cowboy" by the vandals for anyone who would like to know the archetype of people i grew up around
Rachel (11:24:11 AM): haha fuck u
Rachel (11:24:16 AM): it was awesome
Rachel (11:24:22 AM): i was this bizarre mix
Rachel (11:24:52 AM): i would be in like, doc martens and striped knee highs with black eyeliner and an ice-t t-shirt
Erik (11:25:13 AM): brilliant image
Rachel (11:25:21 AM): but make no mistake, i was making out with the hot open minded football players under the bleachers
Rachel (11:26:01 AM): i had my little crew. specifically, me and heathie and biff, these three goth girls. me with my hip hop twist
Erik (11:26:08 AM): see, i would have traded you newport beach for san luis obispo in a heartbeat if it meant i could have made out with the hot open minded football players under the bleachers
Rachel (11:26:23 AM): HOLLER!
Erik (11:27:04 AM): we would have totally been friends in high school. were you a theater geek back then, too?
Rachel (11:27:17 AM): OF COURSE!
Rachel (11:27:39 AM): i was desperately searching for fags to hag onto, and that is where they are!
Rachel (11:28:18 AM): i was actually already producing crazy variety shows in the theatre, which was really just 2 classrooms with the wall knocked down between them
Rachel (11:29:24 AM): i would put on drag pieces. i remember a particularly glorious drag cinderella piece. and would do raunchy shit from lysistrata, and just be like..."but its classical theatre!"
Rachel (11:29:41 AM): i was SUCH a faghag from such a young age.
Erik (11:29:45 AM): nice, SO san luis subversive
Rachel (11:30:02 AM): i was raised by a wonderful faghag mother, and started taking dance at 3.

Rachel (11:30:58 AM): my parents, who grew up in ny, would scour the city for anyone of any other ethnicity, any gay people, anything non-christian, and make friends with them so we could be around them
Erik (11:31:12 AM): i love your parents
Rachel (11:31:28 AM): yes, my parents are the shit
Erik (11:31:35 AM): okay, so you were producing shows back then, but you weren't writing yet. when did you start writing poetry? you said you didn't start writing until after college, right? was that when you were living in New York?
Rachel (11:33:27 AM): yes. i was really just producing so i could act, and see 14 yr old boys do cinderella in drag. make no mistake.
Rachel (11:34:42 AM): i started writing in nyc. i was at a jesus christ superstar audition and met amy steinberg, who became a dear friend, and she straight up nagged me into writing poetry. she spent a year telling me i had the weirdest way with words, and telling me to write some poems. and eventually i did.
Erik (11:35:16 AM): Thank you, Amy Steinberg
Rachel (11:35:45 AM): i know. that is a true angelic blessing as well. right?
Erik (11:35:54 AM): YES. Okay, there's totally no segue here, but I want to get back to your book.
Rachel (11:36:09 AM): word
Erik (11:36:12 AM): Can we talk about your story "therapy" for a minute?
Rachel (11:36:45 AM): of course. in fact, after this interview i am on my way to teach some incarcerated girls.
Erik (11:37:38 AM): for anyone reading this who hasn't read rachel's book (and what are you waiting for, go buy it!), "therapy" is told from the pov of a sixteen-year-old pregnant juvie girl, and i was blown away by it
Rachel (11:38:20 AM): thank u
Erik (11:39:21 AM): it's so raw and true and i know you have a lot of experience teaching juvie girls--it's obvious, because i don't think that's a voice that can just be "made up," you have to have some experience there--have you shown that story to any of the girls you teach?
Rachel (11:39:52 AM): no no no
Rachel (11:40:18 AM): it just would not be terms of the rules i am forced to follow by the non-profits i work for.
Rachel (11:40:30 AM): it’s too bad. i would love to know what they think
Erik (11:41:00 AM): that makes sense. can you talk about your teaching experience with them?
Rachel (11:41:07 AM): i am not even allowed to curse, or talk about violence, or show any sort of sympathy towards a character who would exhibit those behaviors.
Rachel (11:41:54 AM): which of course, i think i show great love for the narrator in that story. i love her. and i want readers to understand how people sometimes do things other people find monstrous.
