Monthly Archives: January 2007

sometimes, finding zen is difficult

Today’s stress factors:

1. I have another unpaid parking ticket I didn’t even know about –
and now it is up to a $100 fine for being unpaid. AND past the
timeframe for contention. I am contesting it anyways, but bloody
hell! I haven’t even received a verdict on the $335 fine I contested
in October – and THAT was for parking in a handicapped spot that was
so coated in dirt and stray paint smears that I couldn’t tell it was
restricted when I parked at night.

2. The Canadian government is messing with some people’s citizenships, and even
though I was born IN CANADA after the law causing the problem changed
in 1977, I’m still worried enough to be applying for a passport to be
sure. Some native-born Canadians are falling through loopholes, and
my BC birth certificate may not be enough.

EDIT: I found this on the Canadian government’s site:

Persons who are citizens

3. (1) Subject to this Act, a person is a citizen if

(a) the person was born in Canada after February 14, 1977;

That was all I needed to know!

However, these are all surface stresses. These are little things –
OK, expensive things – but in the bigger picture, so many things are
right that I can Zen them out. I’m upset with myself for being
careless enough to cost $435 in parking tickets…but they’re not
definite charges yet, and even if they are, I can afford it without
missing meals. Mostly, I’m upset with myself for getting so MANY
parking tickets, because if these charges go through, it will be $600
total for 2006.

And the real reason I’m upset is because these tickets seem to be part
of a pattern, a pattern in which I basically burn money without really
paying attention, and a pattern in which I’m careless with tickets,
library fines, credit card interest – things I shouldn’t be paying,
money that I’ve lost for no reason. That’s what really upsets me –
that it’s part of a pattern, that it affects my saving abilities.
That I haven’t learned the lessons of being more careful when parking,
and I should just take my bike more to avoid the risk. That I’m not
paying enough attention, that I can’t save money, that this is why I
never seem to put much away despite having a decent-paying job and a
low-cost lifestyle. After all, what’s the point of bringing lunches,
taking coffee in go-cups, using the library for books and DVDs, if I’m
just going to wipe out a year’s worth of small savings with a couple
parking tickets?

So now that I’m a bit calmer from thinking through everything, I
realize, if this is the best I can do to worry about, I’m pretty set.
2007 will be a ticket free year if it kills me, dammit. And while I’m
still upset over the possibility of paying the old tickets, I can’t
worry about it anymore. I’ll just have to pay it, accept it, move on,
and try to be more careful. This is actually pretty accomplishable.
Is that even a word?

this week’s random myspace email

Ever since I turned my MySpace profile (link at right) from Slaphappy Venice Beach Resident to Weird Goth Girl, I’ve gotten almost zero random emails from guys in the “HI UR SEXXY. YOU SHOULD CALL ME CAUSE I HAVE HUGE PENIS.” vein. No “Hi, I’m a creepy fifty year old but I’m young at heart so I like girls half my age,” emails, no “I’m 20 and like older women,” NOTHING. It’s awesome. Except for today’s:

It reads:

Date: Jan 17, 2007 10:33 PM
Subject: ih
Body: Hi Hottieee
I am Dave near LAX…was wondering if you wanna chat on yahoo…
my yahoo Id is ur_Dream_merchant2004
aim urdreammerchant
Was wondering if i could spoil you with gifts/pay your shopping bills n stuff


Congrats, Dave near LAX! You’re this week’s MySpace Wacko Of The Week!

cruxshadows at the knitting factory

Last night, Paul and I went to the Knitting Factory to see the Cruxshadows. It was a cybergoth evening, with a couple of other power noise/synth bands opening. Specifically, Dancing Ferret artists Ego Likeness, and fellow Canadian Ayria.

However, although I don’t mind Ego Likeness, I’m not a huge fan, and I saw Ayria at Bats Day last summer, so we only just showed up in time for the headlining band. Who were supposed to go on at 10:30 and actually started on time. We walked into a venue that actually had breathing room (unlike the Covenant show in October, when it was packed solid) and I was confused. I heard Cruxshadows, but all I saw was a handful of hot cybergoth girls on stage, and I was wondering if Ayria had acquired a coterie. Then I realized that Ayria would never have a live violinist, and I spotted Rogue, in the audience, singing into a headset, and realized that this was indeed the band we had come to see.

