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Exit ArchiveArchive for July 20th, 2005

I am so tired, though a good tired, since rehearsals for Antigone are going well. But I can not respond to John right now! I promise to do so tomorrow.

Now, I am dreading going to sleep (see last night’s post). What wonders await me in the California Bitch Fantasmagoria?

Well, I guess it’s my day for doing the writing. Steve must be performing. As Steve so often does. 🙂

First rant: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. What a needless movie. A movie with no charm, no heart. One that was made for the most crass of reasons: It is a sure-fire money-maker. It belittles the memory of both the original movie and of the book, I don’t care how faithful they say they are being to Dahl. There’s no emotional center to this movie. Johnny Depp is a caricature, not a character. There’s no sparkle, no wit, nothing except a desire to be “scary” and “edgy,” which comes off as alternately desperate and aloof. It’s depressing.

Second rant: I’ve got a co-worker who does nothing except bad-mouth the boss all day. This goes beyond the typical, to-be-expected complaining about “management.” She has literally said, “(Our boss) does not know what she’s doing. Her management skills are terrible. She is not the person who should be leading this group.” Am I expected to have a response to that? If so, what should it be?

Third (and final, for the evening) rant: I’m going back to L.A. for a second interview tomorrow. I’ve a feeling they’ll make an offer. I genuinely do not know what to do. I miss L.A. terribly. I think this job could be interesting. Then again, I’ve just gotten a hefty raise, a promotion and the support of my aforementioned boss, who I like very much. I work with a great group of people (except one), I’m intrigued to see what happens once we move to the Presidio. What do I do? Jeff and I have had long discussions, but I’m no closer to an answer. I suppose it’s just best to wait and see.

I’m reminded of the song in Les Miserables: “Tomorrow we’ll discover what our God in heaven has in store.”

I fear I shall not sleep particularly well tonight.

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Wow. I am floored. While I was wrapped up in the chaos of the theatrical release, it turns out a friend of mine who I trained with as a newspaper copy editor in 1987 won a Pulitzer Prize!

For coverage of McGreevey’s resignation, no less.

Don’t remember McGreevey? Want to read J.P.’s work? Here you go!

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Fear and evil take many forms.

Especially in Japan.


More warnings from Japan for your pleasure and amusement.

Sometime within the last 6 months, a very noisy woman moved into the apartment building across from my bedroom window. Our buildings are maybe 10 feet apart at most, and so every time this woman comes home drunk, or is on the telephone with her friends, or in her bedroom with her buddies, or watching hours of loud TV, or anything at all, I hear it. She’s loud. What I call one of those California Bitches. Her medium-husky voice carries like an air horn through a mausoleum. And worse, she often will put on horrible music very late at night—2:00 or 3:00am late—and, when really comfortable in her self-centered microcosm of incivility, sing very poorly to same.

This is nothing like Gargling Man, who used to live somewhere in that same building and would, every morning in the shower, gargle and hack up more loudly than Mexican construction workers shout at one another across the din of hammering and power tools. No, this is worse, because it’s unscheduled, unpredictable, and often long-lasting. This dame will wake me up at any time, without warning.

With such a varied repertoire and timetable, I have begun to go to sleep at night dreading hearing her. Without fail, the algorithm that computes my degree of fatigue and requirement for sleep against her vociferations comes out in her favor, and I am left tired and grumpy and bitter. I have begun sleeping with my windows closed, trying to circulate air through my apartment via alternate open windows and ceiling fans. The earplugs I used to retain solely for loud concerts or snoring friends I now keep by my bed at all times, wearing them as a last resort since they are uncomfortable and give me such a feeling of unease that, even in my sleep, I will yank them out and find them stuck to the side of my face in the morning.

Last night, I tried something new: a CD I bought from The Nature Company over a decade ago. It features the soothing sounds of a mountain stream and cheeping birds. I played it on a loop all night, loud enough to drown out the more subtle of the city noises. Though loud woman made no appearance, I slept terribly, my subconscious waking me every so often with the worry that the CD was loud enough to perturb the guy who has a bedroom above me.