Rachel (11:42:20 AM): yes. i have been teaching incarcerated kids (and non-incarcerated sometimes, too!)
Rachel (11:42:28 AM): for like, 7 years now
Erik (11:42:28 AM): i get that, absolutely--your love for that character is evident
Rachel (11:42:34 AM): crazy.
Rachel (11:42:49 AM): it’s amazing, exhausting, fulfilling work
Rachel (11:43:05 AM): it’s really uplifting and depressing all at once
Rachel (11:43:24 AM): i have thought and thought and thought about this stuff for a long time
Rachel (11:43:49 AM): a lot of these kids...they have done things that i would HATE them for in another circumstance
Rachel (11:43:57 AM): and what i realize is...
Rachel (11:44:19 AM): it’s all about context
Rachel (11:45:06 AM): if some kid raped and murdered my sister...i could not go in there and be like "you have a voice, you are love, you are accountable, you have something to say, and i wanna give you the tools to say it"
Rachel (11:45:40 AM): but it WASN'T my sister. thank god. and somebody needs to tell these kids these humans, they are more than the sum of their actions.
Erik (11:45:44 AM): that's totally what my play He Asked For It is about!
Erik (11:46:39 AM): And I completely agree with you, it's about context. We don't do enough in our jail and juvie systems to HELP the people who've derailed get back on the right fucking tracks.
Erik (11:47:15 AM): Thank god that those girls have YOU going in there, telling them that they have a voice, you know?
Rachel (11:47:23 AM): it’s our only hope. It’s their only hope. and if i was a painter, or a chef, i would probably still be in there, teaching kids how to sketch or make omelettes. any form of creative self expression. but let's keep it real. i am no martyr. it’s my day job. i am blessed to feel like my work might help reach someone. rather than being, "do you want fries with that?" cuz that could just as easily be my job.
Rachel (11:49:12 AM): but i do hope to one day be rich and self sufficient as an artist. and if that ever happens, believe me, i will be taking some time to travel and live the glamorous glamorous life like fergie. but i will totally come back and volunteer. after i have been glamorous glamorous for a while
Erik (11:50:02 AM): I feel like we're both sixteen-year-old girls right now, being all optimisitic about how we can change the world and shit, but i agree with you: we need to do our part, in whatever way we can...and you don't just do that by teaching, but you do that with your writing too.
Rachel (11:50:27 AM): i hope i get financially solvent one day. it’s so fucking stressful being broke. i want to get to the part of life where i am on david letterman's couch laughing about being broke. i want to be carrie bradshaw still. and that show is off the air already!
Erik (11:50:44 AM): wait, when you mentioned fergie right now, i think maybe you were talking about black eyed peas fergie, but i was picturing duchess of york fergie
Rachel (11:50:58 AM): i want to marry mr big
Erik (11:51:22 AM): damn, and i want to be charlotte york sitting on a couch with my harry goldenblatt
Erik (11:51:37 AM): and we can go out and eat expensive food together every night.
Rachel (11:51:43 AM): actually, fuck fergie and the black eyed peas by the way. listen to kim hill instead, everyone.
Rachel (11:51:51 AM): amazing.
Rachel (11:52:06 AM): i want to fuck smith also
Erik (11:52:04 AM): supposedly, they're, like, minutes away from greenlighting the Sex and the City MOVIE, by the way.
Rachel (11:52:24 AM): its a go. they just said so on the news this morning
Rachel (11:52:38 AM): i'm nervous about it
Erik (11:52:35 AM): when we're rich like fergie, the duchess of york (not peas), then we can all fuck Smith.
Rachel (11:52:51 AM): it seems like the can it stay aloat?
Erik (11:52:57 AM): I'm nervous too, they ended the show so perfectly, why mess with it?
Rachel (11:53:06 AM): i really want it to be good
Erik (11:53:04 AM): I mean, I am dying for the movie, but still
Rachel (11:53:15 AM): i know
Erik (11:53:12 AM): That last episode was SOOOO good
Rachel (11:53:24 AM): i just want to be carrie
Rachel (11:53:34 AM): i know!