Let me back up for those of you who are not familiar with the band in question. The Cruxshadows are a hybrid of romantigoth and cybergoth, a noise/EBM band with a live, Celtic influenced violinist, and lyrics that reference classical mythology. Hence, dark music, drum machines, and a layer of classical over it that makes them popular with a wide range of goths. The sound has been spun off and influential on other bands – I think of The Last Dance as being in the same family of goth music as the Cruxshadows. But it works, and it’s actually unique, and I like it a lot. It doesn’t stop me from mocking the live show, like when Rogue put on cyber goggles, and I turned to Paul and yelled, “ZE GOGGLES, ZEY DO NOZZING!”, but I love the overlay of fiddle over the cyber.

And it’s a good live show. The band has dancers, which I have actually never ever seen in a live goth band. They were singer-dancers, in headsets, which combined with the male lead singer’s, made it look like the antithesis of a stadium show. I associate those headsets with, say, a JT or a Britney, and this strange show, in a small dark club in Hollywood, was what I imagine fans of those shows would picture a concert in Hell as being like. It gave Rogue the freedom to leap in and out of the audience though, and to stomp on stage, and grab hands, and motion for the crowd to move. And he did a good job of it, and was obviously happy (if exhausted) to be singing. I can only imagine what it would be like to tour like that, in buses and on low budgets, for fifteen years, and to have to take strength from the devotion and enjoyment of the fans that come out to small dark clubs – but this band thrives on exactly that. And while I’m not big on goth cheerleader dancing at a show, the violinist was as active as the singer in showing off, in dramatizing her notes and playing, on emphasizing her parts in the music. They were into it.

A lot of the songs were off the new album, which I didn’t even know was coming out. I knew that the new single (“Sophia”) had made it to #7 on the Billboard Hot Singles, and actually made it to #1 on the Hot Dance Singles chart, but I didn’t really register that there was a whole new CD. There were a handful of classics, especially at the encore. After playing most of the new album, and a few tracks off “Ethernaut”, the encore was “Dragonfly”, and “Marilyn, My Bitterness”. And I admit, this was another part of the show I wasn’t crazy about, where Rogue started pulling fans onstage during the guitar solo. Suddenly, all these teenagers were up on stage, and at the end, they were dancing and singing along, and all I could think of was School of Rock or some other heartwarming show. Again, a heartwarming show set in someone’s idea of Hell, but seeing the lead singer with his arms around fans who clearly adored him, swaying back and forth and happily singing “MARILYN, MY BITTERNESS” at the top of their lungs, was just a little too surreal – and we left before the rush to get out was too bad.

So that was it – first concert of 2007. Here’s hoping there’s many more this year to follow.

Fwd: Tom Green at Frida

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jillian Tate
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 13:33:34 -0800
Subject: Tom Green at Frida

Tom Green is having lunch with an agent type at Frida in Beverly
Hills. Looks serious and balding and dishevelled. Perhaps negotiating for work? What does he do these days in L.A…I thought he was back in his parents basement in Ottawa.

Sent to Defamer on my BlackBerry

OMFG: George Clooney IS A CLOSET NERD!!

Clooney is making “Diamond Age”.

Hopefully, he won’t produce anything as bad as “Wizard of Earthsea”,
’cause I hate trusting SciFi with loved books after that debacle.

and now, some questions and answers!

And now…a snapshop of my life in question and answer format:

Q: Did you have to pay double rent on your old room for January? Or did you find someone to take your place at the Surf Shack?
A: Yes, we found a really nice girl to take my place. In fact, Andrew thanked me today for finding a “cool, non-psychotic roomate” for him, as she’s been there for a week now and they’re all getting used to each other. The new girl works for an environmental consulting firm, also goes to Bar Sinister on occasion, and loves to bake, so I figured she’d fit right in. Also, she was willing to write me a check for deposit, so I was very happy to take it.

Q: Are you even going out AT ALL anymore, or are you and the beloved staying in like lame married people?
A: We’re going out. It’s just unremarkable because we only go to the same clubs that we really like, and there’s no longer Adventures in Clubland. Instead of going out and gathering hilarious anecdotes of, say, getting really hammered and making out with some Australian that ends up getting arrested in a barfight later that night (December, 2003, Vancouver) or going out and flirting with stereotypes that can be mocked later on (July, 2004, Los Angeles), I’m going out and getting slightly tipsy and flirting with my own boyfriend. NO ONE wants to hear about that, because it’s sickeningly sweet. And it’s just lame to tell a story about how I went to a bar and ended up contact-dancing and making out with some guy and then went home with him when I live with him anyways.

Also, I’ve realized I hate “normal” bars. We were at Nicks on 3rd on Saturday, for a friend of friend’s birthday, and all the people in there seemed under 25, and I felt old and frumpy, out of fashion and, well, invisible. It was crowded and someone was playing 50 Cent on the jukebox and, well, it just wasn’t any fun. I’d’ve rather gone to Disko Nekro, which re-opened on the 13th.