Tonight, I decided to try the CD again. But California Bitch came home at 11:45 and on went her TV. The dulcet melodies of the burbling alpine waters were rudely punctuated with that hollow TV echo, where some annoying announcer was spitting out a high-energy upchuck, an interlude between emotionless music and a cheering studio audience.

I got out of bed, got dressed, put on my glasses, grabbed my broom from the kitchen cupboard, slipped on the flip-flops I bought in Kauai, and headed out. This was the fourth time I’d actually done something to communicate to this woman that her volume was not okay. The first was during a private concert of country music she was giving for a male friend. His laughter and chatter added to the noise of her terrible crooning, and the CD to which she yodeled was just a tad too loud for 3:30 in the morning. All I had to do to break up that event was shout up at her window. Though neither of them looked out to see who was shouting, the music and the singing stopped, and the guy had the propriety to apologize. “Sorry, dude.”

Tonight was to be the third time I actually took a tool with me to the intervention. California Bitch’s window is very high once I’m standing right under it, so the broom comes in handy to bang on the glass. I have always figured that banging was a bit less disturbing to the other neighbors than shouting out repeatedly and hoping to get a response.

At 12:10, I rapped on the window with the bristle end of the broom. Twice before, this violent smiting scared the living daylights out of whoever was in that room at the time, and the window was closed. This time, nothing happened. I walked around to the front of the apartment building, hoping maybe this time I could determine in which unit the harpy made her nest. But I could not be sure. I did not want to dial a number on the entrance intercom and wake some innocent neighbor.

Back at the window, I re-gathered my courage and took to brooming her panes again. This time, she reacted violently, like a bug that had been stabbed with a pin.

“Stop fuckin’ pounding on my window!”

This was exactly the kind of reaction I was dreading. No matter how annoying or disrespectful the behavior of the rude, the guy lurking outside the window with a broom is always going to be the one doing wrong. Besides, I tend to not handle such confrontations well. As you will see.

“If you turn down your TV or close your window, I won’t have to.”

The window blinds went up. This was the first time I could see her, or at least the top of her. I saw nothing below her eyes and her frosted, hairsprayed, barwhore bangs.

“Do not hit my window again!”

“Turn down the TV or close the window and I won’t.”

“Go ahead. Hit my window one more time!”

“Are you drunk again?”

Sigh. I simply get caught up in the emotion of it all.

“No, I am not drunk. I just got home from work. If you hit that window again…”

“Just turn it down or close your window.”

She stormed away, her thick-slatted blinds falling.

“You fucking dick.”

I grabbed my broom and made for home.


Shit. I had stooped. Yet again when confronting a neighbor, I had stooped. How to cover?

“Hoo hoo ha ha hwaa!”

Now I was a lurker and a laughing lunatic, and I suddenly felt she was gonna come out and meet me on the sidewalk on Goshen Ave. with mace, or a bat, or maybe a broom of her own.

I silently closed the door of my place when I got back in. I was now keenly aware that my upstairs neighbors, who were awake, had heard all this and would know I had made the scene. I felt stupid and angry all at once.

I’m the kind of person who tries not to use my electric toothbrush after 10:00. Yet this cunt, with her unapologetic extroversion and inability to practice the niceties that are sometimes required when living in an urban society, is never going to be wrong. To her, she has every right to be as loud as she wants. It’s my problem if I’m bothered by her big mouth. It’s me who should close my windows since I am disturbed by her booming, late-night get-togethers. And while my mind whirls with options for teaching her a lesson or exacting succulent revenge, neither of these are effective unless the target is cognizant of her errors and, on some level, wise to the annoyance she causes.

No, the world is all about her, and if I don’t like it, well, then, that’s simply too fucking bad, isn’t it?

So here I am, over an hour later, typing this all out, my only recourse for solace and mollification. Now I have a choice: go back into my room, close the windows, turn on my mountain stream, stuff in the earplugs, and hope for the best, or sleep on the couch and let that unorthodox arrangement be my berceuse. Either way, tomorrow will find me tired and grumpy and bitter. Thanks, neighbor!

[NOTE: There is more to this story… —Ed.]