Rachel (11:53:59 AM): i used to hate carrie so much for fucking aidan over that it was ridiculous. i hate cheating
Erik (11:53:57 AM): with carrie running through the streets of paris and just missing Big and the MC Solaire music underscoring it, and then Miranda running through the streets trying to find Steve's mom!
Rachel (11:54:12 AM): but i just watched all the episodes again recently
Erik (11:54:13 AM): i watch them all the time.
Rachel (11:54:19 AM): i good
Erik (11:54:29 AM): i actually like Aidan better than Big, but she fucked him over too much.
Rachel (11:55:04 AM): i hate cheating
Erik (11:55:13 AM): That moment when they're both dressed in black and white like they're about to get married and standing by that huge fountain and he asks her to marry him and she says she can't and he says "I can't believe we're here again."
Rachel (11:55:29 AM): i know
Erik (11:55:28 AM): killer
Rachel (11:55:38 AM): she is so weird
Rachel (11:56:04 AM): but i KIND OF understand more these days. but...BOO to cheating
Erik (11:56:04 AM): okay, since we've now completely gotten off topic, i want to play a game of Cliff with you.
Rachel (11:56:15 AM): ok
Erik (11:56:10 AM): do you know the game?
Rachel (11:56:20 AM): know
Rachel (11:56:24 AM): o mean no
Rachel (11:56:30 AM): i mean no
Rachel (11:56:34 AM): HAHAHHAA
Erik (11:56:58 AM): I give you three names, you pick one to sleep with, one to live with, and one to throw off a cliff. you cannot sleep with the person you live with.
Rachel (11:57:41 AM): its called "fuck marry kill" and howard stern invented it and of course i know this game
Rachel (11:57:52 AM): let's go
Rachel (11:57:57 AM): its on
Erik (11:57:53 AM): ok, NO, in SOME circles it's called fuck marry kill
Erik (11:58:09 AM): but i learned the game in fucking London in 1998 and in London it's fucking called Cliff
Erik (11:58:11 AM): okay
Erik (11:58:14 AM): HE DID NOT
Rachel (11:58:20 AM): okay
Erik (11:58:19 AM): WHEN?
Rachel (11:58:23 AM): FINE
Erik (11:58:21 AM): I WANT PROOF
Rachel (11:58:32 AM): in the 80s
Erik (11:58:33 AM): sorry, ok, maybe he invented it, give him props, FINE
Erik (11:58:38 AM): since we're on the topic of Sex and the City: I'll start with...Steve, Aidan, Big
Rachel (11:58:49 AM): i always play the sexual fortune game and i always give u props by the way
Rachel (11:58:53 AM): ok
Erik (11:59:05 AM): ok, thank you, thank you, so we will give Howard props for inventing Fuck, Marry, Kill
Rachel (11:59:10 AM): marry big, fuck aidan, kill steve
Erik (11:59:16 AM): wow
Rachel (11:59:24 AM): i know that is shocking
Rachel (11:59:33 AM): but - big has the best apt
Erik (11:59:33 AM): i would marry steve, fuck aidan, kill big!
Rachel (11:59:43 AM): aidan is too white trash
Erik (11:59:45 AM): okay: Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte
Rachel (11:59:51 AM): and steve is WAY too short
Rachel (12:00:09 PM): kill charlotte, fuck carrie, marry samantha
Rachel (12:00:18 PM): again, i know it’s shocking
Erik (12:00:20 PM): Trent, Gordon Gano, Bjork
Erik (12:00:28 PM): (and obviously Trent is Trent Reznor)
Rachel (12:00:35 PM): actually, i might like to turn charlotte the fuck out
Rachel (12:00:41 PM): kill bjork
Rachel (12:00:46 PM): fuck gordon
Erik (12:00:54 PM): i knew you would kill bjork and it makes me sad.
Rachel (12:01:01 PM): even tho he is short, bjork is shorter still
Erik (12:01:06 PM): i also feel like you killed me when you killed charlotte
Rachel (12:01:15 PM): i just could not deal with her
Rachel (12:01:44 PM): bjork and charlotte...i would just be like "come ON are u KIDDING me?" the whole time
Rachel (12:01:53 PM): of course i would marry trent.