Q: But what happened to all the other stuff you were doing last year?
A: Well, let’s see. I quit kickball after three seasons, because I needed those evenings at home in between nights in Pasadena, and couldn’t dedicate myself to the sport anymore. I stopped going to CODEPINK because they were going outside the bounds of just protesting Iraq, and I wasn’t as into it anymore. I fell out of habit of the bike rides, because I was always tired on Fridays and just wanted to watch TV with my boyfriend. And finally, I closed ranks and got all introverted because I needed more sleep, and more rest, and I just couldn’t do all that AND do well at work. So, really, I chose to spend more time pulling my life together and less time doing stuff with other people…and it actually worked out pretty well. I put the extra energy into my work and got a great review and a raise. I spent time with Paul and ended up with a very solid relationship. I started spending evenings at home working on projects and keeping my room organized instead of just letting clutter pile up and my projects gather dust. In short, while I miss all the other stuff – giving it up last year was what I needed to do at the time. Now that I’m living with my boyfriend, I have more flexibility in my life. Maybe I’ll pick up some more extracurriculars again.

Q: How IS the new place, out in Si-Fi?
A: The new place RULES. It’s almost all fixed up and unpacked, too. We’re still a little cluttery, but as we get organized, the last of the boxes are going away, and more items are appearing in their place. We were even able to have people over for dinner on Saturday to show off. And we have so much space, and all these rooms, and it’s just a beautiful apartment to come home to every day.

Q: Shouldn’t you be on your way to that geek dinner by now?
A: Yeah, I should be. G’night everybody!

and remember the milk!

I have never been that well organized. I’ve taken stabs at it, over the years, but I just have trouble getting from Point A (my desk) to Point B (finished projects).

That is, until I discovered Getting Things Done. Now I’m a total convert. I used to try to use the Franklin-Covey system, but always fell off the wagon. Seriously. The GTD mentality just works better for me. And it’s free! No more $70 refills for a planner! GTD is a lot of the reason I got a raise last year, because it helped me pull my act together.

The only problem I have is applying the mindsweep so I remember to do things at home. I never remember to open a notebook, or bring it with me. My friend Heather does that, carrying her GTD notebook with her everywhere. Nor could I use my Google Notebook very organized, because it wasn’t as conducive to lists as I’d like it to be. Plus, I couldn’t get at it from my BlackBerry. Stupid Javascript.

Then, today, Lifehacker featured a link to a blog entry on Remember the Milk. I’d tried Remember the Milk before, but it didn’t work for me for a bunch of reasons. Until I added in lists for the GTD contexts, plugged it into my gCalendar and Google start page widget list, and found that their mobile interface is perfect on my CrackBerry.

I immediately transferred all the actions on my gNotebook to the RTM lists. Now I just have to execute. But it’s way easier to remember the milk when you can access the list via WAP on a mobile browser.

I’ll hammer at it for a while and see how it works, and if I’m really able to use everything the site has to offer. But if you’re looking for more GTD-related solutions, I got your GTD right here. It saved my ass, and now I’m totally obsessed with it.

Coming soon: my Google tools hacks for applying GTD using Google Notebook and Calendar and gMail. But RTM may replace the notebook in it. We’ll see.

movement in a still life

Yesterday, I put down a foot. Specifically, a foot in a brand-new, still white, Saucony cross training sneaker. We were going to the
gym. “We” being me and Paul, of course. Now that we’re living together, we can go to the gym together!

“Won’t that be fun?” I chirped.

Paul didn’t say anything to that, just looked at me from under his eyebrows. Which had lowered slightly. But he went. “It isn’t that I don’t like exercise,” he said, “I just hate dealing with gym people.”

We went downtown, to the Golds’ at the 7th & Fig complex. Which was ridiculous in itself. It took twenty minutes to:

– find the parking lot entrance

– get through the mall

– get into the gym

Finally, we were in front of a gym employee. I explained the situation. I needed to transfer my Venice membership, and my
boyfriend needed a membership of his own. We were told that we could go work out while Venice faxed my paperwork.

Golds Downtown Los Angeles is the diametric opposite of Gold’s Muscle Beach. It’s in an uppity mall complex instead of in a converted warehouse. It’s full of the mirrors and faux-cherry trim that you’d expect in a luxury hotel gym, something decorated to match the lobby, instead of being in what’s basically a giant garage. It’s deep inside the shopping center, instead of having one wall open to the Venice ocean breeze. There’s a pool and a boxing ring, and the change rooms don’t look like they were cut/pasted out of a high school. But they still have the same basic equipment, so I spent some quality time on an ellipitical trainer, while Paul attempted to recapture his track and field abilities on a treadmill.