Rachel (12:02:03 PM): he is extremely short as well.
Rachel (12:02:09 PM): but he is trent
Rachel (12:02:23 PM): and i still think he might be the tallest of those three
Rachel (12:02:39 PM): no offense to short people here, i just feel like a moose all the time.
Erik (12:02:35 PM): I think Bjork would be a hoot to live with. (I mean, obviously I would think that, but still.) A friend of mine used to work as Bjork's personal assistant and she has this story about how they were eating breakfast and Bjork took the table cloth off the table and turned it into a gown, presto, on the spot, and then went out for the day
Rachel (12:03:01 PM): yeah, i would kill her for being too precious.
Rachel (12:03:10 PM): but i still love her
Rachel (12:03:26 PM): bachelorette is one of my favorite songs ever written on earth
Erik (12:03:37 PM): Ok, let's see: Bush, Cheney, Satan
Rachel (12:03:47 PM): if she was in fact on earth when she wrote it. hard to say.
Rachel (12:03:57 PM): ok.
Rachel (12:04:00 PM): fuck
Rachel (12:04:16 PM): cheney has to die, so does bush, obviously
Rachel (12:04:36 PM): but i would marry bush just to destroy him from the inside out
Rachel (12:04:41 PM): kill cheney
Erik (12:04:52 PM): Marry Satan, fuck bush, kill cheney. That's the way I'd go.
Rachel (12:04:59 PM): and fuck satan. i bet he can eat pussy real good.
Erik (12:05:01 PM): Totally.
Rachel (12:05:44 PM): ok i have to go teach! can u stand it? still have to get dressed. any last questions?
Erik (12:06:13 PM): One last question, along the lines of the Marry/Fuck/Kill game.
Rachel (12:06:30 PM): yes of course
Rachel (12:06:34 PM): hit me
Erik (12:06:49 PM): If you had to play Sophie's Choice (i.e. pick a favorite, which is obviously impossible, but that's why it's called Sophie's Choice) with the ten stories from your book, which would you choose?
Erik (12:07:40 PM): so hard, i know.
Rachel (12:08:09 PM): fuck
Rachel (12:08:20 PM): i can't
Erik (12:08:35 PM): but the nazis are about to shoot all of your stories and you have to save one.
Rachel (12:08:42 PM): but who i would most like to MEET is frank from disappearing and noa from the historian.
Rachel (12:08:53 PM): i really want to make out with both of them.
Rachel (12:09:00 PM): and they aren't real.
Erik (12:09:05 PM): ok, that's not answering the question, but it's still a good answer, so i'll accept it
Rachel (12:09:20 PM): um. it changes. right now i am kind of in love with "match"
Erik (12:09:59 PM): It was so much fun to interview go get dressed and go teach!
Rachel (12:10:17 PM): every story in the book is a "love" story (HA), but this one is the only one about friend-love, between two teenage girls. and they actually find some resolution!
Erik (12:10:22 PM): I love "Match" too
Rachel (12:10:38 PM): ok. I LOVE YOU and you are AMAZING and one of my favorite writers on earth
Rachel (12:10:55 PM): i am so flattered to be interviewed by you.
Erik (12:10:55 PM): i'm not editing ANYTHING out of this interview by the way.
Rachel (12:11:02 PM): i am yer fan
Rachel (12:11:11 PM): u better not!
Rachel (12:11:32 PM): i forgot...i really wanna meeet skyler too
Rachel (12:11:42 PM): from "wesley"
Rachel (12:11:50 PM): how hot is he?
Rachel (12:12:10 PM): i walk around looking for frank, skyler, and noa.
Erik (12:12:09 PM): SO hot. I wanna meet him too. In fact, if you meet him, send him my way.
Rachel (12:12:19 PM): tell me if u meet them.
Rachel (12:12:24 PM): JINX!
Rachel (12:12:28 PM): ahahaha
Erik (12:12:24 PM): you owe me a coke.
Erik (12:12:25 PM): ha
Rachel (12:12:33 PM): xoxoxoxoxxo
Erik (12:12:32 PM): xoxoxo
Rachel (12:12:40 PM): bye
Erik (12:12:39 PM): later