Forty-five minutes (and a couple chunks of Clerks II on my video MP3 player later), we returned to the desk and asked if my paperwork had come through. Sure enough, the guy told me he couldn’t give me the same rate I was paying in Venice. I’d been getting a corporate discount there for three years, after all, through DDB, and now, well, I wasn’t. But he did hook both of us up with discounts, in exchange for paying both memberships in full, so it didn’t work out to much more than I paid in Venice anyways. AND he didn’t try to hard-sell me on a membership. We were happy. No typical gym-people dealing had to take place.
Now, we just have to get to the gym. I don’t like New Year’s resolutions – I find them too easy to break by February. But getting
back into my pre-boyfriend shape is a big deal to me. I haven’t gained weight, but I haven’t lost it, either, and a lot of my
bike-related muscle has gone to fat that can’t be crammed into jeans anymore. And without the bike-related muscle, I can’t keep up with
the hardcore mass rides. This is my shame, that I, Jillian, who was perfectly capable of biking from Venice to Glendale and back over the course of a night, can no longer even bike up a major hill without gasping, or bike ten miles without getting tired.

So I’ll call it a move resolution instead, to get my ass back into the condition it needs to be in order to keep up with, say, the IAAL-MAF. It’s time to get back the midriff that can pull off a cropped PVC top, and time to get back the ass and thighs of a girl who rocks a car-lite lifestyle. Mix one part bike with two parts gym and those body parts may emerge from under the layer of flesh that accumulated when I was trapped in inertia. I will practice biking to the Observatory on weekends. I will do crunches on the ball while watching TIVO. Those sort of phrases need to be actions, not good intentions. There’s a perfectly good PVC hobble skirt in my closet that I can’t wear because it’s too tight. I’ll have to start looking at it every time I forget to move.

the eleven year itch

I realized a few things today:

1) I have not been updating my blog at all lately. That’s what that
weird itchy feeling is: the desire to write.

2) I have not been reading my FRIENDS’ blogs. Which is just
inexcusable. I’ve been reading a lot of books instead, because those
didn’t require functioning internet (which I was deprived of at home

3) Speaking of that, I’ve read five full length library books so far
this year, according to my posts of 50bookchallenge. They

  • Lisa Under – “Beautiful Lies”
  • Philippa Gregory – “The Virgin’s Lover”
  • Joanne “Chocolat” Harris – “Blackberry Wine”
  • Ann Marie Macdonale – “Fall On Your Knees” (in all its epic-ness)


  • Marvel 1602. Which was just beautifully done.

    Oh, and I re-read the first two volumes of Sandman comics
    because I bought myself “The Absolute Sandman” – an immense,
    beautifully reprinted hard-bound volume – with the gift certificates
    to Amazon my sisters got me. I first read those graphic novels when I
    was a teenager in Victoria, sulking around Java in ragged black
    dresses, the year I was a college dropout in 1997 or so. I re-visited
    the books last year, and the more I read them, the more details I
    notice, the more references, and oddities, and ingenuities I catch.
    Especially with the high-quality reprint and the readers’ guides in
    the Absolute edition.

    That first reading, though, that year back in Victoria was ten years
    ago, incidentally. Which leads me to the last thing:

    3) As of the end of this month, I will have been blogging for eleven
    years. I started in January, 1996. Just for the record. This
    officially makes me one of the oldest bloggers out there, in terms of
    blog-years, not human years.

    Although, I wonder now, how long will I keep up this blog? It’s
    slipping already because I’m too busy transitioning into this weird
    thing called adulthood (the last step seems to be from Post-College to
    Young Married) to keep it up. Will I be updating my Livejournal when
    I’m married? Will I be blogging when we have kids? I know people DO,
    obviously – but they’re not me. And since I created a blog for an
    identity as a teenager, and kept it for ten years more as a record of
    parties and socializing – do I transition it now, or will I just end
    up letting it atrophy as I have been?

    For that reason, perhaps I should re-join the blogging, and see if
    it’s something that I am still part of, that is still part of me.
    Yes. I should do that. I certainly have the time now that I’m not
    driving to freakin’ Pasadena three times a week. Perhaps I’ll join
    the land of the living, in terms of the blogosphere.

    And, might I add, when I started this, eleven years ago, we called
    them “webjournals”. And I was goth without knowing that was the word.
    And the world was a different place that it is now.